Trek Day 10:
Dolam Kencho (10,790ft / 3290m) to Dodena (8577ft / 2615m) and Thimphu (45 minutes drive)
Time 3 hr
Distance 4.3 miles /7km
Altitude Gain 525ft / 160m
Altitude Loss 2214ft/675m)
Climb back from the campsite up to the main trail to the cairn at 11, 315ft / 3450m, from where the route descends to a side stream (10, 070ft/3070m). There are small ups and downs followed by a couple of short steep switchbacks to descend a vertical cliff before finally reaching the last stretch to Dodena. The Trail descends through bamboo forest, following the mule trail high above the river until finally meets it again at Dodena. A large sign marks the one of the entry and exit point of Jigme Dorji National Park, and a beautiful styled covered wooden bridge marks the path to Cheri Gompa. Drive to Thimphu for a nice hot shower at your hotel.
After breakfast, you will be taken to the following places of cultural interest. The folk Heritage Museum: This museum lets you experience the Bhutanese way of life. Art and Craft Institute: This is a vocational training Institute where the art of painting, woodcraft and sculpturing are taught to students with the objective of preserving the rich and pristine heritage. The National Library: This repository houses ancient religious and historical manuscripts. Those of you interested in whetting your intellectual appetite may do so here. Lunch will be served at your Hotel. Afternoon you will visit the Drubthob Gompa Nunnnery: Nuns with sport short hair, who play a vital role in the religious affairs of the local community, are enrolled here. Thereafter you will be taken to have a “Birds Eye view of Thimphu valley. Enroute, you shall visit the mini zoo to see the National Animal ” Takin. After seeing this place you will have a free time to explore the Handicraft Emporium and other local Handicrafts shops to experience the beauty of Bhutanese Textiles. Dinner and Overnight: Hotel
Thimphu – Paro
This morning visits The Textile Museum: This museum displays the finest art of weaving from various regions of Bhutan. You will also be able to see the different fabrics and the intricacies of weaving. There will be a brief audiovisual program on textiles of Bhutan. Bhutan Post (Post Office): As the sole postal organization of Bhutan, Bhutan Post offers you the finest collections of stamps and post cards. You can purchase the finest stamps and cards as a souvenir. The Memorial Chorten built in the honor of the late King of Bhutan; this Chorten is centrally located for young and old people to pray. Afternoon you will depart to Paro for your overnight hotel. We will take 2 hours leisurely drive following the Thimphu River till the confluence of Thimphu and Paro River, Chunzom. At the confluences, here your will see three forms of Chorten in different styles i.e. Nepalese, Tibetan and Bhutanese. The drive then follows the Paro River upwards passing through several villages. Enroute you will view Tachogang Monastery, (the monastery of the Excellent horse) built by Thangthong Gyalpo (Iron chain builder in Bhutan) and his Iron chain bridge can be still seen. Drive though village of Shaba and then to you hotel at Paro. Evening at leisure. Farewell Dinner and Overnight: Hotel
Paro – Airport
Depart for Paro airport for your onward flight having experienced the best of Bhutan.
Note: This itinerary is a sample, intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule and everything that you will be able to see during your trip. Numerous factors such as weather, the physical ability of the participants, may dictate itinerary changes either before or while on the trip. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of trip participant’s safety, comfort and general well being. I have included everything that is feasible for you all to see during the trip.
Central Bhutan Bicycle Tour:
Arrive Paro International Airport
If flying in from Delhi-Kathmandu, one will experience from the left hand side of the plane breath taking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks including Bhutan’s sacred Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. On arrival at the Airport, representatives of Bhutan Majestic Travel will receive and escort to Hotel. Lunch at the Hotel. Discuss the Tour Programme with the Tour Guide and rest leave for acclimatization. Overnight: Hotel in Paro
Paro – Paro
The entire Paro valley is relatively flat and is a great start to your first day of bicycling. Bicycle to Drukgyal Dzong (a ruined fortress 16 Kms away from Paro town). Although in ruins, this Dzong is of great historical importance. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. One a clear day one can see Mount Jumolhari, Abode of the Goddess Jumo, rising 7,314 meters. Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon: Visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum of Bhutan. This was the watch tower of the Paro Rinchen Pong Dzong. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968, and is located on a hill above the Paro Dzong overlooking the Paro valley. Visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. This massive fortress is located in Paro valley and is approached by a gently sloping flagstone road and a beautiful covered wooden bridge. Today the Dzong is the administrative seat of the district of Paro, and it also contains a state monastic community of approximately 200 monks. The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb wood work, is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan. This Dzong was built in 1646 AD. Overnight: Hotel in Paro
Paro – Thimphu
After breakfast, either drive or ride bicycles to Thimphu, the capital city. The drive meanders along the Paro and Thimphu River and takes approximately 2 hours (65 kilometers) by car and by Bike it depends on ones’ riding speed. The gradient of the road is excellent for bicycling as there are no steep climbs or descents. Check into Hotel Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon, visit the Memorial Chorten (huge stupa) built in the memory of the third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who reigned from 1952-1972. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Thimphu – Thimphu
Morning: Bicycle to the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest Dzong in the country (built in 1629 AD). Opportunity to visit with some of the monks and observe life within the monastery. In the old days, the oldest son of every family was offered to a monastery where the child grew up as a monk. Even now, it is not uncommon for some families to continue the practice. Visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other handicrafts are displayed and can be purchased. Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon, visit Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the Ministries, the offices of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot. Visit the Painting School where traditional art is still practiced through the instructions in the art of painting Thankas (sacred Buddhist scrolls).
Bicycle to Pangri Zampa Monastery which is just beyond Dechencholing (5 Kms from Thimphu). This monastery was the residence of the founder of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel when he arrived in Bhutan in 1616 AD. Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdue
After an early breakfast, set out for Punakha and Wangdi. On the way, stop at Dochula Pass 3150mts. (10,00 ft) for a hot cup of tea/coffee and to enjoy a spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan mountain ranges (on a clear day). From Dochula, bicycle down into Wangdi which is located 51 Kms down. It is an exhilarating ride. After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong which houses the district administration offices. It is also the winter residence of the State Monastic Body and its Chief Abbot, the Je Khenpo. Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pho Chu (Male River) and the Mo Chu (Female River). This Dzong was built in 1637 AD. Visit Wangdiphodrang Dzong which is 13 Kms from Punakha. This Dzong and the town is perched on a hill, between two rivers and has a spectacular view. The Dzong was built in 1638 AD; a year after the Punakha Dzong was built. A tour vehicle will follow the bicycle group at all times in case of emergency or general weariness. Overnight: Hotel in Wangdue or Punakha
Punakha/Wangdue – Trongsa
Drive to Trongsa, and on the way guests can bicycle certain stretches of the road. The terrain has steep ascents and descents and has some spectacular scenery. Overnight: Hotel in Trongsa.
Trongsa – Bumthang
After breakfast visit the ancient Watch Tower in Trongsa. This structure sits atop a hillock overlooking the Trongsa Dzong and town. Ancient armors are displayed in the Watch Tower. Visit the Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the present Royal family of Bhutan. It was built in 1648 AD and is one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Bhutan. It is presently the administrative seat of the Trongsa district and the home of the monastic school. Built split levels on a narrow spur, this Dzong is an architectural marvel. The view from the Dzong is spectacular and one can see for many miles. In the old days, it was the vigilance point for both the eastern and western trade routes, thus a strategically important Dzong. After a light refreshment at the hotel, drive to Bumthang. After crossing a high pass, guests can bicycle all the way to Bumthang. The road is broad and all downhill after the pass. Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang.
Bumthang – Bumthang
After breakfast, bicycle around the most beautiful valley in Bhutan. It is possible to bicycle a radius of 60 Kms around the valley. Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang
Bumthang – Ura –Bumthang
After breakfast bicycle to Ura valley some 69 Kms from Bumthang. Ura is another beautiful valley over 9,500 ft high. Sightsee in Ura valley and drive back to Bumthang. Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang
Day 10 Bumthang to Wangdue
(197 Kms). On the way as and when possible, guests can bicycle certain stretches of the road. Overnight: Hotel in Wangdue
Wangdue – Thimphu
Drive to Thimphu. After crossing Dochula Pass guests can bicycle all the way to Thimphu (26 Kms downhill). Sight seeing in Thimphu and if the day falls on the weekend visit the famous week end market in Thimphu where the local populace gathers for weekly shopping for produce. Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Thimphu – Paro
Guests can either drive to Paro or bicycle. Check into hotel and have lunch. After lunch hike to the view point of the famous Taktsang Monastery. The hike takes about 4 hours round trip. Evening: Stroll around Paro town and overnight hotel in Paro
Drive to airport for departure, where your Guide and Driver would bid you farewell.
Flowers & Monasteries of Central & West Bhutan GROUP 10 Nights
One of the ancient names given to Bhutan was 'Southern Valleys of Medicinal Herbs' and thanks to the enlightened
leadership of Bhutan’s kings and the strong conservation ethic of the Bhutanese people an estimated 770 species of
birds and more than 50 species of rhododendron alone, besides a large variety of medicinal plants and orchids, are
found in the country. Soon after Losar, the Bhutanese New Year, the glories of the Kingdom's flora slowly begin to
unfold, the landscape sheds its winter coat taking on every shade of green, up at the Dochula Pass two varieties of
Primula Denticulata emerge through the frost covered ground, the Chele La is carpeted in Edelweiss and in early June rhododendrons are in full bloom. Encompassing seven valleys, of differing altitudes, and three high passes at this time of the year makes for the perfect experience for culture and nature lovers alike.
Traveling through Bhutan’s ethereal landscape on the way to the wild centre, we pass countless golden roofed
monasteries and prayer flag covered hilltops, navigate endless emerald valleys and ancient forests with snow-capped
Himalayan peaks in the background throughout. This ten-night package promises an easy yet comprehensive experience of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, with accommodation split between the luxury resort of Uma Paro,
and carefully-sourced, traditional hotels in the less developed regions. The adventure starts with an exploration of the bustling markets and colorful museums of the capital Thimpu, before heading over the spectacular Dochu La (pass) and following the Mo Chhu (Mother River) to Punakha and the Divine Madman’s temple Chimmi Lhakhang. Sampling this Himalayan kingdom’s inimitable Buddhist culture along the way, our journey continues on through the Black Mountains past yaks grazing on dwarf bamboo, reaching the sacred heart of Bhutan, the four valleys of Bumthang – beautifully rustic and deeply spiritual at the same time. On the return journey we stopover in Phobjikha an unusually wide, beautiful alpine wetland valley where the rare Black Necked Cranes fly down from Tibet to spend the winter.
Once settled into the comfortable Uma Paro, the main temples, monasteries and dzongs of the Paro Valley are on our Flowers & Monasteries Central & West Bhutan GROUP 10 Nights doorstep with the awe inspiring walk up to the Tiger’s Nest monastery as a fitting highlight to end this exploration of the Land of the Thunderdragon.
Arrival at Paro International Airport, Thimpu Sightseeing your Uma Paro guide will welcome you at the airport
for the one hour scenic drive to Thimpu, winding alongside two snaking rivers and passing countless fine examples of the quaint, traditional farmhouse architecture of Bhutan. The capital itself sprawls up the wooded western hillside of the Wang Chhu and is the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimpu is a bustling town where traditional ways mingle with modern introductions. After check in to our hotel in the heart of the capital, the sightseeing begins.
Duration of drive: 1 - 1.5 hours (50km)
Overnight: Jhomalhari Hotel, Thimpu
Thimpu Sightseeing, Punakha Valley via Dochu La, Chimmi Lhakhang after breakfast, the sightseeing begins in
earnest and depending on opening hours, guests’ interests and time, your guide may include some of the following in your private schedule:
The National Memorial Chorten, Trashi Chhoe Dzong: the “fortress of the glorious religion”, the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, the National Textile Museum, the Weekend Market, the Folk Heritage Museum, or you may wish to just go window shopping or perhaps try the one hour walk up to Tango Monastery at the head of the valley. It is then time to head off on a truly awe inspiring road as it zigzags up to the 3,140m-high mountain pass of Dochu La with its forests of fluttering prayer flags, maze of memorial chortens and, on a clear day, sweeping views of the main Himalayan range. As one arrives at the pass the air is heady with the scent of Daphne, a small shrub with fragrant white flowers, covering the slopes where a myriad of colorful prayer flags stand. The Daphne bark is used to make traditional Bhutanese paper, which has the rare characteristic of being termite proof and thus highly valued for writing religious scriptures. Etched against the brilliant blue winter sky are the magnificent white blossoms of the Magnolia Campbelli adorning the tall, leafless trees. The magnolias and the rhododendrons (etho methos) will continue to flower for the next two months. The scarlet rhododendrons being succeeded by other varieties: deep and pale pink, lavender, white, yellow, and orange. Some 54 varieties of this magnificent species are found in Bhutan.
Time to stretch the legs with the short walk across rice paddies to Chimmi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to
Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as “Divine Madman.” infamous for his colourful and
sometimes outrageous adherence to the Buddhist faith. The temple sits atop a picturesque hill surrounded by rice fields. Drukpa Kuenley built a chorten on the site in the 14th century, and it has long been a pilgrimage site for
Duration of drive: 3 - 4 hours (76km)
Overnight: Meri Puensum Hotel, Punakha
Punakha Dzong, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and Bazaar, Pele La, Chendebji Chorten, Trongsa An early morning start for further exploration of the Punakha valley, low enough (1200m) to allow bananas and oranges to grow. The destination for an optional early morning walk or by car - the massive architectural edifice of the 17th century Punakha Dzong (fortress/monastery) soon looms into view. Built in 1637 by Shabdung Nawang Namgyal in a commanding position at the confluence of the Po Chhu and Mo Chhu (Father and Mother rivers).
Bhutan’s second oldest dzong goes by the full name of Druk Pungthang Decchen Phodrang (the Palace of Great
Happiness) and is arguably the country's most attractive. It served as the seat of the Kingdom's government until the
time of the second King and today serves as the winter home of Je Khempo, the head abbot of Bhutan, along with a
retinue of 1,000 monks.
After a stroll through the quaint bazaar at Wangdue Phodrang to visit its dzong it is time to leave for Trongsa. The
pass to cross today is the Pele La (3420m) in the Black Mountains with countless yaks grazing on the dwarf bamboo
found here. The village of Sephu provides a shopping opportunity in the form of woven bamboo mats and baskets and soon after guests can stretch their legs with a visit to Chendebji Chorten, a stupa built in the style of Swayambhunath (the monkey temple) in Kathmandu, which covers an evil spirit which was killed at this spot. Winding again through forest there is a good chance to see monkeys before reaching a spectacular viewpoint across a gorge to Trongsa Dzong. Our hotel for the night can be seen to the left of the town and though you can almost touch it the road teases you and takes another detour (14km) before reaching Trongsa.
Duration of drive: 5 - 6 hours (135km)
Overnight: Yangkhil Hotel, Trongsa
Trongsa Dzong, Ta Dzong, Weaving Villages, Bumthang Built in 1648, Trongsa Dzong was the ancestral home of
the ruling dynasty and the district administration office of the Trongsa district. Backing on to the mountain and built on
several levels, the Dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the
routes south and west. The view from the Dzong extends for many kilometres and in former times nothing could escape the vigilance of its watchmen. Furthermore, the Dzong is built in such a way that in the old days, no matter what direction a traveler came from, he was obliged to pass by the Dzong. The Ta-Dzong, an ancient Watch Tower of the Trongsa Dzong is located on top of a steep hill overlooking the town and is worth the climb. The Journey to Bumthang is along one of the most scenically beautiful routes in Bhutan, passing pretty villages and monasteries dotted across wide open farm and wood land and several weaving concerns before entering Jakar, the market town serving the four valleys that encompass Bumthang. Home for the next 3 nights is the River Lodge Guesthouse, full of rustic but simple charm with most of what appears on the dining table actually produced on the farm.
Duration of drive: 2.5 – 3 hours 68km
Overnight: River Lodge, Bumthang
Jakar Dzong, Wangdichholing Palace, Lamey Goemba, Kurjey Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang Bumthang is the name for a region of four valleys in the East of Bhutan centred on the town of Jakar, which is the largest between Thimpu and Tashigang in the East. The area is of great spiritual significance in Bhutan, being strongly associated with myth and legend as well as more corporeal manifestations, such as the great Buddhist preacher, Pema Lingpa, to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its ancestry. The area is truly unspoilt and is famous for the production of honey, as well as cheese, apples, apricots and Red Panda beer.
There is plenty to see and do during our time in Central Bhutan and your guide can help you plan a suitable itinerary. There are numerous day walks and places to visit including Jakar Dzong, Wangdichholing Palace, Lamey Goemba and the impressive Kurjey Lhakhang (temple) on the western side of Bumthang Chhu (river). Crossing the river, on the eastern bank visit Tamshing temple – the most important Nyingma Buddhist temple in Bhutan. Jakar Dzong (‘Castle of the White Bird’) was built by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Desi (Temporal ruler) in 1646 A.D. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. There is also great scope for local village walks, along with a visit to the homeopathic hospital, the cheese factory and a stroll around Jakar town itself.
Overnight: River Lodge, Bumthang
Ura Valley and Village Explore the Choskhor Valley and drive out to the easternmost valley in Bumthang to Ura
Village (1.5 hours) which is said to be home to some of the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. This traditional, picturesque medieval village and its temple sound and echo from Bhutan’s past especially when one walks the cobbled walkways and meets the villagers who still wear sheepskins on their backs (used to sleep on at night). Depending on the time spent in the Ura valley there may still be time to visit Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) and/or take a short hike to Thangbi Monastery in the afternoon.
Overnight: River Lodge, Bumthang.
Bumthang, Phobjikha Valley, Gangtey Goemba, Carpet Weaving, Nature Study Centre– After three nights in the idyllic apple orchard setting of the Swiss Guesthouse overlooking the Bhutan’s spiritual heartland it is finally time
to start back west to explore the exquisite sweeping, glacial Phobjikha Valley. With its alpine setting on the western
slope of the Black Mountains, the valley is famous as the seasonal home of the rare black-necked cranes, who spend
the winter months here (the cranes can be observed from the last week in October through to mid-February). This is a designated conservation area and has a nature study centre for conservation studies and education of local farmers
and students funded by the Bhutanese government, with assistance from the World Wildlife Fund. The sweeping views from the restaurant and rooms of the newly opened Dewachen Hotel take the eye across the wetlands sprinkled with tiny goembas and lhakhangs (monasteries and temples) which guests may wish to walk to… the lack of powerlines here will please any keen photographers and birders should not miss a visit to the wildlife viewing hides. This valley also boasts a carpet weaving concern and the 16th century Gangtey Goemba in a commanding position at the head of the valley. This monastery includes a school, meditation facilities and quarters for monks, and is home to the mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, one of the region's historically important Buddhist treasure discoverers.
Duration of drive: 5 – 6 hours (130km)
Overnight: Hotel Dewachen, Phobjikha
Phobjikha, Uma Paro Today’s drive is the longest of the tour but with the comforts of a massage, swim and great food to look forward to at day’s end back at Uma Paro. Time to retrace our steps back over the Dochu La for a second chance of that wonderful view of the Himalayan range. Returning to the Chuzum or confluence we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward of evil spirits near the checkpoint.
Time permitting the journey can be broken with a visit to Tamchog Lhakhang built by Thangtong Gyalpo or the Iron
Bridge Builder as he is known. This former saint from the 14th century introduced the art of building suspension bridges with iron chains and the only way to reach his temple is by one of these bridges. On the final leg the road
snakes alongside the Pa Chhu, through apple orchards and rice paddies, past quaint homesteads to our home in the Himalaya, Uma Paro. After check-in and a show round, we invite you to spend the rest of the day relaxing around the property, enjoying the facilities or perhaps trying some other activity like the Bhutanese national sport of archery or maybe a therapy such as the traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath.
Duration of Drive: 5.5 – 6 hours (150km)
Overnight: Uma Paro
Daywalk Zurig Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong, Paro Town & Kyichu Lhakhang Wind through pine forests high above Uma Paro to the pretty grounds of the fortress-like monastery of Zuri Dzong. Traverse across to Ta Dzong, housing Bhutan’s National Museum (open Tuesday-Saturday) with magnificent views over Paro, and on down to visit Rinpung Dzong – ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’. The trail then leads across Paro Chhu (river) via a traditional covered bridge (Nyamai Zam) and then past the main archery ground, Ugyen Pelri Palace and into Paro town. A few kilometers north of Paro, we pay our respects at Kyichu Lhakhang one of the oldest temples in Bhutan with its magic orange tree which bears fruit all year round.
Duration: 5 - 7 hours (depending on time spent in National Museum and Paro)
Flowers & Monasteries Central & West Bhutan GROUP 10 Nights June 2009 PB
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Guided with picnic
Overnight: Uma Paro
Highlights of the Paro Valley - Taktsang Walk & Drukgyel Dzong One of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba defies logic, gravity, and reason. Legend has it that this cliffside was where Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet. To avoid the hot sun an early start is advisable for the two-hour climb, via the cafeteria, to the Tiger’s Nest viewpoint. Descend steeply, then climb up to the monastery, passing a waterfall (visit monastery if it is open – with sufficient notice Uma Paro can arrange a permit). We retrace our steps or alternatively (time permitting) head further up to several remote temples and monasteries. Drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to control northern route to Tibet. The route is picturesque, and the site of dzong magnificent (from here, only two-day hike to the border with Tibet, dominated by Mt Jhomalhari). In the evening your group is invited for a firelit farewell dinner either in the courtyard at Uma Paro or at our Bukhari restaurant.
Duration: 7 – 8 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard (ascent should not be attempted until at least third day in Bhutan, after acclimatization
has occurred, riding ponies are available at an additional charge)
Guided with picnic
Overnight: Uma Paro
Transfer to Paro airport and fly back to your home.
Spititual Tour to the Land of Thunder Dragon (07 nights/08 days)
On your spiritual journey, you discover Fortress, monasteries and temples; learn about Bhutan’s lovely people and their ways of life; and encounter the country’s historical past and present; meet inspiring hermits, be immersed in the murmuring sounds of monks and in the flow of the energy of meditation. Tours are designed to give you a firsthand experience on many aspects of Bhutanese life and culture. On a fascinating journey into dense endless jungles, vibrant landscapes and rough rushing rivers, you may see some of the world’s highest snow peaked mountains, and meet golden langur and others wild animals in their natural habitat. This is an exceptionally breathtaking journey that each faithful person must experience once in a lifetime.
Arrive in Paro international Drive to Hotel for checkin. Vist to Kyichu temple to receive blessing and good luck for the pilgrimage ahead. The Kyichu Temple is one of the 108 temple built in 7 century A.D by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet as a missionary project to pin down the left foot of ogress.After lunch visit a tiny Paro town for orientation with the place and people and than walk up to the Paro Dzong from the Traditional wooden Bridge called Nyame Zam, literally means bridge with no fish. Towards late afternoon you will be walking together with students to their village home. Welcome dinner in the evening.
This morning a scenic drive to Chelela pass at an altitude of 3900m, if weather permits you will be seeing an elelgant Jhomolhari, the Kingdom’s sacred peak and some other snow mountains. In the Afternoon visit to Ta Dzong, literally means watchtower to safeguard the main structure of the dzong below from the Tibetan invaders. It has been converted to house the National Museum in 1968. It has 6 galleries and a visit to the museum gives us an idea of cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan in a very short time. Dungtse Lhakhang, only temple in the form of a chorten ‘stupa’ built by the famous Iron brigde builder in 15th century and the ruin Drukgyel Dzong ‘fortress of the victorious drukpas’ was built in 1649 to celebrate a decisive victory over Tibetan forces and to curtail further invasion.
Day 03: Paro -
Thimphu (58 km 2:15 hours)
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan which takes about 2 hours. Visit colorful weekend market, if it is on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and familiarization tour of the capital.
After lunch visit to Folk Heritage Museum, it was established to preserve the remains of yesterday and ensure the survival of the culture of today so that the future generation can know and appreciate their past, which after all has shaped their present. The National Library, The national Institute for Thirteen Arts, Dechenphodrang monastic school and BBS Tower (Sangay Gang) view point and Mini Zoo.
Thimphu - Gangtey (Phobjikha valley 133 Kms 5:30hrs)
Today, we drive to Gangte (Phoblikha-glacial valley) via Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang valley for five hours. En-route stop at Dochula pass at 3140m, on clear day can view the eastern Himalayas snow peak and also stop just before reaching Wangdue Phodrang Dzong to walk through one of the oldest clustered Rinchengang village
Day 05: Gangte – Trongsa (68 kms 3hrs)
This morning we will visit to 453 year old Gangte Gonpa, the most important monastery of the Pedling tradition of Buddhism in western Bhutan. From monastery we will do the nature trail walk through the pine forest and crane roosting place. The valley is one of the most beautiful spots in the country and home to endanger Black Necked Cranes that migrate from northern Tibet to escape its harsh winter. En-route stop at a Centre for Crane Observation and Education in the valley.After lunch drive toward east through Pelela pass 3300m to Trongsa Dzong one of the largest and the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, signifying the magnificent work of Buddhist architecture. It has been described as being perched so high on a mountain that the clouds float below it. It is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family. The first two hereditary kings ruled from this dzong, and it is still a tradition that the crown prince first serves as Trongsa Penlop before ascending to the throne. The 3rd king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk was born here in Trongsa.
Day 06 :
Trongsa – Bumthang (68 km 3 hours)
Today’s onward journey begins with a visit to Kunga Rabten Palace the winter residence of the 2nd King. This palace is 23Kms south of Trongsa. Back to Trongsa and drive upward across the Yotongla pass 3425m as the road opens into Chhume Valley dotted with number of villages and temples. In the evening visit Bumthang town and pay homage to Jarkar Lhakhang, the statue of the Guru Pema Jungney in the Lhakhang was believed to be an artwork of thousands of dakinis (female celestial divine beings) and not one of human. Bumthang is the most historical valley visited by the great Buddhist saint from India, Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century A.D. Bumthang also served as the home of famous saints of Nyingma School, such as Longchen Rabjampa (1308-1521) of Tibet who was exiled to Bhutan for more than 10 years and Terton Pema Lingpa, the reincarnation of Longchen Rabjampa, to whose descendants the present dynastry traces its ancestry.
Bumthang holy pilgrimage
Next morning visit to Jakar Dzong, the ‘dzong of the white bird’ it has a picturesque location overlooking the spectacular Chhoekhor valley. Jampa Lhakhang, among the 108 lhakahng built by Songtsen Gampo, King of Tibet in 7th century A.D. to pin down demon’s left knee. Each November, one of the most spectacular festivals in Bhutan, jampa Lhakahng Drup is held and on one evening of the festival, the lhakhang is lit by fire dance to bless the infertile women. Kurjey Lhakhang, the actual Kurjey complex consists of the three temples against the hillside facing south. The first temple on the right was built on the rock with the imprint of the body of Guru Padmasambhava. King Ugyen Wangchuk built the second temple to house a monumental statue of Guru Rinpoche. The third temple is a 3-storied lhakahng houses statues of wrathful deities and life size statue of Zhabdrung and the four temporal rulers. It was built by the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Chhoden Wangchuk. Tamshing Lhakahng, the most important Nyingma temples was built by Pema Lingpa in 1501 with the help of dakinis (female celestial beings). The inner walls contain the original unrestored images that were painted by Pema Lingpa himself.
After lunch visit to Membar Tsho (the Burning lake), which is actually a narrow gorge of river from where Terton Pema Lingpa revealed the treasures hidden by Guru Rinpoche. If you are fortunate, perhaps you may be able to spot or see a temple of Guru Rinpoche in the lake. In the evening visit to Namkhai Nyingpo Monastery to see monks chanting ritual for world peace.
Bumthang - Punakha (218kms 8hrs)
After breakfast we drive back to Punakha and in the evening visit to Chimi Lhakhang, the famous fertility monastery built in 1456. A pleasant short walk through the paddy fields and farm houses ends at Chimi Lhakahng, a temple dedicated to yogi saint Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as ‘the divine madman’ (1455-1529).
Punakha – Thimphu (77kms 3:15hrs)
Today morning you will visit Punakha Dzong, the second of Bhutan’s dzongs built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Rinpoche. Punakha was the country’s winter capital for more than 300 years. It is still the winter residence of the Central monk Body. The coronation of the 1st King Ugyen Wangchuk was held here at Punakha dzong on 17 December, 1907. The very secret relic called Rangjung Kharsapani, a statue of Avalokitesvara, which appeared miraculously from the vertebra of Tsangpa Gyare, the founder of the Drukpa School in Tibet, at the time of his cremation was placed in this dzong. Hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, perched high on the strategic ridge above Punakha valley in Yebesa, 7 kms from Punakha. The chorten contains the images of all the manifestation of the wrathful Dorji Phurpa (vajra kila). It was built to help remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world, and the well-being and long life of our beloved monarch. After lunch drive to Thimphu and evening shop
Thimphu – Paro (58 kms 2:15hrs)
In the morning drive to Paro and after early lunch hike to the Taktshang (Tiger’s lair) the most famous and sacred hanging cliff monastery in Bhutan. This place is especially venerated because of its association with Guru Rinpoche, who is said to have flown to Paro Takshang in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming dakini-tigress in the 747 A.D. This is perfect opportunity for those who wish to connect with guru Rinpoche on the final day in Bhutan
West to East Bhutan Tour
ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU:
On arrival at Paro International Airport you will be received by our representative Bhutan Himalayan Holidays. Overnight: Hotel in Paro
DAY 02 PARO :
After breakfast visit Drugyal Fortress (a ruined fortress),Visit Kyichu Monastery. Built in 659 AD by the King Songtsen Gompo of Tibet as one of the 108 such monasteries he built in various places to spread Buddhism.After Lunch visit National Museum which used to be a watch tower for Paro Rimpong Dzong (Fortress). It was converted into Museum in 1968. Visit Paro Rimpong Dzong, the Dzong was built in 1646 AD, and walk down to town one the way you can see the traditional wood bridge of ancient style. Visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse and sightseeing trip to the Paro town.Overnight: Hotel in Paro
DAY 03 PARO –
A DAY EXCURSION TO TAKTSHANG MONASTERY:
Drive up to Satsam Chorten (10 km from Paro town) and from there walk up to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest ". The Monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff drop of nearly 4000 ft. and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan meditated on this spot where the Monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress.Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round hike takes about 4 Hr.Overnight: Hotel in Paro.
Drive to Haa valley, Visit the small town in Haa which was recently open for tourism. It is located to the extreme western part of the kingdom and drive back from Chellela Pass where you can see beautiful snow capped mountains ranges and rhododendron flowers in bloom.A picnic lunch at Chellela passes. On the way back walk to Chellela Nunnery. Overnight: Hotel in Paro.DAY 05 PARO – THIMPHU: Visit Simtokha Dzong on the way. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 AD. It houses the largest monastic schools in the country. Visit Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the Central Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks. Lunch hotel in Thimphu.Afternoon: Visit the Memorial Chorten (a great stupa) built in memory of the Third King of Bhutan who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the mini Zoo where the national animals were kept and drive to Sangeygang where you can have a spectacular view of Thimphu valley. Visit nunnery in Zulikha. Visit the Wood Craft and Painting school where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive through the instructions of painting and curving. Visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved.Overnight in Hotel in Thimphu
THIMPHU – TRONGSA:
Drive to Trongsa (200km) the journey takes about 6 hours through Dochula Pass (3150m). On the way stop for a photo stop at Dochula Pass which is 26km away from Thimphu valley, and for Tea and snacks and to enjoy the most spectacular view of eastern Himalayan snow capped Mountains and also the great view of Gasa Dzong at a distance (If weather is clear) and descends down to subtropical area Wangdue Phodrang and again it ascends up to the Pelela Pass which is 3340m where you can see wonderful view of Himalayan Mountains and this Pass separates the western from the other regions of the country. Lunch in Chendebji. Overnight: Hotel in Trongsa.
TRONGSA – BUMTHANG:
Visit the Trongsa Dzong, one of the largest Dzongs in the country, the ancestral home of our Royal family. It was built by Chogyel Minjur Tempa, the third Desi, in 1648. The Dzong now is the office of the district Administration and central monastic body. Visit also the Ta Dzong (Watch Tower) and stroll through the small Trongsa town. Lunch in Trongsa. Afternoon. Drive to Bumthang Valley across the Yutola Pass. The journey takes about 3 hrs and is one of the most scenically beautiful journeys to Bhutan, Enjoy the hospitality of Bhutanese family in farm house or guest house in Bumthang.Over night: Guest house in Bumthang
BUMTHANG - SIGHT SEEING:
Visit the village and explore the beautiful valley of Bumthang. Drive through the picturesque valley of Bumthang and visit Jambay Lhakhang Kurje Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, and Kuenshusum Lhakhang. Lunch in Guest house.
Afternoon, Visit Jakar Dzong, built by Minjur Tempa, the 3rd Desi in 1646 AD (Desi means temporary ruler appointed by the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal) and drive to Member (Tsho) the burningOver night: Hotel in Bumthang.
BUMTHANG – MONGAR:
After breakfast, drive to Mongar. Packed Lunch will be served on the way. You can pass through the Bumthang and enroute explore Ura valley, one of the most beautiful valley of Bhutan. There you can see the typical Bhutanese farm houses. Over night: Hotel in Mongar.
MONGAR – TRASHIGANG:
After breakfast, visit Mongar Dzong. This Dzong was rebuilt in 1953 and is quite small. There are around 50 to 60 monks in the Dzong, many of them young boys eight to ten years old. The image of in the Dzong are Buddha of long live as well as Guru Rimpoche ( One who brought Buddhism in Bhutan) and drive further to Trashigang. On the way to Trashigang, we have to cross over Korila Pass. Visit Trashigang Dzong which is on the high promontory that over looks the confluence of the Drangme Chu (River) and Gamri Chu. It was built in 1667 by Mingyur Tenpa, Bhutan’s third Desi(Govener). Here you can see many Nomadic herdsmen (Brokpas) of Higher Himalayas. This day is perfect for Photography with these Nomadic Herdsmen. In the evening, visit to a near by village. Over night: Camp or farm houses.
TRASHIGANG – A DAY EXCURSION TO KHALING:
Drive early morning to Khaling, visit Khaling women weaving centre. Over night: Camp or farm houses.
TRASHIGANG – MONGAR:
Early morning drive to Gom Kora. It is the small temple in the east and its correct name is Gomphu Kora. Gomphu means the sacred meditation site of Guru Padmasamva and Kora means circumambulation. The Guru meditated here and left a body impression on the rock, similar to that in Kurjey Lhakhang in Bumthang. Visit the Chorten and drive to Mongar.Over night: Hotel in Mongar.
MONGAR – BUMTHANG:
After breakfast, drive to Bumthang. Packed lunch will be served on the way. If you have time in the evening visit the Wangdicholing Palace (the old ruins Palace), where the residence for the 1st and 2nd Kings. In the evening, stroll in the town. Dinner and over night in a Bhutanese Farm House to see the Bhutanese way of Life.
Over night: Guest house in Bumthang.
BUMTHANG – GANGTEY VALLEY:
Drive to Gangtey valley which takes about 5 hours journey and it is a beautiful valley situated at an altitude of 3000m, this valley was open its route very recently. During winter one can see the endangered species of bird (Black Naked Crane). Lunch in Phubjikha.Over night: Hotel in Gangtey valley.
GANGTEY VALLEY –PARO:
Drive to Paro via Punakha and Punakha Dzong. Punakha Dzong lies between two great rivers with the wonderful view of Punakha Dzong. The names of the rivers are Phochu (Male River) and Mochu (Female River). This Dzong serves as the winter residence for the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body and also the office of the district Administration. Lunch in Dochula Pass. Afternoon drive to Paro. Over night: Hotel in Paro.
DAY 16 PARO:
Early morning drive to Paro International Airport with our representative for departure & farewell.
Bhutan- The Last Shangrila (07 nights/08 days)
Day 01 :
Arrival Arrive Paro international airport by Druk Air. You will be received by our representative from Bhutan Himalayan Holidays, Drive to Thimphu. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02 :
After Breakfast we will take to Thimphu valley for sightseeing. Visit to National Library,Painting School,Traditional Medicine Institute -the traditional Himalayan herbal medicines abundant in Kingdom is manufactured here.Textile and Folk Heritage Museum.Memorial Chorten-built in the memory of Bhutan's third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Father of Modern Bhutan.Trashichhodzong; the beautiful fortress/monastery which houses Secretariat building, King's Throne room and other government's offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot of Monastic Body. Next to Handicrafts Emporium; it displays wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted products. Leisure in the Capital. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03 :
Thimphu / Trongsa ( 200 Km, 6 Hours )
After breakfast, drive to Dochula pass (3,050m). If the weather permits, you can see a range of high Himalayan ranges. You can see 108 stupas at Dochula pass. After arriving Wangdue, lunch in the town. Proceed to Tongsa across Pelela pass (3,300 m ), the traditional boundary between east and west. We will stop for a while at Chendbji Chorten on the way to Trongsa, which was built in 18th century by a Lama named Shida, it is Nepalese in style with eyes painted at four cardinal points. Arrive Trongsa and check into the lodge. Dinner in the Hotel.
Day 04 :
Trongsa / Bumthang ( 68 Km, 3 Hours )
After breakfast drive to Trongsa Fortress built by Shabdrung in 1647. Visit to the Ta Fortress (watch tower).Then drive to Bumthang which is about 3 hours. 29 km from Trongsa road reaches the Yutong La pass (3,400m). Further 13 km ahead, the road enters into a wide open cultivated valley known as Chumey valley.On arrival in Bumthang, check into the Hotel. After lunch, 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 Monastery (one of the oldest monastic school), the Jakar Fortress (administrative centre of the region) and Swiss Farm House. Overnight stay in Hotel in Bumthang.
Day 05 :
Bumthang / Punakha ( 205 Km, 6 Hours )
After breakfast we will see beautiful valley of Bumthang. Then proceed to Trongsa where lunch would be served in local restaurant.Before arriving Punakha visit Wangduephodrang Dzong. Leisure in the town.Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 06 :
Punakha / Paro ( 125 Km, 4.1/2 Hours )
After breakfast drive to Punakha Fortress, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers Male and Female. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and now it serves as the winter residence of the monastic body. The first King, Sir Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned here in 1907. After lunch, drive to Paro. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 07 :
After breakfast sightseeing in Paro valley. Visit to Ta Fortress, the National Museum of Bhutan,the Paro Fortress (Rinpung Fortress) built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. After lunch drive to Drukgyel Fortress, built in 1647 by the Shabdrung to commemorate Bhutanese victory over the Tibetans in war of 1644. After that visit to Kyichu Monastery , one the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom.Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 08 :
After breakfast drive to the airport with our representative and farewell.