8 Days Natural Treasures of Bhutan
Day 1 (Paro, Thimphu)
During the flight on a clear day, you will get to enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjungha, and other famous Himalayan peaks including sacred Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake Peaks in Bhutan. Upon arrival at Paro Airport, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The drive to Thimphu is about 1 an hour. On route, enjoy the view of the valley of Thimphu and river through a rather arid and Rocky landscape. After lunch we will take you to visit the 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). Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2 (Thimphu)
After breakfast, we will hike to Chagri Monastery, it take about 1 hour walk to reach the monastery. Chagri was built high on the slope in 1619 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal as his first monastery in Bhutan. It takes you through the temperate forest of oak, rhododendrons and other species of hard wood trees. The view from monastery below is spectacular. Descend down to the valley and drive back to Thimphu. After lunch you will visit The School of Traditional Arts, Mini Zoo to see takins, the national animal of Bhutan and drive to Buddha point to enjoy the view of Thimphu valley. Evening will be at leisure and you can stroll in the town, visit local handicraft shops, do shopping as you like. Overnight hotel in Thimphu
Day 3 (Punakha)
After breakfast you will visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest Dzong in the country that was built in the year 1629, thereafter the road climbs for an hour till you reach Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3150m dotted with colorful prayer flags and 108 Stupa. Weather permits, this pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the Eastern Himalayans. You may enjoy a hot cup of tea/coffee at the Dochula resort. Continue to descend en route to Punakha & Wangdue through the temperate forest of rhododendron & magnolia bloom in spring, then a semi-tropical zone where orange trees, banana trees and cactuses are found in abundance. Have lunch on the way. After lunch, you will take a walk to the temple standing on a round hill rock through a paddy field to Chimi Lhakhang or the temple of fertility. It is about 25 minutes’ walk through rice terraces and the village of Yoakha. The temple is situated on the spur above the village. It is believed that barren couple will have children if they get blessing for this temple. Overnight stay hotel in Punakha.
Day 4 (Punakha)
After breakfast at the hotel, drive about ten kilometers north of Punakha, on a hill rock called Nyizergang, HM the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangden had built three stored chorten called Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten consecrated in December 1999. Situated in idyllic rural countryside, 45minutes climb from the road is well worth to see the paintings, which are beautiful and present an incredibly complex iconography and the statues. Drive back to the Dzong and walk in the Dzong by crossing the cantilever bridge. The Dzong was built in the year 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Have lunch at the Restaurant in the town. After lunch you visit the Nunnery. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day 5 (Haa Valley)
After breakfast, take a drive to Haa Valley following the same road back crossing Dochula pass. The drive to Haa takes around four hours.
After lunch in Thimphu, continue your drive to Haa valey, the district of Ha opened to tourism in 2004 only, the road from chuzom passes by the Dobji dzong and the small Bitekha dzong before reaching the Ha valley (2700m). The heart of the high altitude largely forested Ha district close to the Chumbi (Gromo) valley in Tibet (China). On arrival will visit the temples, Ha has two famous temples, the Lhakhang Karpo and the Lhakhang Nagpo which is part, according to the Bhutanese tradition, of the temple built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king Songtshen Gampo. Overnight at Hotel In Haa.
Day 6 (Haa, Paro)
After breakfast, take a three-hour return hike from Haa town to Juneydrak Hermitage. The walk is through rhododendron forest with fine views. Start about 1 km north of Haa, by the hospital and just before the main bridge, where a 4 wheel drive track branches east to Katsho village. The cliff-side retreat contains a footprint of Machen Labdrom (1055 -1132), a female Tibetan tantric practitioner. A trail follows the stream past a mani wall to a two-legged archway chorten (known as a khonying). Cross the bridge and ascend through a charming rhododendron forest. At a red sign, take a trail to the left and climb up to a chorten that marks the entry to the Hermitage. If there is no one meditating inside the temple then we can go in and take a look at the footprint. If monks are meditating in the Hermitage you will not be able to go in, but it is a lovely walk and there is a beautiful view back towards Haa valley from the temple. You should also be able to stop a visit a local farmhouse during your walk.
After lunch will drive to Paro crossing over Chelila pass at 3988m, which leads directly into Paro valley, goes through forests and then provides good views of Ha valley and Paro valley. On a clear weather, you can see the peak of MT. Jhomolhari. With good weather it is very enjoyable drive with scenic views of deep valleys, river gorges and surrounding mountains. Overnight in Paro
Day 7 (Tiger's Nest)
After breakfast, you will hike up to the most famous Taktsang Monastery. The trail is through the meadow of pines, rhododendrons and oaks. It takes about 2 hours to reach the viewpoint. Visitors can take a short break along the way at the Café to have tea or coffee and for a good view of Monastery. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche flew here on the back of a tigress and mediated here for 3 months and subdued the local deity called singye samdrup and converted him to Buddhism. Later in the 17th century, the 4th Desi or temporal ruler of Bhutan, Tenzin Rabgye built a temple in 1692 in its present form, thus fulfilling the wishes of Zhabdrung 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 Kyichu Lhakhang which was built by a Tibetan king in 7th century to subdue the demoness. Overnight hotel in Paro.