Day One: Fly into Paro, drive to Thimphu – The stunning city and the only Capital in the world without traffic lights
Day Two: Thimphu – touch down on the various sights in and around; check out the Bhutan Postal Museum, Evolution of Communication Systems in Bhutan, observe young artisans at intricate work, immerse in the colors of the weekend market
Day Three: Gangtey (Phobjikha) – valley of the sacred Black Necked Crane
Day Four: On ward to Bumthang -Enjoy stunning views from the passes of Pele-la and Yotong-la (amongst the highest passes in the Country), Chendebji – one stupa of a kind which resembles to that of Boudha stupa in Nepal, Chumey – weaving centres with their work at display
Day Five: Explore the holy sites in Bumthang – Kurjey and Jampa, Swiss Farm House to observe how cheese is made, join a local family to try out local brewery and buckwheat noodle (not to be missed)
Day Six: Trongsa – The Vanguard of the Warriors, Trongsa Dzong, Ta Dzong – watch Tower
Day Seven: Punakha – Summer residence of the Monastic Body , Chimi Lhakhang- temple of Fertility, beautiful Lavenders in full bloom (seasonal)
Day Eight: Paro – Don’t miss out on the oldest cantilever bridge that you will come cross to while visiting the fascinating architecture of the Rinpung Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang – one of the most revered temples perpetually bearing oranges
Day Nine: Paro- Hike to the Tiger’s Nest – Exhilarating task of 2hrs climb and another 1.5hr retrieving steps
Day Ten: International Departure
Day One: Arrival in Paro, 2,300m -Drive to Thimphu, 2,400m
On your flight to Paro, you can see breathtaking views of the Great Himalayas so make sure you get to take the window seat. Upon arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed to the Kingdom by your guide from local travel company.
After completing your visa formalities, transfer to Thimphu (90 minute drive) with spectacular scenes. Magnificent monasteries and stupas in the valleys and mountain-tops. Experience the “Last Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom” on Earth and take precious memories back home.
Check in to your hotel and have lunch. After lunch, look around the Capital City on your own or with your guide (evening at leisure).
Overnight Thimphu (B/L/D)
Day Two: Explore Thimphu
If you require to change money we could stop by at the Bhutan National Bank. There we could also purchase world’s most beautiful postage stamps, collector’s items and postcards at face value from general post office which is right next to Bhutan National Bank. Visits to the Arts and crafts school where one can see young children at work and the Traditional Medicine Institute where the ancient healing arts are still practiced will follow in next.
Later, check out the Memorial Chorten built in 1974 to honor memory of Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, popularly known as the Father of Modern Bhutan, a multi-storied stupa that will introduce you to the vitality of Tantric Buddhism.
After a sumptuous lunch, observe traditional paper making from Daphne and Edgeworthia shrub to the finished product and purchase some beautiful writing sets from the factory.
You could then visit the mini zoo where one can see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Further up is drive to the view point and where you could take a hike beyond to see the clear picture of Thimphu Valley.
Depending on the time availability, drive downtown and explore the colorfull Weekend Market (only on Saturday and Sundays), Handicrafts Emporium and other Arts & Crafts stores. You may wish to buy kiras (women) which can be used as bed covers or wall decoration back at home and gho (men), jewelries and many more.
Overnight in Thimphu (B/L/D)
Day Three: Thimphu- Gangtey (Phobjikha)
Drive east across spectacular Dochula pass via Wangdiphodrang to Gangtey, Phobjikha valley. This 5 plus hour drive is spectacular with great scenery and ever changing vegetation as we ascend and descend through varying altitude. Phobjikha or Gangtey at an average altitude of 3,000m is a wide and beautiful valley. It is designated as conservation zone within the Jigme Singye National Park, a natural habitat for wildlife, including the endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from Central Asia in mid autumn an stay till early spring). Due to these conservation measures, there is no electricity in the valley. The lodges use solar powered cells or generator for light which is turned off after dinner. Hot water is provided in the bucket and the simple rooms are heated with wood stoves. In the afternoon, visit the ancient and large Gangtey Gompa Monastery followed by walk in the valley. Visit the Crane Information Centre in the valley.
Overnight in Phobjikha (B/L/D)
Day Four: Gangtey (Phobjikha) – Jakar (Bumthang)
Climb out of the valley to Pele-la pass, where we rejoin the east-west highway and continue east to Bumthang valley, which is expected to take around 5+hour. En-route, we stop at several places along the way for scenic photo shoot, views and other interesting surprises. We also make a stop at Chendebji Chorten (Stupa) for short break and in Trongsa town, for lunch. After crossing Yotong-la pass, we arrive in Chumey valley, one of the four main valleys of Bumthang district. Stop to take a peek at Domkhar Choling palace and visit the Yathra weavers at Zugney. Upon arrival in Jakar, check into your hotel. In the evening, visit Jakar Dzong and walk down-hill through Jakar village into the town area.
Overnight in Bumthang (B/L/D)
Day Five: In Jakar (Bumthang)
Bumthang is justifiably regarded as the cultural heartland of the kingdom with its many temples, holy sites, languages and traditions. We spend the full day in and around Jakar visiting its important monuments and cultural sights. Most places can be covered by drive but some places are easier and more interesting by walk. Among others, visit Kurjey Temple complex, the 7th century JampayLhakhang temple, Chakar Temple and Tamshing Monastery in the morning. Later stop at the Swiss farm, visit a local home, visit local wood craft center, may be a wool dying workshop and visit the prayer wheel near Wangdicholing Palace. You may also have an opportunity to visit a local school during the day. In the evening, sample some of the local food made from Buckwheat.
Overnight in Bumthang (B/L/D)
Day 6: Bumthang – Trongsa
From Jakar, we retrace short drive to Trongsa (3hr). Along the way, cover any sights that we may have missed earlier. Upon arrival, visit Trongsa Dzong, one of the most impressive fortresses in the country. Later climb the vigilant Watch tower, which has recently been converted into a National Museum. The view from the watchtower across of the Dzong and of the valley is spectacular. Stroll through the small and interesting town and chat with the locals.
Overnight in Trongsa (B/L/D)
Day 7: Trongsa – Punakha
Re-crossing the Pelela, descend into low subtropical valleys of Wangdue and Punakha. In Wangdue, visit Wangdiphodrang town. After lunch take a short & easy walk to visit Chimi Lhakhang temple and later visit Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of Pho and Mo chu rivers. Free evening to rest or take a self-guided walks.
Overnight in Punakha (B/L/D)
Day 8: Punakha to Paro
Cross Dochula pass into Thimphu and continue to Paro (total 4+ ½ hr drive). At Dochula pass we stop for tea and to enjoy the spectacular views of the eastern Himalayan Panorama (weather permitting). After lunch and check-into your hotel in Paro, visit Ta Dzong, which houses the National Museum, followed by visit of RinphungDzong. In the evening we also visit ancient KichuLhakhang temple and other sights as per available time.
Overnight in Paro (B/L/D)
Day 9: Paro (Takstang Excursion)
Drive to the north end of the valley and visit the ruined ramparts of DrugyalDzong, once an important fortress. Transfer to the trail head for an excursion to Takstang.
One can choose to ride a pony or walk uphill till the first close-up view point, but to go further into the temple and also to come back downhill, one must be able to walk. Takstang is one of the main highlights of visit to Bhutan and if possible, one must try it. For those who choose to skip this hike, can be taken for drive and to visit other sights around Paro valley. Farewell dinner in a nice local restaurant.
Overnight in Paro (B/L/D)
Day 10: Paro – International Departure (B)
Transfer to the airport for onward destination.
Tashi Delek (Thank you for choosing to travel with us)