Highlights of Bhutan 13N/14D
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN PARO, BHUTAN
DAY 2: TOUR OF THIMPH
DAY 3: THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA
DAY 4: PUNAKHA TO BUMTHANG VIA TRONGSA
DAY 5: BUMTHANG
DAY 6: BUMTHANG TO GANGTEY
DAY 7: GANGTEY
DAY 8: GANGTEY TO WANGDUE
Welcome to Bhutan and your first day in the magical Land of the Thunder Dragon! Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by one of our guides. After lunch, visit Paro Rinphung Dzong,Ta Dzong. Visit to Ta Dzong, which in the past served as watchtower for Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) and now houses the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, built-in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district.
The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
day 2: PARO-THIMPHU
At more than 7,300 feet above sea level, you will need to acclimate to the high altitude So, we will take it easy. En-route, visit to Ta-chhogagang temple and hike down to 14th century suspension bridge made out of iron chains. The great engineer and Buddhist poet call Lama Thangtong Gyelpo or Lama Chamzampa (bridge maker) built it. However, it is Thimphu is probably one of the smallest capitals in the world.
After lunch we visit the National Folk Heritage Museum, dedicated to connecting Bhutan to its past with exhibitions, demonstrations, and artifacts. Designed to resemble a rural home, this 19th-century building houses three stories of art, culture, and relics
At the National Textile Museum, you will witness the art of weaving and learn about the significance of textile design. Bhutanese weaving is considered a living art form and traditional weaving methods are preserved by the Royal Government.
Then we will take you to Thimphu Tashichho Dzong, a traditional fortress and Buddhist Monastery, is the largest in the city. Featuring distinctive Bhutanese architecture, using neither nails nor written plans, the structure serves as the current seat of the King of Bhutan.
DAY 3: THIMPHU EXCURSION
Continuing to discover the capital, we will hike to Tango monastery in the morning. This is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 400m, and it will take about 1 hour to reach the monastery. The trail will cross through beautiful forests of blue pine, oak and rhododendron. As we climb up the hill, we will walk through the lush alpine woods.
Tango monastery is a well-known university of Buddhist studies. Tango is the highest level of Buddhist studies, equivalent to the academic master degree. Situating at 2,800m, this structure was the work of the ‘divine madman’, Lama Drukpa Kunley, built in the 15th century. Furthermore, it is the residence of Gyalse Rinpoche, an important trulku (reincarnated lama), who is recognised as the seventh reincarnation of the fourth desi (secular ruler), Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye (the founder of Taktshang Goemba).
We will take packed lunch to have it on the way in a very scenic environment.
We will then drive up to Buddha View Point, 169 feet tall, this bronze statue can be seen from just about anywhere in Thimphu. One of the largest statues depicting a seated Buddha, it is the perfect place to enjoy stunning, panoramic views of the city. In the afternoon walk along Thimphu Street.
The National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 to honor the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. A chorten is a hemispherical shaped memorial stupa, known as the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan.
DAY 4: THIMPHU –PUNAKHA
Punakha Dzong is considered one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The six-story structure is the second oldest and largest dzong in Bhutan. With spectacular displays of Bhutanese architecture, it stands like a medieval city surrounded by lavender Jacaranda trees. Built in 1637, it still serves as the winter home of the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbott of the clergy. In 2011, it hosted the royal wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.
On the way back to Hotel at Lobesa, will be having a short hike to Chhi-med (means no dogs) lhakhang in the picturesque valley, to the temples of Bhutan’s most famous saint, the lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as divine mad man. It is a pilgrim site for the barren women. P.S :At Punakaha we also provide river Rafting but the price has not been included in the pakage. The local community manages the refting, you may let us know if you are intrested latest by the 2nd day of the arrival.
DAY 5: PUNAKHA-BUMTHANG via TRONGSA
About eight hours’ drive from Punakha to Bumthang, the central district of Trongsa, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family, you will see the resplendent Trongsa Dzong in the valley centre. It is where the current monarchy had its origin in Bhutan Its labyrinth of temples, corridors, offices and living quarters for the monks add up to a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture preserved through professional restoration in 2004. Each King in the line of succession has held the post of Trongsa Penlop or Governor before donning the Raven Crown. The foundations of Trongsa Dzong were laid in the 16th century by. The impressive fortress is a massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu Valley, commanding the east-west road.
Trongsa Dzong It was laid in the 16th century by Pema Lingpa and flourished during the 17th century under Zhabdrung Ngwang Namgyal. The impressive fortress is a massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu Valley, commanding the east-west road
DAY 6: BUMTHANG DAY EXCURSION
Tamshing Goemba Built by 1501 by Buddhist saint Pema Lingpa then hikes up to Thangbi Valley and cross a suspension bridge to visit Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century via unpaved road.
Kenchosum Lhakhang Kenchosum Lhakhang is a rural looking temple which has its roots in the 7th century. The current structure, however, dates back to the 15th century when Pema Lingpa, the Treasure Discoverer, restored it and revealed terma (sacred texts and artefacts) on the hillside behind the temple.The temple has three small Buddha statues representing the past, present and the future,are believed to have flown there, hence the name Kencho meaning divine and Sum meaning three. Legend has it that when the bell inside is rung, it can be heard as far away as Lhasa in Tibet.
Jakar Dzong was founded in 1549 by the great grandfather of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the father and unifier of medieval Bhutan. Known as the Castle of the White Bird, it was built on top of the hill because the lamas were directed there by a large white bird.
The Swiss Farm Owned by local Swiss Bhutanese Fritz Maurer is where a variety of Swiss cheese and Bhutan’s only native beer, Red Panda are produced.
DAY 7 : BUMTHANG – PHOBJIKHA (GANGTATAY)
On our way to Gangtey, we will pass through Trongsa, the ancestral home of the Wangchuck monarchy. Up the mountain sits the Trongsa Museum Taa Dzong, a watchtower built in 1652 to ward off attacks of the town below. It now serves as home to the Royal Heritage Museum, highlighting the history of the area and the Wangchuck dynasty. Features Buddhist art, royal memorabilia, a 500-year-old jacket of Ngagi Wangchuck and Padma Kathang personal copy of the handwritten biography of Guru Rinpoche. You can read more about the history and importance of the Taa Dzong in the book, Tower of Trongsa by Christian Schicklgruber. Bhutan’s national museum, a fascinating place housed in an old watchtower above the huge Dzong (monastery/fortress).
DAY 8: PHOBJIKHA
Phobjikha Known as the winter home of the endangered black-necked cranes (Grus nigricollis), can see 600 of these elegant, shy birds that migrate here from Tibet between November and March. This bowl-shaped valley is also a wildlife preserve, so you might also see the other native animals to Bhutan, including muntjac, sambar, serow, or yak.
DAY 9: PHOBJIKHA- PUNAKHA
The hike of 45 min to 1-hour hike to Kamsumyulley Chorten to see amazing view of the chorten and also amazing view of Punakha Valley from the Chorten. Hear stories and historical background of the Chorten, offer your prayers and homage to the Chorten.
River rafting in the Mochu River and towards evening enjoy a pleasant riverside view with a bottle of wine and complimentary fresh air to prepare for long drive next day.(optional, as the price is not included in the package)
Night at Lobesa
DAY 10: PARO BUMDRAK TRAKING
We head back to scenic Paro, home to many of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and the country’s only airport. This mixture of old and new makes Paro an important part of Bhutan’s past, present, and future. The valley is home to Chomolhari (Jomolhari) Mountain, located on the northwestern border of Bhutan and Tibet, the
World’s third highest mountain, Chomolhari is Bhutan’s third tallest mountain at 24,035 feet. The glacier waters flowing from the mountain feed the rivers of the Paro Valley. Drive till Sang Choekor Buddhist College (2,900m) and begin trek, gradually climbing uphill to the Yak pasture below Bumdra monastery (3,800 m), which takes about 4-5 hrs and offers unimpeded views of the Himalayan ranges. Later we have an option to climb up to the monastery and the peak to the north (about 4000 m) for even better views, returning in time for a well-earned dinner.
Overnight at the camp.
DAY 11PARO TAKTSANG (TIGER’S NEST)
It is one of the world Heritage that many tourist in Bhutan are amazed of, We will take a two-hour hike to Taktsang Monastery is arguably one of the most photographed monasteries in Bhutan. Accessible only by foot, this sacred site was built precariously on the cliff’s edge, more than 10,000 feet above sea level. This is where Guru (Rinpoche) Padmasambhava, the father of Bhutan Buddhism, is said to have flown on the back of a tiger to meditate in a cave for three years. An exhilarating climb to the cafeteria is decorated with colorful prayer flags and provides breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
A short drive away is the ruins of Drugal Dzong. The great Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built this fortress in 1647 to fight invading Tibetan armies. On clear days, the snow-capped peak of Chomolohari Mountain can be seen.The tour ends with a visit to Kyichu lhakang one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. This is the second of two temples built in Bhutan by Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo in a single day to hold down the giant demons who prevailing the spread of Buddhism.
(If interested we can provide hot stone bath and relax in the evening)
DAY 12: PARO SIGHTSEEING
Drugyal Dzong, after the drive up the valley we can see the to Drukgyel Dzong, built-in 1647 by the Zhabdrung to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetans in war of 1644. Easy stroll of Paro town and get enough rest.
Farm House,cooking local product and Bhutanese sports.
Bhutanese Culture show and grand dinner by the company
DAY 13: HAA-CHELELA PASS
Located at 3810m (13000 ft), Chelela pass is the highest road pass in the country. The pass is on the way to Haa valley and it has a magnificent view of the mountains, waterfall and Yaks grazing depending on the season.The sacred mountain, Mt Jumolhari at over 22000 ft along with JIchu Drake can also be seen on a clear weather day.
DAY 14 DEPARTURE
We bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country, we hope you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! With the hope to see you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments!