14 Days Bhutan Tour
13 Nights / 14 Days
Destination Covered : Thimphu, Paro, Punakha
Tour Themes : Hill Stations & Valleys, Hill Stations & Valleys
Thimphu, Paro and Punakha Tour Itinerary
Drive from Paro to Thimphu: The distance of about 65kms from Paro town takes little less more than 1 hour. Drive south following Pachu River to the river confluence at Chuzom, which is also the hub of road network going to Paro, Ha, Thimphu and Phuntsholing. From Chuzom, the drive takes about 1 hour, staying close to the Wangchu River in the valley floor, as you pass through villages and suburbs to the capital, Thimphu. En-route, you can stop to view Tachogang temple and the nunnery at Sitsina.
Thimphu (2,300m): was a wooded farming valley until 1961, when it became Bhutan's official national capital. The massive TashichoDzong, about 700 years old, was carefully revamped in the 1960s by the late King JigmeDorjiWangchuk to house the royal and main government offices. Even today, it still only has a few streets and no traffic lights with estimated population of 150,000 people.
In Thimphu, Visit the school of arts and crafts, Indigenous Hospital, Folk Heritage Musuem, Textile Museum, Memorial chorten (stupa) and handmade paper factory.
School of arts & Crafts (open 9-5pm mon-fri and 9-1pm on Sat –with exceptions of holidays and breaks). Commonly known as ‘the painting school’ is a national institute where children attend six-year course that provides instruction in Bhutan’s traditional arts and crafts called ZorigChuksum- meaning 13 crafts.
Indigenous Hospital or National Institute of Traditional Medicine (Open 9-5pm Mon-Fri, 9-1pm on Sat) is government funded institute that facilitates research of traditional medicine and practices. It prepares and dispenses herbal and other medicines with clinic where doctors diagnose and prescribe traditional medicines or treatments.
Heritage Museum: Heritage Museum is also a recent addition; housed in a traditional home displays the living style of the Bhutanese family in 19th century.
Textile Museum: A recent addition in the capital city, this museum displays the colorful and intricately hand woven textile, both old and new.
Memorial Chorten: This landmark of Thimphu was built in 1974 in the memory of third King, JigmeDorjiWangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan. It is a four-storey tall white building, containing statues and iconography of deities from complex tantric teachings and serves as an important place of worship for Thimphu residents, as well as from other parts of the country Paper Factory: Traditional papers were made from the daphne plant, using simple methods. Overnight in hotel
After breakfast drive north through the suburbs for about 40min to Dodena and walk up to Cheri Gompa Monastery (2850m) Cheri Gompa was first built in 1620 by shabdrung and it was here that the central monastic body (Dratsang) was first established. Many of the important priests of Drukpa Kagyul lineage passed periods here, and so it is an important pilgrim site for Bhutanese. During the weekends, many Bhutanese are seen climbing up the hill from Dodena (2,600m), where the road ends. Cross a wooden cantilever bridge and climb up the hill with moss-laden pine, fir and rhododendron trees, that takes little over 1 hour. Return to the road. Picnic lunch will be serving. After lunch drive back to Thimphu city go to hotel relax for some time.In the evening visit Thimphu Tashi chhe Dzong. Thimphu Dzong is very important. This Dzong is summer resident for 100 monks and in winter 1000 monks go to Punakha valley for winter resident. This tradition is practice from long time ago. Inside the Dzong there is very important temple where king of Bhutan crown.4th and 5th king was crown in Thimphu Dzong.1st and 2nd king was crown in punakha Dzong and 3rd king was crown in Paro Dzong.Overnight in hotel.
Drive from Thimphu to Punakha: The drive from Thimphu (75Kms) takes about 3 hours. The road climbs from Thimphu to Dochula Pass (3050m) and descends through ever changing forests into semi-tropical valley of Punakha at around 1250m, En-route stop at dochula Pass(3050m) where you can view the estern Himalayas, including Bhutan’s higest mountain, Gangkhar Punsum(7550m).
Punakha Dzong: or Pungthang Dechen Phodrang "Palace of Great Happiness” is located on the confluence of two rivers, the Pho and Mochu. It was built in 1637 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal and following the ancient traditions, it serves as winter residence for chief abbot (Je-khenpo) and the monks of Central Monastic Body, who return to Thimphu in the summer.
Punakha and Wangdue, although two separate districts, are located in one valley (20km or ½ hrdrive apart) Overnight Punakha. Sightseeing includes Chimi Lhakhang Wangduephodrang Dzong.
Chimi Lhakhang: a monastery and fertility temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as “the divine madman” and considered a folk hero in Bhutan for his unconventional ways. Drukpa Kuenley originally built a chorten on the site in the 14th century, on which a temple was later built in 15th century. The temple, flanked by nearly 100 tall prayer flags, sits atop a picturesque hill. It has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples. This easy walk takes about ½ hour each way. Punakha and Wangdiphodrang:Punakha and Wangdue, although two separate districts, are located in one valley (20km/ ½ hr drive apart) and they are at the lower elevation of about 1,250m with pleasant winters. Cactuses, Oranges, bananas and sub-tropical plants are found here. Punakha was once the winter capital of Bhutan, the tradition that is still held by the Central Monastic body.
Wangdiphodrang Dzong:Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal in 1638 had built this massive fortress sitting on a hilltop at the confluence of Punakha Chu and Tang Chu Rivers. It is built in the shape of a sleeping bull. Wangdi festival is celebrated here in every autumn season for three days. Overnight in hotel.
Drive to Trongsa via Wangdue valley. From Wangdue, the road gradually winds up about 2 hours, almost till Pele La Pass (which divides central from western Bhutan) crosses the Black Mountain. Before reaching to pass the road diverges and we take the road least traveled by. This eventually leads into the beautiful hidden Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha is part of conservation area with in Black Mountain National Park. It is the winter home of migratory Black Necked Crane.
Gangtey is the name of the Monastery that sits on top of a conical hill in the middle of the valley. It is also one of the oldest and largest monasteries in western parts of Bhutan. Due to conservation effort, there is no electricity in the valley. Picnic Lunch will be provided en-route at Chendbji Chorten. After lunch continue drive to Trongsa for another 2 hours. Upon arrival in Trongsa, visit Trongsa Dzong if time permits. This is one of the largest Dzong (fortress / monastery) and it is one of most impressive fortress of its kind in the Kingdom. In the evening stroll around the town of Trongsa. Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast drive to Bumthang. The distance of about 68 kms .It will take3 hour drive across Yotong La pass (3400m) and descend into Chhume valley, the first of the four valleys in Bumthang District. Visit the Yathra(wool textile with deep vegetable dyes) weavers at the village of Zungney. After lunch, explore the valley; visit Swiss farm area and town center. Overnight at hotel.
This valley Bumthang is often referred to as the cultural center of the Kingdom and countless legends surround the area. This is the place where Guru Rimpoche first visited in 746AD. The present Royal family traces their ancestry back to the famous saint, Pemalingpa, which was from this region. Sight seeing includes visit to Kurje Lhakhang (where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock), then Jakardzong (the fortress of white bird) built in 17th century by Tenzin Rabgay (the fourth Desi or the temporal ruler), Tam shinglhakhang built in 1501 by Terton PemaLingpa (the religious treasure discoverer). Then visit kunchosumlhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, one of oldest monasteries of Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan, Wangdicholing Palace was the first Palace for the royal family where our 1st and 2nd king was brought up there. In the evening stroll around in the town of Chamkhar.Overnight at hotel.
The Bumthang Cultural trek begins and the first day will be an easy and relaxing one. This 5 to 6 hour trek along the Chamkhar River brings us through many villages and settlements and also some temples. At the end of the day, camp at a village which is at an altitude of about 2900m.
The second day of our trek leads us to the Phephela pass (3340m). Then descend to Tang valley, finally arriving at Ugyencholing village, our camp site. Altitude: 2850m, walking time 7-8 hours.
Take a refreshing morning walk up to the Ugyen Choling Dzong. After visiting the dzong and the surrounding village, drive back towards Jakar. En-route visit the legendary "burning lake" (Mebartsho), which is generally regarded a very holy and sacred place for the Bhutanese. Trek ends here. Drive to Bumthang. Overenight in hotel.
The drive from Bumthang to Punakha will take approximately 8 hours.Ovenight in Hotel.
Paro: is one of the most beautiful valleys in the country with Bhutan’s only airport located here, among the terraced fields, and elegant farm houses. Willow trees line many of the roads, contrasting with bright colors of the fields and the most popular and important sites also found within Paro district. Paro town (2,280m) is still a small with one main street and less than one hundred small family-run shops.
Rinpung Dzong: meaning "fortress of the heap of jewels". Built in mid 17th century, it now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for the 200 monks of Paro. It is also the venue for Paro festival held in the spring. Several years ago, the colorful movie Little Buddha was filmed here. Kyichu Lhakhang: Tibetan King Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples, along with Jorkhang in Lhasa. Kyichu is considered to be one of them and is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. Overnight in hotel.
The drive from Bumthang to Punakha will take approximately 8 hours.Ovenight in Hotel.
After breakfast drive to Haa valley (Day excursion).You will have beautiful drive through the forest crossing the chelela(pass-3900m).Stop on the pass to take good photo of the paro valley and the Himalayas,if weather is clear.Continue drive down the valley.Visit Karpo and Nagpo Lhakhang(Temple) date back to 7 century.Visit Haa town and explore the valley.In the evening drive back to Paro.Overnight in hotel.
Drive to famed Taktsang (Tiger’s lair) monastery. Taktsang monastery is located on the face of a 1,000m seemingly impossible sheer, vertical cliff, above Parovalley. The trail begins near the Satsam(2650m) and climbs steeply uphill to the Cafeteria (2,940m), an area of exposed ridge with panoramic view of Takstang. This takes little more than an hour. (Ponies are provided on request to ride up till this Cafeteria, but rest of way, including return downhill must be on foot.) You can get a good view from the Cafeteria or hike further uphill for another hour or so to the temple itself. There are several other temples and sites within the vicinity. Lunch is served at the tea house. The return trek to the road head is quite steep downhill, where you will be met by the transport.Overnight in hotel.
After breakfast your guide will take you to the airport for your farewell.
More Details about Thimphu, Paro and Punakha Tour
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