CENTRAL BHUTAN TOUR

Destinations: CENTRAL BHUTAN TOUR
Trip Duration: 11 days
Best Time: March to May and September to November

Trip Cost

Price Available on Request

 

  • Day 01: Arrive ParoFlight into Paro with Druk Air, Bhutan’s National Airline is spectacular. The flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering most beautiful scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the Paro Dzong (Fortress) on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chhu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watch tower and now the National Museum, above it. Farm houses dot the hillsides on either side of the Plane. You will be received by our representative at the Airport. You will than drive through the charming valley of Paro to your hotel. 
    After lunch in your hotel, visit the Ta Dzong or National Museum, rated among the best natural history museums in Asia. The Ta Dzong offers a unique and varied collection of thangkas, handicrafts, stuffed animals, masks, costumes and armour. The visit will give provide you with a good idea of the culture and traditions of Bhutan. Just below the Museum lies the Rinpung Dzong or Paro Dzong at the confluence of Do Chu and Paro Chu. It now houses the administrative offices of Paro District. Then visit Kyichu Lhakhang built by the first Buddhist King of Tibet Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century which is one of the oldest and most sacred monastery in Bhutan. Overnight at Paro.
  • Day 02: ParoAfter breakfast, hike to the most famous Taktshang, popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest, built amazingly on a steep cliff. According to legend, Guru Padmasambhava flew here on a flying Tigress and meditated there for three months in the 8th century. It was from there, he propagated the Vajrayana - Mahayana Buddhism (Larger Wheel) that was prophesied by the Buddha at the time of attaining Nirvana. In April 1998, a fire destroyed the main structure of the buildings and its religious contents. A complete restoration was done and resulted in a carbon copy of the original. The return walking time is approximately five hours. 
    After lunch, drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong or ‘fortress of the victorious Drukpas’ was built in 1649. In fine weather, the towering peak of Mount Jomolhari, (7,314 m / 24,000 ft) appears as a backdrop. This mountain which marks the frontier with Tibet, is sacred, as are all mountains in Bhutan, and it is the dwelling place of Goddess Jomo. Drukyel Dzong, with a delightful village at its foot, is built on a rocky spur that blocked the Paro valley & protected it from invasions from the north. In 1951 a butter lamp fell & started a terrible fire and only the walls Overnight at Paro.
  • Day 03: Paro - WangdiIn the morning drive to Wangduephodrang through Thimphu. Enroute, you will see Semtokha Dzong, Bhutan’s first Dzong built in 1629. From Semtokha, the road climbs for about an hour till you reach a pass at Dochula at an altitude of 10,000ft/3,080m. This pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of Eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m (provided the day is clear). However skies are mostly clear during the month of October till mid February. The road then descends a long way to Punakha and Wangdue through temperate of rhododendron and magnolia (which bloom in mid March and last till May), then a semi-tropical zone where orange, banana trees and cactuses are found in abundance. 
    Enroute to Wangdue, you will arrive at Lobesa where you will take a short hike to Chime Lhakhang (the fertility temple) built in 1499. It is an half an hour leisurely walk across a local village, rice fields from the road at Sopsokha to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. After the visit to the temple famous for its fertility endowments/rites, you will be driven to your hotel in Wangdi for lunch which is only 10 minutes drive. Overnight at Wangdi.
  • Day 04: Wangdi - TrongsaAfter breakfast, drive to Trongsa. On the way, you will get a good glimpse of Wangduephodrang Dzong (fortress) built in 1638 which is situated on a ridge overlooking a river junction. You can make a short stop for photography. A fabulous 6 hour drive from Punakha to Trongsa will take you through forests of pine and cedar festooned with hanging lichens and through Pele-la Pass (10,830ft/3,300m), the traditional boundary between East and West Bhutan. There is abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forests replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo. Stop en route at Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. You will be served lunch at Chendebji. After lunch resume your drive to Trongsa. Programme as convenient in the evening. Overnight at Trongsa.
  • Day 05: Trongsa - BumthangAfter breakfast, take a short walk to impressive Trongsa Dzong built in 1643. Trongsa Dzong exhibits one of the most aesthetic and most magnificent works of the Bhutanese architecture and is the ancestral home of the Royal family. After the visit, resume your drive to Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. From Trongsa the road climbs quickly to Yutong-la pass (11,155ft/3425m) where the scenery changes to fir-covered slopes, reminiscent of the Swiss Alps and then enters the wide Chumey valley of Bumthang. We will stop for while at Chumey to witness the skilled weavers at work at the “Yathra” (woollen cloth) weaving centre. Then continue drive to Jakar, the center of Bumthang valley. Overnight at Bumthang.
  • Day 06: BumthangIn the morning drive to Jakar Dzong (literally meaning castle of the white bird) is located on picturesque place overlooking the Chokhor valley and was first built in 1667. Visit Jambay Lhakhang the 7th. Century Temple, and Kurjey Lhakhang temple, named after the body print of Guru Rinpoche, which is preserved in a cave inside the oldest of the three buildings that make up the temple complex. The first temple is the oldest and was built in 1652 by Mingyur Tenpa, when he was Penlop of Trongsa. The second temple was built by Ugyen Wangchuk, the first king of Bhutan in 1900 when he was Penlop of Trongsa. The third building in the complex is an elaborate three-storey Lhakhang built by Ashi Kesang Wangchuk, in 1984 under the guidance of Diglo Khyentse Rimpoche. 
    Then walk across the suspension bridge to Tamshing and visit Tamshing Goemba monastery, established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and it is one of the most important Nyingmapa Goemba in the kingdom. Pema Lingpa built the structure himself, with the help of Khandroms (Female celestial beings) who made many of his statues. 
    Afternoon visit Wangdichholing palace, built in 1857 on the site of the battle camp of the Penlop of Trongsa, Jigme Namgyal. It was the first palace that was not designed as a fortress. Wangdichholing was the early home of the third king, who moved the court to Punakha in 1952. Towards evening at leisure in town. Overnight at Bumthang.
  • Day 07: Bumthang - PhobjikhaAfter early breakfast drive to Phobjikha, which is one the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and is encircled by pine covered mountains. The 6 hour drive maybe long but you will enjoy the amazing scenery all along the way on this route. Overnight at Phobjikha (Gangtey).
  • Day 08: Phobjikha - PunakhaIn the morning, view the rare black –necked cranes (Grus Nicorocolis), in their pristine winter habitat, which migrate, from remote parts of Tibet, China and Siberia during winter in this valley. Also visit the Gangtey Gompa which is the only Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan and is currently undergoing restoration work. You will have a chance to witness the ancient art of wood craving, statue making and painting as the restoration work nears completion. Late afternoon, drive to Punakha the ancient capital of Bhutan. Overnight at Punakha.
  • Day 09: Punakha - ThimphuMorning take an invigorating hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Lhakhang (Monastery) which is an hour leisurely walk. Be rewarded of your efforts with the breathtaking views of the valley and a special prayer ceremony at this spectacularly decorated new temple. Also visit the impressive Punakha Dzong also known as Palace of Happiness is considered to be the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. Today it houses of winter residence of state monk bodies. 
    Soon after lunch drive to Thimphu. On arrival visit to Tashichhodzong or the “fortress of the glorious religion" which is Bhutan’s administrative and religious centre and houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, other Government offices. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Evening is free for shopping in local souvenir shops and government-run handicrafts Emporium, or to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts and crafts. Overnight at Thimphu.
  • Day 10: Thimphu - ParoMorning after breakfast, you enjoy a full day of sightseeing that includes visit to the National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts and the world’s largest published book, BHUTAN measuring 5x7feet and weighing nearly 150 pounds; the School of Arts and Crafts (National Institute of Zorig Chusum) where students undergo training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts; the National Institute of Traditional Medicine where Bhutan’s famed traditional medicines are compounded and dispensed; the Folk Heritage Museum which will provide an insight into traditional Bhutanese farm house and rural past through exhibits and documentation of rural life. 
    After lunch, visit the Textile Museum to see a range of beautiful Bhutanese textiles; the National Memorial Chorten (Stupa), a shrine built in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan dedicated for world peace and prosperity; Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress like temple which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Takin Reserve to see the rare national animal of Bhutan. This animal is chosen as the national animal of Bhutan for its uniqueness and its association with the country’s religious history and mythology. A further drive towards the BBS Tower will provide a birds eye view of the capital. Also visit a small family-run enterprise which manufactures paper and paper products using traditional methods. In the evening drive to Paro. Overnight at Paro.
  • Day 11: Departure ParoAfter breakfast drive to Paro International Airport to depart for your onward destination.

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