Trip facts

Activity General Tour

In the land of happiness where serenity, spirituality and the sublime reign supreme, sometimes the journey itself can get subtler than the destination. Along the way, we explore roadside markets, meet villagers, red robed monks and school children across destinations teeming with amazing castle-fortresses and monasteries in the two most beautiful valleys of Thimphu and Paro.

Day 1:Arrival in Paro.

Upon arrival in Paro clear immigration formalities meet our representative outside the airport check into the hotel. Later half of the day visit as time permits visit Dungtse Lhakhang is a small chorten beside Paro Town across Paro chu built by Thangtong Gyelpo in 1421 to subdue an ogress. The uniqueness of this temple is the paintings depicting the progressive stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy as well as the most significant deities and figures of the Drukpa Kagyugpa School. Ta Dzong originally built as Watchtower, now converted to Museum in 1968, its collection of fine arts, paintings, textiles, jewellery, handicrafts, stamps and galleries of stuffed animals and butterflies from Bhutan. The top floor of the Museum has a chapel containing a “tree” depicting the main figures of the four religious’ schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Rimpung Dzong constructed in 1644 it is known as the “fortress of the heap of jewels” the courtyard is painted with fine Bhutanese painting depicting the Buddha life, cosmic Mandela and narration of Milerapa. Most famous Paro festival is held in the courtyard unfurling a giant Thankha on the last day.

Overnight in Hotel

Day 2: Drive to Haa.

After breakfast we drive to Haa via Chellela Pass is one of highest motorable road in Bhutan which connects Paro to Haa valley. From the pass on a clear day you can get panoramic view of Mt.Jumolari and Mt.Jichu Drake. The pass is covered with exploding colours of prayers flags fluttering with the wind. Along the way visit Dzongdrakha is mostly renowned as the replica of Taktsang Monastery. It is believed that Guru Rimphoche first landed here when he first came to Bhutan. During the annual festival of Dzongdrakha, the main center of gathering blessings becomes the chorten of the past Buddha which gets opened so that visitors are blessed by the relic kept there. Kila Goemba Nunnery is situated near Chelela pass it takes about 40 min hike to reach the nunnery. There are about 100 nuns practicing Buddhism and meditating. There is an amazing view of Paro valley on the north is Mt.Jumolhari & Mt.Jichu Drake. In Haa explore Lhakhang Karpo is located close to the Haa river between three famous mountain Rigsum patronized by Ap chundu the main deity of Haa valley. It also serves as a Buddhist sherda(School). Haa summer festival is held in its courtyard with mask dance and local’s performing traditional Dances.Lhakhang Nagpo commonly known as black temple is located in Dumchoe village close to Lakhang Karpo. There is a holy lake inside the temple it serves as the seat for guardian deity Da Do Chen. The inner shrine has an ancient statue of Jowo Sakyamuni. The outer chapel houses a shrine to red-faced protector Drakdu Tsen there is a trapdoor that leads to the underground pool of a tshomen (mermaid spirit). Eveningtake a walk in Chebri village.

Overnight in Hotel (Home stay)

Day 3: Drive to Thimphu.

Today’s drive is scenic from Haa to Thimphu we crossover many dotted villages along the way stopover at Dobji Dzong which is considered as the first model Dzong of Bhutan. As we reach chuzom we divert our drive following Thimphu chu. Upon arrival check into the Hotel. Thimphu capital of Bhutan is a captivating city the only city without traffic light controlled by policemen colourfully decorated and the biggest and the modest city in Bhutan. It has a historical back ground of the royal families and houses the central Government offices and the religious centre of Bhutan. Buddha Dordenma is one of the largest statues of Sukyumuni at the height of 51.5 m. It is casted in bronze and gilded with gold. It overlooks the southern gate of the valley.125,000 miniature statues are placed within the statue. It has a large prayer hall on which Buddha is sitting on it. Memorial Chorten was constructed to dedicate world peace and in loving memory of third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck “father of the modern Bhutan”. The land mark is and iconic monument where you can see huge crowd of people circumambulating and chanting mantra.

Overnight in Hotel

Day 4: In Thimphu.

Today we have full day to visit sights in Thimphu.

Tashichoe Dzong This towering fortress is embedded beside Thimphu chu a magnificent Bhutanese architecture houses the seat of chief Abbot and the throne room and offices of the king, the cabinet secretariat, ministries of home affairs and finance. First in Build in 1216 in 1641 it was rebuilt by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans. Thangthong Dewachen Nunnery locally known as Zilukha Nunnery is one of the largest nunneries in Bhutan. It was built by Thangtong Gyelpo, builder of iron chain bridges across Bhutan and Tibet, there’s an interesting enclosed chorten in the main courtyard. Takin Sanctuary Takin Is the national animal of Bhutan which has a distinct appearance of a Goat and Yak found in high mountainous terrain. Legend has it that Tibetan saint, Drukpa Kinley well-known as “Divide Madam” created this unique animal. Textile Museum is located in Chubachu it houses the culture and heritage collection of antique textile artefact. Different pattern is exhibited from authentic Bhutanese weaver from diverse parts of the country. Art and craft School the National Institute for ZorigChusum and Choki art institute is the training center for cultural and traditional art and craft. Here the student is trained in 13 types of different techniques for six years in traditional painting, woodcarving and statue making. Centenary Market in Thimphu is beside Wangchu it marks the coronation of the fifth King. It is also the largest domestic weekend market for the sale of vegetable, fruits, meat, farm products farmer from different part of the country comes here to sell their product. There is a wooden cantilever bridge which takes you to the stalls selling collection of textiles, handicraft product and clothing. Jungshi Paper Factory is a small setting for manufacturing traditional Bhutanese handmade paper made from Daphne bark known as Deh-sho you can see the entire process from the dying and sorting out of pulps. You can buy greetings card and other product as a souvenir. Craft Market Is built with bamboo to preserve the eco-friendly environment. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, Thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewellery, interesting items made from local materials. Changangkha Lhakhang is on a small hill top overlooking the Thimphu valley below Motithang its main feature is the Chenrigzi with an 11 head and thousand arms manifestation. Most Bhutanese visit this temple when a new child is born to take the blessing. National Library contains a collection of religious text of Bhutan’s history, religious scriptures, traditional medical books, arts and cultural integrated documentation. Changlimthang Stadium This is the national stadium of Bhutan where you can have a glimpse of archery match and National football tournament is held here. National Folk Heritage Museum it gives you an insight of an impressive collection of artefacts from rural house hold items and traditional Bhutanese living way of life.

Overnight in Hotel

Day 5: Drive to Gangtey.

Today after breakfast we drive to Gangtey through Dochula Pass is a popular destination for tourist as well as for local’s 108 stupas was constructed by eldest queen mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. It has three layers the top layers has twenty seven stupas, the middle one has thirty six stupas and the lower one has forty five stupas known as Druk Wangyel Chorten. On a clear day you can get a clear view of the northern Himalayas from the pass Mt.Masagang (7,158m), Mt.Tsendagang (6,960m) finally Mt. Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,570m. Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple), built in honor of His Majesty the fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The past and future appears to merge in the details of the temple and its structure tells the story of a supreme warrior figure, whose vision pierces the distant future in a fine blend of history and mythology. Rinchengang Village is near Wangdi Phodrang opposite to Wangdi Phodrang Dzong the village is clustered with traditional Bhutanese houses legends has it was constructed for the artesian when Wangdi Phodrang Dzong was under construction. Wangdue Dzong was founded by the Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel in 1638 on a high ridge between the Punakha and Trongsa. The dzong caught fire on 24 June 2012 and was virtually destroyed saved for the lower walls. On the command of His Majesty The King, the dzong was reconstruction started in January 2014 now it has been replaced to its original form. Gangtey Monastery Situated on a small hill from the valley floor, Gangtey Monastery is the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. It has a lineage to Pema Lingpa the renowned Nyingmpa saint of Bhutan. Surrounding it is a small village yearly Black Neck crane festival is held in the courtyard to welcome the crane migrating from Tibet. Phobjikha is a glacial valley which lies on the western ridge of Black Mountain popularly known as Gangtey Valley due to the enchanting monastery bestowed on a hilltop bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park. Large flock of black necked cranes migrates here during winters from Tibet circling 3 time around the Monastery and repeats the same while returning to Tibet.

Overnight in Hotel

Day 6: Drive to Punakha.

Once again visit Gangtey Monastery during morning hours where you get a chance to interreact with the monks and experience morning prayer session. Take a walk through nature trail toward the valley. Enjoy your Breakfast and visit Black Necked Crane Center is a recreational centre for Black Neck crane which migrates from the Tibetan plateau to Phobjikha valley during winters from October to March. It has an observation room to take a closer look at the crane. Continue our drive to Punakha Valley a sub-tropical valley lies at an altitude of 1300m above sea level was the first capital of Bhutan with an iconic Dzong(fortress). Renowned for its agriculture land and the cascading rivers Phochu(Male river) Mochu(Female river) with the history allied to Saint Drukpa Kinley dotted with villages and alpine forest. In Punakha visit Chimi Lhakhang is located in Lobesa on a round hill blessed by Lama Drukpa Kinley also known as divine madman renowned for his crazy wisdom and for his outrageous behavior and unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism. A short hike from the main highway about half an hour childless women visit the temple for fertility and gets blessed with wooden symbol of phallus. Punakha Dzong so called “palace of the happiness” is located at the confluence of Pho chu and Mo chu. It was built by Sabdrung Nawang Namgyel in 1637 to 1638.It is one of the most revered Bhutanese architectures and the most magnificent Dzong of Bhutan second largest in the country. The chief Abbot and the monastic body migrate during the winter season from Thimphu. Suspension Bridge Bhutan longest bridge was built to connect the nearby village it is 25m long with prayer flag fluttering and glistening Phochu river beneath it gives a breathtaking view of Punakha Dzong.

Overnight in Hotel

Day 7: Drive to Paro.

After breakfast we drive to the north end of the valley to hike up to Khamsum Yulley chorten lies in the northern end of the valley. The hike takes about 45 min from the road to the chorten. It was constructed to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony by Queen Mother of Bhutan. It has a picturesque view of Punakha valley from the third floor. Later visit Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery is located above Wolakha on the way to Drolay Goemba which serves as a Shedra (Buddhist College) and meditation canter belonging to small community of nuns for meditation and practice Buddhism. Continue our drive to Paro recrossing Dochula Pass. Along the way visit Simtokha Dzong was built be Zabdrung Nawang Namgyel in 1629 it literally means “Atop a Demon” The dzong is a replica of Gyal Gyad institute of Ralung(Tibet) perhaps it is the first Dzong built in Bhutan and the oldest. Tachogang Lhakhang renowned for its iron bridge build 600-hundred-year-old beside the bridge the temple is a highlight for visitors dedicated to the 13th-century saint Thangthong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder. Later half of the day visit Drugyel Dzong lies north end of the Paro valley it was in ruins until 2000 now it has been reconstructed to its original form. Zabdrung Nawang Namgyel built it in 1964 to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders.

Evening at leasure to take a stroll in charming Paro town.

Day 8: In Paro.

After breakfast we drive to the trail head to hike up to Taktshang Monastery (approx. 5 hours round trip walk).  It is one of the most iconic monasteries of Bhutan, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.

Optional:For those who wish to skip the hike.

Bondey Farm is a small village literally renowned for the Japanese white rice where you can experience a chance to see rural village way of life in Bhutan visit traditional Bhutanese house.

Day 9: Departure.

Transfer to the airport on time for your onwards journey.