Please Note : All prices are based on the current rate, it is subject to change anytime.
Altitude: Paro: 2195 m/7200ft
The flight into the Eastern Himalayas opens up breathtaking views of the roof of the world and the earth’s highest mountains. The soothing inflight flute music and beautiful views of hills dotted with farmhouses, stupas and monasteries and prayer flags welcome you to the Land of Happiness. Your entry Visa will be stamped in your passport by immigration officials and you will then be greeted at the exit gate by our representatives. After an hour’s drive through the countryside, they will bring you to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, where all arrangements have been made for your arrival. After checking in, there will be a brief discussion about the tour itinerary with your guide and the tour guide will give you all the details about the day before you set out for the sightseeing Simtokha Dzong: Driving to Thimphu, we will pass beautiful traditional houses and paddy fields. Enroute, we will stop at Simtokha Dzong (1629) officially known as ‘Sangkak Zabdhon Phodrang’ or the ‘Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras’. It is the first of many Dzongs built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The name Simtokha is derived from the word simmo or demoness and tokha meaning on the stone. Legend has it that the dzong was built on the place where a demoness vanished into a rock.
Tashichho Dzong: Once in Thimphu, we will visit the impressive Tashichho Dzong also known as the fortress of the Dharma Raja’. It was built roughly around the time of the Renaissance in Europe. After the capital moved from Punakha to Thimphu in 1955 and before the establishment of the monarchy in 1907, it was the home of the Druk Desi, the secular head of Bhutan. Currently it contains the offices of the Central Monastic Body, the Throne Room and offices of His Majesty the Fifth King, and other important government offices.
Overnight Thimphu: Select 3*/4*/5* hotels.
Altitude: Punakha: 1,310 m / 4,300 ft.
Time: 3 hours approx. Dochu La Pass: An hour’s drive from Thimphu brings us to Dochu La Pass (3140 m/10300ft) where there is a breathtaking panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayas. Set up against the crisp blue sky and majestic mountains, the pass is the site of the 108 Chortens also known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens. It was constructed by the eldest Queen Mother, Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk to honor the Fourth Druk Gyelpo and to ensure world peace. The pass also serves as a spiritual destination for both locals and tourists because an important temple is located on the crest of the pass. You can take a short walk around the pass to the temple above the parking lot and around the adjoining park created to mark the 60th birth anniversary of the former king. Here you will find interesting flora and man-made caves and have the opportunity to hang prayer flags.
Chimmi Lhakhang: This monastery sits atop a round hillock in Sopsokha village flanked with hundreds of prayer flags. Built in 1499, it is dedicated to Lam Drukpa Kinley, also known as ‘the Divine Madman’ or the ‘Mad Saint” because of his unconventional ways of teaching the Dharma. The tradition of painting phallic symbols on walls and hanging carved wooden phalluses from housetops to ward off evil spirits arises from his famous technique of using his “thunder bolt” to suppress evil. Chimmi Lhakhang also serves as a fertility temple for Bhutanese couples and is gaining popularity among foreigners for this as well. Punakha Dzong: The majestic Punakha Dzong, also known as ‘the palace of great bliss’ is the second oldest and said to be the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan, Even more so when surrounded by blooming blue jacaranda trees in the spring. Strategically set at the merger of two main rivers, it was built by Zhabdrung Rinpoche in 1637 in response to a prophecy of Guru Padmasambhava Ripoche . Construction began on the 8th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar in the Fire Ox year in 1637. The way it was written suggested it was built in one day. The Zhabdrung initiated the dual spiritual and secular system of government conjointly housed within the walls of the Dzong. Punakha Dzong served as the administrative center and seat of government until 1955 when the capital was moved to Thimphu and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. It is still the winter capital of the Chief Abbot and the Central Monastic Body, which migrates to Thimphu in summer. This historic dzong is one of the most important venues for national events such as the coronations of the kings and their wedding ceremonies. It houses many sacred relics the most venerated and revered of which is the Rangjung Kharsapani ( the self-created image of Avalokettesvara, the Buddha of compassion). Within the dzong is the sacred Machen containing this sacred relic and the embalmed bodies and relics of the Zhabdrung and Terton Pema Lempa. At their coronation, all the monarchs of the Wangchuk dynasty receive the Dar Na-Nga, five sacred shawls in auspicious colours, from the Machen as well as the Raven Crown of the Wangchuk line. On 6th November 2008, the Blessing of Coronation ceremony of the Fifth King His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk was held at the Dzong and in 2011 his wedding to Jetsun Pema took place here. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the Fourth King after the latest fire in 1987.
Overnight Punakha: Select 3*/4*/5* hotels.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten: After breakfast, we will hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a fine example of modern Bhutanese religious architecture and artistic traditions. After an hour’s hike on a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees, the Chorten stands out on a beautiful ridge. It dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chu River and towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. The four story temple was built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck according to the dictates of the Holy Scriptures and took 9 years to complete. Its purpose is to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world and it has been dedicated to the wellbeing of the kingdom, its people and all sentient beings.
Overnight Punakha: Select 3*/4*/5* hotels.
Altitude: 2,250 m / 7,382 ft.
On this day we will drive back to Paro and visit the National Museum and Paro Dzong. Paro Valley: Carved by a receding glacier, Paro Valley is one of the most prominent valleys of Bhutan and home to about 155 ancient temples. It is famous for its signature small flat farm houses dotting the hills and for Bhutan’s best and tastiest chillies. The National Museum of Bhutan: This unique circular building also known as Ta-dzong was used as the watchtower of Paro Dzong in the olden days when Bhutan was plagued by frequent Tibetan invasions. Paro Dzong: This impressive dzong is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. Locally known as Ringpung Dzong which means ‘the fortress on a pile of jewel’, it is one of the most popular and well known dzongs of Bhutan
Overnight Paro: Select 3*/4*/5* hotels.
Hike Duration: Approximately 5 hours (back and forth)
This day will begin with a hike to the iconic Taktsang monastery and a visit to Kyichu Lhakhang later that day. Taktsang Monastery: Located on the Northern side of Paro valley. It hangs precariously from the side of a vertical cliff at 3000 m altitude. The beautiful Taktsang monastery is also known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. As a legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew there on a tigress manifested by one of his consorts. It has become the unofficial symbol of Bhutan due to its appearance in various travelogues, newspapers, and websites around the world. Kyichu Lhakhang is located close to the Paro Airport. It is an important Mahayana Buddhist temple. Built in the 7th century, this is one of Bhutan’s oldest religious sites in Bhutan. It is believed to be one of the 108 temples built within a night to subdue a gigantic demoness who was plaguing Tibet and Bhutan. Its sister temple stands in Bumthang Kurjey.
Overnight Paro: Select 3*/4*/5* hotels.
Transfer to the airport after breakfast