Bhutan

Explore Bhutan

The Tour take you as far as Bumthang in Central Bhutan which is also the cultural hub of Bhutan. You will visit Paro valley at 2183 meters above the sea level which boasts of the only International airport in the country. The visit to Taktsang monastery is spectacular and 56 kms away from Paro is Thimphu, the Capital city of Bhutan with no traffic light but host the tallest statue of sitting Buddha in the world. As you drive to Punakha, you pass through Dochula pass which has 108 small chortens and spectacular view of Himalaya could be seen. Punakha is an old capital of Bhutan and Punakha Dzong is still the winter residence of his Holiness, the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). You also get an opportunity to visit Gangtey valley which is the most beautiful glacial valley and a place of Rare Black necked Cranes in the winter. As you travel towards Bumthang, you can visit Trongsa Dzong from where the 2nd King of Bhutan His Majesty Jigme Wangchuck ruled Bhutan.

  • Age Requirement

    8 Above
  • Activity

    Tours
  • Duration

    9 days
  • Starting Location

    Kathmandu
  • Final Destination

    Kathmandu
  • Difficulty

    Easy
  • Max. Altitude

    3120 meters
  • Accommodation

    Hotel / Resort

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paro

The flight into Paro, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of the country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your guide will greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the hotel.

After Lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Dinner and overnight.


Day 2: Paro - Excursion to Taktsang Monastery

After EARLY breakfast, a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria. 
Dinner and overnight


Day 3: Paro – Thimphu Sightseeing

After breakfast, visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After lunch we drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices, and to Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Altitude: 2320m, Distance: 58kms
Driving Time: approx.1 hour

Day 4: Thimphu – Punakha

After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in 15th century. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.

Lunch at Punakha. After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952. Dinner and overnight in Hotel. 

Altitude: 1310m, 76Kms
Driving Time: approx.3 hours

Day 5: Punakha – Gangtey

After breakfast drive to the beautiful valley of Gangtey. Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang includes: visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong, four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Drive further to Gangtey. Visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery from outside. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang. Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Dinner and overnight in Guest House.

Altitude: 3120m

Day 6: Gangtey - Trongsa – Bumthang

After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong of Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Then Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. After Lunch, drive to Bumthang. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Altitude: 2800m, Distance: 188km
Driving Time: approx.6 hours

Day 7: Bumthang Sightseeing

After breakfast, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was built in 1667. Visit Jambay Lhakhang, built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro.  The temple was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. Under the temple is said to be a lake in which Guru Rimpoche hid several Terma. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. After lunch, we then visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. In the evening, visit Membarstho which literally means, “The burning Lake”. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Altitude: 2800m

Day 8: Bumthang – Thimphu (256 km)

Early breakfast and drive to Thimphu. Lunch will be served on the way. Dinner and overnight.

Altitude: 2320m

Day 9: Thimphu – Paro (Departure)

Early morning, drive to Airport and Farewell.

Altitude: 2280m

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