- Explore art & craft at local market. (Unlike other typical Asian tourist marketplace, this is a unique place where you will not find pesky shopkeeper or hawker coxing you to buy their artefacts, you can wander around in peace admiring the craftsmanship and uniqueness of the Bhutanese local market)
- Textile Museum is worth a visit to get to know the living national art of weaving. Exhibitions introduce the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by women and men.
- National library The history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts, which are preserved at the National Library.
- Simply Bhutan Museum: The newly commissioned museum depicts the ancient Bhutanese architecture which is being lost to modernization.
- Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest): It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor.
Day 01- Arrive Paro by flight & transfer to Thimphu (approx./ 55 kms 1:30 hrs)
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative, and afterwards drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan.
On arrival, in Thimphu check-into the hotel. The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. With the population of about 90,000 it is perhaps still the world’s only capital city without a traffic light.
Later in the day take an exploratory walk around local market place located a few minutes’ walk from hotels. Or take a walk to local craft Bazar recently established under patronage of Department of cottage & small industry and in collaboration with the department of culture, tourism council and the department of agriculture marketing and cooperatives, this market offers genuine Bhutanese arts & crafts thus contributing in promotion, protection and preservation of traditional arts.
(Unlike other typical Asian tourist marketplace, this is a unique place where you will not find pesky shopkeeper or hawker coxing you to buy their artefacts, you can wander around in peace admiring the craftsmanship and uniqueness of the Bhutanese local market)
Evening an exploratory walk around Thimphu main street and market area..
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02- Thimphu
After breakfast, proceed for the guided tour of city’s main attractions that includes:
Textile Museum: is worth a visit to get to know the living national art of weaving. Exhibitions introduce the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by women and men.
National Library: The history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts, which are preserved at the National Library. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts, the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags.
Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school. (Zorig Chusum is an art school and are periodically closed for exams, summer and winter holidays, if closed replace visit with Zangthopelri Lhakhang)
Zangthopelri Lhakhang: The present structure was built in 1960s and although lacking the charm of many of the older temples, Zangthoo pelri still possesses some impressive murals and art treasures and is worthy of a visit. The site of the temple was a former battle ground, and the temple was constructed there in order to pacify energies.
Simply Bhutan Museum: The newly commissioned museum depicts the ancient Bhutanese architecture which is being lost to modernization. The uniqueness of the structure is in its composition of the materials used. The structure is built reusing old timber, window and door frames and other items from traditional and old demolished houses. The best part is the portrayal of the age-old life styles of the Bhutanese people.
Lunch followed by city tour that includes:
Memorial Chorten: The stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). Located at a short drive from Thimphu city centre, visitors can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
Conclude the tour of the day with a visit of Trashichhoedzong, “fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03- Thimphu – Punakha (75 km, 3 hrs approx)
After breakfast at hotel, drive to Punakha across Dochula pass (3,O8Om). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flag. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.
Afternoon visit Punakha Dzong or (Palace of Great Happiness), built at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This majestic dzong served as both the religious and the administrative center of Bhutan in the past. It measures some 600 by 240 feet and has a six-story, gold-domed tower. Inside are courtyards and religious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here. Your guide will illuminate your understanding of this intricate culture that is exotic to us, though long established here.
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 04- Punakha – Paro (125 kms, 4hr drive)
After breakfast proceed for walking excursion to Chimi Lakhang (from hotel it is about 15 minutes drive till motorable road and then walk starts through paddy fields and villages. This is total about 1.1/2 hour walk, including both way)
The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.
Hike is followed by drive back to Paro descending back down from Dochu La, follow the way back up the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys, before crossing through Paro Town towards the north end of the valley.
En route visit Simtokha Dzong, the place of profound tantric teaching, this dzong now houses a school for the study of the Dzongkha language.
Later in the day after checking into hotel, proceed to visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 05- Paro – Tiger’s Nest hike (approx 5 hrs round trip walk)
After breakfast excursion to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest): It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.
On the way back to Paro town, stop at Drukgyel Dzong (visit from outside), a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, “mountain of goddess” can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.
Along the way, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Evening an exploratory walk around main street and market area.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 06- Depart Paro
After early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.
CLOSING DAYS OF SOME OF MONUMENTS MENTIONED IN ITINERARY:
- Ta Dzong – Paro (national museum) : closed on Government Holidays
- National Library – Thimphu : closed on Sat, Sun & on Government Holidays
- Textile Musuem – Thimphu : Closed on Government Holidays & on Sun. On Sat open from 9.00 a.m to 4 p.m
- Institute of Zorig Chusum (Arts & Crafts School) – Thimphu : Closed on Sun & Government Holidays. On Sat open from 10 a.m to 12 o’clock. Also closed in winter/summer (mid Nov-early March, June-Aug – closing date available only a few weeks before).
- Simply Bhutan – Thimphu : Closed Government Holidays
(This is currently available closing/opening information and is subject to change as per the Govt policy)