dcsimg Eight-night journey - Six Senses Bhutan

Eight-night journey - Six Senses Bhutan

Eight-night journey

Thimphu, Punakha and Paro

Travel back in time and be mesmerized by Bhutan’s breathtaking landscape, a journey that few people have had the opportunity to experience. Druk Yul, Bhutan’s official name, is known as the land of the Dragon People with a rich cultural heritage that has largely remained hidden until its recent emergence onto the world stage. Your Six Senses GEM (Guest Experience Maker) will greet you as you exit the airport’s arrival hall and will accompany you for the rest of your fascinating eight-night journey. Embrace the Kingdom’s natural beauty, mingle with the local people and understand why this country is referred to as the “Happiest Place on Earth”.

Six Senses Bhutan - Rich forested mountains

Rich forested mountains

Day 1: Six Senses Thimphu “Palace in the Sky”

  • Morning arrival at Paro Airport

  • Drive to Thimphu

  • Arrival to Six Senses Thimphu

  • Light lunch at the lodge

  • Acclimatize with an afternoon by the pool and yoga session

  • Short walk around the lodge’s apple orchard

  • Dinner

Your journey begins with a drive to Thimphu, the capital and largest city in the country. At an altitude of 7,710 feet (2,350 meters), the capital lies in a steep valley surrounded by rich forested mountains dotted with ancient monasteries and lhakhangs (temples), and to this day, it remains the only capital in the world without traffic lights.

After checking in to Six Senses Thimphu, enjoy a light lunch as you acclimatize to the altitude change. We recommend minor activities so as not to overexert your body. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the swimming pool while enjoying the captivating view of Thimphu Valley and a glimpse across to the giant Buddha Dordenma standing 170 feet (52 meters) tall. Stretch your muscles with a yoga session and take a short walk around the lodge’s apple orchard.

Six Senses Bhutan - Tashichho Dzong

Tashichho Dzong

Day 2: Six Senses Thimphu “Palace in the Sky”

  • Breakfast at your leisure

  • Visit the Buddha Dordenma (Buddha Point)

  • Continue to Changangkha Lhakhang

  • Visit the National Textile Museum

  • Lunch at a local restaurant, light shopping, and carry on to Folk Heritage Museum

  • Depart to Pangri Zampa Lhakhang and Thimphu Dzong

  • Return to lodge for seasonal refreshments on the Lobby Patio by the fire or relax along the lodge’s reflecting ponds

  • Royal Bhutanese Dinner

Rise to the Thimphu morning and enjoy a hearty breakfast, as well as the view of Buddha Dordenma, one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. After your meal, we pay a visit to Buddha Point for a much closer view. Housed inside the statue are thousands of smaller bronze buddhas ranging from eight to twelve inches tall. Once done, proceed to Changangkha Lhakhang, perched on a ridge above central Thimphu, which was established back in the 12th century. Continue to the National Textile Museum which holds a substantial amount of textile artifacts that are exclusive to Bhutan. There is an opportunity for you to learn about the traditional art of thagzo (weaving).

Lunch can be arranged, depending on your culinary preferences, at several local eateries. A number of shops are also scattered throughout Thimphu to satisfy your shopping desires. Once satisfied, proceed to the Folk Heritage Museum, where you gain insights into Bhutanese life through the recreated settings of traditional households. Carry on towards Pangri Zampa Lhakhang, a 16th century monastic school of astrology that is located north of the valley and learn basic anecdotes about Zhabdrung, the unifier of Bhutan. After honing your clairvoyance skills, proceed to Thimphu Dzong (fortress), the traditional seat of the Druk Desi, head of Bhutan’s civil government. Also known as Tashichho Dzong, it presently houses the throne room and offices of the Druk Gyalpo (the Dragon King of Bhutan). You may also enjoy the illuminated dzong from a distance in the evening before returning to the lodge for dinner. Relax and enjoy the facilities of your “Palace in the Sky” while further acclimating.

Six Senses Bhutan - Chortens at Dochula Pass

Chortens at Dochula Pass

Day 3: Six Senses Punakha “Flying Farmhouse Amidst Rice Fields”

  • Sunrise breakfast at the lodge’s Apple Shed

  • Blessing ceremony at the Prayer Pavilion before departing for Punakha

  • Stop at Dochula Pass and see the 108 chortens and views of the Himalayan mountains during clear weather

  • Arrival to Six Senses Punakha    

  • Light lunch to appease your appetite

  • Try out one of our spa treatments at our Spa Village

  • Afternoon relaxation by the pool or try the traditional sport of archery

  • Health orientated dinner menu of your choice

Have an early breakfast at the lodge’s Apple Shed and savor the enchanting sunrise in Thimphu. Before leaving for Punakha, receive prayers and blessings from our Six Senses Resident Monk at the lodge’s Prayer Pavilion for protection to ward off evil spirits. An early departure is recommended on a clear sunny day so as to capture dramatic views of the Himalayan peaks at Dochula Mountain Pass. At a height of 10,000 feet (3,050 meters), there are striking cloud-capped valley views and 108 hillside chortens (Buddhist shrines), while colorful prayer flags add a special dimension to the vicinity. Continuing your adventure, we descend into Punakha Valley. Because of the warmer climate, owing to the lower altitude of 4,265 feet (1,300 meters), Punakha is the preferred winter happiness destination for many Bhutanese. After your two-and-a-half-hour transfer, arrive at the Six Senses Punakha and have a light late lunch.  Select from one of the spa treatments at the lodge’s Spa, then choose to relax by the swimming pool or test and improve your archery skills with your GEM.  You may also learn about the history of Drukpa Kuenley, known as Punakha’s “Divine Madman” while being captivated by the lodge’s view of Punakha Valley from the library or Living Room. Select from the delicious items featured on the dinner menu and enjoy the other facilities of the lodge.

Six Senses Bhutan - Punakha

Six Senses Punakha

Day 4: Six Senses Punakha “Flying Farmhouse Amidst Rice Fields”

  • Morning dip and poolside breakfast

  • Hike to Chorten Ningpo towards Khabasa Village

  • Visit Punakha Dzong and suspension bridge

  • Return to lodge for meditation and late afternoon relaxation

  • Dinner at the lodge on the patio

Your Punakha adventure continues with a hike to Chorten Ningpo, which dates back to the 17th century. Here you can discover a statue of the Maitreya, the future Buddha, with images trailing the lineage of the great lamas (gurus) and the story of the blazing log thrown by the “Divine Madman”. Continue to Khabasa Village where a small Buddhist educational institution was founded and in AD 2005 started housing orphans and began teaching Buddhist scriptures, as well as Western subjects.

Enjoy a picnic lunch, then head onward to visit Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungtang Dechen Phodrang Dzong, which means “the Palace of Great Happiness”. This well-preserved fortress serves as the administrative center of Punakha District. Located at the junction of Pho (father) Chhu (river) and Mo (mother) Chhu in the Punakha-Wangdue Valleys, its majestic structure stands six stories high and was constructed as an embodiment of Buddhist values. Return to the lodge to relax, meditate, and also experience a refreshing footbath at the spa. Complete the evening with dinner and drinks while savoring the beautiful view from the Farmhouse patio.

Six Senses Bhutan - Bhutanese children

Bhutanese children

Day 5: Six Senses Punakha “Flying Farmhouse Amidst Rice Fields”

  • Breakfast at leisure

  • Bicycle ride along the river valley with a picnic break on the riverside

  • Drive to Talo Nobgang Village and Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery

  • Proceed to Chimi Lhakhang

  • Return to lodge for yoga session and footbath

  • Relaxation and dinner

Start your day with a bicycle ride along the river valley discovering the natural beauty of Punakha.  A special picnic lunch is arranged for you on the riverside as you rest. After your meal, enjoy the ride to Talo Nobgang Village and visit Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery, a meditation center for nuns and Nobgang Monastery, former residence of a famous Tibetan lama.  Talo is also the birthplace of the Kingdom’s four Queen Mothers. 

Continue the afternoon by proceeding to Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple built in AD 1499 dedicated to the “Divine Madman”. This walk is renowned as a pilgrimage for couples planning to start a family and hoping to receive a blessing from the saint.  Return to the lodge for an afternoon yoga session or perhaps rejuvenate with a relaxing footbath at the spa.  Continue to unwind with the gorgeous view of Punakha Valley from the library or Living Room before having dinner at your convenience.

Six Senses Bhutan - Paro main facilities

Six Senses Paro

Day 6: Six Senses Paro “Stone Ruins”

  • Early breakfast

  • Depart from Punakha, traveling through the Dochula Pass to Simtokha Dzong

  • Proceed down to Chuzom Bridge then head north to Paro.

  • Lunch at a local restaurant

  • Visit Rinpung Dzong

  • Cross a bridge trail over Paro Chhu and proceed to Paro National Museum

  • Arrive at Six Senses Paro

  • Enjoy light refreshments in the Living Room followed by a Bhutanese set menu dinner

After breakfast, retrace the path back to Paro by heading westward to Dochula Mountain Pass towards Simtokha Dzong, the first dzong in the Kingdom, built in AD 1629 and which houses an old clay statue of Buddha together with beautiful wall paintings. Continue down to Chuzom (confluence of rivers) Bridge between Wang Chhu and Pha Chhu, and view three nearby shrines featuring Bhutanese, Tibetan and Nepali architecture. Arriving in Paro, you may have lunch at one of the local restaurants then visit Rinpung Dzong which directly translates as a fortress with heaps of jewels. This dzong is a great example of historic Bhutanese architecture and is also where the annual Paro Tshechu (festival) is held.

When leaving the dzong you may enjoy a short downhill walk to Nyamai Zampa (traditional cantilever bridge) built in AD 1525 to connect the dzong with Paro town. Cross a bridge trail over Paro Chhu and proceed to Paro National Museum, which displays an impressive collection of ancient and modern thangkas (Tibetan Buddhist paintings on cotton) and a heritage gallery which houses a number of unique relics as well as a collection of fearsome festival masks grouped according to their corresponding tshechu dances. Head over to Six Senses Paro to check-in and take in the stunning views of Paro Valley. Enjoy light refreshments in the Living Room and review the selection of books at the library. Complete your evening with a Bhutanese set menu dinner.

Six Senses Bhutan - Paro spa treatment room

Spa treatment room at Six Senses Paro

Day 7: Six Senses Paro “Stone Ruins”

  • Breakfast at your leisure

  • Enjoy a relaxing stroll through the lodge’s apple orchards

  • Hike to Jele Dzong

  • Light picnic lunch

  • Return to the lodge for an afternoon spa treatment

  • Dinner is a specially-prepared Indian menu

After a good night’s sleep, start your day with a relaxing stroll around the lodge which is surrounded by apple orchards and pine forests. You may continue your walk by hiking to Jele Dzong, a small fortress built strategically on a ridge back in the early 16th century to cater to travelers journeying between Paro and Thimphu. On a clear day, the northerly mountain views are truly stunning.  This route is also frequented by nomads and yak herders during various times of the year. Your GEM will prepare a light picnic lunch for you before returning to the lodge for an afternoon spa treatment, preparing yourself for the following day’s adventure. Relaxing by the swimming pool or joining an afternoon yoga session are both wonderful options to consider. For a culinary change, there’s a delicious Indian menu for dinner before proceeding to relax beneath the star-filled sky.

Six Senses Bhutan - Tiger's Nest

Tiger's Nest

Day 8: Six Senses Paro “Stone Ruins”

  • Early breakfast followed by a hike to Taktsang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest)

  • Lunch can be arranged in Paro town, either with a picnic or at a local restaurant

  • Visit the Kyichu Lhakhang and light a butter lamp offering

  • Return to the lodge for afternoon meditation

  • Dinner at your convenience or destination dining by the ruins, weather permitting

Your day begins with an energy boosting breakfast before departing to see one of the most significant landmarks and cultural icons of the Kingdom, Taktsang Goemba (monastery), known as Tiger’s Nest. This highly revered monastery was built on a sheer cliff face roughly 2,950 feet (900 meters) above Paro Valley and is visible from the valley floor. Your GEM will hike up with you to the monastery and share stories of its history. Enjoy the wonderful scenery through pine forests that are colorfully decorated with moss and prayer flags. During cooler weather, clouds often shroud the monastery, highlighting its sanctity and remoteness.

For lunch, a picnic can be arranged or you may opt to dine at a local restaurant in Paro town followed by some last-minute shopping. If energy levels permit, visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, a 7th century sanctuary that is an absolute gem for historians and art connoisseurs. It is said to have two magical orange trees that bear fruit throughout the year. Return to the lodge for an afternoon meditation, swimming pool dip or a spa treatment after the long hike. A unique venue for your final Bhutan experience is dinner by the stone ruins of a 12th century dzong, which can be arranged at your convenience by your GEM. Dress in traditional Bhutanese attire and enjoy the enchanting atmosphere with candles casting shadows on the stone ruin walls, live musician, private folk dances and a meal fit for royalty.

Six Senses Bhutan - Yaks

Yaks in Bhutan

Day 9:

  • Breakfast at your leisure

  • Finalize your packing, check out and depart for the airport

Although it is sad to leave the “Happiest Place on Earth”, an early morning departure is necessary since all flights depart in the morning. After an early breakfast, your 30-minute transfer to the airport will be arranged by your GEM to coordinate with your flight schedule.

Six Senses Bhutan - Prayer wheels in Bhutan

Prayer wheels in Bhutan

Some Thoughts ...

Eight-night journey is an itinerary with some suggested activities that we cherish as our special jewels. It is important that you experience things of personal interest, so please share with us what aspects of Bhutan you’re most curious about, whether it’s the cultural, natural, or spiritual beauty and we would be delighted to suggest a tailored approach for your visit.

Some of the activities we have included in this program do have an additional charge and we will clearly explain this to you. 

Aside from the experiences that we have included, there are many other hidden treasures to discover within Thimphu, Punakha and Paro Valleys. We have further signature experiences to share with you depending on your interests and have prepared a directory of guest offerings for each valley, which we are happy to share.

Our objective is to nourish your soul and open the door of discovery to connect with this amazing Himalayan Kingdom we call home. We have designed your itineraries with a sense of time to encourage you to participate in the Bhutanese life, not view it from the vehicle’s window. Most importantly, one should not rush through life’s treasures, so we’d love you to return to discover more.

To book Six Senses Bhutan Eight-night Journey, please contact the reservations department directly at reservations-bhutan@sixsenses.com.

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