Best Season : Whole Year
Minimum Group : 2 / Maximum group : 25
Day 01: Arrival Paro Sightseeing
Arrive paro, by Druk Air, Bhutan's national airline to the country's only airstrip. The flight into the Kingdom gives spectacular breath-taking views of Himalayan peaks including Bhutan's sacred Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake and particularly exciting is the section through the Bhutanese foothills and the thrilling landing.
Upon your arrival, representatives of Eco Adventure will meet and transfer to your hotel. After a relaxed lunch at the hotel, youwill start vyour sightseeing tour in Paro, which includes visit to National Museum (Ta Dzong), which was once used as the watchtower for the Dzong. On the way back visit Paro Rimpung Dzong, one of Bhutan's most impressive and well-known Dzong's. Walk from Dzong to the old traditional covered wooden bridge and stroll along the west bank of the river. Downstream from the bridge, you can get a spectacular view of the Dzong. Afternoon visit Kychu Lhakhang, the oldest Buddhist temple in Bhutan, built in the 7th century by the first king of Tibet.
Day 02: Paro - Thimphu Sightseeing
This morning drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan. The drive takes about an hour and half. Thimphu is relatively small town with a population of just 80,000 people. Sightseeing includes, School of arts & crafts which provides instruction in many of Bhutan's 13 different arts, National Library where ancient manuscripts Sheep's wool.e preserved, Drupthob Nunnery monastery, Motithang Takin preserve centre to see the National animal of Bhutan & the late kings memorial Chorten. After lunch visit Textile Museum, Handicraft emporium where you can see and purchased the unique textiles of Bhutan. Other highlight includes the visit to Changlimithang archery Ground, Traditional handmade paper factory & General post office if you are interested in stamps. Bhutan has a collection of many beautiful stamps.
Day 03: Thimphu - Punakha - Sightseeing
After early breakfast drive to Punakha (approx 3 hours), the old winter capital. The drive climbs via a series of zigzags over the Dochu La Pass, 10,500ft/3,200m. Spectacular views of the eastern Himalayas can be seen, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. Dochu la is also marked with 100 stupas, which are beautifully designed on a small hillock. The road drops down through varied forest finally emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley. This morning we make a short gradual 1 hr return hike to Chimi Lhakhang, built by Drukpa Kuenley's popularly known as the "Divine Madman" It is famous for the fact that infertile women visit this temple to pray for children.
THE "DIVINE MADMAN" ~Drukpa Kuenley (1455-1520)
In Bhutanese mythology, Drukpa Kuenley is one of the most beloved and revered sages of Tibetan Buddhism. Many are the legends that surround him and he followed a wandering lifestyle and was both an eccentric and a highly regarded saint. He was renowned for his shocking behavior and his ability to perform miracles. He talked a form of Tantric Buddhism and advocated that sexual freedom was at the centre of Truth. The wooden phalluses that hang from the corners of Bhutanese houses and the paintings of penises that you often see on either side of the front door of houses are a relics of his teaching.
After lunch visit Punakha Dzong located on the confluence of the Mo (female) & Pho (male) Chu rivers. The Dzong built in 1637 AD houses the district administration offices and is also the winter residence of the State Monastic Body and its Chief Abbot, the Je Khenpo. Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan.
Day 04: Punakha - Bumthang via Trongsa
Morning, we set off for Bumthang over the Pele la Pass (3150mts) and the Black mountain ranges. It takes almost 7 hours to drive the 189km between the west and the east. The road climbs steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. If the weather is clear the Himalayan ranges can be seen, particularly the peak of Jumolhari (7,314 m) to the west. En route we cross Chendebji Chorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon. We stop at Chendbji for a lunch and drive to Trongsa for another 1-? hours.
In about an hour drive, you can see Trongsa Dzong strategically located on the small hillock. Trongsa has the largest fortress in the kingdom and it was from here that the present Royal Family emerged as the most powerful force at the beginning of this century.
Today's second pass is over Yutong La at a height of 3400m to Bumthang. This valley has a unique charm, which differentiates it from other regions & is one of the most sacred in the kingdom and innumerable legends surround the area. It is often said that Bumthang has more holy pilgrim sites than any other places in Bhutan. Bumthang is also the home of great Buddhist teacher Pema Lingpa to whom descendants of the present dynasty traces its ancestry. As you descend eventually into the valley of Bumthang, you come across the first valley of called Chumey, the heart of the famous Bumthang Yathra weaving region. Yathra is cloth woven in geometric design from Sheep's wool.
Day 05: Bumthang - Sightseeing
Full day sightseeing in Bumthang valley with the choice of visiting some or all of the following places:
- Jakar Dzong (fortress) "Castle of the White Bird"
- 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.
Day 06: Bumthang - Wangdue via Gantey Valley
Early breakfast and drive back to Wangdue with visit to Trongsa Dzong; the most impressive Dzong in the country built on a strategic position high above the Mandge River and is the largest fort in the country. It is presently the administrative seat of the Trongsa district and the home of the monastic school. The view from the Dzong is spectacular while one can look into the horizon for many miles. In the old days, it was the vigilance point for both the eastern and western trade routes, thus a strategically important Dzong.
Enroute visit Gantey valley, the seat of Pema Lingpa's mind reincarnation that founded the temple in year 1613. The current abbot is the 9th reincarnation. Gantey Gompa seats on a ridge overlooking the Phobjikha valley. Gangtey is also the home of the famous black neck cranes, which migrates from Tibet in winter. It is a wide glacial and beautiful valley in the western slopes of the Black Mountain range located at 3300 mt. above sea level. It is an officially declared conversation area as it is one of the two major winter habitats of the rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes.
Day 07: Wangdue (Sha Valley Walking Trip) - Thimphu
After breakfast, we drive to Samtengang for 7Km, one of the most popular provinces of valley in Wangdue. Leisurely walk from Samtengang to Sha Nyisho through the rice fields visiting some of the farmhouses and a temple. It is the valley of noble family & also people who served under the kings in olden times. Picnic lunch will be served at the village. This is the time when you really enjoy seeing typical Bhutanese farmhouse & also interact with the local people. This is absolutely a short beautiful walk through the village. On your way back to Thimphu, you can also stop to visit Wangdue Dzong. The Dzong built on the strategic point overlooking the Dang Chu and Puna Tsang Chu. This fort still exists in original shape, which dates back to 1638.
Day 08: Thimphu - Paro via Haa Valley
This morning we drive to Haa valley from the confluence of Paro & Thimphu River. Haa valley was opened to tourist only few years ago & was restricted to tourist because of the border restriction with China. There is a large Joint Bhutanese and Indian Army post and a military training centre.
The drive from Thimphu to Haa is spectacular as it begins through a beautiful valley, stunning landscape, dense forest and a great view of Dobji Dzong, which we have included in the itinerary to make a short visit. Its 15 minutes walk from the road and Dobji stands on the steep mountain cliff and was once served as the prison for serious offenders during the time of first king. At present it serves as a monastery and religious school.
Your visit to Haa includes the glimpse of Lhakhang Karpo; the temple dedicated to local deity of Haa and believed to be very powerful at the times of wars in the country in the former days. Afternoon we drive to Paro across Chele la (3988mts), the highest motor able pass in Bhutan. This is another beautiful drive with the views majestic mountain Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. The short hike from the pass can be included in the day's trip depending on time. At the pass one can enjoy the views of two valleys of Paro & Haa.
Day 09: Paro - Excursion to Taksang
Today we hike up to Taksang, popularly known as tiger's nest. It is perched some 2,000ft/610m up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from the region of Tibet on the back of the tigress and converted Paro valley into Buddhism. It takes approximately 5-6 hours round trip. Returning back from Taksang, you can also drive to Drugyel Dzong, the ruined fort towards the north of the valley, which once defended the valley from further attacks. Although in ruins, this Dzong is of great historical importance that Bhutanese forces have defeated the Tibetan invasions. On a clear day, one can get a spectacular view of Mt. Jumolhari, the sacred summit (24,000ft). Tonight, we organize village farmhouse visit followed by traditional hot stone bath after your day hike & typical Bhutanese dinner. We celebrate with the Bhutanese host as we say goodbye to this magical kingdom dinner.
Day 10: Paro Departure BKK
Morning drive to airport for your departure