Day 01:Arrive Paro, Paro – Thimphu (Distance: 54 km, estimated travel time: 1 hr)
Fly into Paro by Druk Air, Royal Bhutan Airline. The great snowcapped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens can be seen during clear weather. As the plane approaches Bhutan, if you look down farmhouses as dots on the hillsides can be seen. As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, you will see Paro Dzong on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National Museum, above it.
You will be welcomed by our representative who will be your tour guide during your entire tour in Bhutan.
Drive to Thimphu and check into your hotel at Thimphu and after lunch visit the following:
- Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds.
- Centenary Farmers’ market (if your tour coincides with Thu-Sun) where farmers would be selling their wide range of farm produces (vegetables from farms and wild ferns or bamboo shoots collected from forest, flour, rice, roasted rice, rice flakes, spices, yams both cultivated and wild ones collected from forests, fruits, etc) and livestock products (mainly cheese and butter). Free interaction with people from town as well as from villages come to this weekend market. Weekend market is from Thursday-Sunday (4 days).
- Tashichhoedzong, a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body. Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. It was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plan.
- Craft Bazaar where craftsmen and artisans from across the country display and sell their handicrafts.
In the evening stroll around town and feel free to mingle with the locals or do some shopping at the handicraft stores
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02:Thimphu – Punakha & Wangduephodrang
Distance: 71 km, estimated travel time: 2 1/2 hrs
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft). In the clear spring sky; enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. Then pass by the beautiful 108 chortens built on a hillock by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. You may visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang .The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) was built to honor His Majesty the fourth DrukGyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The past and future appear to merge in the details of the lhakhang (temple) that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future.
Take a light refreshment at Dochula Resort and then drive onto Wangdue and on the way visit the Divine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing.
After lunch visit the Punakha Dzong , located on the island of the Pho Chu (male river) and the Mo chu (female river). The dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century and in 1907, enthroned the first King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in the recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. At the dzong you can see the highest standards in woodwork. Also visit the massive Kuenray, the Coronation Hall of all Bhutanese kings, the Dzongchung at the entrance to the dzong and the cantilever bridge over the Mochu that has been recently renovated.
In the evening visit local markets in Punakha .
Overnight at hotel in Wangdue/Punakha.
Day 03: Punakha / Wangduephodrang -Paro
Distance: 125 km, estimated travel time: 3 1/2 hrs
After breakfast travel to Paro via Dochula pass and southern part of Thimphu. On arrival at Paro, check into your hotel in Paro and after lunch visit the following:
- National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). Here an intriguing collection of artifacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom.
- Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. It is also known as the Rinpung Dzong which means a “fortress that sits on a heap of jewels”. This imposing dzong located above the Paro River is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture with its inward sloping walls that rise to an impressive height. The dzong was built in the 16th century on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche (who is regarded as the “second Buddha.”) .From the dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, an oldest traditional cantilever bridge in Bhutan.
- In the evening stroll town and feel free to mingle with the locals or visit local handicraft stores.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 04: A Day Hike to Paro Taktsang Goempa ( Tiger’s Nest Monastery)
After breakfast, hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The climb up to the viewpoint will take around 1 ½ hours and from there you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Stop for refreshment at the View Point Cafeteria.Then walk further up to the monastery which will take about 1 hour. It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for 3 months. The principal Lhakhang (monastery) of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. Taktsang was damaged severely by fire in 1998 but has now been fully restored to its former beauty.After visiting the monastery, walk back down to the road on the way stop for lunch at the view point cafeteria and then walk further down to the road point. Then drive back to hotel. On the way visit Kichu temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon.
In the evening relax and overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 05:Departure from Paro
In the morning, your tour guide will see you off at the Paro airport for your onward flight.
Tour Program Ends