This tour takes you to Eastern Part of the country to experience and explore some its diverse culture and traditions comprising with some sightseeing around the valleys, short trip to visit Dzongs and temples, art and architecture which will help you to outline and explore. Also this tour incorporates some Day excursion to visit some of the breath taking places and photographic hotspots.
- Visit some sacred and religious landmarks in Bhutan
- Immersion in Culture and Pristine Natural Environment
- Day Excursion to some of the beautiful places
- Experience Domestic Flight
- Explore Gangtey Nature Trail
- Visit a local Farm House
- Traditional Culinary Experience
- Experience Bhutanese National Game Archery with Dart Game
- Day Hike to Tiger’s Nest
Closing Timing of monuments in various places
School of 13 Arts & Crafts – Sunday & Government Holiday
National Textile Museum – Sunday & Government Holiday
Centenary Farmer’s Market – Monday – Wednesday
National Museum (Ta-Dzong)
Day 01: Arrival: Paro – Thimphu
Distance: 65km (1.5hrs)
Elevation: 2,250mts / 7,382ft
Paro: It is a broad and beautiful green bowl valley surrounded by jagged Himalayan Mountains and forested hillsides, crossed by beautiful rivers and dotted with medieval fortresses. It was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 AD and has been the legislative, executive, judicial and religious centre for the people of Paro. Also the nations home of National Museum and International Airport.
After landing you will be greeted by your tour guide and driver and will be chauffeured to the Capital City of Bhutan.Thimphu (2320m): Is the capital of Bhutan with a population of about 100000 and is the nation’s largest city. It depicts strong national character in its architectural style yet it is legislative, executive, judicial and religious centre of the government.
Check in hotel and after that we will visit the following places:
- Built in 2006, world’s largest sitting Buddha housing over Hundreds of Thousands of small statues inside. It is the center of attraction to all the people radiating its splendor in all directions and harbinger of happiness and peace.
- Built in 1974 as a monument for the 3rd king of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. It signifies the “Seat of Faith” otherwise “Mind of Buddha”.
- Tashichho Dzong has been the seat of the government since 1952 and presently houses the throne room and offices of the king, the secretariat and the ministries of home affairs and finance. Other government departments are housed in buildings nearby.
Evening: Free to explore Thimphu town and Bhutanese Authentic Local Craft Bazaar
Overnight in Thimphu
Day 02: Thimphu – Sightseeing
Morning: Hike to Cheri Monastery (15km/30-45min)
- It was established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The monastery is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu sect. The Monastery serves as the monastic school for study of Buddhist Philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poets and many other Buddhist studies. According to legend or history of Bhutan the place was first visited by Padmasambhava in the 8th century. In the 13th century it was visited by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo the Tibetan Lama who first established the Drukpa Kagyu tradition in Bhutan. Zhabdrung spent three years in strict retreat at the monastery and stayed for many years.
After lunch visit the following places:
School of Thirteen Arts & Crafts
- It is the primary center of learning for Bhutanese artists. Depending upon the student’s interest, one can specialize in any of the thirteen arts and crafts, including painting, weaving, sculptures, blacksmithing, embroidery, etc. It is the best place for visitors to learn about traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts.
National Textile Museum
- This museum is worth a visit to learn about Bhutan’s living national art of weaving. The ground floor focuses on cham costumes, while the upper floor introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and type of textiles made by women and men. There is usually a small group of weavers working their looms inside the shop, which features work from the renowned weaving centre of Lhuentse in northeastern Bhutan
Centenary Farmer’s Market (Open: Thursday – Sunday)
- Take a walk through this market and shop/interact with the local farmers. Thimphu’s new weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market. With its wide assortment of fresh, organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favorite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life.
Overnight in Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha
Distance: 77km (2.5hrs)
Elevation: 1,200mts / 3,900ft
The journey to Punakha includes the 108 Druk Wangyel Chorten commonly known as Dochula standing at 3150m above the sea level. The Druk Wangyel Chorten was built to celebrate the
Stability and progress brought to Bhutan by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth king of Bhutan. The pass provides spectacular 360 degree panaromic view of Himalayan Mountain Range.
After checking into hotel visit the following places:
Chimmi Lhakhang (45 min hike round trip)
- Situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings and due to this also known as “Divine Madman”. Commonly known as fertile temple among and is frequented by childless couples and others alike for blessings.
- The name means Palace of Great Bliss. This Dzong stands magnificently on the spit of land where two rivers (Phochu and Mochu) meet. Punakha Dzong has special significance in Bhutanese history as the place where Bhutan’s first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned in 1907.
- This Bridge is located near Punakha Dzong and is the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. The bridge connecting the nearby villages and mountains adjacent gives a magnificent view.
Evening: Free to explore Punakha Town.
Overnight in Punakha
Day 04: Punakha – Phobjikha
Elevation: 3,000mts / 9,843ft
After breakfast drive to Phobjikha. The Phobjikha Valley is a vast U-shaped glacial valley, also known as Gangteng Valley named after the impressive Gangteng Monastery, where the graceful black-necked cranes in Bhutan from the Tibetan Plateau visit the valley during the winter season to roost. On arrival in the Phobjikha Valley in the last week of October, the black-necked cranes circle the Gangteng Monastery three times and also repeat the process while returning to Tibet.
After checking into hotel visit the following places:
- This monastery was founded in 1613 by Je Kuenga Gyaltshen. It’s one of Bhutan’s oldest and recently renovated Monasteries situated atop a hill at an altitude of 2800m, offers a stunning view of Phobjikha valley and winter home to the rare Black Necked Cranes.
Gangtey Natural Trail (1.5hr)
- The most beautiful and perpetual nature trails in Bhutan. The trail hike starts from the mani (like Chhorten) stone wall to the north of the Ganagtey Gonpa and ends in Khewa Lhakhang. The hike takes about 1hr 30minutes through the pine forest and small bamboo plants. So the pristine environment provides best hike places for the Nature lovers. During the winter months, we can see the endangered species of birds “Black Neck Cranes”.
Black Neck Crane’s information center
- Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane Information Centre has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes.
Overnight in Phobjikha
Day 05: Phobjikha – Trongsa
Distance: 120km (4-5hrs)
Elevation: 2,300mts / 7546ft
After breakfast drive to Trongsa. Trongsa is situated on a steep ridge and offers spectacular views of the deep valleys surrounding it. It was considered crucial to controlling the kingdom in earlier years due to its strategic position. Trongsa forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched.
After reaching check into hotel and visit the following places:
- Approximate four hours drive from Wangduephodrang is Chendbji Chorten, patterned on Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu. It was built in 18th century by Lama Shida, from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.
- This Dzong’s architecture dominates the entire Trongsa horizon dwarfing the surrounding buildings. Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second King ruled the country from this ancient seat. Protected from invaders by an impenetrable valley, Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress. The Dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of the hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa heralding its strength as a defensive stronghold.
- Visit Ta Dzong which was the Watch Tower of the Trongsa Dzong. The Watch Tower was converted into a Royal Museum on 10th of December 2008. The museum has on display about 224 items used over the years by the Wangchuck dynasty. You will see the Raven Crown worn by the first King in 1907 and many other objects of interest.
Evening: Free to explore Trongsa Town
Overnight in Trongsa
Day 06: Trongsa – Bumthang
Distance: 68Km (2hrs)
Elevation: 2,600mts / 8,530ft
Bumthang Dzongkhag consists of four main valleys Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Choekhor is the largest of the four mountain valleys and is widely considered as ‘Bumthang Valley. The valleys are broad and gentle carved by the ancient glaciers.
After reaching check into the hotel and visit the following places:
- Built in the 7th century by the King Songtsen Goempo of Tibet. In his effort to propagate Buddhism he had a plan to build a total of 108 temples in Tibet and neighboring kingdoms.
- The temple to the right is the oldest and was built by Minjur Tempa in 1652. It was built around the cave in which Guru Rimpoche meditated and left his body imprint.
- Located across the river from Kurje Lhakhang, this temple was founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, the re-incarnation of Guru Padsambhava. The monastery has very ancient religious paintings like 1,000 Buddhas and 21 Taras (female form of Buddhistava). The paintings you will see date back to same time period and were painted by him. There is also an iron chain vest forged and used by Pema Lingpa during the construction of temple. The temple was restored at the end of the 19th century.
- Visit a local farm house for an experience for authentic Bhutanese lifestyle and unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host. Enjoy a meal with the family here (optional)
- For an experience for authentic Bhutanese lifestyle and unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host. Enjoy a meal with the family here with some locally made wine called “Ara”
- Grace an opportunity for Bhutanese traditional culinary experiences
- Archer / dart game will be arranged for oyur experience
- Hot stone Bath (Optional – Charge applicable) – rocks roasted in the fire are heated and put into a large wooden tub with herbal medicinal plants. The minerals from rocks and the herbs are is believed to cure stomach disorders, arthritis, joint pains and many other minor diseases – though there is no scientific evidence of this.
Evening: Free to explore Bumthang Town
Overnight in Bumthang
Day 07: Bumthang – Day excursion to Tang Ugyen Chholing Palace
Distance: 40km (1-2hrs)
After breakfast drive to Tang Ugyenchholing Palace
En-route enjoy the view of Tang Valley
- Legend has it, Terton Pema Lingpa (treasure discoverer) well known as an eminent saint, was born in the Tang valley of Bumthang. Tang Valley: The people of this valley raise sheep and at higher elevation, yaks as the soil in this region is not so rich for agricultural activities. From Bumthang central, it is a short drive past the Dechenpelrithang sheep farm to an unpaved road that leads to the north. Just under a kilometer ahead, there is a rough track on the left and another kilometer ahead, there is junction where vehicle can be parked. From parking, it is a short walk down to the river. The path is lined with prayer flags and ends up above a gorge where the river forms a pool before it rushes on. Images of Pema Lingpa and his two sons are carved on a rock here.
- Restored in 19th century, it is now housing the Family Museum, a place that will transport visitors to another world and time. The visitors will view permanent exhibits recreated to capture the ambience of the lifestyle of the Trongsa Penelop (Governor) Tshokey Dorji and his household. It also serves as retreat for those engaged in religious history. Bhutan’s history truly unfolds here.
Evening: Drive back to Bumthang for night hold.
Overnight in Home Stay
Day 08: Bumthang – Mongar
Distance: 198km (8.5hrs)
Elevation: 1,600mts / 5,250ft
The journey from Bumthang to Mongar is one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas crossing 4,000m high Thrumshing la (pass). Gushing waterfalls, steep cliffs with even steeper drops, blazing flowers and constantly changing vegetation combine to make this journey as varied as it is beautiful. Mongar marks the beginning of Eastern Bhutan. The second largest town in the sub-tropical east, Mongar like Trashigang further east, is situated on the side of a hill in the contrasts to other towns of Western Bhutan which was built on the valley floor.
En-route visit Ura Village
- This is one of the 4 valleys of Bumthang. The Geyden Lhakhang (temple) dominates the village and is reached by turning off the road to Mongar on a short unpaved road that leads off the main road east of the village. There are about 40 closely packed houses along cobblestone streets, giving the village a medieval atmosphere.
After Checking into hotels visit Mongar Dzong
- It is site of one of Bhutan’s newest Dzong built in 1930s. Yet the Dzong is built in the same method and traditions of all the other Dzongs; no drawings and nails have been used. A visit gives visitors an impression of how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries.
Evening: Free to explore Mongar Town
Overnight in Mongar
Day 09: Mongar – Day Excursion to Lhuntse
Distance: 76km (3hrs)
Elevation: 1,700mts / 5,577ft
After breakfast drive to Lhuntse. Lhuntse is one of the most rural and isolated district in the kingdom of Bhutan. The Kurote Regoin of Lhuntse is the ancestral home of the Royal Family of the Bhutan.
Visit the following Places in Lhuntse:
- It was built in the 17 century, as it is correctly known, sits high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Kuri Chhu valley, with near-vertical drops on all sides.
World’s tallest Statue of Guru Rinpoche at Takila
- This statue is 173 feet in height including a 40-feet-tall Lion Throne and a 19-feet-high Lotus seat (Pema). It was revealed that a statue of Guru Nangsey Zilnon would be the most beneficial one for stability, peace, and prosperity in the country and in the world.
- Drive back to Tsazam Bridge and explore into the countryside visit to Khoma village crossing Kurichu River. Khoma is famed for its terrific weavers and special textiles, and if you like, you can buy at reasonable price.
Evening: Drive back to Mongar for the night hold
Overnight in Mongar
Day 10: Mongar – Trashigang
Distance: 91Km (3hrs)
Trashigang Dzongkhag is the largest district in the country. Its aboriginal inhabitants are known as the Tshanglas. Trashigang dzong sits majestically on a high ridge overlooking the Dangmechu and the Gamrichu. It was built in 1651 and over the years has played a crucial role as the administrative center of the district. In the 17th century it was also essential in defending the province as it withstood several Tibetan attacks that were launched from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
En-route visit Drametse village
- The village temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village, was founded by Choeden Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums.
- Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of a rocky outcrop far above the river gorge. It serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the Dzong is occupied by the local monastic community.
Evening: Free to explore Trashigang Town
Overnight in Trashigang
Day 11: Trashigang – Day Excursion to Tashiyangtse
Distance: 55km (2.5hrs)
Elevation: 1,750mts / 5,741ft
Tashiyangtse is a rapidly growing town and administrative center of the district. Situated in a small river valley, it is a lovely spot from which there are fascinating walks in the surrounding countryside.
En-route visit Gom Kora
- Located 24 km from Tashigang, this temple is set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river. Gom Kora is a famous place, as Guru Rinpoche is said to have subdued a demon here, trapping it in a rock.
After reaching Tashiyangtse visit the following places:
- This dazzling white stupa is situated on the riverbank below the town. Constructed in 1740 by Lama Ngawang Loday, it is built in the same style as Bodhnath stupa in Nepal, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. During the second month of the lunar calendar there is an interesting celebration here, known as ‘Kora’. Bomdeling A pleasant walk of about three hours from Chorten Kora, Bomdeling is an annual migration place for black-necked cranes, which fly over from nearby Tibet to pass the winter months in a warmer climate.
- Trashiyangtse Dzong meaning ‘Fortress of Auspicious Fortune’ was re-built in 1656 by Terton Pema Lingpa from the ruins of Dongdi Dzong of 9th century. It was further renovated and sanctified by a sacred consecration ceremony in 2005.
Evening: Drive back to Trashigang for the night hold
Overnight in Trashigang
Day 12: Trashigang – Paro (Domestic Flight – Approx. 1 hr)
Distance: 527km (17-18hrs)
After Breakfast drive to Yonphula Airport to catch a domestic flight to Paro. After landing, drive to hotel for checking into hotel and visit the following places:
- Ta- Dzong (the watchtower) one time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dozng during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.
- Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
- It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.
Evening: Free to explore Paro Town
Overnight in Paro
Day 13: Paro -“Hike to Tiger’s Nest” (Approx. 4 – 5 hrs)
Bhutan’s most picturesque landmark, Taktshang the Tiger’s nest clings to the side of a steep cliff 300 meters above the Paro valley. The place was first visited by Guru Rimpoche, founder of the tantric form of Buddhism in Himalayan countries, in the 8th century. It was said that he meditated there for about three months. The original temple was built in the 17th century, but tragically, it was consumed by fire in 1998. Like a phoenix, the temple was rebuilt to its fullest glory in 2003. Takshang is considered to be the 10th-holiest site in the Buddhist world.
Evening: Relax at the hotel or free to explore further
Overnight in Paro
Day 14: Departure
After breakfast, following your flight schedule transfer to Paro International Airport for your onward journey