Day1 (7th Nov)
The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. On arrival you will be received by our representative your Bhutan Dynasty Travel will welcome you at the airport for an hour scenic drive to Thimphu, winding alongside two snaking rivers and passing countless fine examples of the quaint, traditional farmhouse architecture of Bhutan. The capital itself sprawls up the wooded western hillside of the Wang Chhu and is the center of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a bustling town where traditional ways mingle with modern introductions. After check in to our hotel in the heart of the capital, the sightseeing begins and depending on opening hours, guest’s interests and time, your guide may include some of the following in your private schedule:
Market days: Thimphu’s the weekend market Thimphu, takes place every weekend, starting from Friday evening and running through to late afternoon on the Sunday. It draws traders from all across the country, many of whom will travel several days to sell their goods and it’s awesome for the Kodak moment. So your itinerary may be adjusted to include one of these market days if you wish.
National memorial Chorten: It was built in 1974 in the memory of our Third king H.M Jigme Doji Wangchuk , who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, died before his plan came to fruition. However the Royal family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes.
Folk Heritage Museum: it is a restored three-storey traditional rammed mud and timber that resembles the rural household in the Thimphu area during the mid 19th century, domestic tools equipments that were used by rural families of that period and also provides you a glimpse of lifestyle, items and artifacts of Bhutanese villages and rural households.
The national institute of Zorig Chusum: is the centre for Bhutanese Art education. It was set up by the Government of Bhutan with the sole objective of preserving the rich culture and tradition of Bhutan and training students in all the traditional arts forms. The curricula cover a comprehensive course of drawing, painting, wood and slate craving, embroidery, sculptures, weaving and paper making.
Buddha Point (kuensel Phodrang): Another place from where you can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley is from the Buddha point. It is a short drive from the town. You can pay your obeisance and offer to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk and take a glimpse of the valley
Mini Zoo: is the best place to see our National animal, Takin, a strange looking beast which some say looks like a moose. Originally a mini-zoo, it was converted into a preserve when it was discovered that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest even when set free. The reason for declaring Takin as a National Animal of Bhutan is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as Divine mad man to the west. Overnight: Pedling Hotel Day2 (8th Nov)
Thimphu, Punakha Dzong via Dochu La, Chhime Lhakhang and Khamsum Yuelay Namgyel Chorten
After breakfast drive to Punakha valley. This drive is truly awe inspiring as it zig zag up to the 3,140m high mountain pass of Dochu La with its forests of fluttering prayer flags, maze of memorial chortens and, on a clear day sweeping views of the main Himalayan range.
Descending to Punakha is the sub-tropical vegetation, where farmer grows all most all kind of fruits and cash crops, when you reach to Tshoptshokha , it’s time to stretch your leg with short walk across rice paddies to Chhimi Lhakhang , a temple of fertility, dedicated to Drulpa kuenley, a Buddhist saint popularly known as “Divine Madman.” The temple sits atop a picturesque hill surrounded by rice fields, Drukpa Kuenley built a Stupa on the site in 15th century, and it has been a long pilgrimage site for childless couple.
Heading down along the riverside the massive architectural edifice of the 17th century Punakha Dzong soon looms into view. Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in a commanding position at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu (Male and Female rivers). The Dzong was called Druk Pungthang Decchen Phodrang(the palace of Great Happiness) in olden days and arguably the country’s most attractive Dzong. It served as the seat of the kingdom’s government until the time of the second king and today serves as the winter home of Je khempo, the chief abbot of the Bhutan, along with the retinue more than 1,000 monks
Overnight: Hotel Pema Karpo
Duration of drive: 3 hours (76km) Day3 (9th)
Khamsum Yuelay Namgyel Chorten walk,Wangdue Phodrang Dzong
For further exploration of this scenic valley, the destination for this morning, hike up through the farm land to Khamsum Yuelay Namgyel Chorten,a shrine built by royal family a startlingly ornate and elaborate structure with images of Vajra Kila and superb view of Punakha Valley. The hike will take around 3 hour’s.
After lunch, if you are interested, we can do rafting on additional charges for one and half hour. Its white water rafting, this would give you the thrill and excitement and at the same time you would get to see some of the rarest bird and an opportunity for Kodak moment of the Dzong. Overnight: Hotel Pema karpo
Punakha to Phobjikha
Start early as the road widening will be in progress and they close the road for certain hour to continue the widening. The road snakes through the tropical and conifer forest all the way to the junction of Phobjikha nad down to the valley.
With its alpine setting on the western slope of the black mountains, the valley is famous as the seasonal home of the rare black-nacked cranes, who spend the winter months here(Crane can be observed from the last week in October through to mid – February0. This is designated conservation area and has a nature study center for conservation studies and education of the local famers and students funded by Bhutanese government, with assistancefrom the World Wildlife Fund. The sweeping views from the restaurant and rooms of the Hotel take the eye across the wetlands sprinkled with tiny Goembas and lhakhangs (monasteries and Temple) which guest may wish to walk to the lack of powerlineswill please any keen photographers and birders should not miss a visit to the viewing hides. This valley also boasts a carpet weaving concern and the 16th century Gangtey Goemba in a commanding position at the head of the valley. This monastery includesa school, meditation facilities and quarters for monks, and is home to the mind reincarnation of pema lingpa, one of the region’s historically important Buddhist treasure discoverers. Overnight; Phuntshocholing farm house
To the villagers, the annual arrival of black-neck cranes is an event that holds great significance. As well as heralding the beginning of winter, some believe these endangered birds to be the reincarnation of two deities who are said to be protectors of this beautiful valley. When both arriving and leaving, these graceful birds will circle the Gangtey Goempa three times. To the locals, this represents the honoring of the three sacred jewels of Buddhism and the request and gratitude for their protection and care during their stay. The Black-necked Crane Festival is held every year in Phobjikha on November 11th, coinciding with the birth anniversary celebrations of His Majesty the King. Organized by Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) and the Phobjikha Environment Management Committee (PEMC), the festival started in 1998 and aims at spreading awareness on the cranes and the traditions as well as cultura of local people. Overnight; Phuntshocholing farm house
Phobjikha to Paro
Start early for Nature walk for an hour and it’s time to retrace the steps back over the Dochula pass for second chance of that wonderful view of Himalaya range. Returning to Chuzom or confluence we can catch a glimpse of the three stupas in Nepali,Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits as we believe that the confluence become the home for them.
Time permitting the journey can be broken with a visit to tamchok lhakhang built by Thangthong Gyelpo or the iron bridge builder as he is known. This former saint from 14th century introduced the art of building suspension with iron chains and only way to reach his temple is by one of these bridges. On the final leg the road snakes alongside the Pa Chhu,through apple aorchard and rice paddies,past quisnt homestead to our beautiful Paro valley and then to Hotel. Overnight; Tenzinling Hotel
Zurig Hike, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong, Paro town and Kychu lhakhang.
Hike up from the hotel through the pine trees and rose hip bushes with rocky out crops to the fortress like monastery of Zuring Dzong, will allow you to enjoy the beautiful view of valley of Paro. Traverse accrose to Ta Dzong, housing Bhutan National Museum (open Tuesday-Saturday) with magnificent views of Paro valley. Once it was watch tower of Paro valley from 1656 to 1907 and it was converted to National Museum in 1968, and on down to visit Rinpung Dzong (Fortress on the heap of jewels) which houses district administration and the monastic school. Built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The trail leads across Paro chhu (River) via a traditional covered bridge (Nyamai Zampa) and then past the main archery ground into the Paro town. A few kilometers north of Paro, we will visit Kychu lhakhang one of the oldest temple in Bhutan with its magic orange tree which bears fruit all year round. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan king called Songtsen Gembo to pin down the demon. Drive further up the valley to Drugyel Dzong, built in 1644 to control the northern route to Tibet and also to commemorate the victory over Tibetans.
Duration: 5 – 6 hours (depending on the time spent in the National Museum)
Difficulty: Easy. Overnight; Tenzinling Hotel Day8 (14)
Chelela Pass and hike to kila nunnery (optional Bike descents)
Start early for the drive to to chelela Pass which,at 3988metre(12,499ft), is the highest road pass in Bhutan, snaking upwards through blue pine and rhododendron forest for 36 kilo meter. On a clear day the view sweeps away to the snow-dome of Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari(7314mts) and pass is marked with array of prayer flags and you might like to spend few minutes to look around for Kodak moment.
Striding out along the edelweiss-covered ridge. We pass the maze of prayer flags and descend for two hour hike through the dense rhododendron forest, possibly sighting shaggy Yaks, to the Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery nestled in a craggy patch on the mountain side. Kila Goemba is a serene retreat for 50 Anim( Buddhist Nuns) who lead an undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation. The nunnery is one of the seven oldest nunneries in the Kingdom.Dupthob Chhoeji Norbu and Dropthob Tempa initially established it in the early ninth century as a place for meditation. After being destroyed by fire, the lhakhang was reconstructed by the 25th Je Khempo, Sherub Gyeltshen and in 1986, the government officially established kila Goemba as an Anim Dratshang(nunnery ). This scared place has a timeless quality which is ample reward after the effort of the hike and is about as far off the beaten path as you can get. Having made our offerings and perhaps been blessed, it is time to descend further.
There is option to descend down to the valley on bikes on additional charges, Overnight; Tenzinling Hotel Day9 (15)
Highlight of Paro valley – Takshang walk
Is one of the most sacred site and very magnificent pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Takshang Goemba defies logic, gravity, and reason. Legend has it that the Guru Rinpochhe, the Great Buddhist Master landed on his tigress after flying from central Bhutan on his way back from Tibet in 8th century and subdued the demon, harming the valley and meditated in a cave high up on the cliff side for three months. Overnight; Tenzinling Hotel
Departure to Singapore