Bhutan is a unique country both culturally and environmentally. Perched high in the Himalayas, it is the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom. It has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness; where development is measured using a holistic approach of well-being, not just based on gross domestic product.
It is still termed as a third world country with subsistence farming practised in much of Bhutan. In broad terms the land is fertile and the population small. In addition, the current generation receives free education, and all citizens have access to free, although rudimentary, medical care. The sale of tobacco products is banned and smoking in public areas is an offence punished with fines.
Major sources of income for the kingdom are tourism, hydroelectric power and agriculture.
While traditional culture has been very well preserved, the opening of the country to TV and internet in 1999 has had a major effect, and modern-day culture is mostly centred on bars and snooker halls. As a result, there is very little or no evidence of quality contemporary art, theatre or music.
Day 1 Arrive Paro International Airport
During the journey to Paro, one will experience breath taking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Chomolhari and Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by representatives of our tour operators who will escort you to the hotel.
Day 2 Paro – Sightseeing Morning:
Drive to Drugyal Dzong ( a ruined fortress – 16 km 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. The peak of Mount Chomolhari “Abode of the Goddess Chomo” can be seen on a clear day (Alt. 7329m). On the way back our guests will visit a typical Bhutanese farm house.
Day 3 Thimphu – Sightseeing Morning :
Visit the Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit Pangri Zampa Monastery which is situated just beyond Dechencholing (5kms. from Thimphu ). This Lhakhang was the residence of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel when he arrived in Bhutan in 1616 A.D. The Monastery was built during the first quarter of the 16th century by Ngawang Chogyel, the great-great- grandfather of the Shabdrung and the 14th hierarchy of the Drukpas.
Day 4 Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdiphodrang (77 km)
After an early breakfast, drive to Punakha and Wangdi. On the way halt at Dochula for a hot cup of tea/coffee and witness a most spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayan mountain ranges.And then,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. Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan. The Dzong (fortress) lies between two rivers known as Pochu and Mochu which means “Male River and Female River.” It was built in 1637 AD.
Day 5 After an early breakfast, drive to Chuzomsa – 16kms. distance
From Chuzomsa, travel by roadway to Khotokha (5.5kms.) At Khotokha, visit Drajanchu monastery which is one of the most sacred and important Lhakhang of Tongdey Phajo’s lineage. There are about six other important Lhakhang including several sacred and holy pilgrimage spots of Guru Rimpoche and Drukpa Kunley. There is a Drupchu (spring water) believed to be a gift from the Khandoma (angel). The waters are supposed to have healing powers. Khotokha is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and the view of the surrounding mountains and landscape is breathtaking. Picnic lunch at Khotokha and return to Thimphu.
Day 6 After an early breakfast,
drive back to Paro to take a short trek to Taktsang Monastery (10 km) from Paro Town. The name Taktsang means “Tiger�s Nest”. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m. and overlooks the Paro Valley and river. It is believed during the second half of the 8th century Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated at the spot where the monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress.
Day 7 Paro – International Airport