Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air & transfer to Thimphu
(55 km, approx 1.1/2 hour drive)
Flying into the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression. On arrival at Paro airport, after immigration and customs formalities, your guide for the trip will receive you and you will directly visit National Museum of Bhutan in Paro and after that you will drive towards Thimphu.
After lunch in Thimphu visit Memorial Chorten, Takin Preserve centre, and Tashichho Dzong and Buddha Point.
Overnight in Thimphu
Day 02: Thimphu
Thimphu with a population of about 130,000 people is one of the last few capital cities without traffic lights and the traffic still managed by traffic policemen. While strictly maintaining the aesthetic beauty and traditional style of architecture in the modern buildings, there are also very old temples and numerous monasteries in and around the city, a few discotheques, Karaoke joints and pubs.
- After breakfast visit oldest place of worship in the capital, Changangkha Lhakhang is located on a small hill some kilometres from the city centre. The shrine houses a brilliant statue of Chenrezig who is thought of as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara.
- Visit the National Library of Bhutan established back in 1967 and is one of the largest collection of literature on Tibetan Buddhism anywhere in the world. It has as many as 6100 books and manuscripts in Tibetan and Bhutanese, and holds over 9000 printing blocks used to create religious texts. The pretty two-storey building is a must-visit on the list of Thimphu things to do.
- Visit Folk Heritage Museum;
- The Institute of the 13 Arts & Crafts of Bhutan
- Then visit Postal Museum. The postal museum narrates the story of the evolution of communication, transportation and postal services in Bhutan’s history. Its five galleries trace the development of the Bhutanese postal system, from the earliest mail runners to Bhutan’s idiosyncratic and highly collectable modern stamps.
- Visit Craft Bazar and Coronation park.
- In evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar.
Overnight in Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha
Driving Distance: 77 kms – 3 hrs.
Punakha/Wangdue Phodrang Altitude: 1,300 m (4,260 feet)
After breakfast drive to Punakha. Enroute stop over at the Dochula Pass (3150 meters) and on a clear day enjoy the spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains. The 108 small stupas built over a small hill is also a beautiful sight. The road from the Pass winds down to the warm and fertile valleys of Punakha .
In Punakha enjoy a fascinating hike through fields and small hamlets to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten.This beautiful structure was built by the current King’s mother for his protection from evil.
In the evening visit the impressive Punakha Dzong / Fortress of Great Bliss built in 1673 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (the first spiritual & political leader of Bhutan) to commemorate the final victory against numerous Tibetan invasions. Located on a piece of land between two rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu (literally meaning male and female rivers), the Dzong is massive, huge and magnificent in all its architectural grandeur. Although ravaged by flood, fire and earthquakes many times, the Dzong was always rebuilt with its original pattern and design. The first King of modern Bhutan was crowned in Punakha Dzong. Important religious ceremonies are still held in the Dzong. The Royal Wedding ceremony on 13th October 2011 of the Fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema was conducted in Punakha Dzong.
From the Dzong enjoy a short walk through a beautiful pathway of giant flowering trees and flowers and on to the longest iron suspension bridge.
Overnight in Punakha
Day 04: Punakha – Paro
After breakfast drive back to Paro.On the way visit Chimi Lhakhang which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (popularly known as “The Devine Madman”) in the 15th Century. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder Bolt”. The Temple is also known as “The Temple of Fertility”. The divine madman is a famous teacher with whom the phallic symbol is associated. Tales told by your guide would have excited you to visit Chimi Lhakhang. The Divine Madman sits there though a statue this time. Do not miss the master’s deeds painted on the walls. Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children.
Continue Journey to Paro valley with its slate-roofed farmhouses, graceful willow trees and rushing glacial river beneath snow covered peaks. On the way visit Tachog Lhakhang.
In Paro visit Kyichu Lhakhang, Taktsang base camp and take a drive to Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Jomolhari, “mountain of goddess” can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.
Overnight in Paro
Day 5: Paro – Depart Bhutan
After early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.