Window to Bhutan 4 nights 5 days
This trip provides introduction to Western Bhutan's sights and places within Paro, Thimphu, Wangdiphodrang and Punakha.
Trip Type: Cultural Tour
Duration: 5 Destinations: Bhutan
Group Size: 2 Group Size Notes: Private Trips can be taken with any group size
Trip Grade (difficulty): 1 Rating (of Maximum 5):
Join In Trip: No
Trip Type: Private
Meals (B is for breakfast, L for lunch & D for Dinner indicated on each day’s itinerary): All meals included starting with first dinner and last breakfast in Bhutan.
Seasons: Through out the year.
Routes & Places: Thimphu -Punakha- Paro.
Day 01: Fly in Paro
Fly onboard Druk Air to Paro, Bhutan. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest (if you are flying from Delhi and Kathmandu), 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 hotel.
After taking lunch and some rest at the hotel, proceed to Bhutan's national museum, a fascinating place housed in an old watchtower above the Paro Rinphung Dzong (fortress). The tour of the museum takes about 2 hours. On the way back, you will visit magnificent Rinphung Dzong which houses the administrative office of the local government and residence of regional monk body. This Dzong is where the Hollywood movie ‘Little Buddha’ was shot.
Overnight at Hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Drive to Thimphu - 1 hour
After leisurely breakfast at the hotel, 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 65,000 people. The drive to Thimphu takes about 2 hours but we will break the journey in between to visit Tamchoe Lhakhang temple on the other side of Pachu river and after the confluence, drive along the old road and visit the nunnery founded by great Buddhist Master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Also visit Simtokha Dzong and make other stops to take a look at the landscapes.
Sightseeing in Thimphu will include; visit to a nunnery on the outskirts of Thimphu, the School of Arts and Crafts (or "painting school"), where Bhutanese children can follow an eight-year program in traditional arts, such as drawing, painting, woodcarving, and sculpture, the Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, Mini Zoo to see national animal- Takin and perhaps the national library. And on available time, we may also visit the Traditional Hospital of Herbal Medicine or watch the Royal Silversmiths create relief work for the monasteries and see how paper is made from the Daphne plant with cosmos flower petals and other plants. At the end of the day, we may also pay a visit to the great Tashichho Dzong, seat of Bhutan's administrative and religious center. Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Drive to Punakha -3 hours
In the afternoon, drive to Punakha, the old winter capital which takes about 3 hours. En-route stop at Dochu LaPass, 10,000ft/3,048m to view the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. The road then drops down through varied – ever changing forest, finally emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley.
Punakha and Wangdue Valleys are at lower elevation of approx. 1400m (4500ft) and therefore it is warmer and has semi-tropical vegetation with cactuses, bananas and orange grooves. Punakha Dzong used to be the winter capital of Bhutan until 1958 and even today the head Abbot and central monastic body move here from Thimphu Tashicho Dzong, during the winter months.
After lunch, drive to road head from where you can take a pleasant 20 minutes walk through the paddy fields and farm houses to visit Chimi Lhakhang temple dedicated to Bhutan’s popular saint Drukpa Kuenley, also known as the “divine madman” (1455-1529). He preached in the way that is unlike the stiffness of clergy and society of the time; he dramatized the teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor! Bold Phallus symbols and paintings on the houses or temples come as a result his influence to date. En-route, you may be invited to village home. Overnight in Punakha.
Day04: Drive to Paro - 4 ½ - 5 hours
In the morning, drive west towards Thimphu and climb again to Dochu La pass, pass at an altitude of 3100m where we make a stop for tea & snacks and to view the peaks of the eastern Himalayas provided the sky is clear. Descend from the pass brings you to the village of Hongtsho, a Tibetan settlement.In the afternoon visit Drukgyel Dzong (now in ruins), typical farm house and Kichu Lhakhang (temple). Time permitting stroll around the cozy Paro town.Farewell dinner at the Hotel in Paro.
Day 05: Departure
After breakfast departure to onward destination.
TASHI DELEK !