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IVY x Bhutan
Bhutan may seem like the stuff of legend. The truth is that most of the stories you heard growing up simply weren’t that interesting. In a land where compassion and wisdom are critical benchmarks and the King rules by “Gross National Happiness," we will encounter both the mystic Himalayas and the indelible kindness of the Bhutanese people.
In the locales of Paro, Haa, Thimphu, and Punakha, we will partake in the The Land of Happiness and the Thunder Dragon’s ancient and harmonious traditions, taking in the truly singular culture with an itinerary focused on spirituality, wellness, arts, and environmental conservation. We will stay in intimate hotels and on private grounds owned by nation builders, receiving a standard of high-end hospitality unrivaled in the Kingdom, and rarely seen by outsiders. Each day’s rich slate of activities will allow us to experience Bhutan the way it was meant to be — against the backdrop of nature's majesty and in outstanding company.
Day 1, Sunday, November 4th
Paro : No Surprise It’s called The Land of Happiness
- After a breathtaking descent through the Himalayas into the Paro Valley, you'll be greeted at the airport by your expedition leader. And then we’re off!
- Together we'll explore the seventeenth-century Rinpung Dzong monastery and fortress. Witness monks performing a ceremonial blessing, explore the traditional Bhutanese architecture, and tour the National Museum.
- This afternoon, members will have the opportunity to meet the local Bhutanese, visit shops, and snack on local fare during a walking tour of Paro.
- The evening will be spent at the sprawling, eight-acre Tashi Namgay Resort to enjoy a traditional hot stone bath after a big first day (additional spa services will be available à la carte!).
- After our first meal at the resort, members will enjoy late-night drinks at Namgay Artisanal Brewery with Dorji Gyeltshen, the brewery’s founder and pioneer in Bhutanese craft beer. Here, you will enjoy an à la carte selection of Bhutanese beer and premium regional whisky.
- Tired? No worries, our accommodations are three minutes away alongside the calming Paro river.
Day 2, Monday, November 5th
Tiger’s Nest: Iconic Landmark
- Breakfast time! Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel with both traditional Bhutanese and Western fixings (everything from pancakes and cereal to chili cheese).
- We’ll start the day with a relaxing private group morning yoga session, followed by a hike to Taktsang Lhakhang, the “Tiger’s Nest” -- Bhutan’s most famous landmark. Perched on the side of a majestic cliff, by a magical crystal waterfall, Taktsang will surely take your breath away.
- After defeating a troublesome local demon in the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche spent months here in meditation. Upon reaching the peak, IVY will also be guided in a private meditation at this famous monastery.
- We’ll enjoy packed lunches outside the monastery before trekking back. On the way down, we'll visit the ancient Kyichu Lhakhang. Legend has it that in the 7th century, a demoness was discovered to be preventing the spread of Buddhism. In an effort to thwart her efforts, King Songtsen Gampo pinned her in place by building 108 magically constructed temples. Paro’s Kyichu Lhakhang holds her left foot in place!
- Thankfully we won’t be pinned down. Following the descent, we will spend our evening appreciating a private cultural performance of music, masks, and dance.
Day 3, Tuesday, November 6th
Haa : Nomadic Life in the Last Village
- After a tasty Bhutanese breakfast, we will set off to Haa. On our way, we will take a quick walk along the ridge at Chelela Pass – Bhutan’s highest motor pass. Here we will take in impressive (to say the least) views of the Tibetan-Bhutanese mountain range and Mount Jomolhari. At 13,000 feet, we’ll pass thousands of prayer flags in green, blue, yellow, white and red snapping ceaselessly to bless all sentient beings. Keep your eye out for yaks!
- We'll have the rare opportunity to explore the untouched trails and isolated villages of Haa. As mystical as it is remote, the town is known to be one of the homes to the Yeti — a creature revered and omnipresent in folklore, and as some villagers say, daily life. Stay alert! There have been sightings.
- After a full day of treks to villages and old temples (Nagpo and Karpo Lhakhangs) steeped in legend, witness a majestic light show as the sun sets behind Meri Puensum.
- We’ll conclude the day by cooking and eating homemade Bhutanese food together in a Ugyen Doley’s farmhouse, relaxing afterward in a rustic homemade hot stone bath, absorbing the silence of the high Himalayas.
Day 4, Wednesday, November 7th
Punakha: Majesty and Serenity
- After an authentic Haa Valley, local farmhouse breakfast, which includes buckwheat pancakes and hoentay (buckwheat momos with turnip), we will set out for the beautiful Punakha Valley.
- On our way, we’ll engage in a riveting fly-fishing session for trout in the spiraling river that heads from Bhutan’s high glaciers to its southern jungles. This experience is so rare that we will be securing a special permit months in advance!
- Once we arrive in the Punakha region, we will revel in the tantalizing flavors and authentic cuisine at a local haunt. Afterward, we’ll take some time to appreciate the splendors of the ancient Punakha Dzong at the heart of the valley before enjoying a relaxing nature hike to Khamsum Yuelley Lhakang.
- Here we will explore the Divine Madman's Chimi Lhakhang, marking the spot where the sage Drupka Kunley defeated a much-feared demoness using his “flaming thunderbolt.” Today, this hilltop Ihakhang is visited by expecting mothers and families with newborns to pray for their children’s health.
- That evening, we’ll feast traditional Bhutanese food or Indian Continental cuisine and sleep in luxury at the Dhensa Boutique Resort, which overlooks the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu — the famed "Mother" and "Father" rivers of the valley.
Day 5, Thursday, November 8th
Punakha: Adventure & ‘Glamping’
- Awake to a range of cuisines with a chef that is happy to tailor the breakfast menu to your tastes — or dig into the buffet!
- We’ve got a full plate today, and will explore Punakha Valley's suspension bridge and small villages, the longest of its kind in Bhutan. Afterward, you’ll have the option of either biking through Punakha Valley or visiting one of Bhutan’s few nunneries. We’ll close out the afternoon together in an exhilarating white water rafting experience (class ii) down the Mo Chhu river.
- The activities are far from over. Enjoy a regal soirée of horseback riding, archery, dining, and partying on the private grounds of one of Bhutan's most influential nation builders. Talk about the “royal treatment” — with a delicious meal to boot!
- Finding a delicious Bhutanese bottle of wine in your tent, you’ll kiss your eyelids goodnight in luxury glamping under the stars beside the river on the grounds. For those of you less interested in a rugged outdoor experience, fear not! We’re talking elegantly draped (real) beds, heating units, and electric lighting.
Day 6, Friday, November 9th
Thimphu: Relationships that Span the Globe
- Uma by COMO will cater breakfast on the palace grounds. Yum!
- During our drive to Thimphu, we will stop at Dochula to visit the chortens and lhakhang. Be sure to take in the superb views of the Himalayas.
- Lunch will be at the local Babesa Village – delight in red rice with ema datsi, chilies in a creamy cheese sauce, sikam paa, shakam paa, pork ribs, loaf fry, noodles, and fried spinach.
- The afternoon will be spent with an intellectual and cultural immersion at Parizampa Astrology Center, followed by a personal tour of the Royal Bhutan Gene Bank and Biodiversity Center led by Dr. Ugyen Tshewang, Bhutan’s biodiversity pioneer.
- We’ll then head to Dr. Ugyen's house for a delicious dinner. His wife will cook a traditional meal with only organic food from her backyard, complete with three varietals of homemade ará rice wine. Some of the nation's finest builders and visionaries will accompany you for dinner, including Dasho Tshering Dorji (National Council), Kuenga Wangmo (a leading archaeologist) and Dr. Saamdu (Centre for Gross National Happiness).
- We’ll conclude the day by taking advantage of Thimphu’s vibrant nightlife (visiting Mojo’s, Space, and Viva City) before finishing the evening at the luxurious Terma Linca Resort and Spa.
Day 7, Saturday, November 10th
Bhutan: To Lasting Memories in the Land of Happiness and Thunder
- Enjoy a buffet breakfast (Western, Bhutanese and Indian) at Terma Linca. This morning we’ll bid Bhutan farewell, and our expedition leader will take us over to the airport in Paro. It won't be easy leaving Bhutan, but after the trip we will have head, we’re sure this will be "see you later," instead of a "goodbye."
Payment Terms & Conditions
|Final Payment||$8,995||Charged the Friday following your RSVP|
|Total Trip Cost||$9,990|
- Round trip economy flight ticket from Bangkok, Thailand to Paro, Bhutan
- All guides, vehicles and drivers
- All government visas
- All meals, drinks, and activities listed on the itinerary (unless otherwise specified)
- Shared accommodations; a limited number of single rooms are available for an additional cost of $795, charged immediately upon request
- All in-country transportation for included activities
- Travel Insurance
Members are Responsible For:
- Airfare to and from Bangkok Airport.
- Any meals, drinks, and activities NOT listed on the itinerary
IVY Travel Terms & Conditions
IVY Booking Policies
- Your deposit must be paid immediately upon booking (refundable where canceled within 24 hours of booking)
- 100% of the total cost of the booking must be paid by the first Friday following your reservation
- All payments will be charged to the default card on your IVY account, any failed payments may result in your reservation being forfeited
IVY Cancelation Policies
- If canceling within 24 hours of placing your booking you will receive a full refund of your deposit
- Cancellation after this period incurs cancellation fees
- All payments are non-transferable
Cancelation Fees (as a percentage of total trip cost)
If you cancel...
- Within the first 24 hours of RSVP – deposit is fully refundable
- From 24 hours after RSVP until the final payment is charged – deposit is non-refundable
- Thereafter, until 60 days before trip (9/5/18) – the cancelation fee is 40%
- Thereafter, until 30 days before trip (10/5/18) – the cancelation fee is 70%
- After 10/6/18 - the cancelation fee is 100% (ie. non-refundable)
*All room supplements are non-refundable once requested and paid*
|CANCELLATION FEE BREAKDOWN|
|If Cancellation Date is...||Within 24 Hrs of your RSVP||Up until the first Friday following your RSVP||Up until 60 days before trip departure
|Up until 30 days before trip departure
|Less than 30 days before trip departure
|Trip Start Date 11/4/2018|
(% of total trip cost)
|Total Amount Paid to Date:||$995||$995||$9,990||$9,990||$9,990|
*Cancellation fees are based on a % of total trip cost
*All room supplements are non-refundable once requested and paid
Are Guests Allowed?
- YES! We are able to accommodate a limited number of guests for this trip. Please email us at email@example.com if you are interested in bringing a guest and we will be happy to expedite the membership process to get your guest on the list for the trip
What is the Accommodation Situation?
- Shared Occupancy: This trip includes double occupancy accommodations, you will be assigned a roommate of the same gender
- Requesting a Roommate: Please indicate on your reservation or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to request a roommate
- Single Room Supplements: A limited number of single rooms are available for $349 upon request, supplements are charged immediately and are non-refundable and non-transferable
Why is Airfare not included?
- Airfare is an added cost due to the varied home destinations of travelers. If you need help reserving a flight please reach out to the IVY Flight Concierge with your ideal dates, airports & departure times via email@example.com
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