Bhutan is truly a once in a lifetime experience and considered an exceptionally unique destination due to its well-preserved culture, rich traditions, highly regarded religion and a much revered benevolent monarchy. The stunning landscape offers much to discover along the snow-capped mountains, pristine rivers, and verdant forest. This itinerary offers you the opportunity to experience this and take in the lands of captivating weavers, enchanting monks, ancient temples and a caring and generous culture.
Day 1: Arrival & Drive to Thimphu
Distance: 53Kms / 32miles
Drive Time: 1 hour approx.
Altitude: 2,350m / 7709ft
As your flight weaves through the Paro valley, you will be mesmerized by the view of beautiful Paro Dzong, National Museum, snowcapped mountains and the rice paddy fields.
Your driver and guide will be waiting for you outside the airport to drive you to Thimphu. On the way to Thimphu, you will enjoy the fresh air and beautiful backdrop of forested mountains and quaint village hamlets.
Upon arrival to the hotel, time will be availed to freshen up, enjoy lunch and then head out to visit the National Textile Museum, National Memorial Chorten, and National Library. In the early evening, you can stroll around the main street, absorbing the bustling life of the capital, while hunting for some interesting Bhutanese artifacts and textiles.
The National Textile Museum is operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs. It was established in 2001 and has since generated national and international attention for the substantial collection of antique textile artifacts, exclusive to Bhutan. The objective of setting up the museum is to promote Bhutan’s achievements in the field of textile arts and to sustain and promote the interest of the weavers to continue the traditional textile patterns and weaving culture.
The National Library was established in 1976 for purpose of preservation and promotion of the rich cultural and religious heritage of Bhutan. The building is a fine example of traditional architecture and holds more than 10,000 volumes of scriptures in classical language as well as 4500 foreign collections.
The National Memorial Chorten is a Tibetan style chorten built in 1974 in memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who passed away in 1972.
Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing
Altitude: 2,800m / 7709ft
On the second day, you will drive to one of the largest sitting Buddha in the world at Kuenselphodrang, popularly known as Buddha Point. You will continue to visit the Takin Zoo located at Sangaygang, popularly known as BBS Tower. We will also pay a visit to 16th-century Pangrizampa, a monastic training school for astrologers.
After a nice lunch, we will take you for a short hike to Tandin Ney, a small monastery fifteen minutes drive from the town. It is an easy hike and it takes an hour to reach this monastery. After the hike, you will continue for a short stroll around the town center, visiting the Craft Bazar and later the National Post Office, where you can make a postage stamp of yourself. On the way back to the hotel we will visit an incense-making factory and if further time permits, a stop at the traditional paper making factory.
Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha
Distance: 76kms / 47 miles
Drive Time: 2.5 hours approx.
Altitude: 1300m / 4265ft
After breakfast, we will drive to Punakha over the 3000m Dochu La (pass) where, on a clear day, you can view the beautiful snowcapped Himalaya on the northern border with Tibet. Upon entering the Punakha Valley, we will visit Chimi Lhakhang, the auspicious fertility monastery built in 1499, where couples usually visit to pray for pregnancy and receive the blessing of the Lhakhang’s Saint in the form of a magic thunderbolt of wisdom.
On arrival at the hotel, you will have the evening to enjoy the spa and a beautiful meal in the lodge’s courtyard or cozy, farmhouse dining room.
Day 4: Punakha Sightseeing
Altitude: 1300m / 4265ft
After breakfast, you will hike thru fields of chili, rice, and cabbage, before ascending to Kamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument built for the well-being of His Majesty the King. After the hike, we pay a visit to the magnificent Punakha Dzong, home to the remains of Bhutan’s great unifier, the Zhabdrung, and the winter residence of the Je Kenpo, the supreme religious leader of the Kingdom’s monastic body.
Day 5: Punakha to Paro
Distance: 143kms / 88 miles
Drive Time: 4.5 hours approx.
Altitude: 2250m / 7382ft
After breakfast, we drive back to Paro and after settling into the Amankora Lodge, there will be time for lunch followed by a short walk thru plantations of rice and potatoes. The walk loops to Drukgyal Dzong, the ancient fortress built to fend off the invading Tibetans in the mid-1600’s, and continues thru small villages, to the backdrop of sheer, forest covered mountains.
Day 6: Paro Sightseeing
Altitude: 2250m / 7382ft
Today will begin with a visit to the Paro Ta Dzong (Watch Tower), which houses the National Museum and is situated just above the Paro Rinpung Dzong. The National Museum was established in 1968 and houses some finest specimens of Bhutanese art, including masterpieces of bronze statues and paintings. Today the National Museum has in its possession over 3000 works of Bhutanese art, covering more than 1500 years of Bhutan’s cultural heritage.
After the museum, you will visit the Rinpung Dzong, an incredible example of Bhutan’s majestic fortress architecture. Continuing, a relaxed walk back into town crosses the scenic Nyamai Zampa (bridge), a unique model of Bhutan’s traditional cantilever bridges. Further on, the town’s main temples, Tshongdue Lhakhang and Drukchholing Lhakhang, house fascinating altars and paintings. Not to be missed, the wall paintings and unique design of Dungtse Lhakhang, plus a visit to the Kyichu Lhakhang, which pins down the left foot of a treacherous Ogress.
Lunch at a nearby farmhouse allows you to experience authentic Bhutanese cuisine with the resident local family.
Day 7: Paro
Hiking Duration: 4 hours
In the morning after breakfast, you will hike to Paro Taktsang, the Tigers Nest. Tigers Nest is considered the most histrionic monument of The Kingdom and is a highly revered pilgrimage site across the Himalayas. The monastery is built on a sheer cliff face at an altitude of 2950m (9678ft). The hike offers a stunning view of the sacred monastery perched on the mountainside, some 900m above the valley floor.
After the hike, you can stroll around the Paro town to shop for Bhutanese artifacts and textiles to take home as souvenirs.
Day 8: International Departure
After breakfast drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.