Culture

cultural

Culture of Bhutan

The mystical country of Bhutan is in itself an open museum. From the time you land in the Kingdom and leave, you will see that almost everything is a treat for your eyes, a cultural treat, unlike other countries you would have visited – the landscape, pure air, rivers, and others.
Culture is manifested in the dresses Bhutanese wear, food, religious beliefs, architecture and the Bhutanese way of life.
You could choose one from the series of cultural treats or ask for a customized one. We also offer customized packages, based on your interest.

In this short but enthralling trip, the glory, grandeur and greatness of Bhutan from the 7th century till date will be unveiled as you see Majestic Fortresses (Dzongs) built in the 17th century, one of which looks like a ship perched on a mass of still water, a monastery perched on a hilltop about 1,000m overlooking a valley (The Tiger’s Lair) and the living arts and traditions of Bhutan.
You can interact with the people and learn about Bhutanese lifestyles.

An Encounter with the Dragon


Duration: 6 Days
Districts: Paro, Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Punakha
Entry: Paro
Exit: Paro

 

Day 01: Bangkok/Delhi/Kathmandu– Paro – Thimphu

Get ready for an adrenaline rush as you fly to one of the world’s smallest and challenging airports, the Paro International airport. But before that, you will be enthralled by sights of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari (Mountain Goddess) and Mount Jichu Drake. The landing at Paro, considered one of the most challenging is an enthralling experience.
You will be received at the airport by our company’s representative, who will escort you to your hotel. After checking in and an early lunch, your exploration of Bhutan will begin with visits to places of historical importance in Paro.
You will visit Paro Rimpong Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels) and Bhutan’s National Museum. Other places will be Kyichu lhakhang (temple,) one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659AD. It is believed that the temple was built on a space that resembled the left knee of a giant Ogress.
In the evening, you will visit a farmhouse and experience a hot stone bath.
Dinner and halt at hotel.

Day 02: To the Tiger’s Lair (Taktshang)

Apart from the beautiful valley and landscape, Paro houses one of the most sacred religious temples in Bhutan, called Taktshang, literally meaning the “Tiger’s Lair.”
After breakfast we will drive for half an hour and reach the base of the monastery, after which we follow an old trail, filled with water driven prayer wheels and prayer flags. As you near Taktshang, you will see what is an architectural wonder, which could qualify as one of the wonders of the world. The monastery stands on a sheer rock face facing the valley. It is difficult to comprehend how the temple was built and speaks of Bhutan’s architectural strengths that existed for a long time.
It is believed that Guru Padma Sambhava, also known as the second Buddha, came on a tigress in one of his wrathful forms to subdue evil spirits that were obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Guru meditated in a cave and tamed the evils. Since then many Buddhist masters have meditated in the cave.
The journey to the monastery and back takes about four hours. We will have lunch at the base of the monastery, after our return and then en-route visit Drugyal Dzong (Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa), which was built to commemorate the victory of Bhutanese forces over the Tibetan forces in the 17th century. On a clear day, one can see Mt. Jomolhari (Mountain Goddess) from the site.
The next cdestination will be Thimphu, the country’s capital, which is an hour drive from Paro. On the way we will stop at Tachog Monastery, built by the great bridge builder of Bhutan, Thangthong Gyalpo.
After arrival in Thimphu, we will check into the hotel and then take a stroll of the town
Night halt at hotel.

Day 03: Thimphu sightseeing – Punakha/Wangduephodrang

Thimphu has a lot to offer and your day will begin with visits to the Memorial Chorten, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful stupas built in memory of the Father of Modern Bhutan, Third King Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck. The next visit will be to Buddha Point, where stands the gigantic world’s largest Buddha Statue. You will then move to the 12th century Changangkha monastery, followed by the Takin Zoo and a drive to Sangaygang, a point from where you can have a bird’s eye view of Thimphu valley.
From there we move to the Handicraft’s center, the Local Bhutanese Paper making factory, a Nunnery and the Arts and Craft School.
After lunch we will visit Tashichhodzong, the seat of Bhutan’s polity that houses the Throne room and Office of the King. It is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monk body. If time permits we will visit the Parliament.
We will then move to Punakha, which would take us about 3 hours. In about 45 minutes, you will reach the Dochula Pass (3,100m), from where visitors on a clear day can have a breathtaking glimpse of the eastern Himalayan range that consists of snow capped peaks with elevations ranging from 6000m to 7554m. Apart from this, the 108 stupas (chortens) at Dochula pass add to the beauty of the pass. The Pass is also exotic in flora and fauna.
The onward drive is a gradual ascend through beautiful forests of rhododendron and fields of dwarf bamboo, green meadows, beautiful wildflowers, gushing waterfalls and constantly changing vegetation.
Night halt at hotel in Punakha.

Day 04: Punakha & Wangduephodrang

Punakha, was Bhutan’s capital until 1955 and still is home of the Chief Abbot during the winter months. Punakha Dzong (Fortress), built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stands like a giant ship on an ocean from afar. Build at the confluence of two rivers, Pho Chhu (male river) and Mo Chhu (female river), the Dzong was destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897. However, it has now been restored to its original splendor. The Dzong is an epitome of Bhutanese architecture and houses some of the most sacred relics of the country.
We will drive to Khamsumyulley chorten (Stupa), too. After lunch we will move to Wanduephodrang. En-route we will visit the 15th century Chimi Lhakhang, associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Madmonk). It is also called as the Fertility temple and barren people from all parts of the world come to seek the blessings of the Phallus to conceive.
We will then move to Wangduephodrang and see ruins of the Dzong (Fortress), which was destroyed by a tragic fire in 2012. It was built in 1638 by the Zhabdrung.
Night halt will be at a hotel in Punakha/Wangduephodrang.

Day 05: Wangduephodrang- Paro

It will be an early morning four hour drive back to Paro. On the way, we will visit the Lamperi Botanical Garden. Lunch will be hosted at Dochula and you can spend some time amidst marvels of the place.
Upon arrival at Paro, we will host a farewell dinner with traditional Bhutanese dance and songs.

Day 06: Paro – Bangkok

After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international Airport for your flight out of Bhutan.

Bhutan is a country where myths and legends, narrated orally formed most of its history. These legends are closely associated with most lhakhangs (temples) and dzongs (Fortresses). Of all, the district of Bumthang in central Bhutan tops the list with several temples located there. This tour will thus take you further into the country.
Apart from this you can also see the unsoiled flora and fauna and interactions with the ever smiling Bhutanese people.

Excursion into the Myths of Bhutan

Duration: 9 Days
Districts: Paro, Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang
Entry: Paro
Exit: Paro

Day 01: Arrive at Paro – Thimphu
You are promised an enthralling flight taking you through skies offering spectacular glimpses of the Himalayan Ranges, including Mt Everest, Kanchenjunga and other Bhutanese peaks. The landing at Paro, supposed to be at one of the most challenging airports is also thrilling.
Our company’s representative will meet and escort you to a local hotel, after which begins an adventure you will relish forever.
It will start with sightseeing of Paro’s most historic and significant landmarks, such as the National Museum and Paro Rimpong Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels), that today serves as the districts’ administrative headquarters. We will also visit Paro Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest, built by the Tibetan King Songsten Goempo. Legend has it that it is one of the 108 temples he built across the Himalayas in a day.
After lunch at a hotel in Paro town, we will drive for an hour to the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing

In the morning, we will visit the Gongzok Chorten (Memorial Chorten, a huge stupa), one of the most beautiful stupas of the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism, built in memory of the Father of Modern Bhutan, the late Third King, Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck. The next stop will be Changangkha monastery a 12th century structure, after which we will move to the Takin Zoo. A brief drive from the Zoo takes us to Sangaygang, from where one can see the entire Thimphu Valley and beyond. We will also visit a Nunnery.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit the arts and crafts school, where you can see Bhutanese art in the making. A visit will also be made to the Post Office. If time permits, we will watch an archery match.
In the evening will be the hallmark of your visit, as we go to Trashichho Dzong, the center of Bhutanese governance. Majestic and an icon of Bhutanese architecture, it houses the office of the King, the Throne Room and some ministries. It is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot, the Je Khenpo and senior clergy.
The day will end with a visit to Buddha point, where the largest statue of the futuristic Buddha, Maitreya is under construction. From there you can get an overview of Thimphu valley, yet again.
Overnight at a hotel.

Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha/ Wangduephodrang

We begin our journey to Punakha. After about 45 minutes, we reach Dochula pass (3,100m), from where we get the first spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan ranges, consisting of snow-capped mountains, with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m. The beauty of the pass is augmented by the spectacular 108 stupas (chortens), build around a mound.
From the pass, it is a gradual descend along outgrowths of rhododendron, short bamboo and other tress to the subtropical valley of Punakha and Wangduephodrang. At Wangdue, we will visit the ruins of Wangduephodrang Dzong (Fortress), which was gutted by a tragic fire in 2012. It was originally build by the Shabdrung in 1638.
We then move to Chimi Lhakhang, built in the 15th century and associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madmonk.” It is just an hour walk (back and forth) from the road point. After lunch at the Lhakhang, we move to Punakha.
As we reach Punakha, we can see the Dzong (Fortress), resembling a giant ship bed rocked on a mass of still water from far. Built by the Shabdrung in 1637, it is an architectural icon, located at the confluence of two rivers – the Pho (male) and the Mo (female) chus (rivers). The winter residence of the Chief Abbot and the clergy, it houses most of Bhutan’s sacred relics and treasures.
A visit will also be made to Khamsumyulley Namgyal chorten.
Overnight at a hotel.

Day 04: Punakha – Trongsa

We begin our journey back to Trongsa, one of Bhutan’s most historic districts, closely associated with the Wangchuck Dynasty.
En-route, we will visit Gangtey Valley, seat of the Peling tradition of Buddhism and Phobjikha valley, the winter roosting ground of Black Necked Cranes, that flies in from Tibet and Mongolia. The valley symbolizes how preservation and development can go hand in hand.
We will then move forward passing Pele La (pass) and reach Chendebji, where a stupa, resembling the Bouhdanath of Nepal stands. Lunch will be served here.
After lunch, we will move forward to Trongsa. Upon arrival, we will check into a hotel and rest for the day.

Day 05 : Trongsa-Bumthang

The day will begin with a visit to Trongsa Dzong (Fortress), Bhutan’s largest Dzong, from where the Wangchuck Dynasty began to control all parts of Bhutan. Even today, the Crown Prince has to serve as the Trongsa Penlop (Governor), before assuming the title of the King.
We will also visit the Ta Dzong (Tower) and then proceed to Bumthang, crossing Yotongla (Pass). After that, the road meanders down along beautiful forests of pine. We reach proper Bumthang, Chamkhar town after an hour.
We will check into a hotel and then have lunch. After lunch we begin visiting the mythical district, beginning with Jamphel Lhakhang (temple, monastery), which was built together with Paro Kyichu Lhakhang in the 7th century AD, by Songsten Goembo, a Tibetan King. The Jamphel Lhakhang Drub, a religious festival is one of the most sacred and revered one in Bhutan. At midnight 11 naked men begin the “Naked Dance.”
We will then visit Kyichu Lhakhang (Temple), where Guru Padma Sambhava is said to have meditated and left a imprint of his body. It will be followed by the famous Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa.

We will call it a day and rest at the hotel.

Day 06: Bumthang Halt

Today, we have more to see of Bumthang, including the valley’s wealth of flora. We will visit the Jakar Dzong (White Bird Fortress), the seat of Bumthang district’s administration. We will also be visiting Khenchosum Lhakhang and then drive to the Burning Lake (Mebar Tsho), from where the great Terton (Treasure Discoverer), Pema Lingpa is believed to have discovered several religious treasures hidden by Guru Rimpoche.
We will drive further on crossing Ura Valley, till Thrimshingla, which houses several species of rhododendron. A Rhododendron in-situ park has been established there.
After this we return to Bumthang and visit the cheese and honey factories. We will also visit Karchu Dratshang, home of His Holiness, Namkhai Nyinpo.
Having come to a religious site, if anyone is interested in religious discourses with English speaking Buddhist teachers or even meditate, we can arrange this for you.
Bumthang is also popular for its local cuisines such as Khuli (Buckwheat) and Puta (noodles). During dinner you will be served Bhutanese cuisines, too. A cultural program will be organized for you.
Halt at hotel.

Day 7: Bumthang – Paro

We have to begin early morning for the return journey. En-route we will visit the Yathra, a product of sheep wool and other garments produced locally at Chumey.
Lunch will be served at Pelela (if the weather is fine).
Night halt at Paro.

Day 8: The Taktshang Excursion

 A visit to Bhutan would be incomplete without a visit to Taktshang (The Tiger’s Lair), which is a five hour trek (round trip) from the base.

We begin early morning and walk across a well maintained old trail filled with water driven prayer wheels and prayer flags. After about a two hour climb, you will be overwhelmed with the sight of Taktshang Monastery, which stands perched on a hill overlooking the valley. It is amazing how Bhutanese in the past managed to construct such an architectural wonder.

The tale of Guru Padmasambhava flying on a tigress to subdue evil forces that were obstructing the spread of Buddhism in Taktshang is one almost every Bhutanese know. The Guru meditated in one of the caves located at Taktshang and subdued the evil forces.Later, several Buddhist masters have meditated at Taktshang, which is a pilgrim destination for all Buddhists.We will have a picnic lunch and walk back.

Before going to the hotel, we will visit the ruins of Drugyal Dzong (Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa), built in the 17th century to celebrate Bhutanese victory over the invading Tibetan forces. On a clear day, one can see Mt. Jomolhari from there.In the evening, we will take a stroll of Paro town, followed by a hot stone herbal bath. A farewell dinner with entertainment will be organized.

Halt at hotel.

Day 9: Departure from Bhutan:

In the morning you will be escorted by our representative for your departure out of the country.

Tiger’s Lair (Paro Taktsang), Burning Lake (Bumthang Meber Tsho), “Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”, (Paro Drugyel Dzong) and views of “Mountain Goddess” (Mt Jomolhari).
Living arts and craft of Bhutan, still practicized in the Capital’s school of craft.

Glimpses of Bhutan’s Treasures

Duration: 11 Days
Districts: Paro, Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang
Entry: Paro
Exit: Paro
Highlights
Day 01 – Bangkok/ Delhi/ Katmandu – Paro – Thimphu

After an unforgettable flight into Paro International Airport, wherein you would have feasted on some of the wonders of the Himalayas, such as views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including Bhutan’s Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake, you will have a thrilling landing. At the airport, you will be received by representatives of our Company, who will escort you to a Hotel. After lunch at the hotel, you will be driven to Thimphu.
Overnight at a hotel.

Day 02 – Explore Thimphu valley

The morning will be dedicated to sightseeing. You will visit the weaving centre, Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Changangkha monastery, built in the 12th century, Takin zoo, Buddha Point, where the statue of the world’s largest Buddha is being constructed; a Nunnery and the Arts and Craft school. You will also be taken to Sangaygang, a place from where you can have a bird’s eye view of Thimphu town and the surroundings.
After lunch, visit National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved, the Folk Heritage museum and the Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks. Overnight at the hotel

Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdue

Taking about three to four hours, the drive from Thimphu traverses thorough a constantly changing landscape of vegetation, waterfalls, flowers, mountains and meadows. After a 45 minutes drive, we will stop at the popular Dochula pass (3,100m), from where on a clear day, we can see the entire eastern Himalayan range, comprising snow-capped mountains with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m. Apart from its wealth of extremely beautiful flowers, the 108 Buddhist stupas exquisitely built around a mound adds to the grandeur of the place.
The journey forward from the pass descends to the sub-tropical valley of Punakha, which served as Bhutan’s capital in the past and holds some of the country’s most priceless treasures, especially Buddhist relics. The Punakha Fortress is an architectural masterpiece and resembles a gigantic ship on an ocean floor from afar, and girdled by two (Male and Female) rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is still home of the Chief Abbot in winter months. On the way to Punakha, we will hike for about 1 hour round trip to the monastery of Drupa Kuenley, “Divine Madmonk,” which was built in the 15th century.
Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal has played prominent role in civil and religious life of the Kingdom. Destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897, the Dzong has been now fully restored in its original splendour.
After Lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit Punakha Dzong and then drive for half an hour and hike to the Khamsumyuly chorten.
Overnight at the hotel

Day 04: Punakha/Wangdue – Trongsa

Early morning, we will drive to Trongsa via Wangduephodrang across the Pelela pass (alt. 3,300m), the traditional boundary between east and west. Large prayer flags mark the place. En-route, we will stop at Chendbji Chorten (Stupa), which was built in the 18th century by a lama named Shida. The stupa is Nepalese in style with eyes painted at four cardinal points.
Overnight at hotel in Trongsa.

Day 05: Trongsa – Bumthang

After breakfast walk by Tongsa Dzong, built by Shabdrung in 1647. Another majestic architectural masterpiece and once ancient Bhutan’s capital, it is very historic and every King, before ascending the Throne must, as the Crown Prince serve as the Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa.
We will also visit the Ta Dzong (watch tower) and then drive to Bumthang which is about 3 hours. 29 Kms from Tongsa we reache the Yutong La pass (alt. 3,400 m) and after a further 13 kms drive, the road enters into a wide, open and cultivated valley known as Chumey valley.
On arrival in Bumthang, check into a hotel

Day 06: Bumthang

One of the most sacred regions in the Kingdom, Bumthang valley is a blend of the abstract and concrete with innumerable legends surrounding the area.
You will be visiting Kurje Lhakhang where the Great Indian Saint Guru Padsambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock. The other is Jamphel lhakhang, which was built in the 7th century by Songsten Goembo, the Tibetan Buddhist King. Jakar Dzong (the fortress of white bird) built in the 17th century by Tenzin Rabgay (the fourth Desi) is another famous landmark.
You will also be visiting, Tamshing lhakhang built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa (the founder of religious treasures). Kunchosum lhakhang and Membertsho (the flaming lake) are other places. Legend has it that Pema Lingpa discovered several religious text from the lake.
Overnight at the hotel

Day 07: Bumthang – Trongsa – Gantey / Phobjikha

After breakfast proceed to Gantey/Phobjikha via Trongsa. The approach to Phobjikha valley is through a forest of Oak and Rhododendron. Phobjikha is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and chosen home of black necked cranes which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters.
Overnight at a hotel.

Day 08: Gantey / Phobjikha – Wangdue – Thimphu- Paro

After breakfast, explore Phojikha valley and also visit Gangtey Monastery. Then we drive to Paro via Wangduephodrang. Overnight at the hotel
Day 09: Paro

We will visit Kyichu Monastery, one of Bhutan’s oldest, built in 659 A.D. by the Buddhist Tibetan King Songsten Goembo. A short drive from there will take us to the ruins of Drugyel Dzong (”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”), which was built to commemorate the victory of Bhutanese forces over the Tibetans in the 16th and 17th centuries. You will also visit the National Museum and Paro Rimpong Dzong. You can take a stroll of the town after which you can call it a day.

Overnight at hotel
Day 10: Paro – Takstang monastery hike
One of Bhutan’s holiest shrines and an amazing structure that crosses all boundaries of architectural masterpiece, Taktsang (Tiger’s Lair) monastery is perched some 1000m/3000ft on a cliff overlooking a valley. It is said that the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D. Taktshang monastery is the ultimate pilgrim site for all Buddhist, especially in Bhutan.
The hike to the monastery takes about 5 hours (up and down), and follows an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels.
Day 11: Paro – Delhi/ Bangkok/ Katmandu

After early breakfast, we drive to the airport for flight to onward destination

Heart of the Himalayan Kingdom Tour

Though a small nation, Bhutan stands on a high pedestal and is envied by nations across the board, for it still has managed to protect, preserve and practice its cultural heritages.
This tour will take you to places epitomizing Bhutan’s wealth and strength, all in concrete forms like Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Lair), National Museum, Rimpong Dzong (Castle on a heap of precious jewels), Buddha Statue (the world’s largest), flora and fauna, culture.

Duration: 5 Days

Districts: Paro, Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Punakha
Entry: Paro
Exit: Paro

Day 01: Arrive at Paro – Thimphu

In one of the most captivating experiences, the flight to Paro offers you views of the Himalayan treasures, such as Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as the Jomolhari, Jitchu Drake and Tsrim Gang. You will also have a bird’s eye view of Paro and the adjoining valleys, an experience beyond expression. The landing is also thrilling.
Our guide will meet you there and after a brief stopover at a hotel, escort you for your first experience that awaits you.
You will visit the Paro National Museum, which was once a watch tower and today houses some of the Kingdom’s historical treasures. You will also visit Paro Dzong (Fortress), which is the head quarters of Paro District and Kyichu Lhakhang, built by the Tibetan Buddhist King Songsten Goempo in the 7th century. It is said that the temple is one of the 100 monasteries that the King built in a day.
In the evening, we will drive to Thimphu and on the way stop at Tamchoe Monastery view and also Chuzom (where the Paro Chhu meets Thimphu Chhu (rivers).
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.

Day 02: Thimphu valley excursion

It can be said that Thimphu is Bhutan in a miniscule. People from all parts of the country live in the capital. The capital also houses the treasures of Bhutan.
Our excursion of Thimphu will begin with a visit to the Gongzok Chorten (Memorial Chorten) built in memory of the third king of Bhutan Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck in 1973.
The next stop will be at Kuenselphodrang, where construction of the biggest Buddha statue in the country is nearing completion. From there you will have a 360 degree view of Thimphu.
Changangkha monastery built in the 12th century will be our next destination. This will be followed by a visit to the Takin zoo, a Nunnery and Sangaygang, from where you can catch Thimphu in a celluloid form. We will be visiting the Handicrafts Emporium and local paper making factory.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Wood Craft and Painting school and see the wonders of Bhutanese art and craft in the making and also visit the Post Office if you are an enthusiast of postal stamps. If time permits, we will also witness an archery match (Bhutan’s national game) in session.
In the evening, we will be visiting Thimphu’s most important landmark, the TrashichhoDzong (Fortress), the main secretariat building, re-consecrated by the Zhabdrung in 1641. The establishment of the Glorius Drukpa, this massive structure houses the office of the King and the Throne Room. It is the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and houses the Central Monastic Body.
Overnight at a local hotel.

Day 03: Thimphu to Punakha/Wangdue

After breakfast we will move to Punakha, which is about three hours drive from Thimphu. After a 45 minute drive, we will stop at Dochula Pass, (3,100m), which offers visitors the first spectacular glimpse of the snow-capped eastern Himalayan Ranges, consisting of peaks averaging heights of 6000m to 7554m. The pass is beautified by 108 stupas (chortens) built around a mound.
En-route to Punakha, we will visit the ruins of Wangduephodrang Dzong (Fortress), which was tragically razed to the ground by a fire in 2012. Originally built in 1638 by the Zhabdrung, it has played a significant role in medieval Bhutan’s history.
We then proceed to Chimi Lhakhang. About half an hour hike from the road point, it is associated with the great Buddhist master, Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the “Divine Madmonk,” and was constructed in the 15th century. After lunch, we move to Punakha, which served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955.
Punakha Dzong (Fortress) is an architectural masterpiece, which from far looks like a large ship rocked on a still mass of water. Built at the confluence of two rivers, called the Pho (male) and Mo (female) chus (rivers) in 1637 by Bhutan’s unifier, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it has played a very significant role in Bhutan’s history. Home to some of Bhutan’s most prized religious artifacts, it was destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897. However, it has now been restored to its original splendor, and is the home of the country’s Chief Abbot and religious body during the winter months.
There will also be a visit to Khamsumyulay Namgyal chorten.
Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.

Day 04: Punakha – Paro & the Taktsang Experience

We will move early from Punakha to Paro, which will take about four hours.
After lunch at a local hotel in Paro, we drive to Taktsang view point and begin the hike up to Taktsang Monastery – “The Tiger’s Nest.” We follow an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels to the holiest Buddhist Shrine in Bhutan and the ultimate point of pilgrimage. A blend of the spiritual and architectural wonder, the monastery is perched on a 1000m cliff overlooking the valley. Legend has it that the great Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet to Taktsang on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D.
On the way back, we visit Drugyel Dzong,”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa,” located 16 kilometers from Paro town. In ruins now, this Dzong was built to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the invading Tibetan forces in the 16th and 17th centuries.
On a clear day, one can see the Jomolhari Peak, “Mountain of the Goddess” from here. If time permits, we will visit a local farmhouse.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 05: Paro – Bangkok

After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international Airport for your flight out of the country.

Shades of mystical Bhutan

Duration: 9 Days
Districts: Paro, Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang
Entry: Paro
Exit: Paro
Highlights
• Touches two of Bhutan’s most historical places, Trongsa and Bumthang.
• Majestic Trongsa dzong, Bumthang’s Burning Lake, several monasteries, culture, landscape, flora and fauna.
Day 01 – Bangkok/ Delhi/ Katmandu – Paro – Thimphu

After experiencing a memorable flight along skies offering you views of the Himalayan Treasures such as Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Bhutan’s Jomolhari amd Jitchu Drake, your flight will gradually descend, yet again enchanting you with Paro Valley’s beauty from above. The landing is thrilling and supposed to be one of the most challenging.
At the airport, you will be received by representatives of our company who will escort you to a hotel. After lunch there we drive to Thimphu.
Overnight at a hotel.

Day 02 – Discover Thimphu valley

Thimphu has lots to offer and the pick for you will firstly be the Memorial Chorten, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful stupas, built in memory of the Third King, Late His Majesty Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck, known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. A short drive from there will take you to Buddha Point, where the statue of the World’s largest Future Buddha (Maitreya) will be seen.
From there we will move to the Handicraft’s Emporium, Weaving Centre and Changangkha monastery, one built in the 12th century. There will also be visits to the Takin zoo, Sangaygang, which offers a view point of Thimphu valley and a Nunnery.
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, after which we visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved and the Wood Craft and Painting school.
In the evening, we will visit Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 03 – Thimphu to Punakha/Wangduephodrang

The journey to Punakha would take about 3 to 4 hours and it is a scenic drive through beautiful forests of rhododendron and fields of dwarf bamboo, green meadows, beautiful wildflowers, gushing waterfalls and constantly changing vegetation.
About 45 min from Thimphu, is the Dochula pass (3,100m), offering visitors their first glimpse of the eastern Himalayan range, snow-capped peaks with elevations of 6000m to 7554m. It is a spectacular sight and the beauty is augmented by the 108 stupas (chortens) at Dochula pass.
The journey further descents down to the low lying sub tropical valley of Punakha, which served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still is home of the Chief Abbot in winter months. On the way to Punakha, you will hike for about one hour (round trip) to Drukpa Kuenley’s monastery, built in the 15th century. A monastery where the Phallus is worshipped, it is associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madmonk”.
Punakha Dzong (Fortress), built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal has played a prominent role in the civil and religious life of the Kingdom. From far, it resembles a giant ship, rocked on a mass of still water as it is built at the confluence of two rivers – the Pho (male) and Mo (Female) rivers. Destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897, the Dzong has been now been fully restored in its original splendour. The Fortress contains some of the most sacred and significant religious relics of the nation.
After lunch at a hotel, we will drive for half an hour and hike to the Khamsumyuly chorten.
Overnight at the hotel

Day 04 : Punakha/Wangdue – Bumthang

After breakfast, we will begin the 7-hours drive via Wangduephodrang to Bumthang. The drive takes us through Pelela pass (alt. 3,300m), the traditional boundary between eastern and western Bhutan. The pass is marked by large prayer flags.
Few minutes descend from the pass will take us to Chendebji Chorten, which was built in 19th century by a lama named Shida. It resembles the Boudhanath stupa in Nepal, with eyes painted at four cardinal points.
Lunch will be at Trongsa, after which we visit Trongsa Dzong, another majestic architectural masterpiece and once ancient Bhutan’s capital. It is very historic and every King, before ascending the Throne must, as the Crown Prince serve as the Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa.
From Trongsa, we drive for 68 kms and reach Bumthang.
Overnight at the hotel

Day 05- Bumthang Exploration

One of the most sacred regions in the Kingdom, Bumthang valley is a blend of the abstract and concrete with innumerable legends surrounding the area.
You will be visiting Kurje Lhakhang where the Great Indian Saint Guru Padsambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock. The other is Jamphel lhakhang, which was built in the 7th century by Songsten Goembo, the Tibetan Buddhist King. Jakar Dzong (the fortress of white bird) built in the 17th century by Tenzin Rabgay (the fourth Desi) is another famous landmark.
You will also be visiting, Tamshing lhakhang built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa (the founder of religious treasures). Kunchosum lhakhang and Membertsho (the flaming lake) are other places. Legend has it that Pema Lingpa discovered several religious text from the lake.
Overnight at the hotel

Day 06– Bumthang – Wangduephodrang
We begin the return journey and drive to Wangduephodrang, which is about a 6-hour drive. Lunch will be served at Chendibji. At Wangdue, we will visit ruins of the Wangduephodrang Fortress, gutted tragically by a fire in 2012. It was originally built by the Shabdrung in 1638.
We will move further to Phobjikha valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and home to the very rare black necked cranes, who migrate from Tibet to Bhutan to winter (from November -March). There will also be a visit to Gangtey Gompa, one of the oldest Nyingmapa monasteries, that resembles a Dzong.
Overnight at a hotel in Wangduephodrang.
Day 07– Wangdue – Paro
We proceed to Paro, a four hour drive and lunch at a local restaurant in Paro town. After lunch, we will stroll through town and visit the Paro Rimpong Dzong, which was built in 1646 and Kyichu Monastery the oldest in Paro valley, built in 659 A.D.
Overnight at the hotel
Day 08 – Taktsang Experience
One of Bhutan’s holiest shrines and an amazing structure that crosses all boundaries of architectural masterpiece, Taktsang (Tiger’s Lair) monastery is perched some 1000m/3000ft on a cliff overlooking a valley. It is said that the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D. Taktshang monastery is the ultimate pilgrim site for all Buddhist, especially in Bhutan.
The hike to the monastery takes about 5 hours (up and down), and follows an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels.
On our way back to the hotel, we will visit the Drugyel Dzong (”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”), located 16 Km. away from the Paro town. Although in ruins, this Dzong is of great historical importance. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. On a clear day, we can see, Mt Jomolhari “Mountain of the Goddess” (Alt. 7,329m/24,029ft.). If time permits, we will visit a local farmhouse.
Overnight at the hotel
Day 09– Paro – Bangkok/ Katmandu/ Delhi
After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international Airport for your journey out of Bhutan.

Spark of the West

Duration: 8 Days
Districts: 4 districts of western Bhutan – Paro, Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Punakha
Entry: Paro
Exit: Paro

Highlights
• Splendor of Bhutanese art, architecture, flora and fauna, amongst others, culture.
• Prestine environment with forest cover enveloping almost all parts of the country; life styles of people and the living art and architecture, epitomized in Bhutanese handicraft and textile industry.

Day 01: Bangkok/ Delhi/ Katmandu – Paro – Thimphu

Arrive at Paro international Airport. The flight will be a breath taking experience as you will be able to see the treasures of the Himalayas, embodied in majestic forms, such as Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Jomolhari, Mount Jichu Drake and others. The landing at Paro will be a thrilling moment, too.
Representatives from our company will meet you at the airport, after which you will drive for about an hour to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital city.
After lunch, the rest of the day will be dedicated to sightseeing. Highlights will include the Memorial Chorten (Stupa), one of the most beautiful ones in Bhutan, built in memory of the Father of Modern Bhutan, Late Third King Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck. You will also be visiting the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts displayed can be purchased and the Hand-made paper factory. We will also witness an archery (Bhutan’s national match) match. Other visits include the Weaving centre, Changangkha monastery built in the 12th century, Takin zoo, a Nunnery and to Sangaygang, from where you can have a picturesque view of Thimphu valley.
Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 02 – Thimphu vicinity visits

In the morning, you will enjoy a mountain bike ride along a trail that follows the Thimphu Chu (river) till the base of Tango and Cheri monasteries. From there, we will hike to Tango monastery, built in the 12th century and which is today a center of Buddhist learning.
We will also hike to Cheri monastery, a popular meditation center, which was built in the 16th century. Lunch will be a picnic lunch in one of the spots of the hike.
Upon our return to Thimphu, in the evening we will visit Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building, which was built in 1642. This massive structure houses the office of the King, the Throne Room and part of the government Ministries. It is also home to the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and senior monks. Overnight at the hotel

DAY 03- Thimphu – Punakha/Wangduephodrang

We will be moving further away from Thimphu to Punakha, which is a three hour drive.
45 minutes from Thimphu is the Dochula pass (3,100m), offering you the first glimpse of the eastern Himalayan Ranges, consisting of snow-capped mountain peaks with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m. During the stopover there, you can also see the 108 stupas (chortens) built around a mound.
The drive then descends and passes through beautiful forests, comprising rhododendron, fields of dwarf bamboo green meadows, beautiful wildflowers, gushing waterfalls and constantly changing vegetation. Before reaching Punakha, we will visit Chimi Lhakhang, a temple where the Phallus is worshipped and associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madmonk.” It is about 1 hour hike (to and fro) from the road point. We will have our lunch here.
As we near our next destination, Punakha, we will witness an awe-inspiring image of the Punakha Fortress, which looks like a giant ship rocked on a still mass of water from far. Built on the confluence of two rivers, the Pho (male) and Mo (female) rivers, the Dzong served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is still home of the Chief Abbot in winter months. It was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and has played a prominent role in the civil and religious history of the Kingdom. Destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897, the Dzong has been now fully restored in its original splendour.
In the afternoon we will drive half an hour and hike to the Khamsumyuly chorten. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 04 -Punakha – Gangtey/ Phobjikha valley

After breakfast, we begin the 105 km drive to Gangtey via Wangduephodrang. It will take us about 4 hours with the road gradually ascending till Lawala pass (1100 feet). Passing through Nobding village, the vegetation consists of high altitude dwarf bamboo, rhododendrons flowers, Magnolia, fir and pine trees. We will reach Phobjikha valley at 3,000m, in the Black Mountain Ranges. Phobjikha is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and home to the very rare black necked crane. The birds migrate from Tibet to Bhutan in winter (from October -March). We will be visiting Gangtey Gompa, one of the oldest Nyingmapa monasteries that look like a small Dzong.
Overnight at Farm house or hotel.

DAY 05 – Gangtey/ Phobjikha valley hike

In what will be a spectacular day, you can hike around the beautiful Phobjikha valley. This valley is mostly covered with high altitude dwarf bamboo and pine trees. There are impressive carvings of art and wood on farm house. You could interact with the people and get to know more about their way of life.
Overnight at Farm house or hotel.

Day 06 – Gangtey – Paro via Wangdue

We will be driving for six hours to Paro and on the way visit Wanduephodrang Dzong, which was built in 1638 by the Zhabdrung. However, a tragic fire in 2012 has brought the Fortress to the ground and it is today in ruins. We will take a short stroll through Wangdue town and have lunch there.
On the way, there will be a stopover at Dochula pass.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.

DAY 07 – Paro – Taktsang monastery

hike
After breakfast, we drive for half an hour and start the hike, which is about 5 hours (round trip.) The trail is along an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels.
As you reach Taktshang you will be struck by the architectural wonder of this most pious Buddhist shrine in Bhutan. Perched some 1000m,3000ft on a cliff overlooking the valley, it would justifiably qualify as one of Bhutan’s wonders. Tragically wrecked in a fire early in 1998, it has been rebuilt to its original glory. It is said that the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D. Hence the name, Taktshang, or the “Tiger’s Lair.”
On our way back, we will visit another symbolic structure, which is now in ruins, the Drugyel Dzong, or “”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa,” which was also built by the Shabdrung to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetans in the 16th and 17th centuries.
From here, the Jomolhari Peak (“Mountain of the Goddess”) can be seen on a clear day (Alt. 7,329m/24,029ft.). The next stop will be at Kyichu Monastery, one of Bhutan’s oldest, built in 659 A.D. by the Tibetan King Songsten Goembo. On arrival at Paro, we will visit the Paro Rimpong Dzong (Fortress), which was built in 1646.
Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 08-Paro – Bangkok/Delhi/Katmandu

After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international Airport for your journey out of Bhutan.