BEST OF BHUTAN
Paro - Thimphu – Punakha
Welcome to the happy country of Bhutan! Lets explore the serene landscapes, ancient monastries, lush valleys and quaint towns dotted with colorful Buddhist prayer flags. All this topped with a warm dose of happy locals that makes Bhutan, the perfect destination to travel, explore & celebrate life!
- Explore the amazing cities of the happy country.
- Visit Tiger's Nest Monastery in Paro.
- Witness the benevolent 'Buddha Dordenma' statue.
- Cross the scenic Dochula Pass & view 108 Chortens.
- Punakha Dzong - Palace of Great Happiness or Bliss.
Day 01: Arrival in Paro - Thimphu (Approx. 02 Hrs. Drive)
Day 02: Thimphu Sightseeing
Day 03: Thimphu - Punakha (Approx. 03 Hrs. Drive)
Day 04: Punakha Sightseeing
Day 05: Punakha - Paro (Approx. 04 Hrs. Drive)
Day 06: Paro Sightseeing
Day 07: Paro - Departure
DAY 01: ARRIVAL IN PARO - THIMPHU (50 KMS. / APPROX. 02 HRS. DRIVE)
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air.
Arrive at Paro International Airport. Paro is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. Your guide will meet you and take you on a short one-hour drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, at 2320 metres. You can stop on the way to take in the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s iron bridge builder. Take a late afternoon walk around town and soak in the atmosphere of this magical capital with its busy shops and bazaars and photogenic citizens in national dress.
In the afternoon, visit Trashichhoedzong, “fortress of the glorious religion”.
This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans. Night stay at Thimphu.
DAY 02: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
This day after your breakfast visit the revered Memorial Chorten, the huge statue of Buddha Dordenma, which commands a tremendous view of Thimphu valley. The huge 3-storey throne holds several chapels and the body itself is filled with 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha. Then visit the Simply Bhutan, National Library, and the School of Traditional Arts and Folk Heritage Museum.
In the afternoon, visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, BBS Tower and Nunnery. Browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum. Then visit the newly opened postal museum, detailing the history of Bhutan’s postal system and showcasing Bhutan’s rich assortment of interesting stamps. Visit the Jungshi Handmade Paper factory, which produces traditional Bhutanese paper from the daphne bush. Later visit Tashichho Dzong, built in 1641, which housed the original National Assembly and is now home to Government offices, the throne room and offices of the King. If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely homemade articles with no imports. Night stay at Thimphu.
DAY 03: THIMPHU - PUNAKHA (85 KMS. / APPROX. 03 HRS. DRIVE)
This day after your breakfast check out from your hotel and drive to Punakha via Dochula Pass.
The walk is really impressive as it zigzags up to the 3,140 m high Dochula Pass, through a forest of waving prayer flags and a labyrinth of commemorative cliffs and on clear days, panoramic views of the main Himalayan range. At the top of this mountain pass overlooking the Himalayas, there is a concentration of 108 chortens (stupas) built in memory of the Bhutanese soldiers killed in the 2003 war. The Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, commissioned the monument after that King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was victorious in the struggle to dislodge the rebels who used Bhutan as a base to attack India. Stop at the Dochula Pass, which offers an impressive 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayas. The view is especially picturesque on clear winter days with snow-capped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens adorning the mountain pass.
Continue drive to Punakha. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits.
Later, visit Punakha Dzong: Punakha Dzong or (Palace of Great Happiness), it was built at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This majestic dzong served as both the religious and the administrative center of Bhutan in the past. It measures some 600 by 240 feet and has a six-story, gold-domed tower. Inside are courtyards and religious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here. Your guide will illuminate your understanding of this intricate culture that is exotic to us, though long established here. Night stay at Punakha.
This day after your breakfast enjoy small hike to Chimi Lhakhang.
The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the center of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15thcentury used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings and due to this also known as "Divine Madman". This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning "field". It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.
In the afternoon, visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery.
Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang (Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chen Rig Zig Chag Tong Chen Tong).
Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting. Night stay at Punakha.
DAY 05: PUNAKHA - PARO (140 KMS. / APPROX. 04 HRS. DRIVE)
This day after your breakfast check out from your hotel and drive back to Paro.
The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's only airport. Mount. Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro River). Paro is also one of the most fertile valley in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
In the afternoon, walk down the trail (10 min walk) to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of ParoTshechu, held once a year in the spring.
Later proceed to visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons &armor, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Night stay at Paro.
DAY 06: PARO SIGHTSEEING
This day after your breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery (approx. 5 hours walk including both ways). The Taktsang Monastery is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900 m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.
The hike to the monastery can be broken down into various stages. The first stage is the trek to the cafeteria (where lunch will be served later today) which is situated on a rocky outcrop across a ravine from the monastery. This leg of the trek takes approximately 45-60 minutes. The second stage of the walk is from the cafeteria to the lookout opposite the monastery. This leg takes close to one hour. The third stage is the trek/climb down the 475 steps in the cliff face to the bottom of the ravine which crosses over a stream and waterfall before the path again ascends another 300 odd steps to the entrance of the monastery.
Once here you should be able to enter into the monastery and view the cave where Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal meditated (cameras are not allowed inside the monastery). The visit and climb to the entrance and back to the lookout will take approximately one hour.
Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. AshiKesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern. Night stay at Paro.
DAY 07: PARO - DEPARTURE
After breakfast, check out from hotel and transfer to Paro Airport for flight to onward destination.Our representative will assist you with exit formalities.
- Accommodation with breakfast for 06 Nights.
- English speaking guide for sightseeing.
- A bottle of water per person, every day during your Tour.
- All sightseeing and transfer by private air conditioned vehicle as per the itinerary.
- All Assistance on arrival & departure.
- All applicable government tax, toll tax, parking, interstate tax etc.
- International or domestic fights.
- Entrance Fees to monuments/sightseeing places.
- Any Personal Expenses.
- Any other services which are not mentioned above.