Kindly be at the check-in counter at least 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. Our guide will be waiting for you at the airport with your name on placard and with the manner of offering Khadar (greeting scarf)
DAY 1 PARO ARRIVAL-THIMPHU (-L/D) (65KM, ABOUT 1 HOUR)
Then 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:
– 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.
– Walk to the Textile Museum to get an understanding of the beautiful hand woven Bhutanese textiles. Bhutan’s textiles are an integral part of its cultural heritage and are unique for their diversity and sophistication. Textile Museum at Thimphu has given a new platform to Bhutanese weavers and boasts of an invaluable collection of antique textile artifacts of Bhutan. Some of the museum’s gems are the pearl robe from Tsamdrak Goenpa, crowns of Bhutan’s Kings, Namzas (dresses) and other accessories worn by the Royal Family, personal bedding of His Holiness Zhabdrung Jigme Dorji and the first version of the Raven Crown.
– 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.
– Visit Buddha point known popularly known as Kuensel Phodrang which has a 160 feet statue of The Present Buddha- Buddha Sakya Muni (Sha cha Thupa). This is one of the biggest statues of Buddha in the World. From here on can get a beautiful view of the Capital city, Thimphu.
– Visit 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. Evening free time to scroll around Thimphu town.
– Visit Thimphu Dzong (Tashichhodzong) which houses the throne room of our King. And it is also summer residence of Central monastic body.
Overnight at hotel – Thimphu.
DAY 2 (SAT, 23RD JAN. 16) THIMPHU-PUNAKHA (B/L/D) (77KM, ABOUT 3 HOURS)
After breakfast drive towards 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
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.
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.
Overnight at hotel – Punakha
DAY 3 (SUN, 24TH JAN. 16) PUNAKHA-PARO (B/L/D) (141KM, ABOUT 1 HOUR)
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.
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 drive back to Paro.
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.
On arrival check in to hotel.
Overnight at Hotel – Paro.
DAY 4 (MON, 25TH JAN. 16) PARO (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.
Lunch will be served during the hike after which all will walk back to the road point. Next, will be sightseeing of the following:
– Drukgyal Dzong, now in ruins, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders, led by Mongolian Warlord, Gushri Khan. Strategically built over the only passage into Paro valley, the Dzong helped to repel numerous invasions all through the course of Bhutanese history. It so impressed the early English visitors in 1914 that the Dzong was featured on the cover of the National Geographic Magazine.
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 evening visit a local Farmhouse to see firsthand how rural Bhutanese 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 for drying hay, while the family live in the middle floor.
Overnight at hotel – Paro.
Day 5(TUE, 26TH JAN. 16) PARO DEPARTURE (B/L/D)
After breakfast your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight onward.