Highlights
Take a journey of discovery into the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”, experiencing its stunning Himalayan scenery, vibrant Buddhist culture and delightful people. Make a pilgrimage to the iconic Taktsang Monastery or “Tiger’s Nest” as it is commonly known, Bhutan’s most famous landmark and holy site. This incredible gravity-defying monastery clings to a sheer cliff face 900m above the Paro Valley. Travel to the remote Haa Valley, lined with pristine forest, and visit local villages. Explore the capital city, Thimphu, and learn more about the country’s history and culture, visiting museums and schools. Travel by road along the Dochula Pass, taking in sweeping views of the Himalayas, en route to Punakha. Here you will see what is considered by many to be the country’s most beautiful dzong, the Punakha dzong, set at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers.

Along the Heritage Trail (10D/9N)

Additional information

CityAgats, Beriten, Ewer, Omandesep, Timika, West Papua
DestinationsBhutan
DurationMultiday
ThemeAdventure, Arts & Culture, Nature & Wildlife, Off The Beaten Track, Walking
1

Day 1: Arrive Paro

On your journey into Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including Mount Everest and other famous Himalayan peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the steep descent into the Paro Valley is a breathtaking experience. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative, and transferred to your hotel.

In the evening, take a stroll around Paro town and valley at your own pace.

Overnight in Paro.

2

Day 2 : Paro

Following breakfast, take an excursion to the iconic Taktsang Monastery, or Tiger’s Nest as it is commonly known, Bhutan’s most famous landmark and holy site. This incredible monastery clings to the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It was built in the 1600s at the site of a cave where Guru Padmasambhava had meditated in the 7th century – legend holds that he arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave. The walk is around 5 hours round trip.

In the afternoon you’ll visit the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. The peak of Jumolhari, the ‘Mountain of the Goddess,’ can be seen on a clear day from here (7,329 m/24,029 ft.).

Later, you will have the option to go for a typical Bhutanese hot stone bath. This traditional hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language, has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps with relaxation, and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat it, and occasionally medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

Overnight in Paro.

3

Day 3: Paro

After breakfast, the morning’s programme will take you to Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which is now home to the National Museum of Bhutan. The museum houses an extensive collection including antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

Next you’ll visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”, which has a long and fascinating history. Lining the walls of the inner courtyard are painting depict various scenes from Buddhist lore.

Following lunch, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. To consecrate the Himalayan region, in the 7th century the Tibetan King Songsten Gompo built 108 temples. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.

For the remainder of the day, you’ll have an option to explore Paro town and valley on a bicycle.

Overnight in Paro.

4

Day 4: Paro - Haa Valley

Set out in the morning for the drive to Haa Valley via the Chelela Pass.

At Chelela, take short walk to Kila Gompa, a nunnery perched on a steep cliff face at 3500m. This staggering site is home to 7 small temples and about 70 nuns. From Chelela pass, the Gompa is about an hour walk amidst magnificent wooded area, and the views are magnificent. Enjoy lunch at Kila Gompa continue your drive over the prayer flag strewn pass at almost 4000m and down into the Haa Valley.

Haa Valley sits on the western edge of Bhutan, sharing northern boundaries with the Chumbi Valley of the Tibetan region. Haa is one of the 20 districts or dzongkhags of Bhutan and it is one of the least populated. Much of it is covered by pristine forest and the remainder with fields of wheat and barley, with a little rice towards its lower reaches.

Overnight in Haa Valley.

5

Day 5: Haa Valley

Today’s program begins with a drive to Yotong (2955m), a group of village homes clustered together in the valley by the Haa Chhu River.

An old trail leads 150m uphill to the Gompa, dedicated to the Guru Rimpoche and his 8 manifestations. Standing among a few farmhouses, this 300-year structure was built by the 16th Je Khempo (Head Abbot of Bhutan).

A rough road by the monastery will take us back by vehicle to Yotong. There after picnic lunch, a gentle walk along the riverside brings us into Haa town in about 2 hours. Explore the towns Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo.

Overnight in Haa Valley.

6

Day 6:Haa Valley – Thimphu

In the morning after breakfast, hike along the Haa Chhu river enjoying the fresh air and stunning landscapes.

Next you will set out for Thimphu, stopping en route at the Dogar Dobji Dzong, a 16th century structure, built by the brother of the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kinley. This dzong became Bhutan’s first jail in 1976 but has since returned to its monastic origins.

In the afternoon in you will explore the city of Thimphu, taking in the sights, and learning more about the country’s history and cultural traditions.

For insight into Bhutan’s artistic heritage, explore the Institute for Zorig Chusum. The Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan (the zorig chusum). On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.

Visit the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.

Explore the Textile Museum, and discover one of the country’s most distinct art forms. Thagzo, Bhutanese textile weaving, is considered to be one of the 13 traditional arts, or “zorig chusum”, as it is known locally.

See the Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion), the current seat of government and home to the King’s throne room and offices. The dzong has a fascinating history, and has gone through much iteration from the original dzong, which was built in 1216AD. The current dzong was reconstructed in the 1960’s in traditional Bhutanese style, without nails or architectural plans.

Visit the Takin Reserve Centre, also known as the Motithang Preserve, which is a home to takin, the national animal of Bhutan. The takin is an extremely rare bovid mammal of the ovine-caprine family. Apart from takin, the preserve is also home to sambars and barking deer rescued from different parts of the country.

Overnight in Thimphu.

7

Day 7: Thimphu - Punakha & Wangdue

In the morning after breakfast, you’ll visit Buddha Point and Memorial chorten – built in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

Later drive to Punakha, visiting along the way:
• Dochula Pass: The most known pass in Bhutan, about 24 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu. It is at around 3080m height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.
• Chimi Lhakhang: This temple is located on the way to Punakha. It is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 centuries. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Divine Madman.

After lunch, explore the Punakha Dzong. Built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637, the dzong sits at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers, and is considered by many to be the most beautiful dzong in the country.

In the evening you will have free time to stroll around Punakha town and valley.

Overnight in Punakha & Wangdue.

8

Day 8: Punakha & Wangdue

In the morning set out for an excursion to Talo village. The village of Talo (alt 2800m) which is scattered along the hill slopes, known for its cleanliness and hygiene among Punakha village.

Talo Sangnacholing is built on a plateau and has majestic views of surrounding villages. The beautiful farm houses of the village have its own flower gardens and on the hill slope corns and sweet peas are grown in abundance. The women of Talo are particularly known for their beauty.

After lunch, visit the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. This chorten is built on a ridge above the Punakha valley, and it took around nine years to build. It is said that the Bhutanese craftsmen consulted Holy Scriptures to construct this 4 storey temple. The temple was built by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.

Overnight in Punakha & Wangdue.

9

Day 9: Punakha / Paro

After breakfast visit Rinchengang Village, a small clustered village in Wangduephodrang. It is about a 20 minute hike uphill from the nearest road.

Then return to Paro, taking a lunch stop at Dochula cafeteria, enjoying fascinating mountain views.

Drive further ahead and visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country, which now houses the School for Buddhist studies.

Enjoy the evening free at leisure.

Overnight in Paro.

10

Day 10: Depart Paro

In the morning after breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to your onward destination.

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