Day 1: Arrive at Paro. Our Services begin here. You will be greeted at the airport by our travel facilitator or your Tour Director, and then ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to Thimphu. The drive is for about one and half hours duration, to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan. This drive will take you through the beautiful valley of the Thimphu River. Arrive at Thimphu and you will be assisted with your check in at the hotel. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and the travel facilitator or Tour Director hands over travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers to you.
Day 2: Thimphu. Start your exploration of Bhutan with a visit to the ‘Trashichoedzong’ (fortress of the glorious religion). This is the centre of the Bhutanese government. It houses the monarch’s throne room and the seat of Je Khenpo or the Chief Abbot. The spectacular dzong (fortress) was built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It was reconstructed in the 1960s, in traditional Bhutanese style by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the father of modern Bhutan. It was made the seat of the government of Bhutan in 1969.
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon – Proceed for a visit to the King's Memorial Chorten (Buddhist funeral monument), which is continuously circled by people, murmuring mantras and spinning prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (father of modern Bhutan). His plan was to dedicate this monument to world peace and prosperity. It was completed in 1974 after his untimely death. Today, it serves both as a memorial to the late King and as a monument of peace. Then, visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through examples of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangka (religious banner) paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewellery and interesting items made from local materials. Also visit the Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums, a fascinating testimony of Bhutan’s living traditions.
Day 3: Thimphu – Trongsa. Check out from your hotel after an early breakfast and drive to Dochula pass (3,080 m). You can see Spectacular Himalayan peaks from this pass on a clear day. The peaks that garland the skyline are – Masagang (7,158 m), Tsendagang (6,960 m), Terigang (7,060 m), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m), Kangphugang (7,170 m), Zongphugang (7, 060 m), a table mountain that domiates the isolated region of Lunana - finally Gangkar Punsum, the highest peak in Bhutan at (7,497 m).
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon – Visit to Trongsa across Pelela pass (3,300 m), the traditional boundary between east and west. The pass is marked by a large prayer flag and the ground is covered with high altitude dwarf bamboo. Stop at Chendbji Chorten for a tour, which was built in 18th century by a Lama named Shida. The architecture is Nepalese, with eyes painted at four cardinal points.
Arrive at Tongsa and check in to your hotel.
Day 4: Trongsa – Punakha. Visit Tongsa Dzong. The dzong has a commanding view of the territory around it and is built in such a way all who enter the valley have to pass by it. Tongsa dates back to the 16th century and the dzong is located at an altitude of 2,200 m and is a masterpiece of architecture with a maze of courtyards, passages and contains twenty three temples. The dzong has a printing press which uses a traditional method to print religious texts. Today the dzong is the administrative seat of Tongsa district. Historically, Tongsa holds a very important place in Bhutan. The monarchy of Bhutan originated here and the governors of this province in the 19th century ruled central and eastern Bhutan from Tongsa. They later went on to become the monarchs of Bhutan.
There is a break for lunch. Afternoon – Proceed on a drive to Punakha. En-route visit the 17th century Wangdi Dzong followed and subsequently visit the local market. The district of Wangdi Phodrang is famous for its bamboo products, slate and stone carvings.
Evening – Visit Punakha’s claim to fame, the Punakha Dzong. In the ancient times it was known as the ‘Pungthang Dechhen Phrodang’ (the palace of great happiness). It dates back to 1637. It is the second dzong to be built in Bhutan, and resembles a gigantic ship. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. The Dzong was the coronation site of Ugyen Wangchuck, the first king of Bhutan in 1907. It was also here the historic treaty was signed with the British 1910, wherein they agreed not to interfere in the internal affairs of Bhutan. Although four catastrophic fires and an earthquake in recent past destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong still houses many sacred and historic artefacts including the embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Arrive at Punakha and check in to your hotel.
Day 5: Punakha – Paro. Check out of your hotel after breakfast and proceed on a drive to Paro. Stop at Simtokha Dzong for a tour. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.
Arrive at Paro and check in to your hotel.
There is a break for lunch.
Afternoon – Proceed for a city tour of Paro which contains a treasure house of ‘must see’ attractions. Proceed for a tour of Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. The Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan’s only National Museum in 1968. Then walk down the trail to visit ‘Rinpung Dzong’ (fortress that sits on a heap of jewels). It has a long and fascinating history and is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. It was built in the 16th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan. The dzong today houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the dzong is through a traditional covered cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam.
Day 6: Paro. Proceed for an excursion to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Also visit Taktsang (Tiger’s lair) monastery, the most famous of the Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The excursion to monastery takes about five hours, for a round trip.
Late afternoon – Drive back to Paro, en-route visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom.
Day 7: Depart Paro. Check out of your hotel and board the flight to your onwards destination.
Your vehicle and driver stay with you until your assisted check in at the airport.
Our services end at Paro airport.