Welcome to the spree of Paro, known for beautiful wide valleys rich in ancient culture, Thimph, the capital city with just over 100,000 population with not a single traffic light, Puankah, the old capital city with a majestic dzong between the two rivers fed by the glacial lakes of the northern Himalayas, Dochul and Pelela with an elevation over 10,300 ft, rare flora and fauna, crisp air, Phobjikha, the widest glacial valley, a wintering habitat for the endangered black necked cranes and farm houses, where you will get to witness how people live in Bhutan and are happy and contented.
Activity: Cultural tours and natural sightseeing combined with meditation, walking and light hiking.
The package is ALL INCLUSIVE and the cost shall include all meals, accommodation in 3 star hotels on a twin sharing basis, all land transports within Bhutan including airport pick up and drop off, sight-seeing and services of tour guide, monument entry fees and all applicable taxes as well as USD 65 per day/per person as the government royalty, and one time visa fee of $ 40 per person which goes towards meeting free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation.
As compliment, we will arrange a river rafting in Punakha, 2 bottled of mineral water per person/day, a Bhutanese cultural program on one evening, and a farm house visit.
However, the above cost will not include- air fare cost, gratuities, trip insurance, laundry, telephone calls, drinks and beverages and any other costs that is personal in nature.
- Visiting Bhutan’s old capital city, Punakha
- Experiencing Bhutan’s unique tradition and culture
- Enjoying the flower studded Himalayan meadows, thick forests and cascading waterfalls
- Experience storybook farm houses
- Visit to iconic Taktsang Monastery handing over a rocky cliff above 900 msl from the Paro valley
Day 01: Arrive Paro; travel to Thimphu and sightseeing in Thimphu and sightseeing in Thimphu. (55 km / approx one hour)
During the journey to Paro, you will experience breathtaking views of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake in Bhutan.
Upon arrival at Paro International Airport and completion of immigration formalities and collection of your baggage, you will be welcomed by our tour representative who will be your tour guide during your entire trip to Bhutan.
As evening falls, we will visit TashichhoDzong, the beautiful medieval fortress /monastery is Bhutan’s administrative and religious centre which houses most of the Government’s office and the King’s Throne Room. It is also the summer residence of Je – Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. The National Assembly hall is located in a new building across the river.
This evening, enjoy a walk up and down the high street lined with little shops of all descriptions is fascinating. There is always a colorful gathering passing from ubiquitous monk bodies to Bhutanese businessmen, to nomadic farmers that come to trade supplies.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Thimphu
Day 02: Travel to Punakha (71 km / approx 2½ hours); sightseeing in Punakha.
Leaving Thimphu, we start our journey into the countryside towards the Punakha valley, the winter capital of Bhutan. The drive ascends gradually to the Dochula pass over 10300 ft, with magnificent vistas of the Himalayan range.
The Dochula Monastery also known as the DrukWangyalKhangzangChortens is a tribute to the service and leadership of His Majesty the king. The design inspired by the Queen is a unique cluster of 108 Chortens seen from all directions. The descent to Punakha is vibrant and colorful, with the fluttering prayer flags adding to a rich topography dotted by terrace farming and rivers flowing through.
En-route, visit the Lamperi Botanical park, which is known for rhododendrons as well for various birds species such as Satyr’s Tragopan and a host of mixed species that dwell in the cool broadleaf forests. Further on the way to Punakha, you can spot the Grey Bushchat and Rufous-breasted Accentor, Red-flanked Bluetail, and Golden Bush-Robin. Identify the Red-tailed and Chestnut-tailed Minlas, Blue-winged, Rufus-winged, White-browed and Nepal Fulvetta and Whiskered, Stripe-throated, Rufus-vented, Black-chinned and White-bellied Yuhinas. You will be able to espy a good number of Laughing Thrushes and Barwings before reaching Punakha.
We will visit the historic Punakha Dzong sprawled at the confluence of the Phochu (male) and Mochu (female) rivers. It was built by Shabdrung Nawang in 1637 and serves as the winter residence of the head abbot, Je Khenpo and headquarters of the district administration. It terms of architecture it is widely believed to be a master piece. People believe that deities of the area helped Zhabdrung in the construction of the fortress during nights. Bhutan’s first king was crowned at the dzong on 17th December 1907. The royal weddings of the fourth and fifth kings were held here in October 1988 and October 2011 respectively. The annual festival dedicated to the protecting deities of YesheyGonpo (Mahakala) and PeldenLhamo (Mahakali) is held within the fortress in March-April.
A glacial lake outburst in the north of Punakha in 1994 heavily destroyed some parts of the structure, but miraculously no sacred relics have been lost during the floods. The structure was rebuilt to its original grandeur now. Overnight stay a hotel in Punakha.
Day 03: Sightseeing in Punakha
In the morning, take a mini hike/walk uphill (30-40 min) to KhamsumYuellayNamgyalChorten (stupa) built by the Queen Mother to bring peace and harmony for Bhutan and the world.
Late morning, enjoy the river rafting along Mochu, the female river of Punakha. It is a 10 km distance and starts from the phase of KhamsumYuellayNamgyalChorten and ends near Khurthang town and would take two hours. During the journey, you will be able to enjoy the scenic and secluded blue water, alpine scenery, sighting of rarest birds, amazing rapids on the backdrop of striking 17th Century PunkhaDzong.
Afternoon, take a hike to ChimiLhakhang (“Temple of Fertility”). The temple was built by a cousin of Lama DrukpaKuenlay, the Divine Madman who was generally known for his eccentric behavior. The temple is known for its fertility. It is an half an hour walk, one way to the monastery.
Day 04: Travel to Phobjikha
We will be passing through the valley of WangduePhodrang, which served as the seat of south-central power in the past. WangdueDzong has been gutted by fire on 24 October 2012 and it is being rebuilt to its original shape. The road towards Phobjikha would wind gently towards Pele La Pass (11,152ft) and pass through rice fields, beautiful scattered villages houses, thick forest of rhododendron, magnolia and hard oak trees.
Before reaching the Pele La Pass, we will take a right turn through the alpine forest, rich in rhododendrons and magnolia in full blossoms during April/May, and dwarf bamboo and arrive to the glacial valley of Phobjikha/Gangtey. The place is known for the harmonic existence between the Black Necked Crane and the local communities.
The area is the biggest and widest glacial valley in Bhutan and one of the wintering habitats for the endangered Black Necked Cranes that come to roost from the central Asiatic Plateau from October to February annually. People of the area revere the birds and do not disturb them. Even there is a song dedicated to the birds.
Day 05: Explore Phobjikha valley
Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) has an information centre located at the area. They provide the local people with some conservation funds. RSPN and local people hold a crane festival in November, which is witnessed by local and international guests depending upon the level of funds. It will be good to watch the festival in session and if not, it is a beautiful place to take photographs of the black necked cranes roosting or dancing in the valley. Phobjikha valley also provides a scenic venue for day hikes.
Gangtey Monastery, the only Nyingmapa Monastery in Bhutan is located in the Valley. It is headed by the ninth reincarnate, His Holiness, GangteyTrulku. Termites affected the wooden structures of the monastery and a major renovation was done to bring back the monastery to its original structure.
Take a walk in and around this beautiful valley and rejoice in peace and tranquility of crisp air and natural environment.
Overnight stay at a farm house in Phobjikha and observe how Bhutanese rural families carry out daily household chores.
Day 06: Travel to Paro (195 km, 6 ½ hours)
We will have early breakfast and then start our journey to Paro. The beautiful Paro valley provides a visitor with all the essential elements of Bhutan, in general ancient temples, massive forts, monasteries, picturesque villages, scenic hikes, and drives.
In the late afternoon, visit the Paro Ta Dzong- built in 1951 as a watch tower overlooking the ParoRinpungDzong. Unlike the rectangular shape of the Dzongs, Ta Dzong is round, more like parts of an European castle. From 1967 the Dzong was re-established as the National Museum and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha, and many others.
RinpungDzong -A dzong is a fortress-monastery that serves both as a civil administrative center and as a monastic home for a community of monks. Most dzongs were built in the mid- 1600s to protect the inhabited valleys from invasion by Tibet. The Parodzong was started in 1644 on the order of ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal, the unifier of modern day Bhutan. Unlike most of the other dzongs in Bhutan, it survived the massive 1897 earthquake mostly unscathed, though it was damaged by fire in 1907.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Paro
Day 07: Chelela Hike with picnic lunch; travel to Haa and back to Paro (140 km, approximately 6 hours)
After early breakfast drive to Haa Valley, located at 9000 ft. Haa was opened to the tourist in 2001 and is rich in traditional culture and served as the trade route between western Bhutan and Chumbi Valley, Tibet in the past. On the way, you will cross over the Chelela Pass, 3900m. If it is a clear day, you will be able to see Mt. Jumolhari, 7,314 m, Bhutan’s highest mountain to the north. The view is amazing and worth the travel from Paro. The uphill drive to Chelela will take two and half hours and goes through pristine forests and pasture land used for grazing yaks.
Upon reaching the Haa Valley, visit the LhakhangKarpo (White Temple) and LhakhangNagpo (Black Temple) that are located close to each other. Local legend has it that deity helped construct the temple thus giving the name to Haa, meaning ‘surprise’. Haa valley is overlooked by three mountains called ‘Rig Sum Gonpa’ which signify three Buddha deities; Jambayang, Chana Dorji and Chenrizig. In the late afternoon travel back to Paro.
Return to Paro and spent the night at a hotel in Paro.
Day 08:Hike to Tiger’s Nest
After breakfast, we drive around 25 minutes to Ramthanka base for a hike to view one of Bhutan’s most revered pilgrimage sites of the Buddhist world, the TaktshangLhakhang, popularly known as the “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery. The trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched precariously on a sheer rock face 3000 ft above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, father of Bhutan’s stream of Mahayana Buddhism arrived in the Paro valley more than a millennium ago on a back of a tigress. He meditated for 3 months in a cave which was converted into this monastery. The only sounds heard here are the murmurs of wind, water and the chanting of monks.
We begin our hike from the base to the cafeteria which will take us at least an hour and a half. From here it’s about an hour’s trek through some stunning landscape to reach the monastery. On our return, we stop by once more at the Cafeteria for lunch. Later, we begin our descent to Ramthangka base.
Next, drive to the ruins of DrukgyelDzong: This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1649 by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan and Mongolian invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong withstood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National Geographic magazine. The glory of DrukgyelDzong remained even when it was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the commanding view of Mount. Jhomolhari (7314m) from the theDzong.
En-route, visit the KyichuLhakhang, one of Bhutan’s two oldest and most sacred monasteries built by the Buddhist Tibetan king, SongtsenGampo in the seventh century to subdue a demoness lying across the Himalayas.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Paro.
Day 9: Depart Paro to Delhi
After early breakfast, proceed to the airport for your onward journey.
Tour Package includes:
- All transportation including pickups and Drops
- All accommodation
- All breakfast
- All sightseeing as per itinerary
- All immigration Formalities
- Mineral water throughout your tour
- All internal taxes
- Tourism sim card if required
- Experienced Driver
- Special turn down of rooms for honeymoon couple
ENTRY AND EXIT POINT: Paro Airport
Note: You need to bring your passport or voter card.
Name of the airline: 1. DrukAir. www.drukair.bt (book ticket here) OR 2. Bhutan Airlines. www.bhutanairlines.bt (book ticket here)
- Entry fees