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Bhutan Tour & Trek

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Bhutan General Information Introduction: Bhutan is the land of the thunder dragon. Lying between China to the north and India to the south, the Druk Kingdom is a land of immense natural beauty with rich ancient culture and tradition. Bhutan is one of the few unexplored tourist destinations in the world. Often referred to as Shangri-La, Bhutan is a beautiful tourist destination. Buddhism is the national religion of Bhutan. Buddhism is believed to have been first introduced in Bhutan the 8th century B.C. The Bhutanese people love themselves to be called Drukpas. Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan. TheTibetan origin people dominate the northern, eastern and western part of Bhutan, while the Nepalese origin people dominate the southern part. Bhutan was opened to the modern development in the 1960s after the years of self-imposed isolation with the building of the first schools, hospitals and roads. When Bhutan was closed to the outside world, the then Bhutanese government took these Nepali origin people to accelerate the development process. However, it is pity to say that more than 1, 00,000 Nepali origin Bhutanese people have been taking asylum in eastern districts of Nepal due to political crisis in Bhutan. In the new millennium, Bhutan stands as a unique nation that blends modernization with its tradition and culture.


History of Bhutan: Being a landlocked country, Bhutan’s history has always been influenced by its geography. The historical legends of Bhutan began with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava, who is believed to have come from Tibet in 747 A.D. After his arrival in the dragon kingdom, the Buddhist faith has played an important part in shaping the course of this country's history. The word " Bhutan" is derived from the Sanskrit word "Bhu Uttam", which means best land. It needs no mention that Bhutan's land is recognized as one of the best among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. The early explorers and envoys of the British government used to call Bhutan "Bootan". The Buddhists writers called her "Lho Mon" or "Mon Yul", which means " Paradise of the South" and "Land of the Moons" respectively. It is Druk or Druk Yul, Land of Thunder Dragon etc. to the inhabitants of Bhutan. From the available and surviving literatures and artifacts in a few ancient monasteries, the prehistoric era of Bhutan can still date back to 500 to 600 A.D .Its unique geographical situation secured it free from foreign invasion and allowed it to develop a strong degree of common identity despite the ethnic and linguistic diversity. The 17th century traced the unification of Bhutan under the charismatic leadership of Nawang Namgyal who took the honorary title of Shabdrung. In 1865, the Penlop of Tongsa named Jigme Namgyel bequeathed his son Ugyen Wangchuk that position. Therefore, the Wangchuk dynasty has been ruling this small kingdom till date. After King Jigmey Singe Wangchuk stepped down in December 2006, his son Jigme Kesar Namgyal is ruling the world’s last Shangri-La at present.


Flora and Fauna: Bhutan is best known for her richness in flora and fauna. The journey to Bhutan offers one the unique opportunity for being familiar with scenic beauty. There is no doubt that Bhutan is a storehouse of biodiversity. The Druk Kingdom is not only home to beautiful flowers and plants such as Rhododendron, Junipers, Magnolias, Orchids, Gentians, Daphne and the rear Blue Poppy and other some rare medicinal herbs and exotic mushrooms but also faunal diversity. Bhutan boasts 500 species of birds. Some of them include Monal Pheasant, the Tragopan, wild Pigeons and doves, the rare Rufus-necked hornbill and the endangered Black-necked crane are the major fauna. The population of butterfly fauna is abundant in Bhutan. Bhutan holds a rich wildlife like- Snow leopard, Blue sheep, Musk deer, Takin, the Himalayan Black Bear, Tiger, Rhinoceros, Gaur, the Great Indian Water Buffalo, the Golden Langur and many more. Local fish and brown trout can be found in the northern rivers and the mountain lakes, while Mahseer can be found in the south-east rivers.


People & culture: The people of Bhutan are hardworking, simple, hospitable and straightforward. They can be categorized into three broad ethnic groups: the Sharchops, Ngalungs and those from Nepali origin. The Sharchops are believed to have been the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. A majority of them have been living in the eastern parts of the Kingdom. The Nagalungs are the descendants of the Tibetan immigrants, who came to Bhutan from about the 9th century onward. They have been staying primarily in the western part. The people belonging to the Nepali origin are the third category of people. They have been living in the southern belt of Bhutan. When Bhutan was closed to the outside world and had no development, these Nepalese origin people were taken by the Bhutanese government to accelerate the developmental activities. However, it is pity to say that more than 100,000 Nepali origin Bhutanese were evicted from their own homeland by the Bhutanese government on charge of demonstrating for democracy and fundamental human rights. At present, they have been leading a pathetic life in the camps in eastern Nepal. The southern Bhutanese are the followers of Hinduism, while the Sharchops and Ngalungs follow Buddhism. The national language of Bhutan is Dhongkha and its national religion is Buddhism. More than 75 percent of the people in Bhutan have adopted agriculture as their main occupation. Until now, the culture and social life of Bhutan has remained unaffected by modernity.The men's attire is called "Gho", while "Kira" is the attire of women. However, the Nepalese origin people wear "Gho" and "Kira" only when visiting offices. Jewelries are mostly made from pearls, corals turquoise, and agate set in well-crafted gold and silver. Meat, cereals particularly rice, vegetables and herbs are the major food items in Bhutan. Meat dishes include mainly mutton, pork and beef, which are lavishly spiced with chilies. Salted butter tea is served to all the visitors as they enter any house. Other famous beverages include Chang, a local beer, and Arra, a type of sprite distilled from rice, maize, wheat or barley. As a customary greeting, "Doma" or betel nut is offered to every visitor. Archery is the national game of Bhutan. So, it has gained popularity across the country. The Bhutanese people play it with zeal and enthusiasm throughout the year with the traditional bows and arrows. In Bhutan, the ancient and traditional art, music and dances of the different ethnic groups have been protected in an effective manner.


Festivals: In this dragon kingdom, Tshechus are the main annual religious festivals of Bhutan that are celebrated to honour Guru Padmasambhava, also known as "Guru Rimpoche". Tshechus are considered as an occasion for reverence, feasting, socializing and blessing by the people. Staged at different times of the year in different parts of the Kingdom, Tshechu is a unique experience to the outsider. Apart from Tshechus, Dashain and Tihar are also celebrated in Bhutan. Primarily, Dashain and Tihar are celebrated by the Nepali origin Bhutanese.


Art and Craft: The Bhutanese people have a strong sense of aesthetics, art, craft and architecture. Primarily, Bhutan's art and craft is broadly influenced by the Tibetan art and craft. Dzongs, chortens and monasteries can be seen everywhere. Some of the Lhakhangs and Gompas are even made on high peaks. Basically, chortens are constructed in memory of an eminent lama or to ward off evil spirit. These structures are beautifully decorated inside and outside with woodcarvings and paintings in a riot of colours and patterns. The walls of temples and shrines are decorated with the paintings and carvings of Buddha and various deities. The "Tashi Tagye" or eight auspicious signs are found painted on buildings. Thankas are hung on the walls for attractions. They offer the Thankas as souvenir when tourists pay their visit. Articles for daily use are not touched by the influence of modernization and commercialization. Traditional craftsmanship has been handed down from generation to generation. Craftsmen of Bhutan are skilled in bronze and precious metals, wood and slate carving and clay sculpture.


7 days Western Bhutan:
Day 1: Arrival in Paro, drive to Punakha/WangdiphodrangArrival at Paro International Airport After lunch at a local restaurant you will be transferred to Wangdiphodrang/Punakha, en-route stop at Dochula Pass (3100 meters) where you will visit the Druk Wangyel Monastery and the 108 chortens. You will also get to see spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayan Range including Gangkar Punseum (7590 meters), the highest mountain in Bhutan, and also the world’s highest unclimbed peak. Relax for the rest of the day at your hotel or take a short walk around town. Dinner at hotel. Overnight Wangdiphodrang/Punakha. Paro – Punakha/Wangdiphodrang driving time: 3.5 hours.


Day 2: Sightseeing Punakha: After breakfast visit Punakha valley, 30 minutes drive from Wangdi- En-route visit Chimmi Lhakang, the monastery of the Divine Madman and also the fertility monastery. Follow by visit to Puankha Dzong, considered to be the most beautiful Dzong in the country. Punakha used to serve as capital of Bhutan till early 20th century and today it is still the winter residence of the Central Monk Body. The Chief Abbot and about 1000 monks live here for six months in the winter since Punakha is located at a lower altitude than Thimphu. Follow by visit to Khamsum Yulley Chorten, a monastery built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother of the 5th King. Picnic lunch will be served. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Wangdiphodrang/Punakha.


Day 3: Drive to Thimphu and afternoon Thimphu sightseeing:
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Thimphu has a population of roughly 90,000 and like any other bigger towns, rural- urban migration is very high here. After lunch at the hotel/local restaurant visit Handmade Paper Factory, Silversmiths, Tashicho Dzong, and finish your day walking along the main shopping streets of Thimphu. Dinner at a Bhutanese home. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu. Drive time from Wangdiphodrang to Thimphu: 2.5 hours.


Day 4: Thimphu Sightseeing: After breakfast continue sightseeing: visit the School of Arts and Crafts, the National Library, and the Institute of Traditional Medicine. After lunch at a restaurant in Thimphu visit the Zilukha Nunnery, the Mothithang Zoo which solely houses the Takins (National animal of Bhutan), and Changangkha Lhakang, a monastery built in the 12th century. Evening, take a leisurely stroll from your hotel to the National Memorial Chorten, a shrine built in memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The Chorten has recently been renovated and many locals come here throughout the day to take the opportunity to go round the Chorten to gain merit. Dinner at hotel. Overnight in Thimphu.


Day 5: Drive to Paro: Drive back to Paro in the morning. After lunch at hotel, start sightseeing in Paro. Visit the National Museum which is housed in the TA DZONG (WATCH TOWER) built in the early sixteenth century to protect Paro valley against Tibetan invasion. It was transformed into the National Museum by the late King Jigme Dorji wangchuk in 1968 and has got excellent collection of all facets of Bhutan’s rich cultural history. Paro Dzong which was built in 1646 by the first theocracy ruler Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and it is the finest example of Bhutanese architecture. Overnight Paro. Drive time from Thimphu to Paro: 1 hour.


Day 6: Paro sightseeing: Tiger’s Nest: Hike Tiger Nest Monastery (Taktsang) which is the most famous from over two thousands monasteries in the kingdom. This monastery is perched on the side of a cliff more than 2000 feet above Paro valley. The name Taktsang means Tiger’s Nest (English translation) because Guru Rimpoche the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan was said to have flown to the cave on the back of Tigress for meditation. This site is considered sacred by Mahayana Buddhists and a highlight of one’s visit to Bhutan. Ovenight stay in Paro.


Day 7: Departure by Druk Air.
12 days Western and Central Bhutan

Day 1: Paro Arrival: Arrival at Paro by Druk Air and transfer to your hotel. After lunch at the hotel you will visit the Paro Dzong. Overnight at hotel in Paro.


Day 2: Paro Sightseeing: The sightseeing program in Paro includes visit to the National Museum which is housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower) built in the early seventeenth century to protect Paro valley against Tibetan invasion. It is transformed into the National museum by the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in 1968 and has got excellent collection of all facets of Bhutan’s rich cultural history. Afternoon hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, the main temple complex was destroyed by fire in 1998 and reconstruction was completed few Paro years ago. The Tiger”s Nest Monastery (Taktsang) is found by Guru Rimpoche who flew on the back of a Tigress and he meditated in a cave for three months and the original Monastery is built by Desi Tenzin Rabgye in 1646. This place is considered sacred to the Mahayana Buddhists and a one of your highlight to Bhutan. Hike back. Dinner at hotel. Overnight at hotel in Paro.


Day3: Paro - Thimphu: After breakfast, drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. With a population of roughly 90,000, you will notice that rural-urban migration is very high here. After lunch start your day by visiting the Handmade paper factory, Silversmith , National Memorial Chorten, Zilukha Nunnery, Takin ( National animal of Bhutan), School of Arts and Crafts, National Library, Traditional Medicine and Textile Museum. Dinner at a Bhutanese home. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu. Drive time Paro to Thimphu: 1 hour.


Day 4: Thimphu Sightseeing – Wangdiphodrang: More sightseeing in Thimphu and after lunch you will take a scenic drive across the Dochula Pass (over 3000 meters), and see spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayan Range including Gangkar Punseum (7590 m) the highest mountain of Bhutan, and it is the world’s highest unclimbed peak . Then drive down through the rich forests to Wandue valley which is about 1200 meters. The drive takes about two to three hours to cover 65 km with photo opportunity. This route is very good for bird watching. Overnight at hotel in Wangdiphodrang.Drive time from Thimphu to Wangdiphodrang: 2.5 hours.


Day 5: Wangdiphodrang - Trongsa: Further drive to Trongsa – afternoon visit Trongsa Dzong and this Dzong is very important in Bhutanese history as the first King Sir Ugyen Wangchuck was able to unify Bhutan and later he was asked by the people of Bhutan to be the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan in 1907. Overnight at hotel in Trongsa. Drive time from Wangdiphodrang – Trongsa: 4 hours.


Day 6: Trongsa - Bumthang: After breakfast take drive to Kuengarabten to visit the winter Palace of the second King Jigme Wangchuck, it gives an intimate insight into life in the early days of Bhutan’s monarchy. It has a very typical Bhutanese architecture, ground floor for storage, first floor for Royal attendants, second floor royal quarters and royal Chapel. The second King used to entertain and receive guests from British India in this very palace. The distance is about 25km from the hotel and there is a high chance of spotting golden Langur found only in a small pocket of Bhutan. Lunch will be served at the Hotel on your return and then further drive to Bumthang (Jakar) over Yototla Pass 3400 metres and en-route visit Chumi weaving centre. Drive time from Trongsa to Bumthang: 2 hours.


Day 7: Bumthang Sightseeing: Visit Jakar Dzong, Jambay Lhakhang one of the two oldest monasteries in Bhutan, then Kurji Lhakhang, walk across the suspension bridge to Tamshing Monastery. Afternoon visit Monastic School of Namkhey Ningpo and walk around Chamkhar Bazaar. Overnight at hotel in Bumthang.


Day 8: Bumthang - Phobjikha: Drive back to Phobjikha afternoon visit Gangtey Monastery and villages. If you are here during the winter months, you will get a chance to see the black necked cranes, an endangered species of birds. Overnight at hotel in Phobjikha. Drive time from Bumthang to Phobjikha: 4.5 hours.


Day 9: Phobjikha - Wangdiphodrang: After breakfast drive back to Wangdue. Afternoon visit Wangdi Phidrang Dzong and Rinchengang Village. Overnight at hotel in Wangdiphodrang. Drive time from Phobjikha to Wangdiphodrang: 2 hours.


Day 10: Punakha Sightseeing: After breakfast drive down the valley to Punakha. En-route visit Chimi Lhakang, the monastery of the Divine Madman. Follow by visit to the Punakha Dzong, considered to be one of the most beautiful Dzongs in the country. Punakha used to serve as capital of Bhutan till early 20th century and today, the Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the Central Monk Body. The Chief Abbot and about 1000 monks live here six months in winter. After visit to the Dzong walk over the Puna mochu Bazam, the cantilever footbridge on the Female River. This bridge was washed away by the flood in 1960 and has been recently restored. The footbridge has a length of 55 meters making it the world’s longest unsuppored wooden bridge in the world. Picinic lunch lunch will be served. Afternoon, take a pleasant hike through the rice feilds to Khamsum Yulley Choreten, a monastery built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother of the Fifth King. Drive back to hotel in the evening. Overnight at hotel in Wangdiphodrang.Drive time from Wangdiphodrang to Punakha: 30 minutes.


Day 11: Wangdiphodrang - Paro: Today you will drive back to Paro, with a free afternoon in Thimphu for last minute souvenir shopping. Overnight at hotel in Paro. Drive time from Wangdiphodrang to Paro: 3.5 hours.


Day 12: Departure by Druk Air:
17 days Whole Bhutan
Day 1: Arrival at Paro: Your sightseeing begins right from the air. The approach to Paro International Airport is like no other. You get a spectacular view of the mountains and the valley below as the plane glide between two ridges preparing for landing. You will be met at the airport by representatives from Bhutan Dorji Holidays. Check-in to hotel and after lunch you will visit Paro Dzong which was built in 1646 during the reign of the first theocracy ruler of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is the finest example of Bhutanese architecture.Paro Dzong. Follow by visit to Kichu Monastery. Overnight stay Paro.


Day 2: Day: exercusion to Chelela Pass and Keeli Nunnery. Drive to Chelela Pass (4000 meters). On the way visit Keeli Nunnery on foot which takes about one hour from the road. Picnic lunch. Overnight stay Paro.


Day 3: Paro Sightseeing - Thimphu: In the morning visit National Museum which is housed in the OLD WATCH TOWER of Paro Dzong. It was built to protect against Tibetan invasion in the early 17th century. Later hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery with lunch at the Cafeteria, and if physically fit, some of the group members can hike further up to Zangto Peri Monastery beyond the Main Temple of Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery). Taktsang Monastery is one of the most famous in Bhutan from over two thousands monasteries. It is perched on a cliff more than 2000 feet above Paro valley. The name Taktsang means Tiger’s Nest because it is believed that Guru Rimpoche, the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan, was said to have flown on the back of a Tigress to the cave where the monastery is today for meditation. The original Monastery was built by Desi Tenzin Rabgye in 1646. This site is considered very sacred by pilgrims of all walks of Mahayana Buddhists and a highlight of one’s visit to Bhutan. Lunch will be served at Taktsang Cafeteria. Hike back in the afterno
on. Drive to Thimphu. Overnight stay Thimphu. Drive time Paro to Thimphu: 1 hour.


Day 4: Thimphu Sightseeing:
Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan is located in a wooded valley, along the banks of the Wang-Chu River. Over the past couple of years Thimphu has not only developed in terms of infrastructure but the population has drastically increased as well. With population of roughly 100,000, you will notice that the rural-urban migration is very high here. Overnight stay Thimphu.Sightseeing include visit to the School of Arts and Crafts (Zorigchusum), Textile Museum, Silversmiths, Bhutanese Paper Factory, National Library and finish the day walking along Thimphu town. Overnight at Thimphu.


Day 5: Thimphu Sightseeing - afternoon drive to Wangdiphodrang:
More sightseeing around Thimphu: Weekend market, Changangkha monastery (founded in the 12th century), Takin Zoo (the National animal of Bhutan), Zilukha Nunnery, National Memorial Chorten, Tashichho Dzong and the Handicraft Emporium. Drive to Wandiphodrang in the evening. This drive will take you through the Dochula Pass (3100 meters). Dochula Pass boast 108 stupas and a very recently opened monastery (Druk Wangyel Lhakhang) dedicated to His Majesty the 4th King, built by her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. Continue drive down to the valley of Wangdi. Overnight at Wangdiphodrang. Drive time Thimphu to Wangdiphodrang: 2.5 hours.


Day 6: Punakha Sightseeing:
Visit Chhemi Lhakhang founded by the Divine Madman followed by Punakha Dzong. This is the most beautiful Dzong in the country and it used to serve as the capital of Bhutan till mid 20th century. Today, it is still the winter residence of the Central Monk Body and about 1000 monks with the Chief Abbot reside here for six months in winter. After visit to the Dzong walk over the Puna Mochu Bazam, the only wooden bridge with the longest unsupported span worldwide. Picnic lunch– Afternoon - a pleasant hike through the rice fields to Khamsum Yulley Chorten built by Her Majesty Queen Mother of the Fifth King. Overnight stay Wangdiphodrang. Drive time Wangdiphodrang to Punakha: 30 minutes.


Day 7: Wangdiphodang - Trongsa: Further drive to Trongsa where you will see dramatic scenery and drive through forest of rhododendrons- with lunch break at Chendiji. Visit the famous Trongsa Dzong which is very important in Bhutanese history as the first King Sir Ugyen Wangchuck was able to unify Bhutan from here. He was later asked by the people to be the first hereditar
y monarch of Bhutan in 1907. Overnight at Trongsa. Drive time Wangdiphodrang to Trongsa: 4 hours.


Day 8: Trongsa Sightseeing - Bumthang:
After breakfast visit the Kinga Rabten Palace, the winter palace of the second King Jigme Wangchuck. The palace portrays an intimate insight into the life of the early days of the Bhutanese Monarchy. It has a very typical Bhutanese architecture: ground floor for storage, first floor for Royal attendants, second floor royal quarters and royal Chapel. The second King used to entertain and receive guests from British India in this very palace. Drive back to Trongsa – after lunch at hotel continue drive to Bumthang – 2-3 hours over Yotola Pass (3400 meters). En-route visit Chumi weaving center. Overnight stay at Bumtang. Drive time Trongsa - Bumthang: 2 hours.


Day 9: Bumthang Sightseeing:
Visit Jakar Dzong, and then Jambay Lhakhang one of the two oldest monasteries in Bhutan. Follow by visiting Kurji Lhakhang, and finally walk across the suspension bridge to Tamshing Monastery. Afternoon visit Monastic School of Namkhey Ningpo and walk around Chamkhar Bazaar. Overnight stay at Bumtang.


Day 10: Bumthang (Jakar to Tang)
After breakfast lunch leave for Tang, where you will visit the valley and the historic Orgyencholing Palace. Visit the Orgyencholing Museum which is housed in the Orgyencholing Palace. This place is the only structure today of its size and history used and lived in by the family with direct links to the palace. Few years ago, the heir of Orgyen Choling converted it into the first private Museum in the country. You will be staying at the Orygencholing Guest House. Please note that there is no electricity here.


Day 11:Bumthang - Mongar: Today our journey begins to Eastern Bhutan, not many tourists go beyond Bumthang due to lack of tourist facilities and long drive. The drive to Mongar is approximately 185 Km, 7-8 hours, crossing the Thromsingla pass (3600 meters), highest point of the trip and then driving all the way down to Lingmethang just over 600 meters of altitude in 3 hours. Interesting drive along waterfalls, steep cliff, dramatic scenery and distinctive change of vegetations as you descend down to Kurichu. It is a long drive and you can do a bit of walking at Sengor waterfall to stretch your legs. Picnic lunch will be served on the way. Overnight stay Mongar. Drive time Tang, Bumthang - Mongar: 8.5 hours.


Day 12: Day Excursion to Lhuntse: You have a day excursion to Lhuntse, one of the remotest districts of Bhutan. You will drive along the Kurichu River all the way till the Dzong which will take about 3 hours. Lhuntse is famous for weaving ghos and kiras. You will also visit Khoma village on foot, 2-3 hours pleasant walk along Khoma River from the main road. It is an opportunity to mingle and interact with local people in the village. Overnight stay Mongar. Drive time Mongar to Lhuntse: 3 hours.


Day 13: Mongar to Tashigang:
After breakfast, visit Mongar Dzong then further drive to Tashigang (95 km). You will see some BROKPAS from Merak and Saktang, unique inhabitants of extreme east of Bhutan. Afternoon visit Tashigang Bazaar. Overnight stay Tashigang. Drive time Mongar to Tashigang: 4 hours.


Day 14: Day Excursion to Tashi Yangtse: Day excursion to Tashi Yangtse, where you will visit Chorten Kora built as a duplicate copy of Boudhanath in Kathmandu in 1740. Follow by visit to the Institute of Art and Craft, similar to the School of Arts and Crafts in Thimphu. Overnight stay Tashigang. Drive time Tashigang to Tashi Yangtse: 1.5 hours.


Day 15: Cutlrual Hike to Rhadi Village: Visit the Radhi monastery and afternoon explore Tsangkhar village, yet another place very famous for traditional hand weavings. You will be doing 3-4 hours of hike in andaround the valley. Overnight stay Tashigang.


Day 16: Tashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar: Today drive to Samdrup Jonkhar, the commercial hub of Eastern Bhutan. This town borders with the Indian State of Assam. The drive is about 6 hours, and on the way you will visit Sherubtse College, and Khaling weaving centre. Overnight stay Samdrup Jongkhar. Drive time Tashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar: 6 hours.


Day 17 – Drive to Guwahati Airport for departure:
20 days Flowers and Nature Lovers:
Bhutan, the size of Switzerland, was declared one of the 10 global hot spots on Earth. With more that over 675 bird species (more that what is found in the whole of North America), 178 mammals, 7000 plant species, and 46 recorded species of rhododendrons, Bhutan is truly unique. Rhododendrons are found between the altitude of 1000 meters to 5000 meters and they start blooming from February to July. Dwarf rhododendrons and blue poppy are found best in June at the altitude of 4000 meters.


Day 1: Paro - Thimphu: Airrival at Paro International Airpor.Afer lunch visit the Paro Dzong, after which you will drive to Thimphu. Check in Hotel. Leisure evening. Overnight Thimphu. Drive time from Paro to Thimphu: 1 hour.


Day 2: Thimphu:
Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan is located in a wooded valley, along the banks of the Wang-Chu River. Over the past couple of years Thimphu has not only developed in terms of infrastructure but the population has drastically increased as well. With population of roughly 100,000, you will notice that the rural-urban migration is very high here. Start your day by visiting the Zorigh Chosum (School of Arts and Crafts), National Library, Handmade paper factory, Silversmith, Zilukha Nunnery, Tashicho Dzong (Central Secretariat), Handicraft Emporium and finish the day walking along Thimphu Main Street. Overnight Thimphu.


Day 3: Thimphu - Wangdiphodrang:
Drive to Wangdiphodrang over Dochula Pass (3100 meters). Dochula Pass boast 108 chortens and a monastery (Druk Wangyel Lhakhang) built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck dedicated to 100 years of Monarchy. The monastery has beautiful murals depicting the Wangchuck Dynasty. Continue drive down the valley to Wangdiphodrang. Drive time from Thimphu to Wangdiphodrang: 2 hours.


Day 4: Wangdiphodrang - Phobjikha: Visit Rinchengang village, and Wangdiphodran Dzong before driving to Phobjikha. Picnic lunch will be served at Pelela Pass (3300 meteres) and afternoon visit Gangtey Monastery and Crane centre. Phobjikha is the winter home of the black necked cranes where they migrate from Tibet. Check in hotel. Overnight at Phobjikha.Drive time from Wangdiphodrang to Phobjikha: 4 hours.


Day 5: Explore Phobjikha: Exlore Phobjikha valley or hike over Tselela Peak over looking Phobjika valley. Overnight Phobjikha. Day 6: Phobjikha - Bumthang Further drive to Bumthang with lunch break at Trongsa – en-route visit Chumi Weaving center. Overnight Bumtang. Drive time from Phobjikha to Bumthang: 4.5 hours.


Day 7: Bumthang Sightseeing: After breakfast, sightsee around Bumthang valley. Visits will include Jakar Dzong and Jambay Lhakhang (one of the two oldest monasteries in Bhutan) followed by visit to Kurji Lhakhang. Walk across the suspension bridge to Tamshing Monastery. Afternoon visit the Monastic School of Namkhey Ningpo and walk around Chamkhar Bazaar. Overnight Bumthang.


Day 8: Bumthang (Jakar - Tang) Hike to Tang valley – this is a one day cultural trek of Bumtang. You will have to drive till Ngalhakhang. Then trek over Pherpherla Pass and arrive in beautiful Tang valley or start hike from Petseling to Kunzangda and then hike to Orgyen Choling. Overnight stay at Orgyen Choling Guest House. Orgyen Choling is yet another historical place and you can compare it with Kingarabten, which you will later visit on your way to Zhemgang. This place is the only structure today of its size and history used and lived in by the family with direct links. Few years ago, the heir of Orgyen Choling converted it into the first private Museum in the country.


Day 9: Bumthang (Tang)
Visit museum and explore local villages on foot or day hike to Thowaida. Overnight Orgyen Choling Guest House.


Day 10: Bumthang - Zhemgang: Drive to Zhemgang. Drive time from Bumthang to Zhemgang: 6 hours.


Day 11: Zhemgang:
TrongsaNature drive to Tingtingbi – to see Bhutan’s own GOLDEN LANGURS found only in Bhutan and after lunch drive back to Trongsa – en-route visit Kinga Rabten Palace, the winter residence of the Second King. Overnight stay at Trongsa. Drive time from Zhemgang to Trongsa: 2 hours.


Day 12: Trongsa - Wangdiphodrang:
In the morning visit, Ta Dzong Museum, and the Trongsa Dzong and then take a two hour walk through the old mule route that used to connect Eastern and Western Bhutan- lunch at Chnediji- further drive to Wangdue Phodrang. Drive time from Trongsa to Wangdiphodrang: 3 hours.


Day 13: Punakha Sightseeing:
Drive up to the suspension bridge follow by a pleasant hike through the rice fields to Khamsum Yulley Chorten built by Her Majesty Queen Mother of the Fifth King dedicated to the present King. Later visit to Punakha Dzong - this is the most beautiful Dzong in the country and it used to serve as the capital of Bhutan till mid 20th century. Today, it is still the winter residence of the Central Monk Body and about 1000 monks with the Chief Abbot reside here for six months in winter. Recently the cantilever bridge has be restored by friends from Germany, making the record of the world’s longest unsupported wooden bridge. PICNIC LUNCH – afternoon drive to Norbugang Village. High tea in village home. Overnight at Dragon’s Nest Hotel, Wangdiphodrang. Drive time from Punakha to Ngdiphodrang: 30 minutes.


Day 14: Wangdiphodrang: Thimphu Drive back to Thimphu – leisurely afternoon and you will have dinner at a private home. Drive time from Wangdiphodrang to Thimphu: 2 hours.


Day 15: Thimphu - Pumula:
After breakfast – hike to Pumula over Pumu Dachasa-. Hike starts from Thimphu and take about 6-8 hours reaching 4000 metres. Night Hot stone water will be arranged. Overnight camping in Pumula.


Day 16: Excursion to Tsemakota Glacial Lake: Excursion to Tsemakota glacial lake following ridges above Thimphu – 4000+ meters. Here you will be able to enjoy beautiful scenery with full blooms of dwarf rhododendron, other alpine flowers and blue poppy. Evening walk back to Pumola. Hot stone water bath. Overnight camping.


Day 17: Tseluana - Hele Dzong - Paro: After breakfast – hike down to Tselunana and hike to Jele Dzong. The vehicle will meet you above Ta Dzong. Drive to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.


Day 18: Paro Sightseeing: In the morning visit Paro Dzong built in 17 century during the reign the first theocracy ruler of Bhutan, Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel. Follow by hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery with lunch at the Cafeteria. Taktsang Monastery is one of the most famous in Bhutan from over two thousands monasteries. It is perched on a cliff more than 2000 feet above Paro valley. The name Taktsang means Tiger’s Nest because it is believed that Guru Rimpoche, the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan, was said to have flown on the back of a Tigress to the cave for meditation and this is where the monastery stands today. The original Monastery was built by Desi Tenzin Rabgye in 1646. This site is considered very sacred by pilgrims of all walks of Mahayana Buddhists and a highlight of one’s visit to Bhutan. Hike back in the afternoon. Evening walk around Paro town. Leisurely evening in Paro Town. Overnight hotel in Paro.


Day 19: Chelela Pass:
Drive to Chelela Pass (4000 meters) and hike over the ridge, another beautiful place to see flowers including blue poppy. Picnic lunch will be served. Walk down from the ridge to Keeli Nunnery for tea. Evening drive back to Hotel. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 20: Departure by Druk Air.

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