Bhutan a purely Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom is unsurpassed in its scenic majesty and vibrant culture. The kingdom shares with Nepal the world’s greatest concentration of Mountains and living heritage of Buddhism. The fifty minutes flight from Kathmandu to Paro can truly be described as a flight into fantasy. During the flight a firsthand close up view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and many other famous Peaks become a reality. Bi-weekly flights between these two Kingdoms have made travel easier to the long isolated Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan.
Tours to Bhutan are planned to commence on Mondays and Thursdays from Kathmandu. The tour cost is inclusive of all airport transfers, conducted sightseeing tours, full board at hotels and during treks on the twin-bed-sharing-basis. There are direct flights from Delhi bi-weekly and Bangkok weekly and tours can be planned accordingly. Bhutan is one of the few countries in the world still untouched. a paradise for tourist interested in Buddhist culture and philosophy, flora and fauna, trekking and mountaineering. Due to the Royal Government’s policy of controlled selective tourism, Bhutan has been receiving less than 5000 tourists annually.
After breakfast proceed to Kathmandu’s International Airport to board the Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines Flight to Paro. After completion airport formalities transfer to nearby restaurant for some refreshment and lunch.
Later start scenic drive to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, which is home to many attractions. Thimphu became a town in 1961 and grew as the capital of Bhutan. Earlier it was a small settlement and was developed by the King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk. Today the city sprawls across the western slopes of the Wang Chhu river valley, with several government offices located around Tashichoe dzong. It houses the seat of government and the office of His Majesty King Jigme Singey Wangchuk. There are lots of sightseeing attractions of which some of the highlights are the General post office, handicraft centre, national library etc.
Upon arrival check in at a hotel. Later in the evening visit Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery which houses most of the Government’s office and King’s Throne room. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot.
After breakfast, start drive eastwards to the Punakha Valley. Continue ascending to Dochu La (pass) to view the 108 Stupas, commissioned by a former Queen as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the low intensity conflict in late 2002 when Bhutan evicted Indian rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutan – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalaya and depending on the time of the year the vista can vary from alpine snow (November – March)
After visiting 108 Stupas, continue drive to Punakh Valley en-route stop at Labessa for lunch. After lunch
Drive to magnificent Punakha Dzong for sightseeing tour. It was built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung NgawangNamgyal to serve as the religious and strative centre of the region; Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan’s history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King. After sightseeing tour transfer to hotel for room check in and rest.
Pm: Walk through the farmland to Visit famous Chimmi Lakhang Temple which was built in 1944 in the Memory of Lama Drukpa Kunley (1455 – 1570) was an enlightened Buddhist master who practiced the Vajrayana form of Buddhism. He followed a non-conventional and outrageous style of teaching. Drukpa Kunley roamed around the countryside and indulged in song and dance, alcohol and women. In short, he meant to go beyond the norms and conventions set by the society. Hence he is also known as divine madman. He had also tamed the fierce demon of Dochu La pass. He imprisoned her and buried her in the main chorten where Chimi Lhakhang was built. Lama Drukpa Kunley’s phallus is also known as the ‘flaming thunderbolt’ and is essentially worshipped here. Lamas inside the monastery distribute sacred threads among the pilgrims as a part of the offering.
Eve: Drive to beautiful Wolakha Nunnery on top of Punakha Valley to participate on Evening rituals with Nuns who will offer blessings to the people who participate with them for rituals.
After breakfast leave Punakha and drive to beautiful Phobjica Valley – the home to the rare Black necked Crane . Upon arrival in Phobjica check in at hotel / resort for room check in and lunch.
After lunch drive almost 45 to one of the remotes village of Gangtey to see the life of high altitude people, how they pull their life without very much mordent fertility. Here we will see how the people of that area worship nature (believing in Mountain god / shamans). You can also see the local ladies weaving of their own cloth from yak & sheep wool.
Time permitting –hike around the home to the rare Black Necked Cranes migrating from the Tibetan plateau to escape the harsh winter. Currently there are about 300 cranes residing in this valley and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) is taking every measure to ensure the safety of the Cranes. While the cranes reside in the winter valley for 4/5 months the village folks are not allowed to make loud noises or fish in the river that runs through the valley. Spend the day exploring the fascinating glacier valley.
After breakfast get transferred to beautiful Gyangtay Gompa to witness the Black necked Festival, The festival includes cultural programs such as folk songs and dances (some with black-necked crane themes) and mask dances performed by the local people, crane dances and environmental conservation-themed dramas and songs by the school children. Later start drive back to Punakha. Upon arrival check in at a Resort for rest and relaxation.
After breakfast start drive to Paro. En-route stop in Labessa and walk to Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman), which is a pleasant, easy 20 minute walk across paddy fields. It is believed that childless women who visit the temple will conceive after receiving a “wang” (blessing) from the resident monk. Continue with a visit to the nunnery and an excursion along a scenic country lane to the small village of Talo to wander the beautiful & peaceful gardens of the local temple.
Later continue drive to Thimphu for Lunch. After lunch continue to Paro. Upon arrival check in at hotel. Rest of the days free for leisure.
Am: After breakfast, proceed through a beautiful vally to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. It was housed into the National museum in the 1960s by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The seven floors museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative center and school for monks. Walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town and stroll around Paro Market Area.
After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of ruined fortress of Drugyel dzong which still attracts visitors due to the strategic location of the fort.