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HISTORIC CENTRAL BHUTAN TOUR

9 Nights/10 Days

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions / Exclusions
  • Photo Gallery

Overview

This tour package is designed to cover all the historic valleys of Bhutan. You would be moving from one historic valley to another in the heartland of the Drukpa people. Some of the temples in these valleys date back to the 7th century when Guru Padmasamba first introduced Buddhism in Bhutan. A stream of Buddhist lamas coming to Bhutan over the centuries established monasteries and temples in various parts of these valleys.

Trip Highlights: visit to the largest Statue of Buddha in Bhutan, Memorial Chorten, Punakha Dzong (built in 1637), panoramic view of the higher Himalayas from the Dochu La Pass (3140m), Chimi Lhakhang “The Temple of Fertility” a farm house visit, Excursion to the famous Taktsang “The Tiger’s Nest, Visit to Drugyel Dzong The ruined Fortress (built in 1644), Kichu Monastery (built in 7th century) visit to Phobjikha/Gangtey Valley “The most beautiful glacial valley of the Himalayas” the roosting ground for the rare Black necked cranes, Trongsa Dzong The most impressive fortress in Bhutan (built in 1644), Jakar Dzong – The Castle of White Bird (built in 1667). Membartsho-The Burning Lake, Jambay Lhakhang built in 7th century The most spectacular Jambay Lhakhang festival is staged here every winter,  Kurjey Lhakhang the body print of Guru Rimpoche is seen here tamshing Lhakhang.

Fact File
Country Bhutan
Activities Tour
Trip Length 10 Days
Trip areas Historic Central Bhutan
Trip Starting Paro
Trip Ending Paro
Meal Plan Full board
Places to see Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, Wangdue, Gangtey, Trongsa, Bhumthang
Main attractions Flora & Fauna, animals, Culture, Local peoples,
Difficulty Moderate
Kilometer 410 Km
Accommodation Hotel, Resort, Guest House
Highest Point 3425 m Yotong La pass
Group Size Minimum: 2, Maximu : above 2
Season Schedule of Druk air


 


Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Paro. (2280 m) (By Druk Air flight)
Your Guide from Yak Adventure Travel will receive you at the airport and drive you the short distance to the hotel. After lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley 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 (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Dinner and over night in Hotel.

Day 02: Paro-Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m. 54 kms)
Excursion to Taktsang Monastery A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) monastery - After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, from there a 2 hour walk till the view point of the monastery. The trail climbs through 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 Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684by 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, 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 Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. In the evening, drive to Thimphu. Dinner and over night in Hotel.

Day 03: Thimphu Sightseeing: (Altitude 2320 m)
The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit 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). After lunch we 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). Finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Over night in Hotel.

Day 04: Thimphu-Punakha ((Altitude 1310 m) (76 Kms, 3 hours drive).
After breakfast, 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, visit Chime Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his Magical Thunder bolt. The Temple is also known as the Temple of Fertility's. Lunch at Punakha.

After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is 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. There 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 his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the 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.Overnight in Hotel.

Day 05: Punakha-Gangtey-Trongsa (Altitude 2800 m, 157 kms)
We start early today. After breakfast drive to Trongsa via. Gangtey. Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang, it includes: visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong (from outside) 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 Buddhist religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Drive further to Gangtey. While in Gangtey, visit Gangtey Gompa. 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. Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Packed lunch will be served at Gangtey. After Lunch, drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and 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 Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. Over night in Hotel.

Day 06: Trongsa-Bumthang. (Altitude 2800 m, 68 kms)
After breakfast, drive to Bumthang. Lunch at Bumthang. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was built in 1667 and then Visit Jambay Lhakhang said to have been built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. The 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 the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. Over night in Hotel.

Day 07: Bumthang Sightseeing: (Altitude 2800 m)
After breakfast, visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. After lunch, visit Membartsho (Literally means Burning Lake) a short distance up the road leading to Tang valley. The Terton Pema Lingpa discovered several of Guru Rimpoche's hidden Terma / relics here. In the evening, visit Mathra factory & Cheese Factory. Over night in Hotel.

Day 08: Bumthang-Wangdi Phodrang. (Altitude 1325 m. (197 kms)
Early breakfast, drive to Wangdiphodrang. Packed lunch will be served on the way. Over night in Hotel.

Day 09: Wangdiphodrang-Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m, 77 kms.)
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. After lunch, Excursion to Tango Monastery. Dinner and over night in Hotel.

Day 10: Thimphu-Paro Airport: (Altitude 2280 m)
Early Morning, drive to the airport and Farewell

Inclusions / Exclusions

Price: Please contact us.

PRICE INCLUSIONS:
Twin sharing room in the best available
Accommodation mode (hotel or tourist cottage)
All meals
Overland transportation with in Bhutan (Japanese vehicles)
Sightseeing as per itinerary with English speaking guide
Necessary airport/hotel/airport transfers Cultural shows

PRICE EXCLUSIONS:
Air fare
Airport taxes
Bhutanese visa fee (US $20.00 payable at airport upon arrival)
Nepal re-entry visa fee
Drinks at hotels/lodges
Expense of personal nature such as laundry, insurance, tips etc.

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To all Aaradhana Teams! Its been an absolute pleasure to meet you all and I am very greatful for your hospitality and all the help I have received during my stay in Nepal. I hope you will continue this …

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