Day 01: Paro Arrival
Kuzu zangpo la! Welcome to Bhutan – The Kingdom of Happiness. Today you will take a flight from India to Paro International Airport. The flight to Paro will give you a window to some of the most spectacular sceneries in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. On arrival, welcome by our representative at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities.
After transferring to the city, enjoy a cozy lunch at a local restaurant before check-in to your hotel.
Following your afternoon sightseeing around Paro. Make your first visit to the Ta Dzong Museum to observe a collection of many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past.
Next up, drive to 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang which is one of 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Inside the temple, there is a great golden image of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Before dinner at the hotel, learn more about the orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Discover Paro (B)
After breakfast, ready for a hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk will take you about 1.5 to 2 hours uphill from the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria).
Perched dramatically on a sheer rock cliff which is 900 meters above the valley floor, Paro Taktsang Monastery offers travelers with a spectacular sight to the majestic mountain ranges and beautiful valley. The Monastery is one of the most important pilgrim sites in Bhutan for the Buddhists. Legend said that the great Guru Rimpoche has flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby the monastery, there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch.
Highlight your afternoon with an amazing experience at the Paro festival. Attend to this big event, you will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. Observe the masked dances and traditional rituals of the locals. You will see the spiritual dances telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan’s patron saint, Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche).
Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro – Thimphu (B)
Raise before dawn this morning at 2.30 am and drive to Paro Dzong to attend the thongdroel ceremony where a large religious painting of Guru Rinpoche made of cloth is unfurled on the side of the Dzong. This event signifies the final day of the Paro festival.
After that, return to the hotel for a break and then we continue driving to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours) following the Pachu River. En route, you can stop to capture the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s iron bridge builder. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
Day 04: Discover Thimphu (B)
A full day to discover the enchanting capital of Bhutan. In the past, Thimphu was a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, today, it is the nation’s bustling capital.
Make your first visit to the National Memorial Chorten, completed by the Royal Queen Mother as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Then move on to 12th-century Changangkha Temple, Zilukha Nunnery, and The National Library to view the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century. If the time permits, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, and Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’ housing some ministries.
If your visit to Thimphu falls at the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market for a glimpse at the daily trade of the locals. (The market opens only from Friday until mid-Sunday).
Day 05: Thimphu – Trongsa (B)
Leave Thimphu this morning and head to Trongsa (7-8 hrs) via the Dochu-La pass (3,100m) and Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range. En-route visit beautiful Chendebji Chorten dating back to the 18th century. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty. Overnight at your hotel in Trongsa.
Day 06: Trongsa – Bumthang (B)
Power up this morning with a visit to Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Trongsa is the largest Dzong in Bhutan and the location of the monarchy institution in Bhutan began. Behold the spectacular view from the Dzong across the impressive landscape for many miles. You will then visit the Ta Dzong museum to witness an incredible collection of historical artifacts of the Royal Family and a range of traditional armor.
After that, proceed to Bumthang (2.5 hrs), the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will drive toward the spectacular Yo Yutung La Pass (3,400m) before descending down through the dense coniferous forest to Chummy valley.
Bumthang Valley is home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces, Buddhist temples, and monasteries. Upon here, you will see barley fields, apple groves and meadows lay below huge hills which climb up towards the Himalayan mountain wall separating Bhutan from Tibet. Here, visit the 16th-century Tamshing Lhakhang containing ancient Buddhist wall paintings, 7th Century Jambay Lhakhang and Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan’s patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated. Overnight at your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang.
Day 07: Discover Bumthang (B)
Enjoy a full day exploring some of the most famous sites around Bumthang. The 16th century Tang Ugyen Chholing Palace stands features a museum enshrining an excellent overview of traditional rural life in Bhutan. Your guide also leads you to visit the pool of Mebartso (The Lake of Fire). It is here that Pemalingpa (founder of the Nyingmapa sect) is said to have found the hidden treasure by Guru Rinpoche. Overnight at your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang.
Day 08: Bumthang – Punakha (B)
This morning, say goodbye to Bumthang and depart for Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. You will stop along the way at Trongsa for lunch.
On arrival, enjoy a stroll through the Punakha Township for a first glimpse at the city’s life. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.
Day 09: Discover Punakha (B)
A full day to sightseeing around Punakha. Make your first stop at Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” dating back to 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). Situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers), the palace gives you a stunning view of two beautiful rivers. Stroll around the Dzong, you will see the three-story main temple feature a breath-taking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan’s first king was crowned.
Next up, we proceed to Chimi Lhakhang, well-known as the temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman and considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.
Day 10: Punakha – Paro (B)
After breakfast, drive to Yabesa village and hike to through mesmerizing rice fields up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the riverside, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions. Later on, drive back to Thimphu to visit handicraft and souvenir stores.
Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 11: Departure (B)
This morning, enjoy your breakfast at the hotel, then our driver will come to pick you up to drive to the airport for your departure flight. Your Bhutan tour ends. Thank you for making your trip with Go Bhutan Tours!