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Bhutan

Bhutan is one of the most spiritual countries in the world; a kingdom that measures its success by evaluating “Gross National Happiness,” and governs accordingly. Getting to Bhutan is no easy task, but the reward is well worth the effort. Here, nestled into the foot of the mighty Himalayas, are forests and rivers steeped in untold secrets, myths, and legends.

If you are hoping to connect to yourself, your spirituality, and your creativity, there is simply no better energy than that of Bhutan.

Our 9-day/8-night tour brings you to some of the most magical corners of this remote nation, including the secluded province of Gasa, where we’ll visit a healing hot springs and stay overnight in a Bhutanese home.

The government has reopened the country, but greatly increased the amount of required daily surcharges. This tour includes those government surcharges (currently $450/day) as well as meals, accommodation, and your flight to and from Bangkok Sukhumvit Airport.

This trip will run with a minimum of 4, and a maximum of 12. Join us!

 

Check dates and availability
Trip Dates Availability Price Payment
July 17-25, 2023 $7999 USD
Reserve this trip with a non-refundable deposit, or pay in full. The balance of your tour is due 60 days before departure.
Day 1: Arrival to Bangkok

Today (or tonight), you’ll arrive to BKK airport. Your flight is likely to come in late, so we’ll pick you up from the airport and transfer you to a nearby hotel for rest.

In the morning, we’ll travel as a group back to the airport to get on our flight to Paro. Food will be available for purchase at the hotel.

Meals: N/A

Day 2: Arrive to Paro

Today you’ll arrive on a morning flight to the Paro International Airport, where a representative from our team will be there to greet you. After arrival, we’ll jump right in! Today, we’ll be exploring the National Museum in Paro and the Rinpung Dzong (fortress). Afterward, we’ll have lunch together and you’ll get your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine! 

After lunch, we’ll drive to Punakha via the scenic Dochula Pass where you will be able to see the Himalaya Mountains (a 4-hour drive). Also at the pass are the Dochula Chortens and Druk Wangyal Monastery. 

We’ll be visiting the Chimi Lhakhang Monastery today, going on a light walk through paddy fields to reach this village.  If you get carsick, we recommend taking medication prior to this mountain drive. If you suffer from altitude sickness, we recommend talking with your doctor to begin doses 1 to 2 days prior to arrival.

Meals: L, D

himalayas in bhutan
Day 3: Exploring Punakha

Today you’ll be taking in the beautiful sights of Punakha, the former capital of the country, set between two flowing rivers. We’ll start our day with a trip to the Punakha Dzong, a stunning and important sight to see. We’ll also take a walk along Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge.

Lunch today is at a local homestay, providing you the opportunity to see how the Bhutanese live and to experience an authentic home-cooked meal. This afternoon, you’ll meet an Aum Karma, a traditional Bhutanese dye expert, for the chance to learn more about this form of artwork. 

After lunch, we’ll visit the temple of the divine madman. You won’t want to miss it!

Meals: B, L, D

temple in Bhutan
Day 4: Punakha to Gasa

Today is a very unique and special day.

This morning after breakfast, we’ll hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a stupa built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, to ward off evil spirits and bring peace to the world.

At the top, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of the Punakha valley. After lunch, we will begin the drive to Gasa. The drive today will take roughly 3 hours, and will wind through the Jigme Dorji National Park.

This is a Damesly exclusive adventure — most travelers never make it to Gasa due to its remote location. 

We are coming here for one very special reason: to experience a set of natural hot springs that are revered for their healing effects. Buddhists travel from around the world to find healing from physical and emotional ailments. Gasa tshachhu is believed to cure rheumatism, arthritis, ulcers, indigestion, skin diseases, and even tuberculosis and other ailments.

Because of their curative powers these waters are held sacred by the Bhutanese, and believed to have been touched by divine hands. It is said that Bhutanese warriors wounded in battles sought tshachhus to soak in and applied the warm mud as a salve for wounds. Sometimes they traveled for weeks to bathe their wounds in the water. Traditional medicine doctors have long since been prescribing the healing waters for their patients.

There are no hotels in this part of Bhutan, so tonight, you’ll be staying at a Bhutanese family’s farmhouse. Accommodations may be less comfortable than staying in a hotel, but this unique experience will be one we’re sure you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Meals: B, L, D

metal teapot in bhutan
Day 5: Gasa

After breakfast, you’ll head to the Gasa hot springs to experience the effects of the healing hot springs for yourself. Gasa is the most mountainous part of the country and has a rugged and wild feeling to it. This chance to get off the beaten path and uncover an area this remote is truly one-of-a-kind. Today’s lunch will be served picnic-style.

Afterward, we’ll begin the drive back to Thimpu, roughly a 5-hour drive. 

Our accommodation tonight is lovely and warm, set within a private residence where the female owner grows much of the food in her own gardens. 

Overnight at Kuenrab Cottage in Thimpu

Meals: B, L, D

buddhism in bhutan
Day 6: Thimphu

Today you’ll begin to explore Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. There is a lot to see today! 

After breakfast, we’ll begin by visiting the National Memorial Chorten, built to honor the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck

From here, we’ll visit the Buddha Dordenma Statue, a giant gold statue of the Buddha that overlooks the mountains. It’s a sight to see! 

Afterward, we’ll take an easy and meditative hike that meanders through the forest, from kuenselphodrang to changangka, a monastery. The hike will take three to four hours, bringing us through a pine forest with city views. 

By this point, we know you’ll be hungry, so we’ll head to lunch! 

After lunch, we will visit a traditional Bhutanese paper factory, which provides more history about the rich arts culture in Bhutan. 

Overnight at Kuenrab Cottage in Thimpu 

Meals: B, L, D

family in bhutan
Day 7: Paro

After breakfast, we’ll drive to Paro and hike to the Kila Goemba Nunnery, the oldest nunnery in Bhutan (referred to by some as “mini Tiger’s Nest” as it is similarly cut into the mountainside. 

After the nunnery, we’ll have lunch together. This afternoon, you’ll receive an herbal medicine consultation and treatment session at the Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary, where a traditional Bhutanese medicine doctor will create a personal well-being program, including dietary advice, focused on balancing your body, mind and spirit. 

Tonight you’ll rest up at the Naksel Boutique Resort. Get to bed early, as tomorrow morning, we hike to Bhutan’s most incredible attraction: the Tiger’s Nest. 

Overnight at Naksel Boutique Resort

Meals: B, L, D

bhutan
Day 8: Tiger’s Nest

Early this morning you’ll be hiking to the Tiger’s Nest, an incredible monastery set high in the cliffs above Paro. This hike is between 5 and 7 hours long and is challenging, but the rewards and the chance to sit inside of this incredibly spiritual monastery and feel its history is beyond worth the effort. 

This is a once-in-a-lifetime journey, something no trip to Bhutan would be complete without. If open, we will even have the opportunity to enter the cave underneath the monastery where the tigress slept!

After descending from the mountain, we’ll have lunch together and then you’ll have time to rest. Tonight, we’ll have dinner and a hot stone bath at a traditional homestay, the perfect way to say goodbye to the Kingdom of Bhutan. 

Overnight at Naksel Boutique Hotel.

Meals: B, L, D

tigers nest in bhutan
Day 9: Departure

It’s departure day, and we’re bummed to see you go, but we know you’re leaving with memories, photos, and stories to last a lifetime. Bhutan is a magical and very unique country, and not a place many people ever get to see. We’re so honored to have been able to show it to you in such a unique way. See you next time! 

Meals: B

Cost includes:

  • Roundtrip Flights from Bangkok Airport (BKK) to Paro, Bhutan ($900 value)
  • Arrival Hotel for first night in Bangkok
  • All daily national domestic fees mandated by Bhutan's government
  • All meals
  • Accommodation in a shared room
  • Transportation
  • Private tour guide and driver
  • All activities including Tiger's Nest hike
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Homestay experiences
  • Visas
  • Herbal treatment at Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary

Does not include:

  • Flights to and from Bangkok (BKK) airport
  • Tips for your guide and driver (we recommend $10-20 per day, per person)
  • Travel insurance
  • Alcohol

What to pack:

  • Hiking boots
  • Bathing suits for hot springs
  • Camera
  • Clothing for warm days and cool nights
  • Small backpack for personal items
  • Water bottle

Additional Info:

Flights Where are we flying in and out of?

This trip includes RT flights from Bangkok (BKK) to Paro, Bhutan, as well as 1 night of accommodation in Bangkok.

You are responsible for your ticket in/out of BKK airport.

Flights to and from Paro, Bhutan are limited. 

Please fly into BKK one day before this tour begins. Our flight to Paro leaves BKK on Day 1 of this tour. Depart BKK in the evening of Day 8 (July 24), or, opt to fly home from BKK the next day (July 25). 

 

 

Money How much should I bring?

This tour is all-inclusive, so you’ll only need money to tip your tour guide and driver (recommended $10/day or $5/day each).

But, you should also bring money for shopping or alcohol, should you choose. Public bathrooms may also have attendants who also ask for tips.

ATMs are infrequent outside of the big cities in Bhutan, so we will suggest we stop at an ATM in the airport or in Paro. Our guide can help you with this.

As such, it’s better to bring too much than not enough. $500 for 8 days, in our experience, should be more than enough.

 

Travel Insurance What's the deal with that?

Travel insurance is mandatory on all of our tours.

Visa How do I get a visa?

We will arrange for a tourist visa to Bhutan for you. Please send us your passport information after booking.

Trip Minimum How many people are needed to run this tour?

This trip will run with 4 participants, and will be capped at 12 total. We recommend waiting to book your airfare until closer to the date, we will confirm the trip has met the participant requirement 30 days before departure.

What level of fitness is required? Active

This is an active adventure with several hikes at elevation on the itinerary, including Tiger’s Nest. You need to be healthy and fairly fit with the ability to hike for long periods of time on uneven footing. 

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