10 Days Bhutan Travel Program

Day 1 Arrive Paro 

Paro / Thimphu (51km / 1 ½ hrs)

Arrival at Paro; The flight when nearing to Bhutan takes you over the great Himalayas, offering the most beautiful scenery of the snow-capped mountains. As you enter Paro valley, you can view from the window of the plane Paro Dzong (Fort), the National Museum, Paro town, and the lush valley. 

 

After clearing your immigration & customs you will be met by our airport facilitation staff carrying a placard of your name in the visitor’s hall. You will be greeted and direct drive to Thimpu – through fascinating valleys of Paro and Thimphu valleys. You will enjoy the scenery of a mixture of rice fields, apple orchards and farmhouses on either side of the road, crystal clear river, deep river gorges, and surrounding mountains. After passing the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers, the road ascends gently and the valley turns into a narrow gorge before widening out at the village of  Namseling, and soon the quaint shrubs of Thimphu begin to appear. Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and has the only large settlement with little over one hundred thousand people. Thimphu has a special charm and it is fascinating to sit and watch a gathering of local people in the town square, wearing their traditional dress and as well on western dresses going about their office & business in a typically unhurried Bhutanese way.

 

Upon arrival transfer to hotel and lunch can be served in one of the best restaurants in Thimphu city on arrival. 

 

After lunch visit Memorial Chorten a most impressive stupa built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan’s third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk to represent the mind of Buddha by his mother to fulfill one of his three wises. It is a prominent landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells. You can see mostly elderly people sitting around the giant wheels murmuring the mantras by counting prayer beads. You can also witness many other people and tourists circumambulating the temple. When you are here, please make an effort to make 3 rounds (clockwise direction) to earn some merits. It is also mark of respect to Bhutan’s culture and people. Visit one of the oldest temple in Thimphu city, the Changangkha lhakhang built in 12th century dedicated to the bodhisattva of compassion. This place also offers scenic view of the valley below. 

 

Drive further up and visit a Mini zoo where you can see the national animal of Bhutan called Takin, shambar, deer and few other wild animals. On your way back, visit Dubthob Nunnery (Buddhist nuns practicing Buddha dharma).  This small building was once served at watch house to the Dzong below – From below this nunnery is a good spot to take beautiful picture of Tashichhoe Dzong (secretariat building) where it houses King’s throne room, administrative offices and monk body. The building behind the dzong is that of Bhutan parliament. 

Overnight at Hotel.

 

Day 2 Thimphu

Following breakfast, visit Buddha point- This statue of Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue (51.5m in height) constructed on top of a knoll with commanding views of the valley below to bring peace and harmony in the world and for the wellbeing of all sentient beings. The statue houses over one hundred Fifty thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself are made of bronze and gilded in gold. Also visit Nature Park which was developed recently. It is very refreshing to visit this park and enjoy the scenery of the valley below in a very tranquil environment. School of arts and craft – where students learn Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts, including paintings, wood carving, tailoring, slate carving, embroidering and statue making. 

 

After lunch, visit the Bhutan Postal Bureau for the collection of some of the best stamps in the world. You can as well request to print stamps with your own image by paying little money and use the same to send postcards back home or to your friends. Visit craft Bazaar for authentic souvenir shopping, traditional weaving center at industrial estate where you can witness how the fabrics are woven in traditional looms. Next to weaving is the art gallery where you can see the fine arts done of Bhutanese artists and finally visit Jungshi handmade paper factory and witness the process how the papers are made.  Retire for the day. 

Overnight at Hotel.

 

Day 3 Thimphu / Punakha (77 kilometer, takes 3 hours)

Following breakfast, drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still, it serves as winter resident of Je-Khenpo ( Chief Lama) and houses both administrative offices and monk bodies of Punakha district. It was here that the first king of Bhutan was crowned in 1907 and the tradition still continues to this day. 

The road to Punakha is very enjoyable and interesting with scenic natural beauty through villages, temperate forests, view of distant mountains and the snow-capped Himalayas. Stop at Dochula Pass (3150m) marked by 108 stupas and thousands of colorful prayer flags hung around by people to bring good fortune to them and their family. Another new temple on top of a hill was recently built in honor of 4th Druk Gyelpo King Jigme Singye Wangchuk by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. On fine weather, you would be able to enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan range from the pass. Depend on time; you can have your hot lunch at the tourism cafeteria before descending down through windy road to the sub-tropical valley of Punakha & Wangdue. 20 minutes walking through rice terraces and farmhouses will take you to the famous temple of fertility commonly known as Chile Lhakhang situated on top of a hill offering views of both Punakha & Wangdue valleys. 

Overnight at Hotel. 

 

Day 4 Punakha

Following breakfast, visit Pungtang Dechen Phodrang Dzong or commonly known as Punakha Dzong. It was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637-38. It is the winter home of Bhutan’s Central Monastic Body. The Dzong houses the most sacred relics of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu School including the Rangjung Kasarpani, and the sacred remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Terton Padma Lingpa. It’s also known for the coronation place of the kings of Bhutan. You may take your time inside the Dzong to see the beautiful and unique architect of Bhutan. Later you would be driving towards the north of Punakkha for an hour hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, build by Her Majesty for the wellbeing of all sentient Being. After hot lunch, you can visit the nunnery which is right above on a spur offering the views of the valley below. 

Overnight at Hotel. 

 

Day 5 Punakha / Bumthang (212 Km / 8 hours)

Following breakfast, drive to Bumthang, central Bhutan. The road passes through Wangdi district crossing over Pilela pass (alt. 3,300m), the boundary between western and central Bhutan. It is a journey you are not likely to forget.  The scenery is certainly stunning so you need to make occasional stops to take beautiful pictures en route.  In places the road is literally carved out of impressive cliff sides.  Descending from the other side it is a long way down to Trongsa. The Dzong looks superb from a great distance.  It is the longest monastery/fortress in the kingdom built along the ridge at a very strategic location for political reason. It was from here that the present royal family emerged as the most powerful force at the beginning of 20th century.  This dzong was built in 1648 by the order of Shabdrung Rimpoche. After short stop at Trongsa Town for refreshment, continue your drive to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. From Trongsa you drive across the Yotong La pass (3,400m) and descend eventually into the valley of Chumey & Chamkhar, the heart of the famous Bumthang Yatha weaving region.  This central area of Bhutan is where the colorful wool weaving is famous. 

Overnight at Hotel.

 

Day 6 Bumthang Excursion and Sightseeing

Following breakfast, drive around the valley and visit the historically important temples in Bumthang. Bumthang is the general name given to a complex of 4 valleys viz: Chumey, Choekor, Tang & Ura with altitude varies from 2600m to 4000m. Visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred temples in Bhutan. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche came here in the 8th century and meditated for several days until his body got imprinted on the back of a rock. He then manifested into different forms and subdued Sheiling Karpo, the local deity of Bumthang valley and converted him into Buddhism.  Cross the suspension bridge of Chamkhar river and visit Tamshing Lhakhang on the other side of the river founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa, the treasure discoverer. It contains interesting Buddhist paintings dating back to 16th century. And  also visits Koncho Sum lhakhang, which is close to Tamshing. On your way back visit Swiss farm, cheese factory (buy some Swiss cheese if you like).  Finally visit the Jakar dzong (castle of white bird). 

Overnight at Hotel. 

 

Day 7 Bumthang / Trongsa / Wangdue (195 Km, 8 hours)

Following breakfast, drive to Trongsa via the same road crossing over Kilika pass (2900m) and Yotongla pass ( 3400m).  You will visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. After hot lunch, continue your drive to Wangdue crossing yet another pass called Pilela at 3300m. The road descends all the way from pass till you reach Wagdue valley.

Overnight at Hotel. 

 

Day 8 Wangdue / Paro (135 Km, 3-4 hours)

Following breakfast start drive to Paro with a stop in Dochu La for tea, On the way, visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. Continue dr

ive to Paro and check into your hotel on arrival. 

Overnight at Hotel.

 

Day 9 Paro / Tiger’s Nest Monastery Hike

Following breakfast, drive 10km north through the beautiful valley of Paro and hike to Taktsang (tiger’s Den) monastery hanging on a cliff 800m above the valley. In the 8th century Guru Rimpoche flew here on the back of a tigress in one of his eight forms called Guru Dorje Drolo and meditated for 3 months in a cave and converted Paro valley into Buddhism. Later in the 17th century, the 4th temporal ruler of Bhutan Tenzin Rabgye built this present temple and named it Taktsang meaning; tiger’s lair in the same spot where Guru meditated. This temple is one of the most sacred and also a pilgrimage center for Buddhists from all over the world. It was completely burnt down in 1998 and re-built with help from Bhutan government, individual donors and financial supports from other nations. 

 It takes 2 hours ascend till the closest view point and 1 hour descend to the valley. 

Overnight at Hotel.  

 

Day 10 Paro Leave

Following early breakfast, transfer to Paro airport for your onward flight. Your guide will assist with your baggage, bid you farewell and wish you safe journey back home. 

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