Get connected to Bhutan as you visit many religious and historical places of interest. Visit Gantey and Phobijikha valley to witness the blacknecked cranes dance and enjoy the quietness of the mountains. Hike to the Taktsang, also known as Tigers Nest to end the tour of an enchanting realm.
Day 01 : Arrive Paro by Druk Air
In clear weather, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of the mighty Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata, it is a fascinating journey, culminating in an exciting descent over forested hills into the kingdom. On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by our representative after completion of airport formalities. Transfer to hotel and check in. Evening – take a stroll along Paro town’s main street.
Day 02 : Paro
- After breakfast, visit the Ta Dzong (National Museum) and then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong that has a long and fascinating history.
- Afternoon visit Drukgyel Dzong, the ruined fortress from where Bhutanese repelled several invasions by Tibetan armies. Currently, the Dzong is under restoration.
- Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom.
- In the evening, visit a traditional farmhouse that offers a good insight into the lifestyle of local people. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 03 : Paro – Thimphu (60 km, 2 hours)
After breakfast proceed to Thimphu, the modern capital city of Bhutan. En route stop at Chuzom (confluence) where the Paro river joins the Thimphu river. Three types of stupas adorn the meeting point of the rivers offering a picturesque view from the bridge.
- Visit the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom which now houses the Institute for Advanced Buddhist studies.
- After lunch, visit the National Memorial Chorten. The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk “the Father of modern Bhutan”, who wished to erect a monument for global peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace. It has now become a vibrant centre of spiritual practice and religious events.
- Buddha Dordenma: It is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park overlooking the southern entrance to the Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfils an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world. This massive statue of Shakyamuni is 51.5 m tall, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue- 100,000 statues of 8 inches and 25,000 statues of 12 inches. Each of these Buddhas have also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
- The Royal Textile Museum, the Folk Heritage Museum and the Handicrafts Emporium followed by a visit to the local market.
- Tashichhodzong, a beautiful medieval fortress/monastery that houses His Majesty the King’s Throne Room, some offices of the Government and the summer residence of the monk body. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 04 : Thimphu – Punakha (75 km, 2.1/2 hours)
After breakfast, take a halfday sightseeing tour of Thimphu
- Visit the National Library which has a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts.
- The Painting School, famous for its traditional thangkha paintings. Here you will see students at work producing intricate design on cloth.
- The National Institute of Traditional Medicine where centuries old healing arts are still practiced.
After lunch drive to Punakha with a short stop at Dochula pass (3,050m) and enjoy the most enchanting view of the 108 stupas against the backdrop of the majestic Himalayas. On arrival, check into the hotel.
Evening – visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955, and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan’s first King Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood several damages from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The last flood in 1994, caused great damage to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 05 : Punakha – Wangduephodrang – Gangtey (70 km, 3 hours)
- After breakfast at the hotel, hike to Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the center of the valley. The sacred temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings owing to which he is also known as ‘Divine Madman’. The temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that childless couples that want children, can pray at this temple and they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is located about 30 minutes walk from the road across paddy fields and interesting little shops. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.
- Later drive to Sangchen Dorji Lhendup Nunnery, built upon a pine-covered ridge high up above Punakha valley. The nunnery’s chapel houses a 4.5 meters (14 ft) bronze statue of Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion, along with statues of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is home to a small and friendly community of nuns.
- Drive to Gangtey via Wangduephodrang.
- Evening take a walk around Gangtey village and visit the Gangtey Goenpa, a beautiful Nyingmapa monastery and one of a kind in the country. Overnight at Camp / Guest House.
Day 06 : Gangtey – Trongsa (120 km, 4.1/2 hours)
- Morning, explore the scenic valley of Phobjikha famous for the rare Black Necked Cranes that migrate here from the Central Asiatic plateau to escape its harsh winters.
- After lunch drive to Trongsa crossing the Pele la pass at 3300m. Overnight at the lodge in Trongsa.
Day 07 : Trongsa – Bumthang (68 km, 3 hours)
- After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong. Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Our Kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (‘governor’) prior to ascending the throne, and the present Crown Prince now holds the post. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built.
- Visit the Ta Dzong (watch tower), dedicated to the Buddhist epic hero, King Gesar of Ling.
Drive to Bumthang, 68 km from Trongsa, a journey of about 3 hours, over the Yutong-la pass (3,400m). The road winds steeply up to the pass, 28 km from Trongsa, then runs down through coniferous forest into a wide, open cultivated valley known as the Chumey valley. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 08 : Bumthang
Bumthang is the general name given to a combination of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitudes varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of the prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries of Bhutan. Its scenic beauty is often compared to that of Switzerland.
After breakfast at the hotel:
- Visit Jambey Lhakhang, a 7th century temple and one of the 108 built by King Songtsen Gampo in one day.
- Next, explore the religious sites on foot: Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock; Tamshing Lhakhang that has some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan and Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the region. Stroll in the village, visit the little handicrafts shop at the entrance to the town, and perhaps, take refreshments at a local restaurant. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 09 : Bumthang – Thimphu (268 km, 8 hours)
After an early breakfast, drive to Thimphu . En route stop at a popular restaurant for lunch. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 10 : Thimphu – Paro
After breakfast drive to Paro.
- Hike to Taktsang Monastery, one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and was visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 11 : Paro Depart
- After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for final departure.