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Day 1 Arrival in Paro/Paro Sightseeing/ To Thimphu
Day 2 Thimphu Sightseeing
Day 3 To Punakha / Punakha Sightseeing
Day 4 Rafting/Kayaking in Pho Chhu or Mo Chhu in Punakha
Day 5 Punakha to Paro
Day 6 Takshang (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 reception meal in a local 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 a sumptuous lunch in a local restaurant in the town, we will depart for a historic site of a ruined structure of Drugyel Dzong approximately 9 miles towards north. The dzong was built somewhere in 1647 to celebrate the victory of Drukpas (Bhutanese) over Tibetan invasion. Unfortunately, in 1951 it caught fire and raged to ground leaving behind the collapsed walls outlining this historic site.
We shall leave Paro by late afternoon towards Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. It’s about 1 hour and 20 minutes drive 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.
After a hotel check-in, you may wish to stroll around the town and feel the pleasure of arriving in your Himalayan Home.
DAY 2 THIMPHU
On second day morning, we shall move out 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.
After the breakfast, 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.
Following lunch, we drive to the Centenary Farmers Market (open only on Friday Saturday & Sunday) where Bhutanese farmers from all over the country exhibit wide varieties of their farm products for sale. While walking around the stalls you may wish to take pictures of some unique organic products and even meet our farmers.
We will also 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.
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.
DAY 3 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, stop at Dochula, a mountain pass at 3100 meters. The majestic elevation is a perfect point to capture panoramic view of the silhouettes of distant dark ridges cutting sharp edges and snow capped Himalayan mountain ranges. Experience the freshness of Mother Nature with tranquility held by 108 Druk Wangyal chortens (temples). Just above is a cafeteria for a refreshing coffee, a sip or two on a hilltop is a different experience.
Further, we descend down the mountains through meandering roads passing by the dark forests and open landscapes touching on some settlements.
Once we reach Lobesa, relatively a warmer zone, a gentle hike to Chhimi Lhakhang (temple) situated on a spherical hillock built in 1499 by Ngawang Chogyel. You will learn about Drukpa Kuenley the ‘Divine Madman’ whose unorthodox practice of Buddhism advocated use of wooden Phallus to drive away evil and to bless impotent women wishing to beget child.
Next is the Punakha Dzong visit, one of the most beautiful and majestic dzongs built in 1637 at the confluence of two significant rivers by first Zhabdrung Rinpoche, Ngawang Namgyal. It holds great historical significances.
- Had been the capital of Bhutan until 1907.
- First National Assembly was held here in 1953
- Second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan
- Winter resident of Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot)
- Held wedding of the 5th King of Bhutan in 2011
- Houses the most sacred and precious relics of Bhutan
Night halt in a hotel in Kuruthang.
DAY 4 RAFTING/KAYAKING IN PHO CHHU/MO CHHU IN PUNAKHA
After your breakfast, our transport car will transfer you to the starting point and prior to rafting you will be instructed on all safety measures and guidelines for the particular route by our professional guide. Our rafting downstream is for about 2 to 4 hours.
Pho Chu river has about 15 km course with few rapids of class III-IV and Mo Chu river has about 10 Km course with almost 10 rapids of class II – III. While rafting and drifting you will come to the confluence of these two rivers near imposing Punakha Dzong, the ancient fortress. The main river Puna Tsang Chhu flows down to Khuruthang up to which it is more exciting and stimulating with numerous rapids. There may not be monstrous waves, exciting laugh and screaming but you can enjoy watching world’s rarest bird, the white belled Heron in its natural habitat and Kingfishers on riverbank and spectacular sight of lush green fields across in the valleys.
After rafting, you can either stroll around the town or drive to Wangduephodrang for sightseeing.
DAY 5 PUNAKHA TO PARO
Visit 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. 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.
Drive back to Paro in the afternoon.
DAY 6 PARO, HIKING TO 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.
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: