DAY 01 ARRIVE PARO (L/D)
The Flight to Paro; Bhutan is one of the world’s most spectacular landing which gives you the views of highest mountain ranges in the World. After safely landing in breathe taking Paro International tiny Airport, you will be warmly welcomed into Bhutan by the Representative of Pemaling Bhutan Tours and Treks at exit doors after you finish your custom formalities.
After getting adjusted will serve you lunch in Paro: Town beautifully blended of Modernity and Traditions.
Evening take a stroll around Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 02 PARO (B/L/D)
The wide and fertile Paro Valley has both an ancient and a modern face.
Local sightseeing of the following places:
- Drive to see the Rinpung dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration center and school for monks.
- Get a glimpse of 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, Zangtopelri and one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture.
- Visit The National Museum: rated as one of the finest natural history museums in South Asia which is a repository of not only precious work of art but also costumes, armor and other hand crafted objects of daily life that provide a good snapshot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. Of special interest is the gallery of thangkhas which exhibits exquisite pieces of different vintages – those depicting Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first Je Khempo and first Druk desi are of particular significance.
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.
Visit Kyichu temple one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demoness 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 demoness.
DAY 03 PARO – THIMPHU (65KM, ABOUT 1 HOUR) (B/L/D)
After breakfast excursion to Taktsang Monastery view point. It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called “Tiger’s Nest”. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.
Later drive to Thimphu, the capital town passing via idyllic countryside, through villages and paddy fields. En route visit the Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortresses of the country which now houses the School for religious and cultural studies. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 04 THIMPHU (B/L/D)
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 lunch begin local sightseeing of the following places:
- 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.
- Visit the National Library, a treasure trove of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. The National Library of Bhutan (NLB) was established in 1967 with the primary objective of collecting and preserving mainly ancient Bhutanese written and printed resources. The multi-functional library can now pride itself on being a modern library with a number of service and research facilities. It accommodates a large and steadily growing collection of manuscripts, books, scriptures and written documents as well as a large number of hand carved wooden blocks for printing traditional religious books.
- Then move to The National Folk Heritage Museum to get an insight into the typical Bhutanese way of life. Folk Heritage Museum at Thimphu provides you a glimpse of the lifestyle, items and artifacts of Bhutanese villages and rural households. Besides the display, the museum also organizes demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs, educational programs for children and research and documentation on the rural life of Bhutan. The museum building itself is one of the star exhibits of the library. It is a restored three-storey traditional rammed mud and timber house that resembles the average rural household in the Wang area during the mid-19th century, complete with typical household objects, domestic tools and equipments that were used by rural families of that period.
- 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.
- visit the Zilukha Nunnery.
Overnight at hotel – Thimphu.
DAY 05: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (77 km, 3 hours)
- 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.
- See the Traditional Incense and Paper Factory.
Drive toward Punakha valley (the old capital of the country) via the Dochula Mountain pass (3,140 m). On a clear day Dochu La 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 7,100 m Gangkhar Puensum 7,541 m
Visit Druk Wangyel Chhorten, built by the Queen Mother for the peace and stability of the country. The 108 Khangzang Namgyal Chhortens are a new landmark for travellers as they cross Dochula, the first mountain pass into the interior of the country.
On the way visit Chimi Lhakhang, located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina. There is a short 20 minute walk through the village of Sopsokha en-route to the temple wherein you will cross paddy fields and get a feel for rural Bhutan. The temple 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.
Drive to see the impressive Punakha Dzong, one of the most beautiful dzongs of Bhutan. 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 body, and was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Inside the Dzong is the set of the 108 volumes of Kanjur – 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.
Overnight at hotel – Punakha.
DAY 06 PUNAKHA – -GANGTAY (Phobjikha) (70 km, 3 hours)
After breakfast drive to Wangduephodrang and we can see the ruin of Wangdue Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north-south and east-west. Wangdue district is also famous for its bamboo work, slate & stone carving.
Overnight at Gangtay
DAY 07: GANGTAY (Phobjikha) – TRONGSA (128KM, ABOUT 45 HOURS)
Morning explore Phobjikha valley for Black Neck Cranes. The approach to Phobjikha valley is through a forest of oak and rhododendron. Phobjikha is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and chosen home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters. Explore Phojikha valley and also visit Gangtey Monastery; the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Later drive to Tongsa across Pelela passes (3,300m). This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and central Bhutan.
Further ahead stop en route at Chendbji Chorten, built in 18th century in Nepalese style.
The landscape around Tongsa is spectacular and for miles on end the dzong seems to tease you so that you wonder if you will ever reach it. On arrival, check into the lodge. Dinner and overnight at the lodge in Tongsa.
DAY 08 TRONGSA – BUMTHANG (Jakar) (68 km, ABOUT 3 HOURS) (B/L/D)
Morning visit Tongsa Dzong, situated at the alt. of 2,200m and built in 1647 by the Zhabdrung, it is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan.
Then visit the Ta Dzong, standing on the side of the mountain and built to guard Trongsa.
After lunch proceed to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. 29 kms ahead of Trongsa cross Yutongla pass (3,400m) and from here again the landscape looks different and dense forests of conifers stretches.
The arrival of Bumthang begins with wide, open cultivated Chumey valley.
Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
DAY 09 BUMTHANG (B/L/D)
Bumthang is the general name given to a complex of four valleys — Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with alt, varying from 2,600m to 4,000m.
Visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in Bhutan as Guru Rinpoche meditated here. From Kurje monastery; a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to the Jambey Lhakhang. Like Kyichu Lhakhang in the Paro valley, this temple is said to be the first that King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet constructed in 7th century.
Afternoon visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist paintings. Later see the Jakar Dzong, “the dzong of the white bird”.
Evening take a stroll through Bumthang market area.
Overnight at in Bumthang.
DAY 10: BUMTHANG – MONGAR (198 km, 7 hours) (B/L/D)
The journey continues eastwards winding through more rugged terrain. The drive, with spectacular views will take about 7 hours. Pass through Ura village in Bumthang before climbing sharply to the highest motorable pass in the Kingdom, the Thrumshingla pass – 4000m. Gradually drop down to Sengor, watching cascading waterfalls on the way. The descent stops at 700m on a bridge over the Kurichu. Ascent again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets to Mongar town.
Visit Mongar Dzong; built albeit quite recently, the dzong still maintains the architectural traditions of old dzongs.
Visit Drametse Monastery built in 16th century by Cheten Zangmo, daughter of the “Treasure Revealer” Terton Pema lingpa .The Drametse Ngacham or the “Dance of the Drums of Dreametse” was born in this monastery in the 16th century and today its one of the most popular religious dances in the country, perfomed at all major festivals . This cultural treasure of Bhutan is on the esteemed UNESCO World Heritage List.
Overnight at the in Mongar.
DAY 11 MONGAR – TRASHIGANG (96 km, ABOUT 3 HOURS) (B/L/D)
This trip of about 96 kms takes 3 hours passing through Kori la pass (2,450m), the place marked by a pretty chorten and a stone wall. The first part of journey is through leafy forest filled with ferns. Later road descends rapidly through corn fields and banana groves arriving the famous zigzags of Yadi, which is a recent settlement.
After that follows the Gamri River until the bifurcation to Dametsi, this temple perched on top of steep hill was founded by Choeden Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. This is the place from where the famous Naga Chham, masks dance with drums originated. About 30km onwards lies Tashigang at l000m.
Trashigang is the centre of the largest and most populated district in the country.
Visit Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of the spur, overhanging the Gamri River. It serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the dzong is occupied by the Drukpa monastic community.
Overnight at the Trashigang.
DAY 12 TRASHIGANG (excursion to Trashiyangtse) B/L/D)
24 km from Trashigang
Visit the temple of Gom Kora, set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river. Gom Kora is a famous place where Guru Rinpoche subdued a demon.
Further ahead reach to Doksum village where you can see women busy in weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric and a chain bridge dating of the 15th century.
Visit Trashiyangtse Dzong, situated at the alt. of 1,850 m. established as a separate district in 1992, its one the newest district in the country. In former times Trashiyangtse was important centre because it lies on one of the craven routes leading from western and central Bhutan. The Dzong is new and nearby are the Art school and the famous chorten Kora.
Evening return to Trashigang.
Overnight at Trashigang.
DAY 13 TRASHIGANG – SAMDRUP JONGKHAR (180 km, ABOUT 6 HOURS)
Samdrup Jongkhar is located in the south eastern part and it has its border with the Indain state of Assam. Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar road completed in 1965 and the journey takes about 6 hours. Along the way, pass by Sherubtse College, the only college in country founded in 1978.
Also visit the Zangtho Pelri temple built in 1978 by the late Minister of Home Affairs. It represents Guru Rinpoche’s paradise.
Driving ahead, reach to Khaling to visit the Blind School and Weaving Centre.
Deothang, 80 kms from Khaling is the centre of Technical training college and road maintenance head quarters for the east.
From here the road descends fairly rapidly to the plain through a dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns.
Overnight at Samdrup Jongkhar.
DAY 14 DEPARTURE SAMDRUP JONGKHAR (B)
after breakfast transfer to Bhutan border where you will be picked up by Indian agent for onward program.