Duration: 11 Days
Districts: Paro, Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang
Culture, architecture, nature, history, and people-you will get all this and more during this 11 day sojourn. From the Tiger’s lair, a monastery perched on a rocky cliff overlooking a valley; a fortress that resembles a ship on a mass of water from far; exotic flora and the ever smiling Bhutanese, you will see everything. Bhutan’s policy of preservation symbolized in the living arts and crafts of the country will be another place we will visit.
Day 01: Bangkok/ Delhi/ Katmandu-Paro-Thimphu
After an unforgettable flight into Paro international airport, wherein you would have feasted on some of the wonders of the Himalayas such as views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including Bhutan’s Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake, you will have a thrilling landing. At the airport, you will be received by representatives of our company, who will escort you to a hotel. After lunch at the hotel, you will be driven to Thimphu.
Overnight at a hotel.
Day 02: Thimphu halt
The morning will be dedicated to sightseeing. You will visit the weaving centre, Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the Third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Changangkha Lhakhang, Takin zoo, Buddha Point, where the statue of the world’s largest Buddha is being constructed; a Nunnery and the Arts and Craft school. You will also be taken to Sangaygang, a place from where you can have a bird’s eye view of Thimphu town and the surroundings.
After lunch, we will visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved, the Folk Heritage museum and the Tashichhodzong. This massive structure houses part of the government ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks.
Overnight at the hotel
Day 03: Thimphu-Punakha/Wangdue
Taking about three to four hours, the drive from Thimphu traverses thorough a constantly changing landscape of vegetation, waterfalls, flowers, mountains and meadows. After a 45 minutes drive, we will stop at the popular Dochula pass (3100m), from where on a clear day we can see the entire eastern Himalayan range, comprising snow-capped mountains with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m. Apart from its wealth of extremely beautiful flowers, the 108 Buddhist stupas exquisitely built around a mound adds to the grandeur of the place.
The journey forward from the pass descends to the sub-tropical valley of Punakha, which served as Bhutan’s capital in the past and holds some of the country’s most priceless treasures, especially Buddhist relics. The Punakha dzong is an architectural masterpiece and resembles a gigantic ship on an ocean floor from afar, and girdled by two (Male and Female) rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is still home of the Chief Abbot in winter months. On the way to Punakha, we will hike for about 1 hour round trip to the monastery of Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Mad Man) which was built in the 15th century.
Punakha dzong, built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal has played a prominent role in civil and religious life of the Kingdom. Destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897, the dzong has been now fully restored in its original splendor.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit Punakha dzong and then drive for half an hour and hike to the Khamsumyulay Namgyal chorten.
Overnight at the hotel
Day 04: Punakha/Wangdue-Trongsa
Early morning, we will drive to Trongsa via Wangduephodrang across the Pelela pass (3300m), the traditional boundary between east and west. Large prayer flags mark the place. Enroute, we will stop at Chendebji Chorten (Stupa), which was built in the 18th century by a lama named Shida. The stupa has eyes painted at four cardinal points.
Overnight at hotel in Trongsa.
Day 05: Trongsa-Bumthang
After breakfast we will walk by Trongsa dzong, built by Zhabdrung in 1647. Another majestic architectural masterpiece, it is very historic and every King, before ascending the Throne must, as the Crown Prince serve as the Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa.
We will also visit the Ta dzong (watch tower) and then drive to Bumthang which is about 3 hours. We will ascend upto Yutong La pass (3400m) and after a further 13kms drive, Chumey valley welcomes us with its wide roads, open and cultivated fields.
On arrival in Bumthang, check into a hotel.
Day 06: Bumthang
One of the most sacred regions in the Kingdom, Bumthang valley is a blend of the abstract and concrete with innumerable legends surrounding the area.
You will be visiting Kurje Lhakhang where the Great Indian Saint Guru Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock. The other is Jambay Lhakhang, which was built in the 7th century by Songsten Goembo, the Tibetan Buddhist King. Jakar dzong (the fortress of white bird) built in the 17th century by Tenzin Rabgay (the fourth Desi) is another famous landmark.
You will also be visiting Tamshing Lhakhang built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa (the founder of religious treasures). Kunchosum Lhakhang and Mebartsho (the burning lake) are other places. Legend has it that Pema Lingpa discovered several religious texts from the lake.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 07: Bumthang-Trongsa-Gangtey/Phobjikha
After breakfast we proceed to Gangtey/Phobjikha via Trongsa. The approach to Phobjikha valley is through a forest of Oak and Rhododendron. Phobjikha is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and chosen home of black-necked cranes which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters.
Overnight at a hotel.
Day 08: Gangtey/Phobjikha-Wangdue-Thimphu-Paro
After breakfast, we will explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Monastery. Then we drive to Paro via Wangduephodrang.
Overnight at the hotel
Day 09: Paro
We will visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest, built in 659 AD by the Buddhist Tibetan King Songsten Goembo. A short drive from there will take us to the ruins of Drukgyel dzong, which was built to commemorate the victory of Bhutanese forces over the Tibetans in the 16th and 17th centuries. You will also visit the National Museum and Paro Rinpung dzong. You can take a stroll of the town after which you can call it a day.
Overnight at hotel
Day 10: Paro-Taktsang monastery hike
Taktsang monastery is one of Bhutan’s holiest shrines and an amazing structure that transcends all other architectural masterpieces. Perched on a 1000m rocky cliff, it is said that the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padmasambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 AD. Taktsang monastery is the ultimate pilgrim site for all Buddhist, especially in Bhutan.
The hike to the monastery takes about 5 hours (up and down), and follows an ancient path marked by water powered prayer wheels.
Day 11: Paro-Delhi/Bangkok/Katmandu
After early breakfast, we drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.