5 Days Glimpse of Bhutan
Day 1 (Paro)
Distance: 54 km, estimated travel time: 1 hr
In clear weather, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata, it is a breathtaking journey, culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the kingdom.
On arrival at Paro airport and after completing your Bhutan visa formalities, you will be met by a representative from Bhutan Best Travel. Then travel to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan.
On arrival at Thimphu check into your hotel and after refreshments or lunch visit the following:
- Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds.
- Centenary Farmers’ market (if your tour coincides with Thu-Sun) where farmers would be selling their wide range of farm produces (vegetables from farms and wild ferns or bamboo shoots collected from forest, flour, rice, roasted rice, rice flakes, spices, yams both cultivated and wild ones collected from forests, fruits, etc) and livestock products (mainly cheese and butter). Free interaction with people from town as well as from villages come to this weekend market. Weekend market is from Thursday-Sunday (4 days).
- Tashichhoedzong, a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
- Craft Bazaar where craftsmen and artisans from across the country display and sell their handicrafts. In the evening you may visit local handicraft stores. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2 (Punakha & Wangduephodrang)
Distance: 71 km, estimated travel time: 2 1/2 hrs
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft). In the clear spring sky; enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. Then pass by the beautiful 108 chortens built on a hillock by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. You may visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang .The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) was built to honor His Majesty the fourth DrukGyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The past and future appear to merge in the details of the lhakhang (temple) that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future.
Take a light refreshment at Dochula Resort and then drive onto Wangdue and on the way visit the Divine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing.
After lunch visit the Punakha Dzong , located on the island of the Pho Chu (male river) and the Mo chu (female river). The dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century and in 1907, enthroned the first King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in the recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. At the dzong you can see the highest standards in woodwork. Also visit the massive Kuenray, the Coronation Hall of all Bhutanese kings, the Dzongchung at the entrance to the dzong and the cantilever bridge over the Mochu that has been recently renovated. Overnight at hotel in Wangdue/Punakha.
Day 3 (Punakha / Wangduephodrang)
Distance: 125 km, estimated travel time: 3 1/2 hrs
After breakfast travel to Paro via Dochula pass and southern part of Thimphu. On arrival at Paro, check into your hotel in Paro and after lunch visit the following:
- National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). Here an intriguing collection of artifacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom.
- Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. It is also known as the Rinpung Dzong which means a “fortress that sits on a heap of jewels”. This imposing dzong located above the Paro River is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture with its inward sloping walls that rise to an impressive height. The dzong was built in the 16th century on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche (who is regarded as the “second Buddha.”) .From the dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, an oldest traditional cantilever bridge in Bhutan.
- In the evening stroll through the Paro town and visit local handicraft stores. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 4 (Tiger's Nest Monastery)
After breakfast, you will take “pilgrimage” hike up to the most famous Taktsang Monastery, also known 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 5 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. In the evening relax and overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 5 (Depart Paro)
In the morning, your Bhutan tour guide from Bhutan Best Travel will see you off at the Paro airport for your onward flight.