Day 1 : November 2019 - PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – THIMPHU
As you arrive at Paro International airport, you will be received by your guide offering white scarf which is a sign of warm welcome. Before traveling to Thimphu, visit the Ta Dzong(Watchtower) built in1656 and renovated in 1968, an ancient building, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Rinpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”), the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. After lunch, drive to Thimphu along the Pa Chu (Paro River) till the confluence where Pa Chu meets with Wang Chu (Thimphu River), from there following Wang Chu to reach Thimphu, Bhutan’s scenically located capital city, takes about an hour.
In the evening, visit Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the government and the Central Monastic Body which is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). Welcome dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2 : November 2019 - THIMPHU – GANGTEY
Today drive to Gangtey by Dochula Pass (3140m or 10,362feet asl), here take a short break to see the spectacular view Jigme Singye Wangchuck Mountain Ranges all with snow cape, at far north we can also see Gasa Dzong at a distance if the weather is clear. You can also circumbulate 109 stupas built on a small hill in 2003, by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, to commemorate the victory over Indian insurgents occupying southern Bhutan. Continue driving further down the hill, stopped at the Botanical Park where we can see all the 46 species of Rhododendrons of Bhutan.
Have lunch at the park or at Wangdiphodrang Town, after lunch make a short visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong and continue to Gangtey monastery. This monastery is an important place of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, and it is the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition. Drive to Crane Information Center to watch the Black-necked Cranes gathering at their roosting place. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Gangtey.
Day 3 : November 2019 - GANGTEY – BUMTHANG
After breakfast, visit Gangtey Monastery and continue driving to Bumthang by the Pelela pass (3300m or 10890feet asl), the traditional boundary between east and west. Stop for lunch at Trongsa, visit Trongsa Dzong built in 1644, after lunch, it was an ancestral residence of Bhutan’s royal family. Then visit the Ta Dzong (Museum), an ancient watch tower built to guard the Trongsa Dzong. And continue driving to Bumthang, one of the most historic districts and has a large number of ancient temples and sacred sites. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.
Day 4 : November 2019 – JAMBAY LHAKHANG FESTIVAL
The Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest monastery built in 7th century, the festival is the most amazing festival, here you will get an opportunity to witness the late-night sacred naked dance which is one of the festival highlights and one which attracts many spectators. You will also have an opportunity to walk along the farmlands and visit some of the farmhouses to understand the lifestyle of the local people.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.
Day 5 : November 2019 - BUMTHANG
Bumthang consists of four mountain valleys - the Ura, Chumey, Tang and Chhoekhor. This spectacular area is the spiritual heartland of Bhutan and home to its most ancient and precious Buddhist places. It is the first place where the great Buddhist Saint Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) visited in 7th century.
Here you will visit some of the most significant and holiest places including Mebar Tsho and Tamzhing Lhakhang. Mebar Tsho is considered one of the most sacred sites in the region as it relates to the renowned treasure reveler, Terton Pema Lingpa – the incarnated disciple of Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche, who discovered treasure from the lake in the late 15th century. Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, is located across the river opposit Kurje Lhakhang where Guru Riinpoche subdued the local deity “Shenjay Karpo”. Kurje Monastery has body imprint of Guru Padmasambhava and Tamshing monastery has very ancient religious paintings like 1,000 Buddhas and 21 Taras (female form of Buddhisatava). The temple was restored at the end of the 19th century.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.
Day 6 : November 2019- BUMTHANG – PUNAKHA
After an early breakfast, drive to Punakha. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Punakha.
Day 7 : November 2019 - PUNAKHA
After an early breakfast, drive about 7 km from Punakha and cross the suspension bridge over the Mochu River before walking approximately 30-45 minutes to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten (Stupa) which is perched on a strategic ridge overlooking the nearby villages under Kabisa geog. It was built under the sponsorship of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangden Wangchuck to remove evil forces and promote peace, stability and harmony throughout the world. As the first of its kind in the world to have been constructed, the details and the architectural designs were drawn from scriptures as visualized by Dudjom Lingpa.
Later on, visit the impressive Punakha Dzong which lies between two great rivers the Pho Chu (Male River) and the Mo Chu (Female River). The Punakhas Dzong serves as the winter residence for the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body and also the office of the district administration.
After Lunch drive to Lobesa to take a walk of about 25 minutes along the terraced farmlands and farmhouses to visit the Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (the Devine Madman) in the 15th century. He subdued the demons and built a small chorten “stupa” on the hill where he put the demon underneath and also prophesied that a monastery will be built which later his brother Lama Ngawang Chogyel built the present monastery in1499. It is now popularly known as “the Temple of Fertility”.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Punakha.
Day 8 : November 2019 PUNAKHA – PARO
After breakfast drive to Paro, lunch at Paro Town and after lunch drive to old Drugyel Dzong which was only a ruin till 2016, and now the new Dzong has been built which is almost complete. This Dzong has great historical importance for the people of Bhutan, it was a place where the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetan invasion. You can also see a spectacular view of one of the highest mountain “Jumolhari” at a height of 23907 feet asl. In the evening you can visit a farm house where you can experience typical Bhutanese farm life with hot stone bath.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 9 : November 2019 - TAKTSANG MONASTERY OR TIGER’S NEST
After breakfast drive to the base of Taktsang to start the breathtaking and memorable hike through beautiful pine forest to Taktsang. The hike is about 3 miles uphill and the monastery is located at an altitude of 3000m/9900feet asl. You will stop for light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria before walking on to the famous, Taktsang monastery or Tiger’s Nest.
The place was first visited by Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tigeress, Dorj, from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in the east. Later in 1694 the 4th Druk Desk Tenzin Rabgay built the monastery. It was damaged by fire twice once in 1951 and in 1998 and later it was again rebuilt.
Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 10 : November 2019 - PARO - PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (B)
Early morning drive to Paro International Airport where your guide will accompany you to bid you farewell.