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The Best of Bhutan

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Namaste! - We welcome you with folded hands

Day 01: Arrival / Paro Paro / Thimpu

Afternoon arrival, Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to our tour, or as we say ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Our Etho Metho representative will meet you at Paro airport, and after completion of arrival formalities you will be transferred to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.

Upon arrival in Thimpu, check into Thimpu River View Resort

Overnight at Thimpu River View Resort

Day 02: Thimphu

  • Today’s full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley includes visits to:
  • National Library, which holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion;
  • Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan;
  • National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), where the medicinal herbs abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed, and traditional medical practitioners are trained;
  • National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”) and a monument to world peace. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy;
  • Tashichhodzong: This impressive fortress/monastery houses the secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and the central monk body;
  • Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
  • Handicrafts Emporium: This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture.

Overnight at Thimpu River View Resort

Day 03: Thimphu / Trongsa

After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the Chortens, Mani walls, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the high Himalayan peaks towards the northeast will be revealed in all their glory. On a clear day, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

Then continue onwards, reaching the Wangduephodrang town in time for lunch. From here, it is a long, winding descent into the Wangduephodrang valley, which is about 1,700m below the pass. Take lunch in Wangduephodrang town, then continue on to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830ft), the traditional boundary between east and west. The pass is marked by a large white Chorten and prayer flags. There is an abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forest replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo.

Stop en route at Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.

Arrive at Trongsa late afternoon and check in at the lodge for the night.

Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang

Day 04: Trongsa / Bumthang

Morning visit to Trongsa Dzong. Built in 1647 by the Shabdrung, it is the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan. Then, visit Ta Dzong on the hillside above the town, built as a watchtower to guard Trongsa.

After lunch proceed to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the holy heartland of Buddhism. The 68 km. Journey takes about 3 hours. The road winds steeply up to Yutong-la pass (3,400m/11,155ft), then runs down through dense coniferous forest to enter a wide, open, cultivated valley, known as Chumey valley. From here it is about an hour to Bumthang, a most pleasant run in the soft, late afternoon light.

Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang

Day 05: Bumthang

Bumthang is the general name given to a group of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000m/8,530 to 13,125ft.

In the morning we will visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan’s “patron saint”, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro).

After lunch, we will visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later on we will visit Jakar Dzong, “the castle of the white bird”, then take a stroll through Bumthang’s market area before returning to the lodge.

Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang

Day 06: Bumthang / Punakha

After breakfast, explore further the fascinating valley of Bumthang. Then proceed to Punakha, stopping along the way at Trongsa for lunch, which will be served in a local restaurant famous for its cuisine.

On reaching Punakha, check in at the hotel. Punakha served as the capital town of Bhutan until 1955, and it is still the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). Visit Punakha Dzong, built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century and situated at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.

Overnight at Punatsangchhu Resort

Day 07: Punakha – Wangduephodrang – Gangtey (Phobjikha)

After breakfast, drive to Wangduephodrang and visit the Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view both up and down the valley. Wangdue district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate which is mined up a valley a few kilometers from the town. Then, drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.

Stay overnight at the guesthouse, or camp under the stars

Day 08: Punakha / Paro

Morning visit to Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955, and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan’s first king, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood damage from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damage to the fortress, but miraculously spared its most holy statue.

After lunch, proceed to Paro, en route visiting a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse, to gain an insight into the lifestyle and culture of the local people

On arrival in Paro, check in at the hotel

Overnight at Udumwara Resort

Day 09: Paro

Today’s full day of sightseeing in Paro valley includes morning visits to Ta Dzong, which in the past served as watch tower for Paro Dzong and now houses the National Museum, and Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong), built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

After lunch, we drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1647 by the Shabdrung to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetans in the war of 1644. En route, we also visit Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo.

Overnight at Udumwara Resort

Day 10: Paro / Departure

Though the check out time is 12 noon, every effort would be made to retain rooms till as late as possible without additional charges.

Transfer to the airport to board your onward flight

No hotel quoted for this day

END OF SERVICES

Tour Cost Based On 02 People Traveling Together Sharing 01 Room

  • Cost valid for period from 01st April 2017 till 31st March, 2018: - USD 2610* Per Person

NOTE: - Hotel Upgrades available upon request

*T & C Apply

Includes: Accommodation on twin share basis ; all meals ; air-conditioned private car for all journeys and tours ; local guides ;