Day 1 Arrival in Paro/Paro Sightseeing/ To Thimphu
Day 2 Thimphu Sightseeing/Tango & Cheri Hike
Day 3 Thimphu Sightseeing/Wangditse Goenpa Hike
Day 4 Towards Punakha, enroute Dochula Hike
Day 5 Punakha Sightseeing/Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten Hike
Day 6 To Paro
Day 7 Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) Hike
Day 8 Departure
DAY 1 PARO TO THIMPHU
Arrival in Paro International Airport. You can enjoy spectacular valley of Paro (2,250 meters) from the flight. At the checkout point in airport outside, you will be received by our local Guide with offering of Tashi Khadhar (traditional gesture of welcome). Following a short reception meal, you will visit a 7th century Kyichu Lhakang, one of 108 lhakhangs constructed by Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. This temple is one of the oldest and considered to be very sacred and holds great significance in Bhutanese history.
On return 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.
Leisure walk down the hill for about 15 minutes till we reach Paro Rinpung Dzong, a fortress consecrated in 1646 as the administrative and monastic centre of the western Bhutan. On the way enjoy the scenic overview of Paro valley with fascinating lush green fields and mountains. The sight of amazing grandeur of this fortress with enormous walls, stunning architecture and the courtyard is fascinating.
Board the vehicle across Pachu (Paro river) after you walk along the traditional cantilever bridge Called Nyimizampa.
After lunch leave Paro for Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. It is 1 hour and 20 minutes drive alongside the river with awesome views of narrow valleys, mountain ridges and hill slopes.
After a hotel check-in, stroll around the town and enjoy to be a in a country far away from home in the Himalayas. Gaze at the beautiful blend of traditional architecture in modern buildings, array of local and imported items in shops, people in traditional dresses and graceful gestures of a policeman controlling the traffic.
DAY 2 THIMPHU
On second day morning, we shall move out for sightseeing in and around Thimphu valley. Firstly, you will visit the iconic National Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of third king of Bhutan at the heart of Thimphu with its grandeur in intricate Bhutanese sculptures, designs and paintings. We can drive up the hill Kuenselphodrang to see 169 feet (51.4 meters) tall bronze statue of Shakyamuni Buddha called the Dordenma gilded in gold. On return we can enjoy spectacular view of Thimphu city.
Next, visit a 12th century monastery called Changangkha Lhakhang the residence of the protective deity Tamdrin. All new born babies get their names from here.
Next, hike to Tango and Cheri Monasteries. Packed lunch will be served on the way and can enjoy as picnic inside the woods. We drive about 8.7 miles away from Thimphu to reach at the road end from where 13th Century old Tango (250 meters) and one hour walk uphill through the forest. It holds great historic significance in instituting Drukpa Kagyu school of Buddhism in Bhutan offering courses of higher level monastic education and meditation. You can see amazing architecture, paintings and statues of eminent gurus.
In the opposite hill is Cheri monastery (330 meters) about one hour hike uphill. Established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the monastery is now a centre for study of Buddhist Philosophy, metaphysics and other Buddhist studies.
Back to Thimphu in the evening and be at your own leisure.
Day 3 THIMPHU
After breakfast, we will visit Jungshi paper factory where Dehsho is manufactured. Itis a handmade authentic Bhutanese paper produced locally using traditional method. While you study the entire process involved in this ancient craft, you can also try your hand and have feel of it. Then, visit the school for Bhutanese traditional art and crafts called Institute of Zorig Chusum (the 13 crafts) and witness students learning their lessons.
Next drive up to Sangeygang, stop at Zilukha Nunnery to meet Bhutanese anims (nuns) and observe their way of life. Onwards, stop at Takin Park. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan found only in eastern Himalayas.
Hike to Wangditse Goenpa (monastery, 100 meters) from Sangeygang, about 4 Kilometers and approximately 2 hours walk. Walk along a small trail towards Phajoding and enjoy magnificent view of Thimphu Valley, Tashichodzong and SAARC building. Descend down to Dechenphodrang, a monastic school of more than 450 Buddhist monks. You can see displays of sacred old paintings and young monks in red robes with their usual chores reciting prayers.
In the evening, visit Tashichhodzong that 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 form Punakha.
Back to lodge and stroll around the town in the evening.
DAY 4 THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA
Journey to Punakha from Thimphu is less than three hours on road. On the way, you will see the abundance of richness in natural beauty with spectacular views of wild flora and fauna.
After 45 minutes drive from Thimphu, stop at Dochula, a mountain pass at 3100 meters. The majestic elevation ornamented by 108 miniature Druk Wangyal chortens (temples) is an ideal place to shoot pictures of panoramic view of distant snow capped Himalayan mountain ranges and wilderness of woods.
Carry packed lunch from Dochula lodge. Hike to Lungchuzekha Goenpa (470 meters up), about 2 hours uphill. Unforgettable experience walking through the wilderness of giant hemlocks, moss covered rhododendron forest and birch woods opening up to meadows and some junipers with sights of winter camps for highlanders’ yaks. Once you reach the monastery beneath the clouds, you will realize how fortunate you are to be on top of the world. On a clear day, you can view almost all major mountains of Bhutan like Jhomolhari (7,314 m), Kang Bum (6,500 m), Gangchhenta, Great Tiger Mountain (6,840 m), Masang Gang (7,165 m) trident shaped towers over Gasa Dzong. Towards right are the high peaks of Lunana. Further to the northeast is Gangkar Puensum (7,541 m), the highest mountain of Bhutan.
Return to Dochula after lunch and drive down to Punakha straight to the lodge. If you wish, stroll in the town and meet locals.
DAY 5 PUNAKHA
Visit Punakha Dzong in the morning, one of the most beautiful and majestic dzongs built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637 at the confluence of two significant rivers; Pho chu (male) and Mo chu (female). This Dzong holds a great significance in history of Bhutan. Next, try walking across the longest suspension bridge of Bhutan hanging over Phochu and sightseeing near village in the paddy fields.
After lunch, a short hike of about 30 minutes to 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. Walk through rice fields and climb up the ridge. Enjoy the scene of spectacular valley downhill with a thin line of meandering river.
DAY 6 PUNAKHA TO PARO
In the morning, enroute to Paro, visit Chhimi Lhakhang (temple) 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’.
On passing Thimphu, visit Simtokha Dzong built to subdue demons of the region. It has a large statue of Yeshay Gonpo (Mahakala) the chief protective deity of Bhutan and has the bed chambers of both Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and Jigme Namgyel two of the most important figures in Bhutanese history. You can also see large number of statues and intricate paintings of forms of Buddha and eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche.
After lunch, onward to Paro.
DAY 7 PARO, HIKE TO TAKTSHANG, THE TIGER’S NEST
Built in 1692, Taktshang 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.
Once we are back in the valley, visit to a historic site of a ruined Drugyel Dzong approximately 9 miles towards north built somewhere in 1647 to commemorate victory of Drukpas (Bhutanese) over Tibetans. Unfortunately, in 1951 it caught fire and raged to ground leaving behind the collapsed walls outlining this historic site.
Last shopping in some handicraft shops in Paro town. Overnight in hotel.
DAY 8 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: