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Journeys Six Senses Bhutan

Eight-Night Khamsa: Thimphu, Punakha and Paro Valleys

Travel back in time and take 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 meet you upon arrival and accompany you on your khamsa ‘royal stroll’ through the Kingdom, sharing insights into the culture, history and local life of each valley as you go.

Discover the country’s breathtaking natural beauty, meet and mingle with our Bhutanese friends as you embrace the philosophy of a nation that is guided by the principles of ‘Gross National Happiness’. Our khamsas are designed with just the right balance of meaningful encounters & experiences in mind along with a healthy dose of fun.

The following is only a guideline. Your GEM will help to tailor 9-day Bhutan itinerary to your needs and interests to suit each day.

 

Day 1

Paro Airport - Six Senses Thimphu “Palace in the Sky”

After arriving at Paro International Airport, your journey begins with a one-hour drive to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital. At an altitude of 7,700 ft (2,200 meters), Thimphu lies in a steep valley and is the only city in the world without a single traffic light.

Settle in at Six Senses Thimphu situated at 9,040 feet (2,755 meters) for a day on the property’s 15 acres as you adjust to the altitude. The lodge is situated high above the valley floor, overlooking apple orchards and young pine forests. With captivating views over the Buddha Dordenma, the world’s tallest seated Buddha, the location provides a perfect escape from the capital and yet is close enough to explore its many attractions. Take a dip in the indoor pool, walk around the lodge’s grounds or relax on your balcony.

Dine outdoors at our sunken terrace and sample some of the delectable dishes prepared by our team of chefs. Made with organic ingredients picked fresh from our own gardens, our menus are tasty, healthy and inspired by our Eat With Six Senses philosophy.

If energy levels allow, visit the 52-meter Buddha Dordenma statue in Thimphu. Step inside and discover the 125,000 smaller Buddhas. You can opt for a gentle hike to Changangkha Lhakhang to walk off your jetlag.

Visit Six Senses Spa for a relaxing Jet Lag Massage or one of the many other therapies on offer and ease into your stay. (All suggested spa therapies are optional and may be booked in advance through our reservations department)

Day 2

Six Senses Thimphu “Palace in the Sky”

Start your first full morning in Bhutan with a rejuvenating wellness activity at the spa. There is a rotating schedule of join-in activities such as yoga and meditation available each morning.

After breakfast, head out with your guide for a day of touring around the valley. Visit local sites including the Simply Bhutan Museum, Zorig Chusom (The National Institute for 13 Arts and Crafts) and the National Textile Museum before strolling through town to visit local artisan shops. Join Thimphu residents for koras, circumambulations, at the Memorial Chorten.

End the day at Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu’s impressive fortress housing the throne room and offices of His Majesty the King as well as the head of the country’s religious order. 

If time allows, take a quick hike upon returning to the lodge to Lungsigang, a simple but charming picnic spot for late afternoon tea served with a selection of Bhutanese snacks. (Optional, see Activities Menu for pricing)

Day 3

Six Senses Thimphu “Palace in the Sky” – Six Senses Punakha “Flying Farmhouse”

Begin your travels to Punakha with a stop at iconic Dochula Pass, which on clear days offers stunning views of the Himalayan range. Take a moment to pause during your journey for circumambulations of the 108 hillside chortens.

Descend from the pass into lush, subtropical Punakha valley with its charming farmhouses and terraced rice fields.

From the bridge you can opt to indulge in late afternoon pomegranate martinis riverside in a rice field with the impressive dzong as a backdrop. Watch the sun set and snack on local delicacies like fresh spring rolls and dzao, (popped Bhutanese rice). (Optional, see Activities Menu for pricing)

Relax after checking in at Six Senses Punakha’s cozy ‘Flying Farmhouse’ a cantilevered wooden structure that serves as a lounge with gorgeous views over the lodge’s heated swimming pool and terraced rice fields below. Our lowest lodge sits at 5,140 feet (1,565 meters).

Day 4

Six Senses Punakha “Flying Farmhouse”

Hike across the valley to a monastery to join the young novice monks for a traditional monastic breakfast. Afterwards, spend some time engaging with them and the chief abbot to learn more about their daily lives. (Breakfast is optional on a donation basis and starts at 8:30 am. See Activities Menu for pricing)

On the way back to the lodge stop off to at a farmhouse to sample homemade ara (Bhutanese moonshine). Have lunch poolside at Six Senses Punakha. Our Bhutanese Thali set is highly recommended!

In the afternoon, cross the country’s longest suspension bridge on foot before visiting Punakha Dzong, one of the Kingdom’s most impressive. Located at the junction of the Pho Chhu (father) and Mo Chhu (mother) rivers, the dzong’s majestic structure stands six stories high.

Day 5

Six Senses Punakha “Flying Farmhouse”

Your day starts with a gentle bike ride alongside the river or a hike from the riverbank to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a temple built by Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon to bring peace to the world.

Continue by car to Talo Nobgang village, the village in which the four Queen Mothers grew up, to visit a meditation center for nuns and Nobgang Monastery. You can also choose to bike part of the way to Talo village.

Visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple to learn about Drukpa Kinley, the revered ‘Divine Madman’ of Buddhist ‘crazy wisdom.’ The adjacent village is renowned for its graphic phallus paintings on its homes and shops in honor of the saint.

Back at the lodge, visit Six Senses Spa for a shirodhara session, a stress-releasing treatment that involves pouring a stream of warm oil over the third eye to soothe and calm the nervous system. (All suggested spa therapies are optional and may be booked in advance through our reservations team.

Day 6

Six Senses Punakha “Flying Farmhouse” – Six Senses Paro “Stone Ruins”

This morning re-trace your steps to Paro on the East-West Highway. On your descent into Thimphu, stop at Simtokha Dzong, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, and a serene stop off point along your route. After, visit the three stupas at Chuzom Bridge featuring distinct Bhutanese, Tibetan and Nepali style architecture.

Rinpung Dzong greets you on your arrival into Paro town. Visit the fortress before crossing Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilevered bridge. Stop at the Paro National Museum, displaying a collection of fascinating Bhutanese relics.

On your way to the lodge, stop at a local farmhouse for lunch with a Bhutanese family. (Optional, see Activities Menu for pricing)

Check into Six Senses Paro. Six Senses Paro is situated at an elevation of 9,415 feet or 2,870 meters, next to the ruins of a 15th century fortress. The stone ruins and breathtaking views of the valley below provide a dramatic backdrop to your stay. Challenge your guide and driver to an onsite game of archery, Bhutan’s national sport, before spending the remainder of the day at leisure.

Day 7

Six Senses Paro “Stone Ruins”

One of the most significant monasteries in Bhutan, a hike to Taktsang Goemba, better known as Tiger’s Nest, is an iconic pilgrimage for visitors to the Kingdom. Your guide will delight you with stories of Guru Rinpoche, an 8th century Tibetan saint who arrived on the spot where the monastery is located on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to the region. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. 

Along the way before Paro town, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, a 7th-century temple nearby with two magical orange trees that bear fruit throughout the year.

After returning to the lodge, take a dip in the pool or visit Six Senses Spa for a pampering Marma massage to relax and rejuvenate after a strenuous day of activity. (All suggested spa therapies are optional and may be booked in advance through the reservations team)

Day 8

Six Senses Paro “Stone Ruins”

Start your morning with a join-in wellness activity at the spa.

Head downhill to Paro town by foot, following the local trail through pine forests with stops along the way at the local meditation center, Goemdra and nearby fortress, Zurig Dzong.

Stroll Paro town’s charming main street lined with shops selling handicrafts and local restaurants.

In the evening, visit our neighboring Samtenling Monastery for a Buddhist blessing ceremony where you light 108 butter lamps to share your blessings with all sentient beings, a fitting and auspicious way to bring your time in Bhutan to a close. (Optional, see Activities Menu for pricing and details)

For a truly memorable experience, dine under a canopy of stars next to the ruins for our Chubjakha Ruins Regales dinner. Dress in the national dress as you enjoy live music, folk dances and a traditional Bhutanese menu cooked on an outdoor stone grill. (Optional, see Activities Menu for pricing and details)

Day 9

Six Senses Paro “Stone Ruins” – Paro Airport

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

Some Thoughts ...

Consider this three-valley khamsa as a starting point to your time in the Kingdom. It offers a mix of some of Bhutan’s not-to-be missed sites as well as visits to lesser known places.

We have designed it to encourage you to participate and to interact in meaningful ways with the people you meet along the way. Every part of your journey can be customized, and we will be delighted to suggest activities and experiences to match your interests.

*Please note that some of the activities we have included in this program are optional with additional charges. This will all be clearly explained to you.

To book Six Senses Bhutan Fifteen-Night Khamsa, please contact the reservations team directly at reservations-bhutan@sixsenses.com.

Reservation inquiry

The Eight-Night Khamsa Journey includes the following:

  • Eight nights’ accommodation (two nights in Thimphu, three nights in Punakha and three nights in Paro)
  • Full board as described in the program including non-alcoholic beverages
  • Private Six Senses GEM guide, driver, and vehicle throughout your journey
  • Entrance to all sites, monuments and museums as described in the itinerary

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