13 Days Splendour in Bhutan
Day 1 (Paro)
During the ﬂight, on a clear day, you can see breathtaking views of the Himalaya Mountains, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. In the alternoon drive to Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress – 16kms from Paro town). Although in ruins, this Dzong is of great historical importance. It was here that the Bhutanese ﬁnally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. From here, the peak of Mount Jumolhari (“Mountain of Goddess”) can be seen on a clear day. In the evening you can explore Paro town. Overnight in Paro.
Day 2 (Paro, Thimpu)
Alter breakfast you can visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government oﬁices and religious institutions, as do all the dzongs (forts) currently. You will visit the National Museum, formerly the watchtower for the dzong. It now houses a collection ofﬁne arts, paintings, thankas, statues, and antiques. You can then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. In the alternoon you will drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. The drive to Thimphu is along a winding road following the Paro and Thimphu rivers. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3 (Thimpu)
Alter breakfast you will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong), and the Takin reserve, which contains the national animal of Bhutan. From there you will visit the nunnery temple, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts), and the School of Arts and Cralts (also known as the painting school). Alter a relaxing lunch, you will visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a traditional paper factory, the majestic Tashichodzong, and Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress in the kingdom). Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 4 (Thimpu, Tango Monastery)
Alter breakfast you will drive 12km north ofThimphu to hike to Tango monastery. It will take about 45 minutes to hike to the monastery. Tango Monastery is a Buddhist college, and it’s the residence of the Desi Tenzin Rabgye, a young boy who is the reincarnation of the 16th-century monk who built Tango. Altenrvard, if you wish, you can wander through Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park. Overnight in Thimphu
Day 5 (Thimpu, Wangduephodrang)
Alter breakfast you will drive to Wangduephodrang, with a stop en route for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. Alter lunch you will drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, and visit Punakha Dzong, which is noteworthy both for being one of the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan and also for having been built by the ﬁrst Shabdrung in 1637. On the way back from Punakha, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice ﬁelds to Chimi Lakhang, which is a fertility temple, where you may receive a special fertility blessing if you wish. Overnight in Wangduephodrang.
Day 6 (Wangduephodrang, Trongsa)
You will begin the day by driving to Gantey. You’ll pass through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons and arrive at Gantey village, where you’ll visit Gantey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. From Gantey, you can see the picturesque Black Mountain range as well as Phobjika Valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. From there you’ll head to Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300-meter- high Pele La, and at certain times of year it’s possible to see yaks. You can browse through the Trongsa shops and town in the alternoon. Overnight in Trongsa.
Day 7 (Trongsa, Bumthang)
In the morning you’ll visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, and you’ll also see Ta Dzong, the watchtower built to defend this dzong. Alter lunch, you’ll proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, with lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way you will stop at a yethra (textile weaving) factory, where the yethras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. You can spend the evening strolling through Bumthang town. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 8 (Bumthang, Peishiling Monastery)
Bumthang consists of four valleys-Chumey, Choekhar, Tang, and Ura-with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000 meters. It is home to many prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries. Today you will hike to Petsheling Monastery, It is located about three hours‘ hiking distance above the Swiss Guesthouse on a steep incline. It offers ﬁne panoramic views of the central Bumthang valley. You can also hike beyond the monastery across the ridge and feel the spirit of the mountains and monastery. In the evening you can relax in the town. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 9 (Bumthang)
Alter breakfast you will visit the following places:
- Jakar Dzong (fortress)
- Jambey Lhakhang (one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan)
- Kurjey Lhakhang (temple of Guru Rinpoche’s body print)
- Tamshing Lhakhang (see old Buddhist paintings)
- Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake)
- Short hike to Thangbi Monastery in the afternoon
You can spend the evening exploring Bumthang town. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 10 (Bumthang, Wangduephodrang)
You’ll begin the day at the Bumthang market, and then drive to Wangduephodrang, where you can stroll through the town and visit the shops. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings and bamboo work. Overnight in Wangduephodrang.
Day 11 (Wangduephodrang, Thimpu)
In the morning you will drive back to Thimphu. Alter lunch, you will tour the Textile Museum, the Folk Heritage Museum and the weaving center in Changzamtok. You can explore Thimphu town in the evening. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 12 (Thimpu, Paro, Tiger's Nest)
After breakfast, you will take “pilgrimage” hike up to the most famous Taktsang Monastery, also know as Tiger Nest. All Bhutanese Buddhist desire to make this their pilgrimage at least once in thier lives and each step they take along the trail counts as merit points towards their future. The trails is through the meadow of pines, rhododendrons and oaks. Visitors choose between 2 hours round trip hike to the cafe for a good view of Monastery or a longer hours more strenous hike to the Monastery itself. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche flew here on the back of a tigress and mediated here for 3 months and subdued the local deities and converted them to Buddhism. Later in the 17th century, the 4th Desi deities or temporal ruler of Bhutan, Tenzin Rabgye built a temple in 1692 in its present form, thus fulfilling the wishes of shardrung Rinpoche who died before he built this temple. (Horse ride to the cafe is available and can be arranged at additional cost). After lunch, on the way back to the town you will visit the oldest temple called Kichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most revered temples, which was built by a Tibetan kind in 7th century to subdue the demoness. Overnight stay at hotel in Paro.
Day 13 (Depart)
Today you bid farewell to Bhutan. Our representative will transfter to the airport and bid you farewell. Thank you for visiting Bhutan! Hope to see you again. Tashi Delek!