Discover Western Bhutan (7 nights/ 8 days)

TOUR CODE: BHN-08

 

 

Day 1 : Arrive Paro International Airport

Flying into Paro, Bhutan is a unique experience altogether. The flight offers views of the majestic eastern Himalayas, and the arrival into a solitary runway at the country’s only airport is a mind-boggling event with the landscape and weather conditions dictating a steep descent into a narrow valley.

 

You will be received by our representative & your guide and driven to hotel for refreshment and a brief discussion about your tour program. Sightseeing includes, The National Museum ( Ta-Dzong).Once the watch tower for the Rinpung Dzong ( Fortress), it was converted into the national Museum in 1968 (one of the best museums of Asia). The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. Visit the Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing and abutted by two guard houses to the Dzong. Today, this massive fortress built in 1645 AD is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower( Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the nation.

 

Take a leisurely drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. This point offers bird eye view of the Mt. Chomolhari (7329m). On the way back visit the oldest temple of the kingdom, Kichu Lhakhangt. This temple was built in 629AD by a Tibetan King to pin down a giant demon. There is a sacred orange tree that grew on its own at the courtyard which bears fruits on all the seasons. This tree is said to be 600 years old. In the evening walk around Paro town and interact with the local people. Overnight Paro. (Alt; 2280m)

 

Day 2 : Paro – Punakha/ Wangdue (128km/ 4hrs)

After breakfast, drive to Punakha via the winding river of Paro Chu & Wangchu. Stop for a hot cup of coffee at Dochu La pass ( 3150m) where you can enjoy the spectacular views of the eastern Himalayan mountain range. Take a walk around the 108 stupas and also enter the Drukwangyel temple built by the four queens as a tribute to the fourth King of Bhutan.  

 

En route visit Royal Botanical Garden in Lamperi. The park features a variety of forest types, spectacular scenery, natural rhododendron groves, endangered wildlife and a lake. 

 

After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong, "Palace of Great Happiness.” It hosts the administrative seat of the district. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female river. It was built in 1637 AD It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan's first king was crowned. This ancient fortress is considered to be one of the most beautiful by many. Punakha is the former winter Capital of Bhutan and now It’s the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. 

 

Evening, hike to Chimi Lhakhang. This temple is called the Temple of Fertility as it is believed that childless couples who come here to pray for a child is usually blessed with a child. This is the temple of one of Bhutan’s foremost saints, Lama Drukpa Kunley, also known as the “Divine Madman.” The trail takes you through the Himalayan paddy fields and a typical village called Lobesa. Overnight Punakha/ Wangdue. (Alt; 1240m) 

 

Day 3 : Wangdue Phodrang – Phobjikha (65km/ 3hr)

Morning, visit the classic fortress of Wangdue situated on the hilltop. There are many sacred temples hidden within it’s ancient structure and your guide will take you to some of the main shrine rooms for blessings. Spend some time exploring the typical town of Wangdue and head on the Phpbjikha. 

 

Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the periphery of the north western tip of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is a conservatoin area and lies on the northern boundary of the Jowo Durshing range.  People sometimes refer to the entire region as Gangtey after the name of the Gangtey Goenpa  that is situated on a ridge overlooking the Phobjikha valley. According to legend that the Gangtey Goenpa was founded by the grandson ( the mind incarnation) of Pema Lingpa in 1613. The Phobjikha valley is also one of the roosting grounds of the Black-necked cranes that migrate each year in winter from its nothern habitats in Tibet and Siberia to these grounds. 

 

Visit Information Centre for the Blacked Necked Cranes. Evening, take a hike through the Blue Pine forest to the village farmhouse. Try traditional Bhutanese snacks made from corn and rice with a homemade wine. Overnight Phobjikha. (Alt; 2900m)

 

Day 4 : Phobjikha – Thimphu (142km/ 5hr)

On rise, drive to Thimphu the cultural heartland of the kingdom. Thimphu is a small, charming capital city nestled in the heart of the Himalayas. It is nothing like what a capital city is imagined to be. Most of the houses and buildings are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style. 

 

En route Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortress of Bhutan built in 1629 and it houses the largest monastic schools in the country.

 

After check in resort and some rest, drive to the animal sanctuary where the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin, is found in captivity. Walk around the BBS tower which is also known as the “romantic point” and lovers often come here to look at the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley. En route visit Nunnery temple. You can show your devotion here by praying with the Buddhist nuns. 

 

Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved.  They also have on display the largest Picture Book on Bhutan in the world.  

Visit the Zorig Chuksum “School for Thirteen Traditional Arts and Crafts”  followed by a visit to Textile Museum, Handicraft Emporium  and some local shops for antiques. 

Visit the Tashichhoe Dzong, the main secretariat building, the office of the King and Throne room and also the house of the State Monastic Body. 

 

Evening, embark on a walking tour that includes; Hongkong Market/ Thai Park/ Main Traffic Area/ Norzin Lam/ Central Plaza/ General Post Office/ National Stadium/ Clock Tower, etc. Free to shop! Overnight Thimphu. (Alt; 2320m)

 

Day 5 : Excursion to Tango & Chari

Embark on a day’s excursion to Tango & Chari. Tango monastery is situated in solitary hill covered by forest and is one of the best places to study Buddhism. The monks take pride in being a part of this beautiful Draktsang and at present there are also seven reincarnation studying here. 

 

The 12th century Chari goemba is one of the most popular meditational retreat centre for the monks. The meditational sites are glued to the rocky cliff 300m above the river valley. Once the monks graduate from Tango Monastery most of them decides to sit for meditation around the holy temple of Chari from three years to nine years. Tango Chari is located 12km away from Thimphu city .

 

The hike to Tango monastery takes about 1.5hrs round trip and the Chari goemba takes about 2.5hrs round trip. Picnic lunch will be arranged amidst the nature trail. After visiting the holy shrines, you can spend some time meditating in the temple and the surrounding campus. It is believed, meditation happens own at this serene site. 

 

On the way back, visit the Farmer’s Fresh Market which opens only on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Talk to locals from various villages. 

Visit the Traditional Medicine Centre which includes hospital and herbal medicine manufacturing unit based on the Tibetan system of medicine. The centre also trains indigenous medicine doctors known as “Dungtso”.

 

Evening, time at your leisure…free to go shopping or take a drive to Buddha gang to have a last glance of the beautiful valley of Thimphu! Overnight Thimphu.

 

Day 6 : Thimphu – Haa Valley  ( 102km/ 3-4hrs)

Morning, drive to the valley of Haa. This is a scenic & lovely drive through the remote region of the kingdom. The pristine Haa Valley, ancestral home of Bhutan’s Queen Mother was closed to outsiders till 2001. It is surrounded by forested hillsides full of ancient shrines, while the narrow valley floor is dotted with fields of millet, barley, and potatoes. Its farmhouses are adorned with intricately painted wooden cornices and ornately carved window frames. 

 

You will walk through serene hamlets and remote monasteries below mountain peaks. Good for Photography, Flora and Fauna. After check in lodge, start to explore this magical valley from the Black & White Dove temple to the beautiful green hills of Damthang, and on the way back stroll around the remote town of Haa. Overnight Haa. (Alt; 2670m)  Overnight Haa. (Alt; 2670m)

 

Day 7 : Excursion to Mystical Taktsang

After a healthy breakfast, drive to Paro via Chele La pass (3810m), the highest motorable road of the kingdom. This is a scenic drive and you might spot few yaks along the way. On arrival, spend the day hiking up the forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous and scenic icon. The climb is steep and takes about 4 hours round trip. An important place of pilgrimage and refuge for more than 1200 years, Taktsang Monastery clings to sheer cliffs two-thousand feet above Paro Valley, and from your closest vantage point on a rocky ledge directly across from it, you will still need 200-300 mm lenses and a steady tripod to get tight photographs. 

 

This sacred place got its name when Guru Rinpoche rode there on the back of a flying tiger and meditated in a cave behind the present-day monastery. Sadly, in 1998, the central temple was destroyed by fire, leaving the country in mourning for their holiest of spiritual places. But religious leaders and the King quickly developed a plan to rebuild Taktsang and donations started pouring in from Buddhist centers all over the world, and today, the magnificently rebuilt exterior is complete. Tiger’s Nest is once again the subject of cloud-shrouded posters that say, “Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon.” Picnic lunch on the hillside cafeteria. 

 

Special permit will be arranged for you to enter the Tiger’s Nest monastery but you will not be allowed to take pictures of the inside shrines.

 

Evening, visit a typical village home for a traditional Bhutanese style dinner accompanied by the local liquor called “Ara” (tastes somewhat like the Japanese Sake) & yak meat. Then luxuriate in the Bhutanese equivalent of a Jacuzzi called a “Chu Tse.” River rocks are heated and dunked into a large wooden tub with herbs. This type of bath is considered to have medicinal properties of healing. Overnight Paro.

 

Day 8 : Departure

Our representative will bid you farewell at the Airport. Tashi Delek!

A:Available - This tour is available for booking.
R:On Request - This tour is on request only
All prices are per person.
If you are interested, please contact your local agent to make the booking or alternatively email us at reservations@toursite.com.au