DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU VALLEY SIGHTSEEING
DAY 02: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
DAY 03: THIMPHU TO PHOBJIKHA VALLEY
DAY 04: PHOBJIKHA VALLEY
DAY 05: PHOBJIKHA – PUNAKHA
DAY 06: PUNAKHA – PARO
DAY 07: BUMDRA TREK
DAY 08: BUMDRA TREK
DAY 09: DEPART PARO
This tour is specially tailored to provide the best of Bhutan’s timeless culture and traditions. You will experience Bhutan’s unique rich culture with visits to beautiful fortresses, museums and visits to farm houses, experience local cuisine, relaxing hot stone bath after a tiring day, Hike up to the famous Taktshang Monastery popularly known as Tiger’s nest. Travel between lush green valleys’ to dense forest. Discover some of the most scared Buddhist monasteries, temples and marvel at the ancient paintings and carvings in fortress and temples. Trek through the beautiful mountains and lush green vegetation in Paro while doing the 2 days Bumdra trek.
DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU (1 hour Drive)
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth.
Arrive at Paro and drive to Thimphu. Drive to capital city Thimphu, Check in hotel and visit the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972.His Late Majesty, King JigmeDorjiWangchuk. Later visit Trashichhodzong fortress of the glorious religion” Standing proudly on the western bank of the Wang Chhu a few kilometers north of central Thimphu, TashichhoDzong looks every inch the seat of government. While the National Assembly no longer convenes inside the fortress’s whitewashed walls, today the dzong still houses the throne room and the king’s offices as well as the ministries of home affairs and finance. The dzong is a patchwork of old and new, with the impressive central utse and chapels dating from the eighteenth century surrounded by government offices constructed in the 1960s. Various other parts of the dzong have risen, phoenix-like, from the embers of three major fires and the earthquake of 1897, making it all the more impressive that its expansion and restoration has been completed without either written plans or nails. The impressive open courtyard that abuts the northern side of the dzong is the site of Thimphu’s largest festival, the annual ThimphuTsechu. Unless your visit coincides with the tsechu, however, you should be able to explore the dzong’s splendid interior in peace, broken only by the sound of pigeons flapping overhead.Over night at hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 02: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
Hike to Cheri Monastery. At the northern end of Wang Chhu Valley the hills close in, getting steeper and higher as you drive north. At the end of the road there’s another hour-long climb to Cheri Monastery, perched on a hillside criss-crossed with goral (mountain goat) tracks.
Also known as Chagri Dorjeden Monastery, Cheri Monastery was the first monastery established by Bhutan’s great leader, the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, in 1620 when he was just 27 years old. The Zhabdrung spent three years in retreat here and returned regularly throughout his life. Generations of monks have subsequently come to meditate on these forested slopes and rocky hillsides, spending a ritual three years, three months and three days here, deep in contemplation.
Those with enough breath left after the walk up can continue uphill to an upper chapel built into a cliff, which commemorates the Zhabdrung’s defeat of local demons later in the seventeenth century.
Visit the world’s tallest sitting Buddha statue at Buddha point which is 169 feet tall. High up in the hills overlooking Thimphu, dawn light glints off the Buddha Dordenma’s golden face as he gazes into the rising sun. Depicting Buddha at the moment of his enlightenment, sitting in bhumisparsha mudra with five fingers extended to touch the earth, the 51-metre (169-feet) tall statue is visible from across Bhutan’s capital city.
The statue was cast in bronze in China and transported by sea and road to this site once occupied by the palace of Druk Desi, a secular ruler of Bhutan in the eighteenth-century. At its completion, the statue will contain 125,000 gilded Buddha statues and a wealth of other statuary.
Visit Simply Museum “living” museum, Simply Bhutan is an initiative of the Bhutan Youth Development Fund that aims to increase young Bhutanese people’s engagement with their traditional culture. Housed in a traditional building not far from the center of Thimphu, the museum offers visitors a fun opportunity to learn about Bhutanese traditions, dress up in kiras and ghos (as well as unusual regional costumes), and to try archery or khuru (darts) in the open courtyard. The museum doubles as a photo studio, offering a fun range of backdrops and props to help visitors capture a unique holiday snap. An on-site cafe serves Bhutanese food, and “Magical Moment” performances are held daily.
Later visit Painting School the Institute offers you a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Visit the tradiotional paper making pactory.
Over night at hotel in Thimphu
DAY O3: THIMPHU TO PHOBJIKHA VALLEY 3.5 HOURS
After breakfast drive towards Phobjikha valley considered the most beautiful valley. On the way after 30 minutes‟ drive from Thimphu will reach at highest pass between Thimphu and Punakha the place called Dochula pass (3140m).In 2004, Queen Mother AshiDorjiWangmoWangchuck commissioned 108 chortens in Dochula, the pass between Thimphu and Punakha.These chortens commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the Indian insurgents hidden in Southern Bhutan in 2003. The 4th DrukGyalpo, King JigmeSingyeWangchuck, led the army.Hundreds of prayer flags flap in the wind at Dochula, carrying positive merit on the breeze to all sentient beings. For centuries, people have travelled through this pass while making their way across the country.
Upon reaching Dochulaa Pass start Lungchutse hike (1 to 1.5 hour), which is one of the most rejuvenating and picturesque hike. The trail will take you through a diverse forest of hemlock, rhododendrons and junipers until you reach the temple on the ridge. On a clear weather day, tourists can enjoy a 360 degree view of the Himalayas from the ridge. Some of the notable mountains include Jumolhari (7314 m), Masang Gang in the region of Laya (7158), Zongophu Gang – a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana (7060 m) and GangkharPuensum (7520 m), the highest peak in Bhutan. You can also see GasaDzong, as a tiny white speck in a sea of green almost 50 kilometers to the north.
After hike continue your journey towards Phobjikha. Upon reaching Phobjikha, to further stretch the body after long drive start a Gangtey Natural Trail Hike (50 mins) to explore the valley and the hike will be gradual descend and on the flat land.
Overnight at homestay / hotel.
DAY 04: PHOBJIKHA VALLEY
After breakfast drive for an hour to the charming village called Longte,y from here the 3 to 3.5 hours moderate hike back towards GangteyGompa starts. Head along a sloping, lined pathway that takes you through towering bushes of jade-hued bamboo, swaying together in a jumble of shadow and light. At the end of the bamboo enclave lies a small group of village houses, built in the distinct Bhutanese style, which features elevated platforms, intricately carved timber window panes and wood-lined, arched roofs.
During the spring months the woodlands on either side of the valley look particularly stunning, gloriously cloaked in a kaleidoscope of crimson, violet and candy floss coloured rhododendrons. In the winter months, the valley is splendidly shrouded in thick blankets of pearly white snow, on which mighty onyx and caramel-horned yaks graze. As you move upwards, you’ll pass ancient rhododendron forests and soaring trees that sigh in the wind, whispering the ancient secrets of this mystical region. Next, head down to the tranquil village of Kumbu, where you can choose to end your walk, or carry on to the deep valley floor and the Shedra, a renowned and mystical place of teaching.
After lunch visit Gangtey Goempa, the oldest Nyingmapa temple in western Bhutan.GangteyGoemba sits on the crest of a hill, overlooking majestic views of the Phobjikha Valley. Quite appropriately, its name means simply “the temple on the hilltop.”Pema Thinley, the grandson of the great terton (treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa, founded this temple in 1613. In the Buddhist tradition of Bhutan, a terton is a gifted practitioner who discovers ancient teachings and reintroduces them to the world.The monastery, one of the largest in Bhutan, contains a monastic school and houses the ninth reincarnation of the Gangtey Tulku .Every year on the 11th of November, villagers from all over the valley gather in the courtyard here to celebrate the Black Necked Crane Festival. Locals wear their most beautiful ghos and kiras to watch the masked dances performed by the monks of Gangtey.
Dressed as these cherished birds, school children dance the movements of the black necked crane to welcome the birds back to the valley. Every year, in the end of October and the beginning of November, the cranes arrive in the valley for the winter. They migrate in from the higher altitude plateaus of the Tibetan region.
Then explore valley on foot is the best way to experience Gangtey as you will walk by small villages and picturesque scenery. Later visit, Crane Information Centre which gives all the information about birds. Overnight at home stay / hotel in Phobjikha.
DAY O5: PHOBJIKHA – PUNAKHA (2 hour drive)
Upon reaching Punakha valley hike to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility. Hike between the lush paddy fields and small village until you reach the temple.
After lunch visit the impressive Punakha Dzong the Dzong built in 1637 by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch. It is open for visitors during the Punakha festival (early spring) and in the summer months, after the monk body has returned to Thimphu. The Dzong is placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. This ancient fortress is the winter residence of the monastic order‟s head and still serves as the administrative headquartersfor the Punakha region. After visiting the Punakha Dzong take a leisurely walk for 5 to 10 minutes to reach the longest suspension bridge of Bhutan. We have a great view of villages on the other side of the river. Over night at hotel in Punakha
DAY 06: PUNAKHA – PARO (3.5 hour drive)
After early breakfast drive back to Paro and visit the Ringpung Dzong which was built by Shabdrung in 1644. After lunch visit the National Museum and start the Zuri hike from above the National Museum (1 hour). The hike provides wonderful views down over the valley and Dzong.
In the evening stroll around the main street for some interesting Himalayan artifacts or textiles or have a relaxing stay in the hotel. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
DAY 07: BUMDRA TREK STARTS
After your early breakfast drive to Sang Choekor Buddhist University in the Paro valley (2,800 m) and hike to a beautiful Yak pasture where we camp below Bumdra Monastery(3,800 m)
Your short and easy adventure begins from Sang Choekor Buddhist University. The first one to two-hour ascent of a shady, forested ridge brings us to a clearing with prayer flags and stunning views down into both the Paro and Do Chhu Valleys. Above and ahead the ChhoeTseLhakhang (temple) nestles on the mountainside a further one to two hour‟s walk away. The trail undulates before the last steep section up to the pretty temple which offers commanding views south over Paro and northwards to the snowcapped Himalayas. After a final 20-minute climb through ruins and fluttering prayer flags, we plunge back into ancient forest, and, after traversing for about 40 minutes, we come out onto a high wide meadow dotted with sacred Chortens and prayer flags. Your camp for the night is tucked away just under Bumdra Monastery (Cave of a Thousand Prayers) and offers unimpeded views of the Himalayan ranges. After lunch we can visit the monastery and also climb the peak to the north (about 4000m). Overnight at your camp.
DAY 08: TREK ENDS
Hike downhill from Bumdra camp via ZangtoPelri Monastery and Taktsang Monastery. After a hearty breakfast, it is time to either head straight back into the valley or spend a little extra time enjoying the view. Eventually we have to drop back into the ancient pine and rhododendron forest on the monks‟ zigzagging trail.
After one to two hours of descent we catch glimpses of the golden roofs of temples below. The path snakes across the mountainside between these monasteries before reaching the gardens of ZangtoPelri (Heaven on Earth) from which you can, if you are brave, peer over the edge, straight down onto the ornate rooftops of Taktsang Monastery perched against the cliff-face far below.
An hour later and we are across the gorge from Taktsang Monastery. Follow a steep descent to a waterfall then go up for 10 minutes and you‟ll reach the Tiger‟s Nest. Retracing our steps we begin the final descent of about 45 minutes to Paro Valley floor to reach our vehicle from where you will be transferred by road to your overnight stay at the hotel in Paro. Later in the evening enjoy hot stone bath to relax your muscles from the trek. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
DAY 09: DEPART PARO
Breakfast in the
hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
Some of the sights/itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the rights to alter the itinerary since tours are made in advance and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve your overall travel experience in Bhutan
The driving and hiking times mentioned are approximate times and do not include breaks in the journey for sightseeing, photo/tea/meal/rest stops. There may be delays in transfer time due road conditions, road repair/widening works, inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. During the treks/hikes, there may be delays or diversion of hiking trails due to trail conditions, inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. Please note that at the moment there are numerous areas where road conditions are not very good due to road widening/repair works and you may experience rough and bumpy drives.
WHAT WE INCLUDE IN OUR TAILOR MADE BHUTAN TOURS: