This 12/15 days trip gives you an extraordinary experience of life in Bhutan from the cities and towns to rural life, nature and stunning landscape and, of course, the monastic life of this Buddhist Kingdom where Gross National Happiness is a higher priority than Gross National Product. The trip starts in Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan, where we visit the Tashichbo Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices, and the Preserve Center where we can see Bhutan’s national animal: the takin. Two full days will be spent in picturesque Paro, visiting Paro Dzong and the National Museum. We hike up to Taktshang Monastery, Bhutan’s most famous monastery and one of its most venerated religious sites. It clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 metres into the valley below. We drive to Punakha to visit the most beautiful Dzong of the country, built in 1637 and situated between two rivers. And we visit Phobjikha valley, famous for the rare and endangered black-necked cranes during winter.
The flight into Paro (2280m) on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese escort from Yak Holidays will greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the hotel. After Lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7314m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) monastery - After early breakfast, a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort. Lunch will be served at the Paro town. After Lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Today is a short trek. The trek begins above the National Museum; we climb till we reach camp. If the weather is clear the Paro valley and the snow-capped mountains can be seen. The campsite is near the old Jele Dzong. If the caretaker is there you can visit the Dzong.
The trek starts with a short climb and then passes through a thick alpine forest of rhododendron and gradually climbs till we reach camp. You may see yak herders around your campsite. .
The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valleys are beautiful. Our camp is close to Lake Jimilangtso. These lakes are known for their giant sized trout, and if lucky, you may enjoy well-prepared trout for dinner.
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees past the lake of Janetso. Overnight camp.
From here we slowly descend down to Phajoding Monastery from where Thimphu town is visible at the valley floor. After lunch we drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices. Takin Preserve Center and Sangay Gang View Point and to the Largest Statue of Buddha. Overnight in Hotel Migmar.
The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and excursion to Tango and Cheri Monastery. After lunch, we will organize a Bhutanese Cultural show. In the evening, visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). Overnight in Hotel Migmar.
After breakfast, Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, visit Chime Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952. Overnight in Punasangchu Cottages.
After breakfast, hike to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal choling monastery. After lunch, visit to a Bhutanese Farm house to see a typical Bhutanese way of life and drive to Thimphu. We stop at Dochula pass again to see the beautiful view of the Himalayas. Dinner and overnight in Hotel Migmar.
After breakfast, drive to Chelila pass to see the beautiful scenery and the snow capped mountains bordering Tiber including the Jumolhari mountain. After lunch, free for shopping and photography in the Paro town. Dinner and overnight in Tashi Namgay Resort
Early morning, drive to the airport and back to the Kathmandu Nepal
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Bhutan nestled between Tibet, Nepal and India, assures tourists of fascinating cultural discovery both for tours and trekking. Its geography in the mighty Himalayas promises spectacular natural vistas.
Bhutan gives you an extraordinary experience of life from the cities and towns to rural life, nature and stunning landscape and of course the monastic life of this Buddhist Kingdom where Gross National Happiness is a higher priority than Gross National Product. Our trekking routes take you to some beautiful high altitude lakes and some of the most pristine and unspoiled landscape in the country.
Trip Duration : 8 - 10 days
Max. Altitude : 3130m.
Activity : Cultural tour
Group Size : Any size starting from 1 person
Accommodation : Hotels
Trek Seasons : September - May