Opulent Journeys

Walking the Rhododendron Forests of Bhutan

7 April - 20 April 2020

From (AUD)

$8,775

14 DAY

Print tour details

Download brochure

1300 219 885 (AU)

0800 456 219 (NZ)

Tour Highlights
This active tour takes you to the remote and beautiful kingdom of Bhutan to experience the relatively intact biodiversity first hand in spring. As well as enjoying the rich Bhutanese culture visiting fortresses and festivals, we will be walking with local botanical guides to see some of the native flowering plants that captivated early plant collectors. Only a limited numbers of travellers each year can enjoy this magical country and its hospitable people who live by the mantra of Gross National Happiness.
 
  • The Bhutanese people - Gross National Happiness personified
  • Spring flowering Rhododendron forests in pristine Himalayan mountain scenery
  • Paro Tsechu Festival
  • Lamperi Botanical Gardens for rhododendrons
  • Tigers Nest, the iconic Taktsang Monastery
  • The beautiful valleys of Punakha, Wangdue, Phobjikha & Tang
  • Supported Luxury camping for 2 nights on the Druk Path
 
Dates & Prices

Tour Prices                                    

                               

Per person, twin share                               $8,775
Single room supplement $2,995

 *Tour price is Land Only, starts and finishes in Paro.

About your tour leader - Relle Mott
Relle Mott has led small groups for the Friends through Uzbekistan, Western China, and Japan, sharing her love of plants, new cultures and destinations with like-minded travellers since 2013. Horticulturist Relle has been associated with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney for many years: as a member of the Education & Community Programs team, a volunteer guide, and a supporter through Foundation & Friends. Her background is in education: as an environmental education specialist at RBGS, a teacher at Ryde TAFE Horticulture College, and a secondary Japanese language teacher. She has had a 40 year connection with Japan, and regularly leads her own walking tours on historic pilgrimage trails in that country. Travelling with Relle is fun – well-planned itineraries to amazing destinations create unforgettable experiences. When at home she is a keen gardener, sailor and potter, with an ongoing fascination with the plant hunters of Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries.
 
What's Included

Inclusions: 

  • Domestic flight Bumthang-Paro, taxes and surcharges included
  • Arrival/departure group transfers 
  • 13 nights twin-share accommodation with breakfast daily
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary
  • Private coach with English speaking guides during the tour
  • Entrance fees as stated in the itinerary
  • Visa fees for Bhutan 
  • Gratuities to guides and drivers

Not included: 

  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned above
 
Fitness
The Tour Fitness:  an above average level of fitness is necessary for Bhutan as much of the tour is at altitude and we are hiking. Effects of altitude can easily be controlled with medication. The climb up to Tigers Nest is not for the faint hearted - however an alternative activity will be arranged for those not undertaking the climb. Tour members wishing to take rest days can do so on Days 5 & 10, by skipping the set itinerary to stay back at the hotels.
 
To enquire or book this tour, please contact

Phone: 1300 219 885            Email: enquiries@opulentjourneys.com.au

Please Click Here to download the tour details.

Itinerary
On arrival, you will be met by our Bhutanese guide and driver and we will isit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong). This was actually the Watch Tower of the Paro Rinchen Pong Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968. It is located on the top of a hill above the Paro Dzong overlooking Paro valley and the river. Town walking
(Meals: D)
Today we will attend the Paro Tshechu Festival, one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan. Featuring dances performed by trained monks and laymen in amazing masks and costumes, Tsechus (festivals) are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. A highlight of the Paro Tsechu is the unfurling of the silk Thangka – so large it covers the face of an entire building and is considered one of the most sacred blessings in the whole of Bhutan. The ‘Thangka, known in Bhutan as a ‘thongdroel’ is a religious picture scroll, and is only exhibited for a few hours at daybreak on the final day of the festival enabling the people to obtain its blessing. In the afternoon, we head to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Town walking
(Meals: B, L, D)
This morning we will have a short hike to Tango Monastery, where we will have a good chance to see Rhododendrons in full bloom. We will have relaxed afternoon with sightseeing in Thimphu Valley. Start with a visit to the Buddha point, National Memorial Chorten, Paper factory, Folk Heritage Museum and Traditional Arts and Craft School. Hike & town walking
(Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m) to get a view of the high Himalayan peaks towards the north east. We will enjoy a refreshing hike to Lungchutse Gomeba coupled with a trip to Lampelri Botanical Garden to enjoy this floral fiesta. The trail to the Gompa winds through a lichen-draped rhododendron forest where you can also observe a wide variety of flora and avifauna. Later we drive from Lamperi to Phnakha and check into our hotel. Hike
(Meals: B, L, D)
In the morning we visit the Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. The Dzong has withstood damage from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. Hike or optional rest day
(Meals: B, L, D)
In the morning we head to Phobjikha. The Phobjikha Valley is surely one of the loveliest high altitude glacial valleys in Bhutan. We will explore the valley and visit Gangtey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Later in the day hike from one of the many nature trails in the valley, visiting farms and meeting locals. Hike
(Meals: B, L, D)
We start out early today for our drive to Bumthang across Pele-la pass (3,300m) via Trongsa (80km) the traditional boundary between east and west. You will see a change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forest replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Bumthang consists of four main valleys Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. These fertile valleys are covered in fields of buckwheat, rice, potatoes, apple orchards and dairy farms are also common sights here. This serene region is one of the most peaceful places in the kingdom. We will explore Tang Valley and visit the private museum Ogyen Choling. Situated in a remote rural area, this ancestral manor of Dorji family has been converted into a museum where rooms are re-created to depict the traditional Bhutanese way of life. Hike
(Meals: B, L, D)
Bumthang consists of four main valleys Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. These fertile valleys are covered in fields of buckwheat, rice, potatoes, apple orchards and dairy farms are also common sights here. This serene region is one of the most peaceful places in the kingdom. We will explore Tang Valley and visit the private museum Ogyen Choling. Situated in a remote rural area, this ancestral manor of Dorji family has been converted into a museum where rooms are re-created to depict the traditional Bhutanese way of life. Hike
(Meals: B, L, D)
After early breakfast we take the domestic flight back to Paro allowing us ample time to explore Chele La with its rhododentron forest. The road to Chele La passes through a mixed forest of rhododendrons, salix, and junipers. Every year botanists throng the hills of Chele La to observe white poppy, a flower endemic to this region. Silky rose and cutleaf buttercup carpet the floors of forests around Chele La in spring. Apart from rhododendrons, you will also come across oak, blue pine and fir. Hike
(Meals: B, L, D)
Once upon a time, the people of Paro Valley lived under the constant fear of a demon. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche – the protector saint of Bhutan – flew on a tigress to Paro to subdue it. He took the form of fearsome Dorje Drolo and vanquished the demon. Guru meditated on the site of the battle for 3 months and left a body print on a rock. On this spot today stands Tiger’s Nest, the crowning jewel of Bhutan. The monastery stands 900 meters above the valley floor on the edge of a steep cliff. Hike a steep trail through a forest to reach a lookout point that offers fabulous views of the monastery and surrounding woods. From here, climb 700 steps to reach the entrance. Learn more about the mythology of Tiger's Nest and enjoy the stunning vistas. Afterwards, visit a farmhouse to get a glimpse of daily life in rural Bhutan. End your day with dotsho (hot-stone bath) in the farmhouse. Hike or optional rest day
(Meals: B, L, D)
Today we will start our trekking to Jele Dzong. Along the way, we will see wide varieties of Rhododendrons and Primula flowers. Overnight in a luxury camp. Hike 
(Meals: B, L, D)
Continue trekking to Jangchulakha through nature filled with Rhododendrons. Overnight in a luxury camp. Hike
(Meals: B, L, D)
Return to Thimphu via Tsaluna. Relax and rest for the rest of the day. Hike
(Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast, travel to Paro for your flight home. 
(Meals: B)

Newsletter Signup

Sign up today and receive the latest Opulent Journeys news, deals and offers.