Essence Of Central Bhutan (11 Nights | 12 Days)
Paro - Thimphu - Punakha Sightseeing - Trongsa - Tang - Jakar - Phobjikha - Paro
Day 1: Arrival In Paro
Upon your arrival in Paro airport, our guide will be there to welcome you and transfer to Thimphu. After Lunch visit the Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd King. This place now happens to be a get-together point for the elderly people, who spend their whole day chanting prayers and meeting their friends. Visit Changangkha Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the valley offering a beautiful view of the valley. The enclosure where the national animal, Takins are kept and drive to visit the largest and the newly built statue of Buddha offering the magnificent view of entire Thimphu valley. After 5 PM, visit the fortress of Thimphu, Tashichho Dzong, which houses the throne of the king. Evening walk around the happening town, the largest and the most crowded town in Bhutan.
Day 2: Thimphu - Punakha (3 Hrs)
Morning visits the happening weekend market (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) where the locals from the surrounding villages come to sell their produce. They sell their goods and in return, they buy their basic necessities. Visit the traditional Hand Made Paper Mill. Visit the School of Arts and Crafts where students learn 13 different arts used predominantly in Bhutan. Visit Folk Heritage Museum which explains how a traditional house used to be like in the olden days. Later visit the National Library which houses the collection of Bhutanese rich religious text and the contemporary Buddhism teachings from master all around the world. Drive further up to visit the Dechenphodrang monastic school and meet the young monks.
Day 3: Punakha Sightseeing
Morning drive to visit Punakha Dzong (fortress), which houses the most elaborate temple in the country. This is a must to see fortress in Bhutan and a fine example of Bhutanese rich Art and Architecture. After the visit, if you are in the mood for a nice half-day hike, you could start the hike right above the Dzong with a short steep climb offering a great view of the valley with houses spread all around and the never-ending turquoise river and it’s sandy river bed. This trail is also popular for mountain biking. The hike ends through the farm field crossing the newly constructed bridge, where your car will be waiting on the other side of the river. If you choose the entire activity can be done on foot from your hotel. After lunch could relax on the balcony of the hotel to enjoy the view and nature. Or could go for an hour hike (uphill) to the temple of Khamsum Yuley Lakhang overlooking the paddy field and the snakelike river bends. Later back to the hotel.
Day 4: Punakha - Trongsa (5.5 Hrs)
If you are staying in hotel Meri Puensum, hotel Zandopelri or hotel Densa, early morning it will be a treat to walk up to the hilltop to visit the nunnery and interact with the nuns and enjoy the magnificent view of Punakha and Wangdi valley. Later after breakfast start your drive for Trongsa. En route could stop for a short hike to the ancient village of Rinchengang overlooking the ruins of Wangdi Dzong. It’s amazing how they have managed to be together and preserve the old houses. If you are bit tired, could do it on your way back. Cross over the Pelela Pass at 3,300m which forms the part of the Black mountain range that divides the country into east and west.
Day 5: Trongsa - Tang (4.5 Hrs)
Morning walks through the single lane town of Trongsa and visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong (Fortress), the home of the royals. Historically Trongsa Dzong is the most important Dzong and the largest as well. Later must visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which houses a unique museum. Later start driving for the remote village of Tang, crossing over Yotong La pass at 3,400m. After a short descend en route just before arriving Jakar, stop in Chumi valley, the weaving place, by the roadside where “Yatha” (wool weaving) is woven here which Bumthang is famous for.
Day 6: Tang - Jakar (1.5 Hrs)
Morning walks around the tiny village, meeting the locals, the shy children and interacting with them. Witness their morning village activities. Later after breakfast, visit the unique museum of O’Chholing, which has very fine and unique collection of Bhutanese Arts and Artifacts. It covers and explains all the history, and details of Tang village activities during the olden days. Later after lunch bid farewell to the family of the museum and walk down the valley and catch your car to drive back to Jakar.
Day 7: Jakar Sightseeing
Bumthang province consists of four different valleys know as Chumi, Jakar, Tang and Ura. This province is the most historical and one of the holiest places in Bhutan with so many temples and holy sites spread all around the province. Jakar is a beautiful valley and if you want to take a break and avoid driving, today’s activity can be entirely done on foot. Visit Jampay Lakhang, one of the first two Buddhist temples built in the country. Visit Kurjey lakhang temple, one of the holiest site in Bhutan, this is also the site where the royals are cremated.
Day 8: Jakar - Phobjikha (6 Hrs)
Morning starts retracing your drive to the remote isolated valley of Phobjikha passing through Trongsa town and crossing over Pele La pass. The drive is very picturesque and worth every turn and climb. This valley is protected being the winter home for the endangered Black Necked Cranes migrating to Bhutan every end of Oct to end of Feb. This valley is a paradise for the nature lovers and hikers. Upon your arrival could go for a short walk in the valley. Or if you are too tired after the long drive, could relax in the hotel and enjoy the breathtaking view of the valley.
Day 9: Phobjikha - Paro (6.5 Hrs)
Morning could go for walk right below your hotel and meet the school children who all walk for hours to reach their nearest school. After late breakfast could go for Phobjikha Nature trail hike (2.5 Hrs), which offers the beautiful view of the valley. It starts from the valley and ends with Gangtey Goempa temple at the hilltop overlooking the valley. Gangtey Goempa temple is a beautiful temple, richly renovated with many monks living.
Day 10: Paro Sightseeing
Morning drive to Chelela Pass, 3800m one of the highest motorable road in Bhutan. If the weather permits one can view the most sacred and the highest mountain peak in the country Mt. Jomolhari (7314m) overlooking at you. Walk around the pass with prayer flag fluttering and enjoy the fresh air.
Day 11: Paro Sightseeing
Morning drive to the base for the hike (3 hrs uphill) to Tiger’s Nest, the most revered temple in the country that literally hangs on a granite cliff overlooking the Paro valley. Most of the day will go on the hike. On the way back, if you have the energy and time visit the Kichu Lakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan which marks the beginning of Buddhism in the country
Day 12: Departure
After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for the further journey.
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