An expedition to the Land of GNH.

6 Days Quick Dynamic Glimpse of Western Bhutan

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

 

Day 1                PARO – THIMPHU (B/L/D)                (65km, about 1 hour)

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 tiny Paro International 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.

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. 
  • Then 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 Avalokiteshwara 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 proceed 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.

Check into hotel.

After lunch 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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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        DAY EXCURSION                 (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.

IMG_7753Overnight at hotel – Thimphu.


Day 3                   THIMPHU –  PUNAKHA                  (77km, about 3 hours)

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

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, 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
  • Visit 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, 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

 punakhaThe 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.

  • Then 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. 

Overnight at hotel – Punakha


Day 4            
PUNAKHA  –  PARO   (B/L/D)                 (142km, about 4 hours)

After breakfast begin the drive back to Paro.

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.
  • 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.

The evening has been kept free for leisurely visit to Paro town. 

12661861_1260457873968429_6345373687866352108_nOvernight at hotel – Paro


Day 5                 PARO DAY EXCURSION                      (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, 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. 

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 for drying hay while the family live in middle one.

Overnight at hotel – Paro


Day 6                      PARO – DEPARTURE                           (B/-/-)

After breakfast your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight onward.

Tashi Delek!!

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