Day 1 Arrival in Paro
Welcome to the land of happiness, also known as Druk Yul (country of the Drukpa Lineage, the Dragon People, or the Land of the Thunder Dragon.) Upon arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be greeted in our traditional style by our guide and driver, who will be accompany you throughout the tour.
After that, we will gradually start with the tour at National museum / Ta Dzong / Watch tower. (Ta Dzong actually means a watch tower to look after the province of Paro valley and served as a regional administrator as well as a store house which would ensure supplies in the event of warfare.)
Paro Dzong / Rinpung Dzong (It was built by Gyalchog (brother of Gyalzom) the family of lama Pha Dung Dung in 15 centuries. He surrendered himself to the local deity Jawang Nep and built a 5 storied building and named as Hungrel Gampo.)
You will then go have lunch at a local restaurant to experience the traditional style Bhutanese cuisine.
Dungtsey Lhakhang (The temple is notable as it is in the form of a chorten, very rare in Bhutan. It is located on the edge of a hill between the Paro valley and the Dopchari valley, across the bridge from Paro.)
Then go and check in your hotel and rest.
Day 2 Paro Taktshang
Today you will be visiting the most iconic structure in the valley of Paro, the Tiger’s Nest. The cave on the rock was there before 750 million years ago during the formation of the earth. It was only known after the arrival of Guru Padmasambhava in 746 A.D. Guru Padmasambhava used the cave for meditation for 4 months. He came on a riding female tigress (moenmo Tashi Khenden) from Singye dzong – Khoma-Drakarpo-Chumphuney and finally on Taktshang (tiger’s nest).
Kichu lhakhang (Kichu it actually means the peaceful palace. There are three temples built by a very renowned person with different dates. The first temple was built by a 1st Dharma king of Tibet Songtsen Gampo in 7th century. He has built a 108 structure in a Himalayan region to ogress the evil spirits and out of those two temples was now in Bhutan and they are Kichu lhakhang in Paro and Jambay lhakhang in Bumthang.) You will also get to see the museum of Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche’s home.
Day 3 Thimphu
After breakfast, we will gradually start with the tour and drive towards Thimphu (capital city, 1hr drive). On the way, we will stop for a short sightseeing at Tamchog lhakhang (Temple built by the famous saint from Tibet called Thangtong Gyalpo in 13th century.)
Then we will be moving directly towards the capital. After reaching there, we will then start our sightseeing at Memorial Chorten (The National Memorial Chorten was built in memory of Third Druk Gyalpo and is dedicated to World Peace. The chorten is a large white structure crowned with a golden spire.)
Then visit the Buddha Point (one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world, at 54 meters (177ft) and contains 100,000: 8-inch-tall and 25,000: 12-inch-tall gilded bronze Buddha.)
Takin Preservation Centre (located in the Mothitang district of Thimphu, Bhutan is a wildlife reserve area for takin (Budorcas taxicolor), the national animal of Bhutan.)
You will then go check in your hotel. Lunch will be at Folk Heritage to experience the traditional style Bhutanese cuisine and house.
National Institute of Zorig Chusum; (Commonly known as ‘the painting school’, operates four to six years courses that provide instruction in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts.)
Tashichho Dzong (Tashichho Dzong has been the seat of the government since 1952 and presently houses the throne room and offices of the king, the secretariat and the ministries of home affairs and finance. Other government departments are housed in buildings nearby.) Or if its weekend, then you can visit Centenary Farmers’ Market because, It is where most of the locals gather near the bank of the Thimphu river every weekend. Farmers from the nearby village come here to sell their agricultural products and handmade crafts to the people.
Day 4 Thimphu to Punakha
Today you will be driving to Punakha district (the old capital of Bhutan till 1985). In the morning you will be driving pass the Dochula Pass (Elevation 3100m) there you will stop for a short sightseeing for about 30minutes. Then you will drive down at the elevation of 1300m and reach Punakha.
Before Punakha, you will first visit the Chimi lhakhang (Temple of the famous saint mad man Drukpa Kinley)
Then have a lunch at a local traditional restaurant.
Punakha Dzong (also known as Punthang Dechenphodrang, Legend says that Zhabdrung made the carpenter trulpizow balep made to sleep in chamber and he had been taken to paradise /zangtopelri of Guru Rinpoche and he got at the sketch and the model of the dzong.)
Visit to the long suspension bridge in Punakha. (Approximately 160m wide)
Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (Built by the third Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. This beautifully designed chorten took nine years to complete, using only religious scriptures to construct the four- story temple. Have to hike for 40minutes through the paddy fields and vegetable fields, into the chir pine forest.
Day 5 Punakha to Gangtey
Today you will drive to Gangtey. (It’s a beautiful vast U-shape valley which is a winter residence of the famous endangered bird called “The Black Necked Crane”. They come down from the Tibetan Plateau to Phobjikha valley during winter season and fly back during summer season.)
Gangtey Goenpo. Generally known as Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery, is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism built in 17th century.)
Nature Trail, walk around the Phobjikha valley.
Day 6 & 7 Bumthang
Today you will drive to Bumthang. It is the most historic dzongkhag if the number of ancient temples and sacred sites is counted. Bumthang consists of the four mountain valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor, although the entire district is referred to as Bumthang valley.)
Jakar Dzong (Ngagi Wangchuk continued his journey towards Bumthang after completing Trongsa dzong and as he wanted to built a suddenly he saw a white bird flying from this place and later he knew it was a Pelden Lhamo and built a Dzong and named as Jakar Dzong in 1549.
Jambay lhakhang (The 2nd oldest Jowo temple was built by Songtsen Gampo the first dharma king of Tibet. He has built 108 temples in a day to subdue the evils/ ogress in the Himalayan region for the free flourishing of Buddhism and this temple is one of them. It was renovated by Sindhu Raja as he has promised guru to protect the Buddhism.)
Kurjey lhakhang (Kurjey the name has been derived from the body print of Guru Padmasambhava that has been left after the subjugation of the Shelzen Karpo.)
Tamzhing monastery (The foundation has been done by Terton Pema Lingpa from (1501-03) and it is the second temple built by him.)
Kenchosum lhakhang (Kencho sum lhakhang means the temple of three times Buddha (past, present and future)
Mebartsho/Burning lake (It was prophesied by a Terton Dorji Lingpa that one day the boy will come from this village and discover a treasure from this river. So as prophesied a Terton Pema Lingpa is born to a father Dondrup Zangpo and mother Pema Dolma and he was born with many miraculous birth sign. Later he gathered all the people in the village and discovered a treasure from the river. The legend says that he went into a lake with a burning butter lamp and came out without putting off the light and came out with a text and treasure so it was named as a burning lake.)
Day 8 Monger
Monger Dzong; was established in 1930 to replace the original Shongar Dzong, although the original utse (central tower) dates from an earlier age. It’s unusual because it has two entrances and because the monk and administrative bodies share the same courtyard, though this will change with the construction of a new administrative courtyard and new assembly hall for the 60 resident monks.
A short drive west of town is this little visited but interesting Yakgang lhakhang, founded in the 16th century by the son of Pema Lingpa. As you enter the main hall notice how the original entrance on the far wall was blocked up after the arrival of the road (in the interests of security), leaving a mixture of old and new murals.
Kadam Goempa or Kadam Ngayab Yoesel Choeling Goempa in Mongar is a privately owned monastery located on a hilltop, roofing the Mongar town. Today, it has more than 80 gomchens (lay monks) under the abbotship of Lam Karma Wangdi.
Day 9 Trashigang
Trashigang is the heart of eastern Bhutan and was once the centre of important trade with Tibet. There are several goembas and villagers that make a visit worthwhile, but a lot of driving is required to reach this remote region.
Trashigang Dzong; is on a thin promontory that overlooks the confluence of the Drangme Chhu and the Gamri Chhu. It was built in 1667 by Mingyur Tenpa, Bhutan’s third desi. The entire eastern region was governed from this dzong from the late 17th century until the beginning of the 20th century.
Day 10 Samdrup Jongkhar
Early morning drive from Trashigang. On the way, visit kanglung Zangtopelri lhakhang. It’s a 22 kilometers drive to Kanglung on Trashigang and Samdrup Jongkhar highway.
Then to the Khaling Handloom where handloom (Weaving center) in located on the highway. You can experience the Bhutanese weaving traditional style of eastern Bhutan.
Day 11 Departure from Samdrup Jongkhar (Bhutan)
Samdrup Jongkhar town holds the distinct honor of being the oldest town in Bhutan. This border town is a bustling little settlement packed to the brim with shopkeepers and hawkers from across the border.
The gateway to eastern Bhutan, Samdrup Jongkhar is situated in the southeastern region of the country and shares borders with the Indian state of Assam. It is by far the largest urban centre in eastern Bhutan. It lies at elevations ranging from 200 m to 3,500 m. In the past, British Political Officers stationed in Sikkim took the route from Samdrup Jongkhar to enter into Bhutan. Historically, the region was administered by the Gyadrung stationed at Dewangiri. Today, the road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar, completed in the 1960s, connects the eastern and southern regions of the country. This allows them to benefit from trade, especially through trade across the Indian border. Samdrup Jongkhar used to be the main trading centre for the Bhutanese and it is still a convenient exit town for tourists who have arranged to visit the neighboring Indian state of Assam.
Our guide and driver will bid farewell to you all and have a pleasant flight back home. We will be looking forward to seeing you again in future for another place to tour around.
Thank You & Tashi Delek!