Asia & the Pacific / Bhutan
Bhutan "Shangri La" Multisport Tour
Hike, bike, raft and experience the culture of this mystical Buddhist Kingdom
Bhutan, nestled in the heart of the great Himalaya, has for centuries remained aloof from the rest of the world. Since its doors were cautiously opened in 1974, visitors have been mesmerized: the environment is pristine, the scenery and architecture awesome and the people hospitable and charming.
Days 1-3: Paro-Thimphu-Punakha Valley
Stroll through Paro before a drive to Thimphu, capital of Bhutan. See the fortress of Semtokha Dzong, Tamchog Temple and Chuzom, with shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese styles. Visit the Institute of Traditional Medicine and art and handicraft museums. Hop on bikes and ride to Tango monastery. Drive to beautiful Punakha Valley over spectacular Dochu La Pass, with a view of the inner Himalayas. Visit magnificent Punakha Dzong with its lovely temples and excellent art. Hike past rice fields and farm houses to the village of Samdingkha.
Days 4-6: Pho Chhu River-Bumthang
Raft the Pho Chhu to the "Wrathful Buddha", a rapid below Bhutan's longest foot bridge. Hike past paddy fields to the temple of Chimi Lhakhang. Drive through the forests and gorges of the Black Mountains to Bumthang, sacred heart of Bhutan. Visit the temple that houses the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche, and then bike to the White Bird fortress of Jakar.
Days 7-9: Phobjikha Valley-Dochu La Pass-Thimphu
Explore Phobjikha Valley, a nirvana of small temples and idyllic villages, on foot and bicycle. Hike from Dochu La Pass, marked with hundreds of prayer flags, enjoying enchanting mountain vistas before descending through lush temperate forests. Enjoy a private performance by a local dance troupe this evening.
Days 10-12: Paro-Taktsang
A stunning bike ride along the Thimphu River returns us to Paro, where we visit the national museum, fortress of Rinpung Dzong, and Bhutan's oldest temple. Our final activity is the unforgettable hike to Tatsang, the famous Tiger Lair monastery perched on a cliff with a 3,000-foot sheer drop.
Festivals occur on each departure at different locations and the itinerary varies accordingly.