DAY 00: DEPART MANILA FOR BANGKOK
Arrive in Bangkok. Today, enjoy free time before the flight to Paro tomorrow morning.
(Not Included in the package)
DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO, TRANSFER TO THIMPHU (55 KM, 1:30 HOURS DRIVE) (L/D)
The flight to Paro on a clear day is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. One can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsering ghang. The first gift from Bhutan will be cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the aircraft. You will be received by our representative and transfer to Thimphu. On arrival in Thimphu, check into the hotel.
Afternoon, proceed to visit National Memorial Chorten: a monument for world peace and prosperity. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy. Later visit Trashichhoedzong (opens until 4 pm): This impressive fortress/monastery houses Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body. Afterwards, drive to Buddha Point (Kuenselphodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu (Altitude 2400m).
Day 02: THIMPHU (B/L/D)
Morning after breakfast sightseeing visit National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion: ( Closed on Weekends). Also visit nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School (closed on Sat, Sun & Government Holidays), the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school. Textile Museum: With the opening of Textile Museum, Bhutanese textile have reached new heights as one of the most visible distinct art form. ( Closed on Sundays).
In the afternoon in Thimphu visit Changangkha Lhakhang : It is a fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu, south of Motithang. The temple was established in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who came from Tibet. The central statue here is Chenrezig in a manifestation with 11 heads. From temple courtyard, there is fascinating view of Thimphu valley. Takin Sanctuary : The Takin is the national animal of Bhutan, and looks like a cross between a cow and a goat. Legend has it that the animal was created by the great Buddhist yogi, Drupa Kunley, and it can be found only in Bhutan and nearby areas. Taxonomists place the animal in a category of its own as it is not similar enough to any other animal to fit established categories. Then, visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts bazaar, to browse through example of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, interesting items made from local materials. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu (Altitude 2400m).
Day 03: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (75km, 3hrs drive ) (B/L/D)
After breakfast drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana - finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.
En route take a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang : situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as ‘Divine Madman’. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.
Later visit Punakha Dzong : Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative 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. Overnight at the Hotel in Punakha .
Day 04: PUNAKHA / PARO (125 km, approx 4 hours drive) (B/L/D)
Morning after breakfast drive to Paro : en route visit Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.
In the afternoon in Paro visit Ta Dzong ( CLOSED ON GOVT HOLIDAYS ) : once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan's National Museum in 1968. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.
Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring. Overnight at the hotel in Paro . (Altitude 2200m)
Day 05: PARO (B/L/D)
Morning excursion to Taktshang Lhakhang ( approx 5 hrs walking excursion ) : perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro Valley floor , it is undoubtedly one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries. Lore has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery thus the name ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendor.
On the drive towards Paro town en route visiting Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries of the Kingdom reflecting introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 06: DEPART PARO
After early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. A representative will help you with exit formalities and bid you farewell.