Highlights of Eastern & Central Bhutan
Buddhist monasteries, birds and beasts
4th to 25th February 2019 (The tour is now confirmed & is fully booked)
This tour to Bhutan takes advantage of the eastern access point at Samdrup Jonkhar. From here we drive into the Himalayas to begin our visit to the eastern and central provinces of the country. Bhutan is divided into areas which surround important fortified monasteries. These usually dominate steep river valleys and once controlled important trade routes. The valleys of the east give way in the centre of the country to a more open landscape which was where early Buddhism first flourished. The historical links with missionaries like the great 8th century saint Padmasambhava are still celebrated. We will drive westwards till we reach the great dzong at Punakha which dramatically dominates the confluence of the two rivers, the Mo Chhu and the Pho Chhu. Here in February we can expect to see a huge gathering of Bhutanese in their very best clothes as they come together in and around the monastery to celebrate amongst other things the defeat of the Tibetans in 1639. In a nearby valley, the black-neck cranes have spent the winter. By mid-February they are ready to return to their nesting grounds in Tibet. The Probjikha Valley is one of the few places in the world where they can be seen. The tour includes two nights comfortable camping in the Bhutan Royal Manas National Park and three nights in a lodge in the Indian Manas National Park. The holiday concludes with a full free day in Delhi. The tour is led by Rufus Reade who has been travelling to Bhutan for 16 years and is a regular visitor to India.