This trip is designed to show you more of this fascinating land and her people, untouched by outside world.
The trip allows you to get a more “hands on” experience of Bhutan. Your visits to Paro, Thimpu, Punakha and the beautiful valley of Phobjikha will take you to the one of the rarest and most unique travel destinations in the world, where you will see a very little or no influence by outside world.
Meet friendly people of Bhutan and experience their traditional lifestyle in this 8 days tour.
Day 01 Arrive Paro, transfer to Thimpu.
Fly to Paro. From a window seat on clear days, you can see a spectacular view of Bhutan’s snow capped peaks as you approach Paro.
Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed to the Kingdom by your guide. If time permits, sightseeing tour of 200-year-old Watch Tower that has been renovated and converted into National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of national costumes and fabrics, gallery of Thangkas, an impressive stamp gallery with three dimensional and CD stamps issued as early as 1960 that are remarkable, and other galleries showcasing armor and silverware with the handsome Royal teapots. On the top floor there is a four-sided temple complex depicting the history of Buddhism and its propagation. Then visit the Dungtse Lakang on the same route.
Transfer to Thimphu, the capital city (2500 meter / 8200 ft),
The drive from Paro to Thimphu is spectacularly scenic. If you are taking this trip in spring, you will find nature in its festive mood with rushing turquoise rivers which can be heard from miles away, and mountains transformed into a master artist's palette-brilliant vermilion, yellows, purples, pink, oranges and reds to dazzle your senses. Wild cherry, mountain plum, cotton silk and forests of rhododendron trees bloom with astonishing beauty and abundance. Enjoy the magnificent monasteries and stupas in the valleys and mountain tops, along the way.
Day 02 Full day tour - Thimpu
Today you have a full day tour of Thimpu. Visit to the Memorial Chorten built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Dupthop Lhakhang ( Monastery for the nuns), National Library and the painting school where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkhas ( sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).
Visit the traditional Medicine institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices.
Continue Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal traditional silver smiths and Bhutanese traditional paper factory. Drive south and visit Simtokha Dzong, the first Dzong built by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. It is now used as the Institute for study of traditional teachings
Return to Thimpu, and overnight.
Day 03 Overland Thimpu- Punakha
Leaving Thimphu, the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges.
Before proceeding further to Punakha, you can hike up to the Chimi Lhakhang temple on a small hilltop. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as “Divine madman” to the westerners. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility.
Arrive in Punakha and check in at hotel.
After lunch, drive North of Punakha for sightseeing. Punakha was the winter capital for over 300 years until the time of second King. Punakha Dzong which dominates the whole area was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel, and established the central monastic body with 600 monks. Today, Punakha is still the home for Je Khempo (Chief Abbot) and the central monastic body.
Day 04 Overland Punakha -Phobjikha
After breakfast, drive into the broad Phobjikha valley ( 3,000 meters/ 9,840 feet). The drive will be through a forest of Oak and rhododendron and often encountering the gigantic Yak.
Phobjikha is also home of the rare black-necked crane which migrates from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters. The other side of the pass that overlooks the valley is a realm of high altitude dwarf bamboo, the favorite food of Yaks.
Visit the Gangtey Monastery, perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. The monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 gomchens who take care of the monastery. The only Nyingmapa monastery in western side of Bhutan and the largest in Bhutan is headed by its spiritual master known as ninth Gangtey Tulku. The road continues for a few more kilometers beyond the monastery to the village of Phobjikha.
The valley of Phobjikha is one of the most beautiful places in Bhutan.
Day 05 Overland Phobjikha-Wangdi
After breakfast drive to Wangdue at an elevation of 4430 ft. Visit Rinchengang village, this small clustered village is famous for its masonry work. Resume your drive and stop at Simtokha Dzong, this dzong was built in the 1600s by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. At present it houses the Traditional Institute for both laymen and women.
Day 06 Overland Wangdi - Paro
After breakfast, drive to Paro. In Paro, visit Drukgyal Dzong built in 1674 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal, the Dzong was destroyed by fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. On a clear day you can get a magnificent view of the Mount Chomolhari, alt. 7314 m / 23,990 ft.
Drive south to Satsam Chorten, built in memory of the late Dilgo Khentse Rinpochey, and continue on to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in seventh century by a Tibetan King, Songtsen Gonpo. Take a leisurely hike down to Rimpung Dzong.
Walk through a traditional covered bridge across the river to your waiting car at the valley floor and take you to the Hotel. If you feel like walking back to the hotel then you can do so.
Day 07 Hike Takshang Monastery
After breakfast, your car will drop you at the starting point of the excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.
Stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue until you see clearly and seemingly within reach, the remains of Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger. Looking at the monastery flying tigers doesn’t seem so impossible after all.
Return to Paro and Overnight.
Day 08 Paro- U.S. or an extension
Transfer to airport and fly back home or extend the trip to India, Myanmar or Nepal.