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Come along and join Offbeat Tracks as they take you on a food and cultural tour through Bhutan. Explore the traditional cuisine and lifestyle of the country. This tour will help you discover the diverse culinary and cultural secrets of Bhutan. Feel rejuvenated with the cultural visits and indulge into gluttony delights with this holiday.
During this holiday, you will stay in twin sharing homestays as regional tourists, or three-star hotel/homestays as international tourists.
You will arrive at Paro International Airport and drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. There, you will visit the National Memorial Chorten (stupa) which was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. The term ‘chorten’ literally means ' seat of faith' and Buddhists often call such monuments the 'Mind of Buddha'. You will also meet the elderly generation in circumambulation, especially in the evenings, at the National Memorial.
Then, you will check in your homestay and relax for sometime. After that, you will drive to the Babesa village restaurant for lunch, where organic Bhutanese produce is used for cooking. You will taste the fresh produce of Bhutan there.
You will also visit the Thimphu Fortress, the fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, his majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
You will spend some leisure time in the evening and have authentic Bhutanese dinner at the homestay. You will be staying overnight in Thimphu.
You will have breakfast at the homestay today and then visit the traditional Bhutanese paper making factory. The handmade paper making in Bhutan stemmed from the age old tradition originated in 8th century of Bhutanese history. The handmade paper constitutes as valuable national heritage of Bhutanese cultural identity and is preserved through all the ages.
The traditional paper is recognized and held high esteem both in home and outside world. Jungshi Paper Factory was established in November 1990 as an undertaking of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The unit now boasts as a major and sole dealer in handmade papers and its products.
You will visit the National Textile Museum which is a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in colors and designs. You will also see people weaving with intricate designs.
You will visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where medicinal herbs are compounded and dispensed, and traditional medical practitioners trained. Then, you will drive back to the homestay for lunch and take a cooking class to prepare the national dish Ema Datshi (chilli and cheese) and other dishes like Pasha Paa (dried pork strips) with dry turnip leaves/radish and red chilies.
You will visitt the School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. In the evening, you will visit the Centenary Farmers’ Market (open from Thursday to Sunday only), most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held by the side of Wangchu River.
A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people. You will stay overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast, you will travel to Punakha and Wangdue which will take you through Chunzom (confluence of Pachu- the river flowing through Paro valley and Wangchu – the river flowing through Thimphu valley). On the way, visit Tachog Lhakhang (temple), this 14th century temple located on the base of a mountain across the Pa chu on the Paro-Thimphu highway, is a must visit temple in the Paro valley. Built by the great master architect Thangtong Gyalpo, the temple houses some unique statues. To get to the temple, one may actually walk over the iron chains that spans over the Pa chu.
After crossing Chunzom, the drive will take you along the Wangchu up to Simtokha where road diversion leads you to Punakha/Wangdue through Dochula Pass (3,088 meters). In the clear spring sky, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. At Dochula Pass, you will see the beautiful 108 chortens (stupa) built on the hill by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of his Majesty, the King of Bhutan.
You will also visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) .The temple was built to honor His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck (the 4th King of Bhutan). The past and future appear to merge in the details of the temple that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future.
After refreshment at Dochula Pass Resort, you will continue your journey to Punakha. Punakha has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture. Punakha had served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 1907 and the 1st National Assembly was held there. Punakha Dzong (fortress) is historically important and stands as the symbol for a unified Bhutan.
On the way, you will stop and visit the local market where farmers sell their produce. You will interact with the farmers and get to know their way of life. You will also stop at Lobesa village to visit the Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing.
After lunch at Lobesa village, with the monks in Chimmi Lakhang, you will visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho-Chu (male river) and the Mochu (female river). Later on, you will check in to the homestay in Punakha. Cook dinner with the family members of the homestay/farmstay and enjoy it with the local family. You will stay overnight in Punakha.
After breakfast, you will visit the longest suspension bridge in Punakha. Then, you will drive to Phobjikha valley. Driving through the dense forests of the Phobjikha valley, you arrive at Gantey village where you see the Gangtey monastery and visit the monastery. Phobjikha valley is part of the beautiful Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (formerly known as Black Mountains National Park), one of Bhutan’s most important nature sanctuaries. This is one of the most remote and untouched regions in Bhutan and is only just opening its doors to the outside world.
After lunch at village farm restaurant in Phobjikha valley, explore the valley and also visit the Black Necked Crane Center. You will drive to the homestay and interact with the local family here. You will stay overnight in Gangtey.
You will have breakfast at the homestay there. You will take a lesson of vegetable gardening at the homestay in Phbjhikha, where you can take a tour around the farm and be a part of the farming process by helping the farmers and gardeners with their work. You will visit Gangtey monastery and lunch with monks in the temple.
You will hike in Gangtey valley for some recreation and experience the scenic beauty of Bhutan. For dinner, you will prepare a local dish with the family at Gangtey. You will stay at overnight in Gangtey.
After breakfast, you will drive to Paro and arrive at the homestay in Paro and relax. You will spend time visiting the local attractions like the famous Ta Dzong and Paro Dzong. You will also visit the local market in Paro. You will be having authentic diner at the homestay. You will stay overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, you will drive to Paro which takes about one hour and then hike up to Taktsang monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The walk up to the viewpoint will take about one to one and half hours depending on your fitness, and from the view point, you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff.
You will stop for refreshment at the View Point Cafeteria. Then walk further up to the monastery which will take about one hour. After visiting the monastery, walk downhill back to the road on the way stop for lunch at the View Point Cafeteria and then walk further downhill to the road point.
On the way back to the homestay, you will visit the Kyichu temple, one of the one hundred eight temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. In the evening, you can relax in the traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath. You will witness the culture and traditions of Bhutan at the cultural program, post which a closing dinner will be organized at the homestay. You will stay at the overnight in Paro.
Offbeat Tracks will drop you to the airport for your onward journey.
Kindly note that Offbeat Tracks can change the tour itinerary due to any unfavorable situations for the period of travel.
This holiday will take place in Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, and Paro in Bhutan.
Every day during this holiday, you will be served with daily breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.
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