Cultural Tour ( Central Bhutan)

Package Duration : 7Nights / 8 Days
Destination Covered: Paro - Thimphu - Punakha – Wangdue- TrongsaBumthang – Paro.

Day 01: Paro – Thimphu.

Your introduction to our enchanting Kingdom begins on a flight over the Himalayas into the lush green valley of Paro; truly one of the world’s most spectacular sights. In clear weather, DrukAir and Bhutan Airlines flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of the highest and majestic peaks and enjoy the view of the approaching valley with its alpine forest, monasteries, temples and farmhouse nestled in splendid mountains. On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by our representative. On completion of airport formalities, there will be an interesting drive of about 1 hour duration to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan. On the way stop at the
Tamchoe monastery view and chuzom. Thimphu the Capital of Bhutan Thimphu is a small charming capital city nestled in the heart of the Himalayas. It is nothing like what a capital city is imagined to be. Most of the houses and buildings are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style. After the lunch visit the National Memorial Chorten (sacred place for offering) .The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king. His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck(“the
father of modern Bhutan”) Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the late King and as a monument to peace. Visit the world’s tallest Buddha statue of 149 feet (52mts) and enjoy the view of Thimphu Valley. Visit to the Tashichhodzong. This dzong is the capitol building and the office of the reigning king. Here, the king and the Je Khenpo (supreme religious leader) rule side by side to provide for the welfare of their people’s secular and spiritual well being. They are both equally loved and venerated by the Bhutanese. This dzong is not only the seat of the government but the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and Central Monastic Body when they migrate here from Punakha, their winter residence. Visit the farmer’s weekend market where there will be a huge collection of Bhutanese organic vegetables and fruits: Try the organic fruits and nuts. After evening tea, witness an archery match played by the locals with lots of hue and cry. Archery is the national game of Bhutan. Overnight Thimphu In the Evening walk around the Thimphu city and you can feel and find the Bhutanese culture and tradition.
Overnight – Thimphu.

 

Day 02: Thimphu – Punakha.

After the breakfast is done we drive towards Punakha district. We will enjoy some of the most stunning views of the Himalayas (weather permitting). The nearly 03 hour drive takes you across the Dochu La Pass (3150mts), its summit marked with prayer flags. There you will see spectacular view of 108stupas or chorten. Here you can enjoy the spectacular views of the eastern Himalayan mountain range. Take a walk around the 108 stupas and also enter the Drukwangyel temple built by the four queens as a tribute to the fourth king of Bhutan. The terrain shifts into heavy forests or evergreens and seasonally tinted broadleaf trees.
En route visit Royal Botanical Garden in Lamperi. The park features a variety of forest types, spectacular scenery, natural rhododenden groves, engdangered wildlife and a lake. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still it is home of Chief Abbot and the central monastic body when they migrate here from Thimphu in winter months. Visit Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel has played prominent role in civil and religious life of the kingdom. It hosts the administrative seat of the district. The Dzong  lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, Male and Female River. It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan’s first king was crowned. The ancient fortress is considered to be one of the most beautiful by many.
Overnight – Punakha.

 

Day 03: Punakha – Bumthang.

This morning depart Wangdue on the full day drive to the Bumthang, across Pele La Pass ( 11,200 feet), which divides western Bhutan from the central and eastern part of the country. Lunch will be served midway before reaching Trongsa, from where Bumthang will be another 2.5 hours across the Yotong La Pass (11,300 feet).
Trongsa had a large influx of Tibetan immigrants in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Bhutanese of Tibetan descent run most of the shops here. The Tibetans are so well assimilated into Bhutanese society that there is almost no indication that are any Tibetans in the town. The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and the
Dzong can be seen from miles. Continue east for approximately 2.5 hours to Bumthang. The Bumthang region encompasses four major valleys: Chhume, Choskhor, Tang and Ura. Because the Dzongs and the most important temples are in the large Choskhor valley, it is commonly referred to as the Bumthang valley.
Overnight at the hotel – Bumthang.

 

Day 04: Bumthang Valley Exploration.

This morning meet your guide for a walking tour. Begin with a visit to the Jambay Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in a single day by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gempo in 659 AD. It is believed to be one of the oldest temples built in Bhutan. Visit Kurjey Lhakhang, according to Bhutanese history books, Guru Rimpoche, the central figure in Tantric Buddhism, visited this valley in the 8th century. He hid treasures of enlightenment, or terma, throughout the valley and Bhutan. Once these terma are found by a “revealer”, the benefit inherent in the teasure is dispersed and a monument commemorates the great event. Kurjey Lhakhang, the monastery where Guru Rimpoche meditated, is one such place, and one can see the imprint of his body in the rock where he sat. Finished the day with a visit to the Tamshing Gompa, founded by the great “revealer of treasures”, Pema Lingpa. It contains exquisite paintings and statues said to date back to the time of the great revealer himself.
Overnight at the hotel – Bumthang.

 

Day 05: Bumthang – Phobjikha

After breakfast, embark on an approximately 2.5 hours drive back to Trongsa and visit the stunning Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family. At one with an undulating ridge top, it is arguably the most impressive Dzong in the kingdom. After lunch continue your drive back to west, into the beautiful Phobjikha valley shortly after crossing the Pele La Pass. At an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet and spectacularly situated at the crest of the pristine Phobjikha valley. The Gangtey Gompa is a beautiful monastery that possesses a special spiritual gravity. Gangtey is a tranquil place of rolling hills and green meadows surrounded by snowcapped peaks. It is famous for its migration of black necked cranes, one of the rarest birds in the world, that winter in the valley from mid-November to the end of March.
Overnight at the hotel – Phobjikha.

 

Day 06: Phobjikha – Thimphu – Paro.

After breakfast we drive back to Thimphu which will 3 hours drive. En route visit the oldest Dzong of Bhutan Simtokha Dzong which holds the largest monk body and lunch in Thimphu and continue towards Paro which is 1 hour drive from Thimphu. Upon reaching visit (The National Museum) Ta Dzong once the watch tower for the Ringpung Dzong, it was converted into the national museum in 1968 (one of the best museums of Asia) that towers above Paro Dzong to view its well-interpreted collection of historic artifacts, including many great thangka paintings, and will provide deep insight into Bhutanese culture. Next, visit the impressive Paro Dzong that dominates the valley. Here you will see one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. In the evening talk a walk around the Paro town, you can find numerous handicraft shops which deal with varieties of Bhutanese arts and culture.
Overnight – Paro

 

Day 07:Taktshang Monastery, (Tiger’s Nest)Taktshang Hike.

After a wholesome breakfast, drive to Satsam Chorten and spend the day hiking up the forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous and scenic icon. The climb is steep and takes about 4 hours round trip (Ponies can be arranged for the upward journey for those who would rather not walk).An important place of pilgrimage and refuge for more than 1200 years, Taktsang Monastery clings to sheer cliffs two-thousand feet above Paro Valley, and from your closest vantage point on a rocky ledge directly across from it, you will still need 200-300 mm lenses and a steady tripod to get tight photographs. This sacred place got its name when Guru Rinpoche rode there on the back of a flying tiger and meditated in a cave behind the present-day monastery. Sadly, in 1998, the central temple was destroyed by fire, leaving the country in mourning for their holiest of spiritual places. But religious leaders and the King quickly developed a plan to rebuild Taktsang and donations started pouring in from Buddhist centers all over the world, and today, the magnificently rebuilt exterior is complete. Tiger’s Nest is once again the subject of cloud-shrouded posters that say, “Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon.” Picnic lunch on the hillside cafeteria. Special permit will be arranged for you to enter the Tiger’s Nest monastery but you will not be allowed to take pictures of the inside shrines. Finish the day with the short drive to the end of the valley to visit the ruins of the Drukgyel Dzong that once provided protection from the northern invasion. From here one can see sacred Jhomolhari Mountain.
Overnight at the hotel – Paro.

 

Day 08: Paro – See off.

After breakfast you will be dropped to Paro International Airport for onward journey.
Thank you and Tashi Delek.