Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air - Thimphu(1 ½ hr.)
Fly into the kingdom of Bhutan with DrukAir (Dragon Airline), Bhutan’s National Airline. . It is incredibly stunning view when the weather is clear. The sight of snowcapped peaks of some of the highest mountains on earth captures ones heart and mind. After completion of airport formalities our representative will receive you at the airport. Start driving towards capital city of Bhutan (1hr 30mins). On the way to Thimphu, a photo stop opportunity of a Buddhist temple dating back to 15thcentury and a short walking opportunity across the bridge at chu-zom (confluence of Paro River and Thimphu River). As you walk you will get stunning view of three chorten (stupa) built at the confluence of two rivers.
Check in to the hotel and lunch at hotel.
After lunch Visit Buddha point. A gigantic statue of Buddha erected on a mountain overlooking Thimphu city. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha statue- 100,000 statues of 8 inches and 25,000 statues of 12 inches. Each of these figure has also been casted in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha sits upon is a large meditation hall.
Visit Changangkha monastery.A 12th century monastery active with few monks and beautiful Buddhist paintings inside. The main goal of visiting this sights is to see, feel and interact with local families coming with new born babies to do offering and occasionally you will witness monks performing ritual inside the shrine.
Evening at leisure.
Recommended free time activity:
Take a walk in town.
Visit ambient coffee (walking distance from hotel)
Visit DSB book shop (walking distance from hotel)
Witness local folks playing archery (national sports)
Dinner and overnight in a hotel at Thimphu
Day 02 : Thimphu - punakha(2 ½ hours).
After breakfast drive to Punakha with a stop at Dochula pass (3,050m) and enjoy the most enchanting view of the 108 stupas against the setting of the majestic snowcapped Himalayans including the highest mountain of Bhutan.
Later visit the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong, a 17th century fortress which is beautifully erect between pho chu (male river) and Mo chu (female river). This Dzong is considered as winter home of the central monastic body. Before 1955, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan.
Lunch at Punakha.
Later, drive for 30-45mins uphill to Talo village. En-route visit Sangchen Dorji Lhendup Nunnery, built on a pine-covered ridge above Punakha valley. The nunnery’s chapel houses a 4.5mts bronze statue of Chenrezing, the bodhisattva of compassion, along with statues of the Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung in an intricately sculpted altar. It is home to a small and friendly community of nuns. A PRIVATE AUDENCE WITH A NUN WIILL BE ARRANGED BY BHUTAN TRAVELCATIONS (This feature is exclusive only for guest travelling through Bhutan Travelcations without any cost involve) The goal of this setting is to allow travelers understand real life of nuns in Bhutan) Continue driving uphill until you see a scattered village on hill top. The royal queen mothers (four sisters) hail from this small village. The high light of this visit is a short walk (30mins) from top of village to bottom where you will see local farmers doing farm works. (Photo and interaction opportunities)
Proceed to Trongsa across Pelela pass (3,300m) .A beautiful and nature drive will provide a lot of photo stops of villages and scenes on the way. This pass might offer yaks grazing in meadows with nomads selling their yak product by the side of road. Stop for pictures of yaks and nomads. This day you also drive through a famous national park known as Black mountain national park and your local guide will be providing a lot of walking opportunities by the side of road. Lunch at a local restaurant situated at the traditional frontier between east and west. The pass is marked by a large prayer flag and the ground is covered with high altitude dwarf bamboo. Stop en route at Chendbji Chorten, which was built in the 18th century by a Lama named Shida. Nepalese in style, the stupa resembles the famous Boudhnath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal with eyes painted at four cardinal points.
Arrive Trongsa and check into the hotel.
Free time option: leisurely walk from hotel to Trongsa town (15mins on way)
Dinner and overnight in a hotel at Trongsa
Day 04 : Trongsa / Bumthang (68 Km, 3hrs. drive)
After breakfast, drive to Trongsa Dzong. (Optional: stop at Trongsa town and start walking to the longest Dzong of Bhutan, 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. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built.
Visit Trongsa museum or Ta Dzong (watch tower), dedicated to the Buddhist epic hero, King Gesar of Ling and the museum also displays significant Buddhist figures along with a story documentary at lobby. Drive to Bumthang, 68 km from Trongsa, a journey of about 3hrs over the Yutong-la pass (3,400m/ 11,155 ft). The road winds steeply up to the pass, 28 km from Trongsa, then runs down through coniferous forest into a wide, open cultivated valley known as the Chumey valley. Stop at chumey Weaving Centre and also stop at beautiful Kiki la pass to take picture of colorful prayer flags.
On arrival at Bumthang, check in at your lodge.
Free time activity:
Take a walk to Chamkhar town to see local vendors selling yak cheese and more.
Dinner and overnight in a hotel at Bumthang.
Day 05 : Bumthang - Bumthang
A beautiful day with less driving and more hiking opportunities. Bumthang is the general name given to a grouping of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitudes variable from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of the prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries. Its landscape and scenic beauty is very often linked to Switzerland by locals and visitors from around the world.
After breakfast at the hotel
Visit Jambey Lhakhang, a 7th century temple and one of the 108 built by King Songtsen Gampo in one day.
Start walking from Jambay lhakhang for 30-45mins on an even path to explore the religious sites, Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock. After Kurje start walking again for 45mins -1 hour to visit Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan).This beautiful walk will also provide photo opportunities of local farmers and a beautiful bridge with a lot of prayer flags. Upon reaching at Tamshing the oldest paintings on the walls of temple inside will be one highlight (flash light recommended to see painting).
Lunch at local restaurant
Drive up to Petseling monastery. The drive takes about 30-45mins, visit the monastery and start trekking downhill on the ancient path that connects Tang valley and Jakar. The old trial passes through pine forest gives stunning view of Jakar Dzong and the valley. The hike downhill takes about 1:30mins to 2hrs to reach down at Jakar valley. The hike through woods will also provide good chances of seeing high altitude birds like pheasant species.
Optional: Visit Jakar Dzong
Leisure time at chamkhar town.
Dinner and overnight in hotal at Bumthang
Day 06 : Bumthang - Ura,Bumthang(2 hr. drive)
After breakfast drive to Ura valley. En-route visit burning lake located on the course of Tang chu founded by famous treasure discoverer Pema lingpa in 15th century. From road point walk for 10-15mins to reach Burning lake. The drive to Ura takes you over several mountains and occasionally you get the see majestic snowcapped mountain. Ura valley is located at the altitude of 3100mts with 50-60 houses clustered together down in a beautiful valley. The people of Ura primarily depends on yak and sheep product. The herders in Ura usually cover their head with a white scarf to protect themselves from cold wind.
Upon reaching at Ura la pass (3200m) start hiking down the hill for an hour towards Ura valley. The stunning hike will offer panoramic view of valley and some Buddhist monuments on the way.
Visit Ura temple and start exploring beautiful Ura village. The goal of Ura day excursion is to experience and see life of nomads and sheep headers. (URA is one place which delivers REAL BHUTAN to traveler)
After the special moments in village drive back to Bumthang (jakar) for overnight.
Dinner and overnight in a hotel at Bumthang.
Day 07 : (Bumthang – Gangtay / Phobjikha (5-6hrs drive)
After breakfast proceed to Gangtay/Phobjikha. The drive to Gangtay will take you over 3 passes, Yotong la pass (3400m), Pela la pass (3200m) and Lawa la pass (3100m) stopping along the way for scenic pictures and for lunch at a local restaurant well known for its traditional cuisine.
Visit the Gangtay Buddhist University. This visit provides an opportunity for you to know more on life of monks. Most of monks studying here speak English and they love practicing their English with visitors, so feel free to start a conversation. Occasionally you might see monks debating over Buddhist philosophy in an open ground.
Free time options:
Hot stone bath at a local farm
Take a relax walk in valley
Check into the hotel.
Dinner and overnight in a hotel at Gangtay.
Day 08 : Gangtay – Paro(6-7 hr. drive)
After early breakfast prepare for the most beautiful and scenic hike at Phobjikha, Gangtay Nature Trial (1 and half hour).A gentle walk through woods with breathtaking view of village on opposite side of valley. This gentle hike will give you the opportunity to see wild life of Phobjikha especially birds and occasionally wild boar. This gentle hike will also offer photo opportunity of glacial formed valley (Phobjikha) and during winter this hike is perfect for seeing black necked crane roosting in the valley. Continue your drive to Paro.
Lunch on the way.
After lunch visit Rinpung Dzong (fortress on heap of jewels) The Dzong have a great deal of monks wondering in the courtyard of Dzong. The place also has a long and fascinating history from 1600s. The first National Assembly of Bhutan was held here. After Paro Dzong take a short walk down for 15-20mins till you reach a beautiful traditional cantilevered bridge (photo opportunity as you walk down the way)
Leisure time in Paro town.
Recommended free activity:
Walk along old Paro Street.
Visit stamp shop and Bhutanese traditional music CD shop.
Witness local people playing archery (national sports)
Check in to the hotel (your guide will do a detail orientation and preparation for the hike to Tiger nest for next day, while having welcome).
Dinner and overnight in hotel at Paro.
Day 09 : Paro – Tiger's Nest, Paro
Early start is recommended (summer 7am, winter7:30)
After an early breakfast drive north of Paro valley and take a 5-6hrs (round trip) excursion to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of all Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan. He meditated in the cave and emerged in eight incarnated forms and thus, the site became holy. Subsequently, the place came to be known as the “Tiger’s Nest”. (Your guide will decide on lunch place depending on time) The journey to Tigernest is known for its hiking path through pristine environment delivering views of Paro valley and the famous Tigernest at many spots.
After Tiger nest visit a Traditional farm house where you get the opportunity see interior part of a farm house and also to sit with local family and know about real story translated by your guide or directly from family(depends if someone from family speaks English).As you hear the story you also get to try local tea(salted cow butter tea) and local alcohol(Ara from fermented rice or wheat).The main goal of this visit is to see traditional house and hear on Bhutanese way of life as farmer from the family..
Free time options: Hot stone bath at a Bhutanese farm house (excluded from package)
Dinner and Overnight in a hotel at Paro.
Day 10 : Paro-your onward destination.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for final departure.
Check in 3 hours before flight departure.
Your guide will hand over E-tickets to you.
Passport and E-tickets have to be handy.
Baggage allowance (30 kg check in).
Any further quarries please feel to contact local agent or guide.