Routes & Places: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Trongsa & Bumthang
Day 1: Paro Arrival Drive to Thimphu
The flight arrival into the Paro valley is your first introduction to green and lush vegetation coverage surrounding the valley and the majestic view of the sacred Mt. Jhomolhari, the second highest peak of Bhutan. On arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by the Bhutanese team from Jogdro Tours & Treks. Prepare to visit the places you were long waiting for the right moment to come.
Kichu Lhakhang (temple) – one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. Legends are of the view that a demoness was preventing the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayan region. To overcome the evil, the Tibetan King decided to build 108 temples, pinning down in all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, two were built in Bhutan, one at Paro and another at Bumthang.
Later in the afternoon, drive to Thimphu, capital city of Bhutan that will take approximately one and half hour covering the distance of 65 km. Now you are at race with the swift flowing Pa chu river alongside the road which will ultimately lead to a 15th century old building structure know by the name Taachog Lhakhang. A visit is worth crossing the iron suspension bridge which is one of the mater piece and a legacy left by the founder of the temple. After a short drive from the confluence, you will soon be welcomed by the capital city, Thimphu.
Tashichhoe Dzong (Fortress) – a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
Overnight at Thimphu
Day 2: Thimphu
A short hike to Tango monastery should light up your day. After breakfast, travel to the base camp of Tango Monastery which lies north of Thimphu city. From the base camp you hike up to the Monastery through a well-maintained footpath nurtured by the lush green tall trees filled with oak as well as Rhododendron flower trees which will be in full bloom during spring season.
Tango Monastery – it was built in 1689 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgyal. The three-storied monastery was built with the help of the locals and was completed within two months. At present Tango Monastery is the center for higher studies for monks. The view from Tango Monastery is breathtakingly beautiful. You will experience complete peace and serenity in this area.
Memorial Chorten (Stupa) – the white tall structure is a place which is continuously circumambulated by the faithful, murmuring mantras and spinning their hand-held prayer wheels. The construction of this landmark was a wish of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who passed away before he could see his wish fulfilled. Later in 1974, the monument was erected in memory of the late king and a treasure for the world peace and prosperity.
Takin Enclosure – Takin (Budorcas taxicolor), the national animal of Bhutan is chosen based on unique outlook and its association with evolutionary mythology. Listen to the story from you guide. Takin resembles a cow from back, a goat in from the front, and it continues to befuddle taxonomists, who cannot quite relate to other animal.
Buddha Point – Kuenselphodrang 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 scenic view of the entire Thimphu valley.
Overnight at Thimphu
Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha
Today is a fresh new day to enjoy and to write a new travel chapter of an exclusive geographical setting. The Journey from Thimphu to Punakha will take around 3 hours covering the distance of almost 71 km. Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply 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. On reaching Punakha, the temple of fertility will greet you.
Chimi Lhakhang (Temple) – built in 15th century by the cousin of Drukpa Kuenley which the temple is best known for the “Temple of Fertility”. A wooden effigy of the Lama’s thunderbolt is preserved in the Lhakhang, and childless women go to the temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint.
Rafting – Drive to the base of Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Lhakhang, the real adventure fun will start from there. You will be rafting the slow, soft cascading Mo chu (Female river) feeling the breath of nature until you reach the magnificent Punakha Dzong with its beautiful cantilever bridge.
Punakha Dzong – situated between Phochu (Male River) and the Mochu (Female River), the dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. And it was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century and in 1907, the first king of Bhutan king, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck was enthroned ensuring the continual monarchal rule for stability of the nation. Damaged over the centuries by catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong still stand in its full glory making it one of the most beautiful dzong in the country in a perfect geographical setting.
Overnight at Punakha
Day 4: Punakha – Bumthang
Start early from Punakha so you don’t want battle the dusk to reach the cultural of Bhutan, Bumthang. Your 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 (approx) 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 5: 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. Your first scheduled visit is Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songtsen Goempo of Tibet. In his effort to propagate Buddhism he built108 temples across Himalayan region which two are built in Bhutan, Kyichu in Paro and Jampay in Bumthang.
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 Tamshing temple. Tamshing Lhakhang 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 Jambay, Kurjey and 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. Your mission is accomplished and wishes granted. And evening is leisure time.
Overnight at Bumthang
Day 6: Bumthang – Gangtey/Wangdiphodrang
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. Show up for the visit to Trongsa museum where the monuments are displayed at the former Ta Dzong (watch tower), now converted to a museum. The Bhutanese cultural aspects and the history are explained by beautiful objects. Documentary will be shown too which explains a great deal about Bhutanese history. And also visit Trongsa Dzong, which is the one of the impressive dzong in Bhutan standing in its full glory. Built in 1648 by Chogyal Minjur Tenpa, the dzong is an architectural masterpiece. 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 known for the home for the winter visitor, Blacked Nacked Crane, they visit in winter every year from Tibet in the month of November to end of March. After you reach to Phubjikha you can visit one and only beautiful Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan Gangtey sangacholing monastery which was built in 1613 by Gyalse Pema Thinley, grandson of terton Pema Lingpa. And if time permits, go for Gangtey Natural Trail which is 1 hour and 30 minutes through beautiful blue pine forest with lovely view of roosting ground of black neck crane. Evening is leisure time, relax and rejoice.
Overnight at Gangtey
Day 7: Gangtey/Wangdiphodrang – Paro
The travel time from Gangtey to Paro will take almost 6 ½ hours, another tiring journey yet worth admiring travelling through the beautiful valleys, breath-taking scenery, descending and climbing road curves and the fresh touch of air. On arrival into Paro valley, don’t forget to explore the unexplored sights.
Ringpung Dzong – it is the expression of one of the finest Bhutanese architectural designs and a power house of administration, jurisdiction and monastic base for the people of Paro valley.
Drukgyel Dzong: the ruined fortress is located 14kms north of Paro town. Drukgyal Dzong (victories fortress) was built around 1644-49 to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetan-Mongol forces. It was later burnt down by fire accident in 1951. On a clear day, Mt. Jumolhari, Bhutan\’s holy peak is seen against its backdrop.
Overnight at Paro
Day 8: Paro
Drive to north of the valley and embark on a short hike to the famous Taktshang (Tiger’s lair) monastery. For the Bhutanese and the Buddhists people outside Bhutan, it is a holy pilgrimage; a hike up to the viewpoint opposite the monastery is exhausting, thrilling and mystical. This will no doubt be one of the highlights of your stay in Bhutan. 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. Back at Paro, spent rest of the day in buying gifts for your friends and loved ones back at home.
Overnight at Paro
Day 9: 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)
Transfer to and from the airport
Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
FIT surcharges of US$40/person/night for a solo traveler and US$30/person/night for a group of two. And group of three and above are exempted from surcharges by law
Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guide for tour
All entrance fee to museums and monuments
Transportation within Bhutan
Visa fees of US$ 40 (one time fees)
All internal taxes including royalty (US$ 65/person/night)
Air fare (both international and domestic)
Any kind of insurance
Any king of external tax
Tipping for guide and driver
Single room supplement of US$40/room/night, if you want a separate room apart from the twin-sharing accommodation
Upgrades to 4-star and 5 star luxury accommodation available on request
Other personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, phone call, etc
Travel insurance (recommended)
Other miscellaneous expenditures
Prices are quoted and payable only in US dollars. All prices published on our website are as mandated and directed by the government under Tourism Council of Bhutan. No additional charges are impose besides an special request for the arrangement which is not included in the tour packages such as wedding ceremony expenses, grand birthday celebration, additional services, etc.
Travel Advise: To save travel cost, travel with group and get exemption from supplementary cost and surcharges.