Historic Central Bhutan

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This tour begins from the open valleys of western Bhutan and then you will traverse through the rugged mountains of central and further onwards to eastern Bhutan where the people speak a different language.

Day 01: Arrive Paro (by Druk Air).

The flight to Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport is considered by many as one of the most spectacular, as it offers a view of the lofty Himalayas and some of the highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest. As you disembark, our guide will receive you at the airport after you have cleared customs and visa.

We will check into the hotel and after you have rested enough, we can stroll through Paro town. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) – Thimphu.

After breakfast, we will ride the winding road towards Drugyel dzong, which is under reconstruction today after it was destroyed by fire in 1951. Historically, the dzong was considered one of the most beautiful, located on a ridge above Paro valley and it had defended several Tibetan invasions in the past. You will get to see the unclimbed Mount Jhomolhari.

We will then drive to the base of Taktshang to hike up to the monastery. The steep uphill climb to the monastery lasts 3 hours and you can chose to walk or ride a horse. The Taktshang monastery is built at the edge of a cliff 800 meters above the valley floor. It is the site where Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, meditated for four months.

After lunch we will visit the Paro museum, inside the Ta dzong, which initially served as a watchtower for the Paro Rinpung dzong. The museum houses several antiquities, Appliques, textiles, weaponry, armour and ancient stone implements. The Paro Rinpung dzong is a 17th century fortress built to defend Tibetan invasions.

We will then drive to Thimphu, the capital city that takes about an hour. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Thimphu sightseeing and hike to Tango Monastery.

After breakfast, we will drive up to Sangaygang, a vantage point from where you will get to see the whole of Thimphu city below. On the way we will visit the Takin preserve, where we will show you Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin. We will also visit the Zilukha nunnery and then drive towards Tango monastery for a picnic lunch. The 13th century Tango monastery is home to about 150 monks.

Back in Thimphu we will continue our excursions with a visit to the folk heritage museum and the national painting school. In the evening, we shall visit the National memorial Chorten, built in memory of the Third king of Bhutan.

Day 04: Thimphu – Punakha

We will drive to Punakha on this day, the capital of medieval Bhutan and the site of the most beautiful dzongs (fortress) in Bhutan. It draws hundreds of tourists every day. You will drive through the Dochula Pass, where 108 victory stupas sit on a mound dividing the road. On a clear sky the place offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range.

After having our lunch in Punakha, we will visit the Punakha dzong, the winter residence of the chief abbot of Bhutan, Je Khenpo. The male and female rivers surround the dzong. If time permits, we will then hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten.

Day 05: Punakha – Trongsa.

On this day we are driving to the famed central valleys of Bhutan. It takes 6 hours to reach Trongsa crossing the Pelela Pass (3,300m). On this long adventurous journey, we will pass through Wangduephodrang dzong, then climb upwards Pelela pass, which has an abundance of rhododendron flowers. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan.

Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 06: Trongsa – Bumthang.

After breakfast we will walk by the Trongsa Dzong, built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and then drive to Bumthang, which is about three hours drive from Trongsa. You will cross Yotong La Pass (3,400m). Further 13 kms ahead, the road enters into a wide, open, cultivated valley known as Chumey valley. On arrival in Bumthang, check into the lodge. After lunch, hike to Thangbi valley across the suspensions bridge and visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 07: Bumthang Sightseeing.

Bumthang is the sacred heartland of Bhutan and has the highest number of temples and monasteries, including some of the oldest that predate the arrival of Guru Padmasambhava in Bhutan. We will visit few of the ancient monasteries including the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century and Kurjey Lhakhang which houses Guru Padmasambhava’s body print.

We will then hike to Tamzhing monastery founded by the treasure discoverer Tertoen Pema Lingpa. On our way back, we will visit Jakar dzong and stroll around Chamkhar town in the evening. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Tang Ugyencholing Excursion

We will take an excursion drive to Tang valley following a feeder road. We will hike to Ugyen Choling monastery that overlooks the valley below. The Tibetan lama Longchen Rabjam founded the monastery in the 14th century. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 09: Bumthang – Mongar

After breakfast, drive to Ura village and visit Ura Lhakhang and then continue drive to Monger through the Thrumshingla Pass (3,750m), the highest pass on the east-west highway. We will drive through dense forest of rhododendron. We can enjoy a picnic lunch by the riverside, and then we will begin our journey eastwards. We will continue our drive to Mongar and if we have time, you can stroll around Mongar town.

Day 10: Mongar – Khoma-Lhuentse

Today we are driving to the ancient district of Lhuentse, which has a rich historical legacy. Lhuentse is famed for its high quality textiles. Most women engage in weaving intricate designs. We will visit the homes of some of the weavers and then drive back to Mongar. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 11: Mongar – Trashigang

This is a 96 kms journey and takes three hours to reach Korila pass (2,450 m; 8,000 feet), which is marked by a pretty Chorten and a stonewall. We will drive across the old iron bridge, Chazam that was built by Bhutan’s renaissance figure Thangtong Gyalpo. From the bridge, you will get to see the Trashigang dzong which we will visit as we reach Trashigang.

Day 12: Trashigang – Day excursion to Trashi Yangtse

On this day, we will visit Trashiyangtse dzongkhag, sister dzongkhag of Trashigang located 52 kilometers away. The place is known for its wooden bowls and containers. Along the way we will stop by at Gomphu Kora Chorten where Guru Rinpoche meditated and vanquished a fleeing evil spirit. Chorten Kora, which lies just below the town, attracts devotees from within the country as well as from the neighboring states of Arunachal Pradesh in India. After lunch, we will explore Trashiyangtse.

Day 13: Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar.

Along the Trashigang to Samdrupjongkhar highway, we will pass Sherubtse College, the oldest college in Bhutan. En-route we will visit Khaling Blind School and a handicrafts shop. We will drive further down to Deothang. The road then descends fairly rapidly to the plains through the dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 14: Depart from Samdrup Jongkhar

After breakfast your representative will help you with the exit formalities and bid you farewell.