Bhutan is an ancient land, in the eastern Himalayas, with unique customs and deeply held beliefs. It is a land of monasteries, majestic mountains, and an architectural style like no other in the world. Whether it is rafting down crystal clear, glacier-fed rivers, or trekking through lush, virgin forests, Bhutan offers an exquisite experience for travelers seeking adventure in a pure and unspoiled environment.
We will be greeted at the Paro airport and taken to our hotel. After lunch we will visit Paro’s Rinpung Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do currently all the dzongs (forts). We will also visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country.
Early morning start as we drive to the base of Tiger’s Nest to begin our climb. Taktsang (Tiger's Nest). It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley (3,000 meters). We will have a tea stop half way up the mountain for spectacular views of Taktsang. This is also a time when hikers can decide if they want to continue on or remain at the tea house and await our return when we will all share lunch on the mountain side. Overnight stay in Paro.
In the morning we will drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. The drive is along a winding road following the Paro and Thimphu rivers. When we arrive we will visit the hand made paper factory and the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan). After lunch we will visiting the Chang Gangkha Monastery -purchase of Prayer Flags, the Takin Reserve (which contains the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan) and then free time in town for shopping and taking in the essence of the city. Overnight stay in Thimphu.
After breakfast we will drive 12km north of Thimphu. We will then hike up to the Cheri Monastery and have a picnic lunch. At the monastery we will have the opportunity to meditate in one of the temples. In the early evening we will visit Tashichho Dzong. Overnight stay in Thimphu.
Today we will spend the day hiking to Phajoding Monastery. This is a 12th century monastery which is still active and a school for the monks. Here we will have the opportunity to spend time with the monks and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast we will drive to Punakka. The drive takes us across the Dochula Pass (3,118 meters) which is marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten (Buddhist monument) and prayer flags. We will stop on the pass for tea, and take in the beautiful views of the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas. We will then continue our drive to Punakka, the former capital of Bhutan and visit Punakka Dzong which is noteworthy both for being one of the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan and also for having been built by the first Shabdrung (king) in 1637. After lunch we will walk through the rice fields to a small teaching monastery.
After breakfast we will hike up to a new monastery built on a hill that gives a beautiful view of the Punakka valley and rice fields below. The afternoon will be free time to take a sightseeing tour around Punakka. Overnight stay in Punakka.
Today we will return to Thimphu where we will have time for lunch and some last minute shopping. We will then continue on to Paro for our farewell dinner at a traditional farmhouse where we will also be served butter tea. There will be an optional Bhutanes hot stone bath before dinner.
Today is departure day; it’s time to say farewell to the Land of the Thunder Dragon.
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