This weeklong tour of Bhutan includes visits to four western districts of Bhutan -Paro, Thimphu (capital), Punakha and Wangduephodrang. Highlight of the tour includes hiking to the famous Taktsang Monastery and a visit to Gangtey valley, the most beautiful valley of Bhutan.
Duration: 7 days and 6 nights
Nature of tour: Cultural sightseeing tour
Places covered: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Gangtey.
Tour guide and driver from See Bhutan Travels will meet you at Paro international airport and drive you to one of the local restaurants for lunch. After lunch they will escort you towards Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.
On the way before reaching Chuzom Bridge, stop shortly to view Tachok Lhakhang(monastery) located at the bank of Paa Chhu River, built in late 1300s by great Tibetan saint Drupthob Thangthong Gyalpo.
In the evening at Thimphu, we will visit to Memorial Choeten.
Memorial Choeten: Located in the heart of Thimphu city, it was built in 1974 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden in memory of her son, Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The three-storey choeten houses several relics such as Phurba Lhatshog, Kagay, Khrowo Nampur Gyalwa, Guru Tshengye, and Khenlop Chesum. The choeten is today the spiritual nerve centre of the city.
Overnight: At hotel in Thimphu.
Today we will be exploring around Thimphu valley and visit to following sites:
1. Buddha Statue: Located at Kuenselphodrang, facing Thimphu valley down bellow is the worlds’ largest and tallest Buddha statue standing at the height of 169 feet (52m). The statue houses one hundred thousand of smaller Buddha statues, the exact replica of the outer Buddha statue. From here one can have a 360 degree view of Thimphu valley.
2. Textile museum: Located near National library at Chubachu, it was established in the year 2001. The museum contains Bhutanese textiles, arts, crafts and more importantly the royal collections which includes first version of the Raven crown worn by first and second King of Bhutan, dresses and accessories worn by royal family and the bedding of his holiness Zhabdrung Jigme Dorji.
3. Tashichho Dzong: Located on the bank of the Wangchu River in the Hejo village, Tashicho Dzong was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and enlarged in 1694 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay. It was entirely rebuilt under the command of Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in 1962. Today, the dzong is the seat of the central government, His Majesty the King’s office, and the summer residence of the Central Monastic Body.
Overnight: At hotel in Thimphu
After breakfast, we will be heading towards Punakha; located 77 km east of Thimphu via Dochula pass.
On the way before reaching Punakha, we will pay visit to Temple of Fertility (Khemae Lhakhang).
After arriving at Punakha pay visit to Punakha Dzong.
Punakha Dzong: The dzong is situated on a stretch of a land where two rivers – Phochu and Mochu – meet. The dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1937 and named it Pungthang Dewa Chenpai Phodrang, the palace of great bliss. Later it became the final retreat palace for him. The first monarch, King Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned there and it served as the capital of the country until 1955. Today it serves as the winter residence of the Central Monastic Body. The sacred relic Rangjung Kharsapani is also kept in the Machen Temple inside the dzong.
Overnight: At hotel in Punakha
Gangtey valley; located 78 km east of Punakha is a beautiful and most scenic glacial valley of Bhutan. This valley serves as roosting spot for Black necked crane, one of the rarest and endangered species of bird which migrates during winter months (November, December, January, February) from Tibetan plateaus and northern region of India.
After arriving Gangtey, we will go around for a short hike and towards evening pay visit to Gangtey monastery. We will also visit to nearby villages and mingle with local people.
Overnight: At hotel in Gangtey
Today we will be heading back to Paro. On the way spend some time at Dochula Pass before descending down towards Paro.
At Paro pay visit to following places:
1. Paro Rinpung Dzong: Located on the bank of Pachu River, Paro Dzong, formally known as Rinchen Pung Dzong (shortened to Rinpung Dzong), was built in 1644 under the command of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is one of the most beautiful and historically important dzongs in the country. Today, it houses both district administration and monastic body.
2. Paro Kichu Lhakhang: Located about 10 minutes’ drive from Paro town, the temple is one of the two among 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to subdue a demon that lay supine across Tibet and Bhutan. The temple contains sacred relics dating back to the 7th century like a statue of Lord Buddha and four statues of Chagtong Chentong. It also contains the statues of Guru Nangsi Zilnon, Dolma Kukuli (a manifestation of Tara), Zhabdrung, the bone relic of his Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Overnight: At hotel in Paro
After breakfast, drive towards Taktsang base from where the hike begins.
Taktsang monastery: Depending on your pace and the time you spent in Monastery, hiking to this monastery will take around 5 to 6 hours (roundtrip).
The monastery is located 900 m above Paro valley on the face of a rocky cliff. Taktshang is perhaps the most famous monastery in the country. The monastery was named Taktshang after Guru Rinpoche flew there from Kurtoe Singay Dzong (Eastern Bhutan) riding on a tigress to subdue a demon. Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the secular head of the country (1680-1694) has begun the construction of the monastery at this site in 1692 and completed in the year 1694. The monastery houses many temples that contain sacred statues of eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, Tshepame Yabyum and Bone relic of Pelgi Singay.
After coming back from Taktsang monastery, we will visit to Drugyal Dzong and Kichu Lhakhang.
Drugyal Dzong: Located in Phongdey village in Paro, the Dzong was built as one of the principal Dra Dzong (defence dzongs). While some attribute the building of the Dzong to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1649 to commemorate a victory over Tibetan invasion, some attribute it to the second Druk Desi Tenzin Drukdra. But as its name suggests (Druk – Drukpa; gyal – victory), the Dzong was built to celebrate the victory over Tibetans. The Dzong was used as the summer residence of Rinpung Rabdey until 1951 when it was completely burnt down. The Dzong is currently being rebuilt to its former glory to celebrate the birth of crown prince Jigme Namgyel.
Paro Kichu Lhakhang: : Located about 10 minutes’ drive from Paro town, the temple is one of the two among 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to subdue a demon that lay supine across Tibet and Bhutan. The temple contains sacred relics dating back to the 7th century like a statue of Lord Buddha and four statues of Chagtong Chentong. It also contains the statues of Guru Nangsi Zilnon, Dolma Kukuli (a manifestation of Tara), Zhabdrung, the bone relic of his Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Overnight: At hotel in Paro
After breakfast, your guide and driver will see you off at Paro International airport for your onward destinations.
Some may find food in Bhutan monotonous with the same menu being offered in every restaurants and hotels but these foods are true to Bhutan, unique in its own way, different from anywhere else in the world.
Bhutanese people are very fond of spicy foods and chili lies in the center of every cuisine as its main ingredient. A proper meal from the Bhutanese point of view is a plate full of rice with curry prepared either of vegetable or meat items.
Bhutan being cultural destination rather than a culinary, there are not much to choose from but whatever that are offered are authentic and native.
Other than rice and curry, Momo is a popular snack that one will enjoy in Bhutan. Momo is a Tibetan originated dumpling stuffed with cabbages and onions along with beef, pork or cheese.
Other than Bhutanese cuisine, restaurants in Bhutan also serves Chinese and Indian dish such as noodles and Roti. Popular drink one must try while at Bhutan are Suja, the salted butter tea, Ara the locally brewed wine from rice, maize or millet and Bangchang the rice, millet or maize beer. It will be quite a task to get Ara and Bangchang at western parts of Bhutan but are easily available if you are visiting some of the far away villages in eastern parts of Bhutan; they will even offer to you for free as a gesture of hospitability.
Refrain from drinking water directly from tap or streams. Bottled water will be provided everyday by the tour operators.Tour Vehicle
Tour vehicles are prearranged by your respective tour operators and its costs are covered by the minimum daily packages that are paid prior to your arrival in Bhutan. Depending on the size of travelers tour vehicles are arranged as follows:
Tourists to Bhutan are not allowed to travel on their own and it is mandatory to use the service of a professional guide trained and certified by Tourism council of Bhutan. Guides in general speak English but language speaking guides are also available for few languages such as French, German, Chinese and Japanese. Your guide and driver along with tour vehicle will be waiting for you at the port of entry.
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We organize Cultural sightseeing tour, Trekking, Mountain biking tour, Festival tour, Luxury tour and White water rafting tour within Bhutan.
|All three meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)|
|Accommodations in 3 star rated hotels in twin sharing basis. (4 Stars and 5 Star available on paying extra premium)|
|Licensed English speaking guide|
|Transportation in a comfortable SUV cars, Mini Bus and Medium size Buses depending on the number of travelers.|
|Government royalty of $65 per person, per night stay in Bhutan, which goes to infrastructure development, free education and free medical services for Bhutanese people.|
|All government taxes|
|Bhutan visa fee|
|Entry fee to all the tourist visiting sites and museums.|
|Tea and snacks.|
|Bottled water during the day.|
|Flight tickets (both international & domestic)|
|Beverages & personal shopping|
|Tips and gratuity for guide and driver.|
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