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  • The Last Shangri La

    Discover the highlights of Bhutan’s popular western and spiritual central valleys in "The Last Shangri La" luxury tour. Visit Dzongs, temples, monasteries, palaces, and witness Bhutan’s ever-changing scenic beauty of forests and himalayan peaks from the comfort of a luxury 4WD. For those with a little less time or are interested in a birds-eye view, we can easily organise helicopter transfers. At the end of the day you will unwind at your luxurious accommodation, options including Taj Tashi, Uma Punakha, Amankora, Gangtey Goenpa Lodge, Um Paro and Zhiwa Ling Paro resorts, experiencing their first class service and facilities including massage, spa, well-being therapies and fine dining. This tour included a night in the stunning Phobjikha Valley, winter home of the endangered Black-Necked Crane. We can also organise a range of add-on options to you provide the most luxurious and unforgettable experience of the Dragon Kingdom.


    HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUDE

    ‘The Last Shangri-La’ Luxury Tour explores all of the highlights of Bhutan’s western valleys, as well as the central Bumthang Valley at a relaxed pace using the most luxurious accommodations and services available in the kingdom. Ideal for those who would like to really savour their experience of Bhutan.

    • Stay in a boutique range of luxurious resorts and lodges offering every modern comfort.
    • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
    • Indulge in a range of holistic therapies including Ayurveda, massage and facials and meditation.
    • Explore Bhutan’s central valleys, rich with ancient historical and sacred Buddhist sites.
    • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
    • Enjoy 5 star cuisine, including an opportunity to sample some of Bhutan’s fiery Chilli dishes.
    • Spend a night in the beautiful Phobjikha Valley, winter home to the Black-Necked Crane.
    • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
    • Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
    • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests.
    • Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.

    DETAILED PROGRAM

    Day 1

    The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. This beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and temples, and the country’s only International airport. After being welcomed with “Khadar” (traditional scarf), a BST representative will provide you with the necessary assistance for completion of all immigration and customs formalities.

    After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro transported by luxury 4WD, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rinpung Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours).

      Paro Ta Dzong Museum, Rinpung Dzong

    Recommended Thimphu Luxury Hotels:

    - Taj Tashi Bhutan Hotel
    Amankora Thimphu Resort


    Day 2

    Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, completed by the Royal Queen Mother as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and Zilukha Nunnery. After that, we will visit Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’ housing ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

     National Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Temple and Zilukha Nunnery, Tashichho Dzong


    Day 3

    Transfer to Phobjikha Valley (5.5-6 hrs). Drive by luxury 4WD over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters) which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms.

    Continue on through the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang, and up winding mountain roads through mixed forests and over high passes before descending down into the wide and picturesque Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau.

     Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters), watching black necked cranes (November – March)

    Recommended Luxury Hotels in Gangtey:

    - Gangtey Goenpa Lodge
    - Amankora Gangtey Lodge


    Day 4

    Following breakfast visit the Phobjikha Sanctuary to view the majestic black necked cranes (Nov-Mar only) and Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), dating back to the 16th century. Afterwards drive by luxury 4WD over the Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range towards Trongsa (4.5 hrs). Enroute visit the beautiful 18th century Chendebji Chorten. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest Dzong in Bhutan and the Ta Dzong museum housing a collection of historical artifacts of the Royal Family.

    Continue driving towards Bumthang (2.5 hrs), the spiritual of the kingdom. Bumthang is home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces, Buddhist temples and monasteries.

    On arrival enjoy an optional Spa Treatment before dinner. Overnight in Bumthang.

     Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), Pele La pass, Chendebji Chorten, Trongsa Dzong

    Recommended Bumthang Luxury Hotel:

    - Amankora Bumthang


    Day 5

    In the morning visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan’s patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated and 7th century Jambay Lhakhang. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of the Kingdoms oldest temples.

    After lunch continue sightseeing including Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pemalingpa and containing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Overnight in Bumthang.

     Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang


    Day 6

    Depart for Punakha stopping along the way at Trongsa for lunch. Overnight in Punakha.

    Recommended Luxury Hotels in Punakha:

    - Amankora Punakha Resort
    - Uma Punakha Hotel

     

    Day 7

    Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. Visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned.

    After lunch enjoy an excursion by 4WD or on foot to Yabesa village and hike to through ricefields and up to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions. In the afternoon you have an option of returning to Uma Punakha for time at leisure, or a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of Drukpa Kuenly. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time.

     Punakha Dzong, Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten


    Day 8

    Drive back to Thimphu by luxury 4WD where you will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores, and enjoy lunch. Afterwards proceed to Paro and check into your luxury hotel.

    The remainder of the day is free to explore the Paro township, or enjoy the spa treatments available at your accommodations. Overnight in Paro.

    Recommended Luxury Hotels in Paro:

    - Amankora Paro Lodge
    - Uma Paro Hotel


    Day 9

    After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to the viewing point). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. TheMonastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Refreshments and lunch will be arranged in the tent specifically pitched on the path to Taktsang Monastery.

    On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Afternoon is at leisure. Overnight in Paro.

     Taktsang Monastery, Kyichu Lhakhang


    Day 10

    10 days tour will end today. After the breakfast, we will transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. Carry smile on your face, eyes with tears and memories unlimited. Tour staffs will bid you farewell at the airport departure gate with the quick prayer of save journey and to see you again in future.

     

     

    WHEN TO GO?

      MORE TOURS HERE


    Notes:

    • Prices are in USD, per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a room. At Bhutan Senses Travel, we carefully select all hotels to ensure that your accommodations match our standards of trip and service excellence.
    • Prices include the following:
      . All hotel accommodation including all taxes and breakfast
      . Internal economy flights as stated with airport taxes
      . All transfers & sightseeing transportation in private vehicle
      . Private services of local guides
      . All special events & private tours, guest experts
      . All entrance fees into historical sights & museums
      . Drinking water and refreshing towels for touring
      . 24/7 support from the Bhutan Senses Travel Team

     

    Location
    Accommodation

    THIMPHU
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    Taj Tashi Bhutan Hotel

    • Five-star luxury awaits at Taj Tashi Bhutan, set in the heart of Bhutan’s Thimphu Valley. Featuring elaborate Bhutanese architecture, the hotel offers a fitness centre and luxurious spa. 4 dining options are provided in the hotel.
    • Taj Tashi Bhutan is 7 km from Buddha Point Thimphu. Paro International Airport is 60 km or an approximate 1-hour drive from the hotel.
    • Stylish rooms feature wooden décor, with select ones providing stunning views of Thimphu Valley. A flat-screen TV, minibar and tea/coffee-making facilities are provided. Suites offer walk-in closets and luxurious bathrooms with a standalone bathtub.
    • Guests can unwind in The Jiva Spa, featuring a spa menu of Indian healing therapies. A concierge desk and business centre are available to assist guests. Currency exchange and ticketing services are offered for convenience.
    • Chig-ja-gye and The Thongsel specialise in Bhutanese cuisine, while drinks are featured in Ara and Rimps. Room service is also available.

    WANGDUE PHODRANG
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    Gangtey Goenpa Lodge

    • High in the eastern Himalayas, it is difficult to find a more isolated hotel than the Gangtey Goenpa Lodge. The lodge provides beautiful views of the Gangtey Valley and is surrounded by natural, hilly terrain, teeming with wildlife.
    • Just 12 spacious rooms are available at the lodge, ensuring a genuine mountain retreat experience for guests. Each room is equipped with a fireplace and designed by internationally renowned designer, Mary Lou Thomson.
    • There is a full service restaurant serving a mixture of Western, Asian and traditional Bhutanese cuisine. Meals are served in a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, giving diners spectacular views of the valley as they eat.
    • The Lodge acts as a jumping-off point for air balloon tours which can last the entire day, taking guests over the expansive forests of Bhutan and providing breathe-taking views of the mountains. In room massages are also available.

    BUMTHANG
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    Amankora Bumthang

    • Amankora Bumthang overlooking established orchards and nestled near the grounds of one of Bhutan's royal palaces,
      the lodge offers a Library, comfortable Living Room, regal Dining Room and cosy Spa with three treatment rooms, a steam room and changing areas.
    • Accessed through an impressive stone-clad hallway, 16 guest suites are situated in four separate dwellings, each containing two suites on the ground floor and two on the upper floor.
    • Suites feature wood-panelled interiors, a traditional bukhari, king-size bed, terrazzo-clad bath, shower, twin vanities and daybed overlooking the courtyard, nearby Wangdichholing Palace and monastery.

    PUNAKHA
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    Amankora Punakha Resort

    • Amankora Punakha, accessed by crossing a suspension bridge over the Mo Chhu, the lodge is centred by a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse built by a former Je Kempo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). This quaint, three-storey structure with its preserved vegetable dye wall paintings is now a reception area with a Dining Room, traditional Altar Room, a courtyard for alfresco dining and a tea pavilion.
    • Just beyond is the Spa with two treatment rooms, a steam room, changing areas and a yoga/meditation room.
    • Eight suites, located in three rammed-earth dwellings, are situated in an orange orchard with views across the rice fields and up the Punakha Valley. The suites are identical to the design of the suites at Amankora Paro and feature wood-panelled interiors, a traditional bukhari, king-size bed, terrazzo-clad bath, shower, vanities and daybed. Suites are individually heated during the cooler winter months and air-conditioned in the summer months.

    PARO
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    Amankora Paro Lodge

    • At an elevation of 2,250 metres, Paro Valley is the entry point for most journeys through the Kingdom.
    • Lodge is surrounded by pine forests, the 24-Suite retreat contrasts rustic elements with contemporary design.
    • Guest Suites offer a combined lounge and bedroom furnished with a king-size bed, banquette window seat, reading chair and traditional bukhari wood-burning stove.