Day 1 | April 15. Depart for Bangkok, Thailand.
Day 2 | April 16. Bangkok, Thailand
Upon arrival, transfer to the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok.
Day 3 | April 17. Bangkok
Excursion: Highlights of Bangkok. Cruise along Bangkok’s canals and discover the landmarks of Thailand’s vibrant capital. Stop for photos at Wat Arun, and stroll through a local market to the Grand Palace. Visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the world-famous Wat Pho, home to the massive Reclining Buddha.
Local Flavor: Savor royal Thai cuisine at the renowned Blue Elephant restaurant, set in a colonial mansion.
Independent Exploration: After lunch, explore Bangkok at your leisure or relax and enjoy the amenities of your luxurious hotel. In the evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome reception at the hotel.
Day 4 | April 17. Bangkok / Thimphu, Bhutan
Fly to Paro. Upon arrival, transfer to Thimphu and check in to the Hotel Druk.
Excursion: Thimphu. Discover the wonders of Bhutan’s capital, the most modern city in the country. Go inside the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, an art school where local culture intertwines with Buddhist teachings. In Motithang, meet Bhutan’s national animal, a rare creature called a takin, and listen for barking deer. As evening falls, step inside the lovely Tashichho Dzong, Bhutan’s seat of government since 1952. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, this fortified monastery presently houses the throne room and offices of the king.
Day 5 | April 18. Thimphu
Excursion: Bhutanese Cultural Sites. Begin the day beneath the golden spires of the iconic Memorial Chorten, which means “seat of faith,” where locals spin prayer wheels and conduct their daily worship. Step back a century into the Folk Heritage Museum, situated in a mud-and-timber farmhouse. See leopard-skin bags, a traditional noodle press and locals preparing age-old dishes. Visit a small handmade paper factory, then take in the panoramic views from the Dupthop Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s last surviving nunneries.
Educational Focus: Dasho Sangay Wangchug. Gain a deeper understanding of Bhutan’s recent history and proud national identity as well as its relationships with neighboring countries during a discussion with a Royal Family Council member.
Day 6| April 19. Thimphu
Excursion: Lhakhangs and Phodrangs. Study Bhutan’s distinctive architecture and Buddhist heritage on a full-day excursion to ancient temples. Take in the views at Changangkha Lhakhang, where parents go to bless their children, and Dechenphodrang, the busy state monastic school humming with hundreds of chanting students. Admire Kuenselphodrang, home to the gigantic Buddha Dordenma. From this sacred site, get a bird’s-eye view of Thimphu and the surrounding lush mountains. This evening, join monks, nomadic farmers and Bhutanese businessmen as they stroll down High Street. Meander through colorful shops and the craft bazaar, which proudly sells only authentic Bhutanese products.
Day 7 | April 20. Thimphu / Punakha
Depart for Punakha, Bhutan’s winter capital. En route, visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress in Bhutan, built in 1629. Then see the Druk Wangyal Chortens, a unique cluster of 108 chortens set against a 360-degree panorama of the Himalayas’ snow capped peaks.
Excursion: Punakha Dzong. Upon arrival in Punakha, visit the 17th-century dzong at the confluence of the Mo and Pho rivers. Check in to the Meri Puensum Resort.
Day 8 | April 21. Punakha / Paro
Depart for the beautiful valley of Paro.
Excursion: Paro Dzong. Enjoy an up-close look at ancient weapons, textiles and other artifacts at the National Museum. Then explore the Ringpung Dzong, known as the Fortress of a Heap of Jewels, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture.
Cultural Event: Monk Prayer Chant. Witness a special prayer ritual with chanting Buddhist monks in the Choedling Temple. Prayers for all sentient beings will be offered.
Independent Exploration: Upon your arrival in Paro, check in to the Tashi Namgay Resort and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Rest or explore the colorfully painted wooden shops on the main street.
Day 9 | April 22. Paro
Excursion: Drugyel School and Dzong. Meet students at a school for the mute and hearing impaired. See the world-famous Taktsang Lhakhang, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, a complex of temples clinging to a sheer cliff face almost 3,000 feet above Paro Valley. Then uncover the ruins of the hilltop Drugyel Dzong, built in 1646.
Educational Focus: Khenpo Karma Tashi. Attend an exclusive, engaging lecture by celebrated teacher Khenpo Tashi, who will discuss Buddhism, happiness and more.
Day 10 | April 23. Paro
Excursion: Tiger’s Nest. Choose to embark on a challenging hike above the clouds to the dramatic, cliff-side monastery complex, one of the most venerated places of pilgrimage in the Himalayan world. Your reward? One of the “World’s Most Amazing Views,” according to Travel + Leisure magazine.
Excursion: Kyichu Lhakhang. Visit a seventh-century temple built by the founder of the Tibetan Empire.
Cultural Event: Bhutanese Music and Dance Performance. Be entertained at an elaborate, hour long music and dance show. In the evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at the hotel.
Day 11 | April 24. Paro / Bangkok
Fly to Bangkok. Upon arrival, check in to the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel and spend a relaxing evening at your leisure.
Day 12 | April 25.
Transfer to the airport for the return flights to your gateway city.