Includes: Hotels, Car Rental, Sightseeing Tour, Visa, Other (sim Card), Meals (Breakfast)
Duration: 8 Nights, 9 Days
Day 1: Arrival NJP/ IXB To Pheuntsholing ( Approx 4-5 hrs drive)
Meet & Greet on arrival at NJP / IXB & transfer to Pheuntsholing – The Gateway of Bhutan by Road from India , Pheuntsholing (also sometimes spelled Phuntsholing) is the second largest town in Bhutan (population around 40,000) and is located on the Indian border, next to the town of Jaigaon .
Day 2: :: Pheuntsholing to Thimphu ( Approx 178 km/6-7 hrs drive)
Breakfast at the hotel. On 09 a.m onwards permit has to be obtained at Department of Immigration ( Permit procedure may take times ). After Permit , drive to Thimphu. On the way, visit KharbandiGumpha, Confluence of Paro Chu &Thimpu Chu.. On arrival at Thimphu check in at the hotel. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Sightseeing in Thimphu
After breakfast, we will start exploring Thimphu City with a visit to its cultural sites:
Visit the Institute of ZorigChusum (Painting School) where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive. The school show cases the 13 arts and crafts of Bhutan. Students at the school receive training for six years on thangka painting, slate curving, tailoring, stone carving, embroidery, etc. Upon completion of the training, they either find employment in the government or the private sector and some even start their own arts and crafts enterprises. If you are interested to avail some students made products, they are available for sale.
Textile Museum serves as the living art of Bhutanese weaving culture. It is located at the heart of Thimphu town. We can see the intricately designed local fabrics used for making dresses worn by men and women and used for making souvenirs. There is a small group of weavers working on looms to demonstrate this artistic works who come from Lhuentse district, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family in eastern Bhutan. Weaving a complete set of Gho or Kira, the national dress of Bhutan, would take a weaver five to six months or a year and their price would vary from US$ 1,000 to 2,000. Then visit National Library, which has a stock of holy scriptures especially on Buddhism.
Mini Zoo, houses the national animal-Takin will be a place of interest to visit. The 4th King at one point wanted the animals to be released to the forest but they kept moving around Thimphu town and had to be re-confined at the enclosure. Afterward, take a ride to Sanjaygang to have a bird’s eye view of Thimphu valley as well as to have some snap shots of the big apple of Bhutan. Next, if you are interests, Bhutan Post, as they have a good collection of stamps which the Bhutan is known for. They can also print stamps with your photo at a nominal charge, which you can take as souvenirs back home.
Then, visit the handmade paper factory, where traditional paper is made out of inner pulp of daphne and edgeworthia
Day 4: Travel to Punakha (71 km / approx 2½ hours) and sightseeing in Punakha.
Distance: 71 km, estimated travel time: 2 1/2 hrs
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft). In the clear spring sky; enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. Then pass by the beautiful 108 chortens built on a hillock by Her Majesty AshiDorjiWangmo (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. You may visit DrukWangyalLhakhang .The DrukWangyalLhakhang (temple) was built to honor His Majesty the fourth DrukGyalpo, JigmeSingyeWangchuck. The past and future appear to merge in the details of the lhakhang (temple) that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future.
Take a light refreshment at Dochula Resort and then drive onto Wangdue and on the way visit the Divine Madman’s Monastery-ChhimiLhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, .
Overnight at hotel in Wangdue/Punakha.
Day 5: Travel to Phobjikha
We will be passing through the valley of Wangdue Phodrang, which served as the seat of south-central power in the past. Wangdue Dzong 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.
Overnight stay at a farm house in Phobjikha and observe how Bhutanese rural families carry out daily household chores.
Overnight in farm House
Day 6: Travel to Paro; Sightseeing in Paro (126 km, 3 ½ hours)
After an early breakfast, drive 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.
Upon arriving in Paro, we will visit the Ta Dzong (Watch Tower), located above the Dzong is used as the national museum of Bhutan since 1967. However, it is under renovation as of this writing, but the Museum is housed in a separate building and it has collection of large vessels used during ancient times to cook and store water. Other items include traditional weapons, a variety of plants and animals, coins, jewelry and traditional costumes, adzes and earthenware pots collected from different parts of the country, scroll paintings on cloths (Thangkhas) and Bhutanese stamps.
Located below the Ta Dzong is the RinpungDzong (ParoDzong) built in 1646 and currently houses the district administrative offices and the central monastic body. The name stands for “heave of jewels.” The fortress was destroyed by the earthquake of 1897 but was restored to its original shape. An annual festival dedicated to the protecting deity of the area is held at the fortress in March/April as per the lunar calendar. During the event, a big Thangka painting (Throngdrol) is unfurled to the public for viewing and blessings and it is believed that a mere sight of it can liberate one’s soul. The Film ‘Little Buddha’ was also shot within the premises of the fortress in 1992.
An archery ground is located further below the dzong and probably we might be able to witness an archery match in action. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan. Then, we will take a 16 km drive to the ruins of DrukgyelDzong, 16km up the valley. This dzong was built by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in 1644 (in fact the dzong’s name means “victorious Bhutan”). The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951 when a fire caused by a butter lamp destroyed it. In the evening, take a leis
Day 7: Hike to Tiger’s Nest
Have an early breakfast and travel to Paro for Taktsang hike (Tiger’s Nest Monastery). Drive to Tiger’s Nest base camp would take one and half years and climb to the Taktsang Monastery will take around 5-6 hours, both ways. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop for a rest and light refreshments at the only cafeteria mid-way and then further walk a short distance until we see Taktsang monastery.
The monastery was built in this holy place in 1684 A.D. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here in the form of DorjiDrolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in 747 A.D. and meditated for 3 months. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 msl into the valley below. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria. After lunch we will return to the hotel.
Next, visit DungtseLhakhang, built in 1421 by the famous Tibetan Lama, ThangtonGyalpo (1385-1464) in the form of chorten to subdue a demoness in Paro valley. It is the only Lhakhang, except the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu, that was built in the form of chorten and has one of the most extraordinary collections of paintings in Bhutan.
Overnight stay in a hotel
Day 8: Paro to Pheuntsholing
After breakfast we will drop you to Phuntsholing.
Evening visit crocodile zoo
Day 9: Phuentsholing To IXB / NJP
After breakfast you will be taken to NJP station. Your tour ends