9 Night's 10 Days Bhutan Cultural Tour taking you through five districts of Paro, Thimphu, Wangdi, Trongsa and Bumthang. Some of the attractions of this cultural trip are the drive through winding roads and high passes taking you through different vegetation. While in the five districts you can also visit important historical and cultural places of interest. A trip to the local textile industry at Chumey valley in Bumthang is a rare treat. If you are lucky, you can also sight the rare golden langur on the way to Bumthang including large varieties of flora and fauna.
On arrival at Paro International Airport, after completing immigration and custom formalities, you will be received by your tour guide from Tour Bhutan and transfer to Thimphu (the capital of Bhutan), through the winding road all the way down following the Paro river and reaches to the confluence (Chu- Zom). At the confluence you will witness the three different kinds of Chortens; Tibetan, Bhutanese and Nepalese style.
You will then drive across the bridge and turn towards left to Thimphu. Later on the day visit National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the 3rd late King. Also visit Tashichho Dzong. The Dzong houses both the office of His Majesty, the King and the summer residence of His Holiness the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). Overnight at Hotel.
In the morning, visit National Library (it has a vast collection of ancient manuscripts and religion art facts), 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 through exhibits demonstration, educational programmes and documentation of rural life), 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). And drive back to hotel for lunch.
After lunch, drive up to Bhutan Telecom tower at Sangaygang to do a short hike to Wangditse Goemba, which was founded in the 18th century by the eight desi. The hike will start from the BBS tower till Dechenphodrang, through the pine forest. On this trail, you can also see and enjoy the view of Thimphu city. The hike will take about 1hour 30 minutes. After the hike, visit Bhutan Postal Office, to see the famous stamps of Bhutan and then to Handicrafts emporium, to see the Bhutanese hand-woven textiles and other crafts. Evening explore Thimphu city before dinner. Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Gantey via Dochula Pass (3,150 m). The pass is marked by hundreds of rippling prayer flags, and 108 Namgyel Khangzang Chortens. The pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas (if weather permits). From here, the drive is all the way down through magnolia and rhododendron forests on to the tropical valley of Wangdue Phodrang (1350m) en-route visit Chhimi Lhakhang, which is located on the hilltop. The temple is known as ‘temple of fertility’.
The hike will take you through village and the rice field about 30minutes from the main road. After lunch, continue your journey to Gantey 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 winter home of the 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 . On arrival at Gantey, visit Gantey Goemba. Overngiht at Farm House.
Early in the morning, if you are interested you can do short walk which would be very refreshing. 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 the coniferous forest into a wide, open, cultivated valley known as the Chumey valley and then finally to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel / Lodge.
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 buildings. 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 Bumthang’s market area before returning to hotel/lodge. Overnight at Hotel / Lodge
Today, we will do a day excursion to Tang valley. It is exceptionally beautiful and contains several important religious sites. The road to Tang valley leaves the National Highway between Jakar and Ura, the dirt road passes the holy lake Membartsho (burning Lake), where Terton Pema Lingpa is said to have discovered several of Guru Rimpoche’s hidden religious treasures in 15th century and then the trail climbs steeply for almost 1 hour till you reach the Tang valley.
The palace is just a bit further on top of the hill. Ugyen Choeling Palace, the Legacy of a Lama Choeji Household, provide a brief history, dating back from the 14th century, when the Great Tibeten master of Buddhism, Longchen Ramjam, visited the area. Later drive back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel / Lodge
After breakfast, drive back to Punakha, the old Capital town of Bhutan. En-route visit woolen textile shops in Chumey valley and stop at Chendebji Choten for lunch. After lunch, continue your journey to Punakha en-route also visit Wangdi Phodrang Dzong.
This Dzong was founded by the Zhabdrung in 1639. It is believed that the protective deity, Yeshi Gonpo told Zhabdrung that if he built a dzong on the ridge he would be able to bring the whole country under his power. Wangdue district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and the slate which is mined up the valley a few kilometers from the town. Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast visit Punakha Dzong. The former capital of Bhutan which was built in 1637 and is beautifully located in between the two rivers called Pho (male) and Mo (female) chhu (river). The first historical National Assembly was also held in the Dzong in 1953. After the visits drive to Paro and stop at Thimphu for lunch. After lunch continue your drive to Paro. On arrival at Paro, 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. Visit Ringpung Dzong 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. Overnight at Hotel
Hike to Taktsang Monastery ,2950 m) After breakfast, drive to Ramthangka and begin the famous Taktsang Temple excursion, the round trip hike takes about 3-4 hours. Legend says that in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche who is regarded as the second Buddha meditated here for sometime. The place now is one of the holiest pilgrim sites for the Mahayana Buddhist. After lunch at cafeteria, walk back to the car and drive to Drugyal Dzong.
The Dzong though in ruins played a very important role in defending the valley from Tibetan Invasion. The word Drugyal means “Victories Bhutanese” and it was built to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan forces. On the way back, visit the 7th century Kyichu temple built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo. IN the evening explore the Paro village town. Overnight at Hotel.
Paro – Departure by Druk-air. Early breakfast and drive to the airport for your onward destination.
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