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Tour Name

Thunder Dragon Tour

Activities

Farm house life & outdoor sports

Best Time

Mar-May & Aug- Dec

Tour Type

Village life, bicycling, & rafting

Duration

7 nights/8 ddays.

Here’s a package that will suit most visitors as it is not too short nor too long and it has more fun and activities to remember Bhutan more. A reasonable feeling of satisfaction of having seen a good amount of Bhutan can still be had. With 7 nights and 8 days you can enjoy thoroughly Thimphu, Punakha, wangdi, Haa, and paro. This package includes the advantage of bicycling on gentle downhill roads from the passes with your car following behind, enjoyable day hikes, village walk and fun of white river rafting on Punachu in Punakha.  Not to mention Sample iconic monuments, breath-taking view of Himalayan mountain ranges, sample Bhutan’s different valleys, villages and many more.

TOUR OUTLINE

Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air and drive to Thimphu in the evening.
Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing :
Day 03: Thimphu to Punakha:
Day 04: Punakha sightseeing with river rafting in the morning:
Day 05: Punakha to Paro
Day 06: Day excursion to Haa valley crossing the highest  chelela pass 3999meter above sea level.
Day 07: Taktsang Hike
Day 08: Fly to onward destination:


DETAIL ITINERARY


Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air and drive to Thimphu in the evening.
The flight into Paro brings you over breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains. On the clear days you will be able to see Mt Everest (8849 meters) and other Himalayan range among which are the world’s unclimbed peaks of Bhutan. Landing into Paro airport is simply beautiful and life time experience. You will be greeted by your tour guide and driver from Lonely Bhutan tours.

The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions. In the morning, visit Ta Dzong. Once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history.

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. Also visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom.

Then we head for Thimphu. Our route runs through a narrow valley which you must have seen from Druk Air as it prepared to land. At some point along the route on your left, you will see an ancient temple, Tachogang Lhakhang, ‘the temple of excellent horse’. The bridge over the Paro Chhu leading to the lhakhang has iron chains used by the great 14th century yogi cum bridge builder Thangthong Gyalpo.

The narrow valley gradually widens as we approach Thimphu. A few kilometers before reaching Thimphu city, you can see Semtokha Dzong, “the place of profound tantric teaching”, on your left. Built in 1627, this is the first dzong built by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. We can visit it today if we have some energy left, otherwise we leave it for tomorrow.

After checking into your hotel, Thimphu city is all yours to explore over the cool evening.
Note: You have the option to ride bicycle from Paro to Thimphu:

Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing
You will begin your sightseeing with Memorial Chorten, a monument built in memory of our 3rd king. You will continue to visit a giant Buddha statue, 165 feet tall claimed as the tallest Buddha statute in the world.  Next you will visit a 12th century Changangkha monastery, popularly known as children’s monastery for all the childrens born in Thimphu region are considered to have received protection by the guardian of this monastry. You can see our National animal, Takin at motithang Zoo. You can visit Art school where you will see students at work in different field of arts such as painting, sculpturing, woodcarving, weaving etc. All together in Bhutan we practice 13 different arts. You must also visit Folk heritage museum which exhibits the life style of an old Bhutanese family before Thimphu was overtaken by urban life style. Indeed if you visit farmhouse in the village you will see the same style of live and activities still followed.

If you are interested you can also visit traditional medicine centre which showcases samples of various medicinal plants and its treatment. You can also visit textile museum which brings out the fascinating old time charm of traditional weaving. Visit Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by Shabdrung, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans
Note: You have the option to bicycle in and around a thimphu.

Day 03: Thimphu to Punakha:
Today you will drive to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan. On the way you will cross Dochula pass from where you will be able to see series of snow covered peaks among which you will see Gankarpensum (7540meters), the highest peak of Bhutan. The pass is also adorned with 108 chortens and a newly built temple by the queens of Bhutan. As you descend down the pass to Punakha you will see the change in vegetation from conifer to subtropical forest in which the beautiful botanical park at Lamperi is located.

After lunch hike to Chemi Lakhang monastery, one of the seat of divine madman, a profound Buddhist master from Tibet. He subdued a demon and founded the monastery on the hill top which looks like a women’s breast. If you like you can receive blessing from the wooden phallus which represents divine mad man himself.
Note: you have the option to bicycle from Dochula pass to Punakha.

Day 04: Punakha sightseeing with river rafting in the morning
You will take 2 hours walk along Phochu river to reach the starting point of rafting at Samdenkha where the rafting crews are waiting for you. Your car will bring your stuffs at the point. Raft for 2 hours along phochu river with good rapids passing Punakha Dzong and finally hitting the meeting points of male and female river. You will finish the rafting near Khuruthang town. In the afternoon visit Punakha Dzong.

Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955, when the seat of government moved to Thimphu. Originally situated on the riverbank and dominated by the towering walls of Punakha Dzong, the township was relocated to a safer site a few kilometers down the valley, consequent upon extensive flooding in the early 1990s. At the same time, extensive renovation work was undertaken on Punakha Dzong itself, which is now a breathtaking and glorious sight as you first glimpse it from the road. The original Dzong was built in 1637 by shabdrung. Although four catastrophic fires and an earthquake in past times destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong still houses many sacred and historic artifacts and also the embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Note: option to ride bicycles around Punakha Vally.

Day 05: Punakha to Paro:
Today before you drive to Paro you can visit Wangdi and take a glimpse at ruined Wangdiphodrang Dzong.  This 1638 built old Dzong was burned by fire on 24th june 2012 casting big sadness to all Bhutanese.
In the evening in paro, visit a traditional farmhouse for an opportunity to interact with a local family and learn something of their lifestyle For instance, to wrap up your visit to Bhutan with one last memorable experience, how about this – after checking into your hotel, we drive to the village of Damchena, the home of Lonely Bhutan Tours and Travels operators which is about 30 minutes drive, where upon prior notice, a wine and dine with a Bhutanese family can be arranged. Hot stone baths, ara/bangchang drinking, folk dance performance by village ladies and dinner cooked on traditional Bhutanese oven using firewood can also be arranged.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Note: Option to bicycle from Dochula pass to Paro.

Day 06: Day excursion to Haa valley crossing the highest  chelela pass 3999meter above sea level.
Take 2 hours drive to chelela pass through thick woods of blue pine, spruce, hemlock, fir, rodrodrendron and juniper finally getting above tree line. It is quite windy on the pass but it is worth spending some time there to take pictures and enjoy the awesome sound of prayer flags flickered by strong wind.

Take another 30 minutes you will be in Haa valley consisting of farmlands and farm house. Haa is more remote. Live and activities are still very much medieval. If you have time you can take a short hike.In the afternoon you will drive back to Paro.

Note: you have the option to bicycle from chelela to Haa and from Chelela to paro. 

Day 7: Taktsang Hike
Today you will have the most extraordinary day in your life. Tiger nest monastery is one of the most sacred for all Himalayan Buddhist countries. It is also the main icon of Bhutan for the outside world and you wouldn’t believe as you take the picture with your own hand. ‘Every step you take is worth’ is the expression made by all the people who make to Tiger Nest. For many spiritual people, it is a mind’s journey. So come and take part to experience the worth. After hearing some true legendary stories from Tiger Nest and also having felt the presence of strong energy you will be a different person as you walk back .

Day 08: Fly to onward destination
Your guide and driver will drive you to air port for deparature.

ACCOMMODATION


Hotel / Resort