|Trip Style||:||Cultural Tour|
|Trip Rating by Popularity||:||*****|
|Physical Demand Rating||:||1|
|Tariff / rate||:||$ 1,750 per pax|
|Group Size||:||Maximum 16 pax / minimum 4 Pax|
|Group Leader||:||A Certified Tour Guide|
|Transport||:||Quality and appropriate transportation will be made available.|
This tour package consists of journeying across beautiful and pristine valleys of western Bhutan. It will take you on hike to Paro Taktsang ( Tiger’s Nest ) monastery, Capital of Bhutan ( Thimphu ) and the pristine and panoramic glacial valley of Gangtey Gomba ( Phobjikha Valley ).
Arrive Paro and Drive to Thimphu, (60 km, 1 hour drive)
On a clear sunny day, your flight could begin with the panoramic view of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga, and Bhutans Jomolhari and Jichu Drakey.
Upon landing at Paro international Airport, you’ll be received and greeted by your guide and escorted to your Vehicle . You will be driven to Thimphu, capital city of Bhutan and check in to your room in Hotel .
After lunch your guide will escort you to see places of interests around and in Thimphu. Drive up to KuenselPhodrang for a panoramic sight of Thimphu valley below. This site also has enormous statue of Buddha overlooking the whole of Thimphu.
Dinner and overnight in Paro Hotel.
You will start your day from any of the following tourist sites, such as; National Folk Heritage Museum, Zorig Chusum school of 13 traditional arts/crafts, Textile Museum, Memorial Chorten (stupa).
These visits will showcase not only our age-old heritage, tradition, customs and even fabrics (which is the present identification of a Bhutanese) but our deep commitment to preserve and promote it. Your visit to Centenary Farmer’s market will bring across our efforts to promote self-sufficiency in agriculture produce against chemically infused vegetables imported from neighboring states.
Do visit our only Takin Reserve Center and see a unique animal (the mixture of a goat and wildebeest) which is also the national animal of Bhutan – the Takin. Takin is chosen as the National Animal of Bhutan, because it is unique, rare and native to Bhutan.
It is closely associated to religious history and mythology of the country. The animal was called ‘Dyiong-gyem tsi’ or takin. Conclude your day with a lovely meal in one of the best restaurant with a choice of Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, or Thai culinary (do seek guidance from the guide).
Dinner and overnight in Thimphu Hotel.
Breakfast early morning and drive to Dochula Pass ( 10,000 ft ). Brief stop to view the panoramic sight of snow covered Himalayan peaks. Mt. Gangkar Phuensum ( 7,570 meters ) highest unclimbed mountain on Earth, is seen amongst them. A collection of 108 stupas are beautifully built on this spot.
From here the drive leads all way down to humid temperature of Wangdue Valley. After lunch at local restaurant, drive up hill until the scenic glacial valley of Phobjikha opens up in front of you.
Phobjikha valley is protected area for rare and endangered blacked-necked cranes that migrate here in winter from Tibetan plateau. A center for observation of black-necked cranes will be opened for tourists visitation.
The reception at hotel in Phobjikha will be expecting your visit. Check in to your room.
Dinner and overnight at Gangtey Hotel.
Sightseeing in the Valley
You will visit the Observatory for some information on the endangered Black Necked Cranes and if you are here towards late Fall and winter, you can have a close-up on the birds aided by a telescope.
Lunch will entail a pleasant 4 km hike around the periphery of the roosting area which eloquently ends into the entrance of the Gangtey Gompa monastery sitting atop a hill overlooking the whole valley.
After visiting this special temple that has been renovated recently with fine examples of Bhutanese architecture, you will be picked up by your driver and driven back to your hotel or your camp.
The hike is a recommended activity as we ourselves enjoy it every single time we are there as the weather is usually superb for photographers and the object to be captured is an underlying valley that probably prompted the early visitors to Bhutan to compare it as Shangrila.
We can also augment this day with mountain biking and motorcycles as the valley offers some good collection of dirt roads.
Dinner and overnight at Phobjikha hotel.
Breakfast and drive to Punakha. While crossing Lobesa (small satellite town) on the way, visit Chhimi Lhakhang, the fertility monastery built in memory of Lama Drukpa Kuenlay ( Divine Madman ).
Painting of Phallas symbols on walls of traditional houses in Bhutan are attributed to him. Couples without children visit here for blessing and all children born in this valley are brought here for blessings too.
Trip to Punakha is never complete without visiting the Dzong (fortress). The historical Dzong is also known as Pungtang Dechen Phodrang Dzong ( the palace of great happiness or bliss ). It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
Punakha Dzong served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907 and the first National Assembly of Bhutan as Nation was held here in 1953.
The significance of the Fortress stepped up in 2011, when His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk married Gyeltseun Her Majesty Jetsun Pema on October 13th.
One of the beautiful aspect of Punakha Dzong is its location, the Dzong is situated at the confluence of two glacial rivers – male and female rivers. The architecture is Bhutans finest.
At beginning of every year festival takes place inside this fortress where villagers congregate to witness spectacular display of warriors enacting, fabulous mask dances and other activities.
If weather permits, you could also set up camp next to the river (superb camping grounds) with a bonfire and have a wonderful stay.
Morning drive to Paro. You will notice the change in landscape of Bhutans environment while driving up to Dochula Pass and after crossing it.
At Paro visit National Museum and Rimpung Dzong ( fortress ) that overlooks at the scenic Paro valley below.
Commercial movies are not allowed to be filmed in Bhutan. The only Hollywood movie ” Little Buddha ” was allowed to be filmed inside this impressive fortress.
Dumtse Lhakhnag has very old paintings inside its dark corridors and torch light in necessary here.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhnag. Tibetan King Tsongtsen Gompo built this temple in 7th century, to subdue evil Ogress that was terrorizing Himalayan region. Inside lies 7th century statue of future Buddha ( Maitrya ) and visitors are allowed to enter.
Drugyel Dzong lies further up north of valley in ruins and under renovation. Before it caught fire, picture of this fortress graced the cover of National Geographic Magazine in April 1914 by John Claude white of East India company. It was originally built to protect the route from possible Tibetan invaders in 1644.
Dinner in Local Paro town and overnight at Hotel
Hike to Taktsang ( Tigers Nest ) monastery.
Early morning hike with your guide to Taktsang monastery. The 4 hours hike will take you to Taktsang Monastery ( Tigers Nest ), built on sheer cliff 1000 meters up. This spot is the most sacred pilgrimage site for all Bhutanese people and is considered a must visit once in their life time.
On 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, also considered as 2nd Buddha, flew on back of a Tigress to a cave here and meditated for 3 years.
Lunch will be served at Taktsang Cafeteria on the way back down.
Evening stroll in town or Hot Stone bath is available on request.
Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
After warm breakfast, your guide and drivel will deliver you to Paro International Airport and assist you to Board your flight to your next destination.
Additional Activities that can be included:
Mountain biking, Motorcycling, Swimming, Fly Fishing, Cultural Performances, Art Classes, Attending rituals in private homes, Meditation Sessions with reputed lamas, Yoga sessions, Buddhism talks, Volunteerism like being part of a house construction, Sports like Tennis, Golf, Basketball and even a Football match; Music Jam-up sessions with local musicians.
If you have a burning desire to share your story with the locals, we can also have some FM radio stations or local newspapers to talk to you-you name it and we will make it possible!!
What’s Not Included