Chasing the Thunder Dragon (SEPT 19th -SEPT 29th)
Did you ever think you would?
- Dance with snow-lions and banter with the clowns at a colorful festival?
- Try a fiery dish of chilies and cheese?
- Hike into a gravity defying monastery & then soak in a stone bath?
- Be blessed by a 10-inch wooden penis?
- Gaze into the snow-peaked Himalayas, while sitting among 108 chortens?
You can do all these and much more on the next GyspyFeet trip to Bhutan –
In the Land of the Thunder Dragon
Reach Paro/Bagdogra, depending on availability of Druk Air flights from Cal.We will make the bookings for you, as Druk Air has no online reservation. Flight cost not included in our rates.
Arrive at the capital city of Thimphu by afternoon. Process the permits and complete other formalities.Today we walk around Thimphu. We will visit the clock tower at the town square to soak in the local atmosphere, take a walk along the Wang Chu river, check out the weekend market set up on the banks of the river where you can pick up some rare scrolls or an interesting mask, and maybe try our hand at Bhutan’s national pastime-archery.In Thimphu we will stay in a hotel set in a peaceful rural setting offering a stunning 360-degree view of the hills.
We wake up early in the morning to witness the Tsechu, a colorful religious festival that is also the highlight of the Bhutanese social calendar. It is a riot of colors, as the entire town dresses up in the traditional dress – the Gho and the Kira – and gathers at the Dzong, the dwelling of the Monk Body and the administrative headquarters of the country. Dancers in fantastic costumes swirl around enacting scenes from Guru Padmasambhava’s life.In the afternoon we’ll visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, where you will see students’ busy painting Tangkhas, or carving wood.
After a quick stop at the Takin reserve (Takin is Bhutan’s national animal, a strange looking creature that looks like a cross between a goat and a cow), and the National Memorial Chorten, we will drive up to the Telecom Tower to get a bird’s eye view of the entire valley of Thimphu.Later on we will saunter down the Hong Kong market, and try our bargaining skills.
We will hike up to the Cheri Goempa, a monastery. The trail starts by crossing a lovely covered bridge that spans the Wang Chhu and then climbs steeply to the monastery where there are tame deer and soaring birds. Bird-watchers will be enthralled at the varieties of Himalayan birds they will see, including the tree-pie.
Later on we will hop over to the Philatelic Bureau, the Changangkha Lhakhang, an old fortress like temple and monastic school and the National library which houses the world’s biggest book.
In the evening, we chill at a local pub and explore Thimphu’s nightlife
Today we drive over the spectacular Dochu-la pass where we will see some stunning views of the Himalayas. We will spend some time in the stillness of the awe-inspiring mountains, with the chortens framing the picture for us.We’ll go to the picturesquely located Punakha Dzong where the Monk Body is staying for the winter. A must do is a visit to the temple dedicated to Drukpa Kunley, fondly referred to as the Divine Madman for his eccentric and wild ways.
A 4-hour drive from Punakha will take us to Paro, the town with the only airport in the country.In the afternoon we will walk up to the National museum (an old watchtower converted to a museum) and the impressive Paro Dzong.If time permits, we will also visit the ruined fortress of Drugyal Dzong. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back.
The highlight of any trip to Bhutan is the hike up to the Taktshang Monastery, perched miraculously on the side of a sheer cliff 900m.Also called the Tiger’s nest, it takes about 4 hours, and is one of the most spectacular (and most photographed) monasteries in Bhutan.After that trek up, you might fancy a nice stone bath, the Bhutanese way.
We will drive to the picturesque Haa valley also known as Hidden-Land Rice Valley, situated on the North-West of Bhutan, bordering Tibet.Along the way, we will hike up to the Kila nunnery, and cross the Chele-La, the highest motorable road in Bhutan.On a clear day, one gets excellent views of the Jhomolhari peak from here.
We will return to Paro on the same day.
We will either drive down from Paro to Phuentsoling and onto Bagdogra (overnight at Bagdogra), or take Flight from Paro to Cal/Bagdogra/New Delhi (this depends on availability of tickets)
For the itinerary of our upcoming trip in the winter of 2009-2010, please click here.