Landing in Paro valley is a perfect entry into this other world, with its transparent purity of the air and its absorbing serenity. Paro retains its bucolic nature in spite of the existence of development projects. Fields of brown or green depending on the season cover most of the valley floor while hamlets and isolated farms dot the landscape.
On arrival, your visa will be processed and you then pass through customs. Your Bhutanese guide will meet you outside the customs enclosure for an hour journey to the capital Thimphu, which is situated in a large valley traversed by the Wangchu River and overshadowed by high peaks.
Our day is for the sights of Thimphu, beginning at the Memorial Chorten, with its golden spires shining in the sun, its tinkling bells and an endless procession of elderly people circling around it, erected by the Late Royal Grandmother Ashi Phutsho Chodoen in memory of her son the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, it contains a fine collection of Buddhist statues and is a center of tantric
Our day is for the sights of Thimphu, beginning at the Memorial Chorten, with its golden spires shining in the sun, its tinkling bells and an endless procession of elderly people circling around it, erected by the Late Royal Grandmother Ashi Phutsho Chodoen in memory of her son the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, it contains a Buddhism in all its complexity.
Visit the Folk Heritage Museum, founded by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. The museum is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through an exhibition of items and artifacts used in rural households, demonstrating customs, traditions, habits and skills. The principal exhibit is the museum building itself, which is a restored three-story traditional rammed mud and timber house. It contains household objects, typical domestic tools and equipment used by a rural family.
Later, we will visit the Changangkha Lhakhang- it is a fortress like temple perched on a ridge above Thimphu, south of Motithang area. The temple was established in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhimgpo, fine collection of Buddhist statues and is a center of tantric.
who came from Tibet and is dedicated to Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist emanation of compassion. The central statue here is Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) in a manifestation with 11 heads. From the courtyard of the temple, there is fascinating view of the Thimphu valley.
After lunch, we will visit the weekend market where the locals come to do their weekly shopping. This will be one of the highlights of your trip as you observe the Bhutanese people's culture and life styles. Later we will make a stop at the Centenary Park where the walking Buddha resides; the entire statue was built by thai workers who specifically came to Bhutan to build the statue. It stands at 45 feet tall.
As evening falls, we will visit Trashichho Dzong, the beautiful medieval fortress /monastery is Bhutan’s administrative and religious center which houses most of the Government's office and the King's Throne Room. It is also the summer residence of Je - Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. The National Assembly hall is located in a new building across the river.
This evening, enjoy a walk up and down the high street lined with little shops of all descriptions is fascinating. There is always a colorful gathering passing from ubiquitous monk bodies to Bhutanese businessmen, to nomadic farmers that come to trade supplies.
Leaving Thimphu, we start our journey into the countryside towards the Punakha valley, the winter capital of Bhutan. The drive ascends gradually to the Dochula pass over 10300 ft., with magnificent vistas of the Himalayan range.
The Dochula Monastery also known as the Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens is a tribute to the service and leadership of His Majesty the Fourth King. The design inspired by the Queen Mother is a unique cluster of 108 Chortens seen from all directions. The descent to Punakha is vibrant and colorful, with the fluttering prayer flags adding to a rich topography dotted by terrace farming and rivers flowing through.
We will visit the historic Punakha Dzong sprawled at the confluence of the Phochu (male) and Mochu (female) rivers. It was built by Zhabdrung Nagwang Namgyel in 1637 and serves as the winter residence of the head abbot, Je Khenpo and headquarters of the district administration.
Next, we traverse the Punakha countryside walking through paddy fields to the Pana Village to see the `Chimi Lhakhang’ built by the great Lama Drukpa Kinley in 1400 to subdue local demons. The temple is a popular pilgrimage point for all Bhutanese and is specially revered by women for its fertility powers.
After breakfast we will leave for Thimphu.
After having lunch at Thimphu, we will visit Takin Preserve: Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal- Takin, which is found only in Bhutan. Takin is an extremely rare member of goat family.
Buddha point tour: Drive to Kuensel Phodrang and take a short leisure hike to the Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park and enjoy the full view of Thimphu Valley below.
Visit Buddha Point and offer your prayers to the largest Buddha statue in the country and walk around to enjoy the great view of Thimphu valley below.
Craft market tour: Craft Bazaar where artisans and craftsmen from across the country come to sell their products.
Visit to National Library- The National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. The National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), where Bhutan’s famed traditional herbal medicines are compounded and dispensed.
Museum tours: The Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.
The Textile Museum to get an understanding of the beautiful hand woven Bhutanese textiles.
After breakfast, we will drive to Paro Taktsang base also know as Ramthanka base which is an hour ride from Thimphu.
From Ramthanka base we will see the view one of Bhutan’s most revered pilgrimage sites of the Buddhist world, the Taktshang Monastery, popularly known as the “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery. The trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched precariously on a sheer rock face 3000 ft. above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, father of Bhutan’s stream of Mahayana Buddhism arrived in the Paro valley more than a millennium ago on a back of a tigress. He meditated for 3 months 3 weeks and 3 days in a cave which was converted into this monastery. The only sounds heard here are the murmurs of wind, water and flutters of the beautiful prayer flags.
We will begin our hike from the base to the cafeteria, which will take us at least an hour and a half. From here it’s about an hour’s trek through some stunning landscape to reach the monastery. On our return, we stop by once more at the Cafeteria for lunch. Later, we begin our descent to Ramthanka base.
Visit Paro Ta Dzong- Overlooking the Rimpung Dzong it was built in 1951 as a watch tower, unlike the rectangular shape of the Dzongs, Ta Dzong is Round, more like parts of an European castle. From 1967 the Dzong was re-established as the National Museum and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha, and many others.
Rinpung Dzong -A dzong is a fortress-monastery that serves both as a civil administrative center and as a monastic home for a community of monks. Most dzongs were built in the mid- 1600s to protect the inhabited valleys from invasion by Tibet. The Paro dzong was started in 1644 on the order of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of modern day Bhutan. Unlike most of the other dzongs in Bhutan, it survived the massive 1897 earthquake mostly unscathed, though it was damaged by fire in 1907.
En route, we will drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong: This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1649 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan and Mongolian invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong withstood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National Geographic magazine. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when it was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the commanding view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7314m) from the Dzong.
The rest of the evening is at leisure, relax at the hotel or visit the Paro town to look for some souvenirs.
Drive to airport for departure. Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after taking breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in the morning depending on the flight schedule and your destination. Our representative will bid you farewell!