Day 1 Arrival, Transfer to Thimphu, Town Stroll, o/n Thimphu
Day 2 Thimphu valley Exploration, Farmer’s Market, o/n Thimphu
Day 3 Transfer to Punakha. Dochula, Punakha Dzong, o/n Punakha
Day 4 Transfer to Gangtey. Fertility Temple en route, o/n Gangtey
Day 5 Transfer to Paro. Paro Dzong, Museum, shopping, o/n Paro
Day 6 Explore Paro valley. Tiger’s Nest Hike, o/n Paro
Day 7 International Departure
Day 1: Arrival in Paro. Transfer to Thimphu
On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatize to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and let’s have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine and some light sightseeing in Thimphu if possible.
Takin enclosure – See the national animal of Bhutan, Takin.
Drive time one hour
Day 2: Thimphu exploration
Attractions around Thimphu
Folk Heritage Museum – Dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past though exhibition of artifacts used in rural households.
Textile Museum – Witness the art of traditional weaving.
Thimphu Dzong – The largest Dzong, is also the seat of the office of the King of Bhutan.
National Memorial Chorten – Which was built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
Papermaking Factory – Witness the art of papermaking
Centenary Farmers’ Market – Every Saturday and Sunday most of the Thimphu population congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. Here villagers from the valley and other nearby places come to sell their agriculture products.
Hike to Cheri Monastery is an option for more adventurous travelers. At the head of the valley, should you wish to stretch your legs, a short hike will take you to Cheri Goemba, the monastery where the first monastic body was established in the Kingdom.
Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha
Dochula Pass – The 108 chortens was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to liberate the souls of the soldiers lost.
Punakha Dzong – Built in 1637, the dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, headed by the Chief Abbott, the Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten – Built by the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon wangchuck this Chorten is a splendid example of of the Bhutanese architecture and art and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been built over eight and a half years and its details have been drawn from religious scripture.
Drive time: two and a half hours
Day 4: Punakha to Gangtey
Chhimi Lhakhang – A 20 minutes walk across terraced fields through the village of Sopsokha from the roadside to the small temple located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina. Ngawang Chogyel built the temple in 15th century after the ’divine Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. It is a pilgrim site for barren women.
Passing Wangdue (left), one of the major towns and district capital of Western Bhutan. Located south of Punakha, Wangdue is the last town before central Bhutan. The district is famous for its fine bamboo work and its slate and stone carving.
We will pause to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Built in 1638, Wangdue Dzong is dramatically perched on the spur of a hill and overlooks the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers.
Phobjikha Valley- The valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the Black necked crane (Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black-necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March. Overlooking the Phobjikha valley is the Gangtey Goempa. This is an old monastery that dates back to 17th century.
Drive time two and a half hours
Day 5: Gangtey to Paro
Paro Valley – The beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan’s old monasteries and temples. The country’s only Airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to mount Jomolhari (7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pachu flowing through the valley. The following are some of the prominent places to visit in Paro.
Paro Dzong – Also known as Rinpung Dzong, this 15th century massive fortress/monastery, is also the administrative center of the dzonkhag.
Ta Dzong – Built as a watch tower the Ta Dzong, it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum boasts antique Thangka, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Drive time five and a half hours
Day 6: Paro valley exploration
Taktshang Monastery- This morning will begin with a hike up to view one of Bhutan’s most revered monuments, the Taktshang Goemba, more commonly referred to as the “Tiger’s Nest”. The four to five hour return trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched on a cliff face 900m above the valley floor.
Drukgyal Dzong – Built in 1647 by the great Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past.
Kyichu Lhakhang – After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
Day 7: International Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Paro airport for international departure.