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 – TRONGSA (B, L, D)
Trongsa forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. Both His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck, the Penlop of Trongsa, who was elected the country's first hereditary monarch and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck, ruled the country from Trongsa ancient seat. The Crown Prince of Bhutan normally holds the position of the Trongsa Penlop prior to ascending the throne, including the present King. The entire landscape around Trongsa is spectacular. Like almost all towns in the Kingdom, Trongsa Dzong architecture dominates the entire Trongsa horizon dwarfing the surrounding buildings. Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second King ruled the country from this ancient seat. Protected from invaders by an impenetrable valley, Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress. The Dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of the hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa heralding its strength as a defensive stronghold. You will be on the road most of the day today, but you can enjoy the beautiful prestige natural environment Bhutan has to offer and the stunning view of the mountains, witness the local people and their villages that come across the way. Upon arrival, visit the biggest fortress in Bhutan – The Trongsa Dzong.
TRONGSA – BUMTHANG VALLEY (B, L, D)
Drive today to the beautiful Bumthang Valley. Upon arrival, visit the Tamshing Temple. Located across the river from Kurje Lhakhang, this temple was founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, the re-incarnation of Guru Padsambhava. The monastery has very ancient religious paintings like 1,000 Buddhas and 21 Taras. There is a farmhouse located right next to the temple where you have lunch with a Bhutanese family. Good food, good time. After lunch, walk across the river through a village to visit Kurjey Temple that was built in 1652 on the rack face where Guru meditated in the 8th century. Then, hike a short beautiful walk across the fields and farms to visit Jambay Lhakhang. This monastery was built in the 7th century by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. It is one of the 108 monasteries built by him to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region.
BUMTHANG VALLEY: EXPLORATION (B, L, D)
Today, visit the Tang Valley in Bumthang. The day will be covered with wonderful walks in the valley through the local villages. You visit marvellous temples and the Ogyencholing palace and museum. Lunch will be served at Ogyencholing palace. Explore the Tang valley at your own pace and completely immerse yourself in the tranquillity. Pema Lingpa, the famous saint, was born in the Tang valley of Bumthang. The people of this valley raise sheep and at higher elevation, yak's as the soil in this region is not so rich for agricultural activities. An images of Pema Lingpa and his two sons are carved on a rock in the Valley.
BUMTHANG 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)
Upon arrival in Pao, visit first 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: HIKING TRIP TO TIGERS NEST (B, L)
Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest”. This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site. There is a cafetieria/ viewpoint halfway to the Tigers Nest. On the way up, you can halt for a coffee/tea break and on the way down have lunch at the same cafeteria. Spend the most of the day hiking to the temple at your own pace while your trip leader entertains you about the history and legend of this place.
PARO VALLEY DEPARTURE (B)
After breakfast, check out and you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home or onward flight.