DAY 1: Fly to Paro (2280m) & Drive to Thimphu
Flight into Paro with Bhutan Airlines or Drukair presents you with views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari 7314m and Jichu Drake 6794m peaks in Bhutan.
You will drive to Thimphu; the first stop will allow you the stunning view of Tachocho Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron Bridge Builder and further drive we will reach to Chuzom marks by the confluence of Paro Chu (river) and the Wang Chu. Opposite of you, at the confluence, are three protecting chortens each built in a different style. Evening stroll through the market and mingle with the local people and visit shops.
DAY 2: Thimphu (2320m)
Your day in Thimphu begins with visit to National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to world peace and prosperity in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan; the National Institute of Zorig Chusum where students undergo training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts; Folk Heritage Museum which will provide an insight into traditional Bhutanese farm house and rural past through exhibits and documentation of rural life.
Afternoon visit to Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress likes temple, which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Taken Preserve to see the rare national animal of Bhutan. This animal is chosen as the national animal of Bhutan for its uniqueness and its association with the country’s religious history and mythology.
Visit to Buddha point – the Buddha Dordenma Project is the construction of a 138.6-foot-tall Shakyamuni Buddha statue (inclusive of lotus) seated on a 62-foot-tall throne in the Kingdom of Bhutan, symbolizes peerless virility to bestow blessings, peace, and happiness on the whole world. From there you will get the stunning view of Thimphu valley. You can hike through the biking trail of Buddha point will give you the whole Thimphu city and valley view.
A further drive towards the BBS tower will provide a bird’s eye view of the capital and 1 ½ hour hike from there to Wangditse will give you the sustaining view of Thimphu valley and Tashichho Dzong, and followed by a visit to Tashichho Dzong or “the fortress of the glorious religion” which is Bhutan’s administration and religious centre and houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, other Government offices. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot.
DAY 3: Thimphu – Punakha
Your journey continues with travel to Punakha through some of the Kingdom’s richest agricultural land and most scenic river valleys. The first stop will allow you to stop over Dochu La, 3050meters pass; snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass deeper into the essence of Bhutan. The beauty is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chorten 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen Mother and then winding your way down into the Punakha Valley. On the way you stop at Mitsina village and visit Chimi Lhakhang the monastery of fertility.
You will start hiking (4-5hours) to Lungchuzekha Goenpa (temple) through a forest of hemlock, birch and rhododendrons and large meadow, where yak hearders camp in winte r. On arrive – if clear days the view from the goenpa are fantastic. All major mountains of Bhutan can be seen; summits of Jhomolhari (7314m), Kang Bum (6500m), Gangchhenta (6840m: shape of Tiger), Masang Gang (7165m: the peak shaped like a trident) tower over Gasa Dzong (2700m), a tiny white speak in a sea of green, Tsenda Kang (7100m), Teri Kang (7300m), Jejekangphu Gang (7300m), Kangphu Gang (7212m), and Zongpgu Gang (Table Mountain, 7100m, the very long flat mountain).
DAY 4: Punakha – Phobjikha
Today you will further drive to the glacier valley of Phobjikha, one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country, and the winter habitat of the endangered Black-necked cranes. The valley also has a very interesting Nyingmapa monastery that dates back to the 17th century.
After lunch continue drive to Phobjikha valley. You can hike downhill from the Mani or prayer stone wall north of Gangtey Goenpa to the Khewa Lhakhang. The trail descends to Semchubara village and keeps straight at the Chortens into the edge of the forest, before descending to a square Chorten and the Lhakhang. From here we can cross over the metal bridge to the community school.
DAY 5: Phobjikha – Thimphu
Before driving back to the Thimphu you will visit to Crane Observation and information center. Drive to Punakha to visit Majestic Punakha Dzong built in 1637 standing in between two rivers.
You will stop again at Dochu La for lunch; from there you can enjoy the view of Himalayan ranges and snow peaks. You will also visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang built by the eldest Queen mother; the past and future appear to merge in the details of the Lhakhang that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future. Continue drive to Thimphu capital city of Bhutan. Evening freely stroll in town and visit shops.
DAY 6: Explore Paro valley
Morning drive to Paro and on arrival you will visit the auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang, a scared monument pinning down the left foot of a treacherous ogress, which is built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.
Drive north to visit Drugyel Dzong the imposing fortress which was the strategic vantage point for numerous defeat of invading Tibetan armies and here in clear weather can view the spectacular view of mount Jhomolhari 7314m.
In the afternoon will drive to watchtower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. The third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck housed it into the National museum in the 1960s. The seven-floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong, which serves as the administrative center, and school for monks, and walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town.
DAY 7: Haa valley excrusion
A day excursion to Haa valley perhaps with picnic lunch. You will drive over Chele La, the highest road pass, (3822 meters) and pass through forests of blue pines, fir, and oak. On a clear day you can see mountain Jhomolhari 7314 meters, other snow capped from the pass. Explore nearby mountains dotted with the colourful prayer flags and blanketed with dwarf rhododendrons.
After a lunch, you will drive further down and arrive at Haa Valley which is sacred by the existence of Meri Puensum, three small mountains symbolizing Rigsum Geonpo: Jampelyang (manjushri), Chana Dorji (vajrapani) and Chenrizi (avaloketeshvara). Visit Lhakhang Karpo believed to be built in 7th century on arrival. On way back to Paro stop at Chelela and start an hour hike to Kila Gonpa nunnery temple through thick forest.
DAY 8: Hike to Taktshang (tiger’s nest)
After breakfast you will drive through the beautiful valleys of Paro and you will hike about 2 hours uphill to the Taktshang monastery on foot.
The monastery, which clings to a huge granite cliff 900 meters, it is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months.
DAY 9: Paro departure
You will drive to the Paro International Airport for your onward journey.