Essence of Bhutan Tour-10 days
Day 1: Arrival in Paro by Druk Air - Thimphu
The flight into Bhutan takes you over the great Himalayas, offering you the most breathtaking scenery of the world’s highest peaks. As you enter into Paro valley, you will see Pa-chu (river) gently flowing through the beautiful Paro valley, the Paro dzong (fortress) and the Ta dzong (watch tower). At the airport, you will be met by our representative and assists with arrival formalities. Then drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. You will have the opportunity to see the city briefly. Spend the night at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2: Explore the capital city, Thimphu
Today you will discover Thimphu. After breakfast, you will visit Trashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress which houses most of the Government's office and King's Throne room. It is also serves as the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of Bhutan. Later, visit the National Library which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts.
Then, visit the Painting School, famous for traditional thangkha paintings. Here you will see, students at work producing intricate design on cloth. Also you can visit Traditional Medicine Institute, where centuries old healing arts are still practiced followed by a visit to the Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese culture and living traditions.
After lunch, visit the Handicrafts Emporium and local shops for souvenirs ranging from Bhutan's fine traditional arts, textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and woodcarvings, jewelers to other interesting items made from local materials by local artists. Then drive to Memorial Chorten, the stupa built in the memory of Bhutan's Third King who is regarded as Father of modern Bhutan.
Night at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3: To Central Bhutan, Thimphu – Trongsa, 200 Km, 6hrs drive
After early breakfast, drive to Dochula pass (3050 m) for a tea stop. If weather permits you can see a range of high peaks towards the north east.
Continue with drive towards Wangdue Phodrang town for lunch. After lunch, your journey continues to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830 ft), which divides east from west Bhutan. On the way, stop at Chendibji Chorten, a similar replica of Kathmandu's Swayambhunath Stupa. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at the spot. You will arrive at Trongsa late in the afternoon and check into the lodge for the night.
Day 4: Trongsa – Bumthang, 68 Km, 3 hrs drive
After breakfast, drive to visit Trongsa Dzong, which was built in 1648. In the seventeenth century, it served as the centre of power for central and eastern Bhutan. The first and second Kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat.
Then drive to Bumthang, about 68 km from Trongsa and takes about 3 hrs taking you over the Yutong-la pass (3,400m/ 11,155 ft). On arrival in Bumthang, check in at your lodge and spend the night there
Day 5: Bumthang
After breakfast, you will visit Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock, the Jambey Lhakhang (7th century temple), Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan) and Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region).
In the evening, enjoy a walk in the village, visit the little handicrafts shop at the entrance to the town, and may enjoy refreshments at a local restaurant. Spend the night at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 6: Bumthang - Gangtey / Phobjikha, 190 km, 7hrs drive
After breakfast, drive to Gangtey / Phobjikha valley located in the beautiful mountains east of Wangduephodrang. On the slopes lies the great monastery of Gangtey, established in the 17th century. Phobjikha, the quite and remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder winter. Explore Gangtey village and Phobjikha valley. Spend your night at the lodge in Gangtey / Phobjikha.
Day 7: Gangtey / Phobjikha – Punakha, 70 km, 3 hrs drive
In the morning after the breakfast, drive to Punakha and visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. The Dzong serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan's first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907and the district is an ancient capital city of Bhutan. Also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, where you will see some incredible Bhutanese art works. Overnight stay at the hotel in Punakha / Wangduephodrang.
Day 8: Punakha – Paro, 125 km, 4.1/2 hrs drive
After breakfast, drive to Paro visiting Simtokha Dzong on the way. This dzong was built in 1627 and is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.
In the afternoon, visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and it houses the monastic body of Paro as well as the administrative offices of Paro district. A walk over the bridge, through a stone-laid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
If time permits, you will visit a farm house and taste some unique drink/snacks served in traditional style. Spend overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 9: Paro
In the morning, visit Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1647 by the Zhabdrung to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetan war. Then you will take a hike to Taktsang Monastery. According to the legend Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called 'Tiger's Nest'. This monastery is recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now Bhutanese from all walks of life visit it.
On the drive back, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, which was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. Spend the overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 10: Departure from Paro
After breakfast drive to Paro Airport for your flight back home. Our representative will assists you with exit formalities and bid you farewell.