This tour has been designed considering the pace and comfort of senior citizen to the rarest and most exclusive travel destination Bhutan that offers the experience of the Buddhist tradition in a setting of unique architecture.
On this 10 days trip, enjoy breathtaking Himalayan landscape, colorful monasteries and traditional lifestyle, untouched by the outside world.
Arrive in Paro, only international airport in the country. Take a short scenic drive to Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, where you will visit the magnificent Stupas and monasteries. Continue to Punakha through Dochu La pass while enjoying the spectacular panoramic views of the snow capped mountains. You can take an optional short hikes watching the birds and animals in thick jungles.
After the tour in Punakha, drive to Trongsa, the central valley of Bhutan, through the breathtaking beauties and serenity of Bhutan's rich flora & fauna. Your final destination is Bhumtang, a complex of four valleys- Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura.
Day 01 Arrive Paro, drive 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 -Trongsa.
The drive to Trongsa takes approximately 6 hours. Start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan through the breathtaking beauties and serenity of Bhutan’s rich flora and fauna.
As you cross the fertile valley of Punakha and enter into the valley of Wangdue Phodrang, take an opportunity to photograph the majestic fortress of Wangdue Dzong, which stands on a spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. Climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pele la Pass (3,300 m/ 10,989 ft.).
With an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo, the Pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. On a clear day, you can view the high snow capped peaks specially the Mount Chomolhari (7,314 m/ 24,355 ft.). As you descend from the pass through the dwarf bamboo and quite often Yaks grazing we reach at Chendebji Chorten. This Chorten or Stupa was built in 18th century by a Lama known as Shida, in order to nail into the ground a demon that had been terrorizing the inhabitants of this valley and the Ada valley just over the ridge.
Continue your drive to Trongsa, as you enter Trongsa valley, the huge fortress of Trongsa makes you wonder if you woud ever reach it. Backing on mountain and built on several levels, the Dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the routes south and west. The view from the Dzong extends for many miles.
Arrive in Trongs and overnight.
Day 05 Overland Trongsa - Bhumtang
From Trongsa the road rises rapidly through a series of hairpin bends to Yotong La Pass (3400 meters / 11200 foot). From here the drive is down the hill up to Chumey Valley (average alt. 2700m / 8800 foot). You first stop at Chumey will be to visit Domkhar Dzong, This small fortress overlooking the valley was once a summer Palace of the second King Jigme Wangchuk.
Continue your drive to Tsugney village where you will see the traditional weaving of woolen fabrics. Continue to Choekhor crossing the Kiki La Pass (2900 meters / 9500foot). Arrive at Choekhor Valley (Valley of Dharma Wheel).
Bumthang is the general name given to a complex of four valleys- Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura.
Choekhor and Chumey are agricultural valleys while Tang and Ura depend mostly on the animal husbandry.
Day 06 Bhumtang -Trongsa
A bumpa is an oblong-shaped lustral water vase and Bumthang means (Bum - lustral water vase and Thang- Ground) ‘the ground shaped like a bumpa’. Bumthang is considered the holiest valley in Bhutan, many Bhutanese from all over the country visit here on pilgrim to pay their respect and to be blessed by the many holy sites where in ancient times various religious masters have meditated.
Today's sightseeing tour will be followed in the style of Bhutanese tradition, which is in clock wise. Your car will drop you at the Kurjey Lhakhang, it is believed that in the eighth century guru Padmasambhava had meditated here and subdued the local deity known as Shelging Karpo.
Begin your hike from here crossing the suspension bridge and visit Padmasambhava Lhakhang. This is another Meditation site of Guru Padmasambhava. It was founded by Pema Lingpa in 15th century and was restored by the Grand Queen Mother of present King.
Continue your hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in beginning of the 16th century by Saint Pema Lingpa. Next you will visit Konchogsum Lhakhang, built in the 8th century, the Temple is famous for its bell, which bears an inscription from the eighth century.
Afternoon drive to Trongsa and overnight.
Day 07 Trongsa- Punakha
Continue back to Punakha. Overnight
Day 08 Overland Punakha -Paro
After Breakfast continue your journey to Paro stop at the Dochula Pass for few minutes for a leg stretch and photographs. On a clear day, you might be able to view the Bhutan's 200-mile snowcapped peaks.
Your next stop will be at the oldest Simtokha Dzong, built in 1629 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. It now houses the institute of traditional studies for laymen and women. Continue your drive to Thimphu.
After lunch you will have about an hour to do the last minute shopping before you resume your journey to Paro. On your way to Paro you will stop at the Tachogang Temple, built by Thangtong Gyalpo in the 15th century, who was responsible for numerous iron bridges throughout Bhutan.
Day 09 Hike Taksang Monastery
After brekfast, the guide will take you to the starting point of the hike 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 the hike for short while 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.
Back to Paro, and overnight.
Day 10 Paro- U.S. or an extension
Trasnfer to airport and fly back home or extend your trip to India, Nepal or Myanmar.