|Trip Style||:||Cultural Tour|
|Trip Rating by Popularity||:||*****|
|Physical Demand Rating||:||1|
|Discounts||:||Applicable on this trip|
|Group Size||:||Maximum 12, Avg 5|
|Group Leader||:||A Certified Tour Guide|
|Transport||:||Quality and appropriate transportation will be made available.|
This tour package is mostly for the visitors, who do not have sufficient time to spend, but still want a comparitably valuable experience of Bhutan, it will not disappoint you. In fact this one often, turns out to be highest sale in a year for us. Whether you are enjoying a gentle stroll without any traffic congestion, noise, or the pollution, or enjoy breathtaking landscape and the monumental fortresses, the living culture of the Bhutanese people in their traditional costumes or the enchanting folklore and history – this package will guide the guest to experience the attractions of western Bhutan and will leave you with a feeling of mysticism and contemplation. This is also a leisurely paced tour with enough opportunities to explore on your own.
Day 1 : Arrive Paro and Drive to Thimphu, (60 km, 1 hour drive)
If your arrival to Bhutan is on a (bright) sunny day, it could (should) begin with the panoramic view of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga, and our very own Jomolhari and Jichu Drakey (you may change your seat, if you are not on the right side). We have been told the actual descent of the flight to the airport (Paro) is usually manual, which itself becomes a memorable experience, topped by surrounding hills and houses (Feeling you could touch them). After necessary clearance from the airport, outside you’ll be received by our guide(s) with a traditional welcome khadar. In Paro valley you will visit; 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang temple and other sites (if time permits). After lunch in Paro, you’ll proceed towards the capital city, Thimphu. Thimphu is about 60 km away from Paro and approximately one hour drive.
Day 2 : Thimphu Sightseeing
In your second day in Bhutan and the Capital City, Thimphu – you will begin your visit from any of the following tourist sites, such as; National Folk Heritage Museum, Zorig Chusum school of 13 traditional arts/crafts, Textile Museum, Memorial Chorten (stupa), Kuenselphodrang (AKA Budha Point) and the Simtokha Dzong. These visits will showcase not only our age old heritage, tradition, customs and even fabrics (which is the present identification of a Bhutanese) but our deep commitment to preserve and promote it. Your visit to Centenary Farmers market will bring across our efforts to promote self sufficiency in agriculture produce against chemically infused vegetables imported from neighbouring states. Do visit our only Takin Reserve Center and see an unique animal (mixture of a goat and wildebeest) which is also national animal of Bhutan – the Takin. Takin is chosen as the National Animal of Bhutan, because it is unique, rare and native to Bhutan. It is closely associated to religious history and mythology of the country. The animal was called ‘Dyiong-gyem tsi’ or takin. Conclude your day with a lovely meal in one of the best restaurant with a choice of Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, or Thai culinary (do seek guidance from the guide).
Day 3 : Drive to Punakha (77 km, approximately 4 hours drive)
After your halt at Thimphu, next day we will drive to Punakha, which is approximately four hours drive from Thimphu. While travelling to Punakha, you will cross Dochula Pass at 3140 m and experience a beautiful view of the mountains, hills and forest. On the pass you will also see the Druk Wangyal Chortens, a collection of 108 chortens (stupas) mainly built to illustrate the achievements of the Fourth King. While crossing Lobesa (small satellite town) on the way to Punakha, do not forget to visit the Chhimi Lhakhang, the fertility monastery. Besides visiting local tourist sites, trip to Punakha is never complete without visiting the Dzong (fortress). The historical Dzong is also known as Pungtang Dechen Phodrang Dzong (meaning very awesome dzong “the palace of great happiness or bliss”). It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan’s Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion. Punakha Dzong served as the capital of the Country from 1637 to 1907 and the first National Assembly was held in 1953. The significance of the Dzong stepped up in 2011, when His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk married Gyeltseun Her Majesty Jetsun Pema on October 13th at Punakha Dzong. One of the beautiful aspect of Punakha Dzong is its location, the Dzong is located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (father) and Mo Chhu (mother) rivers in the Punakha–Wangdue valley. While crossing Lobesa (small satellite town) on the way to Punakha, do not forget to visit the Chhimi Lhakhang, the fertility monastery. If weather permits, you could also set up camp next to the river (superb camping grounds) with a bonfire and have a wonderful stay.
Day 4 : Drive to Phobjikha (80 km, approximately 3 hours drive)
On day 4, we will drive towards Phobjikha, which is 80 km away and approximately three hours drive. On the way we will visit Nalanda Buddhist Institute and interact with little monks. From there we will move towards WangduePhodrang town and visit the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong built in 1638 and and see the ongoing reconstruction works. The Dzong was burnt down in 2012 and every effort is made to bring back to its old glory. Phobjikha is a host during the winter for the endangered ‘Black necked cranes’ (Grus Nicorocolis), who migrate from Tibet and parts of China to Bhutan. The government has given much importance towards the preservation of the bird, and its part time migratory habitat by designating its roosting areas as restricted areas. Before you reach your hotel, we recommend you to take a walk through the village to get a feel of the rural life. Option to continue camping next to the river with a bonfire.
Day 5 : Phobjikha Sightseeing
You will visit the Observatory for some information on the endangered Black Necked Cranes and if you are here towards late Fall and winter, you can have a close-up on the birds aided by a telescope. Lunch will entail a pleasant 4 km hike around the periphery of the roosting area which eloquently ends into the entrance of the Gangtey Gompa monastery sitting atop a hill overlooking the whole valley. After visiting this special temple that has been renovated recently with fine examples of Bhutanese architecture, you will be picked up by your driver and driven back to your hotel or your camp. The hike is a recommended activity as we ourselves enjoy it every single time we are there as the weather is usually superb for a photographers and the object to be captured is an underlying valley that probably prompted the early visitors to Bhutan to compare the country with Switzerland. We can also augment this day with mountain biking and motorcycles as the valley offers some good collection of dirt roads.
Day 6 : Drive to Thimphu (100 km, approximately 6 hours)
Drive back to Thimphu and visit the Bhutan Post Office, to see the famous stamps of Bhutan and to post some cards to your loved ones. Continue to the Traditional Paper Factory to see how traditional paper is made from Himalayan shrubs- Daphne and Edgeworthia. Visit the Handicrafts Emporium for a rich collection of handicrafts and can buy some souvenirs to take home. If you still have some more time, before dinner, you could go around the town and do shopping for your family and friends back home. Have dinner of your choice and after that we could visit some interesting bar and drayangs for drink, music and conversation. If you like (no restrictions through) we’ll take you to a friendly discotheque to show you some of your local choreography.
Day 7 : Drive to Paro (60 kms, 1 hour)
On day 7th, we’ll visit the world known Taktshang monastery (translated Tiger’s nest) and complete our visit to Bhutan with an unforgettable experience. It is a two hours hike that would prove its worth, just by a look of the temple hanging on a 1000 feet craggy cliff. The view of the temple as our clients have been saying is “nothing short of spectacular”. The temple was built in 1692 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye and in this matter, the guide will complement the visit with its history. In the afternoon, we will visit National Museum and enrich your Bhutan experience and knowledge further by witnessing some of the most treasured collections of arts, artefacts, textiles, stamps, statues etc. In the evening, with a local theatre company, we will organize a cultural evening at the hotel which will showcase some of our traditional music and dances, mask dances and folklore at the hotel. After dinner, a dip in the traditional hot-stone bath may help you unwind and reflect about your journey before departing.
Day 8 : Farewell
Being with you for last 7 days, saying farewell is usually not mechanical. However, with a hope that this trip to Bhutan has build up a friendship which is more valuable than anything else and the service has been more than satisfactory, we will say goodbye with a promise of meeting each other very soon.
Additional Activities that can be included: Mountain biking, Motorcycling, Swimming, Fly Fishing, Cultural Performances, Cooking Classes, Art Classes, Attending rituals in private homes, Meditation Sessions with reputed lamas, Yoga sessions, Buddhism talks, Volunteerism like being part of a house construction, fruit-picking; Sports like Tennis, Golf, Basketball and even a Football match; Music Jam-up sessions with local musicians. If you have a burning desire to share your story with the locals, we can also have some FM radio stations or local newspapers to talk to you – you name it and we will make it possible!!
What’s Not Included