Discover Bhutan as you journey across the western side of the country. Admire the stunning scenery and unique Bhutanese architectures. Experience the peaceful rural life and feel the differences as you descend down into bustling concrete jungles of Phuentsholing.
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 transferred to the hotel.
- In the evening take a stroll around Paro town with its numerous souvenir shops and interesting architecture. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro
After an early breakfast at the hotel:
- Visit the Taktsang Monastery (4-5 hours trek): It is also known as the Tiger’s Nest as it is believed that Guru Rinpoche, the father of the Bhutanese strain of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. Taktsang was severely damaged by fire in 1998 but has been restored to its original splendor. As one of the most sacred sites in the region, the Bhutanese and visitors from neighbouring areas come to Taktsang quite often on pilgrimage.
- After lunch, visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum of Bhutan. The museum collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and the country’s exquisite postage stamps.
- Next, visit Rinpung Dzong situated at a commanding height overlooking the Paro valley. This Dzong is of significance as the religious and secular center of all affairs of the valley.
- In the evening, visit a traditional farmhouse to get a glimpse of the lifestyle of local people. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro to Punakha (125 Km, 4 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 the ridge above 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 Thimphu (90 Km, 3 Hours)
- After breakfast, hike to Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the center of the valley. The temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who, in the late 15th century used humor, song and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings owing to which he is also known as the ‘Divine Madman’. The holy place is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples pay a visit here to seek blessings for fertility or to offer their gratitude for wishes fulfilled.
- Later, drive to Thimphu, the small charming capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu’s charm is not only embedded in its wealth of museums or places of historic interest but visitors enjoy wandering along the main street with its quaint shops, mostly decorated in traditional style.
- Visit the Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery that houses some offices of the Government and His Majesty the King’s Throne Room. It is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of the monastic body.
- Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 05: Thimphu
After breakfast, get a feel of the culture and traditions of Bhutan through an all encompassing sightseeing tour of Thimphu.
- 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 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.
- National Library that 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.
- 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 06: Thimphu – Phuentsholing (179 Km, 6 Hours)
After breakfast, drive to Phuentsholing and enroute visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627, which now houses the Institute for Advanced Buddhist studies. The Thimphu / Phuentsholing highway was built in 1962 but rebuilt many times to meet the needs of a growing number of travelers. The drive on this route is very pleasant with numerous scenic spots along the way. Just before arrival, visit the Kharbandi Goemba, the monastery built in 1967. It houses the large and attractive statues of Sakyamuni, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Rinpoche. Overnight at the hotel in Phuentsholing.
Day 07: Phuentsholing – Siliguri (160 Km, 4 Hours)
After breakfast drive to Siliguri passing through lush green tea gardens from where tea leaves are exported to all parts of the world.