×

Search Results

Search

Bhutan: Learn The Lifestyle of Happiness

View All Dates and Prices
Program Type
Learning Level
Activity Level
Program Size

Program Overview

Explore an Interest

Revered as the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ or 'Druk Yul,' Bhutan is regarded as a rare, lasting ‘Shangri-La,' celebrated by its remoteness in the Himalayan region and featuring spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora and fauna and uniquely ancient Buddhist monasteries and culture.

This country of rolling hills and towering crags certainly exudes charm. The mountains are mag-nificent, the forests are dense, the people are delightful, the air is pure, the architecture inspiring, the religion exciting, and the art superb. Like timeless images from the past, the traveler encounters the full glory of this ancient land through its strategic fortresses known as Dzongs, numerous ancient temples, monasteries and stupas which dot the countryside. Prayer flags flutter along the high ridges and wild animals abound in dense forests. Foaming white waterfalls are showcased in ethereal showers, and warm smiles grace the faces of its friendly people.

The tiny kingdom of Bhutan shares with Nepal the world's greatest concentration of mountains and living heritage of Buddhism. Flying to Paro can truly be described as a flight into fantasy. During the flight, a first-hand close-up view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga, and other famous peaks of the Himalaya range become a reality.

With its beautiful and largely unspoiled Himalayan setting, its rich flora and fauna and its vibrant Buddhist culture, Bhutan has become an increasingly popular destination for international tour-ists. In addition to generating hard-currency revenue, tourism also provides impetus for the develop-ment of the services sector and hence the balanced and holistic development of an entire region. In an effort to safeguard its rich natural and cultural environment, the country has consciously adopted a controlled tourism and development policy.


Bhutan: Learn The Lifestyle of Happiness


October 2, 2021 days and October 10, 2021 nights

Your Curriculum

At A Glance

DAY 1: Welcome to Bhutan!

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in the entire Himalayas.

Flying along the Hima-layan range from Kathmandu, or over Himalayan foothills while flying from Kolkatta, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom.

DAY 2: Thimphu

This morning, you will take a short drive to the north of town to Buddha Dordenma, located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park.

DAY 3: Thimphu

After breakfast, embark on a walking excursion to Tango Goemba (approximately a 2-hour round-trip walk).

DAY 4: Punakha-Prayer Flag Hoisting

After breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly to take in the views and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road.

DAY 5: Punakha

After breakfast, a beautiful hike will take you to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability, and harmony in an ever-changing world.

DAY 6: Punakha - Paro

After breakfast, drive to Paro along a scenic highway.

DAY 7: Paro-Tigers Nest

After breakfast, embark on a fascinating excursion to Taktshang Monastery, or "Tiger’s Nest" (approximately a 5-hour round-trip walk).

DAY 8: Paro Neyphug Monastery

After an early breakfast, there will be an excursion to the 16th century Neyphug Monastery.

DAY 9: See You Again!

Don’t leave yet! Extend your journey on one of our numerous learning programs in India, Nepal, Bhutan, or Sri Lanka.


Why Learning Journeys?

At Learning Journeys we believe in a new kind of vacation. Our unique journeys help you explore and develop your skills and interest, travel the world, give back to the community and ultimately re-connect with yourself.


The destinations are chosen specifically to make practicing that skill more accessible, and more fun. Typical skills offered are health and wellness, cooking, photography, art, birding and wildlife, language study, architecture, music, dance and more. Programs range from beginner to professional certification. You will even have the opportunity to attend off the beaten path festivals in your specific area of interest which will take your learning immersion to new heights!

Brand Pillars

Transformation

The quest for knowledge as we open our hearts and minds to new experiences can transform us. As we see the world through the eyes of others, the communities we visit and touch are also transformed. This cycle of positive change is at the heart of every Learning Journeys experience.

Education

Learning Journeys is designed to nurture that ember of curiosity inside you into a flame of life-long discovery. Continued learning ensures continued growth, whether pursuing any number of interests that intrigue you or a passion you have honed over the years.

Exploration

Truly, the world is your classroom. Exploring the rich and varied cultures of the destinations you visit multiplies the value of your educational pursuits, and the exploration of yourself. The journey itself – to a new place and new you – is what truly matters.

Self-reflection

Through reflection, we bring learning to life. Pausing from the chaos of our daily lives allows us to sort through experiences to create meaning, from which we learn more deeply about ourselves. Understanding what truly moves us leads to rich and profound actions that shape our lives.

Community service and sustainability is at the core of the Learning Journeys mission. In addition to hands-on interactive classes, we work in the local communities, helping to improve lives and our planet. Destinations are chosen for their exceptional beauty, abundant wildlife, accessibility to expert practitioners, and generally fun places to visit! The destinations are near and far-North America, Latin and South America, Europe, India, Asia, Australia and more.

Finally, just as you remember specific meals from a trip taken many years ago, your ability to recall information is enhanced when combined with a unique setting. “Learning Journeys” are an excellent value for money and an investment.


Departure

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>
<h1>Explore an Interest </h1>
<p>
    Revered as the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ or 'Druk Yul,'
    Bhutan is regarded as a rare, lasting ‘Shangri-La,' celebrated by its
    remoteness in the Himalayan region and featuring spectacular mountain terrain,
    varied flora and fauna and uniquely ancient Buddhist monasteries and culture.
<br></p>
<p>
    This country of rolling hills and towering crags certainly exudes charm. The mountains are mag-nificent, the forests are dense, the people are delightful, the air is pure, the architecture inspiring,
    the religion exciting, and the art superb. Like timeless images from the past, the traveler encounters the full glory of this ancient land through its strategic fortresses known as Dzongs,
    numerous ancient temples, monasteries and stupas which dot the countryside. Prayer flags flutter along the high ridges and wild animals abound in dense forests. Foaming white waterfalls
    are showcased in ethereal showers, and warm smiles grace the faces of its friendly people.
<br></p>
<p>
    The tiny kingdom of Bhutan shares with Nepal the world's greatest concentration of mountains and living heritage of Buddhism. Flying to Paro can truly be described as a flight into fantasy.
    During the flight, a first-hand close-up view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga, and other famous peaks of the Himalaya range become a reality.
<br></p>
<p>
    With its beautiful and largely unspoiled Himalayan setting, its rich flora and fauna and its vibrant Buddhist culture, Bhutan has become an increasingly popular destination for international tour-ists.
    In addition to generating hard-currency revenue, tourism also provides impetus for the develop-ment of the services sector and hence the balanced and holistic development of an entire region.
    In an effort to safeguard its rich natural and cultural environment, the country has consciously adopted a controlled tourism and development policy.
<br></p>
</body>
</html>

What You Will Learn/Do

•    Evening walk around the National Memorial Chorten
•    Presentation viewing & interaction by a local expert on Gross National Happiness
•    Learning session at Choki Traditional Art School
•    Experience traditional Buddhism at one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan
•    Learn about local produce and cuisine at the Centenary Famers Market
•    Learn to cook traditional Bhutanese cuisine during a cooking session
•    Astrological predictions
•    Local textile education from the National Textile Museum
•    Archery session
•    Prayer ceremony at a monastery and lighting of 108 butter lamps.
•    Learn the game of Khuru with residing monks and orphans

Why We Love This Traveling Classroom

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>
<p>During your time in Bhutan, you will learn about the cultural and religious heritage of Bhu-tan through hikes, monasteries, prayer flags, and even a cooking class. </p>
<p>This immersive journey will provide insight to some of the most sacred parts of Bhutan. </p>
<p>Through Buddhist monas-tery visits, a National Memorial Chorten viewing, an astrological prediction from a local monk, and a journey to Buddha Dordenma, you will acquire knowledge into Bhutan that you may take with you forever. </p>
<p>Along with this, you will also fully get to understand why Bhutan is referred to as the happiest place on earth through teachings by a local expert on Gross National Happiness. </p>
</body>
</html>

How This Program Benefits The Local Community

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>
<p>Bhutan’s philosophy on tourism, albeit in a controlled manner, maximizes the economic benefits while min-imizing the negative impacts of tourism on the cultural and natural resources. </p>
<p>Based on the GNH philosophy, a high-value, low-volume strategy has been introduced to ensure that tourism will stimulate an economic growth in order to alleviate poverty while not posing a threat to the country’s natural and cultural resources.</p>
<p>Your Bhutan program has a positive impact on local communities, providing a good source of employment generation and encouragement for local arts and crafts. </p>

</body>
</html>


Program

DAY 1: Welcome to Bhutan!

Bhutan’s first gift as you disembark from the aircraft will be the cool, clean, fresh mountain air.

After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be welcomed by our Learning Journeys Ambassador with a “tashi khaddar,” that is, a white scarf offering to the guest, which is quite the auspicious way to welcome a guest.

After the welcome ceremony, board your transport and drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhu-tan. The road leads through the Paro valley to the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers at Chu-zom (confluence).

Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left Tamchog Lhakhang, the temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a pioneering engineer who introduced the construction of suspension bridges to Bhutan and Tibet (several of which are still in use today).

The present bridge to Tamchog Lhakhang was restored in 2005 in a traditional style of design with iron chains. Crossing this iron bridge is a wonderful experience. (approx. 50 min, roundtrip walk).

On arrival in Thimphu check in at the hotel. As the capital of Bhutan, and the center of government, religion, and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with an unusual mixture of modern de-velopment and ancient tradition and is perhaps the world’s only capital city without one single traffic light.

Later in the evening walk around the National Memorial Chorten, a large white structure crowned with a golden spire. It is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is one of its most iconic monu-ments.

This is the most ideal spot to interact with locals who gather in great number to circumambulate the chorten, whirl large red prayer wheels and pray at a small shrine inside the gate. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide deep insight of Buddhist philosophy.

This evening, there will be a presentation and interaction by a local expert on Gross National Happiness!

Gross National Happiness, or GNH, is a holistic and sustainable approach to development, which balances material and non-material values with the conviction that humans want to search for happiness.

The objective of GNH is to achieve a balanced development in all the facets of life that are essential for one’s happiness.

Later, there will be an exploratory walk around Thimphu main street and market area.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. Hotel Druk, Norkhil Boutique Hotel & Spa or similar (Alti-tude 2,320 m.)

Learning Experience: Presentation & interaction by a local expert on Gross National Happiness.


DAY 2: Thimphu

The statue fulfils an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Religious Treasure Discoverer Terton Pema Lingpa, and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.

This massive statue of Shakyamuni, made of bronze and gilded in gold, measures 51.5 meters in height, making it one of the largest statues in Bhutan. There are 125,000 smaller Buddha statues, each also cast in bronze and gilded, which have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue.

Afterwards drive to Choki Traditional Art School, for a visit and learning session on Thangka Paintings.

This school was founded in 1999 by Thrimdep Choki Dorji, a veteran artist, and commemorate the silver jubilee coronation celebration of His Majesty the Fourth King. While visiting, one may see young students learning traditional arts such as thangka paintings, wood carving, weaving, embroidery, and clay art.

The school is also recognized as a formal private training institute by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Royal Government of Bhutan, and has won several accolades for the promotion of traditional arts and crafts in the country.

After lunch, you will drive to Pangri Zampa, founded in the 16th century and one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan located just north of Thimphu. This monastic school is where Buddhist student monks learn Lamaism and astrology based on Buddhist philosophy. An interaction and astrological prediction with monks will be a most gratifying experience here.

The day’s sightseeing will conclude with a visit to Trashichhoedzong, ‘fortress of the Glorious Religion.’ This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room, and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed during the 1960s without nails or architec-tural plans, in the traditional Bhutanese manner.

Before returning to the hotel, take a leisurely walk to the Authentic Bhutanese Craft Bazar. Es-tablished under the patronage of the Department of Cottage and Small Industry and in collabora-tion with the Department of Culture, Tourism Council and the Department of Agriculture Mar-keting and Cooperatives, this market offers genuine Bhutanese arts and crafts, thus contributing to promotion, protection, and preservation of traditional arts.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2320m)

Learning Experience: Choki Traditional Art School-learning session on Thangkha Paint-ings

Astrology Reading


DAY 3: Thimphu

This monastery was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa in the 12th century and the present building was constructed in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman,’ Lama Drukpa Kunley.

In 1616, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal visited Tango and meditated in a cave near the monastery. His meditation is said to have helped ensure the defeat of an invading Tibetan army. Situated north of Thimphu, through shaded rhododendron forests to reach the monastery (approximately a 2-hour round-trip walk).

After lunch, it’s time to visit to the National Textile Museum.

With the opening of the Textile Museum, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden, Bhutanese textiles have reached new heights as one of the most visible distinct art forms.

The textile museum has opened its exhibition on six major themes: warp pattern weaves, weft pattern weaves, role of textiles in religion, achievements in textile arts, textiles from indigenous fibers, and the royal collection.

The crowns of Bhutan's Kings, namzas (dresses), the first version of Royal Crown and other ac-cessories used by members of Royal family can be found in the museum. The goal of the museum is to gradually become a center for textile studies that will carry out documentation, research, and studies on Bhutanese textiles.

Afterwards, explore a wide assortment of products and picturesque setting of the Centenary Famers Market. The market is a favorite gathering spot for farmers who come from different parts of the country to sell their farm products.

This evening, you will experience a local Dress Wearing session at the hotel, followed by dinner. The national dress of Bhutan is one of the most distinctive and visible aspects of Dragon King-dom’s unique character.

Men wear Gho, a long robe similar to Tibetan Chhuba, that is raised to the knee, folded backwards and then tied around the waist by a Kera (belt). Women typically wear an ankle-length robe, called a Kira. The Bhutanese textile is made from fine, hand-woven or milled fabric with colorful distinc-tive patterns.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2320 m)

Learning Experience: National Textile Museum-National Dress Ceremony


DAY 4: Punakha-Prayer Flag Hoisting

If the skies are clear, a multitude of peaks may be seen from this pass. Left to right, they are: Masa-gang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,570m.

At Dochula Pass, 108 chortens or stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens, have been built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. These chortens are built in three layers. The lowest level layer has 45 chortens, the second has 36 and the top layer has 27, built around the main chorten.

Prayer flag hoisting at Dochula pass:
Prayer flags are an integral part of Bhutanese landscape and also the cultural and religious herit-age of the country, especially the textile and weaving craft.

These are ubiquitous in Bhutan, located in and around monasteries, chortens or stupas, dzongs, lhakhangs, homes, on the railing of bridges and mountain roads, and invariably on or near the summit of the mighty peaks that preside over the country.

Red, blue, green, yellow, and white, they add a splash of rainbow colors to the rugged land-scape. Deeply religious, the people of Bhutan believe that with each flutter, a flag releases the prayer printed on it into the air which in turn carries it to the heavens.

The more the flag flaps, the greater its divine value. It is for this reason that prayer flags are positioned that catch the wind – high up on the forested slopes of mountains, across bridges, near rivers and streams that tumble down the valleys, and anywhere there is wind or a tunnel effect.

Later, you will drive onward to Punakha. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. It is still the winter seat of Je Khenpo, the chief abbot.

Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the fertile Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits. Located at an elevation of 1300m above sea level, Punakha enjoys mild winters and is popular year-round destination.

After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong, the Palace of Great Happiness; built at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

This majestic dzong served as both the religious and the administrative center of Bhutan in the past. Measuring 600 by 240 feet with a gold-dome tower, its interior boasts courtyards and reli-gious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here

Your guide will illuminate your understanding of this intricate culture that may be exotic to us, but long established here.

Then, it’s a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang.

The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the center of the valley, is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples desirous of children are usually blessed with a child soon after praying at this temple.

The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field.’ A walk through the village near the temple provides a rare glimpse into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha. Dhensa Boutique Resort or similar. (Altitude 1,300m)


DAY 5: Punakha

The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. (Approximately a 2-hour round-trip walk).

Following lunch, visit Rinchengang Village. The picturesque village is revealed after a 20-minute walk up a gentle gradient that mesmerizes, featuring traditional mud houses located on the opposite hill facing Wangdue Dzong.

The village houses are built close to one other with whitewashed walls and wooden window frames. Enjoy the wonderful experience of taking a stroll in the village, meeting and interacting with villagers in this locale known for its skill in the traditional method of stone masonry.

Later in the afternoon, you will get to cook like a local during a cooking session on Bhutanese cuisine. This is a special cooking session held at local restaurant where chef will instruct and demonstrate to you how local Bhutanese delicacies are prepared.You can also try your culinary skills.

Bhutanese food is heavily seasoned with red chilies and can be quite spicey. Tasty and fiery ‘Emma Datshi’ made with chilies and local Bhutanese cheese is the national dish of Bhutan. Guests can have fun participating in the preparation of local Bhutanese delicacies.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha. (Altitude 1,300m)

Learning Experience: Cooking session on Bhutanese cuisine!


DAY 6: Punakha - Paro

On arrival in Paro, you will first check into the hotel. The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty, and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, the National Museum and the country’s only international airport.

Mount Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley. Its glacial waters plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most fer-tile valleys in the Kingdom, producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.

After lunch, there will be a visit to Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. An extensive collection includes antique thangka paintings, textiles, weapons and armor, household objects, and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

Afterwards, attend an archery session. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and every village has its own archery range.

Using bamboo bows (although modern compound bows are now common in cities) a team of archers shoot at targets only 30 centimeters in diameter from a distance of 120 meters. Archery competitions are among the most picturesque and colorful events in the country and are an inte-gral part of all festivities.

This evening, you can take a stroll around picturesque Paro city center.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. Haven Resort, Tenzinling Luxury Tent Villa or similar (Altitude 2,280m).

Learning Experience: Archery Session


DAY 7: Paro-Tigers Nest

One of Bhutan’s most famed monasteries is perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, hence its name.

This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. It is now visited by all Bhutanese at least once during their lifetime.
In the afternoon, you will have time to enjoy the hotel facilities including the spa.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)


DAY 8: Paro Neyphug Monastery

The drive along the rough road also holds the Neyphug Thegchen Tsemo School, nestled among the forest, which is a refuge for unprivileged children. The school is led by Neyphug Trulku Rinpoche, who founded of the school.

In 2005, he returned to Bhutan as a Professor of Buddhism and saw much suffering among the poor. He was witness to the rugged daily life and those living in remote areas with little means of support, surviving under extreme poverty and threats of chronic illness.

Rinpoche came across orphans and abandoned children. Their desolate conditions, helplessness, and hopelessness touched him deeply and inspired him to start the school.

This rarely visited monastery is about 7 kilometers deep into the mountains over Paro Valley. The monastery is a beautiful, peaceful place, but is in very poor conditions and in need of restoration.

There will be a prayer ceremony at the monastery and lighting of 108 butter lamps. Also, a game of Khuru with orphans and residing monks can be a heart warming experience.
Khuru is a traditional game played in Bhutan. Similar to darts, ‘Khurus’ are carved out of hard-wood and there is no restriction on the weight or the size to be played.

This afternoon, visit a traditional farmhouse and have tea or coffee with a local family. The beauty of Paro valley is embellished by a cluster of quaint farmhouses. Bhutanese farmhouses are very colorful, decorative, and traditionally built without the use of a single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to farmhouse offers a rewarding glimpse into the lifestyle of village folks.

Evening at leisure / independent activities.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Learning Experience:
Prayer ceremony at the monastery and lighting of 108 butter lamps.
Learn the game of Khuru with residing monks.


DAY 9: See You Again!

We look forward to welcoming you back on another Learning Journeys immersion. Perhaps you’re interested in visiting India to experience the diverse spiritual essence of the land.

Study the art of the Singing Bowl and immerse in the Buddhist lifestyle in Nepal. Enjoy a cultural immersion in Sri Lanka. Whatever your interest, Learning Journeys can assist you with finding the perfect program to fulfil your dreams.




Program Registration Fees

Per person for Package $4,400.00

Per person for Single Package $1,200.00


Program Departure Dates:

Services Included

10/2/2021 8:00:00 AM

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/p7pgql2mgvxj4n4/Jambay%20Lhakhang%20Drup7.jpg?dl=0,https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/mknqd7osgwa14e5/Prayer%20Wheels.jpg?dl=0,https://dl.dropboxusercon-tent.com/s/c8s4lngplw6gesl/faces%20of%20Bhut%20%289%29.JPG?dl=0,https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/dssem1ajcrbbok2/Stupa%202.jpg?dl=0

Program Type

Adventure Learning
Ancient Traditions
Arts-Crafts-Textile
Birding and Wildlife
Dance
Fashion
Gastronomy
Genealogy
Language
Music
Photography
Unplugged Learning
Wellness and Spirituality
Wine and Spirits
Woman's Focused

Learning Level

Explore an Interest
Pursue a Passion
Change My Life!

Activity Level

Moderate


What You Will Learn/Do

Evening walk around the National Memorial Chorten

Presentation viewing & interaction by a local expert on Gross National Happiness

Learning session at Choki Traditional Art School

Experience traditional Buddhism at one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan

Learn about local produce and cuisine at the Centenary Famers Market

Learn to cook traditional Bhutanese cuisine during a cooking session

Astrological predictions

Local textile education from the National Textile Museum

Archery session

Prayer ceremony at a monastery and lighting of 108 butter lamps.

Learn the game of Khuru with residing monks and orphans


Why This Program Is Unique

During your time in Bhutan, you will learn about the cultural and religious heritage of Bhu-tan through hikes, monasteries, prayer flags, and even a cooking class.

This immersive journey will provide insight to some of the most sacred parts of Bhutan.

Through Buddhist monas-tery visits, a National Memorial Chorten viewing, an astrological prediction from a local monk, and a journey to Buddha Dordenma, you will acquire knowledge into Bhutan that you may take with you forever.

Along with this, you will also fully get to understand why Bhutan is referred to as the happiest place on earth through teachings by a local expert on Gross National Happiness.


How This Program Benefits The Local Community

Bhutan’s philosophy on tourism, albeit in a controlled manner, maximizes the economic benefits while min-imizing the negative impacts of tourism on the cultural and natural resources.

Based on the GNH philosophy, a high-value, low-volume strategy has been introduced to ensure that tourism will stimulate an economic growth in order to alleviate poverty while not posing a threat to the country’s natural and cultural resources.

Your Bhutan program has a positive impact on local communities, providing a good source of employment generation and encouragement for local arts and crafts.


Program Itinerary

Start/Finish City:

Open All Days


DAY 1:

Bhutan’s first gift as you disembark from the aircraft will be the cool, clean, fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be welcomed by our Learning Journeys Ambassador with a “tashi khaddar,” that is, a white scarf offering to the guest, which is quite the auspicious way to welcome a guest. After the welcome ceremony, board your transport and drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhu-tan. The road leads through the Paro valley to the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers at Chu-zom (confluence). Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left Tamchog Lhakhang, the temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a pioneering engineer who introduced the construction of suspension bridges to Bhutan and Tibet (several of which are still in use today). The present bridge to Tamchog Lhakhang was restored in 2005 in a traditional style of design with iron chains. Crossing this iron bridge is a wonderful experience. (approx. 50 min, roundtrip walk). On arrival in Thimphu check in at the hotel. As the capital of Bhutan, and the center of government, religion, and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with an unusual mixture of modern de-velopment and ancient tradition and is perhaps the world’s only capital city without one single traffic light. Later in the evening walk around the National Memorial Chorten, a large white structure crowned with a golden spire. It is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is one of its most iconic monu-ments. This is the most ideal spot to interact with locals who gather in great number to circumambulate the chorten, whirl large red prayer wheels and pray at a small shrine inside the gate. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide deep insight of Buddhist philosophy. This evening, there will be a presentation and interaction by a local expert on Gross National Happiness! Gross National Happiness, or GNH, is a holistic and sustainable approach to development, which balances material and non-material values with the conviction that humans want to search for happiness. The objective of GNH is to achieve a balanced development in all the facets of life that are essential for one’s happiness. Later, there will be an exploratory walk around Thimphu main street and market area. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. Hotel Druk, Norkhil Boutique Hotel & Spa or similar (Alti-tude 2,320 m.) Learning Experience: Presentation & interaction by a local expert on Gross National Happiness.

DAY 2:

The statue fulfils an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Religious Treasure Discoverer Terton Pema Lingpa, and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world. This massive statue of Shakyamuni, made of bronze and gilded in gold, measures 51.5 meters in height, making it one of the largest statues in Bhutan. There are 125,000 smaller Buddha statues, each also cast in bronze and gilded, which have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue. Afterwards drive to Choki Traditional Art School, for a visit and learning session on Thangka Paintings. This school was founded in 1999 by Thrimdep Choki Dorji, a veteran artist, and commemorate the silver jubilee coronation celebration of His Majesty the Fourth King. While visiting, one may see young students learning traditional arts such as thangka paintings, wood carving, weaving, embroidery, and clay art. The school is also recognized as a formal private training institute by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Royal Government of Bhutan, and has won several accolades for the promotion of traditional arts and crafts in the country. After lunch, you will drive to Pangri Zampa, founded in the 16th century and one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan located just north of Thimphu. This monastic school is where Buddhist student monks learn Lamaism and astrology based on Buddhist philosophy. An interaction and astrological prediction with monks will be a most gratifying experience here. The day’s sightseeing will conclude with a visit to Trashichhoedzong, ‘fortress of the Glorious Religion.’ This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room, and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed during the 1960s without nails or architec-tural plans, in the traditional Bhutanese manner. Before returning to the hotel, take a leisurely walk to the Authentic Bhutanese Craft Bazar. Es-tablished under the patronage of the Department of Cottage and Small Industry and in collabora-tion with the Department of Culture, Tourism Council and the Department of Agriculture Mar-keting and Cooperatives, this market offers genuine Bhutanese arts and crafts, thus contributing to promotion, protection, and preservation of traditional arts. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2320m) Learning Experience: Choki Traditional Art School-learning session on Thangkha Paint-ings Astrology Reading

DAY 3:

This monastery was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa in the 12th century and the present building was constructed in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman,’ Lama Drukpa Kunley. In 1616, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal visited Tango and meditated in a cave near the monastery. His meditation is said to have helped ensure the defeat of an invading Tibetan army. Situated north of Thimphu, through shaded rhododendron forests to reach the monastery (approximately a 2-hour round-trip walk). After lunch, it’s time to visit to the National Textile Museum. With the opening of the Textile Museum, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden, Bhutanese textiles have reached new heights as one of the most visible distinct art forms. The textile museum has opened its exhibition on six major themes: warp pattern weaves, weft pattern weaves, role of textiles in religion, achievements in textile arts, textiles from indigenous fibers, and the royal collection. The crowns of Bhutan's Kings, namzas (dresses), the first version of Royal Crown and other ac-cessories used by members of Royal family can be found in the museum. The goal of the museum is to gradually become a center for textile studies that will carry out documentation, research, and studies on Bhutanese textiles. Afterwards, explore a wide assortment of products and picturesque setting of the Centenary Famers Market. The market is a favorite gathering spot for farmers who come from different parts of the country to sell their farm products. This evening, you will experience a local Dress Wearing session at the hotel, followed by dinner. The national dress of Bhutan is one of the most distinctive and visible aspects of Dragon King-dom’s unique character. Men wear Gho, a long robe similar to Tibetan Chhuba, that is raised to the knee, folded backwards and then tied around the waist by a Kera (belt). Women typically wear an ankle-length robe, called a Kira. The Bhutanese textile is made from fine, hand-woven or milled fabric with colorful distinc-tive patterns. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2320 m) Learning Experience: National Textile Museum-National Dress Ceremony

DAY 4:

If the skies are clear, a multitude of peaks may be seen from this pass. Left to right, they are: Masa-gang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,570m. At Dochula Pass, 108 chortens or stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens, have been built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. These chortens are built in three layers. The lowest level layer has 45 chortens, the second has 36 and the top layer has 27, built around the main chorten. Prayer flag hoisting at Dochula pass: Prayer flags are an integral part of Bhutanese landscape and also the cultural and religious herit-age of the country, especially the textile and weaving craft. These are ubiquitous in Bhutan, located in and around monasteries, chortens or stupas, dzongs, lhakhangs, homes, on the railing of bridges and mountain roads, and invariably on or near the summit of the mighty peaks that preside over the country. Red, blue, green, yellow, and white, they add a splash of rainbow colors to the rugged land-scape. Deeply religious, the people of Bhutan believe that with each flutter, a flag releases the prayer printed on it into the air which in turn carries it to the heavens. The more the flag flaps, the greater its divine value. It is for this reason that prayer flags are positioned that catch the wind – high up on the forested slopes of mountains, across bridges, near rivers and streams that tumble down the valleys, and anywhere there is wind or a tunnel effect. Later, you will drive onward to Punakha. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. It is still the winter seat of Je Khenpo, the chief abbot. Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the fertile Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits. Located at an elevation of 1300m above sea level, Punakha enjoys mild winters and is popular year-round destination. After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong, the Palace of Great Happiness; built at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This majestic dzong served as both the religious and the administrative center of Bhutan in the past. Measuring 600 by 240 feet with a gold-dome tower, its interior boasts courtyards and reli-gious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here Your guide will illuminate your understanding of this intricate culture that may be exotic to us, but long established here. Then, it’s a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang. The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the center of the valley, is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples desirous of children are usually blessed with a child soon after praying at this temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field.’ A walk through the village near the temple provides a rare glimpse into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha. Dhensa Boutique Resort or similar. (Altitude 1,300m)

DAY 5:

The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. (Approximately a 2-hour round-trip walk). Following lunch, visit Rinchengang Village. The picturesque village is revealed after a 20-minute walk up a gentle gradient that mesmerizes, featuring traditional mud houses located on the opposite hill facing Wangdue Dzong. The village houses are built close to one other with whitewashed walls and wooden window frames. Enjoy the wonderful experience of taking a stroll in the village, meeting and interacting with villagers in this locale known for its skill in the traditional method of stone masonry. Later in the afternoon, you will get to cook like a local during a cooking session on Bhutanese cuisine. This is a special cooking session held at local restaurant where chef will instruct and demonstrate to you how local Bhutanese delicacies are prepared.You can also try your culinary skills. Bhutanese food is heavily seasoned with red chilies and can be quite spicey. Tasty and fiery ‘Emma Datshi’ made with chilies and local Bhutanese cheese is the national dish of Bhutan. Guests can have fun participating in the preparation of local Bhutanese delicacies. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha. (Altitude 1,300m) Learning Experience: Cooking session on Bhutanese cuisine!

DAY 6:

On arrival in Paro, you will first check into the hotel. The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty, and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, the National Museum and the country’s only international airport. Mount Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley. Its glacial waters plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most fer-tile valleys in the Kingdom, producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields. After lunch, there will be a visit to Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. An extensive collection includes antique thangka paintings, textiles, weapons and armor, household objects, and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Afterwards, attend an archery session. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and every village has its own archery range. Using bamboo bows (although modern compound bows are now common in cities) a team of archers shoot at targets only 30 centimeters in diameter from a distance of 120 meters. Archery competitions are among the most picturesque and colorful events in the country and are an inte-gral part of all festivities. This evening, you can take a stroll around picturesque Paro city center. Overnight at the hotel in Paro. Haven Resort, Tenzinling Luxury Tent Villa or similar (Altitude 2,280m). Learning Experience: Archery Session

DAY 7:

One of Bhutan’s most famed monasteries is perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, hence its name. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. It is now visited by all Bhutanese at least once during their lifetime. In the afternoon, you will have time to enjoy the hotel facilities including the spa. Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

DAY 8:

The drive along the rough road also holds the Neyphug Thegchen Tsemo School, nestled among the forest, which is a refuge for unprivileged children. The school is led by Neyphug Trulku Rinpoche, who founded of the school. In 2005, he returned to Bhutan as a Professor of Buddhism and saw much suffering among the poor. He was witness to the rugged daily life and those living in remote areas with little means of support, surviving under extreme poverty and threats of chronic illness. Rinpoche came across orphans and abandoned children. Their desolate conditions, helplessness, and hopelessness touched him deeply and inspired him to start the school. This rarely visited monastery is about 7 kilometers deep into the mountains over Paro Valley. The monastery is a beautiful, peaceful place, but is in very poor conditions and in need of restoration. There will be a prayer ceremony at the monastery and lighting of 108 butter lamps. Also, a game of Khuru with orphans and residing monks can be a heart warming experience. Khuru is a traditional game played in Bhutan. Similar to darts, ‘Khurus’ are carved out of hard-wood and there is no restriction on the weight or the size to be played. This afternoon, visit a traditional farmhouse and have tea or coffee with a local family. The beauty of Paro valley is embellished by a cluster of quaint farmhouses. Bhutanese farmhouses are very colorful, decorative, and traditionally built without the use of a single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to farmhouse offers a rewarding glimpse into the lifestyle of village folks. Evening at leisure / independent activities. Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m) Learning Experience: Prayer ceremony at the monastery and lighting of 108 butter lamps. Learn the game of Khuru with residing monks.

DAY 9:

We look forward to welcoming you back on another Learning Journeys immersion. Perhaps you’re interested in visiting India to experience the diverse spiritual essence of the land. Study the art of the Singing Bowl and immerse in the Buddhist lifestyle in Nepal. Enjoy a cultural immersion in Sri Lanka. Whatever your interest, Learning Journeys can assist you with finding the perfect program to fulfil your dreams.


Program Registration Fees

2021 Departures & Fees 2 Departures
2022 Departures & Fees 8 Departures

Date Double Occupancy Single Supplement
September 18, 2021
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
October 02, 2021
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
Date Double Occupancy Single Supplement
March 05, 2022
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
March 19, 2022
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
April 09, 2022
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
April 23, 2022
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
May 13, 2022
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
May 28, 2022
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
September 10, 2022
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
September 24, 2022
Reserve Online
$4,400.00
Per Person
$1,200.00
Per Person
Dates & Fees: View 2021 View 2022
Final pricing will be displayed on the summary page.

Services Included

Accommodation at the hotels as mentioned or similar (Category of the hotels have been approved by Tourism Council of Bhutan). All meals including water. All transfers and sightseeing’s as per the itinerary by private vehicle. English speaking accompanying Learning Journeys expert Sustainable Development Fee & Taxes. Entrance fees Bhutan Visa Fees (we will need colored scanned copy of the passport to apply for visa).

Related Trips