Places: Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangdue
Duration: 4 Nights/5 Days
Day 01: Arrive Paro – Thimphu
Druk Air will fly you over the Himalayas to Bhutan’s Paro National Airport. The great Himalayan foothills spreading like green carpet, meandering river valleys with striking waterfalls, and majestic snow capped mountains with the likes of Mount Everest are some of the picturesque scenery you will enjoy on the way to Paro. You will be received by a representative of BHUTAN BY EXPERTS at the airport and will driven to Thimphu. After lunch, you will visit The National Memorial Chorten, a monument dedicated to the third King of Bhutan. The statues and paintings inside the chorten provide a very rare immanence into the Bhutanese Buddhist Philosophy. You will then visit Buddha Point to see the largest statue of Buddha, Changangkha Monastery, The Takin Preserve Centre, the Sangaygang viewpoint, and Tashichhoe Dzong. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 02: Thimphu – Punakha (72kms, 3 hours drive)
After breakfast, we drive to Punakha via Dochu La pass. In clear weather, you can see a panoramic view of higher Himalayan peaks. Lunch at Punakha.
After lunch, you will visit the Punakha Dzong, a fort built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is situated between Pho Chhu (Male River) and Mo Chhu (Female River). Until the time of the second King of Bhutan, the dzong served as the seat of the government, and the construction of the dzong was foreseen by Guru Rinpoche. In the earlier years, there was a small building at the exact same spot called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that kept a valuable and important statue of Buddha. The Shabdrung asked an architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue. While Palep was sleeping, Shabdrung took Palep in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rinpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the idea to design the new dzong. The dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (The Palace of Great Happiness). War materials captured during battles with Tibetans are preserved here. At present day, Punakha is still the winter residence of the Je-Khenpo. In the late afternoon, you will visit Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 03: Punakha – Wangduephodrang – Thimphu
After breakfast, we drive to Wangduephodrang, and on the way, we stop a while to visit Chimi Lhakhang, the “Fertility Temple” built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley who was known as the “Divine Mad Man.”
Upon arrival to Wangdue, you will visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong, built in 1638. According to legend, as the people were searching for a site to build the dzong, four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered an auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of a compass. The dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chhu and Tang Chhu rivers.
After lunch, drive back to Thimphu. In the evening, you are able to stroll and shop in town. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 04: Thimphu
After breakfast, you will visit The National Library which contains a large collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts. You will also visit The Painting School (Zorig Chusum), famous for its students’ wood carvings, free hand drawings and paintings, and textile weavings. Then, you will visit the Folk Heritage Museum.
After lunch, you will hike up to Tango and Cheri Monasteries. In the evening, you are able to shop at the Handicrafts Emporium where you can see the wonderful artistry of traditional crafts and textiles. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 05: Thimphu – Paro
You have an early breakfast. We drive to Paro and will visit the incredible Taktshang Monastery. Upon arrival, the short drive from downtown Paro to upper Paro valley takes us to Satsam Chorten where the pilgramage trail to Taktshang starts. The trail climbs through a beautiful pine forest grove of fluttering prayer flags. We rest and have light refreshments at Taktshang Jakhang (cafeteria). Then, we walk a short distance to a viewpoint to have a clear view of the incredible Tiger’s Nest (Taktshang). The primary lhakhang at Tiger’s Nest was built around Guru Rinpoche’s meditation cave and was built in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This spectacular monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, who is said to be his favourite consort.
After lunch, you will visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower. It has been The National Museum since 1967. You will also visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The dzong presently houses Paro’s district administrative offices.
In the late afternoon, we visit Drukgyel Dzong, now in ruins. It was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to honor a victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644. The dzong was used as an administrative centre until 1951 when a fire caused by butter lamp destroyed it. Then, you will visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred temple dating from the introduction of Buddhism in the 7th century. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 06: Depart Paro
After an early morning breakfast, we drive you to the Paro National Airport.