This tour will apart from taking you to all the most visited places in Western part of Bhutan will also take you to experience a life of nomadic family in the North of the country while also can soak in a natural hot spring which the locals believe has medicinal benefits.
DAY 01: ARRIVE AT PARO (The only International Airport in the country,
PARO – THIMPHU (55 km/1.5 hour)
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of the world’s highest glacial peaks (Remember to check in early and ask for your seat on the left side of the Plane if you are flying from New Delhi, India or Kathmandu, Nepal). As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Our representative will receive you and will drive to Thimphu with sightseeing en route.
• Drive towards the capital city, Thimphu.
• Stop at Tachogang: Tachogang Lhakhang (Temple) was built by Thangthong Gyalpo in the fifteenth century. The temple was likely constructed in 1420. While the Tibetan master was meditating here, he had a vision of an emanation of Avalokiteshvara and decided to build a temple as well as an iron suspension bridge at this location. Tachogang lies on the way from Paro to the capital Thimphu. A new temple at Tachogang was built in the seventeenth century by the Fourth Druk Desi (local leader) Tenzin Rabgye as the original was destroyed after it served as the main seat for the Five Groups of Lamas, a coalition of local leaders who had opposed the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (a Buddhist teacher who unified Bhutan) .
• Chuzom: The confluence of Paro (Pachu) and Thimphu (Wangchu) rivers. You can see three different types of Stupas – Bhutanese, Tibetan and Nepalese.
• Visit National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (”the father of modern Bhutan “) and a monument to world peace. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
• Evening visit Tashichho Dzong the impressive fortress which houses the secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and central monk body. Witness the Flag lowering ceremony before you enter the Dzong.
• Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu.(L,D)
DAY 02: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
• Drive to Kuenselphodrang (Buddha Point) where world’s tallest Buddha Statue (169 feet) sits overlooking the Thimphu Valley. Enjoy the spectacular view of Thimphu city below.
• Visit the Takin (National Animal of Bhutan) enclosure at Motithang. The unique animal is only seen in Bhutan with a story of its own as to how it came into existence (your guide will narrate the story).
• Drive down to the view point of Tashichho Dzong, the impressive fortress which houses the secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty the King and various government offices.
• Zorig chusum (meaning 13 arts and crafts) which is popularly known as the painting school. Students in this institute learn 13 different traditional arts and crafts like painting, sculpture, wood carving, weaving, embroidery, etc.
• Folk Heritage Museum.
• Postal Museum – where you can also make a postage stamp with your own photo and can be posted in Bhutan.
• Centenery Farmer’s Market – popularly known as the weekend vegetable market where the local farmers sell their farm produce. Across the wooden cantilever bridge you will find handicraft shops.
• Witness an archery (National) game if one is going on during your visit.
• Traditional handmade paper factory – where age old traditional method of paper making is still followed.
• Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu. (B,L,D)
DAY 03: THIMPHU-PUNAKHA (71 KM/3 HOURS DRIVE)
• Drive to Punakha.
• Stop at Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the 108 chortens, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the high Himalayan peaks towards the north east will be revealed in all their glory. On a clear day, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.
• Continue your drive to Punakha.
• En route do a short hike to Chime Lhakhang. This Lhakhang dates back to 1499 which was built by Lama Drukpa Kinley who is till this day known as a Divine Madman. Located beautifully on a hilltop, it is about 30 to 40 minute walk passing through a charming village set in lush terraced fields. Lama Drukpa Kinley is beleived to have subdued a demoness residing in Dochu La with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom’ and a wooden effigy of this is preserved within. There are also statues of him along with those of Lama Zhabdrung, Sakyamuni and Avalokiteswara. Devotees receive blessings from his wooden phallus and iron Bow and arrow that lie here and childless women are said to have their wish fulfilled after visiting this Lhakhang.
• Visit Punakha Dzong (fortress), a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955 and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan’s first king, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood damage from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damage to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue.
• Overnight at your hotel in Punakha. (B,L,D)
DAY 04: PUNAKHA SIGHTSEEING-GASA (47 KM/4 HOURS)
• Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten hike: About 7km drive from Punakha Dzong and about 40 to 50 minutes hike from the road point is Khamsum Yuelly Namgyal Chorten which was completed in the year 1999 after eight years of construction. Located atop a hill commands a very beautiful view of the valley.
• Drive to Gasa with picnic lunch on the way.
• After a welcome drink from the home stay host family have bath in the natural hot spring which the locals believe that it helps cure numbers of ailments.
• Overnight at your home stay in Gasa with traditional dinner. (B,L,D)
DAY 05: GASA SIGHTSEEING AND HOT SPRING BATH
Gasa -The northernmost district of the country adjoins the districts of Punakha, Thimphu and Wangdue Phodrang and with Tibet to its north. This starkly beautiful region with elevations ranging from 1500 to 4,500 metres experiences extremely long and cold winters and short but beautiful summers.
It has the smallest population with just about 3000 inhabitants. This region is inhabited by the Layaps, nomadic herders with a unique culture. Their main sources revenue come from trading products made from their yaks, such as yak hair textiles, cheese, butter and yak meat . They also harvest and sell Cordyceps, (a fungus of extremely high value that is frequently used in oriental medicine).
• Gasa Dzong: Locally known as the Tashi Thongmon Dzong, the fortress served as a defending barrack in the 17th century. It was named after the region’s protecting deity Tashi Thongmon. The fortress is unique with a circular shape and three watch towers that are placed at strategic points. The beauty of the dzong is heightened during clear days with view of Mt. Gangboom.
• Explore the nearby village while enjoying the views of the majestic Himalayan mountain ranges.
• Evening have bath at the hot spring. By now you can greet the locals in their language.
• Overnight at your home stay. (B,L,D)
DAY 06: GASA-PARO (173 KM/6-7 HOURS)
• Drive to Paro enjoying the views of the majestic mountains, lush green forest and crystal clear streams and rivers.
• Continue your drive to Paro.
• Overnight at Hotel in Paro. (B,L,D)
DAY 07: PARO-TAKTSHANG HIKE
• Hike to Taktshang Monastery, one of the holiest and the most beautiful sites of Bhutan. The hike takes anywhere from 4 hours to 6 hours depending on your hiking ability. Taktshang, the tiger’s lair, acquires its name from the legend of its foundation, when in the 8th Century Guru Rinpoche, widely revered as the second Buddha, arrived from Tibet flying across the mountains on the back of a tigress.
• Visit Ta Dzong, which in the past served as watchtower for Paro Dzong and now houses the National Museum.
• Overnight at Hotel in Paro
• Overnight at your Hotel in Paro. (B,L,D)
DAY 08: DEPART
• End of your travel to Bhutan. Our team will drive you to the Airport and bid farewell. (B)