Testimonial from Mr Robert Blake ( UK )
Touring in the country, when Bhutan closed the Visa 😱 & all flights ✈️ due to COVID-19 🦠 situation in the World 🌍
” THE MOST AMAZING TOUR AGENCY! 💕“
” Yelha organised our personalised 14 day trip to Bhutan. Through our lovely contact Samdup (Yelha Bhutan Tours Manager ) , every tiny detail was perfectly organised. He kept in touch up to the last minute with support and suggestions.
Met at the airport by guide Chimmi and driver Sangay, who couldn’t do enough for us throughout our trip.
The program was amazing, and we loved every minute. The first disater – all ATMs and credit card machines in the country stopped working for an indeterminate period!
No problem – Yelha just lent us cash and asked us to repay by transfer when we got home!
Then the coronavirus hit, and restrictions were put in place for tourists. No problem – Chimmi and Sangay founds solutions to everything.
Then our return flight was cancelled – no problem, Samdup ( Yelha Bhutan Tours Manager ) managed to get us the last 2 seats on an earlier flight!
And we still managed to climb to Tiger’s Nest on our last day!
We cannot recommend Yelha and their staff highly enough. Professional, helpful, and prepared to resolve every problem.
We are going back again next year after coronavirus! “
Departure from Bhutan on 14th March 2020 ( 12 Days Bhutan tour, 2 days before their actual departure since all fight were being shut down )
Highlight: Lavish Bhutan wedding with sacred religious traditional blessing, photography, Bhutanese traditional costumes, blessing by buddhist masters, special ceremony in a sacred ancient temple.Bhutan tour and wedding photography.
Description : Bhutan has a unique cultural heritage which has its roots in Buddhism. The Bhutanese people have successfully kept its culture and traditions intact until this day.
Spirituality exists in everyday life of Bhutanese people, therefore in Bhutan a wedding is a celestial union of mind, body and soul of two people. Bhutan has became one of the most popular wedding country now, with celebrities and some of the most popular people visiting Bhutan to have their blessed wedding vows in Bhutan.
One of the most renowned person who got proposed and got married in Bhutan is Dew Aung San Su kyi at Tigers nest temple, Hong kong celebrities Carina Lau and Tony Leung Chiu Wai and the list goes on.
Wedding Location : Wedding can be an ancient temple temple ( 1000 year sold sacred temple/shrine ), Resort in or 300 years old heritage Bhutanese home.
Location tours: Thimphu (capital ), Paro valley and Punakha valley.
Fly into Paro, the great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens can be seen during clear weather. As the plane approaches Bhutan, if you look down farmhouses as dots on the hillsides can be seen.
As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, you will see Paro Dzong on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watch tower and now the National Museum, above it.
You will be received by the representative of Bhutan, who will be your Bhutan travel guide throughout your tour.
Visit the following:
Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast Thimphu sightseeing’s includes the following:
After 5 PM we will visit the Tashichho Dzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”.
This is the centre of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plan.
Night halt in Thimphu.
Today we will dress up the couple in exotic Bhutanese costumes and prepare them for the wedding. We will then drive to one of the holiest shrines in Thimphu and make the vow arrangements;
The Head monk will preside over the rituals and offer the scarves to the couples. “Bhutanese wedding is much more than an exchange of vows and rings.
It includes a number of religious rites performed by Buddhist monks and lamas. This represents the importance of the bond between two people. This ceremony is also used for renewing marriage vows.
The actual wedding ceremony and blessings for a lifetime of love and happiness takes place at home. This is followed by visits to sacred temples to make more offerings.
Lhabsang purification : The ceremony begins with a ritual in the morning performed by the monks before arriving at the temple.
Butter lamp : Butter lamps are lit inside the temple as an offering to the deities. Before lighting the lamps the bride and groom have to prostate six times; three times to the head monk and three times to the main alter.
Thrisor : Thrisor is a rite of purification and cleansing that is performed by the head monk at the temple. This will clear your bodies, minds, and speech of all past sins
During the ceremony, monks recite mantras and offer fumigation outside the temple to please the local deities. Bhutanese believe that only if the local deities are pleased we can have their blessing and enjoy good health and wealth.
The fumigation is to please their sense of smell and grains added to the fumigation are to quell their hunger. Inside the temple butter lamps are lit and prostrations done. The butter lamps are an offering of light to deities and the most common means of increasing merit.
Changphoe : The offering to the gods and deities in a form of liquor. After an offering is made to the deities, the liquor (ara) will then be served to the bride and the groom in a traditional wooden phop. (cup), which they will share. This symbolises the faith and everlasting bond the husband and the wife will share for the rest of their lives.
Tsephamey Choko : Tsephamey Choko is a long ritual that is performed in honor of Tsepamey; the God of longevity. It is performed by the head monk to give you a long and happy life together. It is followed by the bride and groom being blessed by the head monk.
Zhugdrey Phunsum Tshogpa : Food and drinks are now offered to deities and the people at the ceremony. This represents unity, wealth, and glory, and in no way should be refused. Normally oranges are used, as they are attractive, taste good, and represent unity. As well, the actual fruit is protected under a layer of skin, which symbolizes security and protection.
Dhar Nayanga : This is the last part of a Bhutanese wedding. Five colored scarves are given to the bride and groom as well as wishes for a happy, prosperous, and everlasting marriage
In addition to these traditions, the bride and groom should be wearing traditional Bhutanese costumes to show respect for this sacred ceremony. This means that the bride will wear a Kira and the groom will wear a Gho.
Option: After the wedding we will drive to the Bhutan post office and take photo to make Stamps of the wedding, which us usable in any part of the world.
We will be driving to some of the best spots in Capital (Temples, mountain side and other beautiful landscapes to take photo of the couple who will be dressed colorfully.
In the evening we will have dinner in one of the Heritage Farmhouse/or simply Bhutan restaurant in Thimphu and also a private 1 hour cultural program will be organized for the married couple.
The beautiful day will finish with great Bhutanese authentic food and traditional Bhutanese Ara/Wine.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Sightseeing and Photo shoot at the Dochula Mountain pass (Half day photo shoot )
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft). If you have a clear sky, the view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges spectacular and you can even see the Gasa Dzong as a white dot in the horizon.
Visit the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo for the security and well being of His Majesty the King of Bhutan.
Travel onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body.
Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho – Chu (male) river and the Mochu (female) river. Evening, walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20 minute walk through the rice fields to the Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing .
Overnight at a hotel in Wangdue/Punakha.
After breakfast, we will drive to Paro. Visit Kichu temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo.
The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans.
Thus, it happened that in about the year 638 AD the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon.
In the afternoon stop in Paro town and visit some of the popular coffer house and relax.
Night halt in Paro
After breakfast, drive up to the base camp of Taktsang and then hike up to the most famous Monastery in the entire kingdom of Bhutan perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to the viewpoint will take about an hour and it will take 2 hours to the monastery.
Lunch at the viewpoint or at Paro town. Later sightseeing in town and Kichu Lhakhang. The 1300 years old Jo Jampa Temple. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
In the morning, your tour guide from Yelha Bhutan Tours & Travels (local Bhutan travel agent) will escort you to Paro International Airport for your
Cordyceps is called as Dong chong xia cao 冬虫夏草 in Chinese, Yarsagumba in Tibetan and Bhutanese language and Đông trùng hạ thảo in Vietnamese.
Cordyceps Mushroom supplement comes from an Asian mushroom known as Cordyceps sinesis (C. sinesis) which sprouts from the body of dead caterpillar in the wild.
It is also known as the Himalayan Viagra “Yarsa gumba,” which translates as “winter worm, summer grass.
Cordyceps thrives only at altitudes above 3800 meters in the cold, grassy, alpine meadows on the mountainous Himalayan Plateau of Bhutan, India, Nepal, Tibet and the modern Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Gansu, Hubei, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Guizhon, Qinghai, and Yunnan
It can only be found in the mountainous regions above 11,000 feet in Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Every year the price of the cordyceps increased due to increase in demand. A high value cordycep cost USD$ 10,000- USD$50,000 per Kilo.
The fungus is the result of spores from C. sinensis entering the body of a live caterpillar while it is in the larval form of a large moth native to the region.
Upon infection from the spores, strands of filaments called “hyphae” begin to sprout from the spores that then lead to the death of the caterpillar.
The hyphae grow longer and more numerous and develop into a relatively large stalk-like fungal fruiting body that emerges from the insect’s carcass after having sapped the caterpillar’s body of all nutrients.
Cordyceps sinensis has been described as a medicine in old Chinese medical books and Tibetan medicine. It has been used as food, medicine, poison, and in spiritual mushroom practices in religious rituals across the world since at least 5000 BC.
During the Beijing 1993 Olympics, the price of Cordyceps has skyrocketed. Rumour has it that Chinese government were buying up all the Cordyceps for their athletes.
It was found that there were no special training schemes or methods, but after each training session, every athlete would consume a special drink, which contained Cordyceps.
Traditionally, cordyceps has been used in the elderly population to improve weakness, impotence, and fatigue associated with aging.
Improvements in self-reported symptoms have been described, as have increases in red blood cell superoxide dismutase activity and decreases in malondialdehyde levels.
Other antioxidant effects, hydroxyl radical scavenging activity, and decreases in lipid peroxidation are thought to be responsible for the antiaging effects, as well as effects on the adrenergic and dopamine systems. Increases in learning and memory have been shown in experiments.
Animal studies suggest cordyceps, particularly the polysaccharide extracts, and decreases blood glucose levels by improving glucose metabolism and enhancing insulin sensitivity.
Few clinical trials exist; however, 1 small (N = 20), randomized trial found that taking C. sinensis 3 g daily improved the blood sugar profile over placebo.
According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), cordyceps has antitumor, radioprotective, and antidiabetic effects. MSKCC cites a study in which cordyceps made the cancer medication cisplatin more toxic to lung cancer cells, and confirms that cordyceps can also help infection-fighting lymphocytes live longer, increase levels of T helper cells, reduce tumor cell proliferation and boost the activity of natural killer cells.
Finally, the medical center reports that some studies have shown that cordyceps has caused cancer symptoms to improve, in addition to helping patients better tolerate the rigors of chemotherapy.
Cordyceps has long been prized in the Far East as a powerful stimulant that can help boost circulation, tone the liver and kidneys, increase physical stamina and of course, help men maintain a erection.
This ability seems to stem from the fungi’s blood vessel dilating properties which leads to better blood flow, especially to the genital areas.A Japanese clinical study has also found that Cordyceps helped 64% of the men who took it for their erectile dysfunction.
Researchers believe that this is due to the presence of deoxyadenosine and corycepic acid in the fungus. Both of these isolated constituents have been shown to help increase libido and desire in both sexes.
Abnormal blood circulation often occurs along with kidney disease. In this condition, cordyceps is a good choice, because it can improve the ability of marrow to produce blood platelets, red blood cells and white cells.
What’s more, the biggest benefit of cordyceps for Chronic Kidney Disease patients is that it can help slow the progress of kidney disease, improve kidney function and reduce kidney damage. Therefore, this herbal medicine is indeed beneficial for most kidney patients.
A number of research studies show that Cordyceps has potential for treating heart disease. It is approved in China to treat arrhythmia.
Cordyceps sinensis flaunts a very diverse lin eup of nutrients that have been seen to have a positive effect to the overall function of the circulatory system.
That’s ’cause cordyceps contains a number of nucleosides like deoxyuridine, thymidine, hypoxanthine and adenosine which play a key role in producing energy and enhancing blood flow.
Unpublished data on studies in elderly volunteers revealed increased energy levels and oxygen-carrying capacity following 6 weeks of cordyceps treatment over placebo.
Hepatoprotective effects of cordyceps extracts have been demonstrated in animal models. Open-label clinical studies conducted in patients with active hepatitis and posthepatic cirrhosis reported improvements in liver function tests.
Sinensis have a stimulatory effect on ion transport in human airway epithelial cells, possibly because of cordycepin and adenosine. Animal studies suggest the observed effects on respiration are caused by enhanced oxygen utilization capacity, supporting the traditional use of cordyceps in Tibet and Nepal to offset altitude sickness.
Clinical studies conducted in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bronchitis have suggested efficacy for cordyceps.
Scientists at the University of Nottingham in Britain have been researching the potential of Cordyceps to reduce inflammation. While their research shows the fungus is effective at reducing inflammation at the cellular level
In ancient China this fungus was used exclusively in the Emperor’s Palace because of its scarcity. Approximately 5 grams were stuffed into the stomach of a duck and roasted until well cooked, then the Cordyceps was removed and the duck was slowly eaten, twice daily over a period of 8-10 days, this was thought to be as potent as 50 grams of Panax Ginseng.
The first written record of the Cordyceps mushroom comes from China. In the year 620 AD, at the time of Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 907 AD)
Cordcyeps are foudn in Asia (notably Nepal, China, Japan, Bhutan, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand). Cordyceps species are particularly abundant and diverse in humid temperate and tropical forests.
Tibetan and Bhutanese cordyceps however are rare, precious and more effective.
Bhutan cordcyeps are found at an elevation between 14,500 feet and 17,000 feet, just meters below the snow line. It appears annually and is harvested between the months of April and August in Bhutan.
Before the rainy season begins, spores of the Cordyceps mushroom settle on the heads of caterpillars’ that lives underground.
The fungus gets so much into the body of the caterpillars’ that it grows out through its head and drains all the energy from the insect and ultimately it dies.
You can easily distinguish, Bhutan’s cordyceps from Tibetan and Chinese via the RED EYES, body color of cordcyeps and line particles shapes in the body.
The cordyceps has a long history in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicines for its usage in ancient times.
Yet, the cordycep found in the mountains of Bhutan are significant with its Red Eyes serving unique herbal benefits that are not found elsewhere. Also in Bhutan only natural cordcyep are collected mountains from 3500 meters and above and Royal Government of Bhutan is very strict and issues special permits to collect and export cordyces.
Cordcyep from Bhutan are also 100% genuine and very rare.
The adenosine Bhutanese infusion of Red Eye Cordycep: 119mg/100g
The adenosine infusion of Tibetean/Chinese Cordycep: 85.5mg/100g
” Adenosine is both a chemical found in many living systems and a medication. As a medication, it is used intravenously to treat certain forms of supraventricular tachycardia that do not improve with vagal maneuvers. ”
The weight and the largeness of the Red Eyes is prized and expensive in Bhutan.
Thus Bhutanese Cordcyeps have extra 33.5mg of adenosine infusion making its almost 33% more effective.
Cordcycep price in 2019 Royal Government of Bhutan, Ministry of Agriculture auction was ‘ the lowest grade D ( dust) US$ 6000 per kg & and the Super A++ size ( 2 pcs in a gram ) 50,000 per kg’
Note: Foreigners are not allowed in the Bhutan Government Cordycep auction, which is held every year on july-August. Only Bhutanese cordycep exporters with special permits are allowed to visit and take part in the auction.
Duration: 9 Days 8 Nights
Description: Bhutan Thunder Dragon Tour is a short day cultural tour of western Bhutan. Yelha Bhutan Tours has organized this tour to give our guests the maximum sightseeing of the two western parts of Bhutan in the available short duration. Thimphu valley “Capital” and Paro valley is one of the most highly visited and popular valleys in the kingdom.
Bhutan is the last Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom, and the teachings of this school of Buddhism are a living faith among its people.
Highlight: Visit to the Ta Dzong (National Museum), Punakha Dzong, Worlds tallest bronze Buddha statue, Tigers nest hike, Phobjikha Valley, Visit the beautiful valley of Bumthang, east bhutan, Himalayas tallest Guru Rimpoche statue, spiritual tour….
On a clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks and lush green Paro valley will be your first gift from Bhutan.You will be welcomed by cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane.
After clearing customs and visa control you will meet our guide. Afternoon in Paro visit Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968.
Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district.
Later Drive to Thimphu. Distance: 54 k. Driving time: 1 hour.
On way we will stop at Tachog Temple. Built by the Tibetan saint Thangtong Gyalpo who is also known as the Iron chain builder of Bhutan. Arrival to Hotel and rest for a while.
After 5 pm visit the Seat of Government ( Tashicho Dzong Fortress)
Evening leisure time in the Capital town.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast travel to Thimphu and check into your hotel. The full day Thimphu tour includes visit to the following:
Resorts/Hotels: In Thimphu
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft). If you have a clear sky, the view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges is spectacular and you can even see the Gasa Dzong as a white dot in the horizon.
Visit the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo for the security and wellbeing of His Majesty the King of Bhutan.
Travel onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. After lunch, walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the Devine
Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing.
Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho – Chu (male) river and the Mochu (female) river.
Later we will visit the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. It is around ten minute’s drive from the Dzong.
Overnight at a hotel in Wangdue/Punakha.
After breakfast, drives to Bumthang via Pelela pass at the altitude of 3,150 meters, a wonderful opportunity for photographs.
On way you can see the magnificent Trongsa Dzong, the largest fortress in Bhutan. En-route stops at Chummey village to visit yathra weaving central. Which Yathra are made into colorful scarves, bags, blankets and sweater.
Continue drive to Bumthang.
After check in your can visit the Bumthang town. Bumthang valley is one of the most beautiful valley in Bhutan and it is known as Switzerland of Bhutan, have a local meal in a resorts/Hotels.
Overnight in Bumthang
After breakfast sightseeing in Bhutan are as follows
In the morning visit the Jakar Dzong. The fortress is now used as an administrative centre of the valley and summer residence of monks. (located around 10-15 minute drive from your resort)
Visit Jambay Lhakhang, the 7 th century temple built by the famous Tibetan King Songtshen Gyalpo. Visit Kurjey Lhakhang (Kurjey means, “Body imprint”).
The temple to the right was built by Minjur Tempa in 1652. It was built around the cave in which Guru Rinpoche meditated and left his body imprint.
We will hike to Tamshing temple, and have picnic lunch on way if time permits or we can have a local meal in the town. Later we will visit the famous cheese shop and also try the famous red panda beer.
Option : Kharchu Dratshang, leisure in town or rest at resort.
Resorts/Hotels: In Bumthang.
After breakfast drive to Trongsa. And then Visit Trongsa Dzong – seat of the district administration, built in the 1648.
Option visit Tower of Trongsa -converted into the museum from watch tower that once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands in Bhutan’s history.
After lunch drive to Phobjikha after lunch. Phobjikha- is a bowl-shape valley on the western slopes of Black Mountain. Optional: After lunch or in Morning visit Gantey Goenpa – This monastery is a major attraction with an old monastery date back to the 16 century.
Later hike around the valley which is also the winter home to the rare black-necked cranes, which migrate, from remote parts of Tibet, China and Siberia during winter to this valley.
Overnight Resorts/Hotels:At Gangtey.
Today after well rest we will drive to Paro. Sightseeing and photography enroute as per the wishes of the clients.
Option: We will do some sightseeing on way and also stop at Thimphu for while if there are any last minute shopping.
( Note : Thimphu is capital city and there are many shops in the valley, so there are more options to shop and also it is much cheaper here comparing to Paro valley )
Later stroll through the town and rest in Resort.
Resorts/Hotels: Overnight in Paro valley.
Tshog offering, private prayers and meditation at Taktsang.
After breakfast, drive up to the base camp of Taktsang and then hike up to the most famous Monastery in the entire kingdom of Bhutan perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley.
The hike to the viewpoint will take about an hour and it will take 2 hours to the monastery. Lunch at the view point or at Paro town.
Later visit the 7th century Kyichu temple. Farewell dinner and overnight at a hotel in Paro valley.
Option: Visit a farm house in the evening and enjoy the special
Traditional home cooked meals.
Resorts/Hotels: At Paro valley.
In the morning, your tour guide from Bhutan (local Bhutan travel agent) will escort you to Paro International Airport for your departure
Description : This six day trek takes you into an area adorned with a multitude of pristine, crystal clear lakes.
As you walk amidst the shimmering lakes you’ll be treated to stunning views of the entire Himalayan mountain range and some of the world’s highest peaks including Mt. Everest, Jomolhari, Masang Gang, Jichu Drake, Gangche Ta and many more.
During the trek an entire day will be dedicated to visiting some of the more picturesque lakes and resting. The trail also takes you through several Bhutanese villages so you can get a good idea of traditional Bhutanese village life as you make your way back from the lakes.
While this is a somewhat strenuous trek, it is well worth the effort because of the tranquility and beauty of natural landscape that you will enjoy during the journey. The best time to embark on this trek is between April-June or September –October
DAY 1: ARRIVE PARO, SIGHTSEEING
Fly into Paro by Druk Air, Bhutan’s National Airline. The great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens can be seen during clear weather. As the plane approaches Bhutan, if you look down farm houses as dots on the hillsides can be seen.
You will be received by the representative of Yelha Bhutan Tours and Travels (Bhutan tour operator) who will be your Bhutan travel guide throughout your tour.
After meeting with the guide and driver, drive to hotel and visit Paro Rinpung dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks. Visit Taa dzong which was built in the 17th century as a watch tower for the Paro Dzong. This dzong was converted into the National museum in 1967.
Overnight at Paro
The route is part of the original mule track that linked Thimphu Valley with Paro Valley and ultimately connected Bhutan to the Indian border. The walk is always done from Paro to Thimphu, as baggage horses are only available in Paro. It is a much more exciting way of reaching Bhutan’s capital and after five days’ trekking the sense of anticipation is keenly felt.
The walk starts appropriately behind Paro Dzong itself. Starting from the watchtower, the path winds its way slowly and evenly upward, through the forest towards the ridge line of the Himalayan foothills above. As the day passes, the views below of the highly cultivated Paro Valley, the Queen Mother’s Winter Palace, and the monastery/fortress itself are wonderful.
The walk is firstly through pine, then bamboo, followed by birch and finally rhododendron. You may have lunch near a Mani wall. The camp site is just a few hundred feet below Jili Dzong in a clearing. You will see plenty of interesting flora and fauna throughout the day and many interesting birds.
It is a short twenty minute hike from the camp to the dzong. This is a large monastery and supposedly haunted. It contains a huge statue of Padma Sambhava.
There are birds nesting in the arrow slits and old Mongol helmets and shields hanging on the walls. The building was until very recently deserted, but has now undergone some renovation and is in use again.
It sits astride a ridge, which affords dramatic views of the valleys on both sides and the Himalaya to the north. On a clear day the second highest mountain in Bhutan can be seen, Mt. Chomolhari, 7,314m.
The path now follows a ridge for a short while before descending into forest. It then follows a snake-like route on rather magical paths, along mountainsides and through many different types of rhododendron. Occasionally you may meet local yak herdsmen and take in wonderful views of mountains, including another large peak called Kangcheeta.
You will see this mountain has two peaks and is split by a straight, pronounced gully, locals believe that Kangcheeta is the brother of Chomolhari (female mountain goddess) who hit him with a stick because he wanted to marry her.
To the south, the Dagala range dominates the skyline. Below Mt. Kangcheeta there is a temple, Tshomphu Monastery, where an idol is supposed to float in the air.
In the past our guides said they had visited the temple and it was possible to pass a string underneath the statue, thus proving it floated. Eventually, you pass through a number of yak herder clearings, stopping for the night at the largest of them.
From camp the path ascends to gain the ridge and then traverses along it, first one side and then the other, with wonderful mountain views.
Eventually you cross a small pass and circle round, until above Jimi Langtsho Lake. This is a large beautiful lake, stocked with trout, with a large chorten (religious obelisk) built at one end. You zigzag down to the lakeside, which is thick with rhododendron and hemmed in by rocky bluffs.
The path then leads up from the lake and along cliff paths with massive drops below. Eventually it leads round a succession of ridges until you arrive at the second lake, Jana Tsho, another magical campsite.
Again a lovely walk in glorious high mountain country, crossing the highest pass, the Simkota La 4,210m/13,812ft. From the lake a wide stone path between rhododendrons leads to traversing a basin, which contains the 3rd lake. Two other lakes are above and out of sight, one male, one female and collectively they are called Dungkar Tsho.
The latter of these has a very strong spirit and if anything ‘dirty’ is done nearby cloud comes down and only goes away with many prayers. The path is a mixture now of small passes, mountain tracks, some of which wander underneath cliffs. You may meet monks on their way from Thimphu to
visit the sacred lake of Jimi Langtsho, where they meditate for a few days before returning. The rocky mountain next to the highest pass, Thujedraj, used to be used for sky burials in the old days. Lower down there is one smaller pass with a chorten which looks directly down onto Thimphu.
Here you will have lunch (31⁄2 hours to here) and then the path zigzags down to Phadjoding. There is time to rest, wash and then see the temples. There is a recent one, constructed with funds donated by the 4th King’s
Secretary, dedicated to Padma Sambava, but the 9th and 16th Je Khempos (head monk of Bhutan) built the two main ones. These are gorgeous buildings with golden roofs and acolyte monks will show you the inner temples.
Phadjoding is a great meditation centre and there are a number of houses dedicated to retreat. A particular type of branch is put outside the front door, showing that the incumbent is not to be disturbed. High up on the cliff behind Phadjoding is a famous hermit temple, built many hundreds of years ago and still used today.
It only takes two or three hours to reach the road, descending, steeply at times, through the forest, on a well worn path. It is worth getting up early for the clear views of the Eastern Himalaya.
Seen clearly on the horizon behind the temples is the highest mountain in Bhutan, Gangkar Punsum, at 7,550m/24,770ft now the highest unclimbed peak in the world. There are several paths leading down to Thimphu; perhaps the best is the one leading to the Radio Station, which takes about 3 hours. Quite often the valley below may be filled with cloud, with just the mountains poking up into the clear air.
Your vehicle will meet you at the road head for the short transfer to your hotel in town.
After reaching Thimphu, check into the hotel and take shower or rest for a while and stroll through through Thimphu town in the evening.
After breakfast we have a full day Thimphu tour which includes visit to the following:
In the afternoon drive to Paro.
Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, drive up to the base camp of Taktsang and then hike up to the most famous Monastery in the entire kingdom of Bhutan perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley.
The hike to the viewpoint will take about an hour and it will take 2 hours to the monastery. Till view point, you can experience horse ride by paying USD 15 to USD 20 per horse but if you prefer hike, then it is great.
Lunch at Taktshang Café just above view point or you can have picnic lunch.
After completing the hike, you will be visiting one of the farm houses in Paro to experience Bhutanese life-Style and the organic Bhutanese dinner.
You can also experience hot-stone bath at farm house (US $ 20 per person).
It is a good remedy for skin diseases, joint pains, body aches and to relax after a hard day’s work.
No scientific study has been done but it’s believed that the herbs and the chemical in the stones are a good source of medicine. Families in olden days would soak after their seasonal farm work in winter. The long, healing bath relaxed their tired bodies and helped cure backaches and joint pains.
In the evening relax and overnight at a hotel in Paro.
In the morning tour guide from Yelha Bhutan Tours will escort you to the Paro airport for your flight to your onward destinations.
Duration: 10 Days, 9 Nights.
Locations: Thimphu, Paro valley, Punakha, Bumthang.
Type of Tour: Organic farming/Cultural tour/Adventure.
Highlight: Visit to Ura valley, take part in matsutake mushroom festival, visit central Bhutan, the Ta Dzong (National Museum), Punakha Dzong, Worlds tallest bronze Buddha statue, Tigers nest hike, Gangtey Gompa sightseeing, Bumthang valley.
Description: The most favored and the most expensive Mushroom in the World. Costing almost USD$ 2000 per kg in Japan.
The fabled wild Matsutake mushrooms of Bhutan. Prized by gourmets in Japan, this fungi is native to the forests of Ura valley in central Bhutan.
Ura valley is renowned for being one of the most picturesque valleys in the entire kingdom. Its inhabitants, the Uraps are a cheerful, hospitable people. Ura provides one of the most authentic experiences of traditional rural Bhutanese life available. At the festival, visitors learn to identify these fabled mushrooms as they embark on mushroom picking excursions around the pristine forests and hills.
They’ll be able to sample delicious Matsutake recipes, engage in songs and dances together with the locals, hike through the stunning Himalayan landscape and even relax in traditional open-air mineral baths –