Bhutan - Land Of The Thunderdragon 2

Short for BTN by, Bhutan was opened to tourism in 1975. Initially, only 5,000 tourists per year were allowed to visit the country but the number is steadily increasing. In the predominantly Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, great importance is attached to cultural heritage and traditions, where conscious efforts are made from an official point of view to preserve one’s own cultural identity. This means that the country can offer experiences beyond the ordinary of culture, history, flora, fauna and not least soul-changing scenery in a mountain landscape that is not far behind. Bhutan is a country located in Southeastern Asia listed on

Bhutan - Land Of The Thunderdragon 3

Bhutan – 14 days

Day 1 Departure from Sweden

Day 2 Delhi – Thimpu

Early arrival at Indira Ghandi International Airport in Delhi. After a few hours of waiting, the journey continues towards Himlalaya and Bhutan. The approach to the small airport in Paro offers impressive views of some of the world’s highest mountain peaks and with a little luck you get a glimpse of the most stately of all, Mt Everest. Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and you will begin your journey out into the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”. Today’s goal is Thimpu which offers a lot of activity, especially if you arrive on the weekend when it is market days and people come from far and wide to sell and exchange their goods.

Bhutan - Land Of The Thunderdragon

Search for hotels in Amankora, Thimpu

Day 3 Thimpu

After breakfast you will be picked up by your guide to explore Thimphu. Initially, you will go to the far end of the valley for a walk of about 1.5 hours to the temple Cheri Goemba. The trail starts slightly downhill, to cross the Wang Chhu River. Then there is a steeper climb up to the monastery of Cheri Goemba. If you want to go in and see the sacred shrines, it goes well, otherwise you can be content with enjoying the mighty views of the Himalayas. Once down in the valley again, a well-deserved lunch awaits.

In the afternoon you visit the traditional school for crafts where 13 different crafts are taught from three to six years and where they get to learn woodcuts, religious painting, embroidery and many other forms. It is a very nice way to take part in the traditional craft. This school is the hub of the regrowth of artists and artisans and it is impressive to see the skill in the classrooms.

Hotels: Amankora, Thimpu (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 4 Thimpu – Gangtey

After an early breakfast you start the drive to Gangtey (6 hours). The road climbs steeply through pine and cedar forest up to the Dochu La pass (3,000 masl). The pass offers a magnificent panorama of the Himalayas and down the fertile Wangdue Valley. After crossing the valley, you start a gradual climb up to the Lawa La pass. From here you see peaks like Jhomolhari (7,300 masl) and Jichu Drake (6,700 masl). From Lawa La onwards, the landscape changes drastically and mountain forest is replaced by dwarf bamboo. Today’s lunch with tea and snacks we plan to have in the village Nobding.

In the afternoon you arrive in Gangtey, one of the most beautiful regions in the country and during the winter home to the endangered black-necked crane as they migrate from the arid plains in the north to the milder climate of Gangtey. Late in the afternoon you arrive at your lodge where you check in for the coming nights.

Hotels: Gomba Lodge, Gangtey (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 5 Gangtey

You start the day by visiting the Gangtey Goemba Temple. Pema Thinley founded the temple in the 18th century. Today it is the seat of the 9th reincarnation of Terton, Pema Lingpas. The temple is home to 50 monks studying Nyingma, a type of Buddhism.

Later in the morning there is the opportunity to make an easier hike through the Gangteydalen. You cross streams, rhododendron gardens and pass through the village of Sumchubara. The hike continues through the pine forest and then opens up to a fantastic view of the valley. A little further down the trail you pass the village of Khewang to finally cross the river Nake Chu where you are met by your car.

After the hike, it probably tastes good with lunch at your lodge before it’s time for the afternoon activities. You visit the national park’s information center which has detailed information about the valley and the black – necked crane. There are also binoculars to facilitate the viewing of the cranes.

Hotels: Goenpa Lodge, Gangtey (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 6 Gangtey – Trongsa – Gangtey

Today you make a full day trip to the city of Trongsa (3 hours by road). It is from here that Bhutan’s royal family originates. It is still a tradition that whoever is to become the country’s next king is first appointed governor by Trongsa. You visit the Watchtower, or Ta Dzong, which once guarded Trongsa’s fort from rebels. Today, the Watchtower has been transformed into the most fascinating historical museum in Bhutan. The only road between eastern and western Bhutan used to be straight through the courtyard, so from here trade between the two parts of the country was regulated. If the governor knew about it, he simply closed the door and divided the country in two.

Hotels: Goenpa Lodge, Gangtey (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 7 Gangtey – Punakha

Today the journey goes from Gangtey to Punakha (4 hours), which with its 21,000 inhabitants is Bhutan’s second largest city. You pass dwarf bamboo meadows, characteristic of the region due to the high altitude. You will probably also see grazing yaks and sheep along the way. After lunch you arrive in Punakha and before closing time you visit the magnificent Punakha Dzong which is located in the confluence of the rivers Pho Chu (father river) and Mo Chu (mother river). Punakha dzong contains huge colorful murals and fantastic carvings. Outside the fort, the jacaranda grows, whose purple flowers during the flowering season beautifully stand out against the white and dark brown colors of the dzong.

Hotels: Uma Lodge, Punakha (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 8 Punakha

In the morning you make a hike to Khamsum Yuelle Namgyel Chorten. This beautiful stupa was built by the Queen Mother to bring world peace. It is incredibly beautifully painted with frescoes and contains fantastic sculptures. After lunch you will reach Nalanda, a Buddhist college. From here you continue on foot down to Punakha Dzong along the old hiking trail that was used before today’s modern road network was built. Here you will later be met by your car for a return trip to your hotel.

Hotels: Uma Lodge, Punakha (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 9 Punakha – Paro

Today it’s time for further journey to Paro (4.5 hours). Along the way you make a stop for a hike up to Chimi Lhakhang. A stay in Bhutan would not be complete without a visit to the Chimi Lhakhang fertility temple. In the 16th century, an eccentric man named Lama Drukpa Kunley (locally also known as “the holy maniac”) lived here. The stories about him are still told far and wide. He used sexuality and his penis to subdue evil spirits and he traveled through the country performing miracles. The Bhutanese dwelling houses are often adorned with large painted phalluses and this tradition comes from Drukpa Kunley and is considered to bring good luck.

In the afternoon you will arrive in Paro. The city is the central town in the Parody district of western Bhutan. Scattered as it is in the valley, the center itself is nothing more than a small town.

In the late afternoon you visit Rinpung Dzong which majestically overlooks the entire valley. This place was used during the filming of Bernardo Bertulucci’s film “Little Buddha” which is one of the few film adaptations from Bhutan that has reached beyond the country’s borders. Up to 200 monks live in Rinpung and monastic life is very active. With a little luck, you get to witness the national sport of archery. It is practiced a bit here and there and in the evenings it is always close to these activities.

Hotels: Uma Lodge, Paro (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 10 Paro

The morning probably offers one of the highlights of the trip with a hike up to the mythical Tigers Nest which is wedged along the steep mountain walls that surround the Parodalen. The pilgrimage up the monastery is something that all Buddhists in Bhutan should do during their lifetime and here is always a special atmosphere mixed with dramatic views of the Himalayas. The hike normally takes about five hours and the climb is a total of 900 meters above sea level. Even if you as a visitor choose not to hike all the way to Tigers Nest, it is an experience that ends up on most visitors’ top list. After reaching the goal, it can be nice to just relax in your hotel in the afternoon.

Hotels: Uma Lodge, Paro (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 11 Paro – Delhi – Agra

Your flight back to India departs in the morning. On arrival you will meet for the drive to Agra, (about 3 hours). Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and at sunset you will visit the Taj Mahal. The story of the Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest love tribute, tells the story of the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan who had the tomb built over his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died in childbirth when she gave birth to her fourteenth child. Shah Jahan was completely devastated by her death and wanted to be faithful to her with her building all her life. According to legend, he wanted to build another Taj Mahal on the other side of the Jumna River. It would be in black marble and intended for his final rest.

Hotels: Oberoi Amar Vilas, Agra (Breakfast)

Day 12 Agra

Early in the morning, visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise before returning to the hotel for breakfast. The rest of the day on your own.

Hotels: Oberoi Amar Vilas, Agra (Breakfast)

Day 13 and 14 Return journey

The morning on its own. In the afternoon you return by car to Delhi. Your flight departs during the evening. Arrival in Sweden next morning.

Bhutan - Land Of The Thunderdragon 2