Bhutan in Depth

Day 01 : Arrive Paro
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by our representative, and transferred to your Paro hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 02 : Paro
Drive northwest up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, its towering walls are still an imposing sight. On a clear day there is a splendid view of Mt. Chomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong. Visit one of the typical village houses clustered near the dzong. Then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of Bhutan. In the afternoon visit Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower and now the National Museum. Then walk down the hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), ‘the fortress of the heap of jewels’.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day03: Paro (Taktshang Excursion)
After early breakfast, hike to the view point of Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery.This is the signature monastery of Bhutan and features in all travel books. Taktsang, literally means Tiger’s Nest. We have to walk about 1hours & 30minutes up steep from the road end. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. After enjoying the view & photographs, and refreshment at the viewpoint (Taktshang Cafeteria) we will walk back.
After Lunch, we visit to a typical Bhutanese Farmhouse and explore their culture and traditions. Evening, stroll around the Paro town. Overnight stay in the hotel, Paro.

Day 04 : Paro – Jele Dzong (8km, 3 hours) (DrukPath trek)
Today is a short trekking day. The journey starts with a short climb up to Jele Dzong. The trek trail ascends gradually up to the camp, and if the weather is clear Paro valley can be seen with snowcapped mountains behind. Above the camp is Jele-la pass (3,400m) and Jele Dzong (mostly in ruins). There is also a lhakhang containing a statue of Buddha Sakyamuni. Overnight camp.

Day 05 : Jele Dzong – Jangchulakha (10km, 3-4 hours)
Begin with a one and a half hour climb and then ascend more gradually upwards. The trail takes you through thick alpine forests and rhododendrons. You will have fine views of Chomoihari and other snow capped peaks if the weather is right, and you may hear some monal pheasants calling during the day. You may see yak herders around your campsite. Overnight camp.

Day 06 : Jangchulakha – Jimllangtsho (11km, 4 hours)
The trail follows the ridge, and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valley are sensational. You will enjoy a great view of Jichu Drake (6,989m), the peak representing the protective deity of Paro. Our camp is close to the Jimilangtsho lakes, which are famous for their giant sized trout. Overnight camp.

Day 07 : JimiLangtsho – SImkota (11km, 4 hours)
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and passes by the lake of Janetsho. Today you may come across some yak herders’ camps and get an idea of how these people live. We camp overnight close to Simkota Lake, and if you are lucky you can catch a lake trout for your dinner.

Day 08 : Simkota – Phajoding (10km, 4 hours)
Today begins with a gradual climb, and if the weather permits you will enjoy majestic views of Mt. Gangkar Puensum, and a host of other peaks. The trail slowly descends through juniper trees to a campsite beside a community hail near Phajoding cafeteria. Overnight in cafeteria or camp, depending on weather conditions.

Day 09 : Phajodlng – Thimphu (5km, 3 hours) (Trek ends)
The trek to Thimphu is downhill all the way, passing through a forested area of mostly blue pine. Taking a leisurely pace, you reach Thimphu in about 3 hours. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 10: Thimphu SightSeeing (2 to 3 hrs drive)
Full day of sightseeing in Thimphu, including visits to the following, as time permits:
National Memorial Chorten – built as a memorial to Bhutan’s third king (‘the father of modern Bhutan’) and as a monument to world peace; Tashichhodzong – the impressive fortress/monastery housing some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body; Handicrafts Emporium – a wide assortment of intricately hand-woven textiles and other craft products is available for purchase at this government-run outlet, and at many smaller handicrafts shops around town; National Library – established in the late 1960s primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage, it now holds an extensive collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts; Institute for Zorig Chusum – more commonly known as the Painting School, where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan; National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only) – the rich herbal medicines made up from plants abundant in the kingdom are dispensed here, and traditional medicine practitioners trained. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 11: Thimphu/Punakha (2 hrs drive)
The road from Thimphu to Punakha goes northeast and one of the highlights of the journey is at Dochu La Pass, the highest point between Thimphu and Punakha at 10,000 feet. It provides a spectacular view of the Himalayas to the north when the sky is clear. On top of the pass are 108 chortens (Tibetan and Bhutanese name for Stupa), honoring those who were recently killed by insurgents. Chortens are Tibetan Buddhist reliquaries, memorials to the teachings of the Buddha. Sometimes actual relics of the Buddha or revered monks are inserted into the dome of the stupa, but whether or not there are relics inside, the stupas mark the landscape with reminders of the Buddha’s teachings.
In Punakha, we will visit the Dzong that was built by Shabdrung, in 1637, on a strategic junction at the confluence of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. The Dzong has played a hallowed role in the history of Bhutan. It served as the seat of Shabdrung’s government, several foreign delegations were received here in 18th and 19th century, the election and coronation of the first King was observed in 1907 and the Third King convened the first National Assembly in the Dzong. The central monastic body continues to reside here in winter. The embalmed bodies of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Terton Pema Lingpa are housed on the top floor of the main tower. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King from the latest fire in 1987.
Next in line is a short hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten in the northern part of the valley. Newly built, it is a more elaborate version of the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu. It has an astounding work of frescoes and intricate statues.

Day 12: Punakha/Trongsa (6 hrs drive)
The drive to Trongsa takes approximately 6 hours. We start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan through the breathtaking beauties and serenity of Bhutan’s rich flora and fauna. As we cross the fertile valley of Punakha and enter into the valley of Wangdue Phodrang. We take an opportunity to photograph the majestic fortress of Wangdue Dzong, which stands on a spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pele la pass (3,300 m/ 10,989 ft.) With an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo, the Pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. During the clear weather we can view the high snow capped peaks specially the Mount Chomolhari (7,314 m/ 24,355 ft.). As we descend from the pass through the dwarf bamboo and quite often Yaks grazing we reach at Chendebji Chorten. Lama Shida built this Chorten or Stupa in 18th century. Continue your drive to Trongsa, as you enter Trongsa valley, the huge fortress of Trongsa makes you wonder if you will ever reach it. Backing on mountain and built on several levels, the Dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the routes south and west.
In the evening, we will visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong, built in 1647, by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal, this Dzong was the source of many important historical events in making of Modern Bhutan.

Day 13: Trongsa/Bumthang (3 hrs drive)
This morning, we will take a drive for about an hour towards south to see the winter palace of the second king, Jigme Wangchuk. It’s an interesting drive, passing Takse Goemba and a large expanse of rice terraces in the lower Mangdechu valley. It’s a good side trip from Trongsa and it gives an intimate insight into life in the early days of Bhutaneses monarchy. After having lunch in Tongsa, we will then proceed to Bumthang crossing the Yotongla Pass and then into the first valley of Bumthang known as Chumey. We will make a brief stop at Tshumey village, where we will observe the weavers weaving the famous Traditional Bumthang fabric known as Yathra.

Day 14: Sightseeing in Bumthang
Today’s day begins with visit to Jambay Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in 7th century, Kurjey Lhakhang, is named after the body print of Guru Rinpoche which is preserved in a cave inside the oldest of the three buildings, Tamshing Lhakhang – which was established by Terton Pema Lingpa in 1501 and is the most important Nyingma Goenba in the country.
Lunch in the Bumthang hotel.
After lunch we will visit Mebertsho (Burning Lake) – This is a very scared lake for Bhutanese people. Terton Pema Lingpa discovered several of Guru Rinpoche’s hidden religious treasures from this lake.
Evening at leisure.
Dinner and over night stay at hotel, Bumthang.

DAY 15. Bumthang – Gangtey.
After the breakfast, we will drive to Gangtay, Phobjikha. The drive will take about 4hours.
Lunch will be at Phobjikha hotel. After lunch we will walk around the Phobjikha valley, it is a glacial valley and is the winter home of the black necked cranes. This valley is a designated conservation area and borders Black Mountain National Park.
Dinner and over night stay at hotel, Phobjikha.

Day 16: Hike over Kayche La
We take a drive till Longtey Village after the Pele La to go for yet another hike of about 04 hours across Kayche La (3700m) and back to Gangtey. We climb up gradually through the thickets of dwarf bamboos, birch, rhododendron, hemlock and fir to Kayche La, marked with some prayer flags. The other side of the pass is mostly meadows, and it’s all downhill walk to Gangtey through the long and beautiful stretch of meadows and farms. This place holds a special interest to tourist as you can experience the Black Mountain Range and the Phobjika Valley which is famous for the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes.
Overnight at Gangtey.

DAY 17. Punakha – Thimphu.
After our early breakfast, we will drive to Thimphu via Dochula pass. At Lobesa we will visit Chhimi Lhakhang, which is located at a hilltop. We have to walk about 25minutes from the road point. This temple is also known as temple of fertility. After visiting this we will continue our journey to Paro. The drive will take about 5hours.
Lunch will be served at Dochula Cafeteria.
Dinner and over night stay at hotel, Thimphu.

Day 18: Thimphu (Sight seeing) : Day 5: Thimphu- Hiking- Tango & Cheri Monasteries
After breakfast, drive north to the trail to the Tango Monastery. The climb about 280m passes through beautiful forests that are excellent for bird watching, before arriving at the monastery in slightly more than an hour. The Tango monastery (8500m) was built by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa in the 12th Century and the present building was built in the 15th century by the Divine Madman, Lama Drukpa Kunley. History states that in 1616 The Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal visited Tango and meditated in a cave near the goenpa. His meditations helped ensure the defeat of the invading Tibetan army.
The picturesque three-story tower and several surrounding buildings were built in the 18th century by the 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye. The golden roof was added by the Shandrung Jigme Chhogyel in the 19th Century. The Tango monastery as well as the Cheri monastery are the only two Buddhist monasteries that offer a Degree and are the highest centers of Buddhist education. At the monastery you can interact with students of the university and view the great architecture. Nearby are many small retreat centers where many monks meditate for 3 years or 12 years solitary meditation.
Later descend down and enjoy a picnic lunch on the way.
Evening at leisure
Overnight in Thimphu

Day 19 : Thimphu – Chelila Pass- Haa
This Morning, drive to Haa via the Chelila Pass, the highest road in Bhutan at 4000 meters. On a clear day there are superb views of Mt. Jhomolhari and the Eastern Himalayan Range from this point. If weather permits, you will hike towards the Haa Valley and enjoy the mountain scenery. Continuing on to Haa (8,811ft), descending all the way for another 22km or approximately one hour’s drive. After a picnic lunch by the river near the new Haa Dzong, you visit two famous monasteries, Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). The central shrine in Lhakhang Nagpo is said to be almost identical to that of the Jowo temple in Lhasa. Legend has it that local deities assisted in the construction of Lhakhanga Karpo. The Bhutanese come here to offer prayers and adorn the hills with prayer flags to pray to the Mountain Gods.
The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa are popularly known as ‘RigSum Goenpa’ signifying three deities, Jambayang, Chana Dorji and Chenrezig. These are the three principal bodhisattvas among the thousand future Buddhas to come. Overnight at the hotel in Haa

DAY 20. Haa – Paro
Morning we explore Haa valley visiting farm house, interacting with villagers, visiting farmhouse and exploring their culture. Afternoon we drive to Paro.
Evening at leisure. Overnight at Hotel in Paro.

DAY 21. Depart from Paro.
Our representative will see you off from the Paro Airport for your onward destination