BHUTAN TOUR PACKAGES

BHUTAN TOUR PACKAGES

Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations.


BHUTAN TOUR PACKAGES

DAY & PROGRAMME

01. Fly in Paro then Drive to Thimphu (L/D)
Fly onboard Druk Air to Paro, Bhutan. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. In Paro you will be received by your Bhutanese guide and transferred to your Thimphu. Drive south following Pachu River to the confluence where Wangchu meets and then drive north following Wangchu upstream to Thimphu – a capital city with an estimated population of 95,000 people. The drive to Thimphu takes about an hour.

Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu.

Thimphu
Thimphu(at 2300m) is Bhutan's capital city and center of government, religion and commerce. About two hours’ drive east from Paro is this a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style. It was a wooded farming valley until 1961, when it became Bhutan's official national capital. The massive Tashicho Dzong, about 700 years old, was carefully revamped in the 1960s by the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk to house the royal and main government offices. Even today, it still only has a few streets and no traffic lights with estimated population of 70,000 people. Thimphu has many places and sights to visit, in addition to several day excursion possibilities. It has relatively more choice in terms of the accommodations.

Tashichho Dzong
This fortress serves as the office of the King, ministers and various government organizations. It also is the headquarters for central monastic body of Bhutan. Bhutan's spiritual leader Je-Khenpo and the monks of both Thimphu and Punakha reside here during summer. It is also the venue for Thimphu Festival in the fall season.

Zilukha Nunnery
Zilukha Nunnery is housed in Drubthob Goemba (monastery). There are about 70 nuns who live and pray every day in the monastery. There are good views of Tashicho Dzong, Golf course and upper Thimphu.

Takin Sanctuary
Takin (Budorcas taxicolor) has been chosen as the national animal of Bhutan is based both on its uniqueness and its association with country's history and mythology. It is said that Devine Madman, a popular saint is said to have created it with his magical power at a large congregation of devotees. It resembles a cow from back, a goat in from the front, and it continues to befuddle taxonomists, who cannot quite relate to other animal.

Paper Factory
Traditional papers were made from the daphne plant, using simple methods. Like rice papers, these papers are said to last longer.

Sangaygang View Point (Telecom Tower)
There's a wonderful view of Thimphu valley from the hillside below the telecommunications tower (elevation 2685m), high above the town at the end of a road that branches off from the approach to the youth centre. The complex also houses the broadcasting studios of Bhutan television. Don't photograph the telecommunications installation, but the valley is worth a few snaps. The area is known as Sangaygang and it becomes a lover's lane late at night.

02. Punakha Excursion (whole day) (B/L/D)
Road from Thimphu to Punakha: The drive from Thimphu to Punakha or Wangdue (75kms) takes about 3 hours. The road climbs from Thimphu to Dochula pass (3,050m), and descends through ever changing forests into the semi-tropical valley of Punakha and Wangdue at about 1200m. Dochula pass (3050m) enroute, provides spectacular snow mountain views of eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain (Gangkar Punsum 7,550m), on a clear day.

Punakha: (sometimes Wangdue) are two separate districts, but they are located in one valley (20km - ½ hr drive apart). The accommodations may be in either one of these two towns but sightseeing generally include visit to both places. Punakha and Wangdue are located at a lower elevation (approx. 1,250m above sea level) and they have pleasant winters. Cactuses, Oranges, bananas and sub-tropical plants are found here. Farmers are able to grow more than one crop in a year. Punakha was once the winter capital of Bhutan, the tradition that is still held by the Central Monks and Jekhenpo, who reside here in Punakha Dzong during the winters and return to Thimphu, which is their summer capital. In Wangdue, there is a small town on the ridge and large Wangdue Phodrang Dzong.

Punakha Dzong: or Pungthang Dechen Phodrang "Palace of Great Happiness" is located on the confluence of two rivers (Phochu and Mochu). It was built in 1637 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal and following the ancient traditions, it serves as winter residence for chief abbot (Je-khenpo) and the monks of Central Monastic Body, who returns to Thimphu in the summer. The building was damaged and rebuilt several times, due to flooding, fire and earth quake. It is one exemplary masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture.

Chimi Lhakhang: a fertility temple/ monastery 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 chorten on the site in the 14th century, on which a temple was later built in 15th century. The temple, flanked by nearly 100 tall prayer flags, sits atop a picturesque hill. It has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples. This easy walk takes about ½ hour each way.

Late afternoon drive to Thimphu which will take approximately 3 hours. Overnight at Namgay Heritage.

03. Excursion to Tiger’s Nest Monastery + sightseeing (B/L/D)
Early morning drive to Paro which will take an hour.

Taktshang Goenba: Your hike this morning is to site of Taktsang Monastery (meaning Tiger's nest), tragically wrecked in a fire of early 1998. The monastery, which has now been rebuilt, is perched some 2,000ft/600m up on a sheer cliff overlooking the valley and w3s said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padmasambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. The hike is about 1 & 1/2 hours to the teahouse, from where you may either opt to go further uphill to the monastery for about 1 hour. Lunch is served at the tea house with the majestic views of Taktsang above and the Paro valley at the bottom. The return trek to the road head is downhill and takes about a little less time it has taken you to come up.

National Museum of Bhutan: Established in 1967, the museum is housed inside a circular Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower. It has fascinating collection of arts, relics, and religious thangkha paintings, household’s stuffs, arms, handicrafts, stuffed animals and Bhutan's famous Stamps among others (open 10-4pm - closed on Monday).

Paro Rinpung Dzong: Rinphung Dzong was consecrated in 1645 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal on the site of smaller fort. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries it served as a bastion against invasion from the north. It is regarded as one of the finest Bhutanese architecture - with intricate wood work, large beams slotted into each other and held together without nails. In it houses the giant 30m X 45m Thangka (Thongdrol), commissioned in mid-18th century, displayed on the last day of Paro Tsechu festival. Rinphung Dzong is the district headquarter of Paro and residence of state monks under Paro rabdey.

04. Departure (B)
After breakfast departure to onward destination.

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