Medieval Bhutan 2018 (CONFIRMED - Limited Spaces Available)

Date: 
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 5:15pm to Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 4:30am
Destination(s): 
Central Bhutan
Cost: 
2970.00USD for shared occupancy & 3220.00USD for single occupancy
Tour Leader: 
Tom Coyner

Experiencing Medieval Bhutan with a focus on its People

 

****Round-trip airfare between Incheon and Bangkok is included in this package, but you can opt out for an approximate $800 savings.. Please contact us if you do not need the round-trip flight between Incheon and Bangkok. We can give you the updated price.  Extra days possible at extra charge. ****

-->We are taking sincere resrvations now.  Please send to tomcoyner@gmail.com photo of the identification page your passport to lock in your place in the trip, by the end of September.  If spaces are available, we can consider RSVPs in October. Full/partially refundable down payments schedule to be posted in October.--<

Pricing information 

Room Occupancy: Shared Room Single Room Shared Room Single Room
  Price per Pax* Price per Pax* Price per Pax* Price per Pax*  
   for 7 days  for 7 days  for 8 days  for 8 days  
Price: $2,970 $3,220 $3,275 $3,565

* Subect to minor change

Korean Air Flight Schedule:
Depart Seoul, Incheon Intl Arpt (ICN) TUE,13 FEB 2018 17:15
Arrive Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Intl Arpt (BKK) TUE,13 FEB 2018 21:05
Economy Seat, Flying time 5:50 hrs
 
Depart Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Intl Arpt (BKK) TUE, 20 FEB 2018 21:45
Arrive Seoul, Incheon Intl Arpt (ICN) WED, 21 FEB 2018 04:50
Economy Seat, Flying time 5:05 hrs
 
 
********************************************************************************************************

Trip Summary

Day

Date

City

Hotel

Day 0 13/02/2018 IncheonàBangkok ThaTong Spa Resort
Day 1 14/02/2018 BangkokàParo Tashi Namgay resort    

 

Day 2 15/02/2018 Paro – Bumthang Kaila Guest house, Mountain resort or similar
Day 3 16/02/2018 Bumthang Kaila Guest house, Mountain resort or similar
Day 4 17/02/2018 Gangtey/Phobjikha valley Dewachen resort or Gakiling resort
Day 5 18/02/2018 Punakha Hotel Lobesa, Drubchhu resort or similar
Day 6 19/02/2018 Thimphu Hotel Jumolhari    

 

Day 7 20/02/2018 Departure for one group; Paro for the other group Tashi Namgay resort
Day 8 21/02/2018 Departure  

Additional, following days are available at extra cost. Contact Tom Coyner for details.

Travel from Korea to Thailand

13 February 2018. 

Korean Air flight KE651 from Incheon to Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok) (17:15 / 21:05)

Travel from Thailand to Korea

20 or 21 February 2018

Korean Air flight KE651 from Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok) to Incheon (21:45 / 04:50)

 

14 February 2017                       Arrival to Bhutan

Druk Air flight KB122 for Bangkok to Paro (0650 / 1040)

 

Welcome to Bhutan!

 

During the flight, one will experience breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be received by our representatives.

 

After relaxing a bit at your hotel, drive to one of the villages in Paro for interaction with the villagers. Visit a local farmhouse where you will be served traditional Bhutanese lunch. You will be more than welcome to join the family in preparing the meal and you can also watch them making Ara (local Bhutanese wine). Engage in some local games such as degor (which is played with flat stones), khuru (dart game) and traditional archery after lunch. Afterwards, watch and participate in a special performance of traditional songs and dances from various parts of Bhutan.

       

Making Ara in the village

 

 Khuru (dart game)

 

In the evening, take a walk around Paro town.

 

Dinner at your hotel.

 

Overnight: Hotel in Paro

 

 

15 February 2018                       Bumthang valley exploration

 

After breakfast, drive to the airport for your flight to Bumthang. The flight departs at 0930 and arrives Bumthang at 1005.

 

  Jakar valley (Bumthang)

 

Drive to the Wangdichholing Palace. It was built in 1857 by Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel and was later restored by his son, the first king Ugyen Wangchuck. It served as the summer residence of the second King, who later bequeathed it to his junior Queen Ashi Pem Dechen. The third king was said to have spent most of his youth in this palace. The place on which the Palace stands today was once a battle camp. Located in the valley beside the Chamkhar River, the Palace presents the true aesthetic Bhutanese infrastructure. The view of the glorious Jakar Dzong and the mighty mountains enclosing it is splendid. The long alleyway with stonewalls leads to the courtyard of the Palace from the parking space.

The first phase of the restoration and adaptive reuse of the palace project which included restoration of the Lingkha Lhakhang (temple, located 45 m north of the Palace) and the residential quarter for the monks was completed in February 2016.

The second phase which includes restoration of the prayer wheels near the Palace and the palace corridors will have been completed by September 2017.

Spend some time discussing with the supervisors and workers at the site to find out more about the palace and the cultural and architectural aspects of this renovation project.

 

Wangdicholing Palace

 

Lunch at one of the local restaurants/hotels.

 

In the afternoon, visit a community to meet up with people and see how rural life in Bumthang is different from Western Bhutan (Paro, Thimphu and Punakha). The people of Bumthang speak Bumthap Kha and not Dzongkha (the national language). Although most of the younger lot can speak Dzongkha, the elders speak only Bumthap kha. Most Bumthap elderly women wear head scarves and striped aprons over their kiras.

Pancakes made from buckwheat flour called “Khuley” and buckwheat noodles called “Puta” are common dishes in Bumthang - and definitely worth tasting!      

 

An elderly Bumthap lady

Tom Coyner will give an optional lecture on street and travel photography tips.

Dinner at your hotel.

 

Tom Coyner will give an optional lecture on street and travel photography tips.

 

Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang

 

 

16 February 2018                       Tang Valley excursion     

Drive from Chamkhar valley to Tang valley. The one way-drive takes about 3 hours.

Tang Valley

 

 

Ugyencholing Manor

 

Visit the Ugyencholing Manor and meet with the owners for an interesting chat on how the manor is contributing to the preservation and promotion of Bhutan’s cultural heritage and how the Ugyencholing foundation is helping the disadvantaged families of Tang valley. The discussion will include women's issues and how women's rights are progressing within a very traditional culture.  

The manor has a large building, the Jokhang, which contains two temples with imposing statues and paintings dating from the beginning of the 20th century. The temple on the ground floor is dedicated to Tara, the Goddess of Compassion, and the one on the first floor to Jowo, the Buddha as a young prince. Through the initiative of the Ugyenchoeling family, a very interesting museum of the history and life of Ugyenchoeling was opened in May 2001. The Museum has several floors of the central tower, the Utse. It offers a unique opportunity to get to know life in a lord’s mansion before 1950.

 

Kitchen in a village home

 

In the Tang Valley, you will have free time to engage with people in the little shops or local homes where you can help the family make some tea and snacks for you. The little children in the villages are always very eager to try out their English skills with foreigners. These local children always have a smile on their faces that will melt your hearts!

Each locality in Bhutan have their own local dances. These dances are very interesting to watch since they speak to the local customs and traditions that can be so different from village to village. Participate in a traditional dance session with the locals in Tang Valley. Get a few pointers from the locals and try your hand at perhaps mastering some of the dance skills!

Those interested can also visit the PemaCholing nunnery and spend some time talking with the nuns about Nyingmapa Buddhism and how they manage their monastic school by themselves. It is interesting to know that they built the buildings alongside workers from a vocational training institute in Thimphu and villagers. Although, monasteries are quite common in Bhutan, the number of nunneries in the country is comparatively small.

Drive back to your hotel for the night (~ 3 hours).

Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang

Visit the Black Necked Crane Center. It has informative displays about the cranes and the valley environment. You can use the Center's powerful spotting scopes.

Overnight: Hotel in Gangtey/Phobjikha valley

 

17 February 2018                       Bumthang to Gangtey

 

Drive from Bumthang to Gangtey/Phobjikha valley, winter home of the Black Necked Cranes. The drive takes about 6 hours. We will have question and answer session and interaction during this journey with an expert on the birds and animals in the country.  You can make some stops along the way to look out for some interesting birds and animals.  Photographic considerations will be made to enable travelers to get nature photographs.

 

Black Necked Cranes

Visit the Black Necked Crane Center. It has informative displays about the cranes and the valley environment. You can use the Center's powerful spotting scopes.

Overnight: Hotel in Gangtey/Phobjikha valley

 

18 February 2018                       Gangtey to Punakha

 

Visit the Gangtey Goemba and spend some time chatting with the monks at the monastery.  Gangtey Goemba, situated on the slopes of the valley was built in the 17th century.  It is one of Bhutan’s premier Center for Nyingmapa Buddhist studies. Take in a lecture on the unique aspects of Bhutanese Buddhism.

 

Enjoy the Gangtey Nature Trail hike. This pleasurable hike from the small hilltop overlooking the Phobjikha valley to the community school gives you a nice feel of the valley. It is a gentle hike (~ 2 hours) through flower meadows, beautiful forests and into the open valley.

Drive from Gangtey to Punakha. The drive takes about 4 hours.

Overnight: Hotel in Punakha.

 

19 February 2018                       Punakha to Thimphu

Join Tom Coyner for an optional pre-dawn walk to photograph sunrise scenery and early morning stirrings, followed by breakfast with everyone.

 

Drive from Punakha to Thimphu. The drive takes 3 hours. Those who want to visit the Punakha dzong can do before leaving for Thimphu. You can make stops along the way to buy some fruits or other edibles from the roadside vendors.

 

Roadside vendors

 

 

Dochula

 

Enroute, stop at the Dochu La pass. It is a beautiful mountain pass (alt 3,140 m) fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens (stupas) called the Druk Wangyel Chortens. On a clear day, you will get awe-inspiring glimpses of the towering Himalayan peaks around.

 

 

Institute of Zorig Chusum

 

Visit the Institute of Zorig Chusum.  It is commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.  It is a hands-on experience for you. In Bhutan, traditional Bhutanese painting is typically considered a sacred art especially since a lot of the traditional Bhutanese art is based on Buddhism.  Enjoy few moments with the future artists of the country at the Painting School with a brief lecture of the traditional elements and techniques of traditional painting. Try your hand at traditional Bhutanese painting with the help of the students at the Painting School. 

You can rent traditional Bhutanese costumes, Gho for men and Kira for women and have a group photo session. 

Explore Thimphu town.

 

Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

 

20 February 2018                       Thimphu to Paro

 

Those departing that day will drive to the Paro International airport for departure to Bangkok (Druk Air flight KB122, 1100/1650). Our representatives will bid you goodbye!

For those staying back, hike to Paro Taktshang. Taktshang meaning the 'Tiger's Nest' is one of Bhutan's most venerated pilgrimage sites and a very popular site for all tourists visiting Bhutan. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900 meters above the valley, Taktshang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular four-hour walk will be your most overwhelming experience ever.

 

Paro Taktshang

Archery match

For those travelers who have already visited Paro Taktshang or wish to do something less physically demanding, have an archery practice session. Archery is the national game of Bhutan. It is widely played all over the country.   

Afterwards, cross over Nyemai Zampa (a traditional cantilever bridge) over the Pa Chhu river and walk up to take a structured tour of the Paro Rinpung dzong. The name means 'fortress of the heap of jewels.' The dzong was built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche. Some of the scenes from the film 'Little Buddha' by Bernardo Bertolucci in 1995 was filmed at the Paro Rinpung Dzong.

Explore Paro town in the evening for some last minute shopping.

Overnight: Hotel in Paro

21 February 2018                       Paro

Drive to the Paro International Airport for departure to Bangkok (Druk Air, flight KB122 1100/1650). Our representatives will bid you goodbye!

Tashi Delek! 

 

Pricing information 

  Shared Room Single Room Shared Room Single Room
  Price per Pax* Price per Pax* Price per Pax* Price per Pax*  
   for 7 days  for 7 days  for 8 days  for 8 days  
   $2,970 $3,220  $3,275 $3,565

 

Sign up using the registration form link below and send us a copy of your passport no later than October 15, 2017.

 

Down Payment Deadlines
 
Down Payment Deadline 1: October 31   - US$950 (no won equivalent) for all travelers
 

Down Payment Deadline 2January 20  - W900,000 (or US$830) for travelers flying from Incheon*

                                                                   plus US dollar unpaid balance (no won equivalent), based on individual options

* There may be a slight adjustment on Korean Air and Druk Air flight pricing as we better know February flight rates; we will keep you appraised.

 

Please carefully wire your money to the right account, depending on whether you are wiring Korean won or US dollars:

 

US dollar account - suitable for all payments:

 

Bank name:          KEB Hana Bank

SWIFT code:        KOEXXKRSE

Bank Address:     145, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (04351)

Account Number: 773-910001-24538

Beneficiary:        Kang, Soon Nam - Va Kang's Travel

 

Korean won account - suitable only for payment of Incheon-Bangkok Korean Air flight payments:

 

Bank name:          KEB Hana Bank

SWIFT code:        KOEXXKRSE

Bank Address:     145, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (04351)

Account Number: 773-910004-07004

Beneficiary:        Kang, Soon Nam - Va Kang's Travel

Refunds*

- 90% refund prior to full payment deadline of January 15, 2018

- 75% refund between January 16~February 04, 2018

- 50% refund prior to February 05~February 10, 2018

- No refund from February 11, 2018

Rescheduling of airline tickets not permitted for refund. 

For every date change reschedule fee applicable (US$25 per Druk Air ticket) if the change is made 3 days or less before the departure date.

US$50 No show charges for Druk Air tickets

US$25 administrative charges for any cancellation on an Air Druk ticket

*refund is contingent on the travel agencies receiving a refund on payments

 

Registration Form

 

Please direct all other inquiries regarding this trip to Tom Coyner at tomcoyner@gmail.com or phone (82-(0)10-9099-6195.

 

Contact Us

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehak-ro 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
왕립아세아학회한국지부
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

Office is open Monday through Friday from 10 to 5 but we are short staffed and there are meetings elsewhere often: please call or email before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796
Email - royalasiatickorea@gmail.com

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