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: Bhutan Delight Tour

9 days 8 nights GRADE Medium

Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, Paro

Important remarks
Day 6 will have to fall on a weekday as most sites are closed on the weekends. Also note that some sites may be closed during govt. holidays as well.

Day 7 also has a site that is closed on govt. holidays and Sunday. The day must fall on a weekday. Zorig Chusum will be closed on Jan, Feb and Jul due to winter and summer vacations for the students

Day 01: Arrive Paro
On the flight to Paro, if flying from Delhi and Kathmandu, a spectacular views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jhumolhari and Mount Jitchu Drake in Bhutan can be seen. The flight to international airport in Paro is most spectacular and thrilling as one approaches the tiny airstrip through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing.

On arrival in Paro, after completion of airport formalities, our representative will be there to receive you and escort you to your hotel. Evening visit to Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 02: Paro – Thimphu
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu, the capital city Bhutan and a burgeoning sprawling city with mix of tradition and modernity awaits. The quaint Thimphu city is the capital city of Bhutan also the seat of government. It is also home to Bhutan’s royal family, the civil service, and foreign missions with representation in Bhutan. Many internationally funded developments projects headquarters are also located here.

Visit Semtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the kingdom, shortly before reaching Thimphu. Afternoon sightseeing in Thimphu, visiting the National Memorial Chorten, majestic Tashichhodzong/fortress which houses the throne room of the King and various government offices, besides being the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and the central monk body. One can watch the hoisting of the National Flag if the visit falls on a working weekday. Visit the iconic Buddha Point, the largest Buddha in the World. Rest of the day if time permits stroll through this lively town. Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu

Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha
Morning sightseeing in Thimphu includes visits to the National Library, the Institute for Zorig Chusum (where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan), the National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), and the National Textile Museum, as time permits. After lunch drive to Bhutan’s former capital Punakha, stopping en route at Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft) for refreshments. On a clear day you will enjoy spectacular mountain views from this spot. On arrival at Punakha, check into the hotel. In the evening visit Punakha Dzong, a 17th century fortress. Afterwards take a stroll around the market area. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.

Day 04: Punakha – Wangduephodrang – Gangtey (Phobjikha)
After breakfast drive to Gangtey via Wangduephodrang, brief stop to the historic monument Wangduephodrang Dzong/fortress, located atop on a spur of the confluence of two rivers. Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley. In the evening, take a stroll around Gangtey village and visit Gangtey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in the kingdom. Overnight at guest house, or camp under the stars.

Day 05: Gangtey – Trongsa - Bumthang
In the morning, explore Phobjikha valley, chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan Plateau. Drive to Trongsa, crossing Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830ft) and stop for lunch and visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Built in 1647, it is the most iconic fortress in Bhutan. Proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, perhaps long journey, 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.

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. Here you will have a chance to browse the traditional textiles and perhaps see the weavers create their intricate handiwork. Evening rest after a long journey. Dinner and overnight at Hotel

Day 06: Bumthang
After breakfast sightseeing in Bumthang. 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. Three Temples-Valley Walk: Start at Jambay Lhakhang which was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo and marks the first introduction of when Buddhism to Bhutan. It is one of 108 monasteries which he built to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region.

Then continue to Kurjey Lhakhang, heading further into the valley through farmlands for half an hour. Kurjey Lhakhang comprises three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 against the rock face where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century. The middle temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of the Guru’s body, and is therefore considered to be the most holy. Both Jambay and Kurjey Lhakhang are located on the left banks of Chamkhar Chhu (river). Continue the valley walk from Kurjey Lhakhang across a suspension bridge through small villages and farmlands. Enjoy Bhutanese cuisine in one of the farmhouse. In the afternoon, continue walking towards Tamshing Lhakhang located across the river from Kurjey Lhakhang. This temple was founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, a re-incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava. There are very old religious paintings around the inner walls of the temple, which was restored at the end of the 19th century. End the day with a visit to the Red Panda Beer Brewery and the Cheese Factory (Closed Sun & Govt. Holidays). Evening stroll around to see local shops. Overnight at Hotel in Bumthang

Day 07: Bumthang – Thimphu /Optional fly to Paro
After an early morning breakfast drive to Thimphu. If by flight, after an early morning breakfast fly to Paro and following itinerary can be followed. Visit Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was converted to Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. The museum collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons, coins, stamps and a small natural history collection. Then walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) situated at a commanding height overlooking Paro valley. Built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646, this Dzong now houses Paro’s monk body and the offices of the civil administration and is symbolic as the religious and secular center of all affairs of the valley.

Afternoon visits to Drukgyel Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang and followed by a visit to the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Leisure evening stroll in the town to see handicrafts shop and last-minute mementos buy. Dinner and overnight at Hotel