Paro- Thimphu -Punakha –Bumthang- Punakha-Paro

BHUTAN OR ‘DRUK YUL’- THE MYTHICAL LAND OF THE PEACEFUL DRAGON is as much known for its dramatic landscapes, architecture and fabulous bio-diversity as for its rich and colourful cultural heritage. The awe-inspiring valleys and mountain passes, daunting heights of the countless Himalayan mountains, deep gorges and vast undulating flower-studded meadows vividly reveals the varying moods of mother nature.
Bhutan is very protective of its natural environment and the culture of its people. 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. It was only in 1999, the ban on television and the Internet was lifted, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television. The King said that television was a critical step to the modernization of Bhutan as well as a major contributor to the country’s Gross National Happiness, but warned against the misuse of television which may also erode traditional Bhutanese values.

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. In the morning enjoy a scenic drive to Bumthang crossing the Pele -la Pass (10,170ft/3100m) visiting en route the Trongsa Dzong. Lunch en route. Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.

Breakfast. Morning visit of the eighth century Jampa (Buddha of the Future) Lhakhang (temple). Later, visit the Kurjey Lhakhang. After lunch visit the Swiss Farm. Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.

Breakfast. Today visit several ancient and important monasteries such as Jambay Lhakhang and Kencho Sum Lhakhang. After Lunch, visit Jakar Dzong and visit the Member Tso or "Flaming Lake". Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.

Breakfast. Morning drive back to Punakha visiting en route Wangduephodrang. Lunch en route. 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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