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Amazing Bhutan From East to West

Explore deep inside Bhutan from the remotest alpine village in the east to the capital city in the west giving you insights into the food, cultural and linguistic diversity of a small Kingdom of less than 800,000 population. There are around 20 languages spoken across the country and on this trip, you will come across communities speaking 7 different languages, enjoy stunning landscapes dotted with secluded ornate temples and pristine environment rich in countless flora and fauna.

You'll travel through hearts of 4 eastern districts - Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Mongar & Lhuentse; 2 central districts - Bumthang & Trongsa; and 4 western districts - Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha, Thimphu & Paro. In Trashigang, you'll visit a remote village of Merak and spend 2 nights with the local community to understand their unique customs and culture, explore the pristine village. Merak and its neighboring village Sakteng was opened to tourism only in 2010 with great caution to safeguard its uniqueness.

per adult from

$6,349

AUD

Duration

16 days

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  • What's included :
    • 15x Breakfast
    • 15x Dinner
    • 15x Lunch
    • Accommodation included: 15 nights
    • Visa Fee & Processing. You'll receive your e-Visa within 3-4 business days.
    • One-way domestic flight from Paro to Yonphula in Trashignag, eastern Bhutan on Day 2.
    • Twin sharing accommodations at 3-star hotels certified by Tourism Council of Bhutan.
    • All ground transportation including round trip airport transfers
    • English-speaking licensed private tour guide.
    • All permits and entry fees
    • National costumes (Gho for men & Kira for Women). The costumes must be returned to the guide.
    • Minor medical treatment at hospitals in Bhutan if you sustain injuries while on tour
    • All internal taxes for the services listed above
    • Entry/Admission - National Museum
    • Entry/Admission - Kyichu Lhakhang
    • Entry/Admission - Gomphu Kora (Gom Kora)
    • Entry/Admission - Chorten Kora མཆོད་རྟེན་སྐོར་རར།
    • Entry/Admission - Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary
    • Entry/Admission - Lhuentse Takela
    • Entry/Admission - Trogon Villa Lodge
    • Entry/Admission - Burning Lake
    • Entry/Admission - Ogyen Choling Palace Museum
    • Entry/Admission - Bumthang Brewery
    • Entry/Admission - Tamshing Lhakhang Temple
    • Entry/Admission - Chendebji Chorten
    • Entry/Admission - Gangtey Monastery
    • Entry/Admission - Chimi Lhakhang Temple
    • Entry/Admission - Punakha Dzong
    • Entry/Admission - Punakha Suspension Bridge
    • Entry/Admission - Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
    • Entry/Admission - Dochula Pass
    • Entry/Admission - Buddha Dordenma
    • Entry/Admission - Bhutan Postal Museum
    • Entry/Admission - Centenary Farmers Market
    • Entry/Admission - National Institute for Zorig Chusum
    • Entry/Admission - National Library and Archives of Bhutan
    • Entry/Admission - Changlimithang Stadium & Archery Ground
    • Entry/Admission - Paro Taktsang
    What's excluded :
    • Travel insurance is highly recommended. Insurance is MANDATORY for trekking adventures.
    • International Airfares
    • Tips to Guides and Drivers
    • Alcoholic beverages, laundry services, telephone call charges
    • Any other expenses of personal nature
    • Guide speaking other major languages can be arranged for an additional fee.

  • Day 1: Arrive Paro International Airport - Excursion in Paro (2195m)

    Stop At: National Museum, Tag-Dzong Rinpung Dzong, Paro 12001 Bhutan
    Your guide and driver will receive you at the Paro International Airport. You will be taken on your first excursion in the Kingdom of Bhutan to visit an auspicious 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang (temple), National Museum of Bhutan and then after lunch explore the Paro town.

    The National Museum of Bhutan is located in Paro just above the Rinpung Dzong (administrative headquarter of Paro district). It is housed in an ancient watch tower called Paro Ta Dzong (Ta Dzong means “watch tower fortress”) built in 1649. It displays hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artifacts and artworks including traditional costumes, armour, weaponry and handcrafted implements for daily life. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. This unique ancient watch tower was converted into the National Museum in 1968.
    Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Stop At: Kyichu Lhakhang, Lamgong Gewog, Paro 12001 Bhutan
    Paro Kyichu Lhakhang is located just a few minutes drive from the main town of Paro and is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is believed to have been built in 659 A.D. by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.

    According to the legend, spirit of a giant demoness lay spread across Tibet and Bhutan causing obstruction to the propagation of Buddhism. In order to subdue this demoness, King Songtsen Gampo was required to built 108 temples across the affected region. Kichu Lhakhang, built to pin down the left foot of the giant demoness, is one of the two temples that were built in Bhutan. The other is called Jambay Lhakhang located in the district of Bumthang in central Bhutan and was built to pin down the left knee. Both the temples were believed to have been built overnight.
    Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Meals included:
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Khangkhu Resort, Bhutan Mandala, Tenzinling Resort or similar.

    Day 2: Transfer to Trashigang, Eastern Bhutan by Domestic Flight / Drive to Trashiyangtse (1800m)

    Stop At: Yonphula Airport, Trashigang, Bhutan
    After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Paro International Airport Domestic Terminal for your onward journey to the east of Bhutan, district of Trashigang by domestic flight. The flight takes about 1-hour 20-min including 1 stop at Gelephu, a small town that shares border with India.

    This domestic flight service has helped visitors to cut short travelling time from 15 hours strenuous drive to just 1-hour 20-min flight and presents you with stunning aerial views of the pristine mountainous topography of Bhutan. Upon arrival at the Yonphula Domestic Airport, you will be transferred to Trashigang town. The distance is just 20km and its 1-hour drive.

    Flight Time: 1-Hour 20-Minutes including 1 Stop,
    Altitude of Yonphula Domestic Airport in Trashigang: 2743m/9000ft.
    Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Pass By: Trashigang, Bhutan
    Trashigang was once the largest and bustling trade center for merchants in the east. It is one of the largest Dzonghag (district) in the country. Although new development is taking place as time changes, we still see the quaint old-fashioned town of 80s due to its location in the gorge with very limited space for expansion.

    Stop At: Gomphu Kora (Gom Kora), 13km North of Chazam, Trashigang Bhutan
    On the way to Trashi Yangtse, you will briefly stop at Gom Kora or Gomphu Kora (Gomphu means “Meditation Cave”) Lhakhang which is 23km from Trashigang and located just below the road amidst terraced rice fields and overlooking Dangme Chhu, one of the largest rivers in Bhutan. The temple was built in the 17th century on a sacred site blessed by Guru Rinpoche in the mid-eighth century AD who left body imprint on the huge rock just outside of the temple after subduing a demon. A dazzling annual religious festival is hosted here sometime between March and April attracting lots of spectators not only from the neighbouring districts but also from Arunachal Pradesh.

    Continue driving for another hour and then enter the picturesque town of Trashi Yangtse set amidst the fertile paddy fields and Kholong Chhu river cutting through the gorge below.

    Total driving time from Yonphula Airport to Trashi Yantse: 4-hours
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Hotel Karmaling

    Day 3: Trashiyangtse / Transfer back to Trashigang (1100m)

    Stop At: Chorten Kora མཆོད་རྟེན་སྐོར་རར།, Trashiyangtse, Bhutan
    The people of Trashi Yangtse are well known for their incredible skills at woodwork and paper making. The items they produce such as traditional wooden cups and bowls known as Dhapa are prized throughout the country.

    After breakfast at the hotel, you begin the sightseeing by first visiting one of the well known landmarks in this region, Chorten Kora (Chorten means ‘Buddist Stupa’ and Kora means ‘circumambulation’) built in 1740 AD over the span of 12 years. Though smaller in size, Choeten Kora is believed to be the replica of the Boudanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. Two annual festivals are hosted here during Spring attracting hundreds of spectators from other parts of the country as well.
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Stop At: Trashiyangtse, Bhutan
    Also located in this town is the School of Traditional Arts where the six forms of traditional Bhutanese arts are taught – Painting, Pottery, Wood Sculpture, Wood Turning, Lacquer work and applique embroidery.

    After lunch drive back to Transhigang.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Trashigang District, Trashigang District
    On arrival in Trashigang, visit Trashigang Dzong (The Fortress of the Auspicious Hill) built by the First Trongsa Penlop (governor of Trongsa) Chogyal Minjur Tempa in 1659 AD. The Dzong stands on a ledge with very steep cliffs on three sides, overlooking the Gamri Chhu and one of the largest rivers in Bhutan, Dangme Chhu. The Dzong was expanded in 1680, 1694 and in 1936. The earthquake of 2009 caused a major damage to the Dzong and it is under renovation and is expected to complete by June of 2018. Every year in November, a three-day long festival is hosted at the Dzong with hundreds of people attending the celebrations on each day.

    Leisure time to stroll the town and visit a local market.

    Total driving time from Trashi Yangtse to Trashigang: 2.5-hours
    Duration: 1 hour

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Lingkhar Lodge or Hotel Druk Deothjung.

    Day 4: Trashigang / Transfer to Merak (3500m)

    Stop At: Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhutan
    Today we'll drive to the alpine village of Merak which was opened to tourism only in 2010 with great care to safeguard the unique customs and lifestyle of this small community. We may have to change vehicle to a sturdy Indian Bolero 4×4 SUV as the road is unpaved. The road cannot be used during the rainy season (July & August) as of 2017. In the morning, we begin our exciting journey along the Game Chhu River for 16km until we reach Rangjung, a small commercial hub of several villages in the area.

    En route pass by Radhi, a village known as ‘Rice Bowl of the East’ for being the largest producer of rice in the east. The village of Radhi is also known for producing naturally dyed raw silk textiles in the country. If interested, we can visit one of the fine monastery located in the upper part of Radhi. The road takes you through the picturesque terraced rice fields and beautiful traditional rural houses.

    Total driving time from Trashigang to Merak village: 3.5-hours
    Duration: 4 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Merak Homestay with the local family.

    Day 5: Full Day Exploring the Merak Village (3500m)

    Stop At: Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhutan
    The community of Merak and its neighbouring village of Sakteng which is a day’s walk away from Merak are popularly known as Brokpas (highlander). They speak vernacular dialect called Mira Saktengpa or Brokpa Kha. They live a semi-nomadic lifestyle herding yaks and sheeps. So their primary economy is based on livestock. With development taking place, the lives of Brokpas have improved and their lifestyles evolving. One prominent changes brought by modernisation to their lifestyle is the way they conduct their trading. In the olden days, they travelled from village to village even across the border to Arunachal Pradesh, India carrying dairy products like meat, cheese, butter, wool, leather etc. and barter it for essential food grains, oil, sugar, salt, chilies etc. With road infrastructure right up to their village and easy access to market at Rangjung and Trashigang, the barter system is almost nonexistent. They sell their dairy and animal products for cash.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Stop At: Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhutan
    With roads built right up to their village and an increasing number of visitors, Merak is exposed to outside influence.However, their tradition and culture, mainly involving affairs within the village, passed down from generation to generation still remain undiluted and play an important part in the social life of the Brokpas. You will visit some of the places of interest within the village that has historical and religious significance, visit the family home and observe their daily life and of course delight your taste buds with exotic local cuisine. You may also want to try on their unique traditional costumes which totally stand out from the national dress Gho (men’s dress) and Kira (women’s dress). Perhaps you can also visit the school where you can interact with weather-beaten but inquisitive and cheerful students. The whole village of Merak is a cluster of houses on a beautiful meadow surrounded by scattered dwarf rhododendrons.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Merak Homestay with the local family.

    Day 6: Merak / Transfer to Mongar via Trashigang (1600m)

    Stop At: Rangjung, Bhutan
    After breakfast, bid farewell to the community and drive back to Trashigang. En route, visit Rangjung Woesel Choeling Monastery, a Buddhist monastic school built on a mound overlooking the town of Rangjung and the surrounding area. The head abbot of this monastery is His Holiness Dungsey Garap Dorji Rinpoche who has followers from all over the world.

    Drive to Trashigang for lunch.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Stop At: Mongar, Mongar, Mongar District
    After lunch in Trashigang town, drive to Mongar. The road distance is approximately 80km and the drive should not take more than 3 hours.

    From Trashigang, we drop down to the gorge through which one of the largest rivers in Bhutan, Dangme Chhu flows and cross the Chazam bridge. Dangme Chhu is joined by Kuri Chhu which flows from Lhuentse and together forms Manas river flowing through the southern part of the district of Zhemgang. Manas is a transboundary river flowing farther across the border into India and finally drains into the Brahmaputra river. We follow the Dangme Chhu river downstream all the way until we reach Sheri Chhu, one of the many tributaries of Dangme Chhu and then gradually climb up snaking through the picturesque village of Yadhi until we reach our destination, Mongar town.

    Total driving time: 5-hours
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Wangchuk Hotel

    Day 7: Mongar / Transfer to Lhuentse (1640m)

    Stop At: Lhuntse, Bhutan
    After early hearty breakfast, drive to Lhuentse via the village of Autsho where you may have to spend a night tomorrow (Day 8) if the accommodation at Trogon Villa is not available.

    Continue journey along the Kuri Chhu upstream all the way until we reach Lhuentse.
    Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

    Stop At: Lhuntse, Bhutan
    On Arrival in Lhuentse, traditional lunch will be served at one of the farmhouses.

    After lunch, visit Gangzur Village situated around 2 km from the proper Lhuentse. This village is famous for its pottery as its women folk are skilled artisans of this dying art and you will definitely want to witness the women displaying their skills. Earthenware pots were mostly used for cooking in the olden days. One particular pot you would see in every household especially in the east, is the one they use for brewing the local alcohol known as ‘Ara’.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Khoma, Bhutan
    Visit Khoma Village: This village is known throughout the country for its signature handwoven textile, the Kishuthara. Not so long ago, many of the households would have at least one member of the family weaving. With modernization creeping into even the remotest villages, the art of traditional weaving is dwindling. The government has helped this community to set up a center to promote and preserve traditional weaving. The women weavers sit in a row of the makeshift textile cottage, weaving intricate designs and patterns. If you find any piece of textile you like, this is the best opportunity to pick up one for much cheaper price than buying it from one of the handicraft shops elsewhere in the country.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Lhuentse Takela, Lhuntse, Bhutan
    After the sightseeing, drive to Takela where the tallest statue of Guru Padmasambhava is located.

    You will spend a night at guest house in the neighborhood of the sacred statue.

    Total driving time: 4-hours
    Duration: 1 hour

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at guest house: Ugyen Gaki Pelzom Guest House

    Day 8: Lhuentse / Transfer to Yongkola for overnight (1855m)

    Stop At: Lhuentse Takela, Lhuntse, Bhutan
    After breakfast, visit world’s tallest statue of Guru Padmasambhava: A 154ft statue of Guru Padmasambhava is located at Takila under Menbi Gewog which is about 1 hour drive from Khoma. The main statue was completed and consecrated in 2015. It was constructed with prophecies from Buddhist luminaries like Terton Lerab Lingpa and Dudjom Jidrel Yeshey Dorji. It is for the peace and prosperity of Bhutan and also as a monument of world peace. You will have an opportunity to pray and spend some time.

    We will then drive to Yongkola where you will halt a night at Trogon Villa amidst the nature. If the Trogon Villa is not available, you will stay at Phayul Resort.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Trogon Villa Lodge, Bumthang - Ura Hwy, Bhutan
    Trogon Villa is a small and cozy eco-lodge that provides the comfort and luxury expected of a 3-star boutique hotel meant to cater to tourists. Yongkola, where Trogon Villa is located, lies in between Bumthang and Mongar. It is 142 kilometers away from Bumthang, 90 kilometers from Lhuentse and 50km from Mongar town. Yongkola has long been recognized as one of the hotspots for birding in Asia. If you arrive early, you will have a good opportunity to observe birds in the surrounding nature.

    Total driving time: 3.5-hours
    Duration: 3 hours

    Pass By: Phayul Resort, Autsho, Bhutan
    Autsho is a small village located at about 45km from Mongar towards Lhuentse. You will pass through this village on your way to/from Lhuentse.

    If the accommodation at Trogon Villa is not available, you will stay at Phayul Resort. A a family-run hotel, Phayul Resort is located in the Autsho village by the riverside which makes it a lovely rural overnight stop,. If interested, you can also visit a school and interact with inquisitive students. There is also a monastery in the neighbourhood.

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Trogon Villa Lodge amidst the nature.

    Day 9: Yongkola / Transfer to Tang Valley, Bumthang (2715m)

    Stop At: Tang Valley, Bhutan
    After early breakfast, we begin our long but enjoyable journey to Tang Valley passing through several villages. The Kingdom of Bhutan has one of the most rugged mountain terrains in the world and this journey will give you an understanding of the natural geographic features of Bhutan. From Lhuentse we will drop down to an elevation of 500 meters within less than 2.5-hours and cross the bridge over Kuri Chhu river. We drive past Lingmethang, a small bustling settlement where Mountain Hazelnut Venture, one of the very few FDI enterprises in Bhutan, has setup their base.

    The drive will be a gradual ascent through different vegetation, within 3 hours we'll be crossing the second-highest motorable mountain pass in Bhutan, Thrumshing La Pass at an elevation of 3,780m/12,400ft above sea level. From Thrumshing La Pass we descend gradually and pass through the village of Ura and soon cross Tang Chhu river before reaching our destination, Tang Valley.
    Duration: 4 hours

    Stop At: Burning Lake, Bumthang Bhutan
    Just after crossing Tang Chhu river, there is a famous sacred Lake known as Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake). It is believed that Terton Pema Lingpa, the most revered 15th century Saint from Bumthang, went into the lake holding butter lamp (candle like lamp used for ritual offering) and resurfaced holding treasures hidden by Guru Rinpoche in the mid-eight century AD with butter lamp still burning brightly held in his hand. Some of the treasures discovered from the lake by Terton Pema Lingpa include Zung (the inner offerings of the statues) and the statue of Guru Rinpoche, can still be seen today at Tamshing Lhakhang which you will visit tomorrow (Day 10).

    On arrival in Tang Valley, you will check into Ogyen Choling Guest House for overnight.

    Total driving time: 5-hours
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at Ogyen Choling Guest House.

    Day 10: Tang Valley / Transfer to Bumthang (2800m)

    Stop At: Ogyen Choling Palace Museum, Ogyen Choling, Tang, Bumthang, Jakar Bhutan
    After breakfast, before we drive to Bumthang valley, visit Ogyen Choling Museum, a private museum owned by the same owner as Ogyen Choling Guest House.

    Although Ogyen Choling was a palace owned by the ancestors of the Royal family of Bhutan, it was regarded as being a monastery or hermitage because of its past connections with great Buddhist masters like Longhcen Rabjam (1308-63) and Terton Dorji Lingpa (1346-1405). It was turned into a museum in 2001 with the aim to share its heritage and also to preserve and maintain its religious and cultural significance.

    The curator, Kunzang Choden, is the owner of the museum and the direct descendant of the original family. If Kunzang Choden happens to be at home, she herself will guide you through the museum giving you profound insights not only about the lifestyles and living conditions of households of the religious and nobility during the 19th and 20th centuries but also on how Bhutan has changed over the years.

    Drive to Bumthang valley.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Pass By: Bumthang, Bumthang, Bumthang District
    The valley of Bumthang is considered as the religious heartland of Bhutan and is home to some of Bhutan’s most ancient and precious Buddhist sites. The district of Bumthang is divided into four blocks of Chhoekhor where the main town is located, Chhume, Tang and Ura all of which are broad and beautiful valleys.

    Stop At: Bumthang Brewery, Bathpalathang, Bumthang Bhutan
    After lunch, visit Swiss Cheese and Wine factory which was established by Mr. Fritz Maurer, a Swiss volunteer who came to Bhutan in early 1960s and made Bumthang his home.
    Duration: 45 minutes

    Stop At: Tamshing Lhakhang Temple, Bumthang Bhutan
    Visit Tamshing Lhakhang or Lhuendup Choling Lhakhang: Tamshing Lhakhang was built by the great treasure discoverer of Bhutan, Terton Pema Lingpa in 1501 AD and became the seat of his successive reincarnations even to this day. Among the many treasures and religious artefacts handcrafted by Terton Pema Lingpa himself, there is an armory which stood the test of time for five centuries bearing no rust or any sign of deterioration. It is believed that you will be cleansed of all your past sins and defilement if you carry this armory and circumambulate the inner sanctum for three rounds. A small statue of Guru Rinpoche and inner offerings of some of the statues are believed to be the treasures discovered by Pema Lingpa from the Mebar Tso (Burning Lake) in Tang Chhu River.

    Duration: 45 minutes

    Stop At: Kurjey, Bhutan
    Visit 17th-century Kurjey Lhakhang (Kurje means ‘body imprint’ and Lhakhang means ‘temple’): Out of the there lhakhangs at Kurje, the one on the right is the the oldest lhakhang was was constructed by the Trongsa Governor Chogyel Minjur Tenpa in 1652 on the site where Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) meditated after subduing an evil spirit that was harming the local people and the King Chakhar Gyab popularly known as Sindu Raja. Inside the lhakhang are the statues of the Buddhas and the cave known as Dragmar Dorji Tsegpa, meaning a “red-coloured cave resembling pile of vajras”, in which Guru Rinpoche meditated.

    Later in the evening, you will stroll and explore Chamkhar town, the main center of business in Bumthang valley.

    Total driving time: 2.5-hours
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Karila Guest House, Mountain Resort or similar.

    Day 11: Bumthang / Transfer to Phobjikha Valley (3000m)

    Stop At: Phobjikha Valley, Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue Phodrang District
    After breakfast, you will be transferred to Phobjikha valley via Trongsa.

    Phobjikha is a vast U-shaped glacial valley at an elevation of about 3,000m/9,800ft and it is a winter home for endangered Black Necked Crane from November to March and migrates back to Tibet by the beginning of spring season. Researchers have confirmed that the same birds which migrates here in winter goes as far back as Mongolia in summer. Every year on the 11th of November, Black Necked Crane Festival is held to celebrate the arrival of this endangered and majestic bird which becomes an inseparable part in the lives of the local people during winter months. Black-necked Crane is considered as a sacred bird in Bhutan and there are songs dedicated to this revered bird. One such popular song in Bhutan titled ‘White Crane! Lend me your wings’ was composed by the sixth Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tsangyang Gyatso in 17th century.
    Duration: 5 hours

    Stop At: Trongsa District, Trongsa District
    En route from Bumthang to Trongsa, you will stop at three places.

    Stop briefly at Chumey village to see Yathra Weaving Center (Yathra is the colourful textiles hand-woven out of sheep and yak hair) and get insights on the traditional attires and the weaving culture of the people of Bumthang.

    From there continue to drive gaining altitude gradually and reach a serene mountain pass, Yotong La at 3,425m/11,235ft and then descend down to Trongsa.

    Trongsa holds a significant place in the history of Bhutan as it was from here that the ancestors of Royal family of Bhutan emerged as the most powerful rulers in the 19th and early 20th century. The first and second hereditary Kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat of power. Above the Trongsa Dzong on the promontory is the Trongsa Ta Dzong (watch tower of Trongsa). which now houses the fascinating museum providing visitors with an insight into the significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history.

    Lunch will be served in Trongsa.
    Duration: 2 hours

    Stop At: Chendebji Chorten, Chendebji, Trongsa Bhutan
    After lunch continue the journey passing through Pele La Pass (3,390m/11,120ft) and then make a brief stop at Chendebji, the 18th century stupa built following the same structural pattern as Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa to subdue the malevolent spirit that was said to inhabit the area in the form of a giant snake.

    Duration: 30 minutes

    Stop At: Gangtey, Gangtey, Wangdue Phodrang District
    On arrival in Phobjikha valley, you will venture out on an exhilarating nature hike through the pristine valley. The trail is about 5km and takes approx. 2.5 hours through the woods surrounded by splendid nature all around, wonderful meadows, beautiful traditional village houses, farm lands and crystalline streams. This short nature trail gives you a great feeling of the valley and understanding of the livelihood of the people living there. Lots of opportunities to take beautiful pictures! In the evening, take a traditional hot stone bath for $15 believed to have a therapeutic effect (optional).

    Dinner can be served either at the hotel or at one of the beautiful farmhouses.

    Total driving time: Approx. 6-hours
    Walking time: 2.5-hours
    Duration: 2 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hotel or home-cooked local cuisines at one of the beautiful farmhouses.
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Dewachen Hotel & Spa or a similar.

    Day 12: Phobjikha Valley / Transfer to Punakha Valley (1200m)

    Stop At: Gangtey Monastery, Gangtey Bhutan
    Today, you will be transferred to Punakha valley. Before embarking on a 2.5-hour journey, you will visit Gangtey Monastery or Gangtey Goenpa. The famous landmark in this valley is one of the biggest monasteries in Bhutan, Gangtey Monastery popularly know as Gangtey Goenpa (goenpa literally means “high remote place” and is usually a place of religious significance) founded in 1613. The name Gangtey is derived from the fact that the Goenpa is built on a peak (Tey) of a hillock (Gang). The present abbot of this monastery is the ninth Gangtey Trulku His Holiness Kunzang Rigzin Pema Namgyal. The monastery also has a Buddhist college where hundreds of monks study Buddhist philosophy for 9 years. An annual religious festival, Gangtey Tshechu, is held at Gangtey Goenpa during autumn when the harvest season is just over. A series of dazzling sacred mask dances interspersed by Bhutanese folk dances are performed during this festival.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Punakha District, Punakha District
    From Phobjikha to Punakha, it is approximately 80km road journey which takes roughly 2.5 hours under normal road condition. Punakha valley has a pleasant climate with warm winters and hot summers. It is located at an average elevation of 1200 meters above sea level. Owing to the favorable climatic conditions, rice grows very well in this region and is the main cash crop cultivated here. Punakha Dzong has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. It served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1907 and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. It is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of the most majestic structures in the country.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Stop At: Chimi Lhakhang Temple, Punakha Bhutan
    About 12km before reaching Punakha town, we will stop to visit the famous Chime Lhakhang (the Temple of Fertility) located about 30 minutes walk from the nearest road through beautiful terraced rice fields and farmhouses. Chime Lhakhang was built in 1499 by Lama Ngawang Chogyal on a site blessed by his older brother, Lama Drukpa Kuenley who was known as ‘Divine Madman’ for his obscene behavior and unorthodox ways of propagating Buddhism. Today, one of the relics of Chime Lhakhang is a phallus. The blessing of the phallus is considered sacred particularly to women who are unable to conceive a child as it brings fertility to women, giving them the ability to bear offspring. Owing to this belief, people like to call it “Temple of Fertility”. Married couples who are unable to conceive a child often come to this temple seeking blessings from the Divine Madman. It sounds ‘too good to be true’, but there are many stories of couples who are blessed with child after visiting the temple.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Punakha Dzong, Punakha 13001 Bhutan
    The 17th century Punakha Dzong is considered to be the most beautiful and elaborate fortress in Bhutan. This magnificent fortress displays fine Bhutanese arts and craftsmanship which continues to influence the Bhutanese architecture to this day. You will spend some time appreciating the intricate woodworks and sacred wall paintings.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Punakha Suspension Bridge, Punakha Dzong, Punakha 13001 Bhutan
    After visiting the Punakha Dzong, you will walk to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan and enjoy its beauty.

    Total driving time: 3-hours
    Duration: 45 minutes

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Hotel Lobesa, Meri Puensum Resort or similar.

    Day 13: Punakha Valley / Transfer to Capital City, Thimphu (2334m)

    Stop At: Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, Punakha Bhutan
    After an early breakfast, drive to the nearest roadhead and hike to Khamsum Yuellay Namgyel Chorten located on a serene hilltop overlooking the fertile Punakha valley. The hike takes you through the beautiful terraced rice fields and traditional houses. It takes about 2-2.5 hrs round trip. After the hike, retrace your footstep back to the road-head and drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.
    Duration: 3 hours

    Stop At: Dochula Pass, Thimphu Bhutan
    En route stop briefly at Dochula – a sacred mountain pass at an elevation of 3150m and enjoy a grand view of some of the highest mountains of Bhutan on a clear day. From there continue driving towards Thimphu and gradually descend to Thimphu valley within 45 minutes
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Stop At: Thimphu, Thimphu, Thimphu District
    Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan is home to approximately 115,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. This bustling little city is the main center of commerce, religion and government in the country. Thimphu is the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights and commercial billboards.
    Duration: 1 minute

    Stop At: Buddha Dordenma, Kuensel Phodrang Viewing Point, Thimphu 11001 Bhutan
    On arrival in Thimphu, visit Statue of Buddha Dordenma: The marvelous 169ft/51.5m tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha is located on a hilltop, Kuensel Phodrang, overlooking the Thimphu valley. From here you can see a nice view of Thimphu city. It was built to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck and also as a monument for world peace. The giant Buddha statue houses more than 100,000 8-inch tall Buddha statues of the same type. The construction began in 2006 and was completed in 2015 after almost 10 years.

    Leisure evening in Thimphu town.
    Duration: 45 minutes

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Kuenphen Rabten Resort, Hotel Amodhara or similar.

    Day 14: Thimphu / Transfer to Paro (2195m)

    Stop At: Bhutan Postal Museum, Thimphu Bhutan
    Today, you will visit some of the popular sites in Thimphu and later in the afternoon, transfer to Paro for overnight.

    Bhutan Post Office is located in the heart of the city in the same building as Bhutan National Bank. The Postal Service in Bhutan was first launched in 1962 with the opening of a post office in Phuentsholing, a town in the south bordering with India. If you are interested in philatelic products and stamp collection, they have a rich assortments of stamps, First Day Covers and stamp albums.

    The Museum showcases: the progress of postal services and to a certain extent communications system in Bhutan, Bhutan’s rare and unique stamps issued over the years and, capture the modes of communication pre-postal system and tell stories of legendary messengers. Artifacts of direct relevance to postal and those that help to tell the stories effectively and communications are displayed.

    If you wish, you can have your own stamps printed with your photo.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Centenary Farmers Market, Main Town, Near the Wangchhu River, Thimphu Bhutan
    Located below the main town, near the Thimchu River, Thimphu’s weekend market which is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market. With its wide assortment of fresh organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favourite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life.

    Visiting this market and seeing various agricultural produce on display, you will learn food preference and culture in Bhutanese society.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: National Institute for Zorig Chusum, Thimphu Bhutan
    The National Institute of Zorig Chusum (Zorig Chusum means 13 Traditional Arts & Crafts) is located nearby the Folk Heritage Museum. The National Institute of Zorig Chuzum was established to promote and preserve the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan and to facilitate increased access in learning Zorig skills by Bhutanese youths.

    The thirteen arts and crafts are categorized as:
    Shing Zo (woodwork), Dho Zo (stonework), Par Zo (carving), Lha Zo (painting), Jim Zo (sculpting), Lug Zo (casting), Shag Zo (wood turning), Gar Zo (blacksmith), Troe Zo (ornament making)
    Tsa Zo (bamboo work), De Zo (paper making), Tsem Zo (tailoring, embroidery and applique) & Thag Zo (weaving).

    These thirteen arts and crafts are an essential part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage that have been practiced from time immemorial. These arts were formally categorized during the reign of Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth temporal ruler of Bhutan in the 17th century.

    Opens during working weekdays.
    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: National Library and Archives of Bhutan, Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu Bhutan
    Considered as national treasure of Bhutan, this library is the fundamental source of Bhutanese history, religion, medicine, arts and culture. Opens during working weekdays & on Saturdays 10am – noon.
    Duration: 45 minutes

    Stop At: Changlimithang Stadium & Archery Ground, Chang Lam, Thimphu Bhutan
    After lunch, drive to Changlimithang Archery Range to witness the game of archery if the match is in progress. You will see archers dancing and singing each time the target is hit from a distance of 145m. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan.

    After that you will be transferred to Paro. Leisure time in Paro.

    Total driving time: 2-hours
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch: Traditional lunch will be served either at Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant or at Simply Bhutan.
    • Dinner
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Khangkhu Resort, Bhutan Mandala, Tenzinling Resort or similar.

    Day 15: Hike to the famous Paro Taktsang, Tiger's Nest (3120m)

    Stop At: Paro Taktsang, Taktsang Trail BT, Paro Bhutan
    After early breakfast, we will do 4-5 hour return hike to the famed Taktsang or the Tiger’s Nest which is located on the face of a sheer 800-meter rocky cliff in Paro. The history of Taktsang is associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava (known as Guru Rinpoche), the Indian saint who came to Bhutan and introduced Tantric Buddhism in the 8th century AD. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew into the cave from Kurtoe Khenpajong in eastern Bhutan, riding on a tigress. It is not only considered as one of the most sacred pilgrimage site in Bhutan but also “a must visit” place for tourists. After visiting Taktsang monastery and a sumptous lunch at Taktsang cafeteria, retrace your footsteps back to the roadhead where your driver will be waiting.

    Towards the late afternoon, visit a beautiful farmhouse for home-cooked local cuisine. If interested, you can take a revitalizing hot stone bath for an additional fee of US$15 per person charged by the owner.
    Duration: 5 hours

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner: Home-cooked local cuisine will be served for dinner at a beautiful farmhouse. You can participate to prepare!
    Accommodation included: Overnight at 3-star hotel: Khangkhu Resort, Bhutan Mandala, Tenzinling Resort or similar.

    Day 16: Departure from Paro International Airport

    Stop At: Paro, Paro, Paro District
    After breakfast, depending on your flight time, you will be transferred to Paro International Airport for your onward journey.
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Meals included:
    • Breakfast
    No accommodation included on this day.
  • Departure Point :
    Traveler pickup is offered
    Our guide and driver will receive you at the Paro International Airport.Airports
    • Paro Airport, Paro Bhutan
    Departure Time :
    9:00 AM
    Return Detail :
    -
    Hotel Pickup :
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
    • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
    • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
    • Most travelers can participate
    • Youth aged 13-18 must send us a copy of a valid Student ID card/document with photo from their academic institution to avail student discount.
    • Visa is 100% guaranteed. We process and send you e-visa letter within 3-4 working days after the booking is confirmed.
    • After you book the tour, we need clear passport copies of all the participants for obtaining visa. Passport copy can be either scanned or just a mobile photo shot as long as the whole biodata page including the machine readable zone is seen clearly. Passport should have at least SIX MONTHS validity from the day you depart from Bhutan.
    • There are only two airlines operating in and out of Bhutan and so securing air tickets can be difficult especially during the months of high season. Currently, Bhutan is connected with these cities - Bagdogra, Bangkok, Delhi, Dhaka, Guwahati, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Singapore. We recommend you to book few months in advance especially if you plan to visit during the high season months of March - May and September - November. If you need help in arranging flights to/from Bhutan, please let us know much in advance.
    • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
    • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
    • Face masks required for guides in public areas
    • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
    • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
    • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
    • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
    • Guides required to regularly wash hands
    • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
    • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

Language

English

Age Req.

-

Fitness Req.

None

Group Size

15

Organised by Bhutan Acorn Tours and Travel

Activity ID: V-71355P14

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