Kindly be at the check-in counter 2 hours ahead of your flight departure time. Your check-in luggage limit is 20kg on Economy Class / 30kg on Business Class, and hand luggage must not exceed 5kg. Your guide will be waiting for you with your name on placard, traditional manner by offering a khader (greeting scarf)
DAY 1 PARO – THIMPHU (-/L/D) (65km, about 1 hour)
You will be escorted to your hotel in Thimphu. Drive towards Thimphu. On the way see Tachogang Temple or the “Temple of the Hill of Excellent Horse” which rises in austere surroundings on the left bank of the river, a few km before Chhuzom at the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu rivers. A Tibetan Saint had a vision of the excellent Horse Balaha – an emanation of Avalokiteshvara while he was meditating there. He decided thereupon to build a temple at this spot in addition to one of his famous iron bridges (later carried away by floods in 1969). The exact date of the temple’s construction is not certain, but it was probably around the year 1433.
Further drive to Thimphu valley, at an elevation of 2,350 m / 7700 ft. Urbanization began here when Thimphu was proclaimed as a national capital in 1952 and the Dechenchoeling Palace was built at this time. Even today the city retains its ethnic architectural style and is the only capital in the world with no traffic lights. Yet unlike other capital cities in the world, Thimphu remains essentially pastoral in character and changes its demeanor with the seasons.
On arrival, check into the hotel.
Begin local sightseeing of the following places:
– Walk around Memorial Chhorten in Thimphu built in 1974 in memory of the Third King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who passed away in 1972. The Memorial Chhorten is one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu, and for many people it is the focus of their daily worship.
– Visit Changangkha temple, built in the 15 century by Lama Phajo Drogom. It lies on a hilltop commanding the Thimpu valley. The temple has very old scriptures and Thankas. The main deity of the temple is Avalokiteshvara, God of compassion.
– Then drive to see the Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal, the Takin. Further, drive up to BBS tower to get a view of the Thimphu valley.
– Evening visit Tashichhodzong, whose history dates back to the 13th century, wherein houses His Majesty’s Throne Room and is the summer home to the Monastic Body.
Overnight at hotel – Thimphu
DAY 2 THIMPHU (B/L/D)
Morning after breakfast we will have the following sight seeing’s;
Early morning after breakfast hike to Tango Monastery, about 7 miles from Thimphu, the Tango Monastery is a lovely place for an excursion. The drive or walk to reach it offers beautiful views of the countryside and the Thimphu valley. The monastery dates back to the 13th century and was rebuilt in the 15th century by the “Divine Madman”, Lama Drukpa Kuenley.
After that hike towards the Cheri Monastery, The monastery, which is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, is located at the northern end of the Thimphu Valley about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the capital. It sits on a hill above the end of the road at Dodeyna and it takes about an hour to walk up the steep hill to reach the monastery from there.
According to Bhutanese religious histories, the place was first visited by Padmasambhava in the 8th century. In the 13th century it was visited by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo the Tibetan Lama who first established the Drukpa Kagyu tradition in Bhutan. Johnsingh (2005) describes the beauty of the place and the occurrence of goral there.
Next we will visit to the following sites;
– The Changangkha temple, built in the 15 century by Lama Phajo Drigom. It lies on a hilltop commanding the Thimpu valley. The temple has very old scriptures and Thankas. The main deity of the temple is Avalokiteshvara, God of compassion.
– Visit Jungshi paper factory. It is located approximately 1 km from Thimphu City. The factory uses the bark of two tree species, the Daphne tree and Dhekap tree in the manufacture of traditional paper. Visitors can observe the entire process of producing handmade paper using ancient traditional methods that have been practiced for generations. You can even try your hand at this ancient craft and make some paper of your very own as a souvenir. Deh-sho paper was originally used by monasteries for woodblock and manuscript books and also for writing prayer books. The Jungshi paper factory continues to preserve and promote this age-old Bhutanese tradition. It also produces various other products, such as stationery and greeting cards.
Evening visit Centenary Market one of the biggest structures in Bhutan, Centenarary Farmers market was built in 2008 to mark the coronation of fifth King of Bhutan and 100 years of monarchy. The two storied building has 458 stalls for sale of the vegetables, fruits, meats and other farm products. It also houses cafeteria and separate stalls for non wood forest products. Vendors throughout the country come here to sell their farm produces. The market is open six days in a week except Wednesday.
Overnight at hotel – Thimphu
DAY 3 THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (B/L/D) (77km, about 3 hours)
– Visit the Bhutan Post known for its world famous stamps where you can buy postcards and stamps. The Bhutan Post is definitely a place of significance where an extensive collection of exotic stamps made from metal and silk to three dimensional images and even stamps with mini-phonograph records are produced. Many major events of the world are recorded and made into stamps in Bhutan.
– The National Library built in 1967 to preserve ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts. The traditional books are kept on the upper floor which is Tibetan style printed and wrapped in silken cloth. In another section you can see the wooden blocks that are used for printing books and prayer flags.
– The National folk Heritage Museum to get an insight into the typical Bhutanese way of life.
– See the Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.
After breakfast drive toward Punakha valley (the old capital of the country) via the Dochula Mountain pass (3,140 m). On a clear day Dochula offers a stunning view of the snow capped Himalayan ranges:
Kang Bum 6,526 m Gangchhenta 6,840 m
Masang Gang 7,165 m Tsenda Gang 7,100 m
Teri Gang 7,300 m Jejekangphu Gang 7,100 m
Zongophu Gang ( Table Mt ) 7,100 m Gangkhar Puensum 7,541 m
There is a powerful binocular telescope in the cafeteria from where these peaks can be viewed and contains information on their elevation.
Visit Druk Wangyel Chhorten, in Dochula built by the Queen Mother for the peace and stability of the country. The 108 Khangzang Namgyal Chhortens are a new landmark for travelers as they cross Dochula, the first mountain pass into the interior of the country. “The Buddha himself taught that reverence to the Chhorten, the mind stupa, is as meritorious as prostrating before the Buddha in person,” said the Dorji Lopon who performed the tagyen sungchoe.
After that, continue driving towards Punakha. On reaching in Lobesa town take a visit to Chimi Lhakhang the temple is located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina and is a 20 minute walk through the village of Sopsokha. It was built by Ngawang Chogyel in the 15th century after the ‘divine Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. The temple is believed to bless couples unable to have children and many people from around the world visit this holly site to seek its blessings.
Overnight at hotel – Punakha
DAY 4 PUNAKHA (B/L/D)
After breakfast walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chhorten (50 minutes) – a three-storey chhorten built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck in 1999 for the protection of the country, stands on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang, and is located about 6 miles from Punakha. It presents an incredibly complex iconography, which belongs to the Nyingmapa tradition.
After that continue driving to Punakha. On arrival in Punakha, check into the hotel.
– Drive to see the impressive Punakha Dzong, the second of Bhutan’s dzongs. For many years until the time of the second King, it served as the seat of the government. It is the winter residence of the monastic order’s leader and his entourage of monks, and was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Inside the Dzong is the set of the 108 volumes of Kanjur – the holy book of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, written in gold. The Dzong also safe guards Bhutan’s most treasured possession: the Rangjung Kharsapani, a self created image of Chenrigzig which is described by Shabdrung as a treasure as vast as the sky.
– The day in Punakha valley begins with a drive through the town of Khuruthang and continues along the banks of the Mo Chu River, passing the Phuntsho Pelri Palace and several other winter homes of the Royal Family. At the upper end of the valley, a hike across a footbridge through terraces of rice, chillies and cabbage.
– Visit Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup Nunnery Punakha Located on top of a hill with view of Punakha and Wangdue Dzongkhag. Village known as (Wolakha). The nunnery is established for the sustainability of the Nuns tradition in Bhutan and also propagation of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. It was built by father of Queen Mother (Yap Ugyen Dorji). It also houses the residence of nuns and also school for them.
If u drive further up we have the village called Talo which is the village of our Royal Queen mothers and we can also see Couples of monasteries up there and they also have annual
– festival performed there for the wellbeing of all the beings in the World. The festival at Talo happens from 7th to 9th of April 2014.
The evening has been kept free to relax.
Overnight at Hotel: Punakha.
DAY 5 PUNAKHA – PARO (B/L/D (142km, about 4hours)
Drive back to Paro.
After early breakfast drive to Thimphu, there will be plenty of stops en-route to take photos and for tea, coffee and snacks.
On the way visit The Royal Botanical Park, also known as the Rhododendron Garden at Lamperi. Rhododendron Botanical Garden is a nature reserve rich in flora and fauna and beautiful in itself. A Rhododendron garden with 46 species of the plant is the theme of the botanical garden. More than hundreds of species of fauna in this rich eco diversity park will let you a nice experience. You can walk around through the green lushes and maroon pregnant strawberries, wild and rare flowers in bloom and catch glimpses of runaway mountain birds.
Overnight at Hotel: Paro
DAY 6 PARO DAY HIKE (B/L/D)
The day begins with a short drive towards the road point for start of hike to see the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) which clings precariously to a cliff 800 m / 2,600 ft above the Paro valley. The climb up to the view point will take around three hours (depending on one’s fitness). In the second half of the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, alighted here upon the back of a tigress, and upon meditating for three months in a cave, assumed the form of Dorje Droloe, the Terrifying Thunderbolt and subjugated the Eight Evil Spirits who hindered the propagation of Buddhism. Thereafter, the Buddhist Dharma was introduced to Paro valley and soon spread to the rest of Bhutan. Taktsang is one of the holiest sites in the country and one of the most venerated Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas.
A vegetarian lunch will be served during the hike after which all will walk back to the road point.
Next In fine weather, the towering peak of Mount Jumolhari 7314 m high appears as a backdrop. This mountain which marks the frontier with Tibet is sacred and the dwelling place of goddess Jomo.
In the afternoon visit the National Museum which is a repository of not only precious work of art but
also costumes, amour and other hand crafted objects of daily life that provide a good snapshot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. It is rated as one of the finest natural history museums in South Asia and it is a wonderful insight into Bhutan the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Of special interest is the gallery of thangkhas which exhibits exquisite pieces of different vintages – those depicting Zhabdung Ngawang Namgyal, the first Je Khempo and first Druk desi are of particular significance.
Stroll by the Ugyen Pelri Palace in a secluded wooden compound south of the river, which was built by the Paro Penlop, Tshering Penjor, in the early 1900s. It is designed after the Second Buddha’s celestial paradise, Zangdhopelri and one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture.
After that, in the evening visit a local Farmhouse: The visit to a Farmhouse is very interesting to get an idea of how Bhutanese people live. The Farmhouses are very decorative, built and painted in a classical style. The houses are normally three stories; the ground floor is used for cattle, the top floor is used as a store, while the family live in middle one.
Try a hot stone bath.
Overnight at hotel – Paro.
DAY 7 PARO – BUMTHANG (B/L/D)
Fly to Bumthang by Domestic Air as time scheduled below:-
KB-1002 DEPARTURE: 11:20 ARRIVE: 11:55
After arrival in BUmthang we will have the following sight seeing’s;-
– A visit to the Wangdichholing Palace which was built in 1857 on the site of a battle camp of the Penlop of Trongsa, Jigme Namgyal. It was the first Palace that was not designed as a fortress. His son King Ugyen Wangchuk, chose it as his principal residence.
– Kurjey Lhakhang: This temple is located above Jambay Lhakhang and consists of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 on the rock face where Guru meditated in the 8th century. The second temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of Guru’s body and is considered the most holy. The present Royal Queen Mother recently built the third temple. These three temples are surrounded by 108 chhorten wall symbolic of each joint of the human body.
– Tamshing temple: The temple is a short walk north from Kurjey temple across a footbridge, then uphill to a trail on the opposite side. Downstream of the bridge you can see a natural formation named DO Zam. This is the remains of a stone bridge that was built by a goddess who was trying to meet Guru Rimpoche, but the bridge was destroyed by a demon.
– The Tamshing Temple was founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, the re-incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava and contains very interesting religious paintings like 11000 Buddhas and 21 Taras (female form of Bohhisatava). The temple was restored at the end of the 19th century.
– After the sightseeing drive towards Ura that lies in the Tang valley, a one and a half hour drive from Bumthang. One drives through forests and large sheep pastures for about 20 km. Enroute cross Ura la (3,600 m pass) with a magnificent view of Mt. Gangkar Puensum. Closely clustered houses are the
– characteristics of the villages in Ura, which is a unique feature in the country. Above Ura village a new temple was inaugurated in 1986 dedicated to Guru Rimpoche and contains paintings of the cycle of his teachings.
– After visit to Ura, drive back to Bumthang.
– Overnight at hotel – Bumthang.
DAY 8 (SUN, 17TH APR. 16) BUMTHANG – PARO (B/L/D)
– After breakfast begin the fly back to Paro , timing as scheduled below:-
– KB-1003 DEPARTURE: 07:00 ARRIVE: 11:55
– On arrival, check into the hotel.
– In the afternoon visit Dungtse Lhakhang which is situated just across the river. Dungtse Lhakhang is possibly the only ancient temple built in the shape of a chhorten. The lhakhang is literally chained down since local belief holds that it will otherwise fly off to heaven! It was constructed in 1421 by Thangtong Gyelpo who came to Bhutan in search of iron ore to be used for constructing bridges in his homeland of Tibet.
– The evening has been kept free for leisurely visit to Paro town.
– Overnight at hotel – Paro
DAY 9(MON, 18th APR.16) HAA DAY EXCURSION (B/L/D)
Today’s day excursion is to Haa valley. Take a packed lunch.
On arrival in Haa begin local sightseeing as follows:
Haa Dratshang the 70-strong monk body is housed not in the dzong but in the Haa Dratshang, also known as the Lhakhang Kharpo (White Chapel), at the southern entrance to town. An annual tsechu is held here on the eighth and ninth day of the eighth lunar month and on the 10th day a large thangka displayed at Wangchulo Dzong. A 10-minute walk behind the dratshang is the Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Chapel), from where trails lead to the Buddhist retreat of Shek Drak. Currently the Lhakhang is under renovation and visitors are not allowed to go inside.
– Shek Drak a short excursion up the valley behind the Haa Dratshang is Shek Drak, a tiny retreat centre perched on the hillside. Take the side road just south of the Haa Dratshang, by Domcho – village, and continue halfway (3.5km) up the hillside towards Takchu Goemba. From here, a 10- minute walk climbs to the small and charming chapel attended by one lama and one monk.
Stop for a packed lunch break amongst the beautiful hills of Haa and then begin drive back to Paro.
In the evening visit Dungtse Lhakhang which is situated just across the river. Dungtse Lhakhang is possibly the only ancient temple built in the shape of a chhorten. The lhakhang is literally chained down since local belief holds that it will otherwise fly off to heaven! It was constructed in 1421 by Thangtong Gyelpo who came to Bhutan in search of iron ore to be used for constructing bridges in his homeland of Tibet.
The evening has been kept free for leisurely visit to Paro town and shopping.
Overnight at hotel – Paro.
DAY 10(TUE, 19TH APR, 16) PARO DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
After breakfast your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight onward.