Visiting Bhutan

Temple

The folks at Bhutan Travel Designers are aware that our guests and potential guests will have read a lot on Bhutan before embarking on their trip to our country. Therefore, we know that you would have read on:

  1. Paro – showcasing the Ta Dzong National Museum, filled with art, relics and artifacts; Drukgyel Dzong, an ancient fortress below the snow dome of sacred Jhomolhari; and Tak-tsang (the Tiger’s Nest), one of the holiest sites for a Buddhist.
  2. The Chalela Ridge – presenting the most spectacular mountain views around Paro. This short trip could be combined with a short hike to the Dzongdrakha temples and Kila nunnery. From the ridge, descend into the recently opened Haa valley, still almost completely untouched by tourism.
  3. In Thimphu – Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress monastery which now serves as the civil administrative offices, residence and educational facility for the monks. It is also houses the office and residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot).
    1. In Thimphu, the Late King’s Memorial Chorten, topped with a golden spire, contains many beautiful works of art.
    2. School of Fine Arts is another place that will give you the feel of our culture and tradition;
    3. The Royal Academy of Performing Arts – professional learn classical and modern songs and dances including performing of mark dances mark?
    4. The Folk and Textile Museums – showcasing almost every item a Bhutanese family uses for cooking, and maintaining a household, as well as items of beautification for grand occasions in the past. The items include that of Royal families and peasant farmers.
    5. The National Library – A collection of rare ancient Buddhist manuscripts and Buddhist texts for references to Buddhist scholars.
    6. The Chang-gangkha, Dechenphu and Zantog Pelri monasteries; and Drubthrob Thangtogalpo’s nunnery are some places worth visiting as they are the most popular monasteries visited for their sacredness.
    7. Thimphu also surprises you with small enterprises like the Daphne Paper factory; the handicraft center; and of course the weekend markets where one can find all sorts of arts and craft materials from every corner of the country. It is a place tourist love visiting.
  4. As you drive towards east from Thimphu, you pass over a 10,000 ft Dochu La pass into the Punakha valley, Bhutan’s ancient capital, where the majestic Dzong is situated at the confluence of two mighty glacial rivers – the male and female rivers. They are fondly called the Pho-chu and Mo-chu respectively. A short drive from Punakha town will take you to a magnificent temple – Khamsum Yuelley Lhakhang overlooking the valley. It is a short walk (well within an hour) from the highway.
  5. From Punakha, as you drive towards south, right in the middle of Wangduephodrang and Punakha, you come across the temple of Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman. It is called the Chhime Lhakhang. It is temple that signifies the victory of good over evil, as it is believed that Drukpa Kuenley had tamed a notorious witch and built the temple upon the grave. This particular temple is also believed to bless couples with children if they come to pray and make wishes. Even pregnant ladies visit to get a blessing for a healthy normal baby and often times, couples who are not able to conceive babies come to pray make a wish.
  6. As you drive past the Chhime Lhakhang, you come face to face with the imposing Wangduephodrang Dzong, overlooking the entire valley and the old trade route. This Dzong is the third Dzong built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal after Semtokha and Punakha. At Chhime Lhakhang, Zhabdrung Rinpoche was supposed to have received indications to build a Dzong at that particular spot, at the confluence of two rivers and on the hillock, for the successful  unification of Bhutan.
  7. At Gangtey, the rare and hauntingly beautiful black-necked cranes return every winter to the remote and lovely valley. Built in 1613 by Pema Lingpa, the Gangtey Gompa Lhakhang overlooking the valley is stunningly beautiful, and in total harmony with nature. For a person who is in search for total connection with inner-self (the Being within) where else could one find such a perfect milieu! It is it is!!! This it!? The monastery was renovated over the last eight years and was consecrated on 10th October 2008, marking the resurgence of the Peling tradition of Mahayana Buddhism.  The arrival and departure of the black neck cranes are a sight to behold as the birds circle around the Lhakang while descending to land and ascending to take flight. It is indeed a spiritual place and a place to be for a spiritual person.
  8. From Gangtey, as Bhutan Travel Designers take you over the Pele La pass towards the east, we pass by many villages and religious sites in the midst of a natural stetting where one can be touched at the core. We just call this trip, from Gangtey to Bumthang, the road to spiritual quest – it is indeed such a trip. The next district headquarter that one has to pass through is Trongsa, where one comes in face to face with the largest Dzong of Bhutan. It is the ancestral home of the royal family. Above the Dzong, a newly renovated museum is located, where you will be able to see religious relics and historical objects.
  9. As we leave the gorgeous fort behind, we descend down the —- pass presenting us the breathtakingly beautiful Bumthang valleys, in the heart of Bhutan, a treasury of temples and monasteries, a living museum of art and history. Bumthang valley is indeed a spiritual abode. The stunning natural beauty of the valley combined with the beautiful harmony that one notices between nature and humans is so awesome and conspicuous to a spiritual person. On a sunny morning it is a site to behold indeed! And our guides at the Bhutan Travel Designers never miss the opportunity to let our guest appreciate the beauty as it appears to them – the communication is sacred and we let it happen between you and Bumthang!As we leave this beautiful spiritually enriching spot to return again, we are heading to meet some of the most beautiful peoples in Bhutan. They are beautiful indeed! The people of east are easy going, believing in the impermanence of life, and are very generous and accommodating . You will know as you sit down with them and indulge yourselves in a session of locally brewed drink. You will know what we mean when we introduce you to a community and let you experience the local hospitality.
  10. The first district after Bumthang is Mongar, the economic hub of the east and so it is the Trading Place of the east. Located within 20 miles of the town is the 60 MW Kurichu hydro power plant. It supplies power to 6 eastern districts. At Mongar you will come across people from almost all the 6 districts of the east. Besides the modern amenities, the place still retains its socio-cultural and traditional integrity. You will notice many temples and monasteries and meditation centers for monks and nuns.
  11. From Mongar, as you travel to the north you will pass by small farming communities and untouched spots of nature. One will be awestruck with the nature of things that exist in their original state. Lhuntse offers you such an experience from trekking routes, interactions with people, to participating in local festivities. It is a place carved out totally in its unique way. Lhuntse will give you the experience of why people live in such remote places and still seem blessed by life. Sincerely said, one would wish to get lost in Lhuntse!
  12. Back from Lhuntse, one will again drive through Mongar and get to Trashigang. As you drive down the Korila pass from Mongar, you will come face to face with Trashigang. You will suddenly notice communities scattered all over the mountain slopes. East Bhutan is geographically different from the West, as valleys are almost non-existent, except in Trashi-Yangtse, the home of the Black Neck Crane.
  13. Lhuntse, Trashi-Yangtse and Pemagatsel, the other eastern district to the south of Trashigang (about 50 mile to the south) has a certain resemblance in the geographical isolation and the way of life of the people. In their struggle to survive and progress forward, Lhuntse has carved out a niche for itself in the craft of weaving.  Kushue Thara (locally woven with embroidery), usually of silk, is synonymous to Lhuntse, as it is the place to look for the best kira for the queen of your heart. Trashi-Yangtse is known for producing the finest and rarest wooden dishes, cups and serving spoons. Some cost as high as over USD 2000.00 a cup and more if it is a bowl for eating rice. Pemagatsel has made its name for producing the finest items used during pujas like trumpets, pipes and cyambals. They are real “sought afters”.

Bhutan Travel Designers offer treks to those willing and able to explore the most remote and glorious vistas in the kingdom, from verdant valleys and primeval forests to the snows and alpine lakes of the Inner Himalaya, where the only inhabitants are blue sheep, takin, snow leopard and yak herders. This is the home of the rarest Himalayan species of birds, animals and flowers.

There are tours to fit every interest, from textiles, birding, nature and photography. Everywhere there are hikes and excursions to villages, temples and spectacular citadels of natural beauty where visitors can experience a culture and a land which remains the most unspoiled and most beautiful example of the Himalayan Buddhist way of life in existence today. Bhutan is the destination to sign up for if you wish to have an experience that will remain with you forever. Bhutan is a Shangri La in the true sense of the word. To believe it you will have to travel with us.