Welcome to Bhutan, “The Land of the Thunder Dragon”. Flying into the country’s only airport, in the beautiful valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges and imposing monasteries provides a breath-taking first impression.
Upon arrival, your tour executive from Bhutan Endless Journey welcomes you at the airport and transfers you to Thimphu (1.5h drive). The drive follows Pa Chhu downstream until Chuzom where the two rivers meet, and here you can see the three different styles of stupas or chortens commonly found in Bhutan: Nepalese, Tibetan and Bhutanese. The chortens are Buddhist reliquaries, memorials to the teachings of the Buddha. Sometimes actual relics of the Buddha or revered monks are inserted into the dome of the stupa, and the stupas mark the landscape with reminders of the Buddha’s teachings.
Arrive in Thimphu. Check in hotel, have lunch and take a short rest. In the afternoon visit:
Memorial Thimphu Chorten: This stupa was built in 1974 to honor the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. This religious structure, circumambulate only in a clockwise direction (reciting prayers and whirling the large red prayer wheels).
Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong): This is the main Secretariat Building, where the government ministries, the office of His Majesty the King, the Throne Room, the offices and living quarters of the monk body and its Chief Abbot are housed. The massive fortress, whose
name translates as the fortress of glorious religion, was initially a smaller structure but took the present form after expansion/reconstruction commissioned by Late Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in 1965. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot. Overnight in Thimphu (alt. 2,300m).
In the morning, drive to Punakha. Punakha is located at an altitude of 1350m above sea level. It was the old capital of Bhutan until 1955. On the way, we will stop at Dochula Pass (3150m). If we are lucky with weather, we will be able to see the entire Eastern Himalayas; east of Jhomolhari to Gangkhar Puensum. This is truly a majestic sight.
Visit Punakha Dzong (fortress). This fortress is located between the male (Pho) and female (Mo) rivers. It was built in 1637 and still serves as the winter residence for the monastic body .
After Lunch, take a 40 minutes’ hike round trip through the rice field to Chimmi Lhakhang, the 15th-century monastery built by Lam Ngawang Chogyal on the spot where his cousin Lam Drukpa Kuenley (popularly known as “the Divine Madman”) subdued a powerful demon. This
monastery is also referred to as the “Abode of Fertility” and believed that any couple who gets blessing from this temple is blessed with a child in the next year or so.
Around 4 pm, begin with a drive retracing the route over the Dochu La for a second chance of the incredible view of the Himalayan range. Overnight in Thimphu.
Continue exploring the region with visits to Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang) to see the one of the world’s largest sitting Buddha and enjoy a stunning view of Thimphu valley from this point. En-route to Paro, visit Simtokha Dzong: The name Simtokha literally means “Atop a Demon” and the legend associate with the Dzong’s construction tell us that in order to subdue an evil spirit that was harassing travelers in the region. The dzong was modeled after the Gyal Gyad Tshel institute of Ralung (Tibet) and is quite distinctive as its Utse or central tower has 12 sides. A large statue of Yeshey Gonpo (Mahakala), the chief protective deity of Bhutan is housed inside the Utse. After lunch, visit the following places.
Dzongdrakha temple. It’s a 20 minutes ride from Paro town. In 16th century, Drubthog (Yogi) Gyonpo Dorji, while meditating, he had a spiritual vision of Guru Rinpoche giving him a crystal sword, with which he hit the cave and a huge rock fell in front of him. It is believed that from this rock, he found a crystal stupa (chorten) which was as long as an arrow and three egg-shaped relics of Sangay Youelsum (karshapa). Two of the three relics are said to have flown away at that very instant. He took the remaining relic and installed as the main treasure inside the newly constructed temple and named it as Dzongdrakha Goemba.
Before returning to the hotel, visit Kyichu Lhakhang. It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambay Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, drive to Drakarpo monastery located on a high cliff in the village of Shaba. Drakarpo is known to be blessed to be Guru Rinpoche’s visit where he personally meditated in this monastery and many body prints still stands on testimony. Just below the monastery, one can see a cave where one has to pass through a narrow hole between the rocks to assess one’s acts – pious or sinful. Within the cave, one can see the print of the Guru in a cave and one can see the images of a sinful and a pious person in the cave. Beside, many other yogis and great masters, down the ages apparently have meditated there searching for eternal truth and spiritual accomplishments. Later drive back to Paro for lunch.
After lunch, visit Dungtse Lhakhang is said to be built on the head of the demoness who was causing problems for the inhabitants. It is said to be built by the Iron bridge builder, Thangtong Gyelpo in 1421. It is believed that the founder himself made an appearance in the form of five vultures on the day of construction, and showered his blessings before he flew towards Tibet. The building was restored in 1841 by the 25th Head Abbot of Bhutan, Sherab Gyeltshen. This temple is a significant arsenal of Kagyu lineage arts, and showcases the paintings highlighting the progressive stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy. Taking photographs inside the main temple is not allowed.
DAY 5: HIKE TO TAKTSHANG MONASTERY (Tiger’s Nest)
After breakfast, you will be driven to the starting point of a hike to view the spectacular Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forests, passing trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. After a refreshment stop at a cafeteria on the way, you will continue for a short distance until you see, across a deep chasm but clearly and seemingly within reach, the Taktsang Monastery.
Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest in Paro, Bhutan)
Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. History states that Guru Padmasambhava, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger.
Before returning to the hotel, visit Kyichu Lhakhang. It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast in the hotel, your tour executive will transfer you to the airport on time to catch your onward flight. Your escort from Bhutan Endless Journey bids you farewell. End of services. Tashi Delek !!!
• Our itinerary is generally longer and has more activities listed on each day. You should discuss your itinerary with your guide and prioritize the attractions which you prefer the most. We suggest that you use your itinerary as a guide rather than a fixed schedule. Unexpected stuffs always happen in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
• We suggest you to bring your own medication if you have motion sickness. • Monastery, temple and Dzong opening days and times can and do vary with national holidays and events such a visit by a member of the Royal Family or auspicious ceremonies.
• Tiger Nest closes at 4pm every day.
• All the meals are served in buffet.
• We advise you to bring good walking shoes, warm jackets, hats and sun cream. • The nearest hospital is 30-minute drive from the hotel in Paro and 20-minute drive in Punakha and Thimphu. Consultation, treatment and medicine are free to locals and tourists too.
• Visiting time of monuments, 09.00 Am – 05.00 Pm except for Thimphu Dzong. Thimphu Dzong visiting time, 05.30 Pm – 06. 30 Pm.
|PARO||KHANGKHU RESORT||3 STAR||STANDARD|
|THIMPHU||HOTEL TASHI YOEDLING||3 STAR||STANDARD|
WHAT TO BRING DURING THE TOUR IN BHUTAN
1. Warm jackets
2. Hiking/trekking boots
3. Long and short t-shirts or cotton shirts
4. Hats and sunglasses
5. Personal Medicine
DRESS CODE FOR VISITING DZONG, MONASTERIES AND TEMPLES IN BHUTAN
1. Shirt (either collar half shirt or full sleeve)
2. Full pants/long skirts
3. Any type of shoes with socks
4. No Hats, No Umbrella, No Slippers, No t-shirts, No short skirt and No half-pants 5. Photographs allowed in the courtyard only.
1. MAX: 18 – 30 DEGREE CELSIUS IN SUMMER
2. MIN: (minus) 5 – 11 DEGREE CELSIUS IN WINTER
• Within 25 days – 30% of rate
• Within 15 days – 50% of rate
• Less than 10 days or without notice – 100% of rate
Please note that airlines have different cancellation policy, depending on seasons.
✓ 3-star Accommodation (twin sharing/triple room)
✓ Lunch in local restaurants and hotels.
✓ Experienced English Speaking Tour Guide licensed by Tourism Council of Bhutan. ✓ Private transport within Bhutan (Toyota Bus).
✓ Museum & Monuments entrance fee.
✓ Mineral water during the tour.
✓ Government Royalty
✓ Tourism Development Fund
✓ Visa Fees
✓ International Airfare (BKK- PARO-BKK)
1. Travel and Medical Insurance.
2. Bar bills, Telephone bills, Personal expenses, and Laundry.
3. Tips $10/per person/per day
4. Single supplement
Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or call +975 1793 4039.
Thank you for choosing Bhutan Endless Journey.
Tenzin Wangchuk (Mr.)
Founder / Managing Director