Duration: 9 Nights/10 Days
Place of visit: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Trongsa, and Bumthang.
This unique group holiday package is the customized to immerse you among the tranquil settings and rare flora and fauna of an unexplored and mystical country hidden in the folds of eastern Himalayas. During this trip, you will touches two of Bhutan’s most historical places, Trongsa and Bumthang. You will perhaps be experiencing for the first time a journey through pristine environment with forest cover enveloping all parts of the country. Moreover your tour covers the most dramatic Tiger’s Nest temple (Takshang), Burning Lake (mebar Tso), Castle of the Victorious Drukpa (Drukgyel Dzong) and views of “Mountain Goddess (Mt. Jomolhari). Experiencing Bhutan’s unique tradition and culture. Constantly changing vegetation from sub-tropical through alpine.
DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO/THIMPHU
Flying in the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air and forested ridges, wherein you would have feasted on some of the wonder of the Himalayas. Such as views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalaya peaks, including Bhutan’s Jomolhari and mount Jichu Drake. The landing is thrilling and supposed to be the most challenging.
At the airport you will be welcomed by our tour representative who will be your guide during your entire trip to Bhutan. We will drive to Thimphu. Check in the hotel.
In the afternoon, visit the National Memorial Chorten, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful stupas, built in the memory of the third king of Bhutan, who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. He is known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. A short drive to Buddha Point, where the statue of the world’s largest and tallest Buddha Dordenma, and enjoy view of southern part of Thimphu valley. In the evening, we will visit Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the Royal Government of Bhutan since 1953. This massive structure houses part of the government ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and the central Monastic Body.
Night Halt: Thimphu.
DAY 02: Discover Thimphu
The morning will be dedicated to sightseeing, described briefly as hereunder:
Painting School- It show cases the 13 arts and crafts of Bhutan. Students at school receives training for six years on Thangka painting, slate curving, tailoring, wood curving and embroidery, etc. The school receives support from the government. Take a short drive to Takin Zoo- the national animal of Bhutan – a strange looking beast which some say resembles a beestung moose! You will be taken to Sangaygang, a place from where you can have bird’s eye view of Thimphu town and the surroundings. Visit Simply Bhutan – the living museum that depicts Bhutan’s ancient cultural heritage. You will visit the Weaving Centre, where you get a close glimpse of the weavers at their looms. Drive down to the bustling Centenary Farmer’s Market (Open Thus – Sun). About 5kms toward south of Thimphu, you will visit to Simtokha Dzong – the first Dzong built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan. In the evening, take a walk around Thimphu city.
Night Halt: Thimphu
DAY 03: THIMPHU/PUNAKHA
Taking about 2 hours drive from Thimphu traverses through a constantly changing landscape of vegetation, waterfall, flowers, mountains and meadows. After a 30 minutes drive, we will stop at the popular Dochula Pass (3,100m) 10,000ft. Dochula Pass offers visitor’s with a first glimpse of Himalaya range, comprising snow-capped mountains with heights ranging from 6000m – 7554m. The Pass houses the 108 Druk Wangyal Chorten and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang. It’s built to commemorate the victory of Bhutanese solider over the Indian militants in December 2003. From the Pass the journey descents via Lamperi Botinical Park, through Pine and Rhododendron forests, and beautiful terraced rice field to the sub-tropical valley of Punakha. Punakha served as Bhutan’s capital in the past and holds some of the country’s most priceless treasures, especially Buddhist relic. The Punakha Dzong is an architectural masterpiece and resembles a gigantic ship on an ocean floor from afar, and girdled by two (Male & Female) rivers. Built in 1637 by the country unifier Zhandrung Ngawang Namgyal and is still house of Je Khenpo and central monastic body in winter months. In the evening, we will hike about 1 hour ( round trip) to the monastery of Drukpa Kuenley, the ‘Divine Madman’. The temple was built in the 15th century, and it is popularly known as the ‘temple of fertility’. Enjoy some tea and snacks at the end of the hike while overlooking the field.
Night Halt: Punakha
DAY 04: PUNAKHA/PHOBJIKHA
We will be passing through the valley of Wangdue phodrang, which served as the seat of south- central power in the past. Wangdue Dzong has been gutted by fire in 2012 and plan is afoot to rebuild it in its original shape. The renovation works are under progress. The road towards Phobjikha valley would wind gently towards Pelela Pass (3,300m) 11,152ft. Before reaching the Pelela Pass, we will take a right turn through the alpine forest, rich in rhododendron, and magnolia in full blossoms during April/May, and dwarf bamboo, and arrive to the glacial valley of Phobjikha/Gangtey. It is also called the valley of Black Naked Crane which migrates from the Central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters. We will hike through the village, then to the pine forest and experience the wonderful valley. We will also make a visit to the Crane Information Centre to know more about these heavenly birds. In the evening, visit Gangtey Monastery, the only Nyingmapa Monastery in Bhutan is located in the valley. It is the ninth reincarnate, His Holiness, Gangtey Trulku.
Night Halt: Phobjikha.
DAY 05: PHOBJIKHA/TRONGSA/BUMTHANG
Today we will make an early start to Trongsa and Bumthang. We will reach to Pelela Pass; it serves as dividing border between Western and Eastern Bhutan in olden days. Large prayers flags mark the place. En-route, we will stop at Chendebji Chorten (Stupa), built in Nepalese style with eyes painted at four cardinal points. We will pass through the Jigme Singay Wangchuck National Park, very rich in forest cover. In the afternoon, visit Trongsa Ta Dzong (Watch Tower), which is now converted into Museum. And can view the Bhutan’s largest Dzong, which serves as the centre Administration for eastern and central region of Bhutan in early 19th century. Continue our drive to Bumthang which is about 3 hours. 29kms from Trongsa, we will reach the Yutongla Pass (3,400m) and after further 13 km drive, the road enters into a wide, open, and beautiful valley known as Chumey valley. The average altitude of 2,700m (8,860 ft), people here grow wheat, barley, potatoes and particularly buckwheat, which used to provide the staple diet of Bumthang in the form of pancakes and noodles. From the chumey valley, road start to climb towards the Kikila Pass at 2,900m (9,515ft), which separates the chumey valley from the Choekhor valley where Jakar Dzong serves as the district seat. There are barely 9kms from kikila to Jakar Dzong or rather the village of Chamkhar. Check in hotel
Night Halt: Bumthang
DAY 06: AROUND BUMTHANG
Bumthang is the most scared region in the Kingdom. Bumthang valley is widely known for its four wide valleys of Chumey, Chokhor, Tang and Ura, and is located at an elevation of 2750m above the sea level. A woolen product known as ‘Yatra’ is woven out of yak hair and sheep wool. It’s one of the very famous local products in the country. It is intricately designed and is used for giving as presents, table clothes and outer jackets. You will be driving toward east to visit Mebartso (the flaming lake), where Pema Lingpa, the treasure Discoverer has discovered religious text from the lake. Jampa Lhakhang – King Songtsen Gempo of Tibet built 108 monasteries to subdue a demon whose body lay across the Himalayas. Out of these, Kyichu in paro and Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang are located in Bhutan and were built in 659 A.D. the inner shrine of the temple has the image of Jowo Jampa, the Buddha of Future. Take a short drive to visit Kurje Lhakhang, where the great Indian Saint, Guru Padmasambhava has left his body imprint on a rock and now in the temple as it’s a main sacred relic.
Experience a Bumthap farmhouse lunch. If you wish to experience not just traditional Bhutanese food in authentic, but also Bumthang specialties made from local products such as buckwheat, we would like to take you for a very different lunch experiences.
Afternoon, we will visit to Jakar Dzong, the literal translation of the fortress stands for the ‘Castle of white bird’. It is located on a ridge overlooking the Chamkhar valley. In the evening go for local Beer and Cheese in the Red Panda Brewery Garden. The Red Panda Brewery was started in 2006 by the Fritz Maurer, originally Swiss but a Bhutanese citizen since 1976. His brewery was the first established beer brewery in the country, and he is still the sole producer of the specialty Weissbier, Red Panda. Swiss cheese making traditions were introduced in Bhutan by Mr. Maurer and he now oversees cheese production at the factory. The tasting session can be combined with a tour of the brewery where you will get the chance to learn about this Bhutanese specialty, Red Panda. Be prepared for an unlimited flow of this supposedly healthy beer, fresh cheese produced just next door and amusing conversation. US$20++per person. Same day cancellation will be charged fully.
Night Halt: Bumthang
DAY 07: BUMTHANG/PUNAKHA or WANGDUE
After breakfast, drive ascends out of the valleys on twisting mountain road towards to Yotongla pass. Road then winds down to Trongsa. Drive continues via Chendebji chorten, then over Pelela pass. Road descands and continue your journey to Wangduephodrang. On the way back we might be able to spot, Macau, grey langur, yellow throated martin.
Night Halt: Wangdue/ Punakha
DAY 08: PUNAKHA/PARO
Today we will start bit lately. The road would gradually climb to Dochula. Stop and take your last look to the great eastern himalayas and make a descent to Hongtso and Simtokha. En-route to Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress built in 1629. The uniqueness of this dzong, the central tower known as ‘Utse’ has twelve sides. Then continue your drive to the Paro valley.
Night Halt: Paro
DAY 09: HIKE TO TIGER’S NEST
One of the Bhutan’s holiest shrine and an amazing structure that crosses all boundaries of architectural masterpiece, Takstang Monastery is perched some 1,000m (3000ft) on a cliff overlooking a valley. The monastery was built by Gyalsey Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth temporal ruler (Desi) considered to be the ‘heart son’ of Zhabdrung in 1692. The fire gutted the whole structure in 1998, but rebuilt to its original shape by government. The hike to the monastery takes about 5 hours (up & down), and it demands certain level of fitness and pony ride to the half way can be arrange on an additional cost.
On the way back, en-route, we visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most scared monasteries. Then we move on to visit the Rinpung Dzong built in 1644. The name stands for “heave of jewels”. The Dzong is very famous as the film “Little Buddha” was shot within the premises of the fortress in 1992. The southern approach to the Dzong has a traditional roofed cantilever bridge called Nyami zam. A walk across the bridge offers a wide view of splendor of the Dzong’s architecture and an opportunity to trend the same path as the ancient warriors. After a short drive from the bridge, take an evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar. Later on, Visit a traditional farm house for an opportunity to interact with a local family and learn something of their lifestyle.
Night Halt: Paro
DAY 10: DEPATURE PARO
After early breakfast, drive to airport in time to catch onwards flight to Bangkok/ Singapore. It is end of your tour. Your escort from Norwang Sachu Travels will bid you farewell and soon the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom will disappears again behind its guardian mountains.