¤ BHUTAN ON YOUR OWN - 06 ¤ (15 Nights & 16 Days)


Day 01:- Arrive in Paro, Bhutan
Arrive Paro airport. You will be received by your tour guide and escorted to hotel . Check into hotel and lunch either at hotel or at a local restaurant.After lunch visit the National Museum, once the watchtower for the Rinpung Dzong, located high on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley. This first outing is meant to familiarize you with the cultural and history of this amazing kingdom in the clouds, and a visit to the National Museum is the very best way to quickly learn the culture since it houses everything that is Bhutanese, in a very different museum style that will delight you. First constructed in 1645, the Rinpung Watchtower was converted to the National Museum in 1968. While photography within the museum is not allowed, there are numerous photo ops of the exterior and the valley below. Visit the Rinpung Dzong situated just below the National Museum. Built n 1645, this massive building now houses the District Administration Office and the Monk Body. Overnight at hotel
Day 02 :- Taktsang Monastery Hike
Drive up to Satsam Chorten ( 5miles ) for a hike to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means " Tiger's Nest ". The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m. and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century,Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated at the spot where the monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria.The round trip hike takes about 4 hrs. While returning from Taktshang visit Drugyal Dzong, 5 miles from Paro town. The name Drugyal means " Victorious ". The Dzong was built in 1650 AD by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the founder of Bhutan, to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan army and it formed one of the chain of defensive fortresses against Tibetan invasion. You drive till Bonday Paro- 6 kms away from your hotel and hike upto Dzongdrakha Monastery. This Monastery is also like the Taktsang Monastery is situated on a rocky ledge with about 300 meter drop. This was also built by Guru Rimpche almost the same time as Taktsang Monastery and is very interesting to visit. The round trip hike will take about 2 hours. Evening: Drive to Thimphu which is about 2 hours long. Check into Hotel Dinner at a local restaurant. Walk around Thimphu town and overnight at hotel.
Day 03 :- : Thimphu Sightseeing
Attend the week end market where the locals come to do their weekly shopping. This will be one of the highlights of your trip as you observe the Bhutanese people's culture and life styles. Visit the Memorial Chorten (a large stupa) built in memory of the Third King of Bhutan. Drive to Sangyegang view point where you can get a wonderful bird's eye view of Thimphu valley. Visit the Takin reserve where the National Animal of Bhutan lives. Visit the Zorig Chuksum, the School of the Thirteen Arts and Crafts. This institute was established in 1971 and students from across Bhutan come to learn the traditional arts and crafts. Visit the Textile Museum where rare and beautiful textiles can be seen. Visit the Handicraft Emporium Visit the Tashichhodzong which is the administrative center of Bhutan.The offices of the King, the Abbott and the four ministries are housed in this massive structure. Dinner and overnight at Hotel
Day 04 :- Day Excursion to Tango Monastery
After breakfast, leave for Tango Monastery, the residence of the Druk Desi Gyaltsen Tenzin Rabgye, who is the reincarnate of the 16th century monk who built Tango. Be prepared for a vigorous 45-minute climb into the clouds. From the top of Tango (means horse, for the horse- head-like rock formation on the side of the mountain) you will see distant monasteries through a forest of colorful prayer flags and theinterior courtyard of the monastery. Visit the courtyard of Tango Monastery and the meditation caves. After your descent enjoy a tea on the banks of the Thimchu (Thimchu River) next to the picturesque Cheri Zam (Cheri bridge.) This covered wooden footbridge is one of only a handful of traditional suspension bridges left in the Himalayas. Overnight at Hotel
Day 05 :- Thimphu - Punakha Valley
Drive to Punakha ( 77 kms and the drive takes about 3 hours). On the way, drive over the spectacular Dochu La to the verdant Punakha valley. The road winds through lush pine forests to the 10,395 ft pass,which, in good weather provides a 180-degree panorama of the distant Himalayan summits. You can also walk around the 108 recently built stupas. As you descend from the pass, observe dramatic changes in vegetation. At the lower elevations, cacti, banana plants, poinsettias, and other semi-tropical plants dominate the exotic landscape. Check in at Hotel. After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, take a short hike to the beautiful Khamsum Yule Namgyel monastery ( 30minutes hike). Drive to Lobesa and take a short hike to Chi-med lhagang ("no dogs") located in the picturesque Lobesa valley ( 1 hour hike ). This temple was built by the Lama Drukpa Kuenley or the "Divine Madman," one of Bhutan's foremost saints. This temple is also known as the "Fertility Temple" as childless couples come from the world over to invoke the dead saint for a blessing. Overnight at Hotel
Day 06 :- Talo and Nobgang village hike
After a hearty breakfast, hike to the villages of Talo and Nobgang. This hike takes about 4-5 hours. It is a rare opportunity to visit these villages which are perched way up on the mountain side. At Nobgang, you can visit the Nobgang temple as well as some farm houses.
Day 07 :- Visit the Rinchengnag village in Wangdi and drive to Paro
Morning, Drive to Wangdi and visit the wangdi Phodrang dzong. Built in 1638, this massive fortress today houses the office of the district administration and the school and living quarters for the monks. The dzong also has amnay imprtnat temples which can be visited. Drive to the Wangdi bridge and take a short hike to the Richengnag village which is about 45 minutes walk from the road side near the Wangdi bridge. This is a very unique and interesting village with all the houses clustered together like a Tibetan village. Here also, you can visit some village houses to see how the people live here. O/n hotel
Day 08 :- Wangdi to Phobjikha valley( Gangtey ) - 65 kms
After an early breakfast drive to Gangtey which takes about 2 hours drive. Gangtey is a beautiful place situated at an altitude of 3000m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque black mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley which is one of the biggest and the most beautiful valleys in the country. During winters, we can also see the famous Black Necked Cranes there. At Gangtey, visit the famous Gangtey Monastery, a huge monastery which also has resident of about 140 monks. Also visit the Black Necked Crane centre. Afternoon, take a leisurely stroll in this beautiful valley and visit some farm houses. O/n hotel.
Day 09 :- Gangtey-Bumthang ( 147 kms/5 hours drive)
After breakfast, drive to Bumthang via Trongsa. On the way, stop at Trongsa for some tea/coffee and also visit the Trongsa dzong. The Trongsa Dzong was the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. It is also the district administration office of the Trongsa district. It was built in 1648 A.D. The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular, and for miles on end the Dzong seems to tease you so that you wonder if you will ever reach it. Backing on to the mountain and built on several levels, the Dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the routes south and west. The view from the Dzong extends for many kilometers and in former times nothing could escape the vigilance of its watchmen. Furthermore, the Dzong is built in such a way that in the old days, no matter what direction a traveller came from, he was obliged to pass by the Dzong. This helped to augment its importance as it thus had complete control over all east-west traffic. At Bumthang check in hotel.
Day 10 :- Bumthang sight seeing
Visit the historical Jakar Dzong built by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Desi ( Temporal ruler ) in 1646 A.D. It was later repaired and expanded by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth Desi of Bhutan in 1683 A.D. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. Visit several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang, Tamshing and Pema Samba Lhakhangs. Also visit the Bumthang Swiss farm and the Member Tso " The flaming Lake " which is considered one of the most important pilgrimage spots. O/n hotel
Day 11 :- Bumthang sightseeing
Drive to Tang valley and take a hike to the Ugyen choling Palace which is now converted into a museum. On the way back, also visit the Bumthang sheep farm. O/n hotel
Day 12 :- Day hike in Bumthang
After an early breakfast, take a full day hike to Petseling Monastery or to Thoedra Gonpa both of which are very interesting. The round trip hike will take about 6 hours. O/n hotel
Day 13 :- A full day excursion to Ura Valley ( 65 kms from Bumthang )
Visitors can drive upto Ura and take a leisure stroll in the clustered village of Ura. Ura has a beautiful Buddhist Monastery surrounded by typical Bhutanese farm houses which is worth seeing. You will also see yaks grazing in the rich pasture land of the Ura valley. Pack lunch in Ura and return to Bumthang in the evening. O/n hotel
Day 14 :- Bumthang to Thimphu ( 197 kms/7 hours drive)
After an early breakfast, drive to Thimphu. O/n hotel
Day 15 :- Day Excursion To Haa Valley
Drive to Haa valley via Chilela pass. On arrival in the picturesque Haa Valley, stroll through the quaint town and begin the hike from Haa valley to the Katso village (alt. 8840 ft) This is a fairly easy hike of about one hour walk through this beautiful valley and village and fields. Opposite Katso village, one can see the famous Katso Lhakhang (temple) of Guru Rimpoche built against the rocky ledge. Have picnic lunch at the Katso village and explore the village and hike back to the Haa valley. Evening, drive back to Paro. O/n hotel
Day 16 :- Departure
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