A glimpse of Bhutan
Hidden deep in the eastern Himalayas between India & Tibet, Bhutan offers the simple pleasures that will make you fall in love with the people & their land. Quintessentially, a rural country with 90% of the people are involved in agriculture or raising livestock, Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist nation, following the Tantric Mahayana Buddhism. All entries to Bhutan were still on horseback until 1961 and Bhutan only opened their borders for the travellers and explorers in 1967. The land of thunder dragons – Druk-Yul has started to flourish now from its self-imposed isolation. The last Shangri-La – an exotic land of soaring mountains and dense valleys has a pristine environment, snow-clad hills with crystal clear springs and an incredible wildlife ecosystem. Besides nature, the most astonishing speciality of Bhutan is the architecture. The unique designs & colours of the buildings make it a traditional & aesthetic kingdom. The Dzongs – centuries-old structures built on a large scale without any drawing or a single nail, are excellent examples of the best Bhutanese architecture. Vibrant traditional patterns of colours adorn all the beam, doors, pillars and walls!
Key Tags: Glimpses of Bhutan | Glimpses of Bhutan Tour
Arrival at Paro => Paro to Thimphu (Surface)The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world's highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. First gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane.
Arrive Paro and transfer to Thimphu (1 Hr), the capital city of Bhutan. On arrival transfer to your hotel.
Thimphu has a population of about 100,000. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. In the evening, we will visit the Handicrafts Emporium, where all types of Bhutanese handicrafts are made and sold.
Afternoon, we will visit the Memorial Chorten, with its golden spires shining in the sun, its tinkling bells and an endless procession of elderly people circling around it. Erected by the Royal Grandmother, Ashi Phutsho Choedren in memory of her son the third King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck, it contains a fine collection of Buddhist statues and is a center of tantric Buddhism in all its complexity.
Late afternoon, enjoy a walk up and down the high street lined with little shops of all descriptions. There is always a colorful gathering passing from ubiquitous monk bodies to Bhutanese businessmen, to nomadic farmers that come to trade supplies. You can also visit the newly opened Craft Bazaar, the Royal Government of Bhutan's initiative to open stalls for local craftsmen to display products that are only made in Bhutan.
In the evening, we will visit Trashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress /monastery is Bhutan's administrative and religious center which houses most of the Government's office and the King's Throne Room. It is also the summer residence of Je - Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. The National Assembly hall is located in a new building across the river.
Overnight at the hotel.
In ThimphuMorning, we will drive to Punakha (3 hrs). En route, we will visit the Simthokha Dzong, the oldest fortress built in 1629 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (the man who unified Bhutan). The fortress serves as an administrative center and the center for the monk's religious activity. The fortress now houses a language school, where scholars study both Dzongkha (the national language) and English.
Leaving Simthokha/ Thimphu, we continue into the countryside towards the Punakha valley, the winter capital of Bhutan. The drive ascends gradually to the Dochu la pass over 10300 ft, with magnificent vistas of the Himalayan range.
The Dochu la Monastery also known as the Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens is a tribute to the service and leadership of His Majesty the king. The design inspired by the Queen is a unique cluster of 108 Chortens seen from all directions. The descent to Punakha is vibrant and colorful, with the fluttering prayer flags adding to a rich topography dotted by terrace farming and rivers flowing through. Stop at the Dochu la Cafeteria for a bathroom break.
We continue our drive into the Punakha Valley and visit Punakha Dzong, the winter seat of the Je Khenpo and ancient capital of Bhutan, which is located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male). After visiting, drive back to Thimphu.
Overnight at the hotel.
Thimphu to Paro Sightseeing => Hike to Taktsang (65 Km / 01 Hr)An early departure from Thimphu to Paro. After checking in at hotel in Paro, we drive to Ramthangkha, the terminating point of the motorable road and then, hike up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger's nest). The hike up to the cafeteria , located above 2,950 meters (9,678 feet) above sea level , will take around two hours of average walking speed . At the view point enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. If you desire, you can hike up and visit the monastery which contains thirteen holy places. Taktsang is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan World. The monastic complex clings to the rock towering 900 meters above the valley (over 2,600 feet). After the visit to the temples, walk back to the cafeteria for your lunch. After lunch, we walk back to the road point and drive the winding road to Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fortress, which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions.
On our way back to our hotel, we will visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. In the afternoon, visit National Museum, Ta dzong, an ancient watchtower which now houses the National Museum.
NOTE: During the September 2010 earthquake, there was severe damage to the main building of the museum because of which the main building is closed to visitors, however, objects and artifacts have been moved to a new wing, just above the main building where visitors are allowed.
En route, visit Paro Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration centre and school for monks.
Overnight at the hotel.
Depart ParoIn time transfer to Paro International Airport to take flight back home.