Total Duration:16 days Starting Point: Paro, Western Bhutan Exit Point: Paro Best Season: March through May, & September through November Highlights:Festivals, History, Culture, Lifestyle, GNH, Flora and Fauna, Landscape
Day 01: Bangkok – Paro - Thimphu
Cherish your flight to Paro and get enthralled as you observe some of the Himalayan Ranges’ spectacular structures like Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by a representative of our company, who will escort you to the Hotel. After lunch at the hotel, you will be driven to Thimphu.
Overnight at a hotel.
Day 02 – Thimphu stopover
Thimphu is a historically significant city, not just because it is Bhutan’s capital but because of several historical treasures that it houses. Thus, the first day of your tour will be devoted to seeing most of the city’s landmarks. You will visit Buddha Point, where the World’s largest Buddha statue stands. Also included in the day’s trip will be visits to the Memorial Chorten, one of the most beautiful stupas built in memory of the third king of Bhutan, Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck, known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. Changangkha monastery built in the 12th century, Takin zoo, Weaving Center, Nunnery and Sangaygang, from where you will have a spectacular view of the entire Thimphu valley will be other places that you will visit.
After lunch, we will visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved, the Wood Craft and Painting school where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive, the Folk Heritage museum and the Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks.
Overnight at the hotel
Day 03 & 4– Cheri Monastery – the spiritual communion
It is time to delve into the world of meditation and you will thus be taken to one of Bhutan’s most revered meditation centers. It will involve a 30 minute drive and a hike to Tango monastery, built in the 12th century, which is today a Buddhist University. There are meditation houses above the monastery. However, you cannot enter inside. Nonetheless, you can meditate for some time within the monastery. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enveloped by Nature in its purest form, you will have a great experience.
You will then hike to Cheri monastery, which was built in the 16th century by the Shabdrung. There will be a picnic lunch on the way at a beautiful spot. Cheri is also a renowned meditation center. You will be spending the night at a meditation house above the monastery.
The next day you have all the time to engage yourself in meditation. In the evening, you will return to Thimphu.
Day 05: Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdue
After breakfast, your journey to Punakha, which is about three hours, begins. There will be a stopover after 45 minutes at Dochula pass (3,100m), which offers visitors their first glimpse of the eastern Himalayan range, apart from the 108 stupas( chortens) of the pass. You will have a panoramic view of the snow-capped peaks, with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m.
Before reaching Punakha, you will be taken to Chimi Lhakhang(Temple), a 15th century structure, associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madmonk.” It is an hour hike, round trip, from the road. At the lhakhang, you will get the opportunity to relax and find peace in meditation.
We will lunch at a local restaurant and then visit Punakha Fortress, an architectural masterpiece built in 1637 by the Shabdrung. It served as Bhutan’s capital till 1955 and houses some of the most precious Buddhist relics. You can get inside the giant temple located within the dzong and devote some time meditating.
Overnight at a hotel
Day 06: Punakha/Wangdue - Trongsa
Early morning, we drive to Trongsa via Wangduephodrang across Pelela pass (alt. 3,300m), the traditional boundary between eastern and western Bhutan. We will stop enroute at Chendbji Chorten, which was built in the 18th century by a lama named Shida. It has a Nepalese chorten resemblance, with eyes painted at four cardinal points. It will be our lunch spot.
Overnight at a hotel in Trongsa.
Day 07: Trongsa - Bumthang
After breakfast, we will walk to the historic Tongsa Dzong, built by Shabdrung in 1647. There are several temples within the Dzong and you can choose one to engage in meditation. We will also visit the Ta Dzong (watch tower) and then drive to Bumthang, which is about 3 hours.
On arrival in Bumthang, we check into a hotel.
Day 08: Bumthang
One of the most sacred regions in the Kingdom, Bumthang valley is a blend of the abstract and concrete with innumerable legends surrounding the area.
You will be visiting Kurje Lhakhang where the Great Indian Saint Guru Padsambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock. The other is Jamphel lhakhang, which was built in the 7th century by Songsten Goembo, the Tibetan Buddhist King. Jakar Dzong (the fortress of white bird) built in the 17th century by Tenzin Rabgay (the fourth Desi) is another famous landmark.
You will also be visiting, Tamshing lhakhang built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa (the founder of religious treasures). Kunchosum lhakhang and Membertsho (the flaming lake) are other places. Legend has it that Pema Lingpa discovered several religious text from the lake.
A spiritually rich valley, one has the option to engage in meditation in any of the sacred places.
Overnight at the hotel
Day 09: Bumthang - Trongsa - Gantey / Phobjikha
After breakfast, we proceed to Gantey/Phobjikha via Trongsa. The approach to Phobjikha valley is through a forest of Oak and Rhododendron. Phobjikha is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and home of the black necked cranes which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau in winter.
Overnight at the hotel
Day 10: Gantey / Phobjikha - Wangdue – Thimphu- Paro
After breakfast you can explore Phojikha valley and visit Gangtey Monastery, one of the Nyigmapa sect of Buddhism’s holiest temples. We then drive to Paro via Wangduephodrang. Lunch will be served at Doclula pass. Uppon arrival at Paro, we will visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, Rinpung Dzong and Paro's market. Overnight at hotel
Day 11 - 15: Paro – Takstang monastery hike
This is going to be one of your most memorable experiences as we visit Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Lair), a work of art, blending the spiritual with architectural splendor. One of the holiest shrines in Bhutan, the Monastery is perched on a hill (1000m) overlooking the valley. It is said that the great Indian Saint and Tantric Buddhism’s Master, Guru Padma Sambhava came to Taktsang riding a tigress, in one of his most fearful forms, to subdue demons that were obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Several Buddhist masters have meditated at the site.
Overnight at Meditation house nearby monastery.
We will be spending the next couple of days here, immersing ourselves in the world of meditation.
On the way back, we visit Drugyel Dzong,”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa,” located 16 kilometers from Paro town. In ruins now, this Dzong was built to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the invading Tibetan forces in the 16th and 17th centuries.
On a clear day, one can see the Jhomolhari Peak, "Mountain of the Goddess" from here.
Day 16 Paro
It will be a day of leisure for you. You can stroll around Paro town.
Day 17 Paro – Drakarpo
In the morning, we drive 30 minutes and hike to Drakarpo. It is said that Guru Padma Sambhava meditated in a cave there. The cave is visible even today. You can spend some hours meditating.
Halt at hotel in Paro.
Day 18 Exit from Paro
After breakfast, you will be driven to the airport for your flight out of Bhutan