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Day 1 Arrival in Paro/Paro Sightseeing/To Thimphu
Day 2 Thimphu Sightseeing
Day 3 Thimphu to Punakha/ Punakha Sightseeing
Day 4 Punakha to Gangtey and back
Day 5 Punakha To Paro
Day 6 Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Hike
Day 7 Departure
DAY 1 PARO TO THIMPHU
Arrival in Paro airport, the only international airport of Bhutan. It is situated in 2,250 meters above sea level. You can view the spectacular valley of Paro from the flight before you land and feel the experience of descending in the runway between the two mountains. As you check out from the airport outside, you will be warmly greeted by our local Guide with offering of Tashi Khadhar (the sacred white scarf of Best Wishes). After a short meal in a restaurant, you will visit Paro Rinpung Dzong, a fortress consecrated in 1646 as the administrative and monastic centre of the western Bhutan. The five day grand annual festival called Tshechu is held in this dzong with a procession of colourful images and mask dances. You will walk across a traditional cantilever bridge Called Nyimizampa. You can enjoy the grandeur of this fortress gazing at the enormous walls, stunning architecture and the courtyard. Then you will be driven up a hill to visit Paro Ta Dzong, the National Museum of Bhutan that exhibits collection of ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts like traditional costumes, armour, weapons and handcrafts. Enjoy the overview of Paro valley with fascinating lush green fields and mountains and meandering Paro chu (river). After lunch in a local restaurant in the town, we will depart for Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. It’s about 1 hour and 20 minutes drive to Thimphu alongside the river, 40 miles north-east from Paro. On the way, we can enjoy awesome sightings of the real Bhutanese landscapes with narrow valleys, mountain ridges and hill slopes.
DAY 2 THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
In Thimphu, we shall move around for sightseeing in and around Thimphu valley. Firstly, you will visit the grand National Memorial Chorten (temple), iconic monument constructed in memory of our third king of Bhutan. Here, we can find young and old customarily circumambulating the chorten and huge prayer wheels rotating with bell chimes. Memorial Chorten stands in the heart of Thimphu with its grandeur in intricate Bhutanese sculptures, designs and paintings. We ascend up the hill Kuenselphodrang to see 169 feet (51.4 meters) tall statue of Shakyamuni Buddha called the Dordenma. This bronze statue gilded in gold is although still under construction, it is open to tourists and safe to visit. While descending down the hill, you will enjoy taking pictures of spectacular Thimphu valley with a wide view of the city. We shall visit another viewpoint of BBS Tower at Sangeygang which also tripods you to capture a different angle of astonishing Thimphu city. While driving down, we stop at Takin Park. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan found only in eastern Himalayas. Next, visit to Changangkha Lhakhang, a 12th century monastery is often flocked by people for blessings from the protective deity Tamdrin. Here, it is believed to be auspicious to be christened with a name for new born babies. Then we further move down to the Institute of Zorig Chusum (the 13 crafts) which is the school for traditional art and crafts where we see the students amid their work. By late afternoon, visit Tashichhodzong, the archetype of ancient Bhutanese engineering which was constructed without using any nails or work plans. It houses the throne room, King’s office and many vital government agencies. The construction dates back to as early as 13th Century which was renovated several times until 1952 when the capital was moved to Thimphu. In the evening, explore through temporary huts of locally made traditional goods queued along the road. Night halt in Thimphu.
DAY 3 THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA
It is about 3 hour journey from Thimphu to Punakha. After 45 minutes drive uphill, stop at Dochula, a mountain pass at 3100 meters, from where on a clear day you can capture incredible view of distant snow capped Himalayan mountain ranges. 108 Druk Wangyal miniature chortens (temples) maintain the serenity of the place. Then, we descend down the mountains through meandering roads and myriads of colourful rhododendron shrubs that bloom in the month of April and May. Before reaching Punakha, stop at Chhimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility situated on a spherical hillock built in 1499. Walk about 15 minutes through a village and paddy fields. There is an interesting history behind this sacred place about Drukpa Kuenley whose crazy wisdom of teaching Buddhism through sexual references using wooden Phallus as one of the symbols for driving away evils, because of which he is commonly referred as ‘The Divine Madman’. In the afternoon, visit Punakha Dzong across a cantilever bridge built by Zhabdrung in 1637 at the confluence of two big rivers – Pho chu (male) and Mo chu (female). This Dzong holds a great significance in history of Bhutan. It was here that the first king was crowned in 1907, the first National Assembly was held in 1953, and wedding of the 5th King of Bhutan in 2011 was held here as well. It is also the winter resident of Je Khenpo (the Chief Abbot). The four great wooden pillars at the main temple have intricate designs of traditional architecture skillfully crafted and decorated with gold and silver. Massive wall paintings exhibit the life of Buddha. Overnight in hotel Pema Karpo
DAY 4 PUNAKHA TO GANGTEY TO PUNAKHA
Drive up to Gangtey/Phobjikha towards the east of Wangdue on the flanks of the Black Mountains. Crossing a 17th century old Gangtey Gompa (monastery), few kilometers down the valley is a fascinating valley of Phobjikha. Here is the winter home of rare migratory black necked cranes that fly from the arid plains of Tibet in the north. Anyone would be enraptured admiring at the astonishing landscape formed by receding glaciers once upon at time. Take a stroll and capture some pictures and breathe the freshness of air from pristine nature. Visit Gangtey Goempa founded in 1613, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Back to Punakha in the late afternoon.
DAY 5 PUNAKHA TO PARO
In the morning, we will visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyel chorten built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk in over eight years time. This is a unique 4 storied temple on a hill top constructed by means of spiritual consultation rather than the modern engineering. It is about 30 minutes hike from a bridge, through rice fields and uphill. You will enjoy the scenic green valley downhill reverberating peace and tranquility surrounding you. A perfect pose for cameras. After lunch, drive to Paro. Close to Paro, a quick visit to Tachogang Lhakhang (literally, temple of the excellent horse) built by Tibetan monk Thangtong Gyalpo in 15th century. It is situated on a hillock across an iron bridge constructed in a traditional style. Onward to Paro and check-in hotel.
DAY 6 PARO, HIKE TO TAKTSANG, THE TIGER’S NEST
Built in 1692, Takshang literally means ‘Tiger’s Nest’ in Paro, is perched amazingly on a rocky cliff believed to be the cave where Guru Rinpoche, the whisperer of Buddhism in Bhutan, flew on a tigress’s back and meditated for years to subdue evil demons. A hike of 2 to 3 hours uphill to the monastery is irresistibly gratifying. The view of incredible grandeur of the structure clinging on a crag will leave a lasting impression of your journey to Bhutan. On return, take lunch in the cafeteria. Lunch in Cafeteria half way down on the hill. Afternoon, drive in to one of the oldest temples called Kyichu Lhakang which is believed to have been constructed in 7th century by Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. This temple is considered to be very holy and holds great significance of Bhutanese history. Overnight in hotel, Paro.
DAY 7 DEPART FROM PARO
After an early breakfast, our tour guide will reach you to the airport for your departure to onward destination.
Upon cancelation of the tour after booking, the following charges apply: