9 Nights and 10 days Cultural Tour
The traditional books kept on the upper floor of the building are Tibetan – style, printed or written on long strips of handmade paper stacked between pieces of wood and wrapped in silken cloth. There are also some wooden blocks that are used for printing books and prayer flags. There is also a collection of English –language books, modern academic texts, travel books etc. The building also houses many holy books, and statues of Bhutan’s most important historic figures.
Day 01: Arrival – Paro
Day 02: Paro – Drive to Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu
Day 04: Thimphu – Drive to Punakha
Day 05: Punakha – Drive to Phobjikha
Day 06: Phobjikha
Day 07: Phobjikha- Drive to Thimphu
Day 08: Thimphu- Drive to Paro
Day 09: Paro
Day 10: Departure
Day 01: Arrival-Paro.
Transfer to the airport this morning for your flight to Paro. Your experience of this enchanting Kingdom begins with a flight over the Himalayas into the Paro valley – truly one of life’s most spectacular sights. You will view the world’s highest, most majestic peaks and enjoy the view of the approaching valley with its pri-medival alpine forests, monasteries, temples and farmhouses nestled in splendid mountain isolation. On arrival your Bhutan Visa will be stamped in your passport. After clearing customs & immigrations formalities your Bhutanese escort from Chhundu Travel & Tours will greet you and then drive you to your hotel.
Sightseeing’s: Afternoon visit Rimpung Dzong, the centre of civil and religious authority in the valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the Dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. The Paro Dzong is one of Bhutan’s most impressive and well-known Dzong’s, and perhaps the finest example of Bhutanese architecture you’ll see. The massive buttressed walls that tower over the town are visible throughout the valley.
The Dzong‘s correct name, Rinchen Pung Dzong (usually shortened to Rinpung Dzong), means ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’. In 1644 Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal ordered the construction of the Dzong on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche. The fort was used on numerous occasions to defend the Paro valley from invasions by Tibet.
The Dzong is built on a steep hillside, and the front courtyard of the administrative section is 6m higher than the courtyard of the monastic portion. The road to the National Museum branches down to the Dzong‘s northeastern entrance, which leads into the dochey (courtyard) on the 3rd storey. The utse (central tower) inside the dochey is five storeys’s tall and was built in the time of the first penlop (governor) of Paro in 1649. To the east of the “Utse” is a small lhakhang dedicated to Chuchizhey, an 11-headed manifestation of Chenrezig. The richly carved wood, painted in gold, black and ochre’s, and the towering whitewashed walls reinforce the sense of established power and wealth. The Dzong courtyard is open daily, but on weekends the offices are deserted and most chapels are closed.
Also visit Ta Dzong(national Museum) at the top of the hill above Paro Dzong The unusual round building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell, with 2.5m-thick walls; it was completed in 1656 and was originally the Ta Dzong(Watch tower) of Paro Dzong. Evening at leisure.
Dinner and overnight at hotel in Paro.
Altitude of Paro: 2200 m.
Day 02: Paro- Drive to Thimphu.
After breakfast drive to Thimphu. Thimphu is the Capital city of the kingdom of Bhutan. One of the charms of this unique capital is Bhutan‘s own version of the colonial traffic policemen, who will fascinate you with their elaborate hand gestures. Check in at Hotel.
In Thimphu today, visit the week-end vegetable market where vendors from far and near come to sell their vegetable and fruit products. It is an interesting place to visit, where village people jostle with well-heeled Thimphu residents for the best and cheapest vegetables and food-stuffs.
Also make a short visit to the Mini-Zoo: This Zoo houses the National Animal of Bhutan – the Takin. It’s worthwhile taking the time to see these strange, quite ugly animals. Also stop to visit the Dupthop Lhakhang: one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. In the evening visit the Handicrafts Emporium where you can buy any type of Bhutanese souvenirs.
Dinner and overnight at hotel .
Driving distance: 65Km/1hrs. Elevation of Thimphu: 2320m.
Day 03: Thimphu.
Today after breakfast visit National Memorial Chorten: This large Tibetan-style Chorten was built in 1974 to honor the memory of the third king – His Late Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. There are numerous religious paintings and complex tantric statues inside reflecting both peaceful and wrathful aspects of Buddhist Deities. The Stupa is one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu, and for many people it is the focus of their daily worship.
National Library: This Library was established in 1967 to preserve many ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts. The traditional books kept on the upper floor of the building are Tibetan – style, printed or written on long strips of handmade paper stacked between pieces of wood and wrapped in silken cloth. There are also some wooden blocks that are used for printing books and prayer flags. There is also a collection of English –language books, modern academic texts, travel books etc. The building also houses many holy books, and statues of Bhutan’s most important historic figures.
National Institute for Traditional Medicine: Established in 1988- this traditional hospital prepares and dispenses herbal and other medicines. There is an impressive large lab and production facility that ensures the quality of the products. There is a day care facility and clinic where doctors diagnose patients by reading the pulse of the patient.
Tashichho Dzong: This Dzong was built in 1216 and houses the Throne room and offices of the King and the Ministers. The northern portion is the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the Central Monk Body. Tourists can visit the Dzong after 5 p.m and are allowed to enter the courtyard only.
Day 04: Thimphu- Drive to Punakha.
The journey takes you on windy, mountain roads, with spectacular alpine scenery. The drive will go over the Dochu La Pass at 3, 100m where on a clear day there are spectacular views of the Northern Himalayan Range. Also stop at this pass to visit the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens built in the centre of the pass. Drive to Punakha. Check into the hotel.
Later in the day take a short hike from the road point to visit the Chimi Lhakhang built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley – “ The Divine Madman “ . He subdued the demoness of the Dochu la with his Magic Thunderbolt of Wisdom. You will see a central statue of the lama and his dog as well as statue of Zhabdrung, Sakyamuni and Chenrezig, make a small offering and you will be rewarded with a blessing from the lama’s wooden and bone phalluses and his iron archery se. Mothers to be pray for fertility goddess and then select their future baby’s name from a collection of the bamboo slips .A wooden effigy of the lama’s thunderbolt is preserved in the Lhakhang and childless women go to the temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint. The hike is a 20 minute walk across fields from the road to the temple and passes through a small traditional village.
If time permits also hike up to the huge Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, perched high on a hill on the opposite bank of the river. The 30m-tall chorten took eight years to build and was consecrated in 1999. The chorten is dedicated to the fifth King and serves to protect the country.
Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Driving distance: 78Km/3-3.5hrs. Elevation of Punakha valley: 1,350 m
Day 05: Punakha- Drive to Phobjikha.
After breakfast drive to Phobjikha. Nestled in the inner Himalayas at about 3000 metres above sea level, Phobjikha is a wide alpine wetland valley that is considered the largest and the most significant wetland in the country and chosen home of Black Necked Cranes, which migrate from the Central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.
Driving distance: 78Km/3hrs. Gangtey (Phobjikha) Elevation: 2900m.
Day 06: Phobjikha.
Early morning after an early breakfast, visit Black- necked crane information center. The center is equipped with crane watching equipment (binoculars, spotting scopes) and reference books. All visitors are required to walk or drive to the center for a guided tour around the facility and an introduction to Phobjikha valley. It is an early morning activity. Take a guided tour along the nature trails to spot the Black- necked crane.
Towards the evening visit Gangtey Monastery; the only Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan. The extensive complex consists of the central Goemba, monks’ quarters, a small guesthouse and outlaying meditation centers.
Dinner and Overnight at Gangtey (Phobjikha).
Day 07: Phobjikha- Drive to Thimphu.
After breakfast drive back to Thimphu via Dochu La Pass. The drive from Punakha to Thimphu will take about 3 hours to cover the distance of 70 kilometers.
Then visit Simtokha Dzong, built on 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is often said to be the first dzong built in Bhutan. Also visit the Big Buddha. The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. This massive statue of Sakyamuni measures in at a height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue, 100,000 8 inch tall and 25,000 12 inch tall statues respectively. Each of these thousands of Buddhas has also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Driving distance: 4 Hrs-5 hrs/135km. Elevation of Thimphu: 2320M
Day 08: Thimphu- Drive to Paro.
After breakfast, drive to Paro. Check into the hotel. Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, One of the Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples. The temple is popularly believed to have been built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet, to pin down the left foot of giant ogress who was thwarting the establishment of Buddhism into Tibet. Additional buildings and golden roof were constructed in 1839 by the Penlop of Paro and the 25th Je Khenpo. Also visit Dungtse Lhakhang. This unusual building was built in 1433 by the iron bridge builder Thangthong Gyalpo. It has three floors representing hell, earth and heaven and the paintings inside are said to be some of the best in Bhutan. Beyond Dungtse Lhakhang, to the east of the road, the tiny Pana Lhakhang is quite old and is believed to have been built in the seventh century.
Ugyen Pelri Palace: Ugyen Pelri Palace is in a secluded wooded compound on the south side of the river just west of the Dzong. This Palace was built by the Paro Penlop, Tshering Penjor, in the early 1900s. It is designed after Guru Rinpoche’s celestial paradise, Zangto Pelri, and is one of the most beautiful examples of Bhutanese architecture. Evening at leisure.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel in Paro.
Driving distance: 65Km/1 hrs. Elevation of Paro: 2200m.
Day 09: Paro.
After breakfast drive up to the base of famous Taktshang monastery .Then start the hike on foot uphill. (Alt.3100m).Taktshang literally means – Tiger’s nest. This monastery was built in the 1600s and clings to a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900m above the valley. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, in the form of Dorji Drolo arrived at this site on the back of a flying tigress believed to be his consort, to subdue the eight evil spirits who were preventing the propagation on Buddhism in the area. Visit the Drukgyal Dzong built in 1647 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate Bhutan’s numerous victories over the Tibetan invaders. The Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and is now left in ruins. On a clear day, the 24, 000 ft (7314m) white -domed sacred Mount. Jumolhari can be seen.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel in Paro.
Day 10: Departure.
After breakfast drive to the Paro Airport to board your flight out of Paro. Your Bhutanese escort will bid you farewell and “Tashi Delek “(Good Luck)!