Full Circle Bhutan Tour 16 Days/ 15 Night
Day 01: Arrive Paro ,Paro-Thimphu
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. One can see the Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchanjunga, Mt. Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as Mt. Chomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drakay, and Mt. Tsherimgang. The green wall of hills known as the doors, or gateways into Bhutan from the plains climbs continually higher as down the forested mountainsides, and to the north, the great snowcapped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the sky. Check into the hotel. After the refreshment, visit to the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). Here an intriguing collection of artifacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom.
Walk down to Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. From the Dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge.
Travel to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan. The road runs down through the Paro valley, to Chuzom (Confluence) at the entrance to the valley, where the Paro and Thimphu rivers meet. The road passes along a narrow valley with high, rocky cliffs on the left, and then the valley opens out into farmland on the approach to Thimphu. Simtokha Dzong, “the place of profound tantric teaching”, stands sentinel on a hillock a few kilometers out of town. This dzong now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.Check into hotel.
Evening free after dinner. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02 : Thimphu Tour and Sightseeing
Sightseeing in Thimphu includes visit to:
The National Library
The folk heritage museum
The School of Thangka Paintng
The Institute of TraditionalMedicine
The Memorial Chorten
The Tashichho Dzong, fortress of the glorious religion Then, visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, and other interesting items made from local materials.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu Short Trekking to Tango Monastery
After breakfast, drive to the base camp of Tango Monastery and hike up to the Monastery. Tango is the center for higher studies for monks. The hike up will take approximately 45 minutes. The view from Tango Monastery is breathtaking. Drive back to Thimphu and evening free to relax /stroll around Thimphu town.
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
In themorning, travel to Punakha (2 ½ hrs) via the Dochula pass. An hour’s drive from Thimphu will take you to this pass (3140 m) where one can have a superb view of the Eastern Himalayas on a clear day with a powerful binocular telescope. Visit the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo for the security and well being of His Majesty the King of Bhutan.
Travel onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho-Chu (male) river and the Mochu (female) river. Visit the Dho Jha Gha Lam Temple.
After lunch, walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing. Drive to Wangdue and visit Wangdue Dzong, situated on a ridge overlooking a river junction. In the 17th century, Wangdue played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern regions of the country. Overnight at hotel in Wangdue.
Day 05: Wangdue – Trongsa -Bumthang
Drive to Trongsa via Pele la pass at an altitude of 3,150 metres, a wonderful opportunity for photographs. Stop over at Trongsa to visit Trongsa Dzong, which is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Built in 1644 by the Shabdrung, the dzong is an architectural masterpiece.
Drive to Bumthang, this is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. Here the great teachers meditated and left in their wake many sacred grounds. The Guru and his lineage of Tertons, treasure finders, have led to the sprouting of many temples in the valley. Visit Yatha Weaving Center, a cooperative of the National Women Association of Bhutan where the women of the region sell their textiles and Yatha specialty.
Check into hotel and overnight in Bumthang.
Day 06 : Bumthang Tour and Sightseeing
Sightseeing includes visit to the following:
Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songtsen Goempo of Tibet. In his effort to propagate Buddhism he had a plan to build a total of 108 temples in Tibet and neighboring kingdoms. Chakhar Lhakhang. Besides the main road, a short distance beyond Jambay Temple is Chakhar (Iron Castle) Lhakhang. Although it is easy to mistake it for a house and drive right by, this is an interesting temple and is worth a short visit. It is one of the 108 monasteries built by him to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region.
Kujey Lhakhang (Kujey means, “Body imprint”). The temple to the right is the oldest and was built by Minjur Tempa in 1652. It was built around the cave in which Guru Rimpoche meditated and left his body imprint.
Tamshing Lhakhang. This temple is also known as Tamshing Lhendrup Chholing (Temple of the Good Message).
Jakar Dzong, “castle of the white bird”. According to legend, when the lamas assembled in about 1549 to select a site for a monastery, a big white bird rose suddenly in the air and settled on a spur of a hill. This was interpreted as an important omen, and the hill was chosen as the site for a monastery and for Jakar Dzong. The fortress is now used as an administrative center of the valley and summer residence of Trongsa monks.
In the evening stroll around the beautiful landscape of the Bumthang Jakar valley. Dinner and overnight in Bumthang.
Day 07: Bumthang – Mongar
This Bhutan tour continues eastwards, winding through more rugged terrain. The drive, with spectacular views, will take about 6 hours. Pass through Ura village in Bumthang before climbing sharply to the highest motor road pass in the Kingdom, the Thrumshingla Pass 12,465 ft. Gradually drop down to Sengor. Watch cascading waterfalls along the way. The descent stops at 2,130 ft on a bridge over the Kurichu. Climb again through pine forest, maize fileds and eastern hamlets to Mongar town. The Mongar Dzong, built not too long ago,yet maintains the architectural traditions of the old dzongs.
Day 08: Mongar- Trashigang
The road from Mongar to Trashigang, the eastern most region, begins through lush forests and ferns passing over the Kori La at 8,000 ft. After driving about an hour, you reach the village of Ngatshang, the site of one of the fiefdoms before unification of the nation. Descending rapidly through corn fields and banana groves, you reach Yadi village. Follow the Gamri river until the bifurcation to Drametsi. This temple, perched atop a steep hill, was founded by Nun Choden Zangmo in the 16th century. This is the place from where the famous Drametsi Nga Chham, mask dance with drums, originated. About 30 kilometres onwards lies Trashigang, at 3,775 ft. Trashigang is the center of the biggest and most populated district in the nation. View the dzong, built strategically on a spur going out towards the Gamri Chu.
After lunch, visit Khaling, it is the weaving center under women association of Bhutan,Government of Bhutan. There you can see all the process and materials involved in weaving. Drive back to Trashigang for overnight stay.
Day 09: Day Excursion to Trashiyangtse
Excursion to Gom Kora and Tashiyangtse. Overnight at hotel in Trashigang
Day 10: Trashigang – Mongar
This is the beginning of the return journey. After sightseeing Trashigang valley, travel back to Mongar.
Day 11: Mongar – Bumthang
Travel back to Bumthang. Ovrnight at Bumthang.
Day 12: Bumthang -Gangtey- Wangdue
After early breakfast, drive to Gangtey Gompa with picnic lunch. Visit Gangtey Gompa, which now houses one of the only Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. The valley is also the winter home to the rare black-necked cranes (Grus Nicorocolis), which migrate, from remote parts of Tibet, China and Siberia during winter in this valley. Drive to Wangdue for overnight halt. Evening stroll around Wangdue town.
Day 13: Wangdue-Thimphu
After breakfast, walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (50 Mins) temple built by the Queen Of Bhutan for peace and stability in this ever-changing world.
Travel back to Thimphu, visiting Simtokha Dzong en route. This dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.
In the evening,drive to see the Takin Zoo, which houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan. Drive further upto Sangaygang to get a bird’s eye view of the Thimphu valley in the evening. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 14 : Thimphu – Paro
After breakfast, travel to Paro. Visit Kichu temple,one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demoness.
After lunch, drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km. from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Evening at leisure to visit local shops. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 15: Paro Excursion to Taktsang OR Drive to Chelila Pass
Drive to Satsam Chorten and then hike to viewpoint of Taktshang, the Tiger’s Nest. This monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley floor.
Drive to Chelila Pass where one can see beautiful mountain ranges and rhododendron flowers in bloom. On the way back walk to Chela Nunnery.
Day 16: Paro – Departure
Your guide will see you off at the Paro Airport for your onward destinations.