10 Days 9 Nights Essential Tour
Day 01: Arrive – Paro Transfer to Thimphu
Paro – Alt. 2195 m
Thimphu – Alt. 2350m
Distance – 71 km/approx. 45 mins
The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. First gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. After your visa formalities you will be greeted by our representatives and drive you to Thimphu, capital city of Bhutan. One of the unique and charming thing you will see in all over Bhutan is our architecture. After hotel check-in drive to visit National Memorial Chorten with its golden spines shining in the sun, its tinkling bells built in honor of third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Later in the evening TashichhoeDzong, seat of the Royal Government of Bhutan and summer residence of the central monk body and the Je Khenpo (chief abbot). After the visit stroll through the main city of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Thimphu – Gangtey
Gangtey -Alt. 2900m
Distance – 142 km approx. 06 hours
After breakfast drive to Gangtey, leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for tea and the view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha then continue drive to Gangtey, a valley which is well known as the winter home of the Black necked crane (Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March. Upon arrival pay a visit to GangteyGoempa – Situated south of the road and east of Wangdue Phodrang, is GangteyGompa, an old monastery dating back to the 16th century. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 03: Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang
Bumthang – Alt. 2650m
Distance – 188km/approx. 07- -08 hrs
After breakfast we start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive to is crossing over Pele La pass (3,300m) and Yotongla pass (3,400m). We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pelela Pass (3,300m) with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. If the weather is clear the Himalayan ranges can be seen, particularly the peak of Jhomolhari (7,314m) to the west. En route we cross ChendebjiChorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon then continue drive to Bumthang. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 04: Bumthang sightseeing
In Bumthang valley, we shall visit the places of interest: First you will visit Kurjey Lhakhang: Legend has it that the body imprint of Guru Rimpoche was left behind while mediating in a cave in this temple and new Zangtopelri monastery built by Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck. There after we take a gradual hike to Tamshing Monastery built by Terton Pema Lingpa (revealers of hidden treasures). You will drive back for lunch at the hotel. Afternoon you can visit Jambay Lhakhang built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, which denotes the spread and emergence of Buddhism in the country and visit the Jakar Dzong, the castle of white bird, which houses the administrative centre and institute for monks. Evening ends with a walk through the main street of Chamkhar and visit local shops. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 05: Bumthang- Ugyencholing – Bumthang
After breakfast drive over the Tang valley to Ugyencholing. The drive to Ugyencholing is 24kms from Bumthang. And continue your journey passing through several villages and Tang Middle Secondary School and Rimochen monastery. En-route you will have your picnic lunch at a convenient spot. After 20 minutes’ drive, you will reach to Kidzom where you will hike about an hour to Ugyencholing. Ugyencholing monastery is located on the hill overlooking the valley. After the visit walk back to motor-able road and then drive back to Bumthang along the Chamkhar chu. En-route visit membar Tsho (the burning lake), which is one of Bhutan’s most important pilgrimage sites and continue your drive to hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 06: Bumthang –Trongsa
Trongsa –Alt. 2200m
Distance – 68km/approx. 03-04 hours
After breakfast scenic drive to Trongsa over Yotong la pass. Upon arrival at Trongsa we visit the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In olden days the Dzong commanded the passage between East and West Bhutan. We also visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower above the main Dzong which is now converted into a museum. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 07: Trongsa – Punakha
Punakha – Alt. 1350m
Distance- 156km/approx. 05 – 06 hours
After breakfast drive to Punakha over Chela pass. Upon arrival hike for 20 minutes to Chime Lhakhang, temple of the “Divine Madman” built in 1499. Today it is mostly visited by women who couldn’t bear children and it is also known as the temple of fertility. Then walk back to road and drive to hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 08:Punakha– Thimphu – Paro
Distance – 125 km/ approx. 04 hours 30mins
After breakfast drive to visit Punakha Dzong, to witness Punakha Drubchen, thisDrubchen is a unique festival because it hosts a dramatic recreation of the scene from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army. The ‘pazaps’ or local militia men, dress in traditional battle gear and reenact the ancient battle scene. This reenactment harkens back to the time when in the absence of a standing army, men from the eight Tshogchens or great village blocks of Thimphu came forward and managed to expel the invading forces from the country. Their victory ushered in a period of new-found internal peace and stability. The Dzong is spanning the Mo Chu(female) and Pho Chu (Male) rivers. It is also the winter residence for the Central Monk Body and Je Khenpo (chief abbot). Then drive to Paro over Dochula pass. Afternoon drive to visit Ta Dzong (National Museum), built in the 17th century as a watch tower for Paro Dzong. This Dzong was converted into the National Museum in 1967. Also visit Paro RinpungDzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration centre and school for monks. A short walk below the Dzong takes you across a traditional cantilevered to one of the innumerable archery grounds (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan). Dinner at and overnight at hotel.
Day 09: Paro – hike to Taktsang
Tiger nest – 3180 m
After early breakfast drive to Ramthangkha to hike up to Taktsang monastery. Hike up to cafeteria will take around 02 hours. At the view point, enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. After rest at the cafeteria, it is another 1.5-2 hours to Tiger’s Nest. You can visit the main 13 temples once you are at Tiger’s nest. After the visit walk back to the café and have lunch/tea and walk back to the motor-able road, where your car will pick you up and then drive to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in 7th century after the visit walk near your car. Later in the evening drive a short distance to visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse and explore the lifestyle of a Bhutanese farmer. Dinner at Farm stay and overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Paro – Departure (by Druk Air)
An early breakfast served at your hotel and then drive a short distance to the Paro airport where your Bhutanese escort will bid you farewell at Paro airport. Good-bye and happy journey back home.
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***Please note that some of the sights/itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the rights to alter the itinerary since tours are made in advance and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve your overall travel experience in Bhutan. The driving and hiking times mentioned are approximate times and do not include breaks in the journey for sightseeing, photo/tea/meal/rest stops. Due to the ongoing up-gradation of the national highway (east-west), there may be delays in transfer time due to road conditions, road closures, inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. During your journey, you will encounter areas of degraded roads, a bumpy ride and road closures – we apologize for the inconveniences. During the treks/hikes, there may be delays or diversion of hiking trails due to trail conditions, inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances.***