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Arrival in Paro/Paro Sightseeing
Day 2 Thimphu
Day 3 Thimphu to Punakha
Day 4 Punakha to Limbukha, 4 hours
Day 5 Limbukha to Chhungsakha, 5 hours
Day 6 Chhungsakha to Samtengang, 5 hours
Day 7 Samtengang to Chhuzomsa, 5-6 hours
Day 8 Wangdue to Paro, 2-3 hours
Day 9 Paro Takshang, Tiger’s Nest Hike
Day 10 Departure from Paro
Day 01 Arrival in Paro, Paro to Thimphu
Arrival in Bhutan’s only International airport. You will experience the freshness of the pristine air with stunning mountains surrounding Paro valley with backdrop of distant Himalayas. You will be received at the gate by Ambrosia Bhutan Travels Representative in a traditional fashion and will be ushered to your hotel in Paro for lunch.
After lunch, you will take a stroll around historic sites of Paro valley. First, visit Ta Dzong which had been an ancient watchtower and now converted to the National Museum. This iconic structure standing on a hilltop houses a collection of ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons, coins and stamps. Then take a leisure walk down the hill through a trail that leads you to Rinpung Dzong situated at a commanding height overlooking Paro valley. On the way enjoy the scenic overview of Paro valley with fascinating lush green fields and mountains. Rinpung Dzong is a ancient fortress built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to protect the valley from foreign invasions. This dzong now houses Paro’s monk body and the offices of the civil administration and is symbolic as the religious and secular center.
Then take a walk further down and board the vehicle across Pachu (Paro river) after you walk along the traditional cantilever bridge Called Nyimizampa.Then,visit to a 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of 108 lhakhangs constructed by Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. This temple is considered to be very sacred and holds great significance in Bhutanese history.
Next, drive to the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu. It’s about 1 hour 20 minutes drive alongside river Pachu and Wangchu. After a brief orientation by our guide on Bhutanese etiquettes, you will check in your hotel. If you wish, you may stroll around the town in the evening.
DAY 2 THIMPHU
Today, after breakfast, we will drive up the hill Kuenselphodrang to see 169 feet (51.4 meters) tall statue of Shakyamuni Buddha called the Dordenma. Although this bronze statue gilded in gold is still under construction, it is open to tourists and safe to visit. On return, you will enjoy taking pictures of spectacular Thimphu valley with a panoramic view of the city.
Then visit the school for Bhutanese traditional arts and crafts the Institute of Zorig Chusum (the 13 crafts) to see trainees in their work. Drop in to Zilukha Nunnery to meet Bhutanese anims (nuns) and understand about their daily lives. Next, visit a Park in Motithang to see the national animal of Bhutan Takin which is supposed to be found only in eastern Himalayas. Further, drive up the hill to BBS tower (Sangaygang) to enjoy the bird’s eye view of Thimphu valley.
Next, stop at a 12th century monastery called Changangkha Lhakhang believed to be the residence of the protective deity Tamdrin. All new born babies get their names from here.
Visit to National Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of our third king of Bhutan who passed away in 1972. Enjoy the scene of locals circumambulating the chorten religiously and have a look at intricate Bhutanese designs and paintings.
Next visit is Jungshi paper manufacturing unit where handmade authentic Bhutanese paper called Desho is produced involving indigenous method.
In the evening, visit Tashichhodzong which has the seat of the monarch. Enjoy the beautiful exhibition of ancient Bhutanese architecture. Although it was originally constructed as early as 13th Century, it was renovated several times until 1952.
Back to the hotel. And if you are not tired explore through the town and visit temporary stores of traditional crafts queued along the road.
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.
DAY 4 TREK BEGINS- PUNAKHA TO LIMBUKHA
(12 Km/4 hours/Camp Altitude 1980m, 880m ascent)
The trek begins from near Punakha Dzong, over the longest suspension bridge of Bhutan (180m) across the Pho Chhu (river) from where you walk up to Shengana through terraced fields of mustard and winter wheat. You will then climb gradually through pine forest, fern, oak and some rhododendron until you reach Limbukha. The stunning views of Jomolhari, Khang Bum and Tiger Mountain are visible from here.
As you come closer to Limbukha village, you will come across a small Chorten and some prayer flags, from where your campsite is visible located just behind the village. Limbukha is one of the oldest villages with several large old houses. There is a myth behind a lake believed to have existed in this village. On the onset of irrigation every year the villages perform a special annual ceremony in connection with the lake.
DAY 05 LIMBUKHA – CHUNGSAKHA
(14km/5 hours/ Camp Altitude 1550m, 430m decent)
After a short steep climb to a small ridge through a dense forest the trail descends down again steeply towards a valley where you come across a brook. Further, the path leads uphill through rhododendron and oak forests until you reach a pass Dochen La ( ). Some spectacular views of Docula, Jomolhari, Khang Bum, Tiger Mountain, Talo Gompa and Nobgang Lhakhang are visible from here as you turn around. Then you trek down through forest trail which opens up to a village Chhungsakha (1850m), a small village of about little more than 10 houses. The presence of a holy stone, an impressive Cyprus tree and a Lhakhang here has historical reference to Lama 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. Overnight in a Camp.
Day 06 CHHUNGSAKHA – SAMTENGANG
(13 Km/5 Hours/Camp Altitude 1830m, 650m ascent &270m descent)
Today, the trail descends down for about 45 minutes and reaches to the motor road. But we are not boarding the vehicle here. We walk across a suspension bridge over Bae Chhu (1500m) and climb uphill gently passing through some villages. If it rains, the path might be slippery. Once you reach Samtengang High School, your climb is over. Walk by the holy lake, Lutshokha (Tsho Shokha) and later continue to the campsite, located on the other side of the lake in the forest below Samtengang village. Rest of the time, you may wish to walk around the village and talk to the locals or stay in camp.
Day 07 TREK ENDS, SAMTENGANG – CHHUZOMSA
(12 Km/5 Hours/730m descent)
Last day of the trek is a walk through vast fields and steep downhill heading into Dang Chhu valley until it reaches the bridge Tika Zam (1555m) in Chhuzomsa. Overnight at a hotel in Wangdue.
Day 08 WANGDUE TO PARO
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, reaching very 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.
In Paro, a brief visit to Dungtse Lhakhang built in 1421 by an eminent Tibetan lama named Thangtong Gyalpo. The three storeys of this lhakhang represent hell, earth and heaven.
In the evening, stroll around the town and overnight to the hotel.
DAY 9 TAKTSHANG HIKE
People often say that your visit to Bhutan is incomplete without a trip to Takshang. 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.
After breakfast, we hike uphill for 1.5 to 2 hours to reach to the monastery. The experience of walking through the forest of pine trees is off course exhausting but is fanned away by refreshing air which is irresistibly gratifying. The view of incredible grandeur of the structure clinging on a crag and literally entering the cave will leave a lasting impression of your journey to Bhutan.
Lunch at Cafeteria on the way return from Takshang.
After lunch, 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.
Experience the last serve of farmhouse dinner in Bhutanese style.
DAY 10 DEPART FROM PARO
After breakfast, your guide will see you off in the airport for your onward destination.
Upon cancelation of the tour after booking, the following charges apply: