Day to Day Bhutan tour itinerary for 10 nights/11days.
Day 01. Arrive Paro:
Your Guide from Tashi Nyenda Adventures will receive you at the airport and drive you the short distance to the hotel. After tea, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, built in 1647 by the Great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan. The dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari. On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo. This Monastery is one of the 108 monasteries built across the Himalayan region by the Tibetan King to subdue the Demoness that lay across the Himalayan region. The rest of the monasteries lie in neighboring countries. Dinner and over night in hotel.
Day 02. Paro: Excursion to Taktshang Monastery:
After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten where the trail begins in a beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktshang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktshang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort.
After lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Rimpung Dzong, literally meaning “Heap of Jewels,” the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. It was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. In the evening we will drive to Thimphu.
Day 03. Paro - Thimphu ( 55 km,1 hr drive)
After breakfast we will visit the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, then the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. Sightseeing continues at the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls) and other arts. After lunch we will drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Overnight in hotel.
Day 04.Thimphu: After breakfast, we will visit the Folk Heritage Museum, Textile Museum, Changangkha Lhakhang and Philatelic office. After lunch, visit the royal silver smiths at work and see a Bhutanese hand made paper factory. Overnight in hotel.
Day 05. Thimphu – Punakha: (72 Kms, 3 hours drive).
After breakfast, we will drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in 15th century. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility.”
Lunch at Punakha. After lunch, we will visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, and situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant.” In the past, was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue. While Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From this vision, the architect conceived the design for the new dzong, which in keeping with tradition, was never committed to paper. The dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang, “Palace of Great Happiness.” The war materials captured during battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952. In the evening, we will hike to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery. Overnight in hotel.
Day 06. Punakha – Gangtey ( 3 hrs drive)
After breakfast. The trip continues with a drive to the beautiful valley of Gangtey. Enroute we will be sightseeing in the Wangdiphodrang Valley. Including a visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong, four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Then we will continue to Gangtey. On arrival, we will check in to Gangtey Gompa House and visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang. Afterwards we will explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black-necked cranes during winter. Dinner and overnight at the Guest House.
Day 07. Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang( 6 hrs drive)
The morning begins with the drive to Trongsa. There we will visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong of Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan. It was enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Then we will visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. After Lunch, drive to Bumthang. Overnight in hotel.
Day 08. Bumthang Sightseeing:
After breakfast, we visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird,” built in 1667. Then we continue on to Lamey Goemba, a large palace and monastery built in 18th century by Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi, followed by a visit to Jambay Lhakhang, built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. This temple was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. Under the temple is said to be a lake in which Guru
Rimpoche hid several Terma. In October one of Bhutan’s most spectacular festivals, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup,” is staged here. After lunch, we will visit Chakhar Lhakhang, “Iron Castle,” the site of the palace of the Indian King, Sindhu Raja who invited Guru Rimpoche to Bumthang. The original palace was made of iron and hence the name. The saint Dorji Lingpa built the current building in 14th century. We then visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. We will also visit Tamshing Lhakhang, “Temple of the good message,” established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa, the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. In the evening, we visit Membarstho which literally means, “The Burning Lake.” Overnight in hotel.
Day 09. Excursion to Ura Valley & Return to Bumthang ( 48 km/1 hr drive)
After breakfast, excursion to the beautiful valley of Ura. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 10. Bumthang – Thimphu: ( 7-8 hrs, 212 kms)
Early breakfast, drive to Thimphu. Overnight in hotel.
Day 11. Thimphu- Thimphu ( day excursions)
After breakfast, there will be an excursion to Tango and Cheri Monastery. Then after lunch, we will visit Mini Zoo and Sangay Gang viewpoint. There will be time for wandering through Thimphu and maybe see an archery match. Overnight in hotel.
Day 12. Thimphu – Paro ( 55 km,1hr drive)
After breakfast, we will visit Simtokha Dzong built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This Dzong is the oldest Dzong in Bhutan and presently houses a Monastic school. Then we will stroll in the town and visit the Handicraft Emporium. After lunch, we will drive to Paro. On the way we will visit a traditional Bhutanese farm house. Overnight in hotel.
Day 13. Departure from Paro national air port.
Early morning drive to airport and farewell.