Travel to Bhutan with Former UN Ambassador, Lhatu Wangchuk

Travel to Bhutan with Former UN Ambassador, Lhatu Wangchuk
Ambassador Wangchuk will share unprecedented knowledge of his home country during this unique 13-day itinerary while escorting guests on monastery visits, hikes, an introduction to traditional Bhutanese cuisine, a visit to the Thangbi Mani festival, a trek to the world famous Tiger's Nest and much more.

Guests who book by March 15, 2015 will save $250 per person for travel from October 21 - November 2, 2015. Pricing for this itinerary begins at $3,690 per person, double and includes transfers, tours, Bhutan visa, 12-night accommodations and all meals.*

Highlights Include:

• Get exclusive insight into Bhutan's rich history on this tour led by Bhutan's former UN Ambassador, Lhatu Wangchuk;
• Experience a traditional Bhutanese meal hosted by Ambassador Wangchuk at his family home for the welcome and farewell dinner;
• Gain insight into traditional and contemporary art of Bhutan during a discussion with local artist, Azha Karma;
• Traditional dinner with cultural program: Preceding the dinner program, spend an hour with Dasho Sangay Wangchug, Royal Privy Council Member, to discuss Bhutan's recent history and its national identity. Ambassador Lhatu Wangchuk will also be present during the discussion;
• Savoring Bhutanese delicacies during dinner at the Folk Heritage Museum restaurant in Thimphu;
• Attending the renowned Thangbi Mani festival in Bumthang and have the option of witnessing the sacred naked dance;
• Trek to Tiger's Nest Monastery.

As you crest the Himalayan peaks you will arrive in Paro where you will be driven to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. That evening enjoy a welcome dinner with your tour leader, Ambassador Wangchuk, and his family in their home. While in Thimphu guests will explore all parts of this exotic city, including the National Memorial Chorten, the Folk Heritage and National Textile Museum, statue of the seated Buddha, Motithang Takin Preserve and Zoo, the local weekend market, a traditional handmade paper factory and more. The second night will feature a dinner preceded by an exclusive cultural program led by Dasho Sangay Wanchug, Royal Privy Council Member, where he will discuss Bhutan's recent history, national identity and relationship with neighboring countries. As a special treat, guests will enjoy a discussion of contemporary and traditional Bhutanese art with local artist, Azha Karma. On the third evening dine at the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant and savor typical specialties of Bhutanese cuisine.

Depart on the fourth day for the Gangtey Valley, one of Bhutan's most picturesque areas. En route guests will stop at Dochula Pass. Surrounded by 108 ornate chortens, the pass offers panoramic views of the snow-covered mountain ranges of Bhutan and Tibet. Spend the next day and a half visiting a center dedicated to the rare, endangered black-necked crane and the monastery and exploring Gangtey's beautiful natural scenery on nature walks and hikes.

From Gangtey the trip will head to Bumthang, home to many temples and sacred sites. Visit Jambay Lhakhang Monastery, one of the oldest in Bhutan, Kurjey Lhakhang Monastery, burial site of Bhutan's first three kings and Membar Tso, the holy “burning lake”. As a special treat, guests will have the opportunity to witness firsthand the culture and traditions of the Bhutanese people at the Thangbi Mani Festival. This annual festival, organized by the residents of Bumthang, is filled with three days of beautifully ornate costumes and traditional song and dance. Guests have the option to witness the sacred naked dance performed by men at midnight, which is believed to purify ones sins and bring them good luck.

On the journey to the final destination, Paro, guests spend a night in Punakha and visit Pungtang Dechen Phodrang, (Palace of Great Happiness), one of Bhutan's most majestic structures. The next morning set off on a hike to Chime Lhakhang (Temple), a popular pilgrimage site believed to be blessed for fertility.

Upon arrival in Paro guests will trek to the famous Taktsang Temple (Tiger's Nest). Taktsang Temple, one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in Bhutan, is perched atop a cliff 3,000 feet above the valley. Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet and Bhutan, meditated in a cave here for three years. After this spiritual trek, guests will visit Rinpung Dzong where they will witness monks chanting sacred prayers at Choedling Temple. That evening enjoy a special lively farewell dinner hosted by Ambassador Wangchuk, accompanied by music and folk dancing.

This in-depth tour is led by Ambassador Lhatu Wangchuk, formerly the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations and Ambassador to Canada from January 2009-2014. Prior to arriving at the Bhutan Mission in New York, Ambassador Wangchuk was the Director General for the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan.

* Single supplement pricing is available on request. International flights, round trip to Paro from Bangkok, hotel in Bangkok and cancellation insurance are not included. Maximum number of guests on this tour is 16.

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