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Bhutan Experience (7 days)

Western Bhutan: Paro, Thimpu and Punakha - the Perfect Introduction

Day 1: Arrival at Paro and Transfer to Thimphu.
Start the journey with a breathtaking flight over the great peaks of the high Himalayas right into the Dragon Kingdom's airport among the clouds at Paro (2,134m). On arrival, your guide will meet you at Paro airport and then set off by road through the picturesque Paro valley with its quaint clusters of hamlets amid terraced paddy fields.
Driving through spectacular mountain views and peaceful countryside we arrive at Thimphu (2,286m), Bhutan’s capital. Thimphu is a small, charming capital city sandwiched in the heart of the Himalayas.
After lunch, we visit the Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the heart of the Bhutanese government. Nearby can be seen the King's palace and the assembly building across the river. Afterwards we visit the weekend market and Changangkha Lhakhang, an ancient temple and monastic school high on a ridge above the city.

Day 2: Thimpu.
Today you drive up to the viewpoint- BBS Tower in Sangaygang and take a hike beyond to enjoy a stunning view of the valley. Visit the mini zoo where you can see the Takin, the National animal of Bhutan, the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts and the School of Thangkha paintings (The Arts and Crafts School) where you can see young children learning and practicing the ancient craft of painting. Afterwards, we visit the General Post Office, the Handicraft Emporium and the Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in loving memory of Late His Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, where a multi-storied Stupa and numerous paintings are exhibited providing an insight into Buddhist philosophy. If time permits, you can also visit Zangto Pelri Lhakhang or if you prefer, you can hike to Cheri Goemba, an ancient monastery perched high on the hillside. (About one hour each way.)

Day 3: Thimpu - Punakha.
The first stop after leaving Thimphu is the Dochula Pass at 10,500 ft. site of one of Bhutan's most enchanting views. If weather permits the breathtaking peaks of Bhutan's Northern border can be viewed, in season it is a magnificent canvas of color- a profusion red, pink, white, yellow and purple rhododendron blossoms splashed among the soft green of wild herbs and forest trees. At the top of the pass is the newly built “Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens”, a unique cluster of 108 Namgyel Khangzang Chortens that spiral up to the main monument Chorten. This is a tribute and monument to the selfless service and visionary leadership of His Majesty the King.
After stopping for lunch in the village of Sopsokha, you can walk across the rice fields up to the important Chimi Lakhang temple, where childless women go to receive blessing from the Lama Drukpa Kunley, in whose honour the temple was built by his cousin in 1499.
Blessed with a temperate climate and drained by the Phochu and Mochu rivers, is the fertile valley of Punakha. After checking in at your hotel, you can relax or take an optional hike to enjoy the country.

Day 4: Punakha - Wangdue - Punakha
Today you will visit the beautiful Punakha Dzong. Before Thimphu was made the capital of Bhutan, Punakha was the winter capital because of its milder climate. Today it is the winter seat of Je-Khenpo (the Chief Abbott) and the Central Monk Body. The stunning Dzong (fort) built at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu Rivers in 1637 by the first Zhabdrung of Bhutan, Ngawang Namgyel, served as both the religious and the administrative center of Bhutan until the mid-1950s.
After the visit to the Dzong, you will drive to Wangdue. Wangdue is a small town located on a ridge that plunges into the Puna Tsang River flowing below. Sitting atop the ridge with a commanding view of the valleys below is the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong which you will visit after taking lunch in a local restaurant. The town market square in Wangdue is a lively and colorful place to stroll before returning to Punakha.

Day 5: Punakha - Paro.
After breakfast, drive across the pass back to Paro. Visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum housed in an ancient watchtower, which has a fine collection of ancient Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and other artifacts; then visit one of the most celebrated Dzongs in Bhutan, the Rinpung Dzong, or 'the Fortress of the Heap of Jewels'.

Day 6: Paro.
Today we take a day hike to Taktsang "Tiger's Nest" monastery, the most iconic building in Bhutan, clinging almost impossibly to a sheer cliff of rock 914m above the valley floor.
For the local people it is a place of pilgrimage, but for a visitor, the hike up to the viewpoint opposite the monastery is exhausting, thrilling and mystical. The legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress from Tibet and meditated in the cave there for three months. Although the main building of the temple was destroyed by fire in April 1998 (it was reconstructed from the year 2000 and finally consecrated in March 2005) the hike up to the viewpoint is worthwhile and fulfilling.
The first part of the hike up to Taktsang through beautiful forests with fabulous views of the Paro valley takes about 75 minutes, where a coffee house allows rest and refreshment with views up to the monastery. The second part, another 50 minutes or so, takes you to a rest and viewpoint from where stunning views of the monastery can be enjoyed. For the really fit, the last part of the journey takes you down into the ravine and back up to the monastery itself (not recommended for sufferers from vertigo!).
After the climb back down and lunch, drive to the end of the valley to see the old ruined fortress of Drukgyel Dzong (Fort of Drukpa Victory) the historical site from the ramparts of which the Bhutanese repelled Tibetan invaders time and again. On a clear day, you will be overawed by the sight of the 7,315m white-domed peak of the sacred Mount Jhomolhari (Mountain of the Goddess Jhomo) that looms overhead. Enroute visit Kyichu Lhakhang and Satsam Chorten: Kyichu Lhakhang is said to have been built by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in 659.It's believed that it holds down the left foot of an ogress, so large that it covers Bhutan and most of eastern Tibet.

Day 7: Departure
Transfer to airport for your departure flight.

Please note that, whilst every effort will be made to carry out the programme shown above, small changes may sometimes be necessary.

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The perfect introduction to this beautiful country!

Please note that this itinerary is our suggestion only- all our tours are custom made to your requirements!

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Trashi Chhoe Dzong
Trashi Chhoe Dzong
Dochula Pass
Dochula Pass
Clowns at Punakha Festival
Festival Clowns at Punakha
Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong
Wangdue Shop
Wangdue Shop
Taktshang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery
Taktshang (Tiger's Nest)
Your quoted price will normally include:
International flights to/from UK
Accommodation with full board.
Transfers, tours with English speaking guide.
All entrance fees and boat fees.
Service charges, rooms tax and handling fee.
Departure taxes
Visa fee
Your tour price will not include:
Drinks with provided meals
Tips, personal expenses and other services which are not mentioned in the program.