The Best of the Himalayan Kingdom(11 days)
"The Best of Himalayan Kingdom" tour gives you insight of this Himalayan Kingdom in best possible way. You will be escorted through beautiful valleys of Haa, Paro, Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, and the picturesque and sub tropical region of Punakha, and Wangdue. Then you will head further east to alpine valley of Phobjekha and Bumthang in central Bhutan for more cultural sights and encounter.
You will discover on this journey magic of simple Bhutanese life that transforms into happiness and contentment making the society truly peaceful and happy. Bhutanese in village live a simple, basic but pure life. People's thoughts are straight forward and undiluted as ever.All most every day, you will meet monks in their monasteries during their chanting or other monastic activities.
DAY 01: ARRIVE AT PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT:: The flight to Paro is one of the most amazing experiences. On clear days, there are never ending view of some world highest mountains peaks. Hostess will guide you to fill in disembarkation forms. Landing in Paro International Airport is something you will remember of for long time. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will meet your escort right at the exit door dressed in Gho with warmth smiles. Paro (2300m MSL) valley is more than beautiful district of Bhutan. It has some historically important monasteries and cultural sites. This beautiful terraced valley is known for Bhutanese red rice and summer fruits and vegetable. Farmers here are much better off, due to easy accessibility to market for their farm produces. Evening at leisure, and you can stroll around the town. Your escort can accompany you while you walk around the city. Overnight at the Hotel Paro.
DAY 02: HAA EXCURSION AND DRIVE TO THIMPHU:: Today after early breakfast drive to Haa. You will really get a sense of being in the mountains as you head to the rural valley of Haa via Chele Pass. We will spend some time at the pass with our botanist, some might prefer to relax and admire the stunning views. Chele pass is on the main route from north western India to Bhutan is well documented in traveller's accounts. Chele laa is one of the richest sites for Bhutanese flora and bird life. Haa valley is situated to the south west of Paro in a temperate region in the blue pine forest. Buckwheat and barley are the main crops here and there are a lot of yak herds and cattle. Then drive down to Haa valley, and undertake visit to Haa Town and few sightseeing places. Lhakhang Nagpo and Karpo, and visit old farm house and try Bhutanese yak butter tea and some local snacks and wine. Then after lunch head for Thimphu. It is about 2 hours drive. Thimphu (2,280 Mts.) is a small, bustling city in the heart of the Himalayas. Thimphu charm comes not only from its wealth of museums or places of historic interest, but also from the strong national character of its architectural style. A stroll through this lively town and into its shops reveals an interesting combination of tradition and modernity. In the evening check in at Hotel and overnight in Thimphu.
DAY 03: SIGHTSEEING IN THIMPHU:: Today's after breakfast under take sightseeing in Thimphu valley; It include visit to National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. National Library, which holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly Known as the Painting School) where student undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan:National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where the medicinal herbs, mineral, and animals organs available in abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed by traditional pharmacist and medical practitioners. This indigenous healing method is popular amongst all Bhutanese people. Textile Museums: This museum was opened in 2001, provide fascinating insight into Bhutanese hand woven textiles. Handicrafts Emporium: This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture. Overnight in a hotel.
DAY 04: THIMPHU-PUNAKHA (HIKE TO FERTILITY TEMPLE):: Today after early breakfast drive to Punakha via Wangdue across Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft), from which there is a breathtaking view of the high peaks on a clear day. If possible, en route visit Simtokha Dzong, built in 1627 and the oldest fortress of the kingdom. It now houses the institute for language and cultural studies. We will stop at Hongtso to fill in immigration documentation required for travelers. Drive up further in few minutes, you will come across Dochula pass (3050 M), which provides a superb view of the highest peaks of Bhutan, such as Gangkar, Puensum, table Mountain, Masakhang etc. Then after two hours you will reach to Lobesa. On arrival undertake a short hike to Chhimi Lhakhang in the Picturesque Lobesa valley. We visit the temple of Lama Drukpa Kunley, also Known as the "Divine Madman", or Sexy Lama. He is known to preach Buddhism and subdue evils spirits through use of erotic techniques; and obscene remarks, resembling that of Kamasutra in Bhutanese version. Later also visit majestic Punakha Dzong and return to Hotel. Undertake walks in the nice surrounding of hotel. Over night in a Hotel.
DAY05: DRIVE TO BUMTHANG:: Early morning drive to Bumthang, across Pelela pass (3300m), the traditional boundary between east and west. The passes are marked by a large numbers of prayer flag. Drive further and stop en route at Chenbji Chotern which was built in 18th century by a lama named Shida. This is a stupa with eyes similar to the Buddhanath across spectacular view of Trongsa Dzong. The most impressive Dzong in the Kingdom. Proceed to Bumthang across Yotong-la pass at an altitude of 11,685/3404 Mts. Bumthang is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. Here the great teachers meditated and left in their walk many sacred grounds. On arriving Bumthang, wintness the Thangbimani Tsechu (festival). Religious festivals (Tsechu) are important events and celebrated throughout the kingdom. The Teschu is really a festive time for Bhutanese. The tsechus are the most colourful of all Bhutanese gatherings and celebrated at every Dzong (fortress). All tsechus are celebrated as religious festivals, commemorating the deeds of Buddha, to honour Guru Rimpoche Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to the country, Buddhist saints or Lamas. Local tsechus are celebrated in each districts. In addition to normal tsechu, there are annual festivals, which are celebrated with great fanfare. Dinner at nice restaurant and chek in at hotel.
DAY 06: BUMTHANG EXCURSION:: Drive to under take sightseeing. It is flexible time in Bumthang. Bumthang valley sightseeing includes: visit to Jakar Dzong, Kurjey Lhakhang and Jambay Lkakhang Monastery and stroll around town. We stop for refreshment at the Swiss Farm House, cheese and Beer Factory and village handicraft shops .Then under take some sightseeing and also visit if possible burning lakes and some local small monasteries. Take a short hike around the valley. This is a nice place to hike around the town also. You can also visit Mebatso, the site where Terton Pemaling Pa discovered religious treasures. Overnight in a hotel.
DAY 07: BUMTHANG-GANGTEY:: Morning drive to Gantey Valley via Trongsa. Gangtey is situated in Phubjikha valley, which the winter home of endangered Black-Necked Cranes that migrate to this valley from Central Asia in winter. Gangtey is situated in Phobjeykha valley (3,000 MTs). It is a wide, all most flat, beautiful alpine valley. This is a scenic drive through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons. On entering Gangtey valley, we will be greeted by wide mountain valley.This valley is a flat valley, resembling that of Tibetan plateau on the western slopes of Black Mountain national park. Gangtey fall within protected area of Black Mountain Park. As you enter, you will notice that Gangtey Goenpa, or monastery rises on a small spur located at the valley's center. It is one of the oldest and largest Nyingma Bhuddist centre in Bhutan. Check in to Hotel and evening at leisure. You will enjoy completely different kind of stay in Gangtey unlike in all other hotels in this trip.
DAY 08 : GANGTEY-WANGDUE:: Morning, visit 17th century Monastery, and drive further down to iInformation centre for the Black-Necked Cranes. This centre is maintained by a NGO; Royal Society for the Protection Nature. We can see these magnificent birds in their winter nesting home. These endangered birds fly south from Siberia and Tibet. The calls of the Black-Necked Crane locally known as Thrung Thrung Karm have inspired folklore for generations. RSPN and Phobjikha Community are now working together to protect the habitat of endangered Black Necked Cranes. There is annual festival to celebrate and create awareness about importance of this protected bird species. Community participation is active. After the visit, drive down back to Wangduephodrang. On the way, stop for Photo in few place. On arrival at wangdue, and depending on time, we can check in at local restaurant for warm lunch. Later visit Wangdue dzong, and stroll around congested temporary local market. Overnight at Hotel or resort in Wangdue beside clean blue river.
DAY 09 : WANGDUE-THIMPHU:: Today, we start day little early at around 7 AM. Proceed or return to Thimphu on the same way we took on the first day. Check in at Dochula pass for any view of distant Mountain. If sky is clear, we spent time at Cafeteria, if not we drive straight to Thimphu. Thimphu, perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world, is the seat of government. This bustling town is home to Bhutan's royal family, many civil servants, and foreign embassy and consulates with representation in Bhutan. It is also the headquarters for a number of international offices and development projects. Undertake other excursion like visiting nunnery, manmade habitat of Takin. This wild animal is internationally endangered and protected in Bhutan. Drive up further up to Thimphu view point, commonly known younger couples as "lover's point". Suitable dating ground for younger stars. Check In At Hotel And Overnight At The Hotel.
DAY 10 : THIMPHU-PARO (SIGHTSEEING IN PARO):: Today after breakfast drive down to Paro, en route visit Simtokha Dzong, built in 1627 and the oldest fortress of the kingdom. It now houses the institute for language and cultural studies. Drive down and on this route you will come across many farmers selling farm products. Sightseeing around the Paro valley includes visit to the ruins of Drugyel Dzong and the courtyard of Kichu Lhakhang one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan - dated 7th century A.D, Ta Dzong which houses the National Museum, Rinpung Dzong meaning 'fortress of the heap of jewels". Walk down and pass through old wooden bridge constructed over Pachu or river. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
DAY 11 : TAKTSANG HIKE:: Today after breakfast, take short drive to a point, to start short excursion to Taktsang Monastery; 8th century wonder. Taktsang means "Tiger's Nest" and this spectacular building is perched on a rocky ledge at 3,000 ft elevation. Opportunity for rare Bhutanese treats at beautiful cafeteria, located just across Taktsang monastery. Relax for about an hour at the cafeteria and take few hike up more closer to the Monastery. After lunch, hike down gradually on same Path. Drive to hotel and your tour host representative will host a farewell dinner.
DAY 12 : DEPARTURE:: All departure formalities will be made available in advance, and assisted by your guide. Early breakfast at the hotel and drive to the Paro Airport to board the flight.
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Suite No. 05. Druk Phunsum Tsogpa Head Office Bldg, Opp. Changlimithang Stadium, Chang Lam St. Thimphu
KINGDOM OF BHUTAN.
Telephone: +975-2-338117, Fax: +975-2-33 63 35, Mobile +975 1711 3748/+975 17601482
Mailing Address: PO Box 1134, General Post Office Thimphu BHUTAN.
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