Experience The Land Of The Dragon (12n/13d)

Taktshang Monastery (Tigers Nest)

Taktshang Monastery (Tigers Nest)

Day 1 : Arrival
Arrive Paro by Druk Air 146-100 series, the only national carrier. The flight offers you beautiful views of mountains and landscapes. On arrival and after visa formalities you will be received by our tour officer. Afternoon / evening time at leisure. Overnight Kichu Resort.

Day 2 : Paro
Paro Sightseeing – visit the ruined fortress of Drugyel Dzong which still attracts visitors due to the strategic location of the fort. The fort defended the Paro valley from the Tibetan invasion from the north in the early 17th century. On clear weather Mount Chomolhari 7320 meters can be seen towering over the Dzong. Proceed through the beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. It was housed into the National Museum in the 1960s by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The seven floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong, that serves as the administrative center and school for monks. Walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Evening drive 2 hours to Thimphu(65km). Overnight at Hotel River View or
similar.

Day 3 : Thimphu
AM sightseeing – visit the indigenous hospital where traditional old art of healing is still practised, Art & Craft school, National library, Royal Goldsmith Workshop and Handicraft Centres. PM visit the Memorial chorten built in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, 15th century Changangkha Monastery, Motithang mini zoo to see the rare “Takin” national animal of Bhutan and drive further down with good view of the Thimphu valley. Visit the new Drupthob nunnery temple and free time in the market. Overnight same.

Day 4 : Wangduephodrang
Drive 3 hours to Wangduephodrang via Punakha crossing the Dochula pass 3100 meters. On fine weather you will see the eastern Himalayan ranges including the highest mountain in Bhutan Mt.Gangar Punsum 7520 meters. The drive from the pass is all the way downhill dropping to the lower and warmer valleys of lobesa. Visit the Punakha Dzong which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every year during the month of  February a procession known as the Punakha Serda takes place to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. Proceed 45 minutes to Wangduephodrang and view the Dzong from outside and stroll around the market area. Check into Wangdi Kichu Resort.

Day 5 : Gangtey
Day excursion to the Gangtey Gompa valley (2800 meters). The only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan is located here. This beautiful valley is also home to the rare Black Necked Cranes migrating from the Tibetan plateau to escape the harsh winter. Currently there are 200 to 300 cranes residing in this valley and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) is taking every measure to ensure the safety of the cranes. While the cranes reside in the winter valley for 4/5 months the village folks are not allowed to  make load noises or fish in the river that runs through the valley. Explore the fascinating glacier valley and return to the Resort.

Day 6 : Bumthang
Today will be a long drive almost 7 / 8 hours crossing 3 passes over 3000 meters. The route offers magnificent views of the Himalayas and beautiful landscape through scattered hamlets and forest of rhododendrons and pine. Picnic lunch will be served at the 18th century Chendebji Chorten. After one and half hours arrive at a small town known as Trongsa meaning new village. The town mainly consists of fresh Tibetan refugees but the most impressive of all is the Trongsa Dzong. The whole of eastern Bhutan was controlled from this fortress during the mid 17th century. Visitors are not allowed inside the building. Proceed another 2 hours to Bumthang visiting the Chume weaving centre. Overnight at Karma Tobden Guesthouse.

Day 7 : Bumthang
Bumthang (2600m), has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Here tales of Guru Padmasambhava and his reincarnation known as Tertons still linger in most nooks and corners. It is also known for its woollen material  (yathra) which can be seen hung outside of houses for sale. Sightseeing – Visit the Jakar Dzong, 7th century Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey monastery, Tamshing and Kunchosum Monastery. This sightseeing is a round trip so it is more interesting done on foot. Overnight same.

Day 8 : Ura
Excursion 2 hours to Ura village and visit the new Ura Monastery. On the way visit the Mebartso meaning burning lake. Stroll around the village and return back to Guest house. In the evening walk to the Swiss farm where apple juice, cider, cheese etc., are made.

Day 9 : Wangduephodrang
Drive back to Wangduephodrang. Overnight at Wangdi Kichu Resort.

Day 10 : Paro
Drive 3/4 hours to Paro via Lobesa and a short walk through farm houses and fields to Chimme Lhakhang. This monastery was built in the 15th century and dedicated to the famous Lam Drukpa Kunley or divine mad man. He is one of  the most famous saints in Bhutan and his temple is visited mostly by childless couples. Lunch at Thimphu and drive to Paro, visiting the oldest building in Bhutan, the Simtokha Dzong. It now serves as a Buddhist university. Overnight Kichu Resort.

Day 11 : Taktsang Monastery
Day hike to Taktsang monastery. Horses can be arranged with an extra cost. The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 /3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro Valley. It is believed that the great Saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism and converted the Paro Valley into Buddhism. During the end of the 17th century a monastery was built on the spot where the saint mediated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time. Stroll back to Resort. Evening at leisure. Overnight Kichu Resort.

Day 12 : Haa Valley
Day excursion to Haa Valley. This valley was recently opened to visitors and remains one of Bhutan’s most pristine regions. At the Chuzom confluence, the road ascends the dramatic Wang Chu Valley where there is time to view the Dobji Dzong and, if time permits, hike around its high ramparts. The road into Haa winds up through quaint villages and thick conifer forests before leading into a  valley carpeted with fields of millet, barley, potato and wheat. The patchwork fields are dotted with farmhouses all adorned with intricately painted cornices and door and window frames. Visits to both Chhundu Lhakhang and Lhakhang Karpo provide an insight into the history of the valley. There are arrangements to see the Wangchulo Dzong as well. The winding road then ascends through pastureland past grazing yaks, before reaching the 3,900m Cheli La pass. Descending into the Paro Valley, the scenery transforms from sub-Alpine pasture brilliant with wild mountain flowers, to lush forests of blue pine, cypress, larch, fir and rhododendron. Overnight Kichu Resort.

Day 13 : Departure
Transfer to airport for departure.

 

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