PARO VALLEY ARRIVAL – THIMPHU CITY (L, D)
Your flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular in the world. It is mesmerizing and exhilarating. So do stay awake to experience the descent into Paro Valley. Upon arrival, you are welcomed by your guide. On your way to Thimphu, visit the long standing traditional 14th Century Tachhogang Bridge. One can cross the bridge to the other side and take a short blissful walk. Arrive in time for lunch in Thimphu. Afterwards, walk around the Mini Takin Zoo to see the national animal of Bhutan. On your way back, visit also the Zilukha Nunnery, which has a very calm and harmonious atmosphere like all temples in the country. You can take a short walk around the nunnery and meet the nuns. Tashichhodzong Fortress or Dzong, also know as "fortress of the glorious religion", was initially built in 1641. Visit this huge and magnificent architecture in Thimphu in the evening. The Dzong houses, main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. After the visit, check into your hotel and dinner will be either at the hotel or at a local restaurant depending on you.
THIMPHU: CITYTOUR (B, L, D)
Your first visit today will be the elegant Memorial Temple. This stupa was built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan's third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Next, visit the largest Buddha Statue of Bhutan, which is outside of the city centre and offers a great view over the Valley. Continue your tour to the impressive Changangkha Temple, which was established in the 12th century. Enjoy the fascinating view of Thimphu valley from here. At the Simply Bhutan, learn more about the living and culture of the Bhutanese people. Lunch will be served then at a local restaurant. Afterwards, visit Zorig Chosum, an art & craft school or painting school. Interact with the students and learn more about their techniques and stories. The Royal Textile Academy shows your an exhibition on six major themes: warp pattern weaves, weft pattern weaves, role of textiles in religion, achievements in textile arts, textiles from indigenous fibres and the royal collection. Also visit the Crafts Bazaar to buy some souvenirs or just stroll around the lively market. Later, you can visit the Coronation Park and National Stadium or take relaxing walks outside the town. In the evening, take a relaxing nature walk in the park by the river where the locals come here for walks in the evenings and family picnics during weekends and holidays. Next to the Coronation Park is the National Stadium where most of the major events like National Day Parade, His Majesties Birthdays and Sporting events are held.
THIMPHU – PUNAKHA VALLEY (B, L, D)
On your way to Punakha Valley, enjoy the splendid views of the distant Himalayas at Dochula Pass. You can explore the 108 temples built here and learn a bit of history of this site. Upon arrival at Punakha Valley, lunch will be served at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the Chimmi Temple. The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as "Divine Madman". It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of paddy fields. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to a small village and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang. Continue then to Punakha Dzong (The Palace of Great Happiness). The most beautiful fortress in Bhutan. Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637. Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan's history. Continue then to Sangchhen Nunnery. Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.
PUNAKHA VALLEY – PHOBJIKHA VALLEY (B, L, D)
A breathtaking valley; A nature’s paradise is your today's destination. It’s the home of the endangered black necked crane during the winter months. It’s a stunning and grand valley as far as your eyes can see and there is the perfect trail and an easy hike to get the best view of Phobjikha Valley. Its a place that is left the way it was a hundred years ago and you can see it just the way it is.
PHOBJIKHA VALLEY – PARO VALLEY (B, L, D)
Leave Phobjikha and drive to Paro. On your way, lunch will be served. The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country's only airport. Mount. Jhumolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most fertile valley in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
PARO VALLEY: SIGHTSEEING TOUR (B, L, D)
First, visit the National Museum. Once, the museum was built to defend Rinpung Dozng during inter-valley wars in the 17th century. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. Next, visit the Paro Fortress, which was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk over the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring. Last stop for today is the Kyichu Temple. It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century. In the late afternoon, you can explore the quaint little Paro town with your guide.
PARO VALLEY – BUMDRA (B, L, D)
Early morning after breakfast, drive to Sang Choekhor to meet your ponies and while they are being loaded, you may pay your respects at the monastery. The initial 1–2 hour ascent of a ridge, which is steep at times though also in cool shade, brings you to a clearing with prayer flags and view down into both the Paro and Do Chhu valleys. Above and ahead the Chhoe Tse Lhakhang (temple) nestles in the mountainside. The trail undulates for a while before the last steep pull up to the pretty temple which boasts commanding views south over Paro airport and from its own hot stone bath northwards to the snow capped Himalayas. After a final climb through ruins and fluttering prayer flags, with a last glance southwards, plunge back into ancient forest traversing and then come out onto a high wide meadow dotted with sacred chortens and prayer flags. Your home for the night is tucked in under the Bumdra Monastery (cave of a thousand prayers) making the most of the awesome views of the Himalayas range. After lunch we can visit the monastery (if it is occupied) and also climb the peak to the north (about 4000m) for even better views, returning in time for a slap up dinner.
Distance: 7 km, Duration: 4 hours, Camp Altitude: 3,500m
BUMDRA – TAKTSANG PARO VALLEY (B, L, D)
After a hearty breakfast in the jaw dropping landscape, it is time to either head straight back into the valley or linger a while soaking up the view and perhaps hang some prayer flags of our own. Eventually, you have to drop back into the ancient pine and rhododendron forest on the monks’ zig zagging trail. After 1-2 hours of descent, you can catch glimpses of the golden roofs of temples below and soon come upon the first of many on your way back from the wilds. The path snakes across the mountainside between the monasteries and temples before reaching the gardens of Zangdopelri (Heaven on Earth) from which you can bravely peer over edge and straight down onto the ornate roofs Taktsang in the cliff far below. An hour later and you are at the gates of Taktsang looking across the gorge a steep descent to a waterfall then ascent on steps and you are passing into the Tiger’s Nest itself. Retracing your steps, begin the final descent of about 45 minutes to reach your vehicle and drive back to the hotel, not forgetting to stop on the other side of the valley and look back at what you have achieved.
Distance: 15 km, Duration: 6 hours,
PARO VALLEY DEPARTURE (B)
Have a relaxing morning and depart for Paro airport for your flight home or onward destination.