Kingdom in the Sky (9 days)
Discover the breathtaking beauty of Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, and home to Buddhist monasteries in a 9-day tour of this Himalayan kingdom.
Day 1: Arrive Paro by Druk Air – Thimphu
Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of the Himalayan scenery, culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the kingdom, provided if the weather is clear.
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by our representative. Then, there will be an interesting drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2: Thimphu
The sightseeing in Thimphu valley includes, visit to National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature with some works dating back several hundred years ;Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as Painting School) where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan; Textile and Folk Heritage Museum which provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. Then visit National Memorial Chorten, dedicated to Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the father of modern Bhutan”).
After that visit Trashichhodzong, the impressive fortress/monastery houses Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body.Then visit Handicrafts Emporium: which displays wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted products.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu – Trongsa
After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.
Then continue onwards, reaching Wangduephodrang town in time for lunch. Take lunch at Wangduephodrang town, and then continue on to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830 ft), the traditional boundary between east and west. Stop en route at Chendbji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes panted at four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.
Arrive at Trongsa late afternoon and check into the lodge for the night.
Day 4: Trongsa – Bumthang
In the morning, visit Trongsa Dzong. Built in 1648 it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second Kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All four Kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (‘governor’) prior to ascending the throne, and the present Crown Prince now holds the post.
Then drive to Bumthang over the Yutong-la pass (3,400m/ 11,155 ft). On arrival in Bumthang, check in at your lodge. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 5: Bumthang
Todays full day of sightseeing in Bumthang includes visit to: Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock; the Jambey Lhakhang (7th century temple); Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan); and Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region).
Evening stroll in the village, visit the little handicrafts shop at the entrance to the town, and perhaps take refreshments at a local restaurant. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 6: Bumthang – Punakha
After breakfast, explore further the fascinating valley of Bumthang. Then proceed to Punakha, stopping along the way at Trongsa for lunch, which would be served in local restaurant, famous for its cuisine.
En-route visit Wangduephodrang Dzong and town. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 7: Punakha – Paro
After breakfast, visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955, and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan’s first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood several damages from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damages to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue. Also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, the newly built stupa.
In the afternoon, drive to Paro. En-route visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 8: Paro
Today’s full day of sightseeing in Paro valley includes, visit to Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history.
After lunch, we drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. En route, we also visit Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom. In the evening before dinner, visit a traditional farmhouse for an opportunity to interact with a local family and learn something of their lifestyle. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 9: Depart Paro
After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.
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