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Higher Limits Trek

The Newly Opened ‘Haa Valley’ Exclusive Tour - 8 Days

Bhutan: a landlocked kingdom situated at the eastern end of the Himalayas. The Bhutanese call their nation Druk Yul, which literally means ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. A self-imposed exile from the outside world saw life here virtually unchanged until the early 60s, and recent developments, from limited air access, the internet, mobile phone connections, to democratic elections in 2008, have seen Bhutan rapidly modernize.

Jammed between the mighty powers of China and India, the Bhutanese have consciously maintained a firm grasp on many of their traditions as a way of guaranteeing and preserving their sovereignty and unique culture.

A multitude of factors has influenced the social structure of Bhutan. Religious and cultural influences form a common thread, which can be seen running through the country’s government, its art, architecture, literature and music, and indeed the entire social make-up of the kingdom.

The population consists predominantly of three ethnic groups: the Ngalops of the western and central region, the Sharchogpas of the east, and the Lhotsampas, recent immigrants of Nepalese origin who settled mainly along the southern plain.

More than 80 percent of the population leads agrarian lives in villages, often in rough, remote terrain. They are, however, not above enjoying the lighter moments in life and are known to be a sporty lot. The Bhutanese zealously celebrate religious festivals and holidays with indigenous sports such as traditional archery, dego (discus), and khuru (shot put). These occasions are always large social gatherings which include feasting and drinking.

Religion is the other major value system that holds the Bhutanese people together. Tantric Mahayana Buddhism of the Drukpa Kagyu sect has survived unblemished here for centuries and continues to be the officially adopted religion of the state. It is a religion that is more about tolerance than fanaticism – the people of Bhutan are allowed to practice any faith of their choice.

Bhutan holds the unofficial title of ‘The Happiest Country’ in Asia, according to the quaintly titled survey, the ‘World Map of Happiness’.

Bhutanese art and craft, inevitably religious in character, exists in 13 forms that are together called the zorig chusum. These 13 forms include textile weaving, wood and slate carving, painting, blacksmith, and pottery, all of which have elaborate techniques and traditions passed on through successive generations.

See Bhutan now! For this Buddhist nation is slowly-but-surely emerging to take its rightful place on a larger, modern world stage.

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Fly Kathmandu to Paro
Day 02: Paro:
Day 03: Paro
Day 04: Paro – Haa – Thimphu (2,736m)
Day 05: Thimphu (2,400m)
Day 06: Thimphu – Punakha (1,300m)
Day 07: Punakha – Paro (2,200m) (124 km/5 hours drive)
Day 08: Paro – Kathmandu –

Cost Include

  • English speaking guide
  • Monastery entrance fee as per our itinerary
  • Transportation by jeep
  • Accommodation on full board basis included Lunch, Dinner & Breakfast
  • Kathmandu- Paro- Kathmandu flight ticket
  • Bhutan Entry visa Permit

Cost Exclude

  • Your Travel Insurance
  • Any kinds of Bar bills Mineral water, Alcoholic drinks, Juice etc.
  • Any Expense of Personal Nature.
  • Tips for tour staff ( Tipping is expected but not compulsory)
  • Airport Departure tax
  • Any other expenses which are not mentioned on price includes section .

Day 01: Fly Kathmandu to Paro
(2,280m) – Morning flight to the Bhutanese city of Paro, our entry point located in a beautiful valley, where a warm welcome awaits.   Jovial faces, prayer flags and the cool, fresh air of this high Himalayan city are immediately noticeable. Orientation and free time follow.  Overnight & Dinner in Paro

Day 02: Paro:
The lovely valley in which Paro is nestled encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends.  It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries and the National Museum.  Mt. Chomolhari (7,314m) dominates the northern end of the valley; its glacial waters plunging through deep gorges to form the Pa Chu (Paro River).  The Paro valley is one of the kingdom’s most fertile, producing the bulk of Bhutan’s famous red rice from its terraced fields.  Overnight & B/L/D

Sightseeing will include:

Drukgyel Dzong:
Located 15km to the north.  This dzong, with a picturesque village nestling below its ramparts, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, the towering outer walls and central keep remain imposing sights.  On a clear day, there is a splendid view of Mt. Chomolhari from the approach road.

Rinpung Dzong: 
The “fortress of the mountain of jewels“ was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal on a hill above the township.  The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge (called the Nemi Zam) and then up a paved stone path running alongside the imposing outer walls.  The Valley’s annual springtime religious festival, the Paro Tsechu, takes place in the courtyard of the dzong and on the dance ground on the hillside above.

Ta Dzong:
On a ridge immediately above Rinpung Dzong is Ta Dzong, built as a watchtower to protect the Dzong.  (“Ta” means “to see” in Dzongkha, so the watchtower of a dzong is always called a “Ta dzong”).   Because of their function, watchtowers are always round in shape.  In 1968, Paro’s Ta Dzong was inaugurated as the National Museum.  It now holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, and an exquisite range of Bhutanese postage stamps, coins and handicrafts, together with a small natural history collection.

Farm Houses:
The natural beauty of the Paro valley is enhanced by picturesque farm houses dotted about the fields and on the hillsides.  The two- to three-storied Bhutanese farm houses are handsome in appearance, with colorfully decorated outer walls and lintels, and they are traditionally built without the use of a single nail.  Nearly all houses follow the same architectural style.  A visit to a farm house gives an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of a farming family.

Day 03: Paro
– Our long-awaited morning hike up to the famed Taksang Monastery (Tiger’s nest), an iconic Bhutanese landmark. The upward climb will take around 3 hours and stunning views compensate for the energy expended.  Local lore claims that it is here that Guru Padmasambava landed on the back of a Tiger in the 8th century, and then proceeded to meditate for three months. In 1684 a monastery was built on the site to commemorate the event.  After lunch, it’s a downhill walk to the road head and transport back to town.  The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration of the city.  Overnight & B/ L/D

Day 04: Paro – Haa – Thimphu (2,736m)
– Leaving Paro to the west by road, and after driving through pine and rhododendron forest, we begin our climb of the Chele-la pass (4,200 meters), the highest mountain pass in Bhutan.  From here one has splendid views of the High Himal, including the magnificent peaks of Jhomolari, Bhutan’s most sacred peak at over 6,700m, and Jichu Drakey.   A 22km descent from the top of the pass brings us to Haa.  The Haa Dzong is presently occupied by the Bhutanese military, but the views from outside its walls are stunning.  After a picnic lunch there are visits to the Monastery of Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) followed by the Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple).  The central shrine of Lhakhang Nagpo is said to resemble that of the Jowo in Lhasa, Tibet.

The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa Valley are popularly known today as ‘Rig Sum Goenpa’, signifying three deities:  Jambayang, Chana Dorji and Chenrizig.

On our drive to Thimphu (109 km) we come across two more dzong, one at Betikha and another at Dobji.  After a full day’s exploration we arrive into the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu.  Overnight & B/L/D.

Day 05: Thimphu (2,400m)
– Center of government, religion and business, Thimphu is a lively place, and an interesting combination of tradition and modernity.  Home to civil servants, expatriates and monks, Thimphu maintains a strong national character thanks to the adherence to traditional architectural practices. B/L/D

Sightseeing will include:

National Memorial Chorten:
The building of this chorten was the idea of Bhutan’s third King, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (‘the father of modern Bhutan’), who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, but was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state. After His Majesty’s premature death in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory as well as serve as a monument to peace. The National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974. The finely executed wall paintings and delicately fashioned statues within the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

Tashichhodzong:
The “fortress of the glorious religion”, was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, the King’s secretariat, and a central group of monks. It is open to visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu (held in autumn) and whilst the monks are resident in their winter quarters in Punakha.

National Library:
The Library was established in the late 1960s, primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. It now houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature mostly in block-printed format, with some works several hundreds of years old. This collection, known as the Choekey Collection, mainly comprises Buddhist literature written in Choekey, the religious script of Northern Buddhism. As well, it also includes works written in Tibetan and in Dzongkha, Bhutan’s national language.

There is a small Foreign Book Collection, mainly comprising of works written in English, on subjects such as Buddhist studies, Bhutan, the Himalayan region and Bhutan’s neighboring countries.

Institute for Zorig Chusum:
Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see and often talk with students and learn a little of the various skills and disciplines taught.

Day 06: Thimphu – Punakha (1,300m)
– Drive to Punakha (70 km) via the Duchula pass (3,050 m). Again, mountain views are spectacular, weather permitting. Capital of Bhutan until 1955, Punakha is the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot).  Blessed with a temperate climate and fed by the Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) rivers, Punakha is the most fertile valley in the country.  Afternoon sightseeing will include a visit to Punakha Dzong.  Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center for the region.  Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch.

Located south of Punakha and the last town before central Bhutan, Wangduephodrang (1,300m) is like an extended village with a few well-provisioned shops.  The higher reaches of the Wangduephodrang Valley provide rich pastoral land for cattle.  The district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate, which is mined further up a valley. Stretched along the hilltop above the confluence of the Punakha Chu and Tang Chu rivers, the imposing Wangduephodrang Dzong is the town’s most visible feature.

Return to Punakha for overnight stay.  B/L/D

Day 07: Punakha – Paro (2,200m) (124 km/5 hours drive)
En-route to Paro we visit the Simtokha Dzong.  This dzong, built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stands on a low ridge 8 km down the valley from Thimphu.  Nowadays it is home to the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.  The most noteworthy artistic feature of this dzong is a series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard. We drive on to Paro for overnight.  B/L/D

Day 08: Paro – Kathmandu –
Early morning drive to Airport for the return flight to Kathmandu.  Journey ends on arrival at Kathmandu Airport. End of Expedition. (B) Depending on your flight time, in the evening we will go out to a highly reputed Nepalese kitchen for some delicious Nepalese cuisine. While enjoying our food, we will be entertained to an exciting cultural dance performed by the local belles. This is a complimentary outing provided by Higher Limits Trek & Expeditions for the good welfare of our guests. Overnight Kathmandu.

Start Price (USD) AVAILABILITY Booking
A private departures on any day all around the year can be arranged for this trek/tour, for more details and dates E-mail info@higherlimitstrek.com

AVAILABILITY OPTIONS

OPENED: This date is available and open for bookings.
LIMITED: There are very limited number of available places on this departure. Immediate booking.
GUARANTEED: We have reached minimum numbers and this trip is guaranteed to depart.
CLOSED: This date is currently unavailable. Please contact us, if you are interested in travelling on this date.

Your Program Duration = 8 Days
All the Prices are in USD ($) Per Person.
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