TOUR in BRIEF
Duration: 9 Nights / 10 Days
Season: Spring (12th – 14th February 2019)
Altitude: Western Bhutan (1300 m – 2200 m) Central Bhutan (2500 m)
Bangkok/Kathmandu/New Delhi-Paro (2,200 m) – Thimphu Valley
Fly into the Kingdom amid a breathtaking vista of the world’s highest mountains like Mt Everest, Kanchenjunga and other peaks revered by the Bhutanese as the “Mountain Fortress of the Gods”. Finally, land at Paro International airport, an adrenaline-rushing experience as we take a hair-raising descent onto a narrow strip of flatland flanked by the mountains. On arrival, you will be received by your tour guide at the airport. After lunch, you will drive to the capital city, Thimphu. Along the way, see the Tachog Temple and see an iron chain bridge built in the 14th century. In the evening you can either relax at the hotel or take a stroll around Thimphu City
Thimphu – Punakha (1,350m)
The verdant sub-tropical valleys of Punakha and the enveloping hills is in stark contrast to the coniferous vegetation of Thimphu and Paro. The first stop along the way is the mystical and revealing Dochula Pass (3050 meters) where 108 stupas to commemorate Bhutan’s victory sit on a small mound. If weather permits, one can get a picturesque and breathtaking view of the extended eastern Himalayas towering above the landscape and piercing through cloud blankets. We resume our journey to Punakha valley, and stop Lobesa to hike to the most intriguing Chimi Lhakhang (Fertility temple). After lunch, we will drive into the valley to visit the stunning Punakha Dzong.
Dressed in Bhutanese attire, drive to Punakha Dzong to witness the Annual Dromche Festival with the locals
Full day at the Punakha Dzong
Night held in Punakha
Punakha – Trongsa
We make our journey to Bumthang heading into the hinterlands and cradle of Bhutan’s spiritual and historical events. A relaxing drive through sub-tropical forests followed by an ascent to the temperate and alpine belts, takes us the highest point at Pelela pass (3,140m) where one can see the jagged silhouette of the Black Mountain range. We then descend to the Chendebji Stupa for lunch before making the drive to Trongsa where we come face to face with the vista of the mightiest Trongsa Fort that spans the entire length of the town. Built without a single nail, this fort contains some 30 temples and was the stronghold of medieval warlords.
Night held in Trongsa
Trongsa – Bumthang Valley
We then make the final drive into Bumthang through the highland plains of Chumey Valley.
Bumthang Valley – Sightseeing
Bumthang valley is a fusion of the ancient and modern; and it sits at the confluence of the diverse cultural and spiritual landscape of Bhutan. Today we spend our morning hiking in the valley while visiting a 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 the secluded and harrowing Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) which is about 30 minutes drive from the hotel
Bumthang – Wangdue Phodrang
On the way back we take you to the Yathra weaving factory in Chumey. Yathra is a hand-woven fabric made from wool of yak and sheep using centuries old techniques and tools. It employs a diverse range of vibrant but subdued colours giving it a special and attractive look. We then make an uninterrupted drive to Wangdue Phodrang .
Wangdue – Paro Valley
After an early breakfast, we drive back to Paro, making a detour at the Wangsisina Heritage Home, an impressive traditional mansion that belonged to the 19th Druk Desi (Deb Raja) Druk Tenzin and was built before the 17th century. In Paro, we hike up to sacred Taktshang Monastery that is precariously built on a precipitous wall of granite cliff some 1,000 meters above the valley floor. The walk is not very demanding and takes you through the coniferous woods while offering breathtaking views of the idyllic Paro valley below
Today the exploration of Paro valley begins with a hike to Taktshang (Tiger’s nest monastery) 4-5 hrs hike. Tiger’s Nest or Taktshang Monastery is one of Bhutan’s most valued monuments. It literally hangs off the face of a cliff 900 meters (2952 feet) above the valley floor. The legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew into Bhutan on a mythical tigress and meditated in a cave before bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. 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 offers spectacular views of the Goempa and the valley below.
Horses or mules can be arranged on request to help lighten the journey.
Paro Valley – International Departure