The Bhutan flight into Paro valley is perhaps one of the spectacular view in the world. It takes you over the mighty and sacred Himalayas, offering views of amazing world’s highest peaks.
As you descend into the terraced of rice fields in Paro valley. You will see the Paro Dzong served as fortress in 16th century on the hilltop overlooking the Pa Chu (Paro River), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National Museum, above the Dzong.
The first stop will allow you to view the Tacho Lhakhang other-side of the river, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron Bridge Builder. You will continue drive to Thimphu takes about an hour and follows the course of the Paro Chu (river) and the Wang Chu rivers.
Scenic route offers beautiful views of villages by the riverside. In the evening stroll through Thimphu city and mingle with the locals.
Today your day in Thimphu begins with visit to the National Memorial Chorten, dedicated to world peace and prosperity. It was built in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan. You will find Thimphu residents circumambulating the Stupa throughout the day praying for universal harmony and all sentient beings. Visit to Buddha point to see the largest Buddha Stupa and bird’s eye view of Thimphu valley.
Your next visit to National Library that holds thousands of ancient Buddhist texts and scriptures. It also has a small but growing collection of modern books.
Visit National Institute of Zorig Chusum where students train in Bhutan’s thirteen traditional arts and crafts and the Folk Heritage Museum, which will provide insight into a traditional Bhutanese farm house and Bhutan’s fast disappearing rural past.
Later in the afternoon visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress like temple perched on a ridge above Thimphu city. Toward the northern end valley of Thimphu, you will find a Takin preserve, the kingdom’s national animal.
Your further drive to Sangaygang for a view of Thimphu city. On the way back, visit nunnery temple and the Tashichhodzong or “the fortress of the glorious religion” which is Bhutan’s seat of government. It is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo or the Chief Abbot.
Today you will drive to Punakha, the Bhutan old capital, and the kingdom’s dramatic river valleys and paddy lands.
Your first stop at Hongtsho, about 10 kms drive from Thimphu. You will take a short hike to Hongtsho Goemba to view the stunning 15th century wall paintings of the monastery. Then drive up to Dochu La pass (3050m). From Dochula you can see the eastern Himalayan range on a clear day. Once you cross the pass about 1050 meter. From the pass you will wind down to the warmer valleys of Punakha and Wangdue.
En route you will stop at Mitsina village to visit Chhimi Lhakhang, also known as the temple of fertility. This monastery is dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, the 15th century saint known as the divine madman for his outrageous methods of dharma teaching.
It is 20 minute walk through rice fields to the temple were you get blessed by a wooden phallus. Visit the majestic Punakha Dzong which stands at the confluence of the rivers Pho Chu and Mo Chu.
The Dzong was built in 1637 by the founder of Bhutan and has been witness to defining moments of Bhutanese history. It is fine example of Bhutan’s highly refined architectural skills. Overnight at hotel, Punakha.
You will start your day drive further north to Punakha valley following the Mo Chu river and then hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, another splendid example of the Bhutanese arts and architecture.
In the afternoon you will travel back to capital city, before heading to Thimphu you will drive 30 minutes to Wangdue and briefly visit the Wangduphodrang. The monument former glory was engulfed by fire in 2011.
You will again stop at Dochu La pass to view the sun set behind the himalayas and visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang. Also visit the Semtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortress in the kingdom.
Today you will start your day with a short hike to the Cheri 17th century monastery. It is an hour walk from the road head.
The monastery serves as a school of higher learning for graduate buddhist monks where they practice meditation. It is also an important site for pilgrimage.
The return walk to the Thimphu will follow the ancient route. The route is dotted with Tibetan settlements and passes through rice fields.
A highlight of the hike is the school for arts and crafts run by a private entrepreneur. You will also encounter ancient ruins before you finally come to the road-head at Pangrizampa, where the monks studies for Buddhist astrology.
On the way back to the city, you may stop to view the Dechencholing Palace, which is the residence of the Queen Mother. You could go to the Changlimithang archery range and watch a local archery match, the Bhutan national game in action.
In the morning you will drive to Paro valley and hike to Tiger’s Nest monastery one of the popular Buddhists sites in the Himalayan region. The monastery clings to a sheer rock face situated 900 metres above the Paro valley floor.
The uphill hike from the road point will takes around 3 hours at a moderate pace. The trail passes through beautiful pine forests adorned with Spanish moss as you go further up. You can stop for rest and light refreshments at the cafeteria to enjoy the view of Tiger’s Nest.
Legend says Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew to Tiger’s Nest on the back of a flying tigress and meditated for three months.
Later visit oldest temple Kitchu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gompo. Then drive north to ruin Drugyel Dzong, the imposing fortress, which kept at bay invasions from Tibet in ancient times.
In the afternoon drive to Ta Dzong the watch-tower, which is now serves as the national museum. The museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the imposing Rinpung Dzong which serves as the centre for district’s administrative and religious. Your walk further down and cross a traditional bridge into Paro town.
Morning drive to the Paro International airport for your onward journey.