Routes & Places: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Trongsa & Bumthang
Day 01. Arrival – Paro – Thimphu
The flight arrival into Paro valley is the first introduction to the spectacular beauty of Bhutan. At the airport, you will be greeted by the Bhutanese team from Bhutan Myway, your companion for the entire trip. Take a short time for the refreshments and visit National Museum which is situated on the ridge overlooking the Rinpung Dzong (Fortress) which was long ago known as Ta Dzong (watchtower).
Next, visit Paro Dzong (fortress) which is loosely translated as the ‘fortress of a heap of jewels’. It was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal which is beautifully perched on a hill top overlooking the valley. After visiting the dzong, take a leisure walk along the stone pavements that will lead to the traditional cantilever bridge known by the name Nemi Zam.
Then, drive to the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu which takes approximately one and half hour covering the distance of 55 km. Evening is the leisure time.
Overnight at Thimphu
Day 02. Thimphu
Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan is one of the beautiful capitals in the world that is founded on the traditional and modern blends of architectural design and further it would be interesting to learn that Thimphu is only the capital in the world without traffic signals. And more interestingly, the capital is constantly nurtured by the green vegetation coverage which remains as the evergreen city in the eyes of the travelers.
You are scheduled to visit the following places for the day in Thimphu; the Memrial Chorten, tall-structured stupa built in 1974 in memory of the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is regarded as the father of modern Bhutan and for the world peace as well. Changankha Lhakhang (temple) which situated on the top a small hound overlooking the Thimphu valley was built in the 13th century and it is considered the spiritual home of children born in the Chang valley. And visit Folk Heritage Museum, an outdoor museum that gives a clear insight into rural life in Bhutan.
Your next destination would be the Takin Enclosure to see the national animal of Bhutan, Takin. And get the narration of the beautiful story about the magical creation and existence of these animals. Buddha Point, where largest sitting Buddha statue in the country is perched on the hillock overlooking the Thimphu valley and also if interested/if time permits, take a leisure walk through Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and enjoy the nice view of the entire Thimphu valley. Afterwards, freely enjoy your evening leisure time in town. Afterwards, freely enjoy your evening leisure time in town.
Overnight at Thimphu
Day 03. Thimphu – Punakha
You will leave for Punakha from Thimphu, the road climbs steadily up through pine forest at the height of 3,050 reaching Dochula pass adorned with 108 stupas. If the weather is clear, you will see beautiful snowcapped mountains. Soon after 3 hours journey you will be in Punakha, visit Chimi Lhakhang – a distinct structure perched on the hilltop was built in 15th century by the cousin of Drukpa Kuenley, which the temple is best known for the “Temple of Fertility”.
Punakha Dzong – Fortress is known as Dzong in Bhutanese term, built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel which is situated between Pho chu (Male River) and Mo chu (Female River). Don’t forget to visit the Dzongchung (small fort) which the architectural design for Punakha fort was drawn.
Time for some real fun real, some adventure is an essential component of travel life, so you will be rafting the slow, soft cascading Mo chu (Female river) and in the mid of enjoyment don’t forget photo-shoot (note-carry a water proof material to cover the camera) the nature and its surroundings and the magnificent Punakha Dzong with its beautiful cantilever bridge.
.Overnight at Punakha
Day 04. Punakha – Bumthang
It will be a day long journey today. You will pass by Wangdiphodrang valley which is often known as the ‘Gateway to Central Bhutan’. You will get to catch the glimpse of Wangdiphodrang fort which is under reconstruction after a disastrous fire mishap occurred on June 24th 2012. The road gradually climbs up to the Pele La Pass at 3350m (aprrox) then, passes through beautiful villages, soon you will encounter Chedebji Chorten (Stupa), a replica of Swayambhunath in Kathmandu. Soon you will come across a scenic viewpoint where you can take best shot of Trongsa Dzong and Ta-dzong museum. Next, travel about a distance of 68 km to reach Bumthang, the cultural heart-land of Bhutan. Evening is leisure time, relax and rejoice at holy place
Overnight at Bumthang
Day 05. Bumthang
The cultural heartland of Bhutan is blessed by Guru Padmasambhav, who made his first visit to Bhutan in Bumthang and he is credited to have introduced Buddhism in Bhutan. The scheduled visit is Tharpaling monastery founded by Longchen Rabjam in 14th century and various spiritual masters visited the place and meditated there. And a few minutes’ walk to the north of Tharpaling Monastery lies a prominent Chodrak monastery, where Guru meditated. After invoking the blessings from the sites, get ready for a Tharpaling-Kilila hike which is moderate grade in its undertakings.
Overnight at Bumthang
Day 06. Bumthang
While in Bumthang, visit Kurjey Lhakhang, the site where Guru meditated there and had left his body imprint, thus earning the name of the temple as Kurjey (body imprint). Now is time for you to get some physical exercise, you will set onto a small hike from Kurjey Lhakhang crossing small suspension bridge to visit Padmasambhava Lhakhang located adjacent to the Tamshing lhakhang. Then, visit Tamshing Lhakhang which was built in 1501 by terton Pema Lingpa, treasure discoverer and it is one the most important renowned temple in the kingdom. The blessing received from the visiting Tamshing Lhakhang is not complete unless you visit the scared pilgrimage site, Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake). The day ends with the blessing from the holy sites. And evening is leisure time.
Overnight at Bumthang
Day 07: Bumthang – Phobjikha/Gangtey
The cultural heartland blesses you for your rest of the journey. Drive back from Bumthang following the same route to Trongsa covering the distance of 68 km. Then, the road gradually descends down and after crossing the Pele La Pass of 3350m (approx), a diversion from the highway and then soon you will passes through beautiful Phobjikha villages.
Phobjikha valley is the home for the winter visitor, Blacked Nacked Crane; they visit in winter every year from Tibet in the month of November and leaves back in March. We will get to see one bird (Blacked Nacked Crane), who waits for his/her friends to return from Tibet. After you reach to Phubjikha you can visit one and only beautiful Nyingma monastery, Gangtey sangacholing monastery which was built in 17th century by Gyalse Pema Thinley, grandson of terton Pema Lingpa. Gangtey valley claims to be one of the most beautiful valleys in the kingdom. Evening is leisure time, relax and rejoice.
Overnight at Phobjikha
Day 8: Phobjikha/Gangtey – Paro
The journey to Paro will take almost a day. Evening is leisure time.
Overnight at Paro
Day 9: Paro
Today you will have an adventurous journey and a memory worth to cherish of a hike to Taktshang monastery. Paro Taktshang is one of the most amazing structures ever built in Bhutan. Hanging in the middle of the rocky cliff was a small temple first built by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in1692, which was later enlarged to the present glory despite several fire calamities. Legends surround the fact that the place was founded by Guru Padmasambhava in 8th century. It is a 2-3 hours walk uphill from the nearest motor road head and located at an altitude of 3,120 approximately meters above sea level.
Back at Paro, visit Kyichu Temple – one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The temple was built mainly to subdue the demon that has prevented the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayan region. Then, spent rest of the day in buying gifts for your loved ones back at home
Overnight at Paro
Day 10. Departure
It is time for you to bid farewell to Bhutan with the joyful memories. Bhutan Myway would like to wish you a happy flight and safe journey. And Tashidelek (Good Luck)
Travel Advise: To save travel cost, travel with group and get exemption from supplementary cost and surcharges.