26 Oct – 08 NOVEMBER
The tour encompasses the most visited western regions of Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Wangduephodrang and central Bhutan of Trongsa and Bumthang, the cultural heart land of Bhutan.
You will have comprehensive coverage of all things that are genuinely Bhutanese. Ranging from an idyllic village walk through clusters of farmhouses experiencing mouth-watering traditional dish such as Ema datse or Chilli cheese, witnessing a fearful game of archery, ascending to dizzying heights of Tiger’s Nest or gossiping with cheerful monks at the Dzongs and monasteries.
While in Bumthang, we witness Jambay Lhakhang Tsechu, the festival performed at the 8th century old monastery. At night, we mingle amongst the locals to witness naked dance performed at the outskirt of the monastery that is done to purify sins and augur a good harvest. We also see the fire ceremony, whereby crowds walk through the gate of huge fireworks – all these are meant to drive away evil spirits.
On arrival in Paro, you will be received by Bhutan Travelers’ representative and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon, you can stroll freely in Paro town. Overnight hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, you will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. En route, stop at Chuzom (confluence) where Paro River joins Thimphu River. Check into your hotel on arrival. After lunch, you will visit the famous Centenary Farmers Market. Stroll through the market to see the variety of food of the country. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. This is perhaps good opportunity for photography and to mingle with locals who comes from the nearby villages to sell their vegetables. Few minutes walk towards the south of Market is the Changlingmethang archery field. If you are lucky, you may catch a game of archery in progress. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley. Visit the King’s Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King of Bhutan, the National Library, which holds collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, the Arts School, known for its thangkha paintings and the Traditional Medicine Institute where indigenous healing arts are practiced. After a relaxing lunch, you will visit a traditional paper factory, giant Buddha Statue at Kuenselphodrang and the majestic Tashichhodzong, seat of the national government. In the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu town and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast this morning, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for lunch at Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. You will arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Receive a special fertility blessing from Lama’s wooden phallus if you wish. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
In the morning, visit Punakha Dzong, the former capital of Bhutan, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Then you will drive 12 km north of Punakha Valley and from the road point, you will hike for 30 minutes Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, which is located on a beautiful hillock overlooking the villages. It contains elaborate paintings dedicated to old sect of Buddhism. Hike back and drive to Punakha. You can relax in the evening. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast you will drive to Bumthang, the cultural heartland of the country. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300-meter-high Pele La pass, and at certain times of year it’s possible to see yaks. You will stop in Trongsa for lunch. After lunch you’ll visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Then you’ll proceed to Bumthang with lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way you will stop at a yathra (textile weaving) factory, where the yathras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Check into hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
Enjoy full day of festival dances and celebrations with the people of Bumthang and nearby villages. Today you will stay awake till midnight to catch an unusual naked dance, which is considered pious and performed to sanctify the region and augur good harvest. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
Today’s sightseeing in Bumthang includes Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, because Guru Rinpoche, a great 8th century spiritual master left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. From here you will hike through unpaved road to Thangbi valley crossing suspension bridge to visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in 14th century. After lunch, you will also have a chance to tour Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings. In the evening you can visit local shops. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
Today, you will make an enjoyable excursion to the Tang valley, which is the most remote valley in Bumthang. While in the Tang, you will visit 16th century Ugyen Chholing Palace or the country manor, which is now turned into a museum. The well-captioned exhibits offer insights into lifestyle of a Bhutanese noble family. You will also explore nearby villages. On the way back to town, you will see Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche’s treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discoverer Pema Lingpa. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
You’ll begin the day at the Bumthang market, and then drive to Wangdue. Lunch will be served at Chendebji. Chendebji Chorten was built in 18th century by Lama Shida in Nepalese style with eyes painted at four cardinal points. Check into your hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Wangdue.
Today you will return to Thimphu with a stop in Dochu La for tea. On arriving at Dochu La, visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. Continue drive to Thimphu and check into your hotel on arrival. Evening explore the interesting handicraft shops. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Today you will drive back to Paro. Check into hotel on arrival. After lunch, you can visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. Next, visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. From there you will be taken to the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan’s second-highest mountain at 7,314meters. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Today you will hike to Taktsang or the “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery perched precariously on the cliff 900m above Paro valley. It is the most famous monastery in Bhutan. Guru Rimpoche, the 8th century spiritual master is said to have flown on the back of tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. Explore the monastery, and if you wish, you can sit for a short meditation before you hike down to the valley floor. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Drive to Paro airport for departure.
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