Best Season : September
Minimum Group : 2 / Maximum group : 14
Day 01: Fly to Paro, Bhutan - Transfer to Thimphu.
The flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery. Flying along the Himalayan range is a fascinating journey, culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the kingdom. Your Bhutanese guide will meet you on arrival at Paro airport. Then we'll take an interesting drive of about one and half hour to Thimphu (7,600 feet), the modern capital town of Bhutan. After lunch visit National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts as well as the world's largest book, followed by a stop at the Arts and Crafts School, also known as "Zorig Chusum," the traditional school of the 13 arts and crafts.
Day 02: Thimphu - Sightseeing
Morning excursion drive to Cheri monastery. About one to two hours hike to the temple and back. Lunch will be served at the traditional hanging bridge below the temple. Afternoon we'll visit the Handicrafts Emporium to see the exquisite artistry of traditional crafts and textiles. Then we'll drive to the Memorial Chorten. Built in 1974 in memory of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the "Father of Modern Bhutan," this multi-storied monument displays numerous paintings and statues that provide a rare insight into Buddhist philosophy. We will also visit the Takin Reserve, where we will see the national animal of Bhutan an odd beast that confounds the experts, who haven't managed to directly relate it to any other animal. A Bhutanese myth suggests that the takin is a cow-goat hybrid, but its strong resemblance to the North American moose is difficult to ignore. We'll continue up for birds-eye view of Thimphu and take a brief hike beyond to enjoy a stunning view of the valley.
Day 03: Thimphu - Punakha
After breakfast, we drive over the stunning 10,000-feet Dochula Pass, one of Bhutan's most enchanting views. On a clear day you can see the craggy peaks of Bhutan's northern Himalayan border. After a short stop at the pass we continue to Punakha. The fertile valley of Punakha is drained by the Phochu and Mochu rivers and blessed with a temperate climate. Before Thimphu was made the capital of Bhutan, Punakha held the title as the winter capital because of its more temperate climate. Today it is the winter seat of the Je- Khenpo (the Chief Abbot) and the Central Monk Body. Later in the afternoon we'll visit the Punakha Dzong or (Palace of Great Happiness), built at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, This majestic Dzong served as both the religious and the administrative center of Bhutan in the past. It measures some 600 by 240 feet and has a six-story, gold-domed tower. Inside are courtyards and religious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here. Your guide will illuminate your understanding of this intricate culture that is exotic to us, though long established here.
Day 04: Punakha - Local sightseeing
A Days sight seeing will involve an hour hike to Khamsum yuley Lhakang. This is a beautiful temple on the hill side. After lunch another short hike to Chhimi Lhakhang Monastery, a 30-40 minute gradual hike. Situated on a hillock below the village of Metshina, the temple was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman) and is believed to enable conception to childless women who visit it and receive a blessing. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers. We'll also visit a local farmhouse. Later visit Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, which founded by Shabdrung in 1638. The Dzong is strategically located on a promontory overlooking the puna Tsang Chu river.
Day 05: Punakha - Paro
After breakfast, we drive to Paro via Thimphu, stopping at Dochula Pass for another opportunity to view the spectacular scenery. After lunch, visit National Museum, housed in an ancient watchtower. Here, we'll view a fine collection of ancient thangka paintings, textiles, weapons and other historical artifacts. Visit the Paro Dzong: "Fortress on a Heap of Jewels." Considered by many to be the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, it's a fine climax to our explorations of these magnificent structures. Gleaming white above the surrounding valleys, this dzong was built in 1646 to defend the valley against repeated invasion from Tibet. Evening explore the Paro town.
Day 06: Paro - Tiger's Nest Lookout - Kyichu Lhakhang
In the morning, we'll hike approximately one to two hour to Taktsang Monastery popularly known as the " Tiger's Nest"Perched on a cliff 3,000 feet above the valley floor. Taktsang is a place of pilgrimage for locals and for visitors.
This afternoon we explore sacred Kyichu Lhakhang. King Sontsen Gampo of Tibet reportedly built the temple in 659. According to legend, it pins the left foot of an ogress so large that she covers Bhutan and most of eastern Tibet. Time permitting; we will also take a drive to see the Drukgyel Dzong, an abandoned fortress built in the mid-1600s to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibet. The dzong is perched at an altitude of 8,465 feet in the mountains, at a spot where many long-distance mountain trekkers start their journeys.
Day 07: Paro - Departure
After an early breakfast, and transfer to the airport for departure.