Day 1: Arrive at Paro (By Druk Air) – Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m) (58 km, 1 hr):
You will be received by the Representative from Yak Holidays at the airport and drive to Thimphu. On the way, view Tamchog Monastery built by Thangthong Gyalpo (Popularly known as Lama Chazampa, which literally means, the Iron Bridge builder) in the 15th century.
- Thang Thong Gyalpo (1385 – 1464) was a wonder working saint from Tibet who came to Bhutan in 1433 looking for Iron Ore. He built 108 bridges across Tibet and Bhutan, out of which 8 were built in Bhutan. His only surviving bridge is in Duksum (Tashi Yangtse in Eastern Bhutan).
After lunch, visit to:
- The Memorial Chorten, a monument dedicated to the Third King of Bhutan. Late His Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The inside paintings and statues provide a very rare insight into Buddhist Philosophy.
- Painting School & Craft Bazaar.
In the evening, visit to the Tashichho Dzong, the Royal Secretariat and the seat of Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 2: Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m) – Punakha (1310 m) (76 km, 3 hrs):
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. We stop at Dochula Pass with its 108 stupas and the beautifully arranged Himalayan mountain ranges in the north and visit the Royal Botanical Garden at Lamperi.
- The Royal Botanical Park also known as the Rhododendron Garden at Lamperi, a nature reserve rich in flora and fauna. The recorded species are the monal pheasants, blood pheasants, musk deer, tiger, leopard, red panda and the leopard cat. A Rhododendron garden with 46 species of the plant is the theme of the botanical garden. At this park, you can indulge yourself amongst these rich biodiversity.
Then visit, visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (Popularly known as “The Divine Madman”, in the year 1499. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt” and built the temple on top of a hillock. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.
- Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of the Bhutan’s Favourite Saints who was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary and a disciple of Pema Lingpa. He Travelled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) using songs, humour and outrageous behavior to dramatise his teachings of Salvation through sex.
After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the First National Assembly here in 1952. In the evening, drive back to Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 03. Thimphu Sightseeing (Altitude 2320 m):
After breakfast, visit to the Tallest Statue of Buddha, Changangkha Lhakhang, Takin Preserve center, Sangaygang view point, and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.
After lunch, visit to the Postal Museum where you can make personalized stamps of you and your near and dear ones, Folk Heritage Museum, witness Archery match. In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 4. Thimphu – Paro (Tiger’s Nest) (Altitude 2280 m, Distance 58 km, Drive Time 1 hour):
After breakfast, drive to Satsam Chorten, Paro, and 2 hour walk till the viewpoint point of the monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684 by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort.
NB: You can hoist prayer flags near the Tiger’s Nest, and offer prayers inside the monastery. You can also request lama to pray for you.
After lunch, drive to the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo.
- Srongsen Gampo was a Tibetan king who married a Chinese princess, Wenchen in 641, as a part of her dowry was a statue called “Jowo” which was an Indian image of Buddha, Sakyamuni as a small boy. In 659, He decided to build 108 Temples in a single day to pin the Ogress to the earth forever and, at the same time, convert the Tibetan people to Buddhism. 6 of these Temples lie in Bhutan, most prominent of them are Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang and Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. Kichu Lhakhang is said to hold the left foot of the Ogress and Jambay Lhakhang pins the left knee.
In the evening, free to stroll in the town. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 5: Departure:
After breakfast, drive to the Airport and Farewell.