WESTERN BHUTAN 6 DAYS

As one of the rare and most unique of travel destinations, Bhutan offers the experience of the Buddhist tradition in a setting of unique architecture, and breathtaking Himalayan landscape. The friendly people of Bhutan share with you their traditional lifestyle and an opportunity to experience Himalayan Buddhist culture uninfluenced by the outside world. Leave the multitudes behind and enter the Land of the Thunder Dragon. This trip can be your post or pre trip extension for those who are traveling in India, Nepal, and South East Asia.

DAY 01  ARRIVE PARO & DRIVE TO THIMPHU

PARO ALTITUDE 7,600 feet / 2,280 meters

THIMPHU ALTITUDE 7,730 feet / 2,320 meters

DISTANCE PARO – THIMPHU = 54 kilometers / 33.75 miles time taken 2 hours

Fly to Paro, from a window seat on clear days you can experience a spectacular view of Himalayan peaks as you approach Paro. On arrival our representative will receive you, and then drive to Thimphu, which will be approximately 1.5 hrs drives. Rest of the day will depend on arrival of the flight. Overnight at Hotel


DAY 02  THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING

After breakfast you will start your sightseeing of Thimphu starting off with a visit to the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, here traditional medicines are prepared according to ancient practices and a museum of herbal medicines and herbs are displayed. Then we head to The National Institude of Zorig Chusum, in this institute the 13 different traditional arts are kept alive through young Bhutanese who take 4-6 years course in different arts. Next we will visit the National Library and then to Bhutan heritage Museum, a nineteenth century house, preserved to present the visitors with how middle class Bhutanese lived in the past. A Bhutanese traditional lunch will be served here. After lunch, we’ll visit Textile Museum, the traditional gold and silver smith workshop, weaving center and other places of interest. Overnight at Hotel.

OPTION: If you are in Thimphu during Friday Saturday and Sunday then the sightseeing will visit Thimphu weekend market, which is in a permanent set of stalls, vendors from throughout the region arrive on Friday afternoon and remain selling their goods until Sunday night. It’s an interesting place to visit, where village people jostle with well-heeled Thimphu residents for the best – and cheapest – vegetables and foodstuffs. This is the only time that fresh produce is easily available and the shopping is enhanced by the opportunity to catch up on the week’s gossip. At the northern end of the market is a collection of stalls called the indigenous goods and handicrafts section. Here you will find locally produced goods, including religious objects, baskets, fabrics and different hats from various minority groups. Continue your sightseeing to Zangdopelri temple, the Changlimithang where you can witness young Bhutanese practicing their favorite archery game. Return to hotel for lunch, after lunch visit the Memorial Chorten built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Dupthop Lhakhang (Monastery for the nuns) and other places of interest.


DAY 03  EXCURSION TO PUNAKHA

PUNAKHA: ALTITUDE: 4,162 feet / 1,250 meters

DISTANCE: 71 Kilometers / 44.38 miles

TIME TAKEN: 2.5 hours driving

ALTITUDE GAIN: 2,730 feet & ALTITUDE LOSS 6,298 feet

After breakfast we will start our drive to Punakha early before the clouds come in and block the views of the Bhutan’s Snowcapped Mountain seen from the Dochula Pass. Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (10,460 feet / 3,140 m). This pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, as we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha (1,350 meters/ 4,162 feet). Before proceeding further to our hotel we will hike up to the Chimi Lhakhang temple on a small hilltop. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as “Divine madman” to the westerners. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility; it is about one hour of round trip walk. After lunch we will proceed to Punakha town to view the majestic Dzong (fortress), situated between the two rivers Pho Chu and Mochu (male and Female River). This fortress is now used as the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (the Spiritual head of Bhutan). In the past this Dzong was the capital seat of the Kingdom. After the visit drive back to Thimphu. Overnight at Hotel.


DAY 04  PARO SIGHTSEEING

PARO ALTITUDE 7,600 feet / 2,280 meters

THIMPHU ALTITUDE 7,730 feet / 2,320 meters

DISTANCE THIMPHU –PARO = 68 kilometers / 42.50 miles time taken 2 hours

After breakfast, drive to Paro, which will take about two hours, our car will drop us at Drukgyal Dzong. During clear weather the view of the Mount Chomolhari, alt. 7314 m / 23,990 ft from here is breathtaking. Drive south to Satsam Chorten, built in memory of the late Dilgo Khentse Rinpochey. Continue your drive to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in seventh century by a Tibetan King, Songtsen Gonpo. Drive back to Paro town for your lunch which will be served at a local restaurant. After lunch drive to the National museum of Bhutan, (Ta Dzong). This museum is considered to be a temple by the natives because of the number of ancient religious objects it contains. The museum not only contains works of art but also handcrafted objects of daily life stuffed animals, costumes, armor and even stamps. You can thus get an idea of the cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan in a very short time. Drive to Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan. Distance 60 Kms / 37.50 miles. En route stop for pictures. Overnight at hotel.


DAY 05  EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY.

ALTITUDE: 10,240 feet / 3,075 meters

ALTITUDE GAIN: 2,640 feet / 793 meters

HIKING HOURS : 2.5 – 3 hours

After breakfast your car will drop you at the starting point of the excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue the hike (if not tired) for short while until you see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s and renovated in 2002, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 800 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger. Looking at the monastery, flying tigers doesn’t seem so impossible after all. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria. Overnight at Hotel.


DAY 06  DEPART PARO BHUTAN

Morning drive to Paro International Airport for departure to your onward destination.

 

Note: This is a sample intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, tour conditions, the physical ability of the participants’ etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the tour. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well being. RATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

Thanks again so much for all your patience and kindness while I was there.

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