This itinerary combines the main valleys of Bhutan. On your flight to Paro, experience breathtaking views of the Himalayan Peaks including sacred Chomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake and conclude your visit with a hike to the magical ridge top “tigers nest” of Taksang Monastery.
A visa is required for all nationalities except Indian citizens. A&S Signature Journeys undertakes to handle your visa which will be issued on arrival.
- Visit the Paro, Thimpu, Punakha and Wangdiphodrang valley.
- The Choki Traditional Art School.
- Monasteries and beautiful Dzongs including the Punakha Dzong.
Arrive Paro / Thimphu
On arrival at Paro International Airport you will be received by our representative who will be your guide and accompany you throughout the tour. Take a 1.5 hour drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan and check into your hotel.
In the afternoon, visit the Tashichho Dzong. The ‘Fortress of the glorious religion’ houses the throne room of His Majesty the king, the main secretariat building and the central monk body. Its courtyard is open to visitors during the off-office hours. Overnight in Thimphu.
Drive 7 miles north of Thimphu to Dodena. A one hour hike brings you up to Tango Monastery, a monastic school and retreat built in the 15th century. The monastery is the residence of the Druk Desi Gyaltsen Tenzin Rabgye, a lama who is a reincarnation of the 16th century monk who founded Tango (tango means horse’s head). Tango’s inner courtyard is beautifully painted in bright colors, with lovely views stretching across the Thimphu Valley. Descend and head by road to the Bagana bridge for a two hour hike on a fairly level trail through beautiful riverside village of Kabesa. Enroute visit the Choki Traditional Art School (CTAS), the only charitable art school in the Kingdom which gives opportunity to the economically disadvantaged students from different parts of Bhutan. A presentation by the principal will be organized followed by lunch at the school. After lunch there will be a campus tour where guests can interact with the students. In the evening, take a leisurely stroll in the Thimphu City with free time for shopping. Overnight in Thimphu.
Thimphu / Punakha
Morning sightseeing in Thimphu, visit the King’s Memorial Stupa built in 1974, visit the Folk heritage Museum founded by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi. The museum is one of a kind that portrays the lifestyle of a genteel family in the Thimphu valley in the olden days. Visit the Choki Handicrafts shop where Bhutanese textiles and other handicrafts are displayed and can be purchased. The shop is closely linked to Choki Traditional Art School. Head out of town on a spectacular 3 hour drive to Punakha crossing the Dochu La Pass from where you can see the 108 beautiful chortens built by Her Majesty Ashi. From this pass, on a clear day, you can have a superb view of the highest peaks in Bhutan. After a hot cup of tea at a café atop the pass and time to savor the mountain views, continue your drive to the Punakha Valley. Enroute drive to Wangdiphodrang and visit the beautiful Wangdiphodrang Dzong built in 1638, a beautiful example of Bhutanese architecture. A half-hour walk through mustard fields brings you to Chimi Lhakhang (lhakhang means temple), 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. The temple, flanked by nearly 100 tall prayer flags, sits atop a picturesque hill and has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Overnight in Punakha.
Drive to Nezigang village and hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (2-3 hours), a shrine built by Her Majesty the Queen, Ashi in 1999. The shrine is perched high on a hill on the opposite bank of the Mo chu river offering superb views of the Punakha valley. In the afternoon, we visit the Punakha Dzong, built in 1637. It stands majestically at the junction of the two rivers – Pho Chu and Mo Chu (the Male and Female rivers). The Punakha Dzong is an architectural wonder and it has played a prominent role in the civil and religious life of the Kingdom. The official name of Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang translates as “the palace of great happiness.” Overnight in Punakha.
Punakha / Paro
This morning drive to Paro via Dochula. After a hot cup of coffee at a café atop, continue your drive. Visit Ta Dzong, built in 17th century as a watch tower for Paro Dzong. This Dzong was later converted into the National Museum in 1967, and is filled with antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armour. Also visit the Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend valley against Tibetan invaders. It is now used as an administrative centre and home of monastic community. Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest monastery of the Kingdom is another place of interest. Overnight in Paro.
This morning, hike to the famous Taktshang Lhakhang “The Tigers Lair”.Clinging to a black rock face, 3,000 ft above the valley floor, nestles Taktshang Lhakhang, one of the holiest and the most beautiful site of Bhutan. Taktshang, the tiger’s lair, acquires its name from the legend of its foundation, when in the 8th Century Guru Rinpoche, widely revered as the second Buddha, arrived from Tibet flying across the mountains on the back of a tigress. He meditated at the site for three months, from where he used the religious cycle of the Kagye to subjugate the Eight Categories of Evil Spirits, and thus converted the region to Buddhism. A meditation at this scared place will be the best way to end the journey in Bhutan. The hike to the Monastery is a gradual climb through the quiet approach path winds through lush meadow, oak and rhododendron forest, past quaint hamlets, fluttering prayer flags and rotating prayer wheels. The hike takes you about 4-5 hours from the car park. Afternoon at leisure or for shopping. Overnight in Paro.
Paro / Departure
The end to an exciting tour and you are ready to drive back to Paro international Airport. Our representative will acommpany you to the airport.
- Meet and greet on arrival at Airport.
- Accommodation and meals as indicated in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner).
- Entrance fees where applicable.
- Tours as indicated in the itinerary.
- Professional English-speaking guide/driver guide.
- Travel Protection is offered on all packages at an additional cost.