Explore Paro, Thimpu, Wangdiphodrang, Jakar, Mongar, and Trashigang. Travel to Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple of Bhutan. Visit the school of painting, the Institute of Herbal & Native MedicineWalk from Kurjey to Tamshing, and visit the Kunchosum monastery Immerse in the local cultures. Full-day excursion to Trashi Yangtze
WHO IS THIS TRIP SUITABLE FOR? Bhutan is a peaceful place and ideal for nature lovers. People looking for solitude and a moment for introspect thrive here. This itinerary involves driving through some of the most spectacular towns and valleys, with a maximum of 3 – 4 hours per drive. The highest point covered is Thrumsing – la pass, 13, 123 feet. Hotels on this trip are recommended for all ages, however, people with asthma, heart disease, and any other chronic ailments must carry their proper medications and take special care while on tour. The monasteries, Dzongs, Gompas, Chortens, and scenic villages may be boring for kids. However, it may open their minds to a different world, and bring them closer to nature.
This trip not exactly right? Itineraries can be redesigned to meet with your time frame and special requests
DAY 1: INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT to KOLKATA OR DELHI
DAY 2: KOLKATA OR DELHI
Arrive in either Kolkata or Delhi from your international flight. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your local host and escorted to your hotel. Later on, you’ll be transferred back to the airport in time to board your scheduled flight to Paro via Druk Air. You’ll be met upon arrival in Paro, and transferred to your hotel. Visit the Kichu Lakahang Temple today as you drive to Drugyul Dzong.
♦ Paro – The historical town of Paro lies at the center of a valley rich in sacred sites and ancient buildings, and forms part of the Golden Triangle of exceptional destinations in Bhutan. To its north, Mt. Chomalhari (Goddess of Mountains) The town is the ideal base from which to explore the surrounding attractions.
♦ Kichu Lakahang – One of Bhutan’s oldest religious sites, built in the seventh century. This temple is one of 108 built by King Songtsen Gampo to subdue a demoness who prevented the spread of Buddhism.
♦ Drugyul Dzong – A fortress built by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal in 1647 to commemorate the victory of his army over the Tibetans. This Dzong was gutted by an accidental fire in 1951. It is just a shell, but gives one an excellent idea as to how Dzongs were built, how their water systems work, and how they became important fortresses. From here, the striking Peak of Chomolhari can be seen on a clear day. Overnight in Paro
DAY 3: PARO
Visit the National Museum, Rimpung Dzong. Afterwards, walk around the local bazaar. The rest of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the serene atmosphere of Paro.
♦ National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong which was originally the Watch Tower for the Paro Dzong and the valley. It is located on a hill top above the Paro Dzong, with fine views.
♦ Rimpung Dzong (Rimpung literally means “ Heap of Jewels”). The Dzong a massive fortress, constructed in 1645, is the administrative seat of Paro and contains the States monastic community of 200 monks. Situated on the knoll that rises from the river, it commands a lovely view of the Paro valley. Later visit the local bazaar.
Overnight in Paro
DAY 4: PARO / THIMPU
Depart Paro for Thimpu – the capitol of Bhutan. Visit the school of painting, the Institute of Herbal & Native Medicine, the Nunnery, and the Tashichho Dzong, which is the seat of the Government. Optional: Take a visit to the Handicrafts Emporium.
♦ Thimpu: Perhaps the most unusual capitol city in the world, Thimpu is a bustling town on the banks of a river & set gloriously in the hills of the Thimpu valley.
♦ Simtoka Dzong: Built by Shadrung Nawang Namgyal it houses one of the largest monastic schools in the country.
♦ Institute of Herbal & Native Medicine: In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The Institute is also a training school for traditional medicine practitioners.
♦ Handicrafts Emporiums: The Handicrafts Emporium showcases over 100 different varieties of items ranging from traditional Bhutanese arts, crafts and musical items, to the modern representation of Bhutan in various forms.
Overnight in Thimpu
DAY 5: THIMPU / PUNAKHA / WANGDIPHODRANG
Depart Thimpu for Wangdiphodrang, visiting Punakha en route. Later, visit the Wangdiphodrang Dzong.
♦ Wangiphodrang: Wangdiphodrang lies towards the south of Punakha and is the last town on the highway before entering central Bhutan. Wangdiphodrang Dzong was built during the 17th century, and it played a critical role in unifying the western, central, and southern Bhutanese districts.
♦ Punakha: The Punakha Dzong is built between two rivers, Mochu and Pochu. Wall paintings tell the life story of Buddha, and the many manifestations of the Guru. Punakha Dzong was restored in 1998. Overnight in Wangdiphodrang
DAY 6: WANGDIPHODRANG / GANGTEY / TONGSA / JAKAR
Depart Wangdiphodrang for Jakar, visiting the Gangtey Gompa & the Tongsa Dzong en route. Drive along one of the most scenic routes in Bhutan, passing numerous villages and gompas, to the Bhumthang Valley. Upon arrival in Jakar, check-in to your hotel.
♦ Jakar: Jakar is famous for honey production, cheese, apple juice, and apricots. It is also known for its
woolen material (yathra), which can be seen hanging outside of houses.
♦ Gangtey Gompa: Further up the Wangdiphodrang Dzong is the Gangtey Gompa, an old monastery dating from the 16th century. It is in fact the only monastery which follows the Pelling Nyingmapa division of schools.
♦ Tongsa Dzong: This massive structure is built on many levels into the side of the hill that includes the countless courtyards, passageways and corridors in addition to the twenty three temples inside the Dzong. Due to its highly strategic position and the only connecting route between east and west, the Tongsa Penlop (Governor) was able to control the whole region effectively for centuries.
Overnight in Jakar
DAY 7: JAKAR
Explore the scenic Bhumthang valley today, with a visit the Kurjey Lhakhang. Take a walk from Kurjey to Tamshing, and also visit the Kunchosum monastery.
♦ Bhumthang Valley: To the east of Tongsa lies the Bhumthang valley which is shrouded in religious legend. Here, tales of Guru Padmasambhava, and his reincarnation, known as Tertons still linger in most nooks and corners.
♦ Kurje Lhakhang: Kurjey Lhakang, also known as Kurjey Monastery, is located in the Bumthang place of the remains valley in the Bumthang district of Bhutan. This is the final resting one of the temple of the first three kings of Bhutan. Also, a large tree behind buildings is believed to be a terma that was left there by Padmasambhava.
Overnight in Jakar
DAY 8: JAKAR
Visit Jambay Lhakhang & the Jakar Dzongtoday, and the rest of the day is at your leisure.
♦ Jambey Lhakhang : Built in the 7th century by a Tibetan King Songtsen Gempo, it is believed to be the reincarnation of the Buddha of compassion – Avalokiteswara. This temple is one of the 108 temples built by him to subdue a large demon which was stopping the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan
♦ Jakar Dzong: Founded by the great-grandfather of Shabdrung Nwang Namgyal, this Dzong was initially built as a monastery . It was upgraded into a Dzong when Shabdriung established his power in 1646. The Dzong is now the administrative center of Bumthang.
Overnight in Jakar
DAY 9: JAKAR / URA / MONGAR
Depart Jakar for Mongar, visiting the traditional town of Ura with its medieval atmosphere en route. Here, you can observe the traditional farmhouses and the local yaks grazing in pastures. Visit the Ura Lhakhang while here. Arrive in Mongar (5,575 feet) this afternoon.
♦ Mongar: The journey from Bhumtang to Mongar is one of the most beautiful journeys in the Himalayas, crossing 12,500 foot high Thrunsingla pass. Mongar marks the beginning of eastern Bhutan, and is the second largest town in the subtropical east.
Overnight in Mongar >
DAY 10: MONGAR / TASHIGANG
Take a visit the Mongar Dzong this morning. Afterwards, depart Mongar for Tashigang, visiting the Dametsi Monastery en route. Arrive in Tashigang tonight.
♦ Mongar Dzong: The Dzong is built in the same method and tradition of all other Dzongs, meaning, no drawings and/or nails have been used. A visit to the Dzong gives visitors an impression of how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries.
♦ Tashigang: In the far east of Bhutan, on the banks of Gamri Chu River, lies Tashigang- the country’s largest district. Tashigang was once the center of a busy trade with Tibet. This town is also used as the marketplace for the hill peoples of Merak and Sakteng, who are famous for their exceptional features & costumes.
Overnight in Tashigang
DAY 11: TASHIGANG
Have a full day excursion to Tashi Yangtse (approx. 2 hour drive) today! While here, visit Duksum, Tashi Yangtse Dzong, Gom Kora, & Chorten Kora.
♦ Tashi Yangtse: At an altitude of 6,000 feet, it was established just after the Drukpa conquest around 1656. However, it was completely renovated in 1976. In former times, Tashi Yangtse was important because it laid on one of the caravan routes leading from Western and Central Bhutan.
♦ Gom Kora: An extraordinarily picturesque temple, just beneath the road, surrounded by terraced rice fields. Guru Rinpoche meditated here and left a body impression on the rock. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche subdued an evil dragon here crushing it into the rock leaving impressions of the dragon’s body and his hat. Guru Rimpoche also hide a Tshebum or vase containing the water of immortality inside the rock.
Overnight in Tashigang >
DAY 12: TASHIGANG TO SAMDRUP JONGKHAR
Leave for Samdrup Jongkhar, visiting small villages en route.
♦ Samdrup Jongkhar: One of the 20 dzongkhag (districts) that make up Bhutan. It lies in the southeastern part of Bhutan, bordering the Indian State of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The Dzongkhag has a total area of approximately 918 square miles, and major portions of the Dzongkhag fall within the subtropical belt, with elevations ranging from 650 – 11,400 feet above sea level.
Overnight in Samdrup Jongkhar
DAY 13: SAMDRUP JONGKHAR / GUWAHATI / KOLKATA or DELHI
After breakfast, leave for Guwahati, India (110 kms/ approx. 3 hrs.). Upon arrival in Guwahati, proceed for a short sightseeing tour. Afterwards, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Kolkata or Delhi. Upon arrival in Kolkata or Delhi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, where a dayroom will be reserved for wash and change. Later, transfer to the airport to board your international flight.
♦ Guwahati: The Gateway to the north-eastern States of India, is the capitol of the state of Assam. It was once known as the “city of astrology,” and it derives its importance from its location on the banks of the mighty river Brahmaputra.
DAY 14: KOLKATA or DELHI DEPARTURE
Depart Kolkata or Delhi via your International flight.
TIME TO TRAVEL: The best time is generally, October – November and April – Mid June are the best times to visit. Rainfall is at a minimum, and temperatures are beneficial for active days of sightseeing. The foothills are also very pleasant during the winter.
OFF SEASON: The climate varies with altitude, with the highest temperatures and rainfall occurring in the south. This is also the location that bears the brunt of the monsoon season, between June and September. Temperatures drop dramatically as you increase in altitude. Days are usually very pleasant, with clear skies and sunshine. Nights are cold and require heavy woollen clothing, particularly in winter.
BHUTAN – THE LAST SHANGRI LA inclusions • Meeting and assistance upon arrival and departure
• Accommodation will be selected for your comfort level and budget.
• Breakfast daily; all other meals will be arranged according to travelers requests
• Presently applicable Government taxes, which are subject to change
• Services of locally appointed English speaking guides for the visits / excursions as per the program
• Currently applicable entrance fees to the monuments and places of visit as per the itinerary
• Transportation by air-conditioned car in Kolkata and non – air – conditioned car in Bhutan & Guwahati as per the itinerary
• Professional and service charges for preparation and operation of the tour program
Exclusions: Items of a personal nature such as cost of telephone calls, table drinks, laundry, tips etc.
Any international air fares, visa charges, airport taxes on departure.
- Architecture Tours / Arts & Crafts Tours / History & Archaeology Tours / Performances: Concerts – Theaters – Shows – Dances & Musicals / Music / Walking Tours / Ecotourism / Hiking