Central Bhutan Tour
Day 1-Arrive Paro:
On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan.
On arrival you will be received by your Bhutanese guide from Bhutan Greenland Expeditions and escorted to Hotel. After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. Then visit the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646. Over night in Hotel.
After breakfast, excursion to Taktshang Monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress.
After lunch, visit the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. From here, the peak of Jumolhari ‘Mountain of the Goddess’ can be seen on a clear day (Alt. 7,329 m /24,029 ft.). Then visit the Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and the most sacred shrine of Bhutan built in 8th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. Over night in Hotel.
Day 3-Paro – Thimphu: (1 Hour):
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu (Capital). Visit the Sangaygang view point, from where the bird’s eye view of the Thimphu Valley can be seen. Visit the Takin Preserve Centre. Takin is the National Animal of Bhutan. Then visit the Drupthob Lhakhang, one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan followed by the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
After lunch, visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Zorig Chusum (The School of Thirteen Arts). Then visit the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices and the Folk Heritage Museum. In the evening, visit the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the National Government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).Over night in Hotel.
Day 4 - Thimphu – Punakha: (2 – 3 Hours):
After breakfast, drive to Punakha. Stop at Dochula pass to view the higher Himalayas, if the weather is clear. Visit the Chhimi Lhakhang on the way to Punakha. The Temple, also known as “The Temple of Fertility” was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, “The Devine Mad Man”.
After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck convened the first National Assembly here in 1952. Then explore the Punakha valley and town. Over night in Hotel.
Day 5 - Wangduephodrang – Gangtey (2 Hours):
After breakfast, visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong. Drive to Gangtey.
After lunch, visit the Gangtey Gompa. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. Explore the Phobjikha Valley, one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the Himalayas and the winter place for the endangered Black Necked Cranes. Over night in Hotel.
Day 6 - Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang:
After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Zhabdrung to unify Eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family. The first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. After Lunch, drive to Bumthang. Over night in Hotel.
Day 7 - Bumthang:
After breakfast, visit Jakar Dzong (The Castle of White Bird). The current structure was built in 1667. Then visit Lamey Goemba, a large palace and monastery built in 18th century by Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi. Visit Jambay Lhakhang, built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. Visit Chakhar (Iron Castle) Lhakhang. The Original palace was made of Iron and hence the name “Chakhar”. Then visit Kurjey Lhakhang, named after body print of Guru Rimpoche.
After lunch, visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and the Kenchosum Lhakhang. Then visit the Membarstho which literally means, “The burning Lake”. The evening ends with a walk around the Bumthang town and valley. Over night in Hotel.
Day 8 - Bumthang – Wangduephodrang:
After breakfast, drive to Wangduephodrang. In the evening, visit a village and meet local people. Over night in Hotel.
Day 9 - Wangduephodrang – Thimphu:
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. After lunch, visit the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Over night in Hotel.
Day 10 - Thimphu – Paro:
After breakfast, excursion to Tango and Cheri Monastery. In the evening, drive to Paro. Over night in Hotel.
Day 11 - Departure:
Early morning, drive to Airport and farewell.