Day 1: Arrival in Paro
Hotel: The Willows and Lemon Tree Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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 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.
First we will visit the famous 51.5m Buddha point. Great Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Sakyamuni Buddha statue in the mountains of Bhutan celebrating the 60th anniversary of fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The statue houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Great Buddha Dordenma itself, are made of bronze and gilded in gold. The Great Buddha Dordenma is sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuk, the thirteenth Druk Desi, overlooking the southern approach to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Construction began in 2006 and was planned to finish in October 2010, however construction did not conclude until 25 September 2015. The completed work is one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world, at 169 feet (52 m) and contains 100,000 8-inch-tall and 25,000 12-inch-tall gilded bronze Buddhas.
The Memorial Stupa, Thimphu, also known as the Thimphu Chorten, is a stupa in Thimphu, Bhutan, located on Doeboom Lam in the southern-central part of the city near the main roundabout and Indian military hospital. The stupa, built in 1974 to honor the third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–1972), is a prominent landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells. In 2008, it underwent extensive renovation. It is popularly known as “the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan”. It was consecrated by Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje.
This stupa is unlike others as it does not enshrine human remains. Only the Druk Gyalpo’s photo in a ceremonial dress adorns a hall in the ground floor. When he was alive, Jigme Dorji wanted to build “a chorten to represent the mind of the Buddha”.
Then visit the Takin Preservation Center. Takin Conservation Centre is located two kilometers above the Thimphu Town or just above Motithang Town, in a pine forest. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan and it is one of the endangered and rare animals in the world. The center though look like zoo with several animals like deer and reindeer, it is the Takin Conservation Center. The present zoo was originally small zoo but later it was converted into a preservation center of Takin when it was discovered that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest even when set free.
After that you will go visit National institution of Zorig Chusum (13 traditional arts and crafts). This institute, commonly known as ‘the painting school’, operates four- to six-year courses that provide instruction in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts. Students specialize in painting (of both furniture and thankas – painted religious pictures, usually on canvas), woodcarving (masks, statues, bowls), embroidery (hangings, boots, clothes) or statue-making (clay).
Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan. The Bhutan Textile Museum or the National Textile Museum is a national textiles museum in Thimphu, Bhutan, located near the National Library of Bhutan. It is operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 2001, the museum has generated national and international attention and has garnered a substantial collection of antique textile artefacts, exclusive to Bhutan.
The objective of setting up the museum is to promote Bhutan’s achievements in the field of textile arts and to sustain and promote interest of the weavers to continue the traditional textile patterns. The museum also envisions to become the center for textile studies and research. The purpose is also to promote the history and culture of Bhutan.
Tashichho Dzong ‘Fortress of the Glorious Religion’ or ‘Fortress of Auspicious Doctrine’, or popularly known as Thimphu Dzong, is an impressive structure that houses the throne room and offices of the king, the secretariat and the ministries of home affairs and finance. Other government offices are housed in the buildings nearby Tashichho Dzong. It’s been the seat of the Royal Government of Bhutan since 1962 after the capital moved to Thimphu from Punakha.
Day 2: Punakha
Hotel: Khuru Resort and the Four Boutique
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast, you will then start moving to Punakha. While going to Punakha, you will need to go across the Dochula Pass (3100m). Over there you will stop for a short sightseeing and tea break, while having tea, you can also see the beautiful Himalayas across.
Then visit Chimi Lhakhang (Madman’s temple) in founding the site it is said that Lama Kunley subdued a demon of Dochu La with his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom” and trapped it in a rock at the location close to where the chorten now stands. The monastery is the repository of the original wooden symbol of phallus that Kunley brought from Tibet. This wooden phallus is decorated with a silver handle and is used to bless people who visit the monastery on pilgrimage, particularly women seeking blessings to beget children. The tradition at the monastery is to strike pilgrims on the head with a 10-inch (25 cm) wooden phallus.
Visit Punakha Dzong (fortress of glorious religion. It’s also known as Punthang Dechenphodrang. The Punakha Dzong (the palace of great happiness or bliss), is the administrative center of Punakha District in Punakha, Bhutan. The dzong was constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, in 1637–38. It is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures. The dzong houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Rangjung Kasarpani and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the tertoen Pema Lingpa. 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) Punakha Suspension Bridge, which is always adorned with colorful prayer flags, is the perfect example of this.
Linking Punakha Dzong to Shengana, Samdingkha, and Wangkha villages across the Tsang Chu River (aka Po Chu), this is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan. Yet, for a roughly 520-foot-long suspension bridge, it’s surprisingly stable. The bridge offers a spectacular view of the river and valley, and the east bank is a good starting point for multi-day treks in the nearby mountains.
Day 3: Punakha – Paro
Hotel: Tashi Namgay Resort
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Before starting your journey to Paro, go for a short hike at 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.
Then start your journey to Paro. When you reach there, visit the 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.)
Day 4: Tiger’s Nest Paro
The legend of Taktsang (Tiger’s nest) evolved form 747 AD when Guru Padmasmbhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) chose a cave on a sheer rock face to meditate and, assuming a wrathful form, Guru Dorji Drolo, astride a tigress to subdue the evil spirits in the locality. Legend has it that the tigress was actually Yeshi Tshogyal, a consort of Guru Rinpoche, who has transformed herself into a fearsome animal to subjugate spirits. It is also said that Yeshe Tshogyal transformed herself into a tigress to carry Guru Rinpoche on her back from Singye Dzong in Eastern Bhutan to Taktsang. Guru Rinpoche then performed meditation at the very same site and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations). Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest monastery) thus became one of the most important Buddhist sacred sites in the Himalayan Buddhist world.At Taktsang, Guru Rinpoche revealed the Mandala of Pelchen Dorje Phurpa, and delivered sublime teachings to his disciples. He meditated in the cave for 3 years 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days before subjugating the malicious spirits, and concealed profound treasures for the benefit of sentient beings.
Kichu lhakhang (Kichu it actually means the peaceful palace. The first temple was built by a 1st Dharma king of Tibet Songtsen Gampo in 7th century). Then you can also visit the Late Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche’s Museum next to Kichu Lhakhang.
Later in the evening. We will have the grand closing celebrations for all our guests and our team.
Day 5: Departure from Bhutan
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!