Essential Bhutan


Bhutan is a tiny and remote kingdom nestling in the Himalayas between its powerful neighbours, India and China. It is a great place for a holiday due to its rich heritage and culture, gorgeous, sweeping landscape up high in the mountains and delightful people who seem to find joy in being the hosts for their guests. In this short programme you will be able to visit two most important tourist destinations in Bhutan. Apart from the normal visit of famous monasteries, stupa, temples, museum, art and craft centers, you will also be able to visit local bazaar, farm lands and the country’s highest point by road, Dochu-la –pas.  

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    The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Journey offers magnificent views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift, one disembarks from the aircraft is the cool, clean, and rejuvenating mountain air.  After immigration formalities and baggage collection, warmly received by our representative and embark on a picturesque drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan. The road leads through the Paro valley to the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers at Chuzom (confluence).

    Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left Tamchog Lhakhang, the temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a pioneering engineer who introduced the construction of suspension bridges into Bhutan and Tibet (several of which are still in use today). Crossing this iron bridge is a wonderful experience.

    On arrival, in Thimphu check into the hotel.

    Later in afternoon walk around National Memorial Chorten, a large white structure crowned with a golden spire. It is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is one of its most iconic monuments. This is the most ideal spot to interact with locals who throng in large numbers to circumambulate the chorten, whirl the large red prayer wheels and pray at a small shrine inside the gate. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

    Afterwards take a stroll around Thimphu main street and market area.

    Dinner and overnight at hotel.

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    Breakfast at hotel.

    Drive to see the iconic gigantic Buddha Dordenma (Vajra seated), the world’s largest sitting bronze statue. Majestically situated at Kuenselphodrang, it is an object of great veneration to all sentient beings. The land at Kuenselphodrang measuring 145 acres was gifted to Monks Body by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan. Dedicating it to the 60th birth anniversary celebration of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Holiness the Je Khenpo consecrated the 201 feet tall Buddha Dordenma statue at the Kuenselphodrang on 24th September 2015.

    After this insightful visit drive to Textile Museum, established in 2001 under the royal patronage of Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck. The museum is managed by the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home & Cultural Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan.

    Institute for Zorig Chusum, commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School is an important learning center that offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.

    Located below the main town, Centenary Farmers Market popularly known as Weekend market is a pleasant, colourful & delightful place to mingle with locals. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in this market.

    Then visit Changangkha Lhakhang, one of the ancient temples in Thimphu established on a site chosen by Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, the founder of Drukpa lineage in Bhutan. From temple courtyard, there is fascinating view of Thimphu valley.

    Visit of Trashichhoedzong, that has been the seat of the government since 1952 and presently houses the throne room and offices of His Majesty the King, the Secretariat and the Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance. It is an impressively large structure, surrounded by well-kept lawns and beautiful gardens.

    Evening free to explore the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts Bazaar.

    Meals and overnight at hotel.

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    DAY 3 : THIMPHU – DOCHULA PASS – PARO (105KM / 04H00)

    Breakfast at hotel.

    Drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ) and  finally Gangkarpuensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,570m.

    At Dochula Pass, 108 chortens or stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens have been built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother.

    Then to Paro, the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar.

    En route visiting Simtokha Dzong, the place of profound tantric teaching, this dzong now houses a school for the study of the Dzongkha language.

    Driving further to Chuzom where you can glimpse the three nearby shrines, built to ward off evil spirits – each with a different style of architecture: Nepalese, Tibetan, and Bhutanese.

    On arrival check into hotel & Lunch.

    Later in the day set out on an exploratory excursion in around Paro valley.

    The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and the country's only airport. Paro is also one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.

    Visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum, holding fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, handicrafts, masks, costumes, armour, and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The visit will provide an insight into the rich and unique cultural heritage and tradition of Bhutan.

    Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, 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. Part of Bernardo Bertolucci's movie, ‘Little Buddha,’ was filmed inside this dzong.

    Dinner and overnight at hotel.

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    DAY 4 : PARO

    Breakfast at hotel.

    Embark on a walking excursion to Taktshang Monastery (approx. 5 hours, round trip walk):  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 also called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.

    Late afternoon, drive to the base of Drukgyel Dzong, which is currently under restoration. On a clear day, there is fascinating view of Mount. Chomolhari (7314m) from the village below this ruined fortress. Here we will also see the beautiful typical farmhouse. Bhutanese farmhouses are very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. The majority of the population of Bhutan continues to live as it has for centuries.

    Drive to the base of Drukgyel Dzong, which is currently under restoration. On a clear day, there is fascinating view of Mount. Chomolhari (7314m) from the village below this ruined fortress.

    While driving to Paro town, stop en route at the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, 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.

    Evening an exploratory walk around main street and market area.

    Meals and overnight stay at hotel.

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    Breakfast at hotel.

    Drive to the airport for the flight to your onward destination.