Tours to Bhutan, Travel to Bhutan
Places covered : Paro – Thimphu – Phobjikha – Trongsa – Bumthang – Punakha – Paro
Highlights of Discover Bhutan
Thimphu : Memorial Chorten, Folk and Textile Museum, Sitting Buddha, Tashichhodzong.
Phobjikha : Gangtey Goemba, Royal Society for Protection of Nature.
Trongsa : Chendebji Chorten, Trongsa Dzong & Museum, Pele La Pass.
Bumthang : Tang & Jakar Valley, URA Valley .
Punakha : Dochula – la Pass, Punakha Dzong, Chimmi Lhakhang.
Paro : Ta Dzong, Kichu Lhakhang, Hike to Taktsang, Drukgyel Dzong.
01. ARRIVE PARO AND PROCEED TO THIMPHU
This morning ensure to be at airport at least 02 hours before the flight departure time. You will be met on arrival by your tour guide who will then escort you to Thimphu. The road to Thimphu runs down through the valley, to Chuzom (Confluence) at the entrance of the valley, where the Paro – Thimphu rivers meet. Three Chorten’s of different style mark the confluence of these 02 rivers. Shorty before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left Tschogang Lhakhang, ‘the temple of the excellent horse’. It is a private temple, built in 15th century, as the result of visitation from Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig, the compassionate Buddha. The road passes along a narrow valley with high, rocky cliffs on the left, and then the valley opens out into farmland on the approach to Thimphu. Upon arrival in Thimphu relax for a while and acclimatize or walk around the town to get the feel of it.
Stay overnight in Thimphu.
Day 02. IN THIMPHU.
This morning start the tour of Thimphu city with a visit to Memorial Chorten built in memory of the lake King; visit the Folk & Textile museum; School of Fine Arts (Thangka painting and other traditional arts) where the traditional arts are being revived by the Government; Indigenous Medicine Hospital, where herbal medicine, acupuncture and the ancient art of healing that was passed down from Tibet is still being practiced today; Statue of sitting Buddha the biggest in Bhutan and Sangay point to have a bird’s eye of the Thimphu valley. Later in afternoon visit Changgangkha temples, Drub throb nunnery; and then
Stay overnight in
Day 03. THIMPHU – DOCHULA PASS – PHOBJIKHA VALLEY
This morning take a scenic drive on the mountain route to Phobjikha Valley passing through Dochula pass at 10000ft. Soon you reach Dochula Pass at 10,000 feet where a large Chorten and a forest of prayer flags greet you. On a clear day you can view an endless chain of Himalayan Peaks such as Gangar Punsum (24,000 ft), the highest unclimbed peak in the world, Ganchenta, Teri gang, Table Mountain among other all above 20,000 ft. From there you descend 5500 ft through temperate forests coloured with rhododendrons and magnolias down to the semitropical zone of oranges, banana and cactuses. Stop at Dochula pass for a cup of coffee/tea and if it’s a clear sky you will get to see the beautiful mountain ranges. After the coffee, drive further to Phobjikha valley. It is one of the little visited Phobjikha valleys near the village of Gangtey, which houses Gangtey Goemba (Monastery). The valley is part of the Black Mountains National Park, one of the Bhutan’s most important wildlife sanctuaries. Each winter it is home to a flock of 300 rare and endangered black-necked cranes, which arrive from Tibet. Shepherds and nomadic yak-herders mainly inhabit the surrounding Black Mountains. Gangtey Goemba overlooks the large green expanse of the Phobjikha valley. Visit RSPN (Royal Society for Protection of Nature), it’s open from 7 am – 7 pm, Monday to Friday. It has formative displays about the cranes and the valley environment
Stay overnight in Gangtey.
Day 04. PHOBJIKHA VALLEY – TRONGSA – BUMTHANG
Today early morning enjoy a nature walk and then return to hotel for breakfast and then drive down to Bumthang enroute visiting Trongsa. You will pass through Pele La Pass and you could stop at Chendebji Chorten (17th Century Nepalese style Chorten). A magnificent view of Trongsa Dzong can be seen from here even before you reach there. Visit this beautiful Dzong and then drive on to Bumthang. At a distance of 29 kms from Trongsa is the Yotong La Pass at 11155 ft. There is now a dense forest of conifers, which stretches as far as the eye can see. After 13 kms, the road comes out into a wide, open, cultivated valley. This is Chumey valley, the first of Bumthang’s four valleys. Stop at weaver’s workshop for colorful woolen textiles, bright sweaters, scares, blankets and bags. Check-in upon arrival and relax.
Stay overnight in Bumthang.
Day 05. BUMTHANG – TANG VALLEY & JAKAR VALLEY
Bumthang is especially dotes with religious relics left behind by the famous Guru Rinpoche, and his reincarnation the Treasure Finder, Terton Pemalingpa who is known to have found sacred Buddhist texts after diving into Membartsho Lake with a lighted lamp on his head. It is said that someday keys to Shangri-la will be found. Visit the Jakar Dzong, the Dzong of the white bird; the Jambay and Tamshing Lhakhangs, two of the oldest temples dating to 7th century; the Kurjey Lhakhang where the Kings of Bhutan are taken for their cremation rites.
Stay overnight in Bumthang.
Day 06. BUMTHANG – URA VALLEY
This morning drive 48kms southeast of Jakar, to URA valley. It is the highest of Bumthang valleys and is believed by some to have been the home of the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. Visit the beautiful village with its Lhakhang dominating the surrounding. Thereafter hike for an hour and half to visit a beautiful village of Shingkhar. Drive back to your hotel and just walk around if keen or relax in the hotel.
Stay overnight in Bumthang.
Day 07. BUMTHANG – PUNAKHA
Today early morning start your drive back to Punakha. It will be a long day and you will pass Chendebji Chorten once again. Arrive early evening in Punakha and check-in at the hotel of your stay. Rest of the evening is free for you to relax.
Stay overnight in Punakha.
Day 08. PUNAKHA – PARO
This morning visit the beautiful Punakha Dzong, the winter residence of the Je Khenpo and the monks of Tashichhodzong. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of two mighty glacial rivers, the Mo Chu and Pa Chu, which descend from the lofty heights of the Himalayas, and was the capital of the kingdom in olden times. Continue the drive to Paro and upon arrival visit Ta Dzong, originally built as watchtower and now houses the National museum. The extensive collection included antique Thangka paintings, textiles, weapons & armor, household object and a rich assortment of the natural and historic artifacts. (Note: Ta Dzong/Museum is closed on every Sunday and Monday).
Check-in at the hotel of your stay and later in the afternoon take a short drive to northern part of the valley to visit to Drukgyel Dzong ruins that was once a strategic post to withhold invading Tibetan forces from the north. Also visit the temples of Kichu Lhakhang.
Stay overnight in Paro
This morning hike up to Taktsang monastery (The Tiger’s Nest), for people unaccustomed to the altitude it takes about three hours at an average walking speed to reach the temples. Enroute stop at teahouse for a refreshing drink and have an excellent view of the monastery. The path may at times appear to somewhat hair-raising but it is well defined and there is no danger whatever of falling off. Taktsang monastery is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world and it contains 13 holy places. Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Lair”, gets its name from the story of its foundation. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche came to Taktsang in a miraculous manner, flying on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong in the region of Kurteop. According to Bhutanese tradition, the tigress was a form taken by one of the Master’s consorts for the occasion. Guru Rinpoche meditated for three months in a cave at Taktsang and converted the Paro valley to Buddhism.
Stay overnight in Paro.
Day 11. LEAVE PARO
This morning in time proceed to airport to board flight for onward destination.