Day 01:Arrive Paro
Fly into Paro by Druk Air, Bhutan’s National Airline. The great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens can be seen during clear weather. As the plane approaches Bhutan, if you look down farmhouses as dots on the hillsides can be seen.
As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, you will see Paro Dzong on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National Museum, above it.
You will be received by the representative of Access Bhutan Tours & Treks (Bhutan tour operator)who will be your Bhutan travel guide throughout your tour.
Check into your hotel in Paro and after refreshments, visit the following:
- Ta Dzong, built in the 17th century as a watchtower for the Paro Dzong. This dzong was converted into the National museum in 1967 and is filled with antique thankha paintings, textiles, weapons and armor.
- Rinpung Dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks.Then walk down to Rimpung Bridge (Traditonal Bridge), oldest bridge in Bhutan.
In the evening stroll through Paro town and you may visit local shops.
Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro-Thimphu and Thimphu Sightseeing
Distance: 54 km
Estimated driving time: 1 hr
After breakfast travel to Thimphu and check into your hotel. The full day Thimphu tour includes visit to the following:
- The National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. The National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), where Bhutan’s famed traditional herbal medicines are compounded and dispensed.
- The Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.
- The National Folk Heritage Museum to get an insight into the typical Bhutanese way of life.
- The Textile Museum to get an understanding of the beautiful hand woven Bhutanese textiles.
- Centenary Farmers' Market ( open from Thusday to Sunday) where farmers sell their farm produces ( vegetables, fruits, cereals, spices, wild vegetable collections,livestock products,etc) and free interaction with local people who come shopping to this market, especially on weekends.
- Takin Preserve which houses the national animal- takin which is found only in Bhutan. Takin is an extremely rare member of goat family.
- Craft Bazaar where artisans and craftsmen from across the country come to sell their products.
- Drive to Kuensel Phodrang and take a short leisure hike to the Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park and enjoy the full view of Thimphu Valley below.
- Visit Buddha Point and offer your prayers to the largest Buddha statue in the country and walk around to enjoy the great view of Thimphu valley below.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu-Punakha/Wangdue
Distance: 71 km
Estimated driving time: 2 1/2 hrs
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass. An hour's drive from Thimphu will take you to this pass (3140 m) where one can have a superb view of the Eastern Himalayas on a clear day with a powerful binocular telescope. Visit the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo for the security and well being of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. Also visit Druk Wangyel Temple which was built to honor His Majesty, the fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The past and future appear to merge in the details of the temple that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distance future.
Drive onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho-Chu (male) river and the Mochu (female) river. Visit the Dho Jha Gha Lam Temple.
In the evening, walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the Divine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where couples unable to concieve come here for blessing.
Overnight at hotel in Wangdue/Punakha.
Day 04: Wangdue/Punakha -Thimphu
Distance: 71 km
Estimated driving time: 2 1/2
After breakfast, travel through upper Punakha valley through the village of Kabjisa and walk through farmhouses to khamsum Yuelley Namgyel temple which was built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan for peace and stability in this ever-changing world. This temple is situated on the hillock overlooking the valley below.
Then travel to Thimphu with lunch enroute.
On arrival at Thimphu check into your hotel and after refreshments, visit the following:
- National Memorial Chorten, chorten literally means ' seat of faith' and Buddhists often call such monuments the 'Mind of Buddha'. Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten.
- Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plan
In the evening, free to relax or stroll around Thimphu town, do shopping, etc.
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Distance: 108 km
Estimated driving time: 3 hrs
Distance: 65 km
Estimated driving time: 1 1/2 hrs
After breakfast travel to Haa valley( the valley of Guardian Spirit) through the stretch of villages of Dogakha, Susuna and Jabana visiting typical Bhutanese farmhouses along the way and you will see farmers working in their farms. Drive further onto Haa Valley. After lunch at Haa valley, explore the valley and then travel to Paro valley via Chilela pass ( 3810 m). On a clear day you will see Himalayan mountain peaks from Chilela pass. Then drive onto Paro valley.
overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 06: A Day Hike to Paro Taktsang Goemba (Tiger's Nest Monastery)
After breakfast, take a hike to Taktsang Goemba, popularly known as 'Tiger's Nest' Monastery. The hike upto the view point will take about 2 hours and from the view point you will enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of a high cliff. Stop for a refreshment at the Cafe at the view point. Then hike further to the monastery which will take about 1 1/2 hours. It was first built in 1692,around the Taktsang Senge Samdup, a cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for 3 months in the 8th century. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this location from Khenpajong, Tibet on the back of a tigress and subdued a demon. He then perform meditation in one of the caves here and emerged in 8 incarnated forms (8 manifestations) and blessed the place. Subsequently, the place came to be known as 'Tiger's Nest'.
After visiting the monastery, walk back down to the view point and stop for lunch at the cafe at the view point. Then walk further down to the road and then drive to your hotel in Paro visiting Kichu temple on the way. The temple was build in 7th century. The temple is a reservoir of peace and you will really feel at peace at this temple.
In the evening, relax after a tiring day.
Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 07:Departure from Paro
In the morning, your tour guide from Access Bhutan Tours will escort you to the Paro airport for your onward destinations.
***End of the tour program***