Horse Riding Holiday 2019 in Bhutan | Krys Kolumbus Travel

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Bhutan Horse Riding Adventure Tour or Cultural Tour

Fancy hiking to the famous Tiger's Nest Temple? The local ponies in this mystical kingdom locked away in the Himalayas can be found only in Bhutan. Back in 2013, I ventured solo to this magical country in order to help develop the very first horse riding program in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. On this tour not only will you see the many Buddhist temples, Stupas and shrines but you will see the small villages and mountain side from the back of a horse! Bhutan is a country that is very difficult to get to and not many tourists are allowed permission to enter the country. You will learn about the history of the "Happiest Country on Earth" along with many local legends and stories whilst sipping traditional Butter tea. This is the Bhutan Horse Riding Adventure!

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Krystal Kelly in Bhutan for a horse riding holiday tour riding program Drukair to Bhutan | Krys Kolumbus Travel womens travel to bhutan tigers nest temple in the himalayas famous buddhist monastery

Umm...Where is Bhutan?!?!

Facts about Bhutan:

  • Bhutan is a small, landlocked country with a population of roughly 700,000 people (in the whole country!) It is bordering India and China!
  • Bhutan is known as one of the "Happiest Countries in the World." It is a Buddhist country and some of the friendliest people!
  • There is only ONE international airport which flies from either New Delhi, India, or Kathmandu, Nepal. The planes have actual propellers and because Bhutan is completely in the Himalayan mountains the pilot completely relies on VISUAL landing. Meaning they cannot land on foggy days! This is why flights to Bhutan are only available in certain times of the year and are weather dependent. We've included all the flights to and from and within Bhutan for you, so you don't have to worry!
  • Bhutan is the only country in the world where the Capitol city has ZERO traffic lights! They actually have policemen directing the "busy street."
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Bhutan is one of the few countries in the world where a local tour operator and local guide is actually REQUIRED. There can be no independent travel into this country.
  • There are no "chains" or fast food restaurants, McDonald's, Starbucks or branded shops in the entire country. Bhutan ensures that even brand new buildings maintain the design of their traditions and therefore everything you see is 100% local culture.
  • Six years ago, horse riding in Bhutan didn't even exist!!! I was the first person to come to Bhutan to help develop the first and only riding program in the country! Read More.
  • Bhutan is not a cheap country to visit. The government REQUIRES all tourists to get a visa (we get that for you after you've paid for the trip) and also requires a $300 / per day fee for all tourists. Although that sounds expensive, the 300 a day fees actually include the cost of your driver, hotels and homestays, 3 meals a day, guide, entry fees into all museums, temples and sites, the government tax fees, and your vehicle for the trip. The government uses this money for providing the Bhutanese citizens with FREE MEDICAL CARE and FREE EDUCATION. Now that is responsible tourism in its purest form!

About the All-Inclusive Horse Riding Tour

Itinerary: June 1st-12th, 2019

DAY ONE - JUNE 1ST
Katmandu – Paro (Bhutan): We will take the morning flight to Paro, and then have lunch before we have a look around town. We will visit the National Museum and Paro dzong, one of Bhutan’s most impressive and well-known dzongs, and perhaps the finest example of Bhutanese architecture. Hotel Tenzinling or similar.

DAY TWO - JUNE 2ND
Paro – Bumthang: Flight This morning we will take short flight to Bumthang, central Bhutan , from the airport pick up by our transport and drive to Tang valley, where our stable is located.After lunch we will ride to the nearby village, where we will have a chance to meet some of locals and visit their homes before returning to the guesthouse for the night. Phula Home stay/Ugen Chholing Manor Guesthouse.



DAY THREE - JUNE 3RD
Tang Valley – Kunzangdrak village: After breakfast we’ll head to the stables to start our ride. Today we’ll pass through the villages and open fields before riding up into the pine forests. There might be a few places where we’ll need to dismount and lead our horses, depending on the terrain. We’ll have a picnic lunch along the way before reaching our campsite near Kunzangdra. There is a temple and hermitage on the cliff (Kunzangdra Monastery), founded by Pemalingpa in 1488, which we’ll have time to explore before dinner. Overnight Camping.

DAY FOUR - JUNE 4TH
Kunzangdrak – Padselling Monastery: Today we will ride through the forests and hillsides as we make our way towards Padselling village. Leaving the village behind, slowly ride through the meadows and pine forest taking about 5 hrs to Padselling monastery.Opperunity to meet the monks and chat with them.Beautiful view of the Jakar valley where you will ride down the next day. Overnight in Camp.



DAY FIVE - JUNE 5TH
Dorjibi Village – Ngalhakhang valley Ride through some of the local villages, giving us the chance to meet and chat to the very friendly local people as we pass by their homes. As we ride between the villages we are likely to see the farmers ploughing and tending to their potato fields. As we meander through the countryside,opportunity to trot and canter as well. We will visit the village temples and farmhouses, one of which will be our home for the night. Overnight in Farmhouse.

DAY SIX - JUNE 6TH
Padselling – Dorjibi village: Today’s ride will be very relaxing as we make our way downhill. We’ll be mainly riding along village dirt road giving us lots of opportunities for some canters. After visiting Dorjibi village, we’ll leave our horses behind and take a short drive to our hotel in nearby Jakar town. This evening we can wander around and explore the town of Jakar with our guide. Overnight in Mountain Lodge or similar.



DAY SEVEN- JUNE 7TH
Ngalhakhang - Tang Valley Today’s ride, will be a long ride as we head out for our final day in the saddle. We will follow a mountain trail crossing a 3000m pass (Phephe la Pass) than we head back towards the stable. Once back at the stables we’ll say goodbye to the horses before heading back to our guesthouse. You can relax in a traditional hot stone bath over a glass of local wine. Phula Home Stay.

DAY EIGHT - JUNE 8TH
Tang Valley – Punakha After breakfast we’ll drive to Punakha, the old capital city, passing through Trongsa valley. We’ll stop in Trongsa and visit the National Museum and the magnificent Trongsa dzong, the birth place of Bhutan’s hereditary monarchy. We’ll continue on, crossing Pele La pass at 3400m, before descending down to valley floor at 1200m in Punakha. Meri Phunsum Resort or similar.

​​​​​​​DAY 9 - JUNE 9TH
Punakha – Thimphu This morning we will visit Punakha dzong, The Place of Great Happiness, built in between two rivers. We’ll take a short walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten and after lunch drive to Thimphu, ccorssing Dochula pass (3050m), check into hotel and some time at leisure in the city. Hotel Phuntsho Pelri or similar.

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DAY TEN - JUNE 10TH
Thimphu – Paro. In the morning visit some key sites in Thimphu, such as memorial stupa, largest Buddha statue, paintingschool, Indigenous hospital, vegetable market, etc. Afternoon drive back to Paro and overnight in Hotel Tenzinling.

DAY ELEVEN - JUNE 11TH
Paro – Hike to Tigers Nest This morning we will walk up to the Taktsang Goemba, known as the Tiger’s Nest monastery. This is without doubt the most spectacular monastery in Bhutan, and must visit site built on a rock ledge a thousand metres above the valley floor. The first and main temple was built where Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tiger to meditate in this cave in 8th century. The hike will take about 5 hrs in total with visit to several temples inside the monastery and stop for lunch at the tea house. In the afternoon we will visit 7th centry Kichu Lhakhang and some time at leisure in the town. Dinner and overnight hotel.

DAY TWELVE - JUNE 12TH
​​​​​​​​​​​​​Paro – Kathmandu After breakfast drop to airport for flight to Kathmandu. DEPARTURE.

​​​​​​​Trip Includes:

  • Accommodations in 3 star category hotels, Home stay & Camping
  • Domestic flight, Bumthang- Paro
  • Flight KTM to Paro roundtrip (Kathmandu to Bhutan and back)
  • Bhutan visa fees and government tax of US$ 65/ per tourist per night.
  • All meals starting with first lunch and last day breakfast.
  • All internal private transfers and sightseeing with high quality vehicle
  • Entrance fees to all sights listed with bottled mineral water.
  • All travel with a licensed English Speaking Local Tour Guide
  • One riding horse with full tag and trail guide. (Helmet not included)
  • I will be attending and leading this expedition! So you get me (Krystal Kelly) as your host!

Bhutan Horse riding trip | Krys Kolumbus Travel
Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Airfare to and from Kathmandu
  • Travel/ Medical Insurance
  • Use of bar and beverages in the hotel
  • Tips and gratuities (optional) to the local staffs.​
  • All Personal gears, personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, shopping etc.
  • Any additional costs of changing itinerary due to your own choice or due to circumstances beyond our control such as, weather, political situation or due to your personal health. Any additional expenses incurred as a result must be paid locally.

Eating with a view in Bhutan | Krys Kolumbus Travel

Meeting point:
KTM: This is the only international airport in Nepal, Kathmandu. We have included the costs of the flight from Kathmandu to Paro roundtrip in the cost however you may need to arrange your own hotel in Kathmandu a night earlier for a fresh start to catch the flight together with the rest of the group into Bhutan. We will discuss meeting in the same hotel the night before.

Destinations:
Six days horse riding to various villages, temples and shrines. Punakha Dzong (fortress) as well as the "Fertility Temple," Thimpu (The only capitol city in the WORLD without a single traffic light!) and various temples / monasteries and museums. Day hike to Tiger's Nest Temple for the Grand Finale. Don't forget plenty of time with the horses and nature!

​​​​​​​REQUIREMENTS

  • Must have riding experience and can handle a horse in all gaits (walk, trot, canter)
  • Must not weigh more than 80 kg
  • Must be confident to ride horses up and down steep mountain passes (this will only be done in walk and for very steep parts you may be required to dismount and walk your horses)
  • ​​​​​​​Must bring your own riding gear and helmet!!!


INFORMATION

  • The ponies average about 13 hh
  • Mountain ponies are commonly used as pack horses in Bhutan. Because of this you don't see anyone riding horses apart from us.
  • Payment is done via Bank Transfer or via Paypal
  • Husbands / Boyfriends welcome but MUST meet the weight limit criteria!!!


QUESTIONS? ASK!

Horse Riding in Bhutan | Krys Kolumbus Travel

Stay:
3 Star Hotels, Homestay with local family, camping.

Duration:
12 Days and 11 Nights

Dates:

​June 1st-14th, 2018 - SOLD OUT
June 1st-12th 2019 - Riders - 4 Spaces Available (Group Size 8 persons)

All-Inclusive Price:
USD $4,522 per person

Reserve your place today!
50% due on time of sign up.
Remaining 50% due April 1st.


Bhutanese Horse | Krys Kolumbus Travel


Read More About My Travels to Bhutan in 2013!

About the All-Inclusive Cultural Tour (for non-riders):

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Itinerary: Dates June 1st-7th, 2019

DAY ONE - JUNE 1ST
Katmandu - Paro – Thimphu.(L/D) Arrive at Paro International Airport and pick up by company representative and help with the luggage. Short stop for restroom stop and drive to Thimphu, capital city taking about an hour. Check into hotel, time permitting some sightseeing in the city include visit to memorial stupa and Changangkha monastery. Overnight in Hotel Phuntsho Pelri or Hotel Bhutan.

Thimphu: (at 2300m) is Bhutan's capital city and centre of government, religion and commerce. It is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style. Even today, it still has few streets and no traffic lights with estimated population of 100,000 people.

​​​​​​​Memorial Stupa: This white and tall landmark of capital was built in 1974 in the memory of third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as' Father of Modern Bhutan'. It is a four‐storey tall white building, containing statues and iconography of deities from complex Buddhist teachings and serves as an important place of worship for Thimphu residents, as well as from other parts of the country.

Changangkha Lhakhang: Changangkha Lhakhang is an old fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu city. It was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet. The monastery is worshiped as spiritual guardian for all children born in the valley.

DAY TWO - JUNE 2ND
Thimphu – sightseeing. (B/L/D) After breakfast sightseeing, in and around capital city, visit to textile museum, folk heritage house, indigenous hospital, traditional painting school, craft bazaar and at leisure in the city.

​​​​​​​Golden Buddha : This massive statue of Buddha Shakyamuni measures at a height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the statue.The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the southern entrance to Thimphu Valley.

Takin Sanctuary: A short distance of the road to the radio tower is a trail leading to a large fenced area that was originally established as a mini‐zoo. It’s worthwhile taking the time to see these strange looking animals. The best time to see them is early morning when they gather near the fence to feed. Takin (Budorcas taxicolor) has been chosen as the national animal of Bhutan is based both on its uniqueness and its association with country's history and mythology. It resembles a cow from back, a goat from the front.

Craft Bazar : It is located right in the centre of the city. There are several small bamboo huts in one straight line and the items displayed are authentic Bhutanese handicrafts such as wood works and , carving, painting on traditional paper, finished textile products, bamboo products and small souvenir items.

Zilukha Nunnery: is housed in Drubthob Goemba (monastery). There are about 70 nuns who live and pray every day in the monastery. There are good views of Tashicho Dzong, Golf course and upper Thimphu.

​​​​​​​Trashichho Dzong: also known as “Fortress of Excellent Religion”.The original dzong was built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the founder of Bhutan.This is the icon of this tiny Himalayan Kingdom. It holds the throne room and the office of the King, ministers and various government organizations. It is the seat of the central monastic body of Bhutan and summer residence of Je Khenpo,the Chief Abbot.The dzong was renovated and enlarged to present state during the reign of third King over a period of five years after shifting the capital in 1952 from Punakha.



DAY THREE - JUNE 3RD
Thimphu – Punakha (B/L/D) Drive to Punakha, old capital city for 3 hrs, good views of the Himalayan ranges and overnight in Punakha, (1200m) Drive through Dochula pass (10,000ft/3,050m), we stop to take a look at the panoramic views of the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. (weather permitting). At the pass, take a short walk around the 108 Buddhist stupas or chortens. After the pass, the road descends through varied – ever changing forests, finally into highly cultivated Punakha valley. Over night in Zingkham Resort or Meri Punsum hotel.

Punakha Dzong: or Pungthang Dechen Phodrang, The Palace of Great Happiness, one of the most spectacular fort constructed between two rivers in 1637. This enormous dzong has witness many important and significant celebrations in Bhutan’s history. Signing of very important treaty with British India, Treaty of Sinchula, coronation of Kings of Bhutan and recently the royal marriage of Bhutan’s fifth king.

Chimi Lhakhang: A fertility temple dedicated to Tibetan Yogi, Lama Drupa Kuenlay, popularly known as “devine mad monk” among the locals. An easy and leisurely walk about ½ hr through the beautiful terraced rice field and surrounding villages. Drukpa Kuenley originally built a small stupa on the site in 14th century, on which a temple was later built in 15th century. The temple, surrounded by tall prayer flags, sits atop a picturesque hill. It has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples.

​​​​​​​DAY FOUR- JUNE 4TH
Punakha – Phobjikha Valley (B/L/D) The drive to Phobjokha valley will take about 3 hours, through the valleys of Wangdi Phodrang and Chuzomsa. First drive south to Wangdiphodrang and than continue drive towards east, passing many little villages and gradually climbing through Jigme Singe Wangchuk National Park.

Phobjikha Valley: The wide glacial valley is the home of the famous black neck crane, composed of Phobjikha and Gangtey Valley, but due to Gangtey monastery, the place is commonly known as Gangtey at an altitude of 2740m.Overnight in hotel Dewachen or similar.

Gangtey Monastery: is one of the main seats of the religious tradition and one of the main centre of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism in Bhutan.There is a monastic college or Shedra above the monastery for the monks to seek higher education in Buddhism. Crane information Centre: Visit to crane information centre will give indepth knowledge about the habitats of these rare species bird that migrates to the valley during winter months. Some insights into the project carried out by the local Community and the Non Governmental Organization to protect the environment and conservation method for this valley.

Farm House visit: Brief visit to local farm house and enjoy your afternoon tea with the farmers family.Oppertunity to interact with the local family, some experience of rural life.

monks in bhutan eating

DAY FIVE- JUNE 5TH
​​​​​​​Phobjikha Valley – Paro (B/L/D) After breakfast drive to Paro valley, the drive will take about 5½ hrs, check into hotel and after lunch continue with the sightseeing. Overnight in Hotel Tenzinling or Hotel Olathang.

Paro: Paro is one of the most beautiful valleys among the terraced rice fields, and elegant farm houses.Willow trees line many of the roads, contrasting with bright colors of the fields and the most popular and important sites are also found within Paro district. Paro town (2,280m), locally called 'Tshongdu' is still a small with just two main street and less than a hundred small family‐run shops.

National Museum of Bhutan: Established in 1967, the museum is housed inside a circular building, Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower. It has fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha paintings, households stuffs, arms, handicrafts, stuffed animals and Bhutan's famous Stamps among others.

​​​​​​​DAY SIX- JUNE 6TH
​​​​​​​Paro – Hike to Tigers Nest. (B/L/D) After breakfast, transfer to the trail nearby and head to Takstang monastery, and begin the trek. Ponies/mules are provided on request for the hike uphill. You can only ride as far as the Takstang Cafeteria/Tea House but for hikes beyond that and even for the return downhill portion, you must be able to walk. Takstang is undeniably one of the main highlights of visit to Bhutan and you should try to visit it. Takstang literally meaning Tiger's nest - or Taktsang Pelphung is one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan's monasteries. It is located on the face of a sheer 1000m cliff above Paro valley. The trek to Tea house is a steep one hour uphill (about 350m ascent).

​​​​​​​From the tea house or Cafeteria (2940m), one can get a close-up view of Takstang. After savoring the much deserved tea and some snacks, you can choose to trek further uphill for another 45 minutes or enjoy the views of the cafeteria. The trail further uphill ascends steeply to a high observation point (3140m) where there is a Chorten (stupa). Then descend the flight of cliff-hanging steps on the narrow trail to a beautiful waterfall that plunges down the deep chasm and alongside is a retreat hermitage.

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DAY SEVEN - JUNE 7TH
Paro –Katmandu (B) Early breakfast and guide will reach you to the airport and help you with the baggage for onward journey. DEPARTURE.

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Trip Includes:

  • Accommodations in 3 star category hotels, Home stay & Camping
  • Flight KTM to Paro roundtrip (Kathmandu, Nepal to Bhutan and back)
  • Bhutan visa fees and government tax of US$ 65/ per tourist per night.
  • All meals starting with first lunch and last day breakfast.
  • All internal private transfers and sightseeing with high quality vehicle
  • Entrance fees to all sights listed with bottled mineral water.
  • All travel with a licensed English Speaking Local Tour Guide
  • Will be led by our American travel concierge
​​​​​​​

Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Airfare to and from Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Travel/ Medical Insurance
  • Use of bar and beverages in the hotel
  • Tips and gratuities (optional) to the local staffs.​
  • All Personal gears, personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, shopping etc.
  • Any additional costs of changing itinerary due to your own choice or due to circumstances beyond our control such as, weather, political situation or due to your personal health. Any additional expenses incurred as a result must be paid locally.

Dates:
June 1st-7th 2019 - 8 Spaces Available

PRICE / PER PERSON
USD $2,975​​​​​​​

Contact Krystal or Sandra to reserve your place!
krystalkelly009@yahoo.com
sandrakelly60@yahoo.com

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Sign Up now
​​​​​​​to book your place!

*Limited 8 persons per trip!!!*