TOUR in BRIEF
Duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days
Festival Date: 13th – 16th November 2019
Arrive at Paro International Airport and transfer to Thimphu
Our pilgrimage begins with a journey towards east into the booming metropolis of Thimphu. Situated at an altitude of 2,300 m it is the biggest and most diverse urban setting in the country although small by international standards.
Today, we will have a glimpse the attractions in and around Thimphu. Our first visit is the Buddha statue. We will drive up to Kuensel Phodrang to pay respect to the Biggest sitting Buddha statue in the world.
From here, we move to the Memorial Stupa and spend our time circumambulating the sacred National Memorial Chorten and then to the Folk Heritage Museum, the Art Academy, the magnificent TrashiChhodzong and the Parliament building.
Before lunch, we will have time to quickly visit the Bhutanese Paper factory
After lunch, we will visit the Mini Zoo and then to Sangaygang from where we get another perfect view of the sprawling city.
Thimphu – Punakha (1300 m)
The sub-tropical valleys of Punakha and the surrounding mountain sides offer a large variety of attractive places to explore and discover monasteries and the most impressive Dzong in the country. Roughly, 40 minutes we will arrive at the Dochula Pass (3050 meters). If weather permits, we will have great views of the extended eastern Himalayas in Bhutan. A brief stop at the pass and continue the journey by winding our way into Punakha valley (1300 meters).
On our way to Punakha valley, we will stop at the village of Sopsokha to hike the famous Chimi Lhakhang (Fertility temple). After lunch, we will drive down valley to visit the stunning Punakha Dzong.
Thimphu – Punakha (3 hrs drive)
Punakha (1300 m)
After early breakfast, we will travel up the valley north and cross the Mo Chhu to hike up and pay respect to the grand Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten.
After lunch, we will drive down to the valley towards the farm House at Gaselo, Wangdi Phodrang. It will be 1- hr drive from Punakha Valley.
Wangdue – Bumthang Valley (2,600m)
We travel further interior, into the central part of the country. As we gently rise from sub-tropical forests to the temperate and alpine belts, we reach our highest point at Pelele pass (3,140 meters above sea level) from where we can see the Black Mountain range.
From there, the gradual descent takes us to Chendebji Stupa and then to the massive Trongsa Dzong.
From here, we climb to Yotongla Pass (3,551 meters above sea level) and then drive downhill into the sprawling Bumthang valley.
Bumthang Valley (2,600m)
Today we will spend our morning hiking in the valley. We will visit few important monasteries of Chamkhar valley.
We begin our day with a visit to the “Castle of White Bird” or Jakar Dzong, and from there to Jampa Lhakhang (Temple of Future Buddha, built in 7th century AD), Kurjey Temple which contains body imprints on a rock of “Second Buddha” Padmasambhava.
After lunch, we drive to Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) which is about 30 minutes drive from the hotel.
Bumthang valley ( 2,600 m)
Today is the culmination of a week’s itinerary of sightseeing as we witness what is arguably Bhutan’s oldest mask dances during the ancient Jambay Lhakhang annual festival (TSECHU).
One item in particular stands out! Around midnight, stark naked men cloaked in nothing but masks perform a choreographed sequence of ancient dances. Enjoy the night as we bring you a taste of ancient peculiarity.
Bumthang – Phobjikha Valley (3,000m)
From Bumthang we retrace our journey and enter the glacial valley of Phobjikha.
Here we will glimpse the Bhutan’s biggest stretch of plains in the north which has been adopted by the elegant but endangered Black-Necked Crane as its winter home
Phobjikha Valley – Thimphu
We drive back to Thimphu via Wangdue valley
Thimphu – Paro Valley
We halt briefly in Thimphu for some shopping before heading to Paro. In Paro, we visit the mystical ruins of the “Fortress of Victory” at Drukgyal nestled amid tall cypress trees.
Our last sightseeing for the day is the Kyichu Temple, built in the 7th century and one of the most sacred in Bhutan. Bhutanese mythology has it that this temple was built on the right knee of a giant ogress to subdue it.
Today we make the short trek to the Bhutan’s most popular tourist destination; the Taktshang (Tiger’s nest monastery).This monastery is precariously built on a sheer wall of granite cliff some 1,000 meters above the valley floor. Some say, it was built with the help of celestial nymphs in the 17th century. Legend also has it that Guru Rimpoche flew into Bhutan on a tigress and meditated in a cave. The Taktshang Goempa is built around the cave, which is opened to the public once a year at the end of August. The four-hour round trip hike is a pleasant experience through the chirpine woods of Bhutan with picturesque views of the idyllic Paro valley down below.
Horses can also be arranged on request.
International Departure – Tashi Delek!!!