12 Days Bhutan discover tour provides an in-depth view into the ancient way of life and rich culture that still thrives in Bhutan today through the western valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Wangdu
Discover Bhutan tour one of the Himalaya’s least known regions at a time when deities and demons, wrathful and benign, appear in a blaze of brilliant color as they dance in honor of Guru Rinpoche.
Each monastery or dzong holds an annual festival, Tsechu, which instructs onlookers in the Buddhist teachings, gains them merit and acts as an important social occasion. The valleys of Bumthang are the heart of central Bhutan, their incredible beauty highlighted by numerous palaces, ancient temples and monasteries.
Few westerners visit Bhutan's central Bumthang district with its four sacred valleys. Fewer still venture to far eastern Bhutan with its distinctive peoples, culture and its rich natural history. The 12-day tour offers a rare insight of the entire country of Bhutan including Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, the sacred Bumthang valleys and the rarely seen Eastern Bhutan.
After exploring the Paro and Thimpu's craft centers dzongs, and over the Dochu La to top at Bhutan's ancient capital of Punakha where the great Punakha Dzong stands at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mho Cho Rivers. Continuing westwards we visit the alpine the alpine valley of Bhobjika where we will visit the Gangtey Gompa and then on to Trongsa and then to Jakar, Bumthang's main village. This is Bhutan's most sacred valleys, hallowed 1,200 years ago by the visits of Padmashambava the great Buddhist guru also knows as the Guru Rimpoche.
Day 01: Arrival Paro International airport / transfer to Thimpu (2300m) - 2 hrs. drive
During the flight, on a clear day, you can see breathtaking views of the Himalaya Mountains, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake Peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
If time permit in the afternoon you can visit the following places:
- Kyichu Lhakhang
- Paro Dzong
In the evening you can drive to the capital town of Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimpu sightseeing
There are a good many things to see in the capital which has a very relaxed, laid-back feel about it. Thimphu is relatively small having a population of approximately 45,000 people and the streets are wide and tree lined. You will almost certainly visit the Late King's Memorial Chorten, the National Library, Drubthob Nunnery, Folk Heritage Museum, the handmade paper factory, the school of arts and crafts where young students learn the traditional arts and crafts (Zo Rig Chusum – the thirteen crafts), Gold and the Silver Smiths workshop, Zangtopelri Lhakhang, and the Handicraft Emporium and the local handicraft centers to see the weavers at work and also varieties of textiles, Thangkha paintings, Masks, Jewellery etc
Day 03: Thimpu - Punakha (1250m.) - 3/4 hrs. drive
After breakfast you will drive to Punakha, with a stop en route for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. After lunch at Wangduephodrong continue to drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, and visit Punakha Dzong, which is noteworthy both for being one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Bhutan and also for having been built by the first Shabdrung in 1636.
Day 04: Excursion to Gangtey (2890m.) - Trongsa (2317m.) - 6/7 hrs. drive
Today early morning we depart for central Bhutan through the tropical vegetation to Nobding. Throughout your trip you will come across the beautiful sceneries of rural Bhutan, with scattered settlements far from the road. We drive about an hour towards Pelela pass (11,000ft) and retrace our steps and take a road that heads to Gangtey Gompa over Tashi La pass. Descend about an hour to Phobjikha Valley. It is a wide open valley, where Gangtey Gompa is ideally located on a hill over looking the valley. It is the winter habitat for the Black necked cranes migrating from Tibet early November till mid March. Gangtey Gompa is institute for monks following the Nyingmapa sect in the country. After visiting the monastery we drive back over the Pelela pass. Descend through the open meadows and valley of yak herders and several villages via Chendeji Chorten built in a form of Nepalese style in 15th century. Picnic lunch will be served enroute or at the restaurant at Chendebji. We drive for another 2 hours passing through several villages like Tsangkha, Tashicholing. Enroute stop at the viewpoint of Trongsa Dzong. Drive for another ½ an hour to your hotel.
Day 05: Trongsa - Bumthang (2600m.) - 3 hrs. drive
After breakfast we visit one of the most beautiful dzongs (forts) of Bhutan, the Trongsa Dzong that overlooking the Mangde Chhu Valley, where temples, monasteries and retreats of great importance house many sacred images and relics. After lunch we drive to Yotong La Pass at 3425 meters and slowly descend to Zungney passing through fir, blue pine and bamboo forests and reach Jakar. On reaching Jakar late afternoon, dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 06: Bumthang (Jakar valley):
Visit Jakar Dzong and the most important chapels with wonderful paintings and murals; visit Jampey lhakang, built in the 7th century, Chakhar Lhakhang, Kurjey lhakhang and overnight in the hotel.
Day 07: Bumthang (Jakar valley):
After breakfast drive to the Tang valley visiting the Membartsho/Fire Lake, where Terton Pema Lingpa discovered a hidden treasure, Tang Rimochen Lakhang and Ogyen Chholing Palace. Today if the group prepared, all the visits can be done by trekking, a sort of pilgrimage. Those who cannot walk can be transferred by jeep which is at our disposal all the time. Back to Jakar in the late afternoon, dinner and overnight.
Day 08: Bumthang (Jakar valley):
Visit Ura Valley, the most ancient village in Bhutan. Spend some time birding and walking in wilderness areas in the Bumthang Valley. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 09: Bumthang / Wangdiphodrang (1350m.) - 7 hrs. drive
It will take 7-8 hours long drive to Wangdue. Lunch will be served at Chendebji Chorten.
Visit the Wangdi Phodrang Dzong, built in 1750, the market place, and overnight in the hotel after dinner. (Approximately 3 hours drive and 70km distance).
Day 10: Wangdiphodrang - Paro (2200m.) - 3/4 hrs. drive
Today we drive along the winding mountain road to Paro. Afternoon, visit Bhutan's national museum, a fascinating place housed in an old watchtower above the huge Paro Dzong (monastery/fortress). The museum holds a fantastic collection of Bhutanese national treasures ranging from ancient armour to textiles and thangkha paintings. Then, we drive to the head of the valley and visit Drukgyel Dzong built in a location that was chosen for its control over the route to Tibet. A spectacular view of Mount Jumolhari (23,996ft /7314m) can be seen from here. Also visit Rinpung Dzong and a typical Bhutanese farm house.
Day 11: Paro - hike to Taksang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery)
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, Bhutan’s most famous monastery. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to reach the viewpoint to the monastery makes for a nice half-day excursion. After lunch you can visit other important site which you could not complete previous days.
Day 12: Departure
Drive to the airport to connect flight for onward destination. Or Fly to Kathmandu for Nepal Tours.
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