Bhutan officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia at the eastern end of the Himalayas. Bhutan borders China to the north and India to the south, east and west. To the west, it is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim; farther south it is separated from Bangladesh by the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. Bhutan’s capital and largest city is Thimphu.
Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefs until the early 17th century. At that time the lama and military leader Ngawang Namgyal, the first Zhabdrung Rinpoche, who was fleeing religious persecution in Tibet, unified the area and cultivated a distinct Bhutanese identity. In the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire and retained strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Weekrated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world. In 2016, the World Happiness Report published by the United Nations ranks Bhutan as the 84th happiest country.
Day 1 ARRIVE AT PARO (2280m) & DRIVE TO THIMPHU: 65KM/APPROX
1HR Flight into Paro with Druk Air, Bhutans national Airline is spectacular. The flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering most beautiful scenery of the worlds highest peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the Paro Dzong (fortress) on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watch tower and now National Museum, above it. On arrival you will be greeted by our bhutan agent representative and drive to Thimphu.
Day 2 THIMPHU (2320m)
Todays exploration of Thimphu begins will take with visit to National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to world peace and prosperity in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan; the Kingdoms rich culture at the National Library; the National Institute of Zorig Chusum where students undergo training course in Bhutans thirteen traditional arts and crafts; Folk Heritage Museum which will provide an insight into traditional Bhutanese farm house and rural past through exhibits and documentation of rural life. After lunch visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress likes temple which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Taken Preserve to see the rare national animal of Bhutan. This animal is chosen as the national animal of Bhutan for its uniqueness and its association with the countrys religious history and mythology. A further drive towards the BBS tower will provide a birds eye view of the capital; visit nunnery temple and followed by a visit to Tashichho Dzong or the fortress of the glorious religion which is Bhutans administration and religious centre and houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, other Government offices. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu.
Day 3 THIMPHU PUNAKHA (1300m): 77KM/APPROX 2 HR
Your journey continues with travels to the east onwards to Punakha through some of the Kingdoms richest agricultural land and most dramatic river valleys. En-route we will stop over Dochu La, the 3050meter pass, snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass deeper into the essence of Bhutan. The beauty is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chorten 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen Mother. Once you cross the pass, you wind down into a warm fertile valley. En-route will stop at Chimi Lhakhang the auspicious fertility monastery dedicated to Divine Madman; we will take 20minutes walk through the rice fields. Overnight stay at Hotel, Punakha.
Day 4 PUNAKHA (1300m)
Today you will drive north of Punakha Valley following the Mo Chu and we will hike up to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, the splendid example of the Bhutanese architecture and art. Evening visit Punakha Dzong which stands majestically at the junction of the two rivers- Pho Chu and Mo chu. The Dzong is said to be the most beautiful of dzong in Bhutan; it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork, and the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot). Also this is the second dzong built in Bhutan by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyel in the year 1637. Overnight stay at Hotel, Punakha.
Day 5 PUNAKHA – TRONGSA (2316m): 135KM/APPROX 5HR
Heading out from the abode of Punakha you will drive to Trongsa passing over Pele La, 3390 meters pass. Trongsa forms the central hub of the kingdom and is historically the place from where attempts at the unifying the country were launched. As you continue onwards you can view the incredible massive Trongsa Dzong, an architectural Wonder! Trongsa medieval watch tower and the great Mangde Chu enhance the Trongsa dzong in its exceptional beauty. In the afternoon you will visit Trongsa Dzong, the dzong was built in 1648; it was seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second kings ruled the country from this ancient seat. All the five kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop the Governor prior to ascending the throne, presently the administrative seat of the district and the home of the monastic school and Ta Dzong preached above the Trongsa Dzong this is watchtower which once stood guard the Trongsa Dzong. This is now restored from ground up and it is the museum presenting the rich historical and religious heritage of Trongsa Dzong. Overnight stay at Hotel, Trongsa.
Day 6 TRONGSA BUMTHANG (2600m 4000m): 68KM/APPROX 2 HR
After breakfast you will drive to Bumthang passing Yotong La, 3425 meters pass. Here we get our first glimpse of the Black mountains and high Himalayan Mountains such as Jumolhari are in view and pass is marked by hundreds of prayers flags blessings abound. Then our journey proceed continue through the lush valley and hilly forests. Along the way you will stop at a yathra the textile weaving handloom, where the yathras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and we can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Overnight stay at Hotel, Bumthang.
Day 7 BUMTHANG (2600m 4000m)
You will enjoy a full day to explore the fascinating valley of Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation and home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples. The visit to sacared places and monuments will include Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest tembles built in 7th century by the Tibeten King Songtsen Gampo followed by Kurjey Lhakhang which consists of three main separately built temples surround by 108 chortens (stupa) symbolic of each joint of the human body. A short hike across the suspension bridge will lead you to Tamshing Lhakhang built in 1501 nown for its ancient religious paintings of One Thousand Buddhas and Twenty One Taras (female form of Bodhisattavas). After lunch visit Jakar Dzong, known as the Castle of the White Bird. Overnight stay at Hotel, Bumthang.
Day 8 BUMTHANG PHOBJIKHA VALLEY (3000m):
125KM/APPROX 5 HR Today we drive into the glacier valley of Phobjikha the valley is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country, because of the large flock of black-necked cranes in winter. The valley also has a very interesting Nyingmapa monastery dates back to the 17th century. On the way we will stop at Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Katmandu’s Swayambhunath stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. After lunch we will continue drive to Phobjika valley and we can do short walk leads downhill from mani stone wall just north of Gangtey Goenpa to the Khewa Lhakhang. The trail descends to Semchubara village and keeps straight at the Chortens into the edge of the forest, before descending to a square Chorten and the Lhakhang. From here we can cross over the metal bridge to the community school. Overnight stay at Hotel, Gangtey.
Day 9 PHOBJIKHA VALLEY THIMPHU (2320m): 95KM/APPROX 4 HR
Before driving back to the Thimphu you will visit to Crane Observation and information center. Then we will drive to Thimphu on way you stop at Wangdue to brief visit Wangdue Dzong and hike to Rinchen Gang clustered village, houses are made from mud and stones. The people of the village are said to be Indian origin. We will stop at Dochu La for lunch, from there we can enjoy the view of Himalayan ranges and snow peaks. You will also visit Druk Wanggyal Lhakhang built by the eldest Queen mother; the past and future appear to merge in the details of the Lhakhang that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future. Continue drive to Thimphu capital city of Bhutan. Evening freely stroll in Thimphu town and mingles with the local people. Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu.
Day 10 PARO TIGERS NEST HIKE
Todays day will begin driving back to the Paro valley to take on a stunning hike on foot to visit the Taktshang Gompa or Tigers Nest viewpoint. Our hike to Taktshang from the road point will take through the well maintained path which is quite uphill and it takes around 3-4 hours at an average walking speed. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees adorned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger Dorji Drolo, said to be his consort. You will visit the auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang, a scared monument pinning down the left foot of a treacherous ogress, which is built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. This Monastery is one of the 108 monasteries built across the Himalayan region by the Tibetan King to subdue the Demoness that lay across the Himalayan region. The rest of the monasteries lie in other neighboring countries; Drugyel Dzong the imposing fortress which was the strategic vantage point for numerous defeat of invading Tibetan armies and here in clear weather can view the spectacular view of mount Jomolhari 7314m. In the afternoon drive to the beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. The third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck housed it into the National museum in the 1960s. The seven floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative center and school for monks, and walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Overnight stay at Hotel, Paro.
Day 11 Drive to the airport for Departure