Central Bhutan Cultural Tour (13 Nights 14 Days)

Day 1  :  Arrive Paro.

Fly into Paro.   The flight over the Himalayas is one of the most spectacuar experiences once will ever experience.  You will fly past Mt. everest, Kanchenjunga and the entire Himalayan range visible on the left side.  On land at Paro you will be met by our representative.  after customs and Immgiration formalities, you will be escorted to Thimphu that takes about 1 hr drive.  Overnight at hotel.

Day 2 :  Thimphu Sightseeing

Visit the National Memorial  Stupa :  built in memory of the 3rd King of Bhutan by his Mother Queen Phuntsho Choden in 1974.

Visit the Changangkha temple built in 12th Century by the Tibetan Saint Phajodrugom.  Visit the mini Zoo to see the National Animal of Bhutan.

The Art School, National Museum and Trashichodzong the Fortress.

Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha

Drive over to Punakha via Dochula pass at 3150 mtrs.  There are 108 beautiful stupas built to honour His Majesty the 4th King and his people for their victory in the war fought in the Southern region of Bhutan in 2003 and for the benefit of all sentient beings.  If the sky is clear the crystal Himalays covered in snow can be viewed from here.   After lunch visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637.  The dzong is beautifully located in between the two rivers called Pho (male) and Mo (female) river.  It was the capital till 1955.

Day 4: Punakha

After breakfast hike up to Khamsum Yuelley Chorten. It’s a beautiful walk for about 1 hr or 2 depending on one self, visit Talo village and stroll around and relax.  Overnight at Punatsangchu Cottages.

Day 5: Punakha – Gangteng

After breakfast drive to Gangteng valley.  Visit Wangduephodrang Dzong on the way.  Overnight at Dewachen Hotel or Phuntshocholing farm house.

Day 6: Gangteng 

Visit the Nature Conservation Centre and learn about the black necked Cranes that flies into this valley from Tibet every winter.  Visit Gangteng Monastery and walk around the villages and meet the locals.  Overnight at Hotel Dewachen or Phuntshocholing farm house.

Day 7 : Gangteng – Bumthang

After breakfast drive to Bumthang via Trongsa.  Lunch at Trongsa and visit Trongsa Dzong.  Evening at leisure.  Overnight at Hotel.

Day 8 : Tronga – Bumthang (about 3 hrs)

Today visit Kurjey Temple:The name Kurjey means body print.  Guru Rinpoche has left his body print on a rock inside the main temple.  The big cypress tree is believed to be the walking stick of Guru Rinpoche.  Guru also created a holy water hold beside the temple.

Visit Jambay Lhakhang Temple: This temple is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo on the same day as Paro  Kyichu Temple.  The templ hosts Guru Jowo Jampa the future Buddha a its main statue.  One of the most sacred festivals takes place here every year.  Overnight at hotel River Lodge or similar.

Visit Tamshing Lhakhang: This temple is a temple of Pemalingpa the great Treasure Discoverer.

Visit Jakar Dzong: This Dzong built on a ridge overlooks the valley. Inside the Dzong there still remains the tunnel which was used to fetch water during war.  It is belieed that Lam Ngagi Wangchuk has chosen a site for the construction of a Dzong in the lower valley of Chokor and while performing a ritual, a white bird flew out of the site and landed on the place where the current Jakar Dzong is built.  Considering this as an auspicious sign, a small Dzong was built and named Jakar  meaning White Bird. The Dzong was enlarged in 1646 by Choegyal Minur Tempa.

Visit the Handicrafts and evening at leisure.  Overnight at hotel River Lodge or similar.

Day 9: Bumthang

Visit the Burning Lake:  Mebartso the burning lake lies about 5 minute drive form the road point.  The lake is named so after Terton (treasure discoverer) Pema Lingpa went into the lake with a butter lamp and came back with the butter lamp still burning while he discovered Guru Rinpoche’s hidden treasures.

Visit Tang village and Visit the Tang Nunnery founded by the 9th Gangteng Trulku Rinpoche (present).  If time permits excursion to Ura Valley.  Overnight at River Lodge or similar.

Day 10: Bumthang – Wangduephodrang

Drive back to Wangduephodrang the same route.   Visit Wangduephodrang Dzong.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 11: Wangduephodrang to Thimphu

Visit Chhimi lhakhang on the way to Thimphu via Dochula pass.

Day 12: Thimphu – Paro

After breakfast drive to Paro.  Paro Sightseeing:

Visit the National Museum:  located on a ridge overlooking the Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley is the TaDzong, built as a watch tower of the Dzong below.  Unlike the rectangular shape of the Dzong, Ta Dzong is conical, more like that of a European caster.  It was converted to Museum in 1967.

Paro Rinpung Dzong: This Dzong is known as the fortress of the heap of Jewels.  Built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.  The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered cantilever bridge.

Drukgyel Dzong:  visit the Dzong with a delightful village nestling at its foot.  Built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invasions.  Druk means the land of the Thunder Dragon and Gyel menas Victory.  The dzong caught fire in 1951 and now it only rmains as ruin.  Overnight at hotel.

Day 13: Paro

Today Hike up to Paro Taktsang the Tiger’s Nest. Guru Rinpoche flew on this site on a Tigress back and meditated here for few months and then converted the valley below to Buddhism in the 7th century.  Evening at leisure.

Day 14 : Departure