Day 1: Bangkok to Paro
You depart in the early morning for your Bhutan adventure; approximately
a 4-hour flight to Paro from Bangkok. Your flight path finally descends
over the high Himalayan ridge bringing you to Paro International
Airport, elevation 7,500 ft. Your Druk Air experience has been highlighted
with breathtaking views of Himalayan peaks, including the sacred
Mount Jumolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. Your excitement mounts
and you are received by your tour representative; visas are processed.
Drive to the Dechen Hill Resort for lunch in your small van and get
acquainted with your expert driver and English speaking Bhutanese
guide. Welcome to Bhutan! After lunch we will continue our drive
(2 hour) towards Thimphu, capitol of Bhutan. Along the route we visit
Semtokha Dzong; oldest fortress in the kingdom and is now a monastic
school. Overnight Thimphu Hotel.
Day 2: Thimphu sightseeing
Enjoy breakfast at our charming hotel and we then depart to visit Bhutan’s
national bank for currency exchange, as well as a stop at Bhutan’s
post office; elaborate and collector item stamps of gorgeous detail are
here for purchase or to admire. We will drive to view National Memorial
Chorten, built in 1974 in memory of the third king of Bhutan, and a visit
to see the Tarkin, the National animal of Bhutan, will prove to be most
interesting. Lunch at our hotel. This afternoon we tour the delightful
and educational Textile Museum, which displays elaborate and historical
textile artwork and royal family attire. Textile weaving in Bhutan is
an art form of the ages, utilized and taught in every Bhutanese household.
Tonight enjoy a reception dinner with your host in Bhutan, Sonam. Overnight
Day 3: Thimphu (Tango Hike) to Wangdue
This morning you will go over your itinerary with your guide at breakfast
and then prepare for our drive to the path to embark on a vigorous hike
up the mountain to Tango Goemba Monastery. Tango is one of Bhutanese'
most important Buddhist colleges. Its name, meaning 'horse's head', is
derived from the horse-head shaped rock at the top. It is a beautiful
Dzong built in the 18h century by the 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye. Today Tango
is home to the twelve-year-old reincarnate Lama, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye.
Meet with senior monks for discussions. Return to Thimphu for lunch and
check out of your hotel and depart for Wangdue. Leaving Thimphu we drive
towards Wangdue across Dochula pass (10,500ft) to Wangduephodrang. On
a clear day you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayan
mountain range. Prayer flags flutter their message of peace and serenity.
Tea and snack stop at the pass. Overnight Resort; enjoy spectacular views
of the quaint village river and Wangdi Dzong.
Day 4: Wangdue sightseeing
Breakfast and then we will visit the beautiful Punakha Dzong; “Palace
of Great Happiness”; the former winter capital and present administrative
seat of the district; also the winter residence of the central monastic
body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu
and Mochu, male and female rivers. It was built in 1637 AD. Lunch and
we visit Wangdue Dzong as well as a visit to Chimi Lhakhang; a Fertility
Monastery. Overnight Resort.
Day 5: Wangdue (via Gangtey) to Trongsa
Transfer to Trongsa via Gangtey Valley to visit the habitat of the black-neck
cranes which migrate from Tibet and Siberia. Phobjikha is a glacial valley
on the western slopes of Black Mountain national park. The valley is
a designated conservation area and borders the Black Mountain National
Park. Because of the large flock of black-necked cranes that winter here
(from late October to late March), it is one of the most important wildlife
preserves in the country.
Phobjikha Valley is circled by beautiful pine covered mountains. Along
the way, look for nocturnal red pandas that sleep in the trees during
the day. At the valley’s centre, rising dramatically from a small
ridge, stands Gantey Gompa, one of the oldest Nyingma Buddhist monasteries
in Bhutan. Gantey Tulku Rimpoche, the head lama of Gantey Gompa, is
the ninth incarnation of Terton Pemalingpa, the famous 14th-century
Treasure Revealer from Bumthang, one of Bhutan’s famous Buddhist
saints and an ancestor of the ruling Wangchuck dynasty. Visit the Gangtey
monastery overlooks the large green expanse of Phobjikha Valley. The
extensive complex consists of the gomba itself, the monks’ quarters,
meditation centres, and schools.Visit the Black-necked cranes roost
in the swampy marshland from the Observatory overlooking the fields.
Continue on to Trongsa for your overnight Hotel.
Day 6: Today we attend
a full day at the Trongsa Festival. What an exciting and exhilarating
way to celebrate the day! The Trongsa Dzong was built by Chogyel Minjur
Tempa, theThird Desi, in 1648 A.D. It is presently the administrative
seat of the district and home of the monastic school. Built at split-levels
on a narrow spur, the Dzong is an architectural wonder. Views from
here are extensive creating strategic location of this Dzong. Over
the Dzong is the medieval Watchtower. This ancient structure gives
unobstructed views of the valley and its Winding River and roads. The
watchtower is located strategically above the Trongsa Dzong. LOAD your
camera to capture the intensity of this festival, while your gain merit
and religious purification; be immersed into medieval Bhutan and the
enchanting Bhutanese culture. Here one can truly appreciate the essence
of Bhutanese people and a preserved steadfast culture. Arrays of colourful
brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the "thunderbolt
step". Masks of glorious demonic demons and animals arouse your
senses as purification takes place. The intensity goes on; your spirit
will fly. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight hotel.
Day 7: Trongsa
This morning we return to the Trongsa festival; today watch for the
Atsara (clown) this dancer, unique in his own style, mimics dancers
and entertains onlookers. Festival deities are invoked through benediction
and luck is increased and misfortunate gone. Tashi Delek. After lunch
visit Kuenga Rabten Palace, Home of the 2nd King, 25 Km from Trongsa
Day 8: Trongsa to Bumthang
Today we continue eastward towards central Bhutan; Bumthang. En route
visit Yatha Textile Centre; watch for yaks along the route. Overnight:
River Lodge Hotel
Day 9: Bumthang
Enjoy breakfast and get ready to explore Bumthang village. Meet with
textile weavers at looms as they weave their Bhutanese fabric and textile
on toe strap looms with hand spun and dyed threads. Here is the best
place for purchase of textile. Tour historical Jakar Dzong, “Palace
of the White Bird”, as well as Jambay and Kurjey Lhakhang. A
short walk to Flamming Lake to visit this religious and holy pilgrimage
spot. Visit a Stone flour grist water mill and a beer and cheese factory,
Tamshing Monastery and Wangdichholing Palace. In the evening visit
a farmhouse for local hospitality. Return to lodge for relaxation and
Day 10: Bumthang to Wangdue
Departing Bumthang we drive westward to Wangdue. Photo and rest stops
along our way; perhaps an interesting archer’s match in Trongsa.
Day 11: Wangdue to Thimphu
We arrive in Thimphu today; check into our hotel and enjoy an afternoon
and exploration in Thimphu. Perhaps you have a special interest item
to purchase; ask you expert Bhutanese guide to assist you.
Day 12: Thimphu to Paro
After breakfast we depart Thimphu towards Paro village as we drive
to a path to hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The monastery is
perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800 m. It is said
that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambbava alighted
here upon the back of a tigress. We enjoy lunch at Tigers Nest cafeteria
and will have the option to hike up the mountain close to the Tigers
Nest Monastery; spirituality and peace is within. We then depart down the mountain
to our vehicle and return to Paro to our hotel for rest and relaxation and enjoy dinner in town.
Day 13. This morning you have free time for leisure. After an early
lunch we tour Ta National Dzong Museum. Once the watchtower for the
Rinpung Dzong, it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The
museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its
glory. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path
rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing
and abutted by two guardhouses, to the Dzong. Today the Dzong is the
seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic
school. The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork.
Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner at local restaurant in Paro.
Day 14: Paro to your next destination..-Transfer to airport for departure! Tashi Delek!