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Bhutan Family Adventure

Tailor Made Itinerary

11 Days From C$10,666

Overview

Enjoy a spectacular family adventure that combines some of the best that Bhutan has to offer. A wonderful mix of gentle day hikes, cycling, camping, archery, river rafting and lots of fun activities, it is a perfect introduction to this fascinating and beautiful country. Sandwiched between the mountainous landscapes of northern India and Tibet, the tiny kingdom of Bhutan is a land lost in time. Filled with myths and legends, the Land of the Thunder Dragon is without doubt one of the most extraordinary ...
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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the Paro Dzong and trek up to the spectacular ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery
  • Get a glimpse into village life by enjoying a Bhutanese meal with a family in a traditional farm house
  • Brush up on your archery skills using a traditional bow or a game of khuru, Bhutanese darts!
  • Hike in the stunning countryside of Punakha, Paro and Gangtey
  • Go mountain biking and have views of breathtaking forests and mountain landscapes of rural Bhutan
  • Overnight in the mountains in a private camp set up in the stunning Punakha valley

ITINERARY

This is a suggested itinerary. Our experts have all travelled widely in the region and will be happy to tailor any of our itineraries to suit your tastes, or build a trip from scratch.

EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: PARO - THIMPHU

DAY 1: PARO - THIMPHU

After arriving in Paro you will be met and driven an hour along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital, at 2320 metres. You can stop on the way to take in the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan's iron bridge builder. After some time to relax and freshen up before enjoying your first opportunity to explore a little of this magical capital with its busy shops and bazaars and photogenic citizens in national dress. Given the high altitude we recommend that you take things fairly easy today, until you have had a chance to acclimatise properly.

Zhiwa Ling Ascent
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: THIMPHU - PUNAKHA

DAY 2: THIMPHU - PUNAKHA

This morning you will drive out of the valley and up to the scenic Dochu La Pass, where you can stop for a drink and enjoy the panoramic vistas of the Himalayas. You will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach low-lying Punakha at 1250 metres. Take a pleasant walk across the terraced fields of Sopsokha village to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility), built in the 15th century by the 'Divine Madman' (Lama Drukpa Kuenley). Then we will visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”, built in 1637, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu.

Dhensa
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: PUNAKHA

DAY 3: PUNAKHA

This morning, you will be taken to Chorten Nembu Monastery and school to meet the students, and play a football game along with the children at the school. Chorten Nebu is an 18th century historic building and monastery. In 2005 the monastery began to house orphans from the nearby village, founding a small Buddhist educational institution. This afternoon enjoy a farmhouse lunch with locals. Get a glimpse into village life by enjoying a locally-sourced meal with a family in Punakha. Make friends in a traditionally decorated, colourful Bhutanese farmhouse, made entirely out of stone and mud, and trade stories with your hosts! Next continue to Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”, built at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This majestic dzong served as both the religious and the administrative centre of Bhutan in the past. It measures some 600 by 240 feet and has a six-story, gold-domed tower. Inside are courtyards and religious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here.

Dhensa
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: PUNAKHA

DAY 4: PUNAKHA

This morning hike up through fields of chilies, cabbages and rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, sitting amongst the beautiful landscapes of the upper Punakha Valley. Built to promote peace and harmony and constructed using Holy Scriptures rather than technical manuals, the regal Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten sits amongst the beautiful landscapes of the upper Punakha Valley. Built by the present Queen Mother, the chorten dominates the valley landscapes and the hike up to it presents you with some truly unforgettable views across the meandering Mo Chhu River and out towards the mountains. Taking a packed lunch with you, you’ll spend some time enjoying the artistic and architectural beauty of this magnificent setting before continuing you the Riverside Tipi Camp for the night, located in a beautiful valley in Punakha. Later in the evening, enjoying toasting marshmallows by the camp fire, under the stars.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: PUNAKHA - GANGTEY

DAY 5: PUNAKHA - GANGTEY

This morning you will pack up and along with your rafting guide, board your river rafts from the camp itself and enjoy a rafting adventure down the Mo Chhu river, which is ideal for beginners and families. You will float down the river, enjoying the scenery and past the royal family retreat before ending near the Punakha Dzong. Here you will disembark and at the rafting camp outpost where you will have chance to change and meet your driver and vehicle and head to Gangtey at 2900 metres, taking approximately 2-3 hours.

Dewachen Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: GANGTEY

DAY 6: GANGTEY

Today offers the opportunity to experience the early morning prayers at Gangtey Monastery. A complex of five temples, surrounding a central tower, the Gangtey Monastery is situated at around 2,900 metres, providing you with some spectacular views of the fertile Phobjikha Valley below. Sitting majestically astride a small hill that rises from the valley floor, this is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountains and the largest Nyingmapa Monastery in Bhutan. Founded in 1613 by the grandson of the revered Bhutanese saint, Pema Lingpa, the monastery is surrounded by a village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens, priest community, who look after it. After the early morning prayers and a picnic lunch, you have the option to take a half day hike in the Phobjikha Valley, starting near Gangtey Monastery. You will stroll gently uphill and visit the charming local villages of Gophu, Dogsena Pana and Jangchub Lhakhang. Take in traditional old village life in a rural and agricultural part of the country, surrounded by beautiful landscapes. From here, you will start to descend, completing the circuit towards Khewa Lhakhang village. During winter months you may have the opportunity to see black neck cranes in the valley and visit the Black Necked Crane Information Centre.

Dewachen Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: GANGTEY - PARO

DAY 7: GANGTEY - PARO

This morning you can do a nature walk and cultural tour of the valley, visiting Semchubara and Khewang villages along the way. Then you will make the return journey to Paro via Wangdi. Wangdi was originally considered Bhutan's secondary capital and it commands an important central position. Sadly, Wangdi Dzong was gutted by fire in June 2012, destroying in a few hours a magnificent building that had stood proudly for hundreds of years. Arrive at your hotel and rest of the day is at leisure.

Zhiwa Ling Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: PARO

DAY 8: PARO

Head out today to explore the town. Nestling amongst some of the most picturesque landscapes in Bhutan, Paro is home to an impressive Dzong, the setting for the famous spring Tecshu Festival, as well as the Ta Dzong, the watchtower originally built to defend Rinpung Dzong which, since 1968, has housed the country's National Museum. From the National Museum, you may like to take a leisurely hike along the forested hillside to Zuri Dzong. You will be driven back to Paro where you may wish to spend the erst of the day relaxing at the hotel or choose to visit the weekly market or visit Tashi Gongphel Handmade Paper Factory, where you can observe the fascinating process of Dehsho paper making. Dehsho paper played a crucial part in Bhutanese culture as monks used it for woodblock printing, writing prayer books and mantras. The unique, traditional Bhutanese paper involves specific techniques that have been passed down over the generations and is produced from the bark of two tree species, daphne and dhekap. The fine paper is produced using a complicated procedure; striping the bark, soaking, boiling, crushing, layering, drying and sorting, that can take up to three days! Whilst visiting the factory you will have the opportunity to see the craftsman’s making paper and you may have the chance to try your hand at making this wonderful traditional paper yourself.

Zhiwa Ling Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: PARO

DAY 9: PARO

This morning affords the opportunity to cycle downhill into the Haa Valley and enjoy a short hike to Kila Nunnery. After breakfast take a short hike to Dzongdrakha village for about 1 ½ hours before continuing by car to Chelela Pass (3700m). Here you can enjoy a short hike along the ridge taking in the stunning nature and incredible views of Bhutan’s sacred mountains - Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. From the pass start hiking down the gentle slope to Kila Goenpa Nunnery. After about an hour you will arrive at the Buddhist Nunnery where you can meet with the nuns who live here, having chosen to isolate themselves from the world and dedicate their life to practicing Buddhism. After the hike you can choose to have a short biking adventure descending from a high mountain. At the end of the cycling ride you will transferred back to your hotel in Paro and later in the afternoon taken for an archery class. This afternoon learn Bhutanese archery skills using a traditional bow and arrows on a local Bha Cho archery range or at the hotel. Archery or “Da” in Dzongkha is embedded in the Bhutanese culture and you will often see depictions of gods and deities holding a bow and arrow, a symbol of wisdom. Archery became Bhutan’s national sport in 1971 and is one of the main social events in Bhutan, leading to regular competitions and archery festivals around the country. After you have tried archery, your guide might even challenge you to a game of khuru – traditional Bhutanese darts!

Zhiwa Ling Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: PARO

DAY 10: PARO

This morning you will walk up to the Takstang Gompa, known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, stopping en route at a viewpoint and teahouse, where you will later return for lunch. It is one of the most famous and sacred of Bhutan’s monasteries, built on a rock ledge a thousand metres above the valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. In 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of the building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour. The walk to the viewing point takes about 1.5 hours with another 2.5 hours to get to the monastery and back. When you arrive at the monastery, the guide will organise your offerings of votive lamps, prayer flags, incense and prayer offerings. At the main temple you can choose to make these prayer offerings along with the locals on their pilgrimage and pujas, giving thanks to the local deities for your time in Bhutan. After you descend and make your way back to the car, you will then be taken back to the hotel and have the late afternoon and evening at leisure.

Zhiwa Ling Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: PARO - DEPART

DAY 11: PARO - DEPART

This morning you will be transferred back to the airport to catch your international flight back home.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

SUGGESTED ACCOMMODATION

Superior

Superior

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Accommodation listed here is intended as a guide only, to give you a taste of what we can do. Our experts can tailor any aspect of this itinerary and accommodation to suit your budget and tastes.

GUIDELINE PRICE & WHAT’S INCLUDED

BHUTAN FAMILY ADVENTURE (11 DAYS) C$10,666

MEALS

As specified in the itinerary, sampling some of the country's finest cuisine.

TRANSPORT

Private air-conditioned vehicles with experienced, dedicated drivers.

ENTRANCE FEES

Tours and admission fees, including tickets specified in the itinerary.

EXPERT TEAM

Licensed English-speaking guides and a support team available 24/7.

ACCOMMODATION

As specified in the itinerary, using some of our favourite local properties.

ACCOMMODATION

Ultra - The best of the best, the ultimate indulgence
Luxury - Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium - Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior - Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple - No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

If you book international flights through Wild Frontiers.

This itinerary is aimed to give you an idea of what we can offer. The price shown above is based on two people travelling outside of peak periods. As this itinerary is only a suggestion and can be tailor-made to suit your interests and budget, your final price may differ.

START PLANNING YOUR TRIP

Our team of experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime.

WHEN TO GO

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

Meet the expert, Shalmali

Shalmali is our Indian Subcontinent expert, who has travelled extensively in the region.

Speak to Shalmali by calling
+44 (0)20 3944 6258

Hike to Taktsang and make a traditional prayer offering, enjoy archery at the local range, Thimphu farmers market, hike in the forests of Phobjikha valley, visit Punakha monastery festival, cycle to Haa valley or make a sand mandala with a Buddhist monk.

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