DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – PUNAKHA
DAY 02: PUNAKHA – PHOBJIKHA
DAY 03: PHOBJIKHA – PARO
DAY 04: HIKE TO TIGERS’ NEST
DAY 05: 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.
DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – PUNAKHA (2.5 hours 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 Punakha the old capital of Bhutan.On the way after 1 & half hours’ drive from Paro airport,will reach at highest pass called Dochula pass (3140m).In 2004, Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck 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.On a clear day, the views from the top are astonishing. One can see many snow-covered 7000 meter peaks, including GangkharPhuensum, the world’s highest unclimbed mountain. GasaDzong also appears in the distance.
Upon reaching Punakha valley visit the impressive Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and anearthquake, 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. Over night at hotel in Punakha
DAY 02: PUNAKHA – PHOBJIKHA (2 hour Drive)
Today after breakfast you will drive to Phobjikha (3000m), the magnificent valley suited in western Bhutan. Phobjikha is known for the winter home of Black Necked Cranes.
On arrival, visit Gangtey Goempa, the oldest Nyingmapa temple in Western Bhutan. Gangtey Goemba 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 GangteyTulku.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 outfits 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 hotel in Phobjikha
DAY 03: PHOBJIKHA – PARO (4.5 hour)
After early breakfast drive back to Paro and after lunch visit Kyichu temple, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan which was built in 7th century by Tibetan Buddhist King SongsenGoenpo, and after that stroll around the main street for some interesting Himalayan artifacts or textiles or have a relaxing stay in the hotel. Over night at hotel in Paro.
DAY 04: HIKE TO TIGERS’ NEST
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). From a distance, Bhutan’s most iconic building seems to float, weightless, halfway up a sheer cliff-face, 900 meters (3,000 feet) above the floor of the Paro Valley. As you wind your way breathlessly up the long, steep path towards TaktsangLhakhang, the monastery periodically reveals itself, rising out of the forest, closer and more solid with each reappearance.
While modern visitors approach TaktsangLhakhang on foot or astride one of the sure-footed ponies guided by local villagers, the first person to recognize the holiness of this inaccessible spot, Guru Rinpoche, arrived here with considerably greater ease – on the back of a flying tigress. After defeating a troublesome local demon here in the eighth century, the Guru spentmonths in meditation, and the lhakhang – its name meaning “Tiger’s Nest” – has been a place of pilgrimage ever since.
The Bhutanese believe that the original construction of Taktsang in 1692 was assisted by dakinis – angels – who transported building materials up the cliff on their backs and lent their hair to hold the structure in place. Sadly the dakini were unable to help when Taktsang was razed in a major fire in April 1998, and the temple took five years to reconstruct with the help of a rudimentary cableway that has since been removed.
Inside the lhakhang, the Dubkhang – the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated, now sealed behind a shining golden door – sits at the heart of the main shrine, surrounded by richly decorated chapels and side chapels that fill every inch of the narrow ledge, and offer phenomenal views of the forested valleys far below.
Visitors should note that the final approach to the lhakhang must be made on foot – horses must turn around at the busy canteen roughly halfway up the mountain. Later in the evening enjoy a relaxing hot stone bath to relax your sore muscles after the hike. (Extra charges applicable)
(Over night at hotel in Paro)
DAY 05: 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: