Day 1-Welcome to Bhutan.
Thursday - 19th of April 2018 @ Bhutan Suites or Pedling Hotel
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas; offering dazzling scenic views of world’s highest glacial peaks where you’ll be greeted by Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga, and our very own Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drakey.
As you enter the Paro valley ,you will pass forested hills with the slivery Pa chu(paro river)meandering down the valley below the paro Dzong(fortress)and Ta Dzong(watch tower)on the hill above the town.
Upon arrival you’ll be received by our friendly professional guide who will help you settle into your comfortable vehicle, and then proceed to the capital city Thimphu. Enroute stop to visit the Tamchog Lhakang and marvel at the iron bridge reconstructed using original chain link from the famous Tibetan bridge builder TangThong Gyalpo.
On arrival you will be taken to your hotel for a check-in and short rest .In the evening visit the Memorial Chorten Stupa which is a sacred shrine built in the memory of third king of Bhutan. Countiue visit to Tashichhodzong – the fortress that is now the government’s central administration headquarters, and also the offices of the King and the Prime Minister. You will enjoy welcome dinner at the Babesa village restaurant where you can enjoy authentic Bhutanese cuisines. Overnight in the resort
Meals – B/L/D, Drive time 1 hour.
Day 2-Explore the capital city Thimphu.
Friday - 20th of April 2018 @ Bhutan Suites or Pedling Hotel
Visit some of the treasures of the capital - the National Folk Heritage Museum, the Zorig Chusum school of 13 traditional arts/crafts, the Royal Textile Museum and Academy. Visit the Bhutan Post Office to see our famous stamps and you can also make your own stamps here and send postcards to your loved ones at home.
Visit the Kuensel Phodrang where the gigantic 169 ft statue of Buddha Dordenma. The interior of the statue’s temple is easily one of the most beautiful and unique with thousands of other statues inside. Enjoy a panoramic view of Thimphu city from there. We can do a short hike through the Nature Park here and hoist some prayer flags along the way to send out some prayers into the world.
In the afternoon we do some more hiking on Thimphu’s most popular hiking trails. Wangditse hike is a very scenic short and easy hike that rewards hikers with great views of the underlying Thimphu valley. Continue to climb up to Chhokhortse goenpa. The trail goes straight up the ridge. After about 500 m the trail levels out while crossing an open ridge with a field of prayer flags. The views of the city are excellent from here. Continue up the ridge. The trail to Chhokhortse continues up, at times to the left, then again along the ridge. It leads through open grassy areas, oak undergrowth and blue pines. Descend down to the radio tower and visit the Taken Reserve Centre to see the national animal of Bhutan.
End the evening with a visit to the popular Changangkha monastery.
Day 3-Excursion to Dodeyna Monastic School and temple. Day Hike.
Saturday - 21st of April 2018 @ Bhutan Suites or Pedling Hotel
Drive to Dechenchholing and start the three hours hike to Dodeydra Shedra. The hike is characterized by moderate ascents thorugh Blue-pine forests. A picnic lunch will be served on the way. After the lunch spot, hikers will be rewarded by stunning views of Thimphu city. Currently there are around 170 monks studying and living in Dodeydra Buddhist University, including His Eminence Gyalwang Lorepa and His eminence Yongzin Rinpoche. It is located at an altitude of 2380m. An audience with His Eminence Gyalwang Lorepa and His eminence Yongzin Rinpoche after lunch, followed by a visit to the temple. The monks always engage in games like Football and Volleyball everyday as part of their physical education and guests who are interested can join the games and enjoy a game with the monks who are more than happy to welcome guests.
Drive to town in the afternoon and proceed to the national stadium to witness Bhutan’s national sport – Archery – played with much fun and enthusiasm over a range of 120m field.
Visit the Crafts Bazaar in the afternoon, along the streets of Thimphu which sells and displays various handicrafts and textiles made entirely in Bhutan.
If you like cycling, we can provided you our mountain bikes as a value added offer, so that you can combine it with today’s sightseeing tour.
Day 4-Thimphu to Punakha Sightseeing.
Sunday - 22nd of April 2018 @ Hotel Lobesa or Meri Phuensum Resort
Drive to Punakha over the Dochula Pass (3140). Situated atop the pass at the backdrop of fluttering prayer flags is the Druk Wangyal Chortens, a collection of 108 chortens (stupas) that was built to exemplify the greatness of the Fourth King. If you would like to hike, we recommend the Lungtsezelkha hike – another lovely like that passes through Rhododendron forests and alpine vegetation. Here you might come across some Yaks as we often spot them. It starts from Dochula pass – and climbs upto the peak where the Lungtsezekha temple stands at 3800m. From here, you can see the great Himalayan peaks of northern Bhutan as well as valleys of southern Bhutan.
Hike back to Dochula, and descend to the low-lying rice valley of Lobesa and pay your respects to one of Bhutan’s most charming and eccentric historic figures nicknamed ‘The Divine Madman’ at the Chhimi Lhakhang – also called the fertility monastery - our guide will explain the entire story about it. The visit involves a short nice hike through a beautiful village surrounded by paddy fields.
Stay in a cozy resort overlooking the valley.
Drive time 4 hrs
Day 5-Punakha Sightseeing
Monday - 23rd of April 2018 @ Hotel Lobesa or Meri Phuensum Resort
Drive to Punakha valley to visit Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal stupa, which involves a short scenic hike through paddy fields for about 45 minutes till the hilltop where the temple is located. From here you can also enjoy a majestic view of the underlying valley. The temple itself is a splendid example of Bhutan’s fine architectural and artistic traditions and the only one of its kind in the world. From here you can optionally take another great hike from the riverside crossing a suspension bridge to other side of the Mo Chu river for approximately 3 km with hours hiking. A picnic lunch is served on the banks of the Punakha river.
After lunch, continue to Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful fortress in Bhutan situated at the confluence of two rivers. This ancient fortress is the winter residence of the monastic order’s leadership and still serves as the administrative headquarters for the Punakha region. The fortress is a fine example of Bhutan’s rich art and architecture, and our guide who is an expert in iconography will explain all aspects of art, architecture, history and its significance.
Proceed to Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery which is atop a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang. Interact with the nuns and they love to speak English with visitors and learn about the ways of the world.
Day 6-Punakha to Tangsibje village ( BTC's Exclusive Meet-the-locals cultural Immersion).
Tuesday - 24th of April 2018 @ My Grandfather's Heritage House
Punakha to Tangsibje village (Meet-the-locals cultural Immersion). Exclusive Offering from us. B/L/D
Continue to Wangdue town to visit the Wangdue Fortress, which was devastated by fire a couple of years ago. You could see history in the making with local artisans working on resurrecting the fortress to former glory. It is interesting to know that in the early days, these mighty fortresses were built without using a single nail!
Continue to drive to my village – the scenic Tangsibje village where I spent most of my school holidays with my grandparents and relatives. Stay overnight in my Grandfather’s heritage house, which he built in the 60’s. You will be welcomed by my cousin sister and her husband who was recently won the “Strongest Man of Bhutan” contest. We are the only tour operator in Bhutan taking visitors to this beautiful village which is considered one of the most beautiful villages of Trongsa district, and therefore makes it a real off-the-beaten-track experience. Some of the best singers in Bhutan hail from this village as it is blessed by a holy spring water is believed to make your voice beautiful when you drink it. The host family will prepare a splendid dinner for you using fresh organic vegetables and herbs from her garden.
Note: This experience is consistently rated as a favourite amongst our guests.
Drive time 4 hrs.
Day 7-Tangsibje valley and Bumthang Chumey valley.
Wednesday - 25th of April 2018 @ Chumey Nature Resort
Take an easy morning hike through the village upto the road. Drive to Trongsa town. After lunch at Trongsa town, visit the Tower of Trongsa museum, an old watchtower now converted to a museum highlighting the establishment of our monarchy and the royal dynasty of Bhutan. Of the various artifacts, relics and historical items on display, the most important exhibit is the Raven Crown used by the first two kings of Bhutan, and the royal robes of the founding fathers of Bhutan.
Continue to Chumey valley and visit the famous textile weavers of Chumey valley who specialise in Yak Wool textiels popularly called Yatha. Stay Continue to Chamkhar valley in Bumthang.
Drive time 4 hours
Day 8-Chumey Valley – Tharpaling Goenpa- Hike into Bumthang
Thursday - 26th of April 2018 @ Yugharling Resort or Gongkhar Guesthouse
Drive to Tharpaling Goenpa through Chumey Valley for 1 hour. The monastery was founded by the great Tibetan lama Longchenpa in the 1300s. After visiting the temple, start hiking on what we consider one of the most beautiful day hikes in Bumthang valley, that starts at 3800m – and descends gradually through temperate forests of Juniper and Bluepine forests. Here hikers usually spot various pheasants and other avi-fauna common in this region. It's a brand new trail and stretches for 13 km and exits on the highway in Kikila in Chamkhar valley. From here you’ll be driven to your resort.
The evening ends with visit to a local handloom weaving house and opportunity to interact with the weavers. Stroll around Bumthang town in the evening.
Day 9-Bumthang Sightseeing.
Friday - 27th of April 2018 @ Yugharling Resort or Gongkhar Guesthouse
After a hearty breakfast at your hotel, continue visiting the popular cultural attractions in Chamkhar valley. Visit the 07th century old Jambay Lhakhang temple which was built by king Songshen Goempo. Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang are said to be the 2 temples of the 108 temples built by king Songsen Goempo over the Himalayan area.
Visit the Kurjey lhakhang, a collection of 3 temples surrounded by 108 stupas that symbolizes Buddha’s victory over the evil spirits. The drupchhu (holy water), about one hundred meters above the temple, is said to have been created by the Guru Rinpoche (popular 8th Century Saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan).
In the afternoon visit Tamshing Lhakhang – founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, the temple was restored at the end of the 19th century. You could also visit the Cheese factory to see how local Gouda cheese is made. Take some rest here at this cozy outlet and snack on Bumthang Cheese and locally made white beer - the Red Panda beer.
Bumthang is known for their unique local cuisines and we’ll take you to one of our favourite restaurants to spend the evening with good food, locally brewed beer and some conversation.
Day 10-Ura Yakchoe Festival
Saturday - 28th of April 2018 @ Yugharling Resort or Gongkhar Guesthouse
After a hearty breakfast, drive to Ura village and witness the popular Ura Yakchoe festival – a unique community festival that is unlike other usual festivals in terms of the historical significance. Spend a whole day witnessing the various performances and sacred mask dances, and interact with villagers who are very keen to welcome visitors to their village.
Return to Bumthang in the evening and explore the town.
Day 11-Domestic Flight to Paro
Sunday - 29th of April 2018 @ Gangtey Palace Resort or Metta Resort
After breakfast, take a short hike up to the Jakar fortress in the morning. Continue to the airport and take a 30 minutes domestic flight to Paro. Many guests love the experience as it's a nice glide over the himalayan ranges.
After reaching paro, visit the 7th century Kyichu lhakhang monastery, the sister temple of Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang. These two are considered the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan.
Visit a farmhouse to soak in a herbal hot-stone bath which is known to be therapeutic and helps ailments related to joints and muscle aches, besides simply soothing your mind and body. Perfect to unwind and goes well with the Red Panda local beer. This is a complimentary value-added experience from Bhutan Travel Club without any hidden costs. Proceed to your resort.
Day 12-Excursion to Tiger's Nest
Monday - 30th of April 2018 @ Gangtey Palace Resort or Metta Resort
Saved the best for the last. Today you’ll experience Bhutan’s most valued attractions, and perhaps the biggest highlight for your trip! An excursion to the famous Taktshang monastery –translated as- Tiger’s nest monastery. The temple was built in 1692 by a prominent historical figure named Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye whose reincarnation is now a young teenager and already a prominent figure in the clergy. Your guide will complement the experience with its story.
On the way back visit the ruins of Drugyal Dzong fortress, which is an important Bhutanese heritage as it served as a strategic watchtower and a fortress that helped repel numerous Tibetan invasions in the 1600s. Peak of Jumolhari ‘Mountain of the Goddess’ can be seen on a clear day from here (7,329 mts/24,029 ft.).
Since today is Friday, visit the colourful weekend vegetable market where proud villagers behind pyramids of their agricultural produce greet you with stone weights in their hands and smiles on their faces. It is interesting to see what may seem to you as ‘weird vegetables and forest products’ that actually enriches the Bhutanese palate.
Stroll around town visiting various handicrafts shops and proceed for your farewell dinner.
Tuesday - 1st of May 2018 @
After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will take you to the airport. Your guide will help you with the formalities and fare you well on your onward journey.