On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan.
On arrival, you will be received with a warm welcome by your Bhutanese Guide with Tashi khadar then drive to Thimphu.
Check in Hotel in Thimphu. In the evening, visit the weaving centers and jewelry shops in the town. Also visit a local women weaver (house wife/working) in her home and interact with her in regards to her daily life. Overnight in hotel.
After breakfast, sightseeing in Thimphu includes;
Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha on the top of Kuenselphodrang. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu valley from the west.
National Memorial Chorten: This Chorten was built in the honor of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style. This Chorten is also a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu and contains many religious paintings and tantric statues.
The Royal textile Academy and the textile Museum:The Royal Textile academy is being managed by a Board of Trustees under the leadership of Her Majesty Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. The Royal Textile Academy is Bhutan’s first institution that educates the Bhutanese youth about the conservation, preservation, training, study and exhibition of the country’s textiles. The Academy also provides in bringing about a National Centre for weaving and educating young students in textiles, fabric designs and museum studies. It also serves as a center for tourists, introducing the nation’s masterpiece to its visitors, while expanding the nation’s resource for cultural tourism.
The Mission of the Royal Textile Academy is dedicated to educate, promote and preserve Bhutanese Textiles. It aims to create International Awareness and encourage international collaboration to promote mutually beneficial exhibits and educational programs.
The Textile Museum was established in the year 2001 and has a good collection of exclusive and antique Bhutanese textile artifacts. The museum was set up with an objective to promote encourage weavers to continue the weaving of traditional Bhutanese textile, Promote Bhutan in the field of textile art and to preserve and promote the history and tradition of Bhutan.After lunch, visit the following:
The Royal Botanical garden. The first Royal Botanic Garden at Serbithang, 15 km south of the capital city Thimphu, was established in April 1999 by the Royal Government of Bhutan to display Nation’s flora to the visitors and study it scientifically.
Placed under the National Biodiversity Centre along with a herbarium, a seed gene bank, an agro-biodiversity unit, and an animal diversity section, the Botanical Garden aims to be a conservation area for scientific studies, be an educational resource for schoolchildren and visitors, display the rich varieties of the flora of the country and provide a recreational site for the public. The plant life forms represented here belong to different climactic zones. The Buddhist philosophy has been represented here by including a prayer wheel and chorten in the design of the garden, which makes it an ideal place for spiritual reflection and appreciate Nature. Some of the most interesting sites in the Royal Botanic Garden are:Aquatic Garden, Arboretum displaying tree species from Bhutan's native broadleaf, deciduous and coniferous forests, Bamboo Garden, with species of bamboo used to build scaffolding and the bamboo species used to make traditional archery bows of Bhutan, Economic and Medicinal Plants Collection, Fruit and fodder Gardens, Japanese Garden developed with the help of Japanese technical experts, Orchid House displaying more than 800 species of orchids from different climatic regions in Bhutan, Rhododendron Collection, which is one of the largest in the world, Rose Garden In the evening, visit the Tashichhodzong.
Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion): A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanampa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Trashi Chhoe Dzong. The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present.
After breakfast, drive to Punakha. On the way stop at Dochula Pass to enjoy the scenery and the view the Higher Himalayas.
Dochula pass: the most known pass in Bhutan, about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang. It is at around 3150 mt height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.
Drive further towards Punakha and visit Chimmi Lhakhang
Chhimi Lhakhang: The Temple, also known as “The Temple of Fertility” was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, “The Devine Mad Man”.
After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong: built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck convened the first National Assembly here in 1952.
After breakfast, drive to Paro. On the way stop at lamperi to visit the Royal Botanical Park.
Royal Botanical Park - Situated at an altitude range of 2100 meters - 3800 meters, the park covers an area of 47 square kilometers and is located between Thimphu and Punakha. The park contains a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and features a huge species of plants and animals including endangered species such as Himalayan yew, native Rhododendron, Royal Bengal Tiger, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Blood pheasants and Himalayan Monal. You can also find Tetracentron (an ancient relict angiosperm with no vessel in its trunk) in the park. The park has 14.5 km of trails for eco trek for cycling and walking and one of the main attractions is the rhododendron garden including a picnic spot with children’s playground
Drive further to Paro. Lunch at Paro.
After lunch, visit;
Rinpung Dzong: Meaning "fortress of the heap of jewels". The dzong now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for around 200 monks of Paro and was built at the same time of Drukgyel Dzong.The famous Paro tshechhu (festival) is held here in spring.
Ta Dzong: It overlooks the Rimpung Dzong and was built in 1951 as a watch tower. This dzong is Round, more like parts of a European castle. The Dzong was established as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967 and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha, etc.
In the evening visit local weavers. Overnight in hotel.
After breakfast, Excursion to Taktshang Monastery.
Start your day with a hike to the abode of gods and monks would be a pretty good start. It shall be taken care of that the time shall be yours for the hike, no hurries and no worries.
Reaching the top shall be worth the climb; the touch of the Himalayan breeze and views of the valley below and temple on the rocky cliff shall be fascinating and shall let you feel the real freedom of mind and happiness.
Taktshang Monastery; the primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rimpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by 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 flew here on the back of a tigress. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.
Please ensure yourself that you are fit to do the above mentioned hike. Otherwise please discuss with your guide and do other sightseeings.
Drukgyel Dzong: This dzong is in ruins now. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 and is now preserved as heritage site. The Dzong is situated in Drukgyal, overlooking the beautiful village with Mount Chomolhari in the background. The dzong was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal to commemorate victory over the Tibetan invaders led by Mongolion warlord, Gushri Khan.
Kyichu Lhakhang: This temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temple in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo, to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya, in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.
Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Airport and farewell