Window to Bhutan 7 nights 8 days Fly-in exit via Phuntsholing
An Introduction to Western Part of Bhutan
This trip provides introduction to Western Bhutan's sights and places within Paro, Thimphu, Wangdiphodrang, Punakha and Phuntsholing.
Trip Type: Cultural Tour
Duration: 8 days Destinations: Bhutan
Group Size: 2
Trip Highlights: 5th King’s 2nd Coronation (Nov 6), and The Tiger’s Nest.
Trip Grade (difficulty): 1 Rating (of Maximum 5):
Join in Trip: No
Trip Type: Private
Meals (B is for breakfast, L for lunch & D for Dinner indicated on each day’s itinerary): All meals included starting with first dinner and last breakfast in Bhutan.
Routes & Places: Paro - Thimphu – Punakha – Wangdue - Phuntsholing.
D 1 Fly Paro (L/D)
Fly to Paro, Bhutan, on Druk Air, the national airline of Bhutan. If you get a seat on the left side of the plane and if weather permits, you may have spectacular views of the high peaks of the Himalayas. After visa formalities at the Paro airport (7,590'), you are met by our Bhutanese guide and transferred to your hotel in Paro to provide you some rest. Later, in the evening your guide will take you to a tiny Paro town for orientation with the place and people. Overnight at the hotel.
D 2 Hike to Chele La and Dzongdrakha/visit National Museum (B/L/D)
This morning a scenic drive of 1 & ½ hr will bring us to Chele La pass at an altitude of aprrox. 3900m/1300ft. On one side is the Paro and on the other side is Haa valley . The hike of this morning begins from a short descent below the pass. It is about a half hour uphill and shorter coming down hill. The hike brings you to a clusters of shelters built on sheer cliffs, under the rock/cave and a temple that houses some 50 or so nuns.
On your way back to Paro, we will stop at a place for the hike to a monastery called Dzondrakha which looks similar to famous Tiger’s Nest monastery but located at shorter hiking distance. Half the walk will be along the agricultural field and very easy, another half will be an uphill climb and when both versions of hikes are summed up it will take less than 1 hour to reach at the top where the monastery stands. On reaching the site of the monastery, one would enjoy the view of the fertile Paro valley below. Your guide will take you inside the main temple of the monastery.
Walk back to the point to meet the transport and drive to Paro and visit Bhutan's national museum, a fascinating place housed in an old watchtower above the huge Paro Dzong. You will also visit Rinphung Dzong (a dzong is a fortress-monastery).
Overnight at the hotel.
D 3 Excursion to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, visit Village Home (B/L/D)
Your hike this morning is to site of Taktsang Monastery (meaning Tiger's nest), tragically wrecked in a fire of early 1998. The monastery, which has now been rebuilt, is perched some 2,000ft/600m up on a sheer cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padmasambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. The hike is about 1 & 1/2 hours to the teahouse, from where you may either opt to go further uphill to the monastery for about 1 hour. Lunch is served at the tea house with the majestic views of Taktsang above and the Paro valley at the bottom. The return trek to the road head is downhill and takes about a little more the time it has taken you to come up.
Arrive in Paro and visit a typical Bhutanese village home. This visit will certainly provide you an insight on living style of Bhutanese villagers. Certain cooking demonstration will be performed for you to get idea on how Bhutanese delicacies like BUTTER TEA and EMA DATSI is prepared. Drive back to your hotel in the evening.
Overnight at hotel.
D 4 Paro - Punakha; Village Walks – 4 hours drive, (B/L/D)
In the morning you drive to Punakha, an old winter capital of Bhutan. En-route stop at Dochu LaPass, 10,000ft/3,048m to view the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. The road then drops down through varied –ever changing forest, finally emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley.
In the afternoon you will make a short trek to visit the Crown Prince's chorten and nearby villages. You return on a different route through the village to Sonagasa (the King’s winter residence) and through to Punakha Dzong, following the Mo chu river. You will meet the vehicle and visit huge impressive Punakha Dzong.
Total drive of about 3 hours. Overnight at hotel.
D 5 Punakha – Thimphu, en-route visit Fertility Temple (B/L/D)
You will drive back to Thimphu, on reaching at a junction called Lobeysa, and little after you will take a diversion and take a short and pleasant hike to a ‘temple of fertility’ or ‘Chimi Lhakhang’.
Chimi Lhakhang was built by lama Drukpa Kunley in 1499. He subdued the demoness of the Dochu la with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom.’ 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.
It’s a 20-minute walk across the rice fields from the road at Sopsokha to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. There are very few monks at the temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings.
Walk back to meet your transport and continue drive towards Thimphu along Dochu La pass where we make a short stop once again to view the Eastern Himalayas. Descend from the pass brings you the village of Hongtsho, a Tibetan settlement and then onto Thimphu. After lunch in Thimphu, drive in the evening to Paro. Total drive of about 5 hours. Overnight at Jumolhari.
Day 6 Thimphu Sightseeing (B/L/D)
In Thimphu, start sightseeing with visit to a Nunnery on the outskirts of Thimphu. You will then visit the School of Arts and Crafts (or "painting school"), where Bhutanese children can follow an eight-year program in traditional arts, such as drawing, painting, woodcarving, and sculpture. This will be followed by a visit to Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, Changgangkha Lhakhang (temple), national Library, Traditional Hospital and see how paper is made from the daphne plant with cosmos flower petals and other plants. At the end of the day, we may also pay a visit to the great Tashichho Dzong, seat of Bhutan's administrative and religious centre.
Overnight at hotel Jumolhari.
D 7 Drive to Phuntsholing (B/L/D)
After breakfast drive 6 - 7 hours to the southern busy town of Phuntsholing better known as business town. Though it is a long drive but you will come across the stunning view with as many turns as you wonder with change in vegetation. En route stop for the visit the oldest Dzong of Simtokha and also temple of Diglo Khentse Rinpoche on the half way through Chuzom. Stop for lunch at Honka and continue south till you reach Phuntsholing.
Overnight at Hotel Lhaki, Phuntsholing.
D 8 Departure (B)
After breakfast in the hotel take your onward journey