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Gay Group Trip: Bhutan Highlights

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The mountain kingdom of Bhutan remains one of the old world’s last few strongholds, as yet unspoiled by civilization. In the charmed isolation of the Himalayan heights, Bhutan’s ancient and alluring ways of Mahayana Buddhism continue richly intact to this day, and permeate every aspect of Bhutanese life and culture.

time difference


5 hours ahead of the UK

flight time


16 hours direct from UK

Available Dates : 5th October 2018

Day 1 - Paro

Arrive at Paro International Airport. Meet and greet by a our airport representative and enjoy a scenic drive to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan.

In the afternoon we'll check in at Taj Tashi Hotel and enjoy a relaxing lunch. After lunch we will visit King's Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who wanted to erect monument to promote world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after the King's untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the late King and as a monument to peace.

Then we visit to the Trashichhoedzong, “fortress of the glorious religion”; This is the center of government and religion, the site of the monarch’s throne room, and seat of 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 plans).

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Day 2 - Thimphu

After breakfast we take an excursion to Tango Goemba. The picturesque three-storey tower and several surrounding buildings were built in the 18th century by the eighth Desi, Druk Rabgye and Shabdrung Jigme Chogyal added the golden roof in the 19th century. Enjoy a one hour walk through shaded rhododendron forests to reach the monastery situated north of Thimphu. We then return to hotel for lunch.

After lunch we visit the National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts; The Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. Later visit Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese material culture and living traditions.

Later on we visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops to browse through examples of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, and other interesting items made from local materials. We then have a cooking demonstration with a Chef from Thimphu who will explain about Bhutanese delicacies and their preparation.

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Day 3 - Ta Dzong

In the morning we take a scenic drive to Paro, check-in at hotel where we will enjoy a spot of lunch.

After lunch we visit Ta Dzong, originally built as a watchtower, it now houses a national museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Then we walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”, which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount Sumeru, and other cosmic Mandala.

We will have a unique opportunity to visit with a local Bhutanese family - learning about their customs and ways of life, while enjoying coffee and tea within their traditional home.

Day 4 - Taktsang Monastery

Today we have a fantastic walking excursion to Taktsang Monastery. It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff almost 3000 feet above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called "Tiger’s Nest". This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. In 1998 a fire severely damaged the main structure of building, but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendor.

After lunch at the hotel we drive to Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, "mountain of goddess'' can be seen in all her glory from the road approaching the Dzong. Along the way, we visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The construction of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Day 5 - Departure

After our final breakfast you are free to depart at your own leisure.

Travel Info

It's important to be up-to-date with the latest travel advice to Bhutan and the laws in every destination.

LGBT RIGHTS IN Bhutan The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth office provides information to LGBT travellers through its 'Travel Aware' campaign.

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Out Of Office in partnership with Equaldex LGBT travel laws

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