Embark on an enchanting journey through the captivating landscapes of Bhutan, where contrasting wonders await at every turn. Discover the summer and winter abodes of revered monks, immerse yourself in the rich history of the Paro valley, and behold the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayan mountain range from a lofty 3,000-meter pass. Traverse through lush rhododendron and Magnolia forests as you descend to the inviting warmth of the Punakha valley at 1,200 meters. Witness the remarkable diversity of flora and fauna while experiencing the dramatic shifts in climate between mountains and valleys.
Note: The tour has been renamed as the “Mystic Bhutan Tour” to evoke a sense of intrigue and adventure that awaits travelers in this captivating destination.
Outline of the Itinerary:
Day 01: Arrival and Transfer to Thimphu
Day 02: Thimphu to Punakha
Day 03: Punakha to Paro
Day 04: Paro Hike to Tiger’s Nest
Day 05: Departure
Note: Please note that this is just a sample itinerary, and you can customize it further based on your interests, preferences, and the duration of your stay in Bhutan. Your guide will be able to assist you in planning and arranging activities according to your specific requirements.
Distance: 55 km, Altitude: 2,320 m (7,656 ft)
Upon arrival in Paro, Bhutan’s only airport, you will be captivated by the stunning scenery, fresh mountain air, majestic monasteries, and the warm hospitality of the Bhutanese people dressed in their traditional attire. This marks the beginning of your unforgettable Bhutan experience.
After completing customs and visa procedures, you will meet your guide at the arrival gate. From there, enjoy a scenic 1-hour drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, renowned for being the only capital without traffic lights.
Upon reaching Thimphu, check into your hotel and take some time to refresh yourself. Begin your exploration with a visit to Dechenphu Monastic School, also known as the “Palace of Great Bliss.” This ancient Buddhist monastery, converted into a monastic school in 1971, is one of Thimphu’s oldest landmarks. Admire the historical Bhutanese artifacts, including 12th-century paintings monitored by UNESCO. The monastery’s two-storey dzong offers a captivating view of the Thimphu valley.
Next, visit Drubthob Goemba Monastery, popularly known as Zilukha Nunnery, which offers panoramic vistas of the enchanting Thimphu Valley. Engage in conversations with the nuns residing in the nunnery and gain insights into their lives and Buddhism.
Continue your journey with a visit to the National Post Office, renowned for its collection and sale of Bhutan’s famous stamps. Discover the diverse and high-quality stamps that have made Bhutan renowned among philatelists worldwide. You even have the opportunity to create personalized stamps with your own photo, making for a unique souvenir to share with your loved ones.
Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan at the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, also known as the School of Traditional Arts and Crafts. Witness the meticulous craftsmanship of Bhutanese artists as they undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. These art forms, collectively known as Zorig Chusum, embody the spirit and identity of the Himalayan kingdom, and the institute plays a crucial role in preserving Bhutan’s rich artistic traditions.
Indulge in a shopping experience at the Bhutan Craft Bazaar, where private stalls showcase exquisite products from different regions of the country. Marvel at the wood-carved national symbols, traditional clothing, utensils made from wood and clay, jewelry boxes, bookmarks, handmade papers, and unique antique items. As you explore the craft bazaar, you’ll witness the skilled use of bamboo in constructing traditional Bhutanese houses.
Conclude your day with a visit to Kaja Thorm (Farmer’s Market), situated alongside the Wangchu River near the centenary farmer’s market. Delight in the vibrant ambiance as you savor delicious food and take in the captivating sights and sounds of this beautifully arranged market.
Later on, take an evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar
Distance 77 kms, Altitude (1,242 m /4,075 ft)
Today, in celebration of Bhutanese culture day, immerse yourself in the local traditions and attire. After breakfast, your guide, driver, and hotel staff will assist you in donning the traditional Bhutanese dress. Men will be dressed in the gho, while women will wear the kira. This experience allows you to embrace the essence of Bhutanese culture and adds a touch of authenticity to your day.
After breakfast, head from Thimphu to Punakha valley, with a stop at Dochula pass. At Dochula pass, enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the majestic Himalayan mountain range. The pass is adorned with 108 chortens known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens, commissioned by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk.
Continue your journey to Punakha and visit Punakha Dzong, a historic fortress that holds great importance in Bhutanese history. It served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907 and was the site of the first national assembly in 1953. Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan, exuding a majestic presence. Inside the dzong, you’ll find numerous monasteries that add to its grandeur.
Experience the Punakha Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, spanning across the Po Chu River. This bridge connects to a nearby village, providing villagers with a means to cross the river. Take a moment to appreciate the stunning and scenic views from the bridge.
Situated at an altitude of 1,300 meters (4,265 feet), Punakha Valley enjoys a relatively warmer climate compared to other regions in Bhutan. The valley’s lower elevation and pleasant weather make it an inviting destination to explore.
(Distance 133kms, Altitude 2,250m / 7,382ft)
Begin your day with a delightful breakfast before embarking on a picturesque 5-hour drive from Phobjikha to Paro. En route, make a stop at Wangdue to visit the historic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Founded by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1638, this hilltop dzong resembles a ‘sleeping elephant’ and offers stunning views of the Dangchhu and Punatsangchhu rivers. Marvel at its traditional Bhutanese architecture, including an underground passage and fourteen chapels and shrines.
Continue your journey to Rinchengang village, known as the “grateful village.” This ancient cluster village houses the masonry experts who contributed to the construction of Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Witness the village’s architectural heritage and admire the skillful craftsmanship displayed in the houses while enjoying a panoramic view of the dzong.
Then continue your journey to Paro. In Paro, take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Paro, adorned with traditional Bhutanese houses and handicraft shops. Immerse yourself in the local culture, browse for souvenirs, and consider dining at a local café or restaurant to indulge in authentic Bhutanese cuisine.
Explore Ka Ja Throm, a vibrant Farmer’s Market near Ugyen Pelri Palace in Tshongdue, Paro. This market, established by Royal Command, offers vendors a platform to showcase and sell their produce, creating a lively community space. With a children’s park and an open-air stage for live performances, it provides a delightful public space for families and visitors to enjoy. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and discover the best of Paro’s local produce.
Today, we embark on a hike to the renowned cliff-hermitage known as Taktsang, or the “Tiger’s Nest.” This day hike offers not only historical and cultural significance but also stunning natural beauty. The journey begins with approximately one hour of hiking to reach the cafeteria, which offers a breathtaking view of the Tiger’s Nest. From the cafeteria, it takes another hour to reach the main temple. Perched precariously on a sheer cliff face, 900 meters above the Paro Valley, this temple is considered one of the holiest sites in Bhutan.
The origins of the temple trace back to 1692 when it was constructed near a cave where Guru Rimpoche, a revered figure, meditated in the 7th century A.D. According to legend, Guru Rimpoche arrived at the site riding on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for three months to tame the evil demons within. Since then, the cave has been revered as a sacred site, attracting numerous saints who have embarked on spiritual journeys to meditate there.
A visit to the Tiger’s Nest is an essential part of any Bhutan trip, as it represents a remarkable heritage site that showcases the country’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage.
After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven to the airport with ample time to catch your onward flight. Our dedicated escort from Discovery Bhutan Inc. will bid you a fond farewell as you embark on your journey. As you depart, the mystical and legendary Dragon Kingdom gradually fades from view, concealed once more by its majestic mountain guardians.