Bhutan Cross Country Cultural and Festivals Itinerary

  Day 1 — {date1}

Departure to Paro, Bhutan from Bangkok

Bhutan  Bridge
Paro Dzong taken from the footbridge—learn how to frame your photos better.

Meet-up at 0445 for 0645 departure to Bhutan, Robin will have your visa and e-tickets and will have also sent them to you in advance. Arrive Paro 1000 via brief stop in Bagdora. (Gain one hour.) After clearing customs and immigration we will be greeted by Rainbow Tours & Treks representatives, guides and drivers. We then go to downtown Paro for our first Bhutanese meal. After lunch our first excursion will be to the National Museum, once the watchtower for the Rinpung Dzong, located high on a promontory overlooking the Paro Valley. First constructed in 1645, the Rinpung Watchtower was converted to the National Museum in 1968. While photography within the museum is not allowed, there are numerous photo ops of the exterior and the valley below. This first outing is meant to familiarize you with the history of this amazing kingdom in the clouds, and a visit to the National Museum is the very best way to quickly learn the culture and natural history since it houses everything that is Bhutanese in a very different museum style that will delight you.

Bhutan  Monks
You will learn how to seek out the best photo ops. Here, two monks follow their master through a forest of ancient willow trees.

From this point on and throughout the tour the daily itinerary becomes very flexible.  Since we are in cars we don't all have to go to these places at the same time.  Our 16 guides and drivers are familiar with this concept and stay in touch with each other to notify everyone of any special events in the area, like "You should go to Kichu Temple because there are a lot of pilgrims there," etc.  So as you read down through this itinerary keep this important concept in mind—“…you are the captain of your ship.”        

We can walk or drive down to Paro Town and a walk along the Paro Chu (River) to take pictures of the Paro Dzong and the watchtower above. Here we will have photo ops of the covered foot bridge over the river, the huge wooden gate leading to the bridge, and the interior of the dzong. Built in 1645, this massive building now houses the District Administration Office and the Monk Body. A flagstone path leads to the dzong, rising gradually from the bridge that is abutted by two guard houses. The central tower, called the “Utse” of the Dzong, is clad in superb woodwork and is considered to be the nation’s most beautiful tower.

Dinner and overnight at Nak Sel Resort, a new five-star resort owned by our Bhutanese partner, Ms. Sonam Ongmo, also the owner of Rainbow Tours and Treks of Bhutan. Sonam has arranged for many of the special items on our itinerary, such as placing our own prayer flags, two special “mini festivals” performed just for our group, and all the many other wonderful events and sights that you will enjoy during your tour. Her hospitality and bubbling personality ensure a very special evening for us. A multi-million-dollar property, Nak Sel is situated at the edge of a quiet forest on property that was once an apple orchard—the original farmhouse and many of the trees still exist. It has some of the best traditional hot stone baths in Bhutan so after dinner those who wish to relax in Bhutan’s version of the hot tub may do so. The one-person tubs are long and made of wood—they have four of them, side by side in a semi-enclosed bath house. A board with holes at one end separates the bather from the hot stones. With long steel tongs the attendant picks red-hot rocks from the bonfire and drops them into this chamber causing a cauldron of boiling water. The heated water then courses through the holes in the board at your feet and the water around your body heats up until you tell the attendant, “No More Rocks!” You will also enjoy the fragrant herbs that are dropped into the tub, including mint and marijuana—yes, it grows wild in Bhutan and is normally used for pig food.

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Do you have more travel questions about going to Bhutan? Please feel free to Email Robin!Bhutan  Email Robin