A week in an environment of mountains and peaks, shrines and monasteries, coupled with vegetation and pine forests.
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.
- Paro Dzong – a 17th century fortress turned into a monastry.
- Chortens of Punakha.
- Festivities at Punakha.
- Black-necked cranes of Phobjikha valley.
- Tongsa Dzong – the ancestral home of the Royal Family.
- Tamshing lhakhang – oldest temple in Bhutan, built in 1501.
During the flight, one will experience breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan.
On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received and escorted to your hotel by our representative.
Paro / Punakha
This morning, head out of town on a spectacular 4 hour drive to Punakha valley crossing the Dochu La Pass from where you can see the 108 beautiful chortens built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. 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 Punakha Valley. Overnight in Punakha.
Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgay Chorten / Punakha Dzong
Drive to Nezigang village and hike to Khamsum yulley Namgyal Chorten, a shrine built by Her Majesty the Queen, Ashi. The hike is a gradual ascent through cultivated rice fields and little hamlets. In the afternoon, visit the Punakha Dzong which stands majestically at the junction of the two rivers – Pho Chu and Mo Chu(the Male and Female rivers). The Dzong had been destroyed four times by fire, earthquake and flood. The Dzong has been now fully restored to its original splendor. Overnight in Punakha.
Punakha / Thimphu
This morning take a half-hour walk through rice fields 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 for his unconventional ways. Drukpa Kuenley originally built a stupa on the site in the 14th century and has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples. After the beautiful hike drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. 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.
The morning is spent sightseeing in Thimphu. Visit the King’s Memorial Stupa, the fifty meters tall Buddha Dordenma statue overlooking the Thimphu city, Changangkha Lhakhang, Takin preserve – the national animal of Bhutan. In the afternoon hike through the beautiful pine forest overlooking the Thimphu valley to the secluded Wangditse Lhakhang(temple) and receive a good luck blessing from the lama and offer butter lamp at the temple for a safe and enjoyable holiday in the country. Take time to reflect and meditate in the serenity of the ancient altar room. You will receive a blessed prayer flag from the lama and you will hoist it on the ridge top over looking the valley and the Thimphu River. In the Buddhist tradition, we believe that the wind carries your prayers from the flag over the valley and the rivers. Later, continue hike to the neighboring Dechenphodrang monastic school to meet and interact with the novice monks. Towards evening you have free time to explore the market and the city center.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Thimphu to Paro Valley
Today, take a 1.5 hour drive to Paro for a full day of sightseeing. Visit the 17th century Ta Dzong. This Dzong was later converted into the National Museum in 1967, and is filled with antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armour. 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. If we are lucky, we will also be able to witness an archery competition in the nearby archery field. Overnight in Paro.
Hike to Taktshang “Tigers Lair”
Hike to the famous Taktshang Lhakhang “The Tigers Lair”. Clinging to a black rock face, 900 meters 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. 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.
Today dinner will be arranged in a typical farm house to experience the authentic local cuisine. You will be the honored guests of the host family and they will also arrange the traditional hot stone bath in the farm house. You will be served with the locally brewed Ara(Rice Wine) and Butter Tea. Overnight in Paro.
Excursion to Haa Valley
Morning drive from Paro to Haa valley. The scenery transforms from sub-alpine pasture brilliant with wild- flowers, to lush forests of blue pine, cypress, larch, fir and rhododendron. At 3,900m Cheli La Pass, weather permitting you will have a superb view of Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drakey in Bhutan. Haa Valley is set at an altitude of about 9,000 feet in western Bhutan. Just opened to outsiders in 2001, the Haa region is pristine and holds a wealth of traditional culture. It was for many centuries the center for trade between western Bhutan and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet. Its farmhouses are beautiful and richly adorned with traditional painted motifs. Three prominent hills dot the valley and are believed by the locals to be the physical manifestations of three very important Buddhist saints. The left-hand hill represents Manjushri (the god of wisdom who holds the flaming sword that cuts the knot of ignorance), the middle one is Chenrizig (the Buddha of compassion, of which the Dalai Lama is the human incarnation), and the right-hand hill is Chana Dorji (the protector god of Bhutan). Collectively they are known as rigsum (three hills).
After lunch, visit Lhakhang Karpo (“temple of the white dove”), a monastery believed to have been built in the 8th century. The Lhakhang Karpo houses around 120 monks and is one of the oldest buildings in Bhutan. Visit the Haa dzong situated in the center of the valley. By afternoon, drive back to Paro. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, transfer to Paro International Airport for your home-bound journey.
- 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.