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Dragon Kingdom Overview
- 2014-01-01 - 2014-12-31
Get lost in the charm of Bhutan's magical Dragon Kingdom
Bhutan is the little secret of Asia. Overshadowed and nestled between China and India, it is a relatively new travel spot, with many undiscovered secrets in its natural scenery and quiet townships. The land is dotted with red-clothed monks, ancient Buddhist temples and friendly smiles. It is one calm country, where gross national happiness is more important than money, where chillies are used as a vegetable rather than for spice, and the thunder dragon, Druk, is emblazoned on the national flag, symbolising the people of Bhutan: loyal, patriotic and living with a total sense of belonging within the kingdom.
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Thimphu is like no other capital city in the world - it's a town without traffic lights (no cars existed there until 1962), dominated by the majestic fortress of Tashichhodzong.
As a former capital and religious centre, Punakha has played a central role in Bhutan's history and today its ancient dzong (fortress) is still the winter home for the central clergy.
Set in the remote Phobjikha Valley, the 450-year-old Gangte Goemba has been beautifully restored. Rare black-necked cranes are said to circle the monastery as they migrate to the valley each winter.
Head across Himalayan passes before taking a tea break at Chendebji Chorten. Stop at Trongsa for lunch and to explore the Trongsa Dzong. Drive through the Chumney Valley and the village of Zugney, where yak wool weaving is the local trade. The following day, take a walking tour though the Bumthang Valley; Padmasambhava frequented here when delivering the Buddha’s messages to Bhutan. Explore the Jambay Temple, one of the 108 temples built by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. This is one of Bhutan’s most holy religious sites; the guide will apply for special permission to gain access to this sacred place.
Home to Bhutan's unusual red rice, the Paro Valley is also famous for its fruit - strawberries, apples, pears, plums and peaches - and a wealth of historic sights.
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