|Bhutan is a land of myths and legends. Sheltered from
the influence of the outside world for many years, the charming
Bhutanese people have managed to retain their ancient religious and
cultural traditions almost perfectly: This is apparent not only from the
traditional architecture all over the country but also the clothes
people wear; all this with the backdrop of the mighty Himalayan ranges,
dense forests and cool mountain springs. Like timeless images from the
past, the visitor encounters the full glory of this ancient land through
its strategic fortresses known as Dzongs, numerous ancient temples,
monasteries which dot the countryside and Buddhist prayer flags which
flutter along the high ridges.
A short trip to Bhutan, such as this 8 day itinerary shown here, can
easily be arranged as an extension from India; regular flights operate
from Delhi & Calcutta and one can also travel overland from Darjeeling
in India. We can also arrange longer trips of course, upon request.
Punakha Dzong, Bhutan
|Day 1 – Arrive in Thimpu
|The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the
great Himalayas, offering awesome views of some world’s highest
glacial peaks. After landing in the Paro, drive to Thimphu, the
capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu is a lively place, an interesting
combination of the traditional and the modern. Enjoy a traditional
cultural performance by local artists this evening.
|Day 2 – Thimpu to
|Visit the National Memorial Chorten
(temple) with its finely executed wall paintings and delicately
fashioned statues. Meet young arts and craft trainees at a painting
school and drive past the Tashichhodzon, the “fortress of the
glorious religion”, that was initially erected in 1641. Enjoy superb
views of the mountain ranges as you drive via Duchula Pass to
Punakha, an important Buddhist town and the former capital of
Bhutan. The Punakha Dzong, a magnificent fortress built in 1637 is
located at the confluence of two glacial rivers, and is a very
impressive site to visit this afternoon.
|Day 3 – Punakha to Bumthang
|Leaving Punakha this morning, head to Bumthang,
the religious heartland of the nation. Bumthang is the name given to
a region of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with
altitudes ranging from 7,800 ft to 12,000 ft. Bumthang is home to
some of the most important Buddhist temples and monasteries in
Bhutan. Visit the local market in Wangduephodrang. Then continue on
to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (10,830 ft), the traditional boundary
between east and west. The pass is marked by a large white chorten
prayer flags. Stop en route at Chendbji Chorten, patterned on
Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath stupa, with eyes panted at four cardinal
|Day 4 – Bumthang to Trongsa
|Spend the morning exploring some of the sights
around Bumthang valley, before driving to Trongsa, which was the
seat of the Wangchuks, the traditional rulers of Bhutan. Trongsa
Dzong, built in 1644, is located high on the spurs of a mountain
gorge and offers spectacular views all around.
|Day 5 – Trongsa to Punakha
|In the morning visit the Trongsa Dzong. The dzong
is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over
the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of the
hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa heralding its
strength as a defensive stronghold. Then drive via the beautiful
valley of Gangtey back to Punakha.
|Day 6 – Punakha to Paro
|On route to Paro visit Simtokha Dzong: This dzong,
built in 1627, stands on a low ridge and features over 300 finely
worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard. In
the afternoon visit Ta Dzong, built as a watchtower to protect
Rinpung Dzong. Then walk down the trail to Rinpung Dzong, before
heading towards Paro.
|Day 7 –Paro
|Early this morning, visit Drukgyel Dzong, from
where on a clear day there is a splendid view of Mt. Chomolhari.
Then hike up a steep slope to “Tiger’s Nest’ (approx. 2 hours each
way, though mules can be hired locally for the ascent). This most
famous of Bhutan’s monasteries is perched on the side of a cliff
2,700 ft above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche
arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this place,
hence the monastery is also called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Though the climb
is steep, the journey is most worthwhile on account of the superb
views en route. Return to Paro late in the afternoon.
|Day 8 – depart Paro
|Leave Bhutan this morning for the next leg of
Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang, Trongsa, Paro
8 Days from $2,069
We offer two categories
hotels are some of the best tourist class hotels available in Bhutan - all rooms
have private facilities and hotels are well located.
hotels are exclusive, luxury resorts (not available in all locations
in the itinerary).
The departure date determines the price applicable. All prices
are per person and based on twin-share accommodation.
Locals in Thimpu
Traditional wooden architecture
At a Bumthang temple
'Tiger's Nest' Dzong, perched high on a sheer cliff