6 Nights 7 Days
- Visit one of the most remote country in the world
- Learn how to cook ema datshi (chili cheese) and dinner with a local family at local home stay
- See and Experience century old fortresses called Dzongs and temples
- Visit Golden Buddha Dordenma at Kuenselphodrang
- Visit 108 miniature chortens or stupa at Dochula pass
- Offering of 108 Butter lamps
- Very special is a visit to the Cordyceps Tasting House, where you can learn more about the so-called ‘caterpillar mushroom’’, a traditional medicine valued more than gold
- Visit to first Dzong built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1629.
- See Traditional Cultural show/ program
- 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 and escort you to Thimphu. The drive from Paro to Thimphu takes about one hour.
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 Rinpung Dzong. The dzong’s correct name is Rinchen Phug Dzong but has been shortened to Rinpung Dzong. The name means ‘fortress of the heap of jewels.’ The dzong was built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche. Some of the scenes from the film ‘Little Buddha’ by Bernardo Bertolucci in 1995 was filmed at the Paro Rinpung Dzong. From the Paro Dzong, walk downhill to the wooden bridge, which is known nayamai zampa. Once you reach to the bridge take roundabout and follow the road towards the Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The drive to Thimphu is about one hour. Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02 Thimphu Sightseeing
After breakfast begin the city tour around Thimphu. Visit National Memorial Chorten. The National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 in memory of the late Third Druk Gyalpo (King) of Bhutan.
Drive up to Buddha Point. Buddha Point has the largest statue of Buddha in the whole kingdom. You can get a very good view of Thimphu valley from here.
Visit the Institute for Zorig Chusum. Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. It is a hands-on trip for you. Enjoy few moments with the future artists of the country at the Painting School.
Visit the local post office that has a large collection of stamps. They can make a personalized postage stamp for you that can be used to mail a letter or postcard for a nominal fee. Bhutan Postal Museum: It was inaugurated on 7 November 2015. It tells the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the evolution of communications and postal system in the country.
Visit Simply Bhutan, an interactive ‘living’ museum developed for and by the youth of Bhutan through the Bhutan Youth Development Fund. (You can try traditional butter tea and Traditional food)
Cordyceps Tasting House. Unique to the world, the Cordyceps Tasting Room offer a cosy tea room to taste a range of Cordyceps-infused soups and drinks. Our hostess will also perform a Cordyceps Tea Ceremoney. Enjoy a selection of delicious and healthy soups packed full of vitamins and minerals to reboot, or boos endurance.
Weaving Center. You can watch weavers at work at the private weaving centre at Changzamtog. The centre produces hand woven textiles and has a selection of cloth and readymade Bhutanese garments for sale.
Visit Tashichhodzong: Tashichhodzong means ‘the fortress of the glorious religion.’ It is a majestic fortress in all its grandeur and serves as the seat of Bhutan’s government. The Dzong houses the secretariat, the throne room, the offices of His Majesty the King and the ministries of home affairs and finance. The fortress was initially erected in 1641 and later rebuilt in the 1960s by the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu
Day 03 Thimphu-Punakha (Drive 3 hours)
After breakfast drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. After a dramatic one hour drive, the zigzag course of the road brings you to Dochula, a beautiful mountain pass (alt 3,140 m/10,299ft) with its fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens. On a clear fine day, you will view awe-inspiring glimpses of the towering Himalayan peaks. The remaining part of the drive is mostly a gradual descent into Punakha valley.
Visit Chimi Lhakhang in the village of Lobesa (20 mins from Punakha), the auspicious fertility temple built by the famous divine madman. It’s a beautiful 30 min walk amidst paddy fields and typical Bhutanese houses. Stop at some of the local village homes here to get a feel of the traditional Bhutanese way of living. The temple is beautifully perched on a small hill top overlooking the entire village.
Visit Punakha Dzong, strategically built between the two rivers, the Phochu (Male River) and the Mochu (Female River), the winter residence of the Je-Khenpo (the religious leader of Bhutan). Overnight: Hotel in Punakha.
Day 04 Punakha Sightseeing – Gangtey/Phobjikha Valley (Drive 2.5 hours)
After breakfast drive to Tserigang village, north of Punakha. Hike to Khamsum Yule Namgyel Chorten. It is around 45 mins one-way hike through rice field. This fascinating temple was built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in this world. The best of the spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls. There are also paintings of Buddhist teachers and tutelary deities of the country. This is a great temple to study the symbolic meanings from frescoes and sculptures.
Drive to Gangtey/Phobjakha Valley. The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space, and extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valleys are tightly enclosed.
Gangtey Nature trail. This pleasurable hike from the small hilltop overlooking the Phobjikha valley to the community school gives you a nice feel of the valley. It is a gentle hike through flower meadows, beautiful forests and into the open valley.
Experiences: Evening visit Local Farmhouse. These farmhouses are generally home to multiple generations, with anywhere from five to 5-6 family members sleeping there at one time. The family will also showcase their preparation of Ema Datshi. You’ll have the chance to taste ara, local drink made from organic grains grown by the farmers. (Dinner with local family members). Overnight Hotel in Gangtey
Day 05 Gangtey-Paro (Drive 5 hours)
After breakfast transfer visit Gangtey Goemba. It is situated on the slopes of the valley was built in the 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies on the floor of the valley, a few kilometers down from the monastery. This quiet, remote valley is the winter home of the famous black-necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate.
Butter Lamp Offering Ceremony. The lighting of butter lamps accompanied by prayers has a special significance in Buddhist religion. Lighting butter lamps represents relief from suffering and provides you with a guiding light to find enlightenment. A senior monk teacher at Gangtey Goenpa (monastery) will be happy to lead this significant ritual for you personally.
Drive to Paro. visit Semtokha Dzong. Simtokha Dzong is the first dzong built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1629. There are over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard of the dzong.
Explore Paro Town. Overnight Hotel in Paro
Day 06 Paro Sightseeing (Hike to Taktsang Monastery)
After breakfast, drive to Paro, 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.
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.
Evening Cultural show/ program at local venue and later followed by Farwell dinner at Local Home Stay. Overnight Hotel in Paro
Day 07 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 “