Detailed Itinerary : 9 Days / 8 Nights
Destination Covered : Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Wangdue
You will be received by a representative from Bhutan Aries Tours & Treks at the Paro International Airport and transfer to hotel for overnight halt. Evening free time at leisure.
After breakfast, take a morning hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The climb up to the viewpoint will take around 3 hours and from there you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Then walk further up to the monastery which will take about 1 hour. It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for three months. There have been shrines at this sacred place for many centuries. The principal Lhakhang (Monastery) of the present Taktsang was damaged severely by fire in 1998 but has now been fully restored to its former beauty. After lunch at the viewpoint cafeteria, walk back down to the road and drive back to Paro. On the way back, Visit Kichu temple one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of the Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Paro tour and sightseeing includes visit to some of the following depending your interest and time
National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower) here an intriguing collection of artifacts
provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom.
Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. It is also known as the Rinpung Dzong which means a “fortress that sits on a heap of jewels”. This imposing dzong located above the Paro River is an fine example of Bhutanese architecture with its inward sloping walls that rise to an impressive height. The Dzong was built in the 16th century on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche (who is regarded as the “second Buddha) from the Dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, an oldest traditional cantilever bridge in Bhutan. Drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km from Paro town on the morth side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during 17th century.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Attend first day of paro festival. Venue-Paro Dzong Courtyard. This is the perfect occasions to witness the Bhutanese unique culture, religion and history.
Overnight halt at hotel.
Distance : 55 km
Estimated travel time : 1 hour Attend second day Paro festival. Venue – Festival ground near Paro Dzong. Evening drive to Thimphu (about 1 hr 30 min drive) on arrival, transfer to hotel for overnight halt.
Thimphu tour and sightseeing includes visit to some of the following depending on your interest and time availability :
National Textile Museum which is a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibitions and has a good collection of old Bhutanese textiles which are rich in colors and designs. You will also see women weaving intricate designs. The National Institutes of Traditional Medicine, where medicinal herbs are compounded and dispensed, and traditional medical practitioners trained. The folk heritage museum, an outdoor museum that gives an insight into Bhutanese rural lives. The School of Traditional Painting of Arts and crafts where students undergo a six – year training course on 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Traditional Bhutanese paper making factory, the handmade paper making in Bhutan stemmed from the age old tradition originated in 8th century of Bhutanese history. Jungshi Paper Factory was established in November 1990 as an undertaking of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The unit now boasts as a
major and sole dealer in handmade paper and its products. Memorial Chorten which was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of the Country, King
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. The Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal – Takin which is only found in Bhutan. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125 ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds. Kuenselphodrang where world’s largest Buddha statue is located. Craft Bazaar where craftsmen and artisans across the Kingdom bring their own products for display and sale at the centenary farmer’s market. Tashichhodzong, the fortress of the glorious religion. Built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed into its present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the King, and the central monk body. Changangkha Lhakhang: Changangkha Lhakhang is an old fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu. It was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lham Phajo Drukgom Zingpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet. The central statue is Chenresig in an 11 headed, thousand-armed manifestation (God of compassion). There are enormous prayer wheels to spin and even the prayer books in the temple are larger in size than usual Tibetan texts. Government run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry and other interesting items made from local materials. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Distance : 76 km
Estimated driving time : 2.5 hours.
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through southern part of Thimphu valley and Dochula Pass (3,088m/10130ft). if you have clear sky, the view of the Himalayan ranges is spectacular. Visit the beautiful 108 Chortens built on the hill by Her majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. Also visit Druk Wangyel Temple. Then have refreshment at Dochula Pass. Then Drive on to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. on the way visit the Devine Madman’s Monastery- Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine), where one can receive a special fertility blessing. Check into your hotel and afternoon visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Po Chu,Then visit Wangdue Dzong, situated on a ridge overlooking a river junction. I the 17th century, Wangdue plated a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern regions of the country.
Overnight at Wangdue / Punakha.
Day 8: Wangdue – Paro
Distance : 132 km
Estimated travel time : 3.5 Hrs
After breakfast, drive to upper punakha valley passing through farmhouses and walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (50 Mins) temple built by the Queen of Bhutan for peace and stability in this ever-changing world. This temple is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley below. Afternoon drive to Paro and overnight at hotel at Paro.
In the morning your Bhutan Aries Tours & Treks will see you off at the Paro International Airport for your onward destinations.