Thimphu Tshechu – 8 Days 7 Nights
Day 1 Arrive Paro – Thimphu
In clear weather, flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery. On arrival, you will be met by our representative. After that, drive to Thimphu (55 km, 2 hours), the modern capital town of Bhutan. Then visit, The Largest and Tallest Statue of Buddha in the world, Buddha Point. Evening, stroll around Thimphu town. Dinner and overnight stay at Thimphu Hotel.
Day 2Thimphu Tshechu
After breakfast you will go to witness the 1st Day of Thimphu Tshechu (Festival) which will be held at Tendrel Thang (the festival ground in front of Thimphu Tashichhodzong).
You will take off sometime from the festival to visit Tashichhoe Dzong, a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
After the festival you take some time to Watch Archery match : Bhutan’s national game. Then visit National Memorial Chorten. Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu
Day 3 Thimphu Tshechu
After breakfast visit Centenary Farmers’ Market (open from Thu-Sun only): Most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held by the side of Wangchu River. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening.
And then Go to Tendrel Thang to get a glimpse of the 2nd Day of Thimphu Festival and stay at the festival for about an hour or so.
Afterwards drive for about 30 minutes to the base camp of Tango Monastery and hike up to the Monastery. The walk up to the Monastery is through the forest filled with Rhododendron flower trees which will be in full bloom during April month. Tango Monastery is the center for higher studies for monks. The view from Tango Monastery is breathtakingly beautiful. You will experience complete peace and serenity in this area. After visiting the monastery, walk back to the road and then drive back to Thimphu. Dinner & overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 4 Thimphu Tshechu
After breakfast go to Tendrel Thang (festival ground) to witness the most spectacular last day of Thimphu Tsechu with religious dance performances mixed with folk dances and dance of Bhutanese warriors. People from all walks of life gather at the festival in their finest dresses and ornaments.
After the festival visit Traditional Bhutanese paper making factory. The handmade paper making in Bhutan stemmed from the age old tradition originated in 8th century of Bhutanese history. Also visit Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan. If time permits visit Changankha Lhakhang (temple): This temple situated atop a small hound overlooking the Thimphu valley was built in the 13th century by the illustrious Lam Phajo Dugom Zhigpo. The temple is considered the spiritual home of children born in the Chang valley. Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 5 Thimphu – Punakha
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned. Overnight at hotel in Punakha.
Day 6 Punakha – Wangdue – Paro
Morning drive towards Wagdue, enroute visit Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Then visit Wangdue Dzong. After lunch, drive to Paro (150 kms) en route visit Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 7 Paro
Begin this day with a short drive to the ruined fortress of Drugyel dzong which still attracts visitors due to the strategic location of the fort. From this fort Bhutanese repelled several invasions by Tibetan armies. Nearby visit traditional Bhutanese Farm House which offers good insight into lifestyle of local people. Then take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, the spot where Guru Rinpoche arrived on the back of a tigress and meditated. The temple is perched on a sheer rock face. The excursion to monastery’s view point takes about 5 hours for round trip. While return to Paro town visit enroute Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom. In the evening visit local market and overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 8 Paro Depart
After breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination. Our representative will bid you farewell.