Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.
Day Wise ItineraryExpand/Close
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh and virgin mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative outside the exit gate, and afterwards drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan.
On arrival, in Thimphu check-into the hotel. The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. With the population of about 90,000 it is perhaps still the world’s only capital city without a traffic light.
After check-in, time permitting visit
Memorial Chorten (open between 09:00 am – 05:00 pm during summer and till 04:00 hrs. during winters): The stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
Buddha Point or Kuensel Phodrang (open between 09:00 am – 05:00 pm during summer and 09:00- 04:00 hrs. during winters): Located at a short drive from Thimphu city centre, visitors can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
Changangkha Lhakhang: is one of the oldest monasteries in the Thimphu valley (open between 09:00 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm during winters and 5:00 pm during summers). It was built in the 15th century by a descendant of Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo, the man who spread the Sect Drukpa Kagyu in Bhutan. The main statue at the temple is of Avalokiteswara (the eleven-headed Buddha manifestation with 1000 arms and 1000 eyes). The temple courtyard offers good views over the city of Thimphu.
Conclude the tour of the day with a visit of Trashichhoedzong (open on weekdays after 05:30 pm during summer and after 04:30 pm during winter and during weekends between 09:00 am – 05:00 pm during summer and 09:00 am – 04:00 pm during winter) , “fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.
Later in the day, you can take an exploratory walk around Thimphu Craft Bazaar located a few minutes walk from down town hotels. This market offers genuine Bhutanese arts & crafts thus contributing in promotion, protection and preservation of traditional arts.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast, proceed to visit:
Royal Textile Museum (open between 09:00 am – 04:30 pm during summer and till 03:30 hrs. during winters, closed on weekends and govt. holidays): is worth a visit to get to know the living national art of weaving. Exhibitions introduce the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by women and men.
National Library (open between 09:00 am – 05:00 pm during summer and till 04:00 hrs. during winters, closed on weekends and govt. holidays): The history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts, which are preserved at the National Library. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts, the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags.
Zangthopelri Lhakhang: The present structure was built in 1960s and although lacking the charm of many of the older temples, Zangthoo pelri still possesses some impressive murals and art treasures and is worthy of a visit. The site of the temple was a former battle ground, and the temple was constructed there in order to pacify energies.
Drive back to Paro and straight proceed to visit Ta Dzong (open between 09:00 am – 05:00 pm, closed on govt. holidays), originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Ta Dzong visit shortly followed by a short walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (open between 09:00 am – 05:00 pm during summer and till 04:00 hrs. during winters, closed on weekends and govt. holidays): meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After breakfast excursion to Taktshang Monastery (5 hrs hike, open between 09:00 am – 05:00 pm): It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendor.
On the way back to town stop at Drukgyel Dzong, a fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, “mountain of goddess” can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.
Along the way, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang (open between 09:00 am – 05:00 pm during summer and till 04:00 hrs. during winters): is one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
OR – Chele la driving excursion
After breakfast at hotel, drive to Chele la (mountain pass), at an elevation 3,988 meters, considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. About an hour’s drive along a thickly-forested road, is this botanical paradise located. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. It is also marked by hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Here, visitors can see cascades of wild roses; purple and yellow primulas; and swathes of deep blue iris covering the forest floor. The top of the pass bloom with rhododendrons in a variety of colours-pale pink, deep pink, burnt orange, mauve, white and scarlet.
Later in the day drive back to town. Evening an exploratory walk around main street and market area.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After early or packed breakfast, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will see you off and then bid you farewell.