The flight into Paro is a breathtaking introduction to the natural beauty of the country. Magnificent views of the world's highest peak, give way to lush green Paro valley. On arrival, our representative will receive and escort you to your hotel. After lunch, drive to Drugyel Dzong (a ruined fortress - 16kms, away from Paro Town). Although in ruins, this Dzong is of great historical importance. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. On a clear day you can get a view of the Mt. Chomolhari (7329m). On the way back take a leisurly stroll around the town and interact with the locals.
Morning drive to Haa Valley with a picnic pack lunch, via Chele La Pass (3,810m). This is a scenic drive and you might spot few yaks along the way. The pristine Haa Valley, ancestral home of Bhutan's Queen Mother was closed to outsiders till 2001. It is surrounded by forested hillsides full of ancient shrines, while the narrow valley floor is dotted with fields of millet, barley, and potatoes. Its farmhouses are adorned with intricately painted wooden cornices and ornately carved window frames. You will walk through serene hamlets and remote monasteries below mountain peaks. Evening, drive to Paro (2 hrs) and visit Ta Dzong (One of the best museums of Asia), Rimpung Dzong (Fortress of the "heap of jewels"), and Kichu Lhakhang (The oldest temple of the kingdom built by a Tibetan king in 6th century)
Spend the day hiking up the forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger's Nest, Bhutan's most famous and scenic icon. The climb is steep and takes about 4 hours round trip. An important place of pilgrimage and refuge for more than 1200 years, Taktsang Monastery clings to sheer cliffs two-thousand feet above Paro Valley, and from your closest vantage point on a rocky ledge directly across from it, you will still need 200-300 mm lenses and a steady tripod to get tight photographs. This sacred place got its name when Guru Rinpoche rode there on the back of a flying tiger and meditated in a cave behind the present-day monastery. Sadly, in 1998, the central temple was destroyed by fire, leaving the country in mourning for their holiest of spiritual places. But religious leaders and the King quickly developed a plan to rebuild Taktsang and donations started pouring in from Buddhist centers all over the world, and today, the magnificently rebuilt exterior is complete. Tiger's Nest is once again the subject of cloud-shrouded posters that say, "Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon." Picnic lunch on the hillside cafeteria.
Special permit will be arranged for you to enter the Tiger's Nest monastery but you will not be allowed to take pictures of the inside shrines.
Evening visit a typical village home for a traditional Bhutanese style dinner accompanied by the local liquor called "Ara" (tastes somewhat like the Japanese Sake). Then luxuriate in the Bhutanese equivalent of a Jacuzzi called a "Chu Tsen." River rocks are heated and dunked into a large wooden tub with herbs. This type of bath is considered to have medicinal properties of healing.
This is a lovely drive through spectacular mountain views and peaceful countryside. Thimphu is a small, charming capital city nestled in the heart of the Himalayas. It is nothing like what a capital city is imagined to be. All houses and buildings are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style. En route visit Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortress of Bhutan built in 1629 and it houses the largest monastic schools in the country. Stop by the newly opened farmers market which opens on Friday, Saturday and sunday. Interact with the locals from various villages. This was previously the weekend market. After lunch and refreshment, mountain biking to Tango Chari. A meditational retreat monastery built on the rocky cliff in 12th century. It is 12 km away from Thimphu valley. Evening, free to explore the busy Thimphu city with your guide or on your own.
Visit the animal sanctuary where the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin, is found in captivity. Walk around the BBS tower which is also known as the "romantic point" and lovers often come here to look at the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley; Visit the Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in memory of the late King of Bhutan; National Library where ancient texts and manuscripts are preserved; The Indigenious Hospital where traditional medicines are still practiced; Woodcraft and Painting school where traditional art and crafts are still kept alive; Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles are displayed and can be purchased; Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building, the office of the King and Throne room and also the house of the State Monastic Body. (Night Club, Optional).
The journey will take you across Dochu La pass ( 3150m) where you can get spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayan Mountains on a clear day and also walk around the 108 stupas which decorates the pass. Enroute visit Royal Botanical Garden in Lamperi. Situated at an altitude range of 2100 metres to 3800 metres, the Royal Government of Bhutan has created the country's first Royal Botanical Park in an area of high conservation value. The park features a variety of forest types, spectacular scenery, natural rhododendron groves, endangered wildlife and a lake. The natural attributes have been complemented with a visitor's information centre, Cafe, Walking tracks, a garden showcasing 46 native rhododendrons and many flowering herbs, picinic and camping sites and gazebo shelters. The park has a conservation, reaserach, education and recreation functions. Declared over an area of 47 square kilometers, the park serves as a biological corridor connecting Jigme Dorji National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. The park has :
1. Plants over 300 species( 28 rhododendron + 114 ferns)
2. Wild life - over 21 species
3. Birds, over 220 species.
Afternoon, visit Punakha Dzong, "Palace of Great Happiness". Punakha Dzong is the former winter Capital and at present day hosts the administrative seat of the district. Also the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female river. It was built in 1637 AD It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan's first king was crowned. Evening, hike to Chimi Lhakhang (fertility temple). This is the temple of one of Bhutan's foremost saints, Lama Drukpa Kunley, also known as the "Divine Madman."
phobjikha gangtey goenpa
Early rise and visit Wangdue Dzong. This classic fortress has many sacred temples in it. Then drive to Phobjikha. The winding road will climb through Pelela pass (3,300m), this spot offers great views of Himalayan villages like Rukubji and Chendedji, and it is also the main land mark between east and west. Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the periphery of the north western tip of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is a conservatoin area and lies on the northern boundary of the Jowo Durshing range. People sometimes refer to the entire region as Gangtey after the name of the Gangtey Goenpa that is situated on a ridge overlooking the Phobjikha valley. According to legend that the Gangtey Goenpa was founded by the grandson ( the mind incarnation) of Pema Lingpa in 1613. The Phobjikha valley is also one of the roosting grounds of the Black-necked cranes that migrate each year in winter from its nothern habitats in Tibet and Siberia to these grounds. Visit Information Centre for the cranes. Evening, take a hike through the Blue Pine forest to the village farmhouse. Try traditional Bhutanese snacks made from corn and rice with a home made wine.
Morning visit Gangtey Goenpa while the monks will be sitting for their morning prayers. This is biggest Nyingma temple of the kingdom. The journey will lead beyond Pele La pass to Longte Valley where people raise sheep and yaks. You'll come to the village of Rukubji Valley, with its big school and Gompa. The houses here are clustered amid extensive fields of mustard, potatoes, barley, and wheat. As you drive down through rhododendron trees and ferns, you'll reach Chendebji village. This was a night halt for mule caravans traveling from Trongsa during the reign of the 2nd King of Bhutan. Just below Chendebji village is the Chendebji chorten, a large white structure beside a stream. This chorten is modeled after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu and was built in the 19th century. The last village before you reach Trongsa is Tangsibji, which provides full view of Trongsa Dzong and its distinctive red roof. Trongsa Dzong, built in 1645, is a vast, white fortress that appears to grow directly up from the narrow green ridge on which it is constructed. It is one of the most powerful Dzongs and even today the crown prince of Bhutan must first become its Trongsa Penlop (governor) before he can become Bhutan's King. On arrival, visit Trongsa Dzong and the Watch Tower (Now a museum). Evening, free to stroll around Trongsa town.
Early rise and drive to Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. This journey will take you over one of the most scenically beautiful routes in Bhutan via the Yotong La pass (3425m), which is also the habitat for the Satyr peasant. As you enter the Chhume Valley (the first of the four valleys that comprise the Bumthang Valley) you can visit a center of Yathra weaving. Yathra is the name for the locally produced hand-woven woolen cloth. Distinctive patterns and bright, earthy colors enliven the fabric, which is used for a wide variety of purposes and sought after throughout the country. After lunch and check in Lodge. Visit the historical Jakar Dzong. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. Visit several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang, Tamshing and Pema Samba Lhakhangs.
The trek route follows the Chamkhar river, passing across many rural villages and some temples. The trek is easy and gentle. Alt 2900m/ Distance 14kms/ Time 6hrs.
The route ascends gradually through juniper forest toward Phephe La Pass(3340m) and decends to Tang valley, finally arriving at Ugyen Choling to camp at the river side. Alt 2850m/ Distance 19km/ Time 8hrs.
Take a short walk to Ugyen Choling Dzong and the surrounding villages, then drive to Jakar till you arrive at the road junction. Visit the legendary "Burning Lake" (Maebar Tsho), which is considered as one of the most important pilgrimage spots. Evening, body massage and leisure time.
After breakfast drive across pine forests leaving behind the Bumthang valley. Gradually ascend Sheltheng La (3600m). On a clear day, one can see the snow capped mountain, Gangkar Puensum(7541m), the highest peak in Bhutan. The vegetation changes from alpine to subtropical as you pass through Sengor valley, watching cascading waterfall along the way and cross Kuri Chu river. A gradual ascend again takes you through pine forests and maize fields. Arrive Mongar and check in lodge. Enroute picnic lunch will be arranged. Evening, explore Mongar town and talk to the villagers. People from east are very humourous and friendly by nature.
Morning, visit Mongar Dzong; Wenkhar (community farming center), and a typical local farmhouse where wine is brewed from corn and maize. The road takes through the lush green valley of Yadi, filled with fern, corn fields and banana groves. Enroute visit Gom Kora (Holy temple famous for its festival held annually); Doksum village known for its traditional fabric; The famous Chorten Kora (Massive stupa); Painting School of the thirteen traditional Art & Craft. After a local snack and tea in Trashi Yangtse, drive to Trashigang. Trashigang is perched on the steep hillside above Gamri river. Evening, free to explore the unique town of Trashigang.
Drive to Samdrup Jongkhar via Kanglung valley, Khaling, Wamrong, Deothang and several other remote settlements. En route visit Sherubtse College in Kanglung, Handloom and Blind School in Khaling. Picnic lunch on the way. The journey will lead you through various vegetation from the far east to the extreme south of the country. Evening, take a leisurely stroll around Samdrup Jongkhar town which is quite similar to the typical Indian town. Celebrate your last day in Bhutan in a Bhutanese style with your guide and locals, and carry one of the fondest memories of the kingdom on your way back home.
After farewell, travel through the plains of Assam toward Guwahati Airport (India).
Please Note : This is just a proposed schedule for your trip to Bhutan. We can customize any tours to suit your duration and interests when you are in Bhutan. Please feel free to consult our management if you have any preferred interests for any change to the above proposed itinerary.
Mrs. Yeshi Yangki
Chubachu, Thimphu, Bhutan
Jomolhari Trek - 11 D / 10 N
Paro - Drukgyel Dzong - Shana Zampa - Thangthangka - Jangothang - Lingzhi - Shodu - Barshong - Dodina - Thimphu
Lunana Snowman Trek - 24 D / 23 N
Paro - Sharna - Thangthangka - Jangothang - Halt - Chebisa - Shomuthang - Robluthang - Limithang - Laya
Nabji Korphu Trek - 12 D / 11 N
Thimphu - Punakha - Trongsa
Bumthang Cultural Trek - 12 D / 11 N
Paro - Thimphu - Trongsa - Bumthang - Ngalakhang - Tang Ugyencholing - Bumthang - Punakha - Thimphu - paro
Dagala Thousand Lake Trek - 13 D / 12 N
Paro - Thimphu - Genekha - Gur - Labatama - Panka - Talakha - Thimphu - Paro
Druk Path Trek - 11 D / 10 N
Paro - National museum - Jile Dzong - Jangchu Lakha - Jangchulakha - Jimilang Tsho - Simkotra - Phojoding - Thimphu - Punakha - Paro
Laya - Gasa Trek - 22 D / 21 N
Paro - Shana - Soi Thangthangkha - Jangothang - Lingzhi - Lingshi - Chebisa - Shoumuthang - Robluthang - Limithang - Laya - Chamsa - Gasa Tshachu - Damji - Punakha - Thimphu
Punakha Winter Trek Tour - 10 D / 9 N
Paro - Thimphu - Shongpang - Dopshing pang - Chorten - Ningpo
Yaksa Trek Tour - 11 D / 10 N
Paro - Drukgyel Dzong - Shana Zampa - Thangthangka
Five Days Cultural Tour - 5 D / 4 N
Paro - Thimphu