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 team who will be accompanying you throughout the tour.
You will drive to 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.)
Later once you reach Thimphu, you will check in your hotel and rest well.
Then once you are done, you will gradually start off with the sightseeing around the capital city.
We will start with our sightseeing by first visiting the Buddha Point (one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world, at 54 meters/177ft) Inside of Thimphu’s 169 foot Buddha Dordenma statue, there are 125,000 miniature Buddhas encapsulated inside of its enlightened bronze chest, ranging from 8 to 12 inches tall. This means that in Thimphu, which has a population of around 100,000, there are more Buddhas than there are human beings.
Afternoon, you will visit the Memorial Chorten. 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”
Lunch will be at a local restaurant to experience the traditional style Bhutanese cuisine.
After lunch, you can explore the city and relax in one of the famous cafes, and visit a lot interesting places including handicraft shops and Bhutan post for more history on how messages very delivery during the remote time.
Day 2: Thimphu
Today we will be visiting the Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress to ever build in the country by Zhabdrung Nawang 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.)
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.) The National Institute for Zorig Chusum is based in Thimphu and Trashi Yangtse and was established by the Government of Bhutan in 1971 to preserve and promote traditional art in contemporary Bhutan. In the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, thirteen skills are taught to students.
Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory; The paper factory in Thimphu produces traditional paper known as the Deh-sho. The Jungshi paper factory is located approximately 1 km from Thimphu City, opposite to the Centenary farmers market. It uses the bark of the Daphne tree and the Dekap tree to manufacture the handmade papers. Traditionally the papers were used by the monks to write prayer texts and manuscripts. Later the factory was set up in 1990 to preserve the tradition of paper making and also to commercialize it. Currently, the handmade paper is exported to US, Europe, Japan, India, and Nepal. The factory also has a small shop which sells the handmade papers along with other products such as books, greeting cards, paper bags and lamp shades, all made from the paper.
Centenary Farmers’ Market Farmers from the nearby village come here to sell agricultural products and handmade crafts to the locals. The Centenary Farmers Market is managed by the CFM Management under the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), MoAF. The CFM is the largest physical retail marketplace in the country, aspiring to become one of the best in the region.
Day 3: 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) Chimi Lhakhang or Monastery or temple, is a Buddhist monastery in Punakha District, Bhutan located near Lobesa, it stands on a round hillock and was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel, after the site was blessed by the “Divine Madman” the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley (1455 –1529) who built a chorten on the site.
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.) 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.
Visit to the long suspension bridge in Punakha. 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 4: 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.)
The driving distance will be 2 hours uphill. Before reaching Pelela pass (3423m), you will have to turn right and then drive for few minutes to reach Gangtey. Below Gangtey, you will get to see the beautiful valley called “Phobjikha”.
Gangtey Goenpo. Generally known as Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery, is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism built in 17th century.)
Gangtey Nature Trail hike is the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trails in Bhutan. The trail hike starts from the Mani (like Chhorten) stone wall to the north of the Gangtey Gonpa and ends in Khewa Lhakhang. The hike takes about 1hr 30minutes through the pine forest and small bamboo plants.
Visit to The Black Necked Crane information center. Black Necked Crane Information Centre is situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The center also offers display information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people that local people can benefit from ecotourism.
Day 5: Paro
You will be traveling to Paro, it will take around 3 hours from Phobjikha. Once you reach, you will check in and rest for a while. Then you will start off with the sightseeing.
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.)
Lunch will be at local Bhutanese restaurant. After lunch, you will then visit these places;
Rich in history, the beautiful Paro Valley is a place where time stands still. In addition to a thriving commercial farming industry, the region is known for subsistence farming using time-honored methods.
Known fondly as the ‘rice bowl’ of the Bhutanese kingdom, the Paro Valley grows large amounts of red rice, the staple starch of the nation, farmed on its fertile fields and terraces. The region’s commercial enterprises and family-owned farms also yield copious amounts of millet, wheat, apples, potatoes, as well as a range of seasonal vegetables native to the area. End a fruitful day in the fields sharing an authentic Bhutanese farm dinner with the farmers and their families, washing it all down with Ara, the local rice wine.
Later rest well since tomorrow will be a big day for you all, the famous hike towards the Tiger’s Nest. IF you wish to do a hot stone bath, please inform your guide in the morning so he can call and prepare the hot stone bath for you in the evening side.
Day 6: Tiger’s Nest Paro
Today you will be visiting the most iconic structure in the valley of Paro, the Tiger’s Nest (elevation 2,950m). In the morning, you guys need to have a good set of meal for the total of 5 to 6 hours round trip hike to the tiger’s nest. Take all the necessary things which your guide will brief you beforehand so that later you guys won’t have any problems with anything. It will be an amazing and a good hike so be sure to take your cameras as well to take memories back home.
Lunch will be at the tigers nest cafeteria (Serves only vegetable meals) or back to Paro town at the local restaurant.
Later it will be optional for you guys, you can dip in the hot stone bath to relax your body from hike you did or skip that and just relax at the hotel.
After that, you will then visit 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.
Later you can go and see the farmer’s market at Paro town and stroll around the town and buy souvenirs.
Day 7: Departure from Bhutan
Our guide and driver will see you off at the airport. Wishing you all a pleasant flight back home. We will be looking forward to seeing you again in future for another place to tour around.