Upon arrival in Paro, clear customs and immigration. Keep your copy of the visa clearance letter handy. Your visa has been paid. Meet your Guide and driver outside the terminal building and you will be taken to your Hotel. If your flight is in the morning you will be visiting touristic sight like Rinpung Dzong and National Museum (Ta Dzong) of Bhutan.
Rinpung Dzong: meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. Built in mid 17th century, it now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro District and residence for the 200 monks of Paro. It is also the venue for Paro festival held in the spring. Several years ago, the colorful movie Little Buddha was filmed here.
National Museum: At the top of the hill above Paro Dzong is an old watchtower that was renovated in 1968 to house the National museum. It was completed in 1656 and was originally the Ta dzong (watchtower) of Paro Dzong.
Farm House: Bhutanese farmhouses are colorful, decorative and traditionally built without any nails. Majority of the houses are with three story, first floor is utilized for sheltering cattle, second floor for the family to live in and the top for storing and drying of foods and fodder for animal. Almost all the farmhouses follow the same architecture pattern. A visit to farmhouse is interesting and provides you with an experience to the daily life of average Bhutanese.
Paro: Paro is one of the most beautiful valleys in the country and Bhutan’s only airport is located here, it is located among the terraced fields, and elegant farm houses. Willow trees line many of the roads, contrasting with bright colors of the fields and the most popular and important sites also found within Paro District. Paro town (2,280m) is still a small city with one main street and less then two hundred small family-runned shops. Evening you can have free time to stroll around Paro town and dinner at the hotel. Overnight: Hotel
After breakfast drive to north of Paro town for hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) Taktsang Monastery is located on the face of a 900m seemingly impossible sheer, vertical cliff, above Paro Valley and hike is about 3 hrs and if clients are fit enough they might take less than 3 hrs that depends the people how fast they are. The trail begins near the Satsam (2.650m) and climbs steeply uphill to the Cafeteria (2.940m), an area of exposed ridge with panoramic view of Taktsang Monastery. This takes little more then an hour. (Ponies are provided on request to ride up till this Cafeteria, but rest of way, including return downhill must be done on foot.) You can get a good view from the Cafeteria or hike further uphill for at least another hour to get to the temple itself. Within the vicinity there are several other temples and sites to be seen. Lunch is served at the tea house on the way back from the Taktsang Monastry or if you have time you can go to town for lunch. After your hike to the Monastery you will drive to visit Drukgyel Dzong (Victory fortress), and if the weather permits you will see our secret and second highest Mountain of Bhutan before or from Drukgyel on the way back you will also visit Kyichu Lhakhang.
Taktsang Monastery :( Tiger nest). Taktsang is the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, miraculously perched on the side of a sheer cliff 900m above the Paro valley. It is said that Guru Rinpoche flew to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress, a manifestation of his consort Yeshe Tsogyal, to subdue the local demon, Singye Samdrup. He then meditated in a cave here for three months. The site has long been recognized as a Ney, or holy place and it is one of the most secret pilgrimages in the Buddhist world not only Bhutan.
Drukgyel Dzong: This Dzong was built in 1649 by Zhabdrun Ngwang Namgyel in a location chosen for its control of the route to Tibet. This dzong was named ‘Druk’ (Bhutan) ‘Gyel’ (victory) to commemorate the victory of Bhutan over Tibetan invaders in 1644. This is said to have worked successfully during the second attack by Tibetan invaders in 1648.
Kyichu Lhakhang: Tibetan King Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century miraculously builts 108 temples, along with Jorkhang in Lhasa. Kyichu is considered to be one of them and is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
After this exciting experience you will be going back to the Hotel where your dinner will be served and you can enjoy your free time and relax. Overnight: Hotel/Resort Paro
After breakfast drive to Thimphu the modern capital of Bhutan and the distance is about 53 km from Paro town and takes 1 hour. Drive south following Pachu River to the river confluence at Chuzom. On the way you will see Bhutan’s rural area and there will be a possibility to make picture of this beautiful landscape. Your lunch will be served one of the restaurants at Thimphu town or in the hotel and after lunch you will be visiting some of the important touristic sight in Thimphu places like Folk Heritage Museum, Memorial Chorten and Takin Sanctuary. Evening you can have free time to walk around Thimphu town and dinner at the hotel.
Thimphu: (at 2400m) is Bhutan’s capital city and center of government, religion and commerce. About one hour drive east from Paro this unique city with its unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions will warmly welcome you. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monks, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style. It was a wooded farming valley until 1961, when it became Bhutan’s official national capital. The massive Tashicho Dzong, about 700 years old, was carefully revamped in the 1960s by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to house the Royal and main government offices. Even today, the city has a few streets and the population is more than 75.000 people
Folk Heritage Museum: The museum is a restored three-storey, traditional rammed-mud and timber house, which dates back to the mid 19th century. The house design and many of the implements are also reminders of how many rural Bhutanese still live today. Every visit to the museum is a unique experience because the activities of the museum follows the seasonal dynamics in the same pattern as the management of a rural household is influenced by the seasonal rhythms
Memorial Chorten: This landmark of Thimphu was built in 1974 in the memory of third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is popularly regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan. It is a four-story tall white building, containing statues and iconography of deities from complex tantric teachings and serves as an important place of worship for Thimphu residents, as well as from other parts of the country.
Takin Sanctuary: Takin (Budorcas taxi color) has been chosen as the national animal of Bhutan is based both on its uniqueness and its association with country’s history and mythology. It is said that Devine Madman, a popular saint is said to have created it with his magical power at a large congregation of devotees. It resembles like a cow from back and goat in the front and continues to befuddle taxonomists, who cannot quite relate to other animal. Overnight: Hotel/Resort Thimphu
Day Four: Thimphu Sightseeing (2,400m/7,875ft)
After breakfast sightseeing in and around Thimphu and you will cover the most important touristic sites again as mentioned below and if you are in the weekend in Thimphu you can visit Saturday and Sunday market. After lunch free time to stroll around Thimphu town for your own or accompany with your guide and dinner at the hotel. Overnight: Hotel/Resort Thimphu
Tashichhodzong: This fortress serves as the office of the King, ministers and various government organizations. It also is the headquarters for central monastic body of Bhutan. Bhutan’s spiritual leader Je-khenpo and the monks of both Thimphu and Punakha reside here during summer. It is also the venue for Thimphu Festival in the fall season.
Changangkha Monastery: It is one of the oldest monasteries in Thimphu. It was built in 15th century by phajodrugom shingpo, who came from Tibet and brought Drukpa kaugye and spread his teaching. Inside the monasteries the main figure is (Avolokiteshwara) god of compassion and other deities.
School of arts & Crafts: (Open 9-5pm Mon- Fri and 9-1pm on Sat-with exceptions of holidays and breaks). Commonly known as ‘the painting school’ is a national institute where children attend six-year course that provides instruction in Bhutan’s traditional arts and crafts called Zorig Chuksum –meaning 13 crafts.
Paper Factory: traditional papers were made from the daphne plant, using simple methods. National Library: It was established in 1967 to preserve many ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts, and is a lavishly decorated and vibrant example of Bhutanese architecture which contains Bhutan’s history in the form of religious and historical literature.
Weekend Market: Every Saturday and Sunday most of the Thimphu population congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. Here villagers from the valley and other nearby places come to sell their agriculture produce. It’s an interesting place to visit, where people jostle with well-heeled Thimphu residents for the best and cheapest vegetables and foodstuffs
After breakfast drive to Punakha for 3 hrs about 75 km en-route visit Dochula pass (3,050m), where you have the opportunity to see the peaks of the eastern Himalaya ranges if the weather permits. Descend to Punakha from Dochula takes about 2 hours and lunch will be at a local restaurant or in the Hotel in Punakha. After lunch you can visit Punakha Dzong and it is one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Bhutan.
In the evening you will have your dinner in the hotel and have free time to stroll around in Punakha.
Punakha dzong: Or Pungthang Dechen Phodrang “Palace of Great Happiness” is located on the confluence of two rivers, the Pho and Mochu. It was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal and following the ancient traditions, it serves as winter residence for chief abbot (Je-khenpo) and the monks of Central Monastic Body, who return to Thimphu in the summer.Overnight: Hotel/Resort Punakha/Wangdi