11 Nights 12 Days
- Visit one of the most remote mountain village in Bhutan (Merak The Valley of Brokpa People) and explore the brokpa village and immerse yourself in with the local community and learn about their culture.
- Discover the places that is least travelled and the countryside
- Hoisting of Buddhist prayer Flags
- Visit to UNESCO World Heritage site Dramitse Lhakhang
- Visit to the land of kishuthara and Gangzor Village pottery in Bhutan
- Learn how to cook ema datshi (chili cheese) with a local family at local home stay
- See and Experience century old fortresses called Dzongs and temples
- Stay in Typical Bhutanese Homestays and enjoy Local food at local home stay
- Guru Nangsey Zilneon statue one of the tallest statues in the world
- Experience pure Buddhist tradition and preserved Bhutanese culture
- Have the chance to try making Dehsho paper yourself and take home your own unique souvenir from Bhutan!!!
- Hike to Taktsang Goemba ‘Tiger’s Nest’ and thrilling cliffs
Day 01 Arrive Paro
Kuzuzangpola – Welcome to Bhutan!
The flight into Bhutan takes you the great Himalayas, offering you the most scintillating scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the silvery Pa-chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley with lush green paddy fields, pristine forest, incredulous fortress-like monasteries known as Dzongs and majestically flowing rivers. On arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be received by Away Smile Travels representatives.
Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom up to Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North. This picturesque region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley.
Accentuating the natural beauty are the elegant, traditional-style houses that dot the valley and surrounding hills. One of the distinctive features of Paro town is that it is situated in a flat valley bottom and follows a grid-like pattern.
Visit Ta-Dzong, the National Museum which was originally the watch tower of the Paro Dzong and stands imposingly on a hillock overlooking the Paro valley. A short visit here will give you an idea of the cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan.
Visit Tashi Gongphel Handmade Paper Factory. In Bhutan, there is a unique kind of paper used for woodblock and manuscript books, and for writing prayers and mantras by Buddhist monasteries. The special paper is called Dehsho, and is handmade with traditional methods, which are still applied until today. At the Tashi Gongphel handmade paper factory, you can observe the fascinating process of Dehsho paper making. Starting with the barks of the Daphne and Dhekap trees, the complicated procedure consists of many steps to create the fine Dehsho paper. You will have the chance to try making Dehsho paper yourself and take home your own unique souvenir from Bhutan! Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day 02 Paro -Trashigang (Yonphula)
ATR Domestic flight. (The itinerary may change as per the flight schedule and seat availability. Please contact us for the details.
After breakfast transfer to Paro Airport for Yonphula, Trashigang. The flight from Paro-Yonphula is about 45 minutes.
Trashigang, “The Jewel of the East”, spans the easternmost corners of the kingdom, skirting up to the edge of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is the country’s largest district, with an altitude ranging from 600 m to over 4000 m. Bhutan’s largest river, Dangme Chhu, flows through this district. Trashigang town is set on a scenic hillside and was once a bustling trade centre for merchants looking to barter their goods in Tibet. Today, it is the junction of the East-West highway with road connections to Samdrup Jongkhar and the Indian state of Assam. Trashigang town is also the principle marketplace for the semi-nomadic people of Merak and Sakteng, whose unique way of dressing stands out from the ordinary Bhutanese Gho and Kira.
Drive or hike to the quaint Rangshikhar Village. There is a little monastery presiding on the top of a small hillock in the village. The locals visit the monastery very frequently. It is quite pleasant to walk around the village and to the Goemba. It is founded by the Rangshikhar Rinpoche, Togdhen Jigme Chogyal. It has a huge Buddha Statue and others that tell the story of Buddha. Overnight: Rangshikhar Heritage Homestay or Hotel in Trashigang.
Day 03 Trashigang-Merak Village (Drive 4-5 hours).
After breakfast drive to Merak village (The Land of Brokpa People). Merak village stands out as a distinct attraction in Bhutan. Unlike anywhere else in the country, it offers a visitor to experience a unique semi-nomadic lifestyle, culture and vernacular in one of the most scenic pastoral valley in Trashigang Dzongkhag (District), in Eastern Bhutan. The community is predominantly the Brokpa ethnic group. Your small gift to the local family will be highly appreciated. Overnight Local Homestay in Merak.
Day 04 Merak-Trashigang (Drive 4-5 hours)
Morning after breakfast you can explore Merak Village and later drive back to Trashigang.
Visit Trashigang Dzong. Built in 1659, atop a spur overlooking the Dangmechu river, Trashigang dzong or ‘the fortress of the auspicious hill’ has been the political stronghold of eastern Bhutan for over 300 years. Trashigang Dzong is one of the most strategically placed dzongs in Bhutan. The present Dzong was enlarged by Dzongpon Dopola, in 1936.
Explore Trashigang town. Overnight Hotel in Trashigang.
Day 05 Trashigang-Trashiynagtse (Drive 3 hours)
Trashiyangtse is of the newest dzongkhags in the country, Trashi yangtse was established as a distinct district in 1992 and spans 1,437 sq. km of subtropical and alpine forests. With its wealth of natural, historical and cultural resources Trashi yangtse is a destination that visitors to Bhutan will never forget. At an elevation of 1750-1880 m, Trashi yangtse is an ethnically and culturally diverse district and the inhabitants include Yangtseps, the regions indigenous dwellers, Tshanglas, Bramis from Tawang, Kurtoeps from Lhuentse. This rich cultural tapestry has resulted in an interesting mix of languages and cultural practices in the region. Three major languages are spoken in Trashiyangtse.
On the way visit Gom Kora: Visit Gom Kora on the way. The temple of Gom Kora is set on a small alluvial plateau overlooking the Dangmechu river. Surrounded by rice fields and clumps of banana trees, it looks like an oasis in an arid landscape. It is one of the famous places where Guru Rinpoche meditated in order to subdue a demon which dwelt in a huge black rock.
Visit Chorten Kora: This dazzling white stupa is situated on the riverbank below the town. Constructed in 1740 by Lama Ngawang Loday, it is built in the same style as Bodnath Stupa in Nepal, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It was consecrated by the 13th Chief Abbot Sherub Wangchuk. During the second month of the lunar calendar there is an interesting celebration here, known as ‘Kora’ during which it is frequented not just by the locals from eastern Bhutan but also by the people from Arunachal Pradesh.
Explore Trashiyangtse town. Overnight Hotel / Local Home Stay in Trashiyangtse.
Day 06 Trashiyangtse – Mongar (Drive 5-6 hours)
After breakfast transfer to Mongar. On the way visit Dramitse Lhakhang. Dramitse Lhakhang built in the 16th century by Ani Cheten Zangmo, the daughter of the renowned terton Pema Lingpa is a very notable religious site in Bhutan. The Dramitse Ngacham or the “Dance of the Drums of Dramitse,” was born in this lhakhang in the 16th century. Today, it is a popular dance performed at all major festivals. It is also on the esteemed UNESCO World Heritage list.
Hoisting of Prayer Flags.
For centuries, prayer flags have been a major part of Bhutanese people’s tradition, symbolizing the reality and pervasiveness of their belief. Prayer flags are hoisted for happiness, long life, prosperity, luck and merit and to offer karmic merit to all sentient beings. Prayer flags are raised outside homes, hung on hilltops, bridges and places of spiritual importance. Hoisting a prayer flag is considered to bring in good luck and merit to all sentient beings.
Note: – Please check the auspicious date/day to hoist the prayer flags
Complimentary service – The raising of a prayer flag is a complimentary service arranged by Away Smile Travels.
Later drive to Mongar. Mongar is situated on a hill overlooking the Kurichu valley and surrounding villages. It is one of the fastest growing town in eastern Bhutan.
Explore Mongar Town. Overnight Hotel in Mongar.
Day 07 Mongar-Lhuntse (Drive 3 hours)
In the northeastern corner of Bhutan lies the ancient region of Kurtoe or Lhuntse as it is known today. It is the ancestral home of our Kings and hosts several of the sacred sites of pilgrimage in the country. It is located 77km from Mongar (3 hours’ drive) and is one of the most isolated districts in Bhutan.
The landscape is spectacular with stark cliffs towering above river gorges and dense coniferous forests. The region is famous for its weavers and their distinctive textiles are generally considered to be the best in the country. Kurtoep women are especially adept at weaving a textile called Kishuthara. Eastern Bhutanese culture is distinctive in its high alcohol consumption in relation to other parts of Bhutan. Ara, the traditional alcohol of Bhutan, is most often home made from rice or maize, either fermented or distilled.
Visit Takila Guru Statue. Visit the giant Guru Nangsey Zilneon bronze statue consecrated in November 2015. The 157 feet Guru Nangsey Zilneon statue is the one of the tallest statues in the world. Seated on a 38 feet lotus located on a hill in Takila overlooking Tangmachu village in Menbi gewog, the construction took more than seven years.
Visit Gangzur village is well known for pottery in Bhutan. The village is about two kilometers from the Lhuentse Dzong. The women from the village are skilled artisans and adept in the art of pottery. Pottery is a dying art in Bhutan and as such, the Government is now trying to revive the art by providing financial support. You can witness the women displaying their skills.
Visit Khoma Village and explore the village. This village is known throughout the country for its woven textile, the Kishuthara. A culture that has evolved over the years is a row of women in a makeshift textile cottage, weaving intricate designs and patterns.
Later in the evening savor specially organized cooking demonstration with local family where you will not only savor the local delicacy but also experience & exchange views on the Bhutan’s unique cultural and traditional values. You will be helping to cook Ema Detsi Chilli Cheese). This is organized at private family followed by dinner at local home. Overnight Home Stay Khoma Lhuntse
Day 08 Lhuntse – Ura Valley Bumthang (Drive 8-9 hours)
After an early breakfast, leave for Bumthang valley. You will officially be departing Eastern Bhutan and entering Central Bhutan after you cross Thrumshing La, Bhutan’s highest pass at 12, 467 feet.
Ura is the highest of Bumthang valleys and is believed by some to have been the home of the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. There are about 45 closely packed houses along cobblestone streets, giving the town a medieval atmosphere. The Geyden Lhakhang dominates the town. Overnight Home Stay Ura Valley.
Day 09 Ura-Bumthang sightseeing (Drive 2 hours)
After breakfast drive and discover Bhumtang Valley. Bumthang region span from 2,600-4,500 m is the religious heartland of the nation and home to some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. Tales of Guru Padmasambhava and the tertons (“religious treasure-discoverers”) still linger in this sacred region. Bumthang Dzongkhag consists of four main valleys, Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Choekhor is the largest of the four and is widely considered as ‘Bumthang Valley’. The valleys are broad and gentle carved by the ancient glaciers. The wide and scenic valleys draws a large number of tourists each year.
This dzongkhag is one of the most richly endowed districts in terms of historical and spiritual legacy. Some of Bhutan’s oldest and most venerated temples are found in Bumthang, including Jambey Lhakhang. There are numerous other temples and shrines worth visiting in Bumthang and many of them are linked to Guru Rinpoche’s visit in 746 A.D. The fertile valleys of Bumthang are covered in fields of buckwheat and potatoes. Apple orchards and dairy farms are also common sights here. This serene region is one of the most peaceful places in the kingdom.
On the way visit Mebar Tsho. Mebar Tsho or the ‘Burning Lake’ is considered to be one of the most important pilgrimage spots in Bhutan. Mebar Tsho is more of a gorge than a lake. It is believed that the famous treasure hunter, Terton Pema Lingpa discovered many holy relics hidden here by Guru Rinpoche. To silence skeptical minds, he plunged in to the gorge with a burning lamp declaring, “If I am a demon, I shall die! If I am not, and am the true spiritual son of Guru Rinpoche, this lamp will continue to burn, and I will recover hidden treasures!” Legend has it that he came out with the hidden relics and with the lamp still burning and hence, the name ‘Mebar Tsho’ came about.
Visit Jambay Lhakhang. This monastery was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. It is one of 108 monasteries he built to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region. Its present architectural appearance dates from the early 20th century.
Visit Kurjey Lhakhang. Located further along the valley, Kurje Lhakhang is comprised of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 against the rock face where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century. The middle temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of the Guru’s body and is therefore considered to be the holiest. The temple on the left was built in the 1990s by Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck, Royal Grandmother. These three temples are surrounded by a 108-chorten wall.
Visit Tamshing Lhakhang. Located across the river from Kurje Lhakhang, this temple was founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, a re-incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava. There are very old religious paintings around the inner walls of the temple, which was restored at the end of the 19th century.
Visit Kenchok Sum Lhakhang. Kenchok Sum Lhakhang dates back to the 8th century. The inscription on the large bell testifies to it being cast for the Tibetan Royal Family. You will find statues of the past, present and future Buddhas.
Visit Local Beer (Red panda) Factory. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.
Day 10 Bumthang – Paro.
ATR Domestic flight. (The itinerary may change as per the flight schedule and seat availability. Please contact us for the details.
After breakfast transfer to Paro Airport for Bumthang. The flight from Paro-Bumthang is about 30 minutes.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang built in the 7th century by the famous Buddhist Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. This is one of the oldest and most holy temple in Bhutan.
Explore Paro Town. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day 11 Paro Sightseeing (Hike to Taktsang Monastery)
After breakfast, drive to Rumthngaka village and hike to Taktsang. The main highlight of the trip is the hike to one of Bhutan’s most venerated pilgrimage sites, the Taktsang Goemba, commonly referred to as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900 m above the valley, Taktsang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular around 5 hours round trip walk will be your most overwhelming experience ever.
After the tiring hike you can experience the traditional Hot Stone Bath. Stones are handpicked from the river which is heated up in the open fire until they turn blood red. The traditional wooden tub is filled with cold water and then the red-hot stones are dipped in until the water warms up. It is a very natural experience that includes the elements of water, fire and earth.
Traditional hot stone bath is a complimentary service arranged by Away Smile Travels.
Day 12 Departure:
After breakfast drive to the Paro International Airport where our representatives will bid you goodbye!
Thank you (Kardrienchhey) for visiting Bhutan with Away Smile Travels “Smiles for Miles “