The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air.
After immigration formalities you will be welcomed by our representative with a “Tashi Khaddar” (white scarf offering to the guest which is an auspicious way to welcome guest (additional cost). After the welcome ceremony, board the vehicle and drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan, the road leads through the Paro valley to the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers at Chuzom (confluence) enroute visit Tamchog Lhakhang is a temple that is dedicated to the 13th century saint Thangthong Gyalpo, the bridge builder. This temple is located across the river from the Paro to Thimphu. In order to get to the temple one must cross an iron chain bridge, one of the few remaining of the many that Thangthong Gyalpo built.
On arrival in Thimphu, check-into the hotel. The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style.
After lunch drive to visit Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around. The area also provides excellent view of the Thimphu valley from the west.
** Here at the Buddha point you have an option to perform meditation at a designated room. Meditation is followed by a round of hot cup of coffee/tea admiring the grand bird eye view of Thimphu valley and beyond (additional cost).
Evening before dinner time, we will invite one of the most knowledgeable scholars who deliver the most comprehensive lecture on any chosen subjects (additional cost) such as Buddhism and its philosophy, Gross National Happiness & general introduction to Bhutan and its people.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu (Altitude 2400m).
Early morning take a short drive to northern end of town to perform Tshewang ceremony (additional cost) at 12th century Changangkha Lhakhang: It is a fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu, south of Motithang.
This is a special prayer ceremony held at monastery by a team of monks for the peace, prosperity and good health, guests are required to lit butter lamp at monastery alter.
Later visit Takin Preserve: The Takin is the national animal of Bhutan, and looks like a cross between a cow and a goat. Legend has it that the animal was created by the great Buddhist yogi, Drupa Kunley, and it can be
found only in Bhutan and nearby areas. Taxonomists place the animal in a category of its own as it is not similar enough to any other animal to fit established categories.
Return to hotel for breakfast.
Lunch is followed by a short city tour visiting Textile Museum, the living national art of weaving. The place introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by women and men.
Continue on to Simply Bhutan Museum: The newly commissioned museum depicts the ancient Bhutanese architecture which is being lost to modernization. The uniqueness of the structure is in its composition of the materials used. The structure is built reusing old timber, window and door frames and other items from traditional and old demolished houses. The best part is the portrayal of the age-old life styles of the Bhutanese people.
Later visit to King's Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.
Drive further up to visit Trashichhoedzong, “fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast at hotel, Drive to Punakha across Dochula pass (3O8Om). 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.
After checking into hotel, proceed to visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and still serves as the winter residence of the monk body.
Later in the day excursion to Chimi Lhakhang (from hotel it is about 15 minutes’ drive till motorable road and then walk starts through paddy fields and villages. This is total about 1½ hour walk, including both way). The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, 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. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Paro along scenic highway, enroute visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country built in 1627 which now houses the School for Buddhist studies.
On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. After lunch, proceed to visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons &armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Ta Dzong visit immediately followed by a short walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (ParoDzong), meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Evening, enjoy the herbal traditional hot stone bath at farm house (additional cost). The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After breakfast excursion to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest (approx. 5 hours walk): It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal 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.
Afternoon drive to Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, "mountain of goddess'' can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.
Later, 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.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.
CLOSING DAYS OF SOME OF MONUMENTS MENTIONED IN ITINERARY:
Ta Dzong – Paro (National Museum): closed on Government Holidays
National Library – Thimphu: Closed on Saturday, Sunday & on Government holidays
Textile Museum – Thimphu: Closed on Government Holidays & on Sunday. On Saturday, it open from 9.00 AM to 4 PM
Institute of Zorig Chusum (Arts & Crafts School) - Thimphu: Closed on Sunday & Government holidays. On Saturday, it open from 10 AM to 12 o’clock. Also closed in winter (from December – early March).
Simply Bhutan – Thimphu: Closed on Sunday & on Government holidays
Tiger’s Nest Monastery – Paro: Closed on all Tuesdays
Folk Heritage Museum: Closed on all Sunday & on government holidays