Fortresses And Temples Tour

Fortresses And Temples Tour

Fortresses And Temples Tour

Dzongs,Rivers And Lhakhangs

Package Details

Duration: 10 Nights/ 11 Days

Covers: Thimphu,Punakha,Paro and Wangdue

Day 1
Arrive Paro, Transfer to Thimphu Valley (1hr/54kms)

Your journey begins with the most spectacular of all mountain flights. You will fly over the southern hills, known as ‘dwars’, or gateways into the Himalayas as they rise from the plains until they meet the great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas that rise up to the sky. On arrival at Paro airport and after completion of airport formalities, you will be met by your representative (Guide). Drive from Paro to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan.

Rest of the day at leisure or take a stroll through this lively town that reveals an interesting combination of tradition and modernity. (Overnight at Druk Hotel)

Day 2
Thimphu Valley Exploration

Once known as the only capital city without traffic lights, it still remains to be one the cultural capitals of the Himalayas.

Thimphu’s charm comes not only from its wealth of museums or places of historic interest, but also from the strong national character of its architectural style.

Today’s sightseeing includes:

The Folk Heritage Museum, a restored mid 19th century house which gives one insight into the average household & lifestyle in the region during that era. (closed on Sat 1pm, Sun 1pm, Govt. Holidays)

Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School), where a six-year training course is given in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. (closed on Sat 1pm, Sun, Govt Holidays, Summer/winter break)

Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery; the only nunnery in the Capital it is popularly known as Zilukha Anim Dratshang. Located few minutes’ drive from the town. It was built in 1976 by Drubthob Rikey Jigdrel (the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo who built temples and iron chain bridges). You may interact with some 60 nuns who have devoted their life to spirituality and Buddhism.

Memorial Chorten. The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had wanted to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”), and a monument to peace.

Weaving Center, where you will be able to actually see the traditional weaving process and interact with the weavers.

Traditional Handmade Paper Factory, witness the process from start to finish. The paper is made from the barks of the black Daphne tree. The thicker paper is used for scriptures and the thinner ones are used for wrapping gifts and various other purposes. (Overnight at Druk Hotel)

Day 3
Transfer to Punakha & Explore (3hrs/74kms)

After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chortens, Mani walls, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the high Himalayan peaks towards the northeast will be revealed in all their glory. On a clear day, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

Then continue the drive to Punakha Valey. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and is still the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and central monk body. Hike to the nearby Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to the "Divine Madman", an eccentric monk from the 16th century famous for many his many amusing, Rabelaisian folklore stories.

After Lunch, Visit Talo (Punakha)

The picturesque village of Talo, scattered along a ridge above the Punakha valley at an altitude of around 2,800m, is known amongst Punakha villages for its neat and clean appearance. Talo Sangnacholing is built on a small plateau at the top of the village, and from there one has a majestic view of the entire valley and surrounding villages, and the high hills beyond Wangduephodrang which mark the gateway to central Bhutan. The women here are particularly known for their beauty. Talo is about an hour’s drive from Punakha.

Rest of the day at leisure. (Overnight at KunzangzhingResort)

Day 4
Punakha Valley Exploration

Today, you will begin the day with hike up through fields of rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the upper end of the valley to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the Queens and consecrated in 1999.

After lunch visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, has played prominent role in civil and religious life of the kingdom. Damaged by fire, flood and earthquake over the centuries, it has now been fully restored in its original splendor.

Evening stroll through the town area. (Overnight at KunzangzhingResort)

Day 5
Transfer to Bumthang Valley (7hrs/220kms):

Today’s journey onward to Jakar (Bumthang) is perhaps long, but certainly memorable with dramatic landscapes of terraced farmland, deep river valleys and precariously perched farmhouses viewed from the only east west highway that has been ingeniously carved out of the mountain faces. Following a brief stop at Chendebji Chorten, which according to belief was built to cover the remains of a demon spirit, you will carry on to what was the original home of the royal family. Upon reaching Trongsa you may take time to stroll this quaint village and official business permitting, perhaps visit the Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home to Bhutan’s monarch where you will often find novice monks reciting mantras or practicing on sacred horns, flutes or drums. Then visit Ta Dzong on the hillside above the town, built as a watchtower to guard Trongsa.

The drive onward to Bumthang takes you over the picturesque Yotong La and down into the Chhume Valley, home of Bhutan’s famous Yatra weaving. (Overnight at Mountain Lodge or Similar)

Day 6
Bumthang Valley Exploration:

Bumthang is the general name given to a group of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000m (8,530-13,125ft). This area is home to many ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries.

You start to visit Choekhor valley, approximately 1 ½ hrs drive from the lodge. You have choice to further explore our neighbouring palace, Wangdichhoeling, home to the 2nd King, and the auspicious prayer wheels next door. Heading up valley, you will take in the grand Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan’s “patron saint”, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro).

After lunch, we will visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later on we will visit Jakar Dzong, “the castle of the white bird”, then take a stroll through Bumthang’s market area before returning to the lodge. (Overnight at Mountain Lodge and similar)

Day 7
Transfer to Phobjikha ( 6hrs/188kms)

After breakfast, proceed to Phonbjikha, one of the most pleasant glacial valleys in Bhutan. Today’s journey back to Phojikha will be a lengthy one, taking lunch en route. We will then drive on through the mountains. Rests of the day at leisure- explore the valley. (Overnight at Gangtey Lodge)

Day 8
Gangtey Valley Exploration:

Gangtey Natural Trail (Gangtey)-The most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trails in Bhutan. The trail hike starts from the mani (like Chhorten) stone wall to the north of the Ganagtey Gonpa and ends in Khewa Lhakhang. The hike takes about 1hr 30minutes through the pine forest and small bamboo plants. You can see the Phobjkha valley so beautifully from this hike. It is one of the best hike places for the Nature lovers. During the winter months, we can see the endangered species of birds – Black Neck Cranes.

We will visit striking Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Followed by a visit to the Black Neck Crane Center and dependent on the season, time spent in the Center’s nearby hide is a must to view the breeding cranes. Various walks can be arranged in this magnificent valley.

(Overnight at Gangtey Lodge)

Day 9
Transfer to Paro(6hrs/198kms)

After breakfast, drive back to Paro enroute visiting Simtokha Dzong which is the oldest fortress built in 1627 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the unifier of Bhutan.

Evening, stroll around the interesting Paro town in the evening.

(Overnight at Uma Paro)

Day 10
Taktsang Hike

In the morning, take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, founding father of the Bhutanese form of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. The main structure was severely damaged by fire in 1998, but after many years of painstaking restoration work, the complex has now been fully restored to its former glory. (Overnight at Uma Paro)

Day 11
Depart Paro

After an early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Your Etho Metho escort will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.

Please note that some of the sights/itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the rights to alter the itinerary since tours are made in advance and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve your overall travel experience in Bhutan

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