Day 01. Arrival Paro by Drukair/Bhutanairlines /Border
Traditional welcome by Khadar offering at the airport by our representative. After some real time at Hotel drive to the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 which is under complete renovation after Dzong distroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. On a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt.Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 02. Tiger Nest Hike at Paro
If you are already adjusted with climate of Bhutan than you are ready to hike 2 hours uphill hike to the Taktsang Monastery. The uphill hike climbs through pine forest and constant greets from the Hikers on the way,which means you wilt be alone. After an hour hike you will be greeted with cafeteria where you can relax to have Coffee ofcourse with great view of the Monastery.Little background history of this monastery;it was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684 by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism toBhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort.
After Lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses theNational Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge.
Day 03. Paro to Thimphu
The beautiful drive of 1 hour will take you to Thimphu. The roads are good and will not feel the drive of Himalayan winding road. On the way you may want to visit small monastery called Tagchog where you need to go across the river crossing the Iron chain bridge but now you take the new bridge. The monastery is owned by the private. There is also small coffee house beside the monastery if you wish to spend sometime to ease your body from driving.
Thimphu is Bhutan most populated city with little more than 100000 people and you may feel you are in the main city. There are so many places where you can spend your time. We recommend you to visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).
Other highlight includes largest Bhudha statue situated in small hills over looking the Thimphu valley. The statue is the largest in Asia and it is one of the wonders of the world.
Day 04. Thimphu – Punakha
(72 Kms, 3 hours drive). After breakfast, Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, visit Chime Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his “ Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. Lunch at Punakha. After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952.Overnight in Hotel.
Day 05. Punakha – Gangtey – Trongsa
The road condition from Gangtey to Trongsa is not good and rides are very Bumpy and dusty.We start early today. After breakfast drive to Trongsa via. Gangtey. While in Gangtey, visit Gangtey Gompa. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang.
After lunch we shall proceed towards Trongsa via pelela pass(3240M). This is also the border which marks the border of Black Mountain and is the gateway to Eastern Bhutan. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Then Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. Over night at Hotel Yangkhil Resort.
Day 06. Trongsa – Bumthang
Roads are still dusty and bumps everywhere. The drive might take more than usual time. After we reach Bumthang its better to check into the hotel first and relax yourself with hot cup of Bumthang butter Tea followed by local food as lunch. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was built in 1667 and is said to be the largest Dzong in Bhutan and then visit Lamey Goemba, a large palace and monastery built in 18th century by Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi. Visit Jambay Lhakhang said to have been built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. The temple was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. Under the temple is said to be a lake in which Guru Rimpoche hid several Terma. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. Over night in Hotel.
Day 07. Bumthang Sightseeing
After breakfast, Visit Chakhar (IronCastle) Lhakhang, it is the site of the palace of the Indian King, the Sindhu Raja who invited Guru Rimpoche to Bumthang. The Original palace was made of Iron and hence the name Chakhar. The saint Dorji Lingpa built the Current building in 14th century. Its correct name is Dechen Phodrang. We then visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. After lunch, visit Membartsho (Literally means “BurningLake”), a short distance up the road leading to Tang valley. The Terton Pema Lingpa discovered several of Guru Rimpoche’s hidden Terma / relics here. In the evening, visit Mathra factory & Cheese Factory. Over night in Hotel.
Day 08. Bumthang – Paro via domestic Flight
Due to road widening we advice you to take domestic flight from Bumthang Batpalathang airport. The 25 minutes flight from Bumthang to paro is very beautiful. The right side view from the plane is extravagant. If you have missed Thimphu and Paro valley this is the time to see the aerial view of this two small cities. Over night at Hotel.
Day 09. Paro to Chelela pass day Hike
Drive to Chelela for about 1 hour and hike the mountain. Chill pass is the highest road point of Bhutan. You can also view small western district of HAA.
Day 10. Paro Airport
Early Morning, drive to the airport and Farewell.