The Himalayan Jewel (10 days)
Day 1: Arrive Paro – Thimphu
The flight by both the airlines will take you over the great Himalayas, offering you the most scintillating scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the silvery Pa-chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley, the Paro dzong (fortress) and the Ta dzong (watch tower). Our representative will meet you at Paro airport. And then drive to Thimphu, the capital city with an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2: Thimphu
This is your day to discover Thimphu. After breakfast visit Trashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery which houses most of the Government’s office and King’s Throne room It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. Then visit National Library which held a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts.
After that visit Painting School, which is famous for traditional thangkha paintings. And also visit the Traditional Medicine Institute where centuries ago, old healing arts still practiced. Later visit, Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese material culture and living traditions.
After lunch, visit the Handicrafts Emporium and local shops for souvenirs ranging from Bhutan’s fine traditional arts, textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and woodcarvings, jewelers to other interesting items made from local materials. Then drive to Memorial Chorten, the stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s Third King who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu – Trongsa
After early breakfast, drive to Dochula pass (3050 m) for tea stop. If weather permits you can see a range of high peaks towards the north east along the eastern Himalayan ranges.
Drive onwards to Wangdue Phodrang town for lunch. Then continue on to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830 ft), the traditional boundary between east and west. On the way to Trongsa, visit 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
After breakfast, 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.
Then drive to Bumthang, 68 km from Trongsa, a journey of over the Yutong-la pass which gives you a wonderful sightseeing with the hight of 3,400m/ 11,155 ft. On arrival in Bumthang, check in at your lodge.
Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 5: Bumthang
After breakfast, visit 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).
In the 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 – Gangtey / Phobjikha
After breakfast drive to Gangtey / Phobjikha. In the mountains east of Wangduephodrang lies the beautiful Phobjikha valley, on the slopes of which is situated the great monastery of Gangtey, established in the 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies a few km, down from the monastery, on the valley floor. The quite and remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north.Then visit Gangtey village and Phobjikha valley.
Overnight at the lodge in Gangtey / Phobjikha.
Day 7: Gangtey / Phobjikha – Punakha
In the morning drive to Punakha and visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan’s first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. Also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, the newly built stupa.
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha / Wangduephodrang.
Day 8: Punakha – Paro
After breakfast, drive to Paro en route visiting Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan.
In the afternoon, reaching Paro,visit the Ta Dzong, the museum (which in the past served as the watch tower for the Paro dzong below). Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan. Before reaching the Dzong,walk through the traditional bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.If there is still some time left visit a farm house to test some unique drink/snacks served in traditional style. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 9: Paro
In the morning, visit Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1647 by the Zhabdrung to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetans in war of 1644. Then take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery. Legend says that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.
While returning to hotel visit en route, Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 10: Depart Paro
After breakfast, our representative will escort you to the airport in Paro and bid you farewell.
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