Rejser til Bhutan

Den lille nation i Himalaya, Bhutan, inviterer den rejsende inden for i en tidslomme, der giver et indblik i, hvad store dele af regionen var engang. Landet er fyldt med stadig fungerende middelalderlige buddhistklostre, den komplekse religiøse arv og et fuldstændig betagende landskab.

Her er en unik chance for at dykke ned i dette smukke lands kultur og historie, hvor nationaldragten stadig er i brug og de gamle traditioner stærkt overholdes.

Det er blot nogle få privilegerede besøgende om året, der får lov til at komme her.

At rejse i gennem Bhutan er som at rejse tilbage i tiden til et land, der stort set er uberørt af det 21. århundrede. I vores stadig mere ensartede verden, har Bhutans holdt fast i deres stolte traditioner og følelsen af national identitet er en forfriskende forandring. Her mærker man for alvor autenciteten, der er forsvundet i så mange andre lande.

Bhutan skiller sig ud ved at måle bruttonationalproduktet i lykke istedet for penge og tag dig i øvrigt ikke af at det nationale luftfartsselskab hedder DRUK AIR !

Grupperejse 2 ► Bhutan - Matsutake Festivalen

Generel information om grupperejser i Bhutan

Happy Lama Travels eksklusive grupperejser i Bhutan foregår i små internationale grupper med lokal engelsktalende rejseleder. Derfor er rejsebeskrivelserne på engelsk.

En lokal rejseleder kender sit land bedre end en dansk rejseleder. Det er desuden vores erfaring at en lokal rejseleder giver dig et bedre indblik i, hvordan livet leves i Bhutan.

Passer rejsedatoerne dig ikke eller vil du selv have maksimal indflydelse på dit rejseprogram – Kontakt os hvis du ønsker et tilbud på en individuel rejse i Bhutan.

Trip Summary

Tucked away in a remote corner of the Himalayas, Bhutan is a nation unlike any other, a tranquil idyll where people still wear national dress and gross national happiness is more important that gross national product. Once closed to the outside world, Bhutan now allows a limited number of travellers to experience its charms. Our tour to this beautiful nation allows a glimpse of some of its most spectacular sights, from the amazing Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery in its dramatic cliff face location to the imposing Punakha Dzong, an incredible fortress with a turbulent past. We travel through spectacular Himalayan scenery and have the opportunity to visit traditional Buddhist temples. The highlight of this trip is the chance to celebrate the start of another mushroom season alongside the people of Ura at the Matsutake Festival. At the festival, visitors will be learn to identify these fabled mushrooms as they embark on mushroom picking excursions around the pristine forests and hills. This trip offers you a marvellous insight into the scenery and way of life of this remote mountain kingdom.

Fitness**** | Adventure*** | Culture***** | History*** | Wildlife***

Day 1 – Paro

Arrive at Paro International Airport which is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. Your guide will meet you and take you on a short one-hour drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital. You can stop on the way to take in the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s iron bridge builder. Take an afternoon walk around town and soak in the atmosphere of this magical capital with its busy shops and bazaars and photogenic citizens in national dress. Later you can visit Tashichho Dzong, built in 1641, which housed the original National Assembly and is now home to Government offices, the throne room and offices of the King. Overnight in Thimphu (D)

Day 2 – Thimphu

Today we will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten and the School of Traditional Arts. Then we visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to turn the prayer wheels. The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold. In the afternoon we will drive up to the Radio Tower (offering splendid views of the city from a hilltop festooned with prayer flags), visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum. Overnight in Thimphu (BLD)

Day 3 – Punakha

In the morning we drive approximately 3 hours to the old capital, Punakha, via Dochu La pass at 3050 metres, where we will stop for a hot drink and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges. You will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach low-lying Punakha at 1250 metres. In the afternoon, we visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. Built in 1637, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. We then take a pleasant walk for an hour or so across terraced fields to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lama Drukpa Kuenley). Overnight in Punakha (BLD)

Day 4 – Bumthang

Our drive today is approximately 4.5 hours to Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan (2180 metres). Set amidst spectacular scenery, Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family, commands the eye from miles away. You can also visit Ta Dzong, the museum in the watchtower dedicated to the Wangchuk dynasty, which tells the stories of the Dzong and the valley it has watched over for centuries and features personal belongings of the Kings and Queens of Bhutan. Our journey continues for a further 2.5 hours through some of Bhutan’s most beautiful landscapes to Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang (BLD)

Day 5 – Bumthang

We spend the day sightseeing in Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan, with its many legendary monasteries, temples and palaces. Bumthang is the collective name for an area of 4 valleys – Chokhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume. Your guide will take you on a fascinating walking and/or driving tour of a variety of sacred sites followed by a visit to Membar Tsho ‘the Flaming Lake’, one of Bhutan’s most important pilgrimage sites. You can also visit Bhutan’s largest Dzong (Jakar), with its picturesque location overlooking the Chokhor valley. Overnight in Bumthang (BLD)

Day 6 – Matsutake Festival

Today we will drive approximately 1.5 hours to the valley of Ura. Ura is in the highest of Bumthang’s valleys and is believed to be the home of the earliest inhabitants in Bhutan. The village has about 40 houses closely set along cobbled streets, giving it a medieval atmosphere. Here we will visit the Matsutake Festival that celebrates the incredible diversity of mushrooms found in the Ura valley. A variety of food stalls will offer you local dishes and beverages. In particular, you will be able to try the Matsutake mushroom (known in Bhutan as the Sangay Shamu), cooked in both Bhutanese and Japanese manners. In addition to sampling mushrooms and their associated delicacies, you will be able to learn more about the unique local culture through performances of sacred dances and folk music, and have the chance to purchase local handicrafts. Overnight in Bumthang (BLD)

Day 7 – Matsutake Festival

Today you will have the opportunity to go mushroom picking in the beautiful forests of the Ura valley. You will be accompanied by local farmers with a unique knowledge of the area, who will be able to tell you about the local environment and culture. There will also be the possibility of bird watching and observing local wildlife. We return to Bumthang for the night. We will stop on the way at Membar Tsho (the “burning lake”), which is one of Bhutan’s most important pilgrimage sites. Overnight in Bumthang (BLD)

Day 8 – Gangtey

Drive approximately 5-6 hours to Gangtey at 2900 metres. Enjoy the views of the immense and remote Phobjikha valley and the black mountain ranges. Visit Gangtey Gompa, one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries. From here, you may like to take the short Gangtey Nature Trail walk (1.5 hours approximately) from Gangtey Gompa through the Phobjikha valley. This is the site where black-necked cranes visit in their hundreds in November each year after spending the summer in Tibet. Overnight in Gangtey (BLD)

Day 9 – Wangdi and Paro

Today we return to Paro, a drive of approximately 6 hours, via Wangdi. Wangdi (also known as Wangdue Phodrang) was originally considered Bhutan’s secondary capital and it commands an important central position. Sadly Wangdi Dzong was gutted by fire in June 2012, destroying in a few hours not only a magnificent building that had stood proudly for hundreds of years, but also the painstaking work that had been in progress for many months to rebuild recent earthquake damage using traditional construction methods. There is little now to see in Wangdi and after a brief stop for lunch we will continue on our way. This afternoon we will visit a local farmhouse for tea or dinner (depending on group size) and you can also try the restorative properties of a traditional hot stone bath. Overnight in Paro (BLD)

Day 10 – Paro

This morning we visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. We also visit the National Museum. This was previously housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower) built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell. Unfortunately, an earthquake in September 2011 damaged the Ta Dzong and the contents of the museum were moved to a neighbouring building. You can still see a magnificent collection of Bhutanese artefacts – costumes, religious paintings, arms, textiles and a fascinating collection of Bhutan stamps. The National Museum is due to reopen in the Ta Dzong in 2015. In the afternoon we visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Nearby you can also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan. Overnight in Paro (BLD)

Day 11 – The Tiger’s Nest

Today we walk to the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 metres above the valley floor. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighbouring Buddhist countries. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery. On the way back you may be interested to visit a manor house turned museum in a local village. The house dates from the 17th Century and the museum is designed to showcase the culture of medieval rural Bhutan. Overnight in Paro (BLD)

Day 12 – Depart Bhutan

Early in the morning your guide will accompany you to the airport to see you off onto your flight and wish you Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck). (B)

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