The most spectacular mountain flights you will ever experience in a life time. Flying in from the heat of the plains of India one can witness from the left side of the aircrafts window a series of the world’s highest peaks. Your pilot will announce the names of the peaks if the weather is clear. You will descend into the high mountains and as the plane lowers you will not find any airstrip or any city but instead you will enjoy the view of the approaching valley of Paro, the alpine forests, little monasteries, temples and farm houses. Before the plane touches the runaway you will get a glimpse of the fertile valley of Paro, the Paro Dzong and Paro chu (river). Our representative will be at the airport to assist you, meet and greet and transfer to the capital city Thimphu and evening visit to Trashichho Dzong (open after office hours) rest of the day at leisure. O/n at Thimphu
When in Thimphu you got to prepare for surprises where this unique capital has no traffic lights but adopted its own version of the British – Indian colonial times traffic policemen who can startle you and memorize others with his elaborate hand gestures, sometimes he may be signaling stop when it looks like go but don’t worry you can observe the flow and notice his smile as you stare at him. Morning we start the day sightseeing from National Memorial Chorten a stupa dedicated to the third king of Bhutan. We drive uphill towards Buddha Dordenma located on top of a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park that overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. The statue is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue and houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues. The height of the statue is 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. A 30 minutes’ walk to Kuenselphodrang Nature Park on the other side of the hill will help burn your calories and refresh you. We proceed towards Takin Zoo where you will find national animal of Bhutan, Folk Heritage Museum. Afternoon take a short walk to Handicraft Bazaar to view the traditional arts, watch a game of archery played by the local people at the Changlimthang archery ground for some time or walk the opposite side of the road and relax at the Coronation Park, enjoy the cool breeze of Thimphu Chhu (river) that flows towards the southern region. You could take some photos in front of the Walking Buddha. Evening explore the city on foot from Clock tower square for shopping or leisure.
O/n at Thimphu.
Early morning we drive towards Gangtey valley touching Dochula pass 10,000 ft and on the stop at Hongtsho village. Stop at the immigration check point to stamp in your permit. Next to the check point you will find small local stalls selling fresh juicy local apples available for sale in plastic bags you could try some. You will be driving through the first mountain pass in the western part of Bhutan. You will find the 108 Druk Wangyal chortens on the top of the pass where the ridges are draped in colorful prayer flags greet you. You could take three rounds and offer prayers, take some best photo shots. If the weather is clear you will be able to see the highest peaks towards the north, Gangar Punsum among others is the highest unclimbed peak (24,000 ft) in the world. Proceed down towards Punakha through Thinleygang village and upon reaching Lobesa turn left and enter Punakha valley. On the way stop and take a short walk through the villages to Chimmi Lhakhang - The divine madman also known, as Drukpa Kinley is a famous teacher with whom the phallic symbol is associated. Do not miss the master’s deeds painted on the walls. Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children. Check in the hotel. Afternoon visit majestic 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, enthroned the first King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk. Evening at leisure. O/n at Gangtey.
Morning drive to beautiful Gangtey valley via Wangdiphodrang Dzong strategically located on a ridge 4,430 ft that overlooks the highway that fork to the east and south of the country. This is an old town with Narrow Street with single storied shops and also the gateway to central and eastern Bhutan. The legend Mahakala, the protective deity of Bhutan appeared to tell Zhabdrung of prediction, saying “at top of rocky spur where two rivers meet, at the place where a flock of raven will fly off in four directions, you will build the Dzong”. The Zhabdrung built the Dzong in 1638 and Punakha/Wangdi valleys are also the winter home for many of the high altitude farmers who migrate with their cattle to the warm climate. The Gangtey valley is one of the most beautiful open valleys in Bhutan and is the winter home to the endangered black necked cranes (Grus Nigricllis) which migrate to this valley around mid-November from Tibet. These cranes have for centuries captured the human imagination with their intelligence, poise, sociality, beauty and freedom which have given rise to several myths, legends, folktales and songs. The birds fly back across the Himalayas to their summer home towards Tibet and China. The Gangtey village is small dominated by the yellow roofed Gangtey monastery.
Late noon return to Punakha. O/n at Gangtey.
Morning drive to Paro same road via Semtokha entering the Babesa express highway, enroute stop at Lamperi and visit the Royal Botanical Park for 30 minutes. If you are lucky you could see red pandas, different species of birds, you can take some photo shot close to the natural lake. Upon reaching Chunzom check post, stop for a while at the bridge, stretch your legs and walk through the bridge. Proceed towards Paro and check in the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. O/n at Paro.
Morning visit Paro Dzong, the National Museum housed in a round fortress called as the Ta Dzong considered to be one of the best natural history museums in Asia where it has a fine collection of natural and historic artifacts, Paro Penlop Heritage Farm house, Kyichu Lhakhang the monastery dates back to 7th century and is one of the oldest and most sacred. Afternoon visit ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and drive till the base of Tigers Nest. Evening at leisure. O/n at Paro.at leisure and evening visit the town for shopping. O/n at Paro.
Morning - if you are adventurous and physically fit you could hike or take a horse ride till (one-way) the world famous “Tigers Nest “or popularly known as “Taktsang” one of the popular spiritual heritage sites. It was here that the great tantric master Guru Padma Sambhava flew in from Tibet on a tiger to bring Buddhist teachings to Bhutan. (Round hike take 6 - 7 hours).Afternoon visit the town for shopping or leisure. O/n at Paro.
Morning transfer to Paro International Airport for your next destination.