Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills, each flight is a mesmerizing feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom. On arrival at the airport, you will be received by our representative and then transferred to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
- In the evening, if time permits, visit the Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery built in 1641 by the Founder of Bhutan Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is the centre of government and religion, His Majesty the King’s Throne Room and the seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot of the monastic body. After a fire, it was reconstructed in 1961 in the traditional Bhutanese manner without nails or architectural plans. Overnight stay in Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimphu
After breakfast, get a feel of the culture and traditions of Bhutan through an all encompassing sightseeing tour of Thimphu.
- 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 to promote world 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.
- Visit Buddha Dordenma located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park overlooking the southern entrance to the Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfills 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.
- Visit the National Library that has a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts.
- Next, the Painting School, famous for its traditional thangkha paintings. Here you will see students at work producing intricate design on cloth.
- Also visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine where centuries old healing arts are still practiced.
- Later, visit the Royal Textile museum and the Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of Bhutanese culture and living traditions.
- After lunch, visit the Handicrafts Emporium that displays a wide assortment of beautifully hand woven and crafted products.
Day 03: Thimphu to Punakha (75 Km, 2 1/2 Hours)
- After breakfast 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.
- Later visit the Punakha Dzong, the 17th century fortress that is the winter residence of the central monastic body. Before 1955, Punakha was the capital of Bhutan.
- After lunch, visit the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, that sits majestically on a ridge above the Punakha valley with an amazing view of the countryside and the hills below. It was built by the Queen Mother Her Majesty Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck to ward off evil forces and bring peace and harmony to all living beings. It is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. It is located about 30 minutes drive from town and an hour’s trek up the hill. From the top of the Chorten you can enjoy the peace and beautiful view.
- Later, drive to Sangchen Dorji Lhendup Nunnery, built on a pine-covered ridge above Punakha valley. The nunnery’s chapel houses a 4.5 meters (14 ft) bronze statue of Chenrezing, the bodhisattva of compassion, along with statues of the Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in an intricately sculpted altar. It is home to a small and friendly community of nuns. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 04: Punakha to Paro (125 Km, 4 1/2 Hours)
- After breakfast drive to Paro, enroute visit the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627. Besides the sacred shrine in the temple, it houses the Institute for Advanced Buddhist Studies.
- In Paro, visit the Ta Dzong, the National Museum. Originally built as a Watch Tower, it has been serving as the National Museum of the country since 1967. It has on display a fascinating collection of art, artifacts, thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps.
- Next, visit the Rinpung Dzong which has a long and fascinating history. The first ever National Assembly of Bhutan was held here. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 05: Paro
- After an early breakfast drive north of Paro valley and take a 4-5 hours excursion to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of all Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Padmasambhava arrived here on the back of a tigress from Tibet. He meditated in the cave and emerged in eight incarnated forms and thus, the site became holy. Subsequently, the place came to be known as the “Tiger’s Nest”.
- In the afternoon, visit a traditional Bhutanese Farm House that offers a good insight into the lifestyle of local people.
- On the drive back, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom. Later, you may like to explore the town of Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 06: Depart Paro
- After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for final departure.