Bhutan Cultural Tour
Bhutan is a remote & independent kingdom in the eastern Himalayas and the last bastion of Tibetan Buddhist culture and religion in its purest form. Bhutan is the only country in the world that has retained the Vajrayana form of Mahayana Buddhism as its national religion. Throughout all of Bhutan there are Buddhist stupas , believed to be a form of protection for tourists and residents. Hinduism is practiced by the southern Bhutanese.
While Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world, its cultural diversity and richness are profound. As such, strong emphasis is laid on the promotion and preservation of its unique culture. By protecting and nurturing Bhutan’s living culture it is believed that it will help guard the sovereignty of the nation.
Day 01: Arrive Paro
Druk Airways flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, each flight is a mesmerizing aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom. On arrival at Paro airport, immigration and custom formalities and then received by our representative and transfer to the hotel. Evening take a stroll around town’s main street. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 02: Paro
After breakfast, visit to Ta Dzong (National Museum) and then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong which has a long and fascinating history. Afternoon visit to Drukgyel Dzong, the ruined fortress from where Bhutanese repelled several invasion by Tibetan armies. Then visit a traditional farm house which offers good insight into lifestyle of local people. In the evening, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 03: Paro / Thimphu (55kms 1hrs)
After breakfast proceed to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan. Enroute stop at Chuzum (confluence) where Paro river joins Thimphu river. Nearby Thimphu, visit to Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627. It now houses the School for Buddhist studies. Afternoon, in Thimphu, visit to King’s Memorial Chhorten and Trashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery. Then, visit Handicrafts Emporium & Textile and Folk Heritage Museum. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 04: Thimphu- Punakha (70kms 3hrs)
Morning, Thimphu sightseeing, visiting National Library, Painting School and Traditional Medicine Institute. After lunch, drive to Punakha, the old capital town of Bhutan. Stop enroute at Dochula pass (3,050m) that heralds the most enchanting views of Bhutan. On arrival, check into the hotel. Evening visit Punakha Dzong, the fortress of 17th century and followed by visit to Khamsm Yulley Namgyal Chhorten. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 05: Punakha / Wangduephodrang / Gangtey (70kms 3hrs)
After breakfast drive to Gangtey via Wangduephodrang. Visit magnificent Wangdue Dzong and town’s local market. Further ahead pass through dense forests and oak, rhododendron tress, reaching at Gangtey (Phobjikha). Evening take a walk around Gangtey village and visit Gangtey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in this region. Overnight at hotel.
Day 06: Gangtey / Trongsa (120kms 5hrs)
Morning explore Phobjikha valley which is famous for Black Necked Cranes. These cranes migrate here from Central Asiatic plateau to escape the harsh winters.
After lunch drive to Trongsa crossing 3,300m high Pele la pass. Evening visit to Trongsa market. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 07: Trongsa / Bumthang (68kms 3hrs)
Morning visit to Trongsa Dzong, the master piece of Bhutanese architecture and see Ta Dzong, the watch tower, built to defend this Dzong and surrounding region.
After lunch, proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 08: Bumthang
Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries. Visit to Tamshing Lhakhang, the treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings. Then visit, Jakar Dzong, the administrative centre of the valley. Afternoon visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places. Later visit Jambay Lhakhang, the ancient monastery dating from the introduction of Buddhism in the country. Evening visit to local market. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 09: Bumthang/ Ura Valley Excursion (50kms 2hrs)
The journey continues eastwards winding through more rugged terrain. The drive with spectacular views will take about 7 hours. Pass through Ura village in Bumthang before climbing sharply to the highest motorable pass in the Kingdom, the Thrumshingla pass (4,000 m). Gradually drop down to Sengor, watching cascading waterfalls on the way. The descent stops at 700m, on a bridge over the Kurichu. Ascent again through pine forest, maize fields and eastern hamlets to Mongar town. Visit Mongar Dzong, built albeit quite recently, the dzong still maintains the architectural traditions of old dzongs. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Bumthang/Wangduephodrang (20kms 7hrs)
This trip of about 96 km takes 3 hours passing through Kori la pass (2,450m), the place marked by a pretty chhorten and a stone wall. The first part of the journey is through leafy forest filled with ferns. Later road descends rapidly through corn fields and banana groves arriving the famous ziazags of Yadi, which is a recent settlement. After that follows the Gamri river until the bifurcation to Dametsi, this temple perched on top of steep hill was founded by Choeden Zangmp and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. This is the place from where famous Naga Chham, mask dance with drums originated. About 30 km onwards lies Trashigang at 1000m. Trashigang is the centre of the biggest and most populated district in the country. Visit Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of the spur, overhanging the Gamri river. It serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the Dzong is occupied by the Drukpa monastic community. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11: Wangduephodrang/Paro (77kms 3hrs)
24 km from Trashigang, visit the temple of Gom Kora, set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river. Gom Kora is a famous place where Guru Rinpoche subdued a demon. Further ahead reach to Doksum village where you can see women busy in weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric and a chain bridge dating of the 15th century.
Visit to Trashiyangtse Dzong, situated at the altitude of 1,850m. In former times Trashiyangtse was important centre because it lies on one of the carven routes leading from western and centre Bhutan. The Dzong is new and nearby are the Art School and the famous Chhorten Kora.Evening return to Trashigang. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 12: Depart Paro
After breakfast drive to Radi valley excursion. Radhi Village: It is large village in Eastern Bhutan which produces excellent rice, an uncommon crop in these parts where maize is ubiquitous. The farm houses scattered among the paddy fields and surrounded with banana and oranges trees. It is famous for textile especially the raw silk. In winter we can see young and old women weaving the textiles. At Radhi we will visit the Radhi Lhakhang and we can the villages in harmony with the nature. Lunch we will have picnic pack lunch. After lunch we will drive back to Tashigang. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 13: Depart Paro
After early breakfast, we will drive to Samdrup Jongkhar. The drive will take about 6 hours and 30minutes this is the second longest journey of the tour. Before reaching Samdrup Jonkhar, We will go through thick forest and scattered villages of the east. Upon arrival in Samdrupjonkhar, check in the hotel. In the evening at leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 14: Depart Paro
After lunch drive to Guwahati.Check in the hotel. In the evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 15: Depart Paro
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your onwards destination.