This itinerary is made for you to experience the authentic Bhutanese culture throughout your stay around the country till the center of Bhutan. It includes everything you want to know and experience the Bhutanese lifestyle.
You can do the Druk-path as well but the itinerary will be the previous one and it will not include the central tour.
Day 1: Arrive Paro – Thimphu
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. 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 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 by first visiting 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.)
Afternoon, you will visit the Memorial Chorten (built in memory of Third Druk Gyalpo and is dedicated to World Peace.)
Lunch will be at a local restaurant to experience the traditional style Bhutanese cuisine.
Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan (is a national textiles museum)
Tashichho Dzong (Tashichho Dzong has been the seat of the government since 1952)
Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing
Today we will be visiting the Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress to ever build in the country by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal) Legend says that it was built to imprison a demon that was terrorizing the junction of the eastern and western path. The first fortress of its kind, it features beautiful Buddhist paintings and carvings.)
Changangkha Lhakhang (It was first built by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhigpo(12-13 century) the founder of Drukpa Kagyu school in Bhutan.)
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.)
Lunch will be at Folk Heritage.
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.)
Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory; you will witness the art of papermaking. Craftsmen demonstrate how Deh-sho paper is made using the bark of two local tress species. Buddhist monks use Deh-sho to write prayers and for woodblock printing.
Centenary Farmers’ Market is where most of the locals gather on the banks of the river every weekend. Villagers from the nearby valley come here to sell agricultural products and handmade crafts to the locals.
Day 3: Punakha & Dochula pass Sightseeing
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 3100 m) there you will stop for a short sightseeing for about 30 minutes.
Then you will drive down at the elevation of 1300 m 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 /zangto pelri of Guru Rinpoche and he got at the sketch and the model of the dzong.)
Visit to the long suspension bridge in Punakha.
Day 4: Gangtey & Phobjikha Sightseeing.
Today morning, after breakfast, you will go for a short hike to Khamsum Yulley 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 40 minutes through the paddy fields and vegetable fields, into the chir pine forest.
Then 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.
Tonight you will halt for the night and experience the Bhutanese traditional home stay.
Day 5: Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang
Drive from Gangtey to Bumthang via Trongsa (8 hrs) over the Dochula pass (3,100m) and Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range.
On the way, do visit beautiful Chendebji Chorten, erected in the 18th century.
The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty.
After lunch, visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest Dzong in Bhutan. The view from the Dzong is spectacular and one can see across the landscape for many miles.
Also visit the Ta Dzong museum housing an incredible collection of historical artifacts of the Royal Family.
Continue driving to Bumthang, home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces and temples. The valley’s barley fields, apple groves and meadows lay below huge hills which climb up towards the Himalayan mountain wall separating Bhutan from Tibet.
When you reach Bumthang Ura, tonight you will again halt for the night at the home stay even better than the previous one.
Day 6 & 7: Bumthang Sightseeing
Today you will start your sightseeing. Bumthang 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 Palden 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)
Mebar Tsho/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: Bumthang – Lobesa/Wangdue
Today you will start your journey back to Paro; you will need to halt a night at Lobesa or Wangdue since it’s a long journey back.
Day 9: Lobesa/Wangdue to Paro
Today you will drive to Paro. It will take around 4 hrs to reach Paro.
First visit at the National museum / 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.)
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.)
Later you can stroll around the town or you can go see the village side of Paro valley. Or you can do hot stone bath as well.
Day 10: Hike to Tiger’s Nest
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). 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).
Later you can stroll around Paro and buy souvenirs back home. You can also do hot stone bath again to relax your tired muscles.
Day 11: Depart Paro
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.