Trip Name: Splendours of Bhutan
Trip Style: Classic
Service Level: Standard
Trip duration: 11days/ 10Nights
Physical demand: **
Availability: All year
Best time to Visit: Any time if the Year (BOOK NOW)
Depart Bangkok international airport by our Druk-Air (Royal Bhutan Airline). On arrival at Paro international airport, you will be received by our representative and escorted you to Hotel/Resort. After an early lunch, drive to Drukgyal Dzong which is built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, the towering outer walls and central keep remain an imposing sight. On clear day you can see the splendid view of Mt. Jhomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyal Dzong. Then you’ll visit the national museum (Ta-Dzong). Once it was the watch tower of Paro valley from 1616 A.D to 1907 and it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley. Also visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress of the heap of Jewels) which is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower (utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the country. Then the Dzong was built in 1645 A.D by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Then walk through the Nemi Zam (Traditional covered bridge. Overnight and dinner at Lodge/Hotel.
Day02. Hike to Taktsang (Tiger Nest) then in the evening drive to Thimphu
Right after the breakfast drive towards the road point to Taktshang. Taktshang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries. Taktshang means “Tiger’s Nest,” so named because Guru Rimpoche reportedly flew to the site of the monastery on the back of a flying tiger in the late centuries of the first millennium. The monastery is perched on a cliff nearly 3,000 ft above the Paro valley floor. This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! It takes about two hours to reach the cafeteria, this gives a breathtaking view of the Tiger’s Nest. If you still feel like hiking then you can take another hour to reach the temple. Then return back and drive to Thimphu (about 2 hours drive). Check in at the Hotel.
Day03. Thimphu to Wangdue via Punakha
After breakfast, go to Bhutan National Bank for currency exchange and then you can get an opportunity to purchase exquisite collector Bhutanese stamps. Then drive to Punakha. (The ancient capital of Bhutan) is 3 hours drive from Thimphu across Dochu-La Pass. (Alt. 11,400 ft) snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass deeper into the essence of Bhutan. Once you cross the pass, you wind down into a warm fertile valley and meander along a gently flowing aquamarine river that leads you to the Punakha valley. After lunch visit the Punakha Dzong, the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot). Punakha Dzong is the second Dzong system built in Bhutan by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the year 1637. The Dzong is said to be the most beautiful of Dzong in Bhutan; it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork. Then visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong, sit majestically on a steep ridge over looking the highway that forks to the east and south of Bhutan. Then drive to Resort/Hotel for the night.
Day04. Wangdue- Trongsa via Gangtey valley
Today drive early to Phobjikha valley, A broad glacial valley (10’000 ft) on the flanks of the Black Mountains, Phobjikha with it’s gently slop is a place of astonishing beauty described as” the most beautiful valley in the most beautiful country of Himalayas”. Every winter, the rare and beautiful black-necked cranes return from Tibet to the Gangtey valley where they are protected. Gangtey also has a very interesting Nyingmapa monastery, the only one of the only one of its kind west of the Black Mountain range. The monastery is renovated by 9th Gangtey Tulku Rimpoche. After lunch at Hotel Dewachen then Drive to Trongsa. On the stop Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It was built in the 18 century by Lama Shida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. Then drive further south of Trongsa valley is Eundu Chholing, the winter palace of the first king, Sir Ugyen Wangchuck.
Day05. Trongsa – Bumthang
In the morning visit Trongsa Dzong, built in 1648; it was seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second kings ruled the country from this ancient seat. All the five kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (“Governor”) prior to ascending the throne. Presently the administrative seat of the district and the home of the monastic school. Built at split-levels on a narrow spur, the Dzong offers magical wonder. The watchtower, located directly above the Dzong, has on display many interesting armours and other weapons of war used by ancient warriors. Valleys are in view amidst hundreds of prayers flags; blessings abound. Yotung La Pass is District border between Bumthang district and Trongsa district. Bumthang is general name for the four valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Chokhor and is considered to be one of the most beautiful and sacred valleys of Bhutan. These four valleys of Bumthang are dotted with temples, monasteries, prayer flag and stupas. Wherever you visit, myth, legend, folktale and superstition surround you. The traditional stone houses with colourful paintings, intricately carved wooden structures and lush evergreen conifer forest add to the beauty and charm.
Day06. Bumthang Valley
The valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in the kingdom. It is also the religious heartland where many saints and masters meditated leaving their imprints as sacred places of worship and pilgrimage Tales of Pedmasambhava dominate these holy shrines. After breakfast, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was built in 1667 and is said to be the largest Dzong in Bhutan. Then drive to Jampa Lhakhang which is built by Tibetan King Songtshen Gompa in 7th century and then drive to Kurji Lhakhang were body imprints of Guru Rimpoche remains preserved upon a rock. Then short hike to Tamzhing Monastery (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom.
If the weather is clear, you will enjoy the view of green valley, dotted with hundreds temples, thousand flags and beautiful chamkhar river flow through the valley.
Day07. Excursion to Ugyen Choling
Drive to Ugyen Choling, Drive 20 miles from your hotel and 13 miles of which is on the unpaved road. We will also stop at a roadside temple and a nunnery, ending in the Tang valley and the village of Kesum. From the road head we have a one-hour hike over a suspension footbridge, through farm fields and cluster villages, up a “hill” to the mystical Ugyen Choling Palace. Ugyen Choling place is a national treasure, privately owned by the same family for hundreds of years. Its remote location makes it one of the less frequently visited historical sites in Bhutan, hosting fewer than two hundred guests per year. The best part of the Palace is the quaint museum housing permanent exhibits on three floors in the main building and the Utse, the central tower. Traditional living quarters are recreated to capture the realistic ambiance of the ancient lifestyles and conditions of the households. Everyday kitchen and weaving utensils, war weapons–including petrified yak dung to make gunpowder–tools and farming implements are the main part of the exhibits. On the way back visit the only Buddhist Institute who provides degree in Buddhist philosophy for women.
Day08. Day Excursion to Ura valley
Today Then Drive to Ura valley which lies at an altitude of 10,000 feet. There is about 40-50 closely packed houses alongside cobblestone streets that give the village a medieval atmosphere. The women in Ura village cover their head with white cloth piece to protect from the harsh cold wind and carries sheepskin (behind their back) used as cushion and as well as to protect their cloth from the loads they carry and in the evening back to Hotel in Jakar.
Day09. Bumthang to Wangdue
Depart Bumthang towards the west; 8 hour drive today to Wangdue; rest in your vehicle and photo stops and Lunch at Changibe. Today is a rest day in the van. Arrive Wangdue. Overnight in Resort.
Depart today to Thimphu for Bhutanese handicraft purchase and lunch. Continue onward to Paro and for overnight at Hotel.
Day10. Paro valley
Today drive early to Paro, visit the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 Kms. up the valley. Built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the Dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts, village and on a clear day view the spectacular Mt. jhomolhari (7,314 meters). Drive back south and visit Kyichu Temple, which, according to Bhutanese tradition, was initially built by a Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo, in the seventh century. Free evening, so you can explore the Paro Town and the Villages near by your hotel. Overnight at the same hotel.
Day11. Paro to Abroad
Depart Paro airport