Paro- Thimphu -Punakha –Paro

BHUTAN IS A LAND OF SOARING SNOWCAPPED peaks, alpine meadows, waterfalls, gushing streams, densely forested hills and ravines abounding in exotic flora and fauna. It’s jealously guarded isolation and stunning mountain scenery combined with an ancient culture and colorful friendly people makes Bhutan a very rewarding destination. It is often said that even the most experienced traveler will find Bhutan to be a ‘revelation’. The air is clean and unpolluted, the mountains are magnificent and the architecture awe-inspiring. Bhutan is very protective of its natural environment and the culture of its people. The fortunate visitor will find a rare combination of harmony and accord, amongst a landscape of incredible natural beauty. Besides the stunning natural scenery, the enduring image of the country to most visitors is the architecture. All buildings, whether large monasteries, private houses or even gas stations, must conform to traditional design. The nation is also a bastion of Mahayana Buddhism, and the teachings of this tradition influence all aspects of life in the kingdom.

Upon arrival, you will be met and greeted with a traditional welcome. Drive to Thimphu (7,900ft/2,410m), the Himalayan country’s capital and largest city. The road to Thimphu first follows the Pa-chu (river) till the confluence where the Thim-chu joins. Afternoon visit the Memorial Chorten (Stupa) built in memory of the Late King and walk around on the main street of Thimphu. Later, visit the Buddha Dordenma Statue, The gigantic statue of Shakyamuni Buddha erected on a mountain top is considered one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.

Breakfast. Today’s tour includes the National Library, housing an immense collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts and the world’s largest book; the Painting School, where students keep alive the traditional art of painting sacred religious scrolls; and the Folk Heritage Museum, which celebrates the country’s rural life. After lunch, visit the Textile Museum, where we see a demonstration of traditional weaving; and Tashichhoe Dzong, the historic fortress and monastery that today houses government offices and temples. Late afternoon drive to the former capital of Punakha via the Dochula Pass (10,000ft/3,050m), which offers stunning views of the Himalayas. Here we follow the sacred tradition of raising prayer flags in the name of peace and wisdom. Continuing on to Punakha, we visit a rice farming village and also stop for tea. Punakha (4,300ft/1,310m) sits at the confluence of the “Mother” river and the “Father” river in a sub-tropical valley. Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.

Breakfast. We start the day with an easy trek through rice fields to visit Chimi Lhakhang, a local temple perched on a hill above a traditional village. Built by the “Divine Madman” ca. 1499, the temple is a pilgrimage site for couples struggling with problems of fertility. After lunch, tour of the Punakha Dzong, winter home of the central monastic community and one of the country’s most attractive and historic monasteries, set on a spit of land where the rivers meet. Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.

Breakfast. Morning drive to historic Paro (7,300ft/2,225m). After lunch, visit Paro Dzong and Ta-Dzong, the national museum showcasing Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage dating from at least 2000 BCE to the present day. Built in 1648 as a watchtower, the cylindrical museum houses a fine collection of Bhutanese art and artefacts. We continue our tour of Rinpung Dzong, a historic Buddhist monastery and fortress housing local government and monastic offices; and Kyichu Lhakhang, an important place of pilgrimage and ceremony for Bhutan’s royal family and one of the kingdom’s oldest and most sacred temples. Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.

Breakfast. In the morning, drive to the foot hills of Taktsang Monastery and from here hike up to the viewpoint of the sacred Taktsang monastery, which is approx. 2,000ft/610m above Paro valley. This is a sacred place for the Bhutanese and every Bhutanese from far- away places try to visit at least once in their lifetime. There is an option for either walking or a pony ride. Lunch will be served at the Taktsang Cafeteria. Later, visit the ruins of Drukyel Dzong, a victory fortress dating to the 17th century and visit a Bhutanese farmhouse and meet the family. Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.

Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

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