Day 01: ARRIVE IN PARO AIRPORT (BHUTAN)
Arrive at Paro Airport and then drive to the capital city Thimphu. Altitude: 2320m/ 7656ft above sea level. (1 hour 30 minutes drive)
The flight into the Himalayas reveals scenic and breathtaking views of Himalayan Mountains of the world. If weather permits you will be able to see Mt Everest (8848m, 29,198ft) and other Himalayan mountain ranges. After checking into the hotel later visit,
Your guide will greet you on arrival and drive you to the capital city, Thimphu.
On the way to Thimphu visit, Tamchhog Lhakhang which is located on the opposite side of the river. This is a temple built by Thang Thong Gyalpo of Tibet, who was responsible for building numerous iron bridges throughout Bhutan….
Kuenselcholing View Point: A place from where you can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley is from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang). It is again a short drive from the town. You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
Mini zoo: Here you can see just one animal – Bhutan’s national – the Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds. The zoo was emptied in accordance with Buddhist principles, but the Takin came back so the keepers decided to look after them, also in accordance with Buddhist principles!
Tashichho Dzong : The names means – Means Fortress of Glorious Religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
Later relax for the day and stroll around the city. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 02: IN THIMPHU
Morning take a hike to Cheri Monastery (Includes Dodina and Jigme Dorji Wild life Sanctuary): Hike about 1hrs (to and fro) leads to Cheri Goemba (Cheri Dorji Dhen). Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built this monastery in 1620 and established the first monk body here. A chance to spot birds such as Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Yellow-browed Tit, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Long-billed Thrush, Ultramarine Flycatcher.
Textile museum: The foundation was laid in 2000 under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. It was established with the aim of preserving and promoting Bhutanese textile arts. It’s a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in colors and designs.You will also see people weaving with intricate designs.
Visit Changangkha Lhakhang and Zorig chusum.
Bhutan Craft bazaar: The private stalls had a variety of high-end quality products from places across the country such as wood carved national symbols, bags and western wears with touch of traditional designs, wooden and clay utensils, Bangchung, Dhapa, key hanger of jewelry boxes, bookmarks and handmade packing papers (Deysho) in different patterns, antique items and etc. The stalls have a distinctly rich outlook with fine tones of elegance, and a warm and inviting atmosphere. The craft bazaar is also an exemplary of how bamboo can be used to construct houses in the country. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 03: THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA/WANGDUE
Altitude: 1350m/4455ft above sea level. (3 hours drive).
Memorial Chorten: This particular chorten was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of the country, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan.
Later driving towards Punakha/Wangdue, we come across a pass known as Dochula (3140m, 10362ft) from where a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range can be seen, especially in clear winter days. The beauty of this place is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chortens- a 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.
Later you can also visit the Botanical garden just below Dochula Pass where there are lots of collections of rhododendrons.
Visit Punakha Dzong (fortress): Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung which is remarkably located between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu (river) and Pho (Male) Chu. Until the time of second king it served as a seat of the king. Overnight in Punakha/Wangdue.
Day 04: PUNAKHA/WANGUDE TO PARO
Morning hike to,Hike to Chimi Lhakhang: This Temple was built by lam Drukpa Kuenley (The Divine Madman) in 1499. It is about thirty minutes hike across fields from the road – a welcome chance to stretch your legs after the drive. His style of teaching was thought shocking, insulting and including obscene behavior. His outrageous actions and sexual antics were a deliberate method of provoking people to discard preconceptions. In the temple you will receive a blessing from his wooden phallus. Wooden phalluses are often found hanging in the four corners of the houses and also phalluses are painted on the walls of houses. It is the common belief that this helps in driving away evil spirits.
Later drive to Paro and later visit, Rimpung Dzong: The Bhutanese Dzongs are huge architectural structures constructed for a variety of functions throughout the country, from administrative buildings to monasteries and temples, yet they are carefully and thoughtfully designed and are strikingly beautiful. The Rimpung Dzong, known as the “fortress of the heap of jewels” in the picturesque setting of the Paro valley, is of course no exception, built in the time of the dynamic spiritual and political leader Zhabdrung in 1644. Once a year, as part of the Tsechu festival, one of the oldest Thongdol (gigantic scroll paintings) is ceremonially unfurled here.
Kichu Lhakhang(Monastery): It is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. Overnight in Paro.
Day 05: IN PARO
Morning drive to Paro, Attent the Paro Festival: The day begins with the famous mask dances. Festivals in the Land Of Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in honor of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. There is simply no better way of experiencing the colour, passion and sheer vibrancy of Bhutan than by attending one of the numerous religious festivals that take place around th e year.Tsechus are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar, and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylized masked dance rituals are performed. Attendees adorned in astounding color gather from far and wide, sporting exotic masks and taking part in the myriad events that are on offer, from games of chance at the local fairs to elaborate mystic rituals. An experience that is not to be missed!
Later Visit Drugyel Dzong and Dumtse Lhakhang. Overnight in Paro.
Day 06: PARO TO HAA (DAY EXCURSSION)
Morning drive to Haa for Day Excurssion.
Visit Chhundu Lhakhang and some other sightseeing.
Later drive to Paro.Overnight in Paro.
Day 07: IN PARO
Morning hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest): This is Bhutan’s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800m/2640ft up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimopche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands. (Five hours hike to and fro, some gentle and some steep hike, some stony foot path and some good ones) If you ride a horse upward it will cost extra US$25 per person.
Visit Farmhouse: Picturesque farm houses dot the valley amongst fields and hillsides. We welcome you to enjoy the hospitality of the Paro farmers. Thrill yourself as the farmers welcome you to their homes with genuine smiles. The two to three-storied Bhutanese farm houses are handsome in appearance, with colorfully decorated outer walls and lintels, and are traditionally built. A visit to a farm house gives an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of a farming family. (If you take hot stone bath in the farm house it will cost extra US$25 per person.)
Later stroll around the town and see how locals live. Overnight in Paro.
Day 08| Departure
Morning transfer (10 mins) to the airport for your departure flight. Your guide will bid you farewell at the airport.