Day 01. Arrive Paro – Thimphu (2320 m) (Distance: 54 km, 1 hr drive):
Your Guide from Yak Holidays will receive you 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).
In the evening, visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 02. Thimphu Sightseeing:
The day begins with visit to National Postal Museum, where you can make personalized Bhutanese stamps. Then visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our 3rd King, late His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (The Father of Modern Bhutan), 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, excursion to Cheri Monastery (18 km). In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 03. Thimphu – Punakha: (Altitude 1310 m) (76 Km, 3 hrs drive):
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass with its 108 stupas and the beautifully arranged Himalayan mountain ranges. Drive further down and visit the Royal Botanical Garden at Lamperi.
- The Royal Botanical park, a nature reserve rich in flora and fauna and beautiful in itself. 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. Located 30 KMS from capital, the park has numerous view points, a lake and a canteen. At this park, you can indulge yourself amongst these rich biodiversity.
Drive further to Punakha. On the way, view 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 the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the First National Assembly here in 1952.
- In the evening, hike to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling monastery, built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.
Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 04. Punakha –Wangdiphodrang – Paro: (Altitude 2280 m, Distance 132 km, Drive Time 4 hours):
After early breakfast, drive to Paro via Wangdiphodrang. Visit the Wangdiphodrang Dzong (razed by fire in 2012), now in ruins & under construction, it includes: visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong (from outside) built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong; four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers and drive to Paro.
After lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge.
In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 05. Paro Sightseeing: (Altitude 2280 m):
After breakfast, drive to the base of the monastery and hike to Taktsang Monastery: a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, from there a 2 hour walk till the viewpoint point of the monastery. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.
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, visit to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 by the great 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. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). 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 apart 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.
Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 06. Departure:
After breakfast, drive to the airport and farewell.