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, Away Smile Travels representative will welcome you.
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 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.
Explore Paro Town. Evening: Briefing on our trek program. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day 02 Bumdra Trek (Paro to Bumdrak via Sangchokor)
Distance: 10km Time: 4 hrs Ascend: 700m Level of difficulty: medium
After breakfast and drive to Sangchokor (30 mins) and starts treks to Bumdrak will take about 4 hrs. This stretch is a pleasant walk through the forest where you get to enjoy the view of Paro valley. On this part of the trek, it is gradual steep climbs but you will feel out-of-breath because of the high elevation. The campsite is at an altitude of about (3868mt). You will camp in the vicinity of a monastery named Bumdrak. It is believed that 1,000 Dakinis had meditated in a cave and blessed the place and hence the name, Bumdrak. Overnight camp at Bumdrak
Day 03 Bumdrak back to Paro via Taktsang Monastery
Distance: 15km Time: 4hrs Descend: 668m. Level of difficulty: easy
After breakfast start the trek towards Taktsang. It takes about 4 hours and visit Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest): Hike to Taktshang Goemba. Taktshang meaning the ‘Tiger’s Nest’ is one of Bhutan’s most venerated pilgrimage sites and a very popular site for all tourists visiting Bhutan. 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 meters above the valley, Taktshang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular four-hour walk will be your most overwhelming experience ever.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang. Built in the 7th century by the famous Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. As the name suggests, the temple is a reservoir of peace, where you will really feel at peace. Overnight Hotel in Paro
Day 04 Paro-Thimphu (Drive 1 hour)
After breakfast drive to Thimphu. Thimphu-The Kingdom’s capital city is home to approximately 130,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. This bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location for visitors to break away from their tour itinerary to immerse themselves in the contemporary Bhutanese lifestyle.
Visit Buddha Point: Drive up to Buddha Point. It has the largest statue of Buddha in the whole kingdom. You can get a very good view of Thimphu valley from here.
Visit National Memorial Chorten: The National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 in memory of the late Third Druk Gyalpo (King) of Bhutan. At the chorten, you will find an extraordinary depiction of Buddhist teachings in the form of paintings and sculptures.
Visit 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 Authentic Bhutanese Craft Bazzar/shop. A one stop shop place to witness Bhutanese rich Culture and buy Bhutan made art and craft products. The shop in its 80 small stall covers all aspect of traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. The shops linked with the rural artisans aims to promote Bhutan’s craft industry by creating a viable market, which turn’s acts to preserve and promote Bhutan’s unique culture and bring about equitable socio-economic development in the country.
Visit Takin sanctuary dedicated to the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.
Visit Cordyceps Tasting House. Unique to the world, the Cordyceps Tasting Room offer a cosy tearoom to taste a range of Cordyceps-infused soups and drinks. Our hostess will also perform a Cordyceps Tea Ceremoney. Enjoy a seclection of delicious and healthy soups packed full of vitamins and minerals to reboot, or boos endurance.
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.
Explore Thimphu Town. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 05 Thimphu-Punakha (Drive 3 hours)
After breakfast drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. Enroute stop at the Dochula Pass. Dochu La is a beautiful mountain pass (alt 3,140 m) fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens (stupas). On a clear day, you will get awe-inspiring glimpses of the towering Himalayan peaks around.
Punakha Dzongkhag has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. It served as the ancient capital of the country. Punakha Dzong is not only the second oldest and second largest dzong, but it also has one of the most majestic structures in the country.
Visit Chhimi Lhakhang: Enroute visit Chhimi Lhakhang. This fertility temple is dedicated to the famous teacher, Drukpa Kinley (also known as the ‘Divine Madman’) with whom the phallic symbol is associated. The Divine Madman sits there though a statue this time. Do not miss the master’s deeds painted on the walls. Couples usually visit this temple to be blessed with children. Parents also take their babies here to get them named. Babies named here usually have ‘Kinley’ as their first name.
Visit Punakha Dzong: Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century and in 1907, the first King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck was enthroned. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in the recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. At the Dzong, enrich your trip with the opportunity to see the highest standards in woodwork. Overnight Hotel in Punakha.
Day 06 Punakha–Paro (Drive 4 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Tserigang and hike Khamsum Yule Namgyel Chorten. 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 is 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. The hike is about 45 mins one way.
Later afternoon drive to Paro. 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 “