- Experience the beauty of Punakha Dzong – a divine monastery in an ancient capital.
- Walk through the peaceful Phobjikha Valley – an important wildlife preserve.
- Climb to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched precariously on the side of a cliff.
8 Days – Spirit of Bhutan
Day 01: Arrive at Paro International Airport and cultural sightseeing at Paro
Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon – a deeply Buddhist land shrouded in mystery and magic. On arrival at Paro Airport the representative will meet you and drive to the hotel.
Paro is a charming town on the banks of the Paro (or Pa) Chhu. The main street is lined with colourfully painted wooden shopfronts and restaurants.
After lunch visit:
• Kyichu Lhakhang – One of the oldest and most sacred temples in the kingdom, dating back to the 7th century.
• Ta Dzong – The former Watch Tower which now houses the National Museum.
• Rinpung Dzong – The massive buttressed walls of this impressive dzong tower over the town and are visible throughout the valley. A Typical Bhutanese wooden roofed bridge leads from the dzong to Paro town.
Day 02: Paro – Thimphu
After breakfast drive to Thimphu – the country’s capital – a town of small shopping complexes, monasteries and chalet-like apartment buildings that back onto pine-covered hills. Visit:
• Buddha Point/ Kuensel Phodrang – High in the hills, the largest Buddha statue in the country sits overlooking the Thimpu Valley.
• Memorial Chorten – Built in the year 1974 in the memory of the third king of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Watch the locals as they spin the prayer wheels and walk three times around the monument.
• Tashichho Dzong – The “fortress of the glorious religion” was built in 1641 and subsequently rebuilt in the 1960s. Tashichho Dzong houses various ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.
Day 03: Thimphu – Sightseeing
After breakfast visit:
• Changangkha Lhakhang – Located above Thimphu Valley, this temple and monastic school was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo.
• Motithang Takin Preserve – Meet the Takin – the rare national animal of Bhutan! It is a vulnerable species found only in Bhutan, Nepal and Burma.
• Traditional Medicine Institute – In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. Rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants are prepared and dispensed here.
• Folk Heritage Museum – The house replicates a traditional farmhouse and is furnished, as it would have been about a century ago.
• National Institute for Zorig Chusum – At this school of arts and crafts students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.
Day 04: Thimphu – Phobjikha
After breakfast, set off on a road trip to Phobjikha – approximately six hours through picturesque valleys and mountain slopes dotted with typical Bhutanese villages.
From the Dochula pass, at over 10,000ft, panoramic views of the high snowcapped peaks of the Bhutanese Himalayas can be enjoyed on a clear day.
Phobjikha is a bowl-shaped glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains and is an important wildlife preserve. On arrival visit Gantey Goenpa, an old monastery dating back to the 16th century. Stretch your legs with a soft trek around the peaceful valley, the winter home of the rare black-necked cranes, which migrate here during winter.
Day 05: Phobjikha – Punakha
After breakfast walk along a nature trail through the pine forest.
Punakha is the ancient capital of Bhutan and sits in a fertile and beautiful valley at the junction of the Mo Chhu (Mother River) and Pho Chhu (Father River). Commanding the river junction is the gorgeous Punakha Dzong, perhaps Bhutan’s most impressive building. Explore the interior of this 17th century dzong encased in towering whitewashed walls.
Day 06: Punakha – Paro
After breakfast a half hour walk through a local village and rice field brings you to Chhimi Lhakhang, a temple of fertility founded in the 15th century by a monk known as the Divine Mad Man! Learn all about the colourful history of this unconventional monk. Visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery, a temple plus nunnery perched on a ridge overlooking the Punakha Valley.
After lunch drive to Paro and afternoon at leisure.
Day 07: Paro – Excursion to Taktsang (Tiger nest)
Undoubtedly the highlight of Bhutan! The Tiger’s Nest Monastery is one of Bhutan’s most incredible sights, miraculously perched on the side of a sheer cliff 900m above the floor of the Paro valley.
The hike up to the monastery takes about 5 hours (round trip) and is well worth the effort. The trail follows an ancient path marked by river-powered prayer wheels with incredible views. It is said that a legendary saint, Guru Rinpoche, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, and this is where they landed. Hence the name, Tiger’s Nest. Within the monastery is the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated; an oil lamp chapel; and a holy spring.
After descending, if time permits, visit Drugyel Dzong. From here, the Jomolhari Peak (Mountain of the Goddess) can be seen on a clear day.
Day 08: Paro – Departure
Sadly, it’s the last day and time to say goodbye to Bhutan. The guide will transfer you to Paro international airport for your onward flight.
- Sustainable Development Fee
- Accommodation in twin sharing basis
- All transportation and sightseeing within Bhutan
- Services of accompanied English-speaking guide
- Visa fee
- 3 meals a day
- Bottled water
- Entrance fees to the monuments
- Travel Insurance
- Excess baggage charges
- Any personal expenses
|City||Phobjikha, Punakha, Thimphu|
|Theme||Adventure, Arts & Culture, Family, Walking|