Duration: 14 Days
Highest access: 3400m
Group Size: Min 2 to Max 14
Best season: Spring, Autumn
Culture: Cultural Spiritual Experience
Transportation: private vehicle
Accommodation: Hotel/Tea House
This tour will take you to the extreme east of the country driving through six districts and six passes. Some of the attractions of this cultural trip are the drive through winding roads and high passes taking you through different vegetative zones. When you reach further eastern part of Bhutan, you will see the road fall in a long series of bends, through dark pine forests, wild green pastures, and a variety of fruit orchards, some gushing waterfalls all surrounded by the stunning blend of wild flowers and constantly changing vegetation. The journey brings you to the warmer, subtropical climate of the lower elevations of eastern Bhutan. Travelers infrequently visit this area and yet it is rich in cultural and architectural treasures, and full of pleasant surprise. While in traveling through the six districts you can see the changes in the socio-cultural life of the Bhutanese people. You will also visit important historical and cultural places of interest.
|Day 01||Arrival at -Paro (2,280m).|
On arrival at Paro International Airport, after completing immigration and custom formalities, the representative from Bhutan Tours & Treks will receive you and transfer to hotel. After lunch/Brief Refreshment, visit Ta Dzong (National Museum) located on a promontory overlooking the valley. The building was originally built as a watchtower for the Dzong. It now houses a fine collection of national costumes and fabrics, an extensive gallery of thangkas, impressive stamp gallery, showcasing armor and silverware. Visit Ringpung Dzong, (the fortress of the heap of Jewels built in the 17th century) which houses the office of the district governor and district monastic body. Walk down the stone path and through the traditional wooden bridge, which is one of the fine specimens of Bhutanese architecture and explore Paro village town. Overnight at Hotel.
|Day 02||Paro – Thimphu (2,350m) 55 km & 1hour 15 min drive.|
After breakfast, drive to Ramthangka to hike up to the view point of Taktsang (Tiger’s nest) (2950m). The round trip will take about three hours. After a brief refreshment at Taktsang cafeteria, you can take a walk little higher to have a closer view point of Taktsang monastery, legend says that in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche visited and meditated here for sometime. The place now is one of the holiest pilgrim sites for the Mahayana Buddhist. After lunch walk back to Ramthangka and drive to visit Drugyal Dzong. The Dzong though in ruins played a very important role in defending the valley from Tibetan Invasion and it was built to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan forces. Next, visit the 7th century Kyichu temple (near Paro town), built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo. Continue your journey to Thimphu.
Thimphu – Sightseeing (2,350m).
In the morning, visit Memorial Chhorten, built in memory of the 3rd late King. Mothithang minizoo, to see the National Animal of Bhutan (Takin), Zulikha Nunnery, National Painting School, where students are taught painting, calligraphy, embroidery, wood carving, sculpture. Folk Heritage Museum is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past life. National Library, it has a vast collection of ancient manuscripts and religion art facts. After lunch, visit Bhutan Postal Office, to see the famous stamps of Bhutan. Traditional Paper Factory, to see paper process in which the bark of two Himalayan shrubs; Daphne and edgeworthia undergoes a multi-stepped process to produce paper of excellent quality. Visit also Textile Center at Changzamgthok Industrial State, where you will see women weaving different Bhutanese textiles and Handicrafts emporium to see the Bhutanese hand-woven textiles and other crafts. Overnight at hotel.
|Day 4||Thimphu – Punakha (1,350M) 77km & 2 hrs 15 min drive.|
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula Pass (3,150 m). The pass is marked by hundreds of fluttering prayer flags surrounding 108 small Chortens (stupas) and breath taking view of the eastern Himalayan Mountain ranges on the clear days. Then continue your journey, descending through magnolia and rhododendron forests on to tropical valley of Punakha. On the way, visit Chhimi Lhakhang ‘temple of fertility’, which is located on the hilltop. The hike will take you through village and the rice field about 30minutes from the main road. After the visit, continue your journey to Punakha town for lunch. And then visit Punakha Dzong, the former capital of Bhutan, now serving as the district administrative center and also the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). Punakha Dzong was built in 1637. After the visit we will drive till Kabesa village to view the Khamsumyule Namgyel Chhorten and drive back to hotel. Overnight at hotel.
|Day 05||Punakha – Gantey (2,860m) 83 km & 3 hrs drive.|
After breakfast, drive to Gantey. En-route visit Wangdue Phodrang (1350m) and continue your drive through the region of Oak and Rhododendron forests before finally reaching the valley of Phobjikha. Phobjikha is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and also the winter homes of rare and endangered black necked cranes that migrate from Tibet to Bhutan in late autumn to escape its harsh winters. By mid- February, the cranes fly back to their summer homes in Tibet. After lunch, visit Gantey Goemba and later if time permits you may take a short walk in and around the Phobjikha valley. O/n farm house/hotel.
|Day 06||Gantey – Bumthang (2,600m) 137 km & 5 hrs 15 mins drive.|
After breakfast, drive to Bumthang via Pele – La Pass (3300m). This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and eastern Bhutan. Further down the road, you will see Chendebji Choten (Nepalese styled Stupa). On arrival at Trongsa, visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive Dzong in the kingdom. It was built in 1644 by Chhogyel Minjur Tenpa, the official who was sent by the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to unify eastern Bhutan. After lunch, visit Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hillside above the town, dedicated to the epic hero, King Gesar of Ling and continue your journey to Bumthang en-route cross Yutong-la pass (3,400m). The road winds steeply up to the pass and then runs down through coniferous forest into a wide, open, cultivated valley known as the Chumey valley and then finally to Bumthang. O/n hotel/lodge.
|Day 07||Bumthang – Sight seeing.|
In the morning, visit Kurje Lhakhang. It is named after the body print of Guru Rimpoche, which is preserved in a cave inside the oldest of the three building. From the Kurje Lhakhang, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple was built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kychu Lhakhang in Paro). After lunch, visit Tamshing Monastery, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Budddhist wall paintings. Later visit Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region) then take a stroll through local market area before returning to hotel/lodge. Overnight at hotel/lodge.
|Day 08||Bumthang – Mongar (1,550m) 193 Km & 8 hrs drive.|
After early breakfast, drive eastward passing through Ura village before climbing sharply to the highest motorable pass in the Kingdom, the Thrumshingla pass (3750m). From the pass, the road gradually descends to the alpine valley of Sengor, with wonderful views of waterfalls and the hills of eastern Bhutan along the way. Vegetation changes from alpine to subtropical with loss of height, bamboos and ferns overhang the road as we drop down to the valley floor. The descend stops at 700m at Kuri Chu (river). We ascend again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets to reach Mongar town. Visit Mongar Dzong, which was rebuilt in 1953, still, maintaining its architectural traditions of old Dzongs. Lunch – hot pack lunch. Overnight at hotel.
|Day 09||Mongar – Lhuntshi (1,700m) (Day Excursion) 77 km & 3 hrs 30 min drive.|
Today, we will do a day excursion to Lhuntshi, which is one of the most rural and isolated districts in Bhutan. The landscape is spectacular with stark cliffs and gorges, beautiful conifer and pine forests and remote villages. The Kurtoe region of Lhuntse is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s Royal family and this region is famous for it’s weavers, in dim light of their homes,make superb dresses called KISHU THARA. On arrival at Lhuntse, visit Lhuntse Dzong built in the 17th century. After lunch drive back to Mongar. O/n hotel.
|Day 10||Mongar – Trashigang (1,150m) 90 km & 3 hrs drive.|
After breakfast, drive to Trashigang through the Kori la pass (2,450m), marked by a pretty chorten and a mani wall. We decend rapidly down through Yadi village and further descending down towards the road finally crosses a bridge of Sherichhu(600m). A turnoff on the left leads up to Drametse Monastery (2400m), which is 12 km from Sherichhu. This temple is situated on the flat top of a hill, founded by Choeten Zangmo towards the end of 16th century and is the one of the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. The famous masks dance with drums originated from here. After pack lunch, we will drive back to the main road to continue our journey to Trashigang (1,150). Trashigang is the principal township of the biggest and most populated district in the country. Overnight at hotel (very basic).
|Day 11||Trashigang – Radhi (1,630m) / Phongmey (1,800m) (Day excursion).|
Morning drive to Rangjung (1200m) and explore Radhi village, yet another place very famous for traditional hand weavings. You will be doing 3-4 hours of hike in and around the valley and back to Rangjung to visit Rangjung Monastery, one of the Nyingma Institute owned by Garab Rinpoche. Although, it is relatively new and has a unique Tibetan style architecture, paintings and are completely different from other places. After lunch, head back to visit Trashigang dzong, the ‘fortress of the auspicious mountain’. It was built in 1659 by the third Druk Desi Chögyal Mingyur Tenpa to defend against Tibetan invaders and also it was once the centre of important trade with Tibet. Later stroll around the Trashigang small town. Overnight at hotel (very basic).
|Day 12||Trashigang – Trashi Yangtshe (1,850m) (day excursion) 53 km & 2 hrs drive.|
Today we will do a day excursion to Tashi Yangtse Dzong. On the way, visit the temple of Gom Kora, set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river (24km) from Trashigang. Gom Kora is a famous place, as Guru Rinpoche is said to have subdued a demon, trapping it in a rock. We continue our journey to Doksum village, where you can see women busily weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric and chain-link swing bridge dating back to the 15th century. The road turns into the hills here, running up the side of a winding river valley to Tashi Yangtse. In former times, Tashi Yangtse was an important centre because it lies on one of the caravan routes leading from western and central Bhutan. The area is famous for its wooden containers and bowls, which make inexpensive, attractive and useful souvenirs of a visit to this remote region. Visit Tashi Yangtse Dzong, Which overlooks the town and was built in the late 1990s when the new district was created. If time permits, we will also visit the dazzling white stupa of Chorten Kora on the riverbank below the town and the nearby School of Traditional art. Pack lunch will be served. In the evening return back to Trashigang. Overnight at hotel (very basic).
|Day 13||Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar (2,33m) 180 km & 7 hrs drive. |
After breakfast, drive to S/Jongkhar. The journey passes through Sherubtse College in Kanglung. We will also visit the nearby Zangtho Pelri temple representing Guru Rinpoche’s paradise, built in 1,978. We then drive on to Khaling via Yonphula pass (2,300m). On arrival at Khaling (2100m), visit the National Institute for the Disabled and Khaling Weaving Center. The young girls are taught to keep our Textile Arts of Bhutan alive. They use the natural dyes in their textiles. After lunch (pack lunch will be served) continue drive to S/Jongkhar passing through Deothang (870m), which is remembered in history as the site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the dour wars in which the forces of Jigme Namgyel defeated the British. Evening explore the small town of S/Jongkhar. Overnight at hotel.
|Day 14||Samdrup Jongkhar – Guwahati Airport (India). 3hrs drive.|
All the clients have to have their Indian visa. They have to get the Indian visa prior to their visit to Bhutan from the Indian embassies abroad. After the completion of the immigration formalities you will head to Guwahati (India) by the Indian car. Our guide and driver will bid you fare well and we hope to see you again in Bhutan.
The Trip cost will vary depending on the Group Size duration of days and Services required please contact us via our email firstname.lastname@example.org with your Details to obtain a Quote.