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Tour Name

Western Bhutan Highlights

Activities

Cultural, history, Architects & GNH

Best Time

All year round

Tour type

Culture and hike

Duration

4 Nights/5 Days

With 4 night and 5 days duration you can cover Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdi and paro. Precisely, you can see the gaint Buddha statue in Thimphu claimed as the tallest Buddha statute in the world, Beautiful panoramic view of snow covered mountain ranges of Himalaya from Dochula pass, The Punakha Dzong known as the palace of great happiness, indeed the most beautiful Dzong of Bhutan and finally the spiritual journey to Tiger nest which is never the less awesome. The journey through this four main valley enriches your experience of the Bhutanese life and activities to the fullest.


TOUR OUTLINE


Day 01: Arrive Paro, Paro – Thimphu
Day 02: Thimphu – Punakha
Day 03: Punakha sightseeing and drive to Paro:
Day 04: Tiger Nest hike:
Day 05: Depart from Paro

DETAIL ITINERARY


Day 01: Arrive Paro, Paro - Thimphu
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, driveup 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.

Day 02: Thimphu – Punakha
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, 169 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

After lunch drive over Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft) to Punakha. If the weather is clear you will see series of snow covered Himalayan ranges from the pass. You also have the overwhelming sight of 108 chortens (Buddhist monuments) and several colorful prayer flags adorning the pass. 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. Overnight; at the hotel in Punakha.

Day 03: Punakha sightseeing and drive to Paro:
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.

Next you will take a short hike to Chemi Lakhang monastery which stands on the hill top founded by divine madman, a profound Buddhist master who visited Bhutan in 12th century. If you like you can receive blessing from the wooden phallus which represents divine mad man himself. The philosophy of the power of the phallus painted on the wall of people’s house to scare evil spirit and keep away bad lucks come from dive mad man.   After lunch drive to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 04: Tiger Nest 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 . 

In the evening, 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.

Day 05: Depart from Paro
After breakfast, drive to Paro airport for flight to onward destination.

ACCOMMODATION


Hotel / Resort