8D/7N – Essence of Bhutan II
Day 01: Arrive Paro (by Druk Air) – Transfer to Thimphu.
The flight into Paro is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In the clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Cool and clean fresh air will swarm you as you step out of the plane. After clearing customs and visa control you will be briefed by our guide and transferred to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The drive will take around one hour. Thimphu has a population of about 100,000. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. In the evening, we will visit the Handicrafts Emporium, where all types of Bhutanese handicrafts are made and sold.
Hotel : Thimphu (Meals on board/L/D)
Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing – Punakha.
In the morning visit the National Memorial Chorten, built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck; visit the Folk Heritage Museum, which is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibition of items and artifacts used households, Textile Museum,where the art of traditional weaving is still kept alive and preserved through exhibition. It has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in its color and design. Lunch served at a restaurant in Thimphu. After lunch depart for Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. Leaving Thimphu the road will have you climbing steeply up through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for a tea and the view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha and drive to your hotel and check in. Visit Punakha Dzong winter seat of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot of Bhutan) and the Monk Body, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu.
Hotel : Punakha (B/L/D)
Day 03: Punakha – Trongsa – Bumthang.
We start early for a fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive to Bumthang through Trongsa is approximately seven hours, crossing over Pele La pass (3,300 m) and Yotongla pass (3,400 m). ‘The Central Road’, across the Black Mountains, was completed 30 years ago, and it brought about great changes to the people in the central Bhutan. We pass Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan where we make a short stop to view the ruins of the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramtically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. The dzong which caught fire two years ago will soon be restored to its former glory. We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to the alpine heights of Pelela Pass (3,300 m) amidst lush thickets of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East of Bhutan. If the weather is clear the Himalayan ranges can be seen, particularly the peak of Jhomulhari (7,314 m) to the west. En route we cross Chendebji Chorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon. In Trongsa we visit the impressive Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In olden days the Dzong commanded the passage between East and West Bhutan. We then drive to Bumthang valley (described as ‘one of the most beautiful spot in the Himalaya’ across the Yotongla pass (3,400 m).
Hotel : Bumthang (B/L/D)
Day 04: Bumthang sightseeing.
This is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. Guru Rinpoche and his lineage of Tertons (treasure finders), have led to the sprouting of many temples in the valley. In the morning we visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century) and Kurjey Lhakhang (where Guru Rinpoche is believed to have subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock), and hike up to the Tamshing monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Tertons Pema Lingpa). After lunch we take another hike to Thangbi valley across the suspension bridge and visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century. On the way back visit Jakar Dzong, (seat of the district administration). IIn the evening take a stroll in Chamkhar Town.
Hotel : Bumthang (B/L/D)
Day 05: Bumthang – Gangtey – Wangdue
After breakfast we drive back to Wangdue via Gangtey and over the Pelela Pass (3,300m). The drive is approximately six and a half hours, climbing steadily through semi-tropical vegetation with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. Gangtey lies towards the east of Punakha and Wangdue on the flanks of the Black Mountains. There is an old monastery of Gangtey Gompa dating back to the 17th century. A few kilometers past the Gompa on the valley floor is the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. The gently sloping hill sides of Phobjikha is described as ‘the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas’. This is the winter home of black-necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north (Tibet) to while the winter away in this milder and lower climates. After the visit to Gangtey Monastery, we continue your drive to Wangdue.
Hotel : Gangtey (B/L/D)
Day 06: Wangdue – Thimphu – Paro.
After breakfast drive over the Docula pass (3,050 m) to Paro with a lunch-stop and some shopping at Thimphu.
Hotel : Paro (B/L/D)
Day 07: Paro sightseeing – Hike to Takshang.
After breakfast drive along the winding road to Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fortress, which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions. We then drive to Ramthangkha, the terminating point of the motorable road and then hike up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s nest). The hike up to the cafeteria will take around two hours on average walking speed and is located at around 2,950 meters (9,678 feet) above sea level. At the view point enjoy the stunning view of the monastery where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have flown on the back of a tigress, and meditated here in the 8th century. If you desire, you can hike up to the monastery and visit the monastery which contains thirteen holy places. Taktsang is the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world. The monastic complex clings to a rock towering 900 meters above the valley (over 2,600 feet). After the visit to the temples walk back to the cafeteria for your lunch. After lunch we then walk back to the road point and then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. In the afternoon we will be seeing the National Museum, Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower which now houses the National Museum and visit Paro Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration centre and also as a school for monks. In the evening one could take a stroll through the main town of Paro.
Hotel : Paro (B/L/D)
Day 08: Depart from Paro (Druk Air).
After breakfast, bid farewell to the beautiful Kingdom of Bhutan and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
((B/Meals on board)
- The sequence of itinerary may be subjected to changes without prior notice.
- If a place of interest is closed to visitors, it will be replaced with an alternative.
- Accommodation may be subjected to changes in cases of unavailability as a result of unforeseen circumstances eg. major events, weather etc.
- This itinerary is a sample itinerary intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. We have designed this itinerary including the best cultural and natural aspects of this country. We can further customize the itinerary to suit your specific interest and needs