Bhutan cultural tour, history of Bhutan
Description of Bhutan cultural tour, history of Bhutan
This Bhutan cultural tour will, in little over a week, showcase the enthralling history and nature of the small and once-isolated Kingdom of Bhutan. What would Bhutan be without it's magnificent nature walks and Himalayan trails? We offer an array of varied walking trail experiences beginning with the breathtakingly high altitude perch of the Tiger's Nest Monastery above the Paro Valley floor. With a gourmet picnic lunch en-route, this is the perfect way to savour this stunning location and the panoramic experience of this walk.
We'll also take you through a protected National Park, noted to be one of the Kingdom's largest protected reserves. A trail that leads up to the secluded and serene Cheri Goemba passes through forests of broad leaved oak, rhododendron, walnut and maple and is a verdant home of varied and a rich bird-life.
We weave rich cultural experiences through this maze of nature and history with experiences that involve interactions with local art, craft and local cuisine. With Thimphu claiming the title of Bhutan's largest urban settlement, we take advantage of this setting to let you delve into authentic local cuisine with a full course sit-down Bhutanese meal and an interactive experience at the local painting school.
There's also an opportunity to see the unique Punakha Dromchoe - the staging ground for a historic battle that took place between the invading Tibetans and local Bhutanese, who were guarding an important religious relic. This remarkable reenactment of history goes on display once a year with the beautiful backdrop of the Punakha Dzong, situated at the confluence of two Himalayan rivers that pass around it. The two-day dance festival is a riot of colour, unique face-masks and dancing monks; all enjoyed by the locals who throng to the Dzong to witness this spectacle.
So come with us on this amazing discovery of such a rich culture, hidden in the mysterious mountains of this secluded Himalayan Kingdom.
|Day 1||An Afternoon in Paro – You fly into Paro after a spectacular flight in through the Himalayas to spend the afternoon exploring the spectacular ruins of Drukyel Dzong and the collective pieces of history that define this Kingdom at the Paro Museum. You end the day with a very traditional and extremely relaxing Hot Stone Massage!|
|Day 2||The Tiger’s Nest – The day begins with this dramatic ascent to the Taktsang or the historic Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Once there we’ll walk you through the mythology and history behind this stunning cliff-side monastery in the mountains. A gourmet picnic lunch is the perfect way to cap this walk for the day with an evening of leisure back in Paro.|
|Days 3-5||Urban Thimphu – You begin your experiences in Thimphu with a guided trip through the city’s monuments; it’s Dzongs and Stupas. The next day involves an interactive experience at the School of Painting, the historic Textile Museum and experiencing the hand-made paper of Bhutan. Your third day in Bhutan will be the stunning trek through the National Park and to the Cheri Goemba monastery.|
|Days 6-8||The Tibetans are coming! - You travel through the Rhododendron forest and the high-altitude mountain pass before you drop to the river valley region of Punakha. We’ll spend these three-days immersed in the very unique Punakha Dromchoe, held in the visually stunning Punakha Dzong at the confluence of the Mother and Father Himalayan glacial rivers. We’ll break up the days here with some walks through the village and countryside and the rest of our time within the Dzong walls taking in the various ceremonies, masked dances all culminating in the epic re-enactment of the Tibetan invasion and the battle by the river. You’ll return to Paro for the night in order to depart from Paro airport in the morning of the next day.|
|Day 9||Flight home – You return home from Paro, the way you came through the Himalayan mountains.|
We ensure that we use properties that are conscious of their local environment and embrace eco-sensitivity in their functioning on a day-to-day basis. Hence we work with properties such as Nak-Sel in Paro. Situated beside the forest in the village of Ngoba, the property is not only constructed with traditional Bhutanese architectural elements in mind but also has ensured that their construction materials like traditional windows, mud bricks, stone-work, hand-crafted pillars and furniture were all traditional styled and locally crafted in the village of Ngoba.
From an energy conservation point of view, the construction ensures maximum efficiency of heating within with heated under floors, efficient solar water heating and traditional mud-wall insulation.
PeopleLocal Traditions and Practices
As travel planners we strongly believe in keeping local practices and traditions alive in the countries and regions we travel to and offer experiences in.
As a small Kingdom, Bhutan enjoys many such small practices and traditions that we believe are imperative as they should remain strongly interwoven in local lives. The only way to keep them this way in today’s modern setting is to give local people reasons and incentives to do so.
Hence we ensure that all our travelers to Bhutan savour and enjoy an authentic full-course Bhutanese meal. These meals, comprise of dishes that date back to the very origins of the Kingdom’s people and is made up of ingredients almost entirely grown and sourced from within the Country’s own lands. We either serve these elaborate multi-course meals in a modern setting with modern dining conveniences or take it one step further and offer them in an authentic village homestay setting in the home of a local village family.
This does not only go for traditional Bhutanese cuisine. But we also extend this concept to another of Bhutan’s old traditions – Hot Stone Baths.
Hot Stone Baths use the technique of fire-heating special river rocks which are then immersed in a tub of hot water which allows the stones to effervesce their healing mineral properties into the water which then deep heals the body immersed within. Known as an age old cure and massage therapy, we keep alive this tradition by offering it in both modern settings and more rustic village locations for our travelers.
Sangay Dorji is a Bhutanese Local who hails from a village just outside the urban sprawl of Thimphu. Sangay is a proud Bhutanese, a man who grew up in Bhutan, lived his entire life here, grew up with it’s ancient beliefs of Buddhism but also today embraces the fact that Bhutan needs to embrace the world outside to some practical extent.
Sangay is one of the Guides we employ to help showcase his veritable knowledge on all things local, cultural and historic to our travelers to this mysterious Nation. Sangay immerses himself in the experience of touring our travelers through a myriad of experiences – from cultural, to exhilarating nature and the proudly historic.
Like Sangay, we help and encourage keep the tradition of local experts alive in the local population. Not merely Guides, they are true local experts on Bhutan. This is a pride that spreads to the younger educated boys who then want to continue this same service.
We ensure that we take all our travelers to institutions that strive to promote local art and craft within Bhutan. Places like the Zorig Chusum that offers active professional training to students to keep art and craft forms of Bhutanese Silk Painting, clay pottery, Mask craft and woodcarving alive in Bhutan. We encourage our travelers to shop locally from such places as the revenue from these sales are ploughed directly back into the furthering of such art and craft skills.