14D/13N – Far East Tour
Day 01: Arrive Paro (by Druk Air).
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 met by our guide and then drive a short distance to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure with a walk through the main streets of Paro.
Hotel : Paro (Meals on board/L/D)
Day 02: Paro hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) – Thimphu.
After breakfast drive the winding road to the Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort, which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions. Mount Chomolhari can be seen on a clear day from Drukgyal village. You can visit a typical Bhutanese Farm House of a local family for an up-close view of everyday Bhutanese life. We then drive to Shari to hike up (or take a horse ride) to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s nest). The horse ride or hike up to the cafeteria will take around one and half hour. At the view point enjoy the stunning view of monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.
After lunch at the Café walk back to the road point. On our way back to the hotel we visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temple in Bhutan built in the 7th century. The afternoon will have you visiting the Ta Dzong, built in the 17th century as a watch tower for the Paro Dzong. This Dzong was converted into the National Museum in 1967. The museum boasts antique Thangka, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Below the museum is the Rimpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration centre and school for monks. A short walk below the Dzong takes you across a traditional cantilever bridge to one of the innumerable archery grounds. (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan).
In the evening, you drive 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.
Hotel : Thimphu (B/L/D)
Day 03: Thimphu sightseeing and hike to Tango Monastery.
After breakfast drive at Sangaygang, a field of Bhutanese prayer flags, perched high above the city. Colored flags send prayers to the heavens and white flags honor the dead.
Visit the Motithang Mini Zoo where you can see national animal Takin research centre where these odd animals graze peacefully in a small protected park.
Walk to the Zilukha Nunnery and then drive to the Tango monastery for a picnic lunch. The hike to monastery takes about forty five minutes. It is a 13th century structure and today is home to about 150 monks studying Buddhist Philosophy and meditation. Thimphu sightseeing continues with the folk Heritage Museum (a beautifully restored Bhutanese farmhouse from the last century) and the National painting School.
In the evening visit the National Memorial Chorten built in honor of our third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (a wonderful opportunity to mix with local population). All the buildings in Bhutan conform to national building principals and are beautifully carved and decorated.
Hotel : Thimphu (B/L/D)
Day 04: Thimphu – Punakha.
Morning: depart for Punakha. Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through the 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 tea and the view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha and drive to your hotel for check in and lunch. After lunch visit Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. If time permits take a hike to Khamsum Yueley Chorten (45 minutes one way) through terraced rice fields over looking the village to Kabina.
Hotel : Punakha (B/L/D)
Day 05: Punakha – Trongsa.
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 Roa’, 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. Arrive in Trongsa and check in at a hotel.
Hotel : Trongsa (B/L/D)
Day 06: Trongsa – Bumthang.
After breakfast walk by Tongsa Dzong, built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and then drive to Bumthang which is about three hours from Trongsa. One will cross Yutong La Pass (3,400m), 13 kms further ahead the road enters into a wide, open, cultivated valley of Chumey. On arrival in Bumthang, check into a lodge. After lunch, hike to Thangbi valley across the suspensions bridge over Chamkhar chu and visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century.
Hotel : Bumthang (B/L/D)
Day 07: 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 temple in Bhutan built in 7th century) and Kurjey Lhakhang (where the Guru Rinpoche is believed to have subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock). Take a brief hike to visit the Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Terton Pema Lingpa), and on the way back visit Jakar Dzong, (seat of the district administration). Evening stroll in Chamkhar Town.
Hotel : Bumthang (B/L/D)
Day 08: Tang Ugyencholing Excursion.
Early in the morning we take an excursion drive to Tang valley following the feeder road along the Community school of upper Tang valley. You will pass through many scattered villages and come across people at farm work. From the school we hike about an hour to Ugyen Choling. Ugyen Choling monastery is located on the hill over looking the valley. It’s about an hour’s walk from the school. The institution of Ugyen Choling began with the visit of the great Tibetan master of Buddhism, Longchen Rabjam (1308-63). He is the most celebrated writer and philosopher of the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism and is regarded as the synthesizer of the doctrine and methods of Dzongchen ‘school of great perfection’. Ugyen Choling was not so much a seat of political power but played a vital role as a religious center.
Hotel : Bumthang (B/L/D)
Day 09: Bumthang – Mongar.
After breakfast, drive to Ura village and visit Ura Lhakhang and then continue your drive to Monger through Thrumshingla Pass. At 3,750 metres above sea level it’s the highest pass on Bhutan’s east-west highway. The drive is through the dense forest of rhododendrons and mixed forests. Picnic will be served en-route. You will begin your journey to eastern Bhutan which is different from western and central Bhutan in terms of development and lifestyle. The steepness of the region lends itself to some spectacular views, with rushing waterfalls and sheer drops. The drive on this route is an exhilarating eight hours. Across Thrumshing La once again you will see the spectacular views of the Himalayan range on the clear day. The drive continues to Mongar and you can wander around Mongar town.
Hotel : Mongar (B/L/D)
Day 10: Mongar – Khoma- Mongar.
Today we drive toward Lhuntse, another isolated district in Bhutan. It takes two and half hour drive from Mongar to Sumpa Zam (suspension bridge). An hour’s brisk walk from the bridge will bring us onto the main road of Lhuentse and further to the Khoma village, the best known weaving village in the country. The region is famed for its weavers and special textiles with intricate designs in the country and basket made from the bamboos. After spending an hour or two visiting the home of the weavers as there are no factories for weaving but only at the homes of the villagers, we drive back to Mongar.
Hotel : Mongar (B/L/D)
Day 11: Mongar – Trashigang.
This journey will cover around 96 kms taking three hours till the Korila pass (2,450 m; 8,000 feet) marked by a pretty Chorten and stone wall. The journey is through a leafy forest filled with ferns. Your drive will cross over the old Chazam (iron bridge) leading you to the view of Tashigang Dzong perched atop a spur overlooking the river. After Thimphu, Trashigang is the biggest urban centre in mountainous Bhutan. The altitude is 1,150 m (3,775 feet). Visit the Trashigang Dzong overhanging the Gamri River. Unlike most other Dzongs it has only one courtyard and serves as the administrative seat for the district. The Drukpa Monastic Community occupies part of the Dzong.
Hotel : Trashigang (B/L/D)
Day 12: Trashigang – Day excursion to Trashi Yantse.
Today you will visit Trashi Yangtse, which is about 52 km and 2 hours drive. The people are known for making wooden bowls and containers, which are said to be the best in Bhutan. Just below the town is Chorten Kora. Along the way to Trashi Yangtse you will stop at Gom Kora temple, behind which is a large black rock. It is said that Guru Rimpoche meditated in the cave in the rock and that you can see the impression of his thumb, his hat, and his body on the rock. After lunch, explore around the town of Trashi Yangtse. Chorten kora is one of the attractions of this valley in Eastern Bhutan. It is a great Chorten built in 1740 and modeled on the style of the Boudhnath Stupa in Nepal. Its annual Tsechu (religious festival) attracts enormous crowds. Drive back to Trashigang.
Hotel : Trashigang (B/L/D)
Day 13: Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar.
The Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar highway was completed in 1965 covering a distance of 180 kms. The drive will take about 6-7 hours. Along the way we pass Sherubtse College in Kanglung, which was founded in 1978 and is a degree granting institute affiliated to the University of Delhi. En route visit the Khaling School for the Disabled the weaving handicrafts centre. Further along, the drive will take you to Deothang. The road then descends fairly rapidly to the plains through the dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns.
Hotel : Samdrup Jongkhar (B/L/D)
Day 14: Depart from Samdrup Jongkhar.
After breakfast, bid farewell to the beautiful Kingdom of Bhutan and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
- 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