Spirit of Bhutan (04 nights/05 days)
Located within the great Himalayan mountain range, the hidden Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan is one of the most exclusive travel destinations in the world. More than 70 percent of the country is forested and the landscape consists of mountains, valleys, deep ravines and thick forest.
Day 01: Arrive Paro (by Druk Air) – Transfer to Thimphu
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 and then drive on towards Thimphu, the capital city. Thimphu is the only capital city without a traffic light and a lone police officer directs traffic from a booth. In the evening, we will visit the Handicrafts Emporium, where all types of Bhutanese handicrafts are made and sold, overnight at Hotel.
Day 02: Thimphu – Punakha – Wangdue
In Thimphu sightseeing includes visit to the Institute of Traditional Medicine; the National Library, stocked with priceless ancient Buddhist manuscripts and the Arts and Craft school, where children learn the ancient art of Buddhist painting. Other highlights include a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk; Zilukha Nunnery; Folk Heritage Museum; Textile Museum and the Bhutanese Handmade Paper Factory. In the afternoon, we depart to Punakha, the medieval capital of Bhutan.
Leaving Thimphu we will drive to Dochula Pass (3,050 m), which offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. After stopping for tea and the view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha. We will then visit the Punakha Dzong, the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot of Bhutan) and the Monk Body, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. We then drive to the fertile valley of Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of western Bhutan where we make a short stop to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.
Day 03: Wangdue – Paro.
In the morning, we will visit the Wangdue Phodrang dzong and en route to Paro, we will walk up to Chhimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility founded by the divine madmen Drukpa Kuenley. After lunch we will visit the handicrafts shop and then depart to Dinner and overnight at Hotel in Paro.
Day 04: Paro sightseeing and hike to Taktshang
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, armor and ancient stone implement. 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.
Taktshang is the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan region. The monastic complex clings to a rock towering 900 meters above the valley (over 2,600 feet). After the visit to the temple, we walk back to the cafeteria for your lunch. After lunch we then walk back to the road point and then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. In the afternoon visit National Museum, Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum, and visit Paro Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. We will stroll through Paro town and then have our dinner at the hotel.
Day 05: Depart from Paro (by Druk Air).
In the morning our escort will bid you goodbye at the Paro airport