Fly into Paro by Druk Air, Bhutan’s National Airline. The great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens can be seen during clear weather. As the plane approaches Bhutan, if you look down farmhouses as dots on the hillsides can be seen.
As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, you will see Paro Dzong on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National Museum, above it.
You will be received by the representative of Bhutan Dragon Rider Travels Travels who will be your Bhutan travel guide throughout your tour.
Check into your hotel in Paro and after refreshments, visit the following:
Ta Dzong, built in the 17th century as a watchtower for the Paro Dzong. This dzong was converted into the National museum in 1967 and is filled with antique thankha paintings, textiles, weapons and armor.
Rinpung Dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks. Then walk down to Rinpung Bridge (Traditional Bridge), oldest bridge in Bhutan.
In the evening stroll through Paro town and you may visit local shops.
Overnight at a hotel in Paro
Distance: 54 km Estimated driving time: 1 hour
After breakfast travel to Thimphu and check into your hotel. The full day Thimphu tour includes visit to the following:
The National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. The National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), where Bhutan’s famed traditional herbal medicines are compounded and dispensed.
The Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6- year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.The National Folk Heritage Museum to get an insight into the typical Bhutanese way of life.
The Textile Museum to get an understanding of the beautiful hand woven Bhutanese textiles.
Centenary Farmers’ Market (open from Thusday to Sunday) where farmers sell their farm produces (vegetables, fruits, cereals, spices, wild vegetable collections, livestock products etc) and free interaction with local people who come shopping to this market, especially on weekends.
Takin Preserve which houses the national animal- Takin which is found only in Bhutan. Takin is an extremely rare member of goat family.
Craft Bazaar where artisans and craftsmen from across the country come to sell their products.
Drive to Kuensel Phodrang and take a short leisure hike to the Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park and enjoy the full view of Thimphu Valley below.
Visit Buddha Point and offer your prayers to the largest Buddha statue in the country and walk around to enjoy the great view of Thimphu valley below.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu
Distance: 71 km Estimated driving time: 2 1/2 hrs
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass. An hour’s drive from Thimphu will take you to this pass (3140 m) where one can have a superb view of the Eastern Himalayas on a clear day with a powerful binocular telescope.
Visit the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo for the security and wellbeing of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. Also visit Druk Wangyel Temple which was built to honor His Majesty, the fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The past and future appear to merge in the details of the temple that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distance future.
Drive onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. Visit the PunakhaDzong, located on the island of the Pho- Chu (male) river and the Mochu (female) river. Visit the Dho Jha Gha Lam Temple.
In the evening, walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where couples unable to conceive come here for blessing.
Overnight at hotel in Wangdue/Punakha
Distance: 71 km Estimated driving time: 2 ½ hour
After breakfast, travel through upper Punakha valley through the village of Kabjisa and walk through farmhouses to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel temple which was built by the queen of Bhutan for peace and stability in this ever-changing world. This temple is situated on the hillock overlooking the valley below.
Then travel to Thimphu with lunch enroute.
On arrival at Thimphu check into your hotel and after refreshments, visit the following:
• National Memorial Chorten, chorten literally means ‘ seat of faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments the ‘Mind of Buddha’. Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten.
• Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plan
• In the evening, free to relax or stroll around Thimphu town, do shopping, etc.
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Distance: 54 km, estimated travel time: 1 hr
After breakfast, drive to Paro which takes about an hour and hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’.
The climb up to the viewpoint will take around 1 ½ hours and from there you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Stop for refreshment at the View Point Cafeteria.Then walk further up to the monastery which will take about 1 hour.
It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for 3 months. The principal Lhakhang (monastery) of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. Taktsang was damaged severely by fire in 1998 but has now been fully restored to its former glory.
After visiting the monastery, walk back down to the road on the way stop for lunch at the view point cafeteria and then walk further down to the road point. Then drive back to hotel. On the way, visit Kichu temple one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo.
The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon.
In the evening relax and overnight at a hotel in Paro.
In the morning tour guide from Bhutan Dragon Rider Travels will escort you to the Paro airport for your flight to your onward destinations.
End of Tour Program