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 1hr)
After breakfast proceed to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan. Enroute stop at Chuzom (confluence) where Paro river joins Thimphu river. Nearby Thimphu, visit to Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom which now houses the School for Buddhist studies. Afternoon, in Thimphu, visit to King’s Memorial Chhorten and in evening Trashichhodzong, beautiful medieval fortress/monastery. Then, visit Handicrafts Emporium, Textile and Folk Heritage Museum followed by visit to local market. 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 later 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 majestic Wangdue Dzong and interesting 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 the hotel.
Day 06: Gangtey / Trongsa (120kms 5hrs)
Morning explore Phobjikha valley which is famous for Black Necked Cranes. The cranes migrate here from Central Asiatic plateau to escape its 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 shops. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 09: Bumthang/ Ura Valley Excursion (50kms 2hrs)
After breakfast, we will take an excursion to the Ura Valley. About 50 km from Bumthang the road reaches the Ura Shelthangla, where, in clear whether, there is a magnificent view of Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkar Puensum (3500m). The road then descends into the Ura Valley by long loops across fields and pastures. Here we will have an opportunity to hike down through a lush forest and through the village of traditional homes. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Bumthang/Wangduephodrang (205km 7hrs)*_
Morning after visiting Bumthang market, drive to Wangdue . Lunch would be served enroute at one of the famous restaurant in Trongsa town. Evening take a stroll around Wangdue town, visiting shops, local market and mingling with people. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11: Wangduephodrang/Paro (77kms 3hrs)
Morning excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as ‘Divine Madman’. This temple is 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. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang. Afternoon drive to Paro. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 12: Depart Paro
After breakfast transfer to the airport for flight to onward destination.