Memorial Chorten; the beautiful stupa built in the memory of Bhutan's third King. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy and Trashichhodzong; the beautiful fortress/monastery which houses Secretariat building, King's Throne room and other government's offices.
Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air
Day 02: Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha (75km, approx 5hrs drive )
Day 04: Punakha
Day 05: Punakha – Paro 125km, 4 ½ hrs drive
Day 06: Paro
Day 07: Paro
Day 08: Depart Paro
Day 01 : Arrive Paro by Druk Air
Fly into Himalayas with Druk Air, Bhutan's National Air Carrier. The green walls of the hills known as dooars or gateways into Bhutan from the plains climbs continually higher as the plane flies north towards the Tibetan border. Silvery rivers thread the valleys, waterfalls plunge down the forested mountainsides, and to the north, the great snowcapped peaks of the inner Himalaya rise up into the sky. As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, look down and you will see the Paro Dzong overlooking Paro Chu (river) with Ta Dzong, watch tower, now the National Museum, above it. Received by our representative at the airport and after completion of airport formalities proceed to Thimphu .
Afternoon exploratory walk in Thimphu . Overnight at the Hotel in Thimphu
Day 02 : Thimphu
Start with a visit of National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.
Drive towards city centre to visit Textile and Folk Heritage Museum: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
Also visit Choriz chusum also known as the painting school .
In the afternoon in Thimphu proceed for the sightseeing of following :
Memorial Chorten; the beautiful stupa built in the memory of Bhutan's third King. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy and Trashichhodzong; the beautiful fortress/monastery which houses Secretariat building, King's Throne room and other government's offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot. Also visit the Handicrafts Emporium - This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products
Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03 : Thimphu – Punakha (75km, approx 5hrs drive )
Morning after breakfast drive to Punakha across Dochula pass (3,O8Om). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flag. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day. You can stop here briefly to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road.
Then continue onwards, reaching Wangduephodrang town in time for lunch. From Dochu-la pass, it is a long, winding descent into the Wangduephodrang valley, which is about 1,700m below the pass. Take lunch at Wangduephodrang town.
Evening at leisure . Overnight at the Hotel in Punakha .
Day 04 : Punakha
Morning after breakfast a beautiful hike takes you to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond.
The proceed for a visit to the majestic Punakha Dzong built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan's history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King.
Later in the afternoon enjoy another excursion to Chimi Lakhang : situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as 'Divine Madman'. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning 'field'. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 05 : Punakha – Paro 125km, 4 ½ hrs drive
Morning after breakfast drive to Paro . Enroute visit the Simtokha Dzong – the institute for Language and Cultural studies .
Later in the afternoon in Paro visit Ta Dzong ( Closed on Sundays and Mondays ) : once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan's National Museum in 1968. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 06 : Paro
Morning after breakfast - proceed for an excursion to Taktshang Lakhang ( 5hrs hike total ) : perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro Valley floor , it is undoubtedly one of the most famous of Bhutan's monasteries. Lore has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery thus the name 'Tiger's Nest'. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.
Along the way back to the Hotel , visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Evening at leisure . Overnight at the Htl in Paro .
Day 07 : Paro
Fullday excursion to Haa Valley : Start the day early for drive to Haa via Chele-la pass. 4 Km away at Bondey village the road to Haa diverts towards the right hand side and the climb up towards the chele-la pass starts. After driving through blue pine & rhododendron forest for 45 km, reach Chele-la pass ( 4200 meters). From this point one can have a superb views of Mount. Chomolhari & Jichu Drakey. This is a very good place to walk around for few minutes enjoying the view. Drive on to Haa, descending all the way for another 22 km (under an hours drive), finally reaching Haa. The Haa Dzong is presently occupied by military, but the view from outside is stunning. After picnic lunch visit to the famous Monastery Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) followed by visit to Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). The central shrine in Lhakhang Nagpo is said to have no difference with that of Lhasa JOWO in Tibet. The construction of the Lakhang Karpo is believed to have been assisted by the locality. As a result the place came to be locally known as "Hay" meaning" surprise" which later became "Haa" due to the differences in interpretations and pronunciations of different people over time. The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa valley were called "Me Rig Puen Sum" especially after the incidence of the Lhakhang Kdarpo construction. Today the three hills are popularly known as "Rig Sum Goenpa" signijfying three deities-Jambayang Chana Dorji and Chenrizig. Later, other Buddhist saints like Guru Rinpoche and "Machi Labdorn" came to the Jungney Drag in Haa and blessed the locality. The principal religion followed is Drukpa Kagyud.
After the arrival of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the chief guardian deity of Haa became Ap Chundu.
Later in the afternoon drive to Paro same way back. The drive will be under 3 hours.
Overnight at the Hotel in Paro.
Day 08 : Depart Paro
After breakfast transfer to the Airport for our onward journey .