Bhutan at a Glance
(05 Nights / 06Days)
(Phuentsholing - Thimphu - Punakha - Paro-Phuentsholing)
(Thimphu town, Buddha Sakya Muni, Memorial Chhorten, Tango Monastery, Royal Textile Academy, Centenary Market, Changlimithang Stadium, cross Dochula, Rinpung Dzong,The National Museum, Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest), Farm house & Drugyal Dzong.)
DAY 01: Phuentsholing Arrival - Thimphu (147 Km, 04 Hrs)
On arrival at Phuentsholing, you will be received by a representative of Dynasty Bhutan who will be waiting inside the Phuentsholing entrance gate holding a placard with your name on it. The representative will be your guide for the duration of the tour and will welcome you in a traditional manner by offering a khadar (greeting scarf).
Drive to Thimphu city, the capital of Bhutan which is at an elevation of 2,350 m / 7700 ft. Urbanization began here when Thimphu was proclaimed as a national capital in 1952 and the Dechenchoeling Palace was built at this time. Even today the city retains its ethnic architectural style and is the only capital in the world with no traffic lights. Yet unlike other capital cities in the world, Thimphu remains essentially pastoral in character and changes its demeanor with the seasons.
We will make stops along the way from time to time, so as not to miss the magnificent view of the Indian plains and the Toorsa River below. After a two hour drive through light mountain jungle, displaying lianas and orchids, we pass over the first ridge and begin a long and gradual descent to the river which is the source of energy for the massive Chukha Hydel hydroelectric power project. We cross the river, and rise up the mountainside ever further into the hills, leaving Chukha and the small town of Chimakothi behind us.
On arrival, check into the hotel.
After Lunch you will be taken for a short sightseeing tour around Thimphu town. During this tour you will visit:
- Visit Buddha point known popularly known as Kuensel Phodrang which has a 160 feet statue of The Present Buddha- Buddha Sakya Muni (Sha cha Thupa). This is one of the biggest statues of Buddha in the World. From here on can get a beautiful view of the Capital city, Thimphu.
- Walk around Memorial Chhorten in Thimphu built in 1974 in memory of the Third King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who passed away in 1972. The Memorial Chhorten is one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu, and for many people it is the focus of their daily worship.
- Visit Tashichhodzong, whose history dates back to the 13th century, wherein houses His Majesty’s Throne Room and is the summer home to the Monastic Body. Evening you will have a free time to walk around Thimphu Town.
Evening you will have a free time to walk around Thimphu Town.
DAY 02: Thimphu Day Excursion
Morning after breakfast hike to Tango Monastery, about 7 miles from Thimphu, the Tango Monastery is a lovely place for an excursion. The drive or walk to reach it offers beautiful views of the countryside and
the Thimphu valley. The monastery dates back to the 13th century and was rebuilt in the 15th century by the “Divine mad man. (Drukpa Kinley)
On the way back visit Pangri Zampa Lhakhang now used as a school for Buddhist Astrology. It was built during the first quarter of 16th century and it is the first residence of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who unified Bhutan during 17th century.
Afternoon continue local sightseeing’s of the following places:
- Royal Textile Academy which is the place to learn about Bhutan's living national art of thagzo (weaving). The ground floor focuses on royal ghos, including the wedding clothes worn by the fourth king and his four wives. The upper floor introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and type of textiles made by women and men. The museum shop offers some interesting books and fine textiles. Across the courtyard is the Royal Textile Academy conservation centre, where you can observe a small group of weavers working their looms.
- Visit Centenary Market one of the biggest structures in Bhutan, Centenary Farmers market was built in 2008 to mark the coronation of fifth King of Bhutan and 100 years of monarchy. The two storied building has 458 stalls for sale of the vegetables, fruits, meats and other farm products. It also houses cafeteria and separate stalls for non-wood forest products. Vendors throughout the country come here to sell their farm produces. The market is open six days in a week except Wednesday.
- Visit Changlimithang Stadium & Archery Ground, see if there's an archery tournament going on at this ground near the Changlimithang Stadium: whether it's traditional bamboo or high-tech carbon-fibre bows, the skill, camaraderie and good-humoured ribbing are always entertaining. Traditional songs and victory dances are all part of the fun. Archers often practise here in the mornings and evenings.
The evening is kept free for visit Craft Bazaar.
Overnight at hotel - Thimphu.
DAY 03: Thimphu - Punakha (B/L/D)
Morning after breakfast, drive to Punakha valley (The old capital of the country) via the Dochula Mountain pass (3,140 m). On a clear day Dochu La offers a stunning view of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges:
Himalayan ranges Kang Bum 6,526 m Gangchhenta 6,840 m Masang Gang 7,165 m Tsenda Gang 7,100 m Teri Gang 7,300 m Jejekangphu Gang 7,100 m Zongophu Gang ( Table Mt ) 7,100 m Gangkhar Puensum 7,541 m
Visit Druk Wangyel Chhorten, built by the Queen Mother for the peace and stability of the country. The 108 Khangzang Namgyal Chhortens are a new landmark for travellers as they cross Dochula, the first mountain pass into the interior of the country.
On the way visit Chimi Lhakhang, located on a hillock in the center of the valley below Metshina. There is a short 20-minute walk through the village of Sopsokha en-route to the temple wherein you will cross paddy fields and get a feel for rural Bhutan. The temple was built by Ngawang Chogyel in the 15th century after the 'divine Madman' Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. The temple is believed to bless couples unable to have children and many people from around the world visit this holly site to seek its blessings.
Drive to see the impressive Punakha Dzong, the second of Bhutan’s dzongs. For many years until the time of the second King, it served as the seat of the government. It is the winter residence of the monastic order’s leader and his entourage of monks, and was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Inside the Dzong is the set of the 108 volumes of Kanjur – the holy book of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, written in gold. The Dzong also safe guards Bhutan’s most treasured possession: The Rangjung Kharsapani, a self-created image of Chenrigzig which is described by Shabdrung as a treasure as vast as the sky.
Evening free time to relax.
Overnight at hotel - Punakha.
DAY 04: Punakha - Paro
Morning after breakfast we will drive to Paro for a local sightseeing’s. On arrival visit to the following places;
- Drive to see the Rinpung Dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration center and school for monks. - Visit The National Museum: rated as one of the finest natural history museums in South Asia which is a repository of not only precious work of art but also costumes, armor and other hand crafted objects of daily life that provide a good snapshot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. Of special interest is the gallery of thangkhas which exhibits exquisite pieces of different vintages – those depicting Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first Je Khempo and first Druk desi are of particular significance.
Evening free time to visit Paro Town.
Overnight at hotel – Paro.
DAY 05: Paro Day Excursion
After an early breakfast we will drive back to Paro.
On arrival take a short drive to road point from where the hike begins to the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest) which clings precariously to a cliff 800 m / 2,600 ft above the Paro valley. The climb up to the view point will take around three hours (depending on one’s fitness). In the second half of the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, alighted here upon the back of a tigress, and upon meditating for three months in a cave, assumed the form of Dorje Droloe, the Terrifying Thunderbolt and subjugated the Eight Evil Spirits who hindered the propagation of Buddhism. Thereafter, the Buddhist Dharma was introduced to
Paro valley and soon spread to the rest of Bhutan. Taktsang is one of the holiest sites in the country and one of the most venerated Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas.
Lunch will be served during the return hike back to the road point. The afternoon will comprise of a visit to Drugyal Dzong and a local farm house as detailed below:
- Drugyal Dzong, now in ruins, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders, led by Mongolian Warlord, Gushri Khan. Strategically built over the only passage into Paro valley, the Dzong helped to repel numerous invasions all through the course of Bhutanese history. It so impressed the early English visitors in 1914 that the Dzong was featured on the cover of the National Geographic Magazine. In fine weather, the towering peak of Mount Jumolhari 7314 m high appears as a backdrop. This mountain which marks the frontier with Tibet is sacred and the dwelling place of goddess Jomo.
In the evening visit a local Farmhouse to see firsthand how rural Bhutanese live. The Farmhouses are very decorative, built and painted in a classical style. The houses are normally three stories; the ground floor is used for cattle, the top floor for drying hay, while the family live in the middle floor.
Overnight at hotel – Paro.
DAY 06: Paro - Phuentsholing
After breakfast your guide will escort you to the Phuentsholing exit gate for your onward journey.