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Day 01 – Arrive Paro
Arrive at Paro airport, the flight into Paro takes you over the great Himalayas, offering the scintillating scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the silvery Pa Chu (Paro River) meandering down the valley, the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower).
On arrival in Paro you will be received by our representative and transfer to the hotel.
Rest of the day is at your leisure. Walking along the street you will see many interesting places. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 02 – Paro – Haa Valley & Trek to Yatong
Today morning we will drive to Haa valley (approx. 65Kms/ 02 hour) and commence trek to Khadey Gom (3235m) crossing Yatong Gompa, Talung village. Commencing our trek the trail winds around picturesque farmlands fenced with piles of stones to protect the fields from deer & wild boars. Overnight at the camp.
Day 03 – Trek to Saga la & Dongney Tsho
Today we will trek to Dongney Tsho (3200m) via Saga La. A gradual hike for approximately one hour through meadows and coniferous forest is followed by a 1.5 hours climb to the Saga pass. On a clear day there is a fantastic view on both sides of the pass. The view towards Paro includes sacred Mount Chomolhari & below in the valley the Drukgyel Dzong and the sacred Taktsang Monastery. Looking to the west the peaks of Haa and the border with Tibet can be seen. From the pass it is all downhill for two hours through mixed conifer forests and rhododendrons. We camp in an open meadow at Dongney Tsho. To the left is the black Choshola Mountain, a holy place from which a lake escaped. Overnight at the camp.
Day 04 – Trek to Drukgyel Dzong & drive to Thimphu
The first part of today’s hike is steeply downhill until we reach the Genchu Zam. The hike is through thick vegetation, laughing thrushes, magpies, nutcrackers and pheasants are often seen. There is a beautiful small village comprised of few households and a temple on the left side of the trail. Chodeypu, is set at the base of the mountain Laump Bjara (Foggy Mountain, inhabitated by mountain goats). From this village we will walk to Balakha Chhu where the ancient Haa Planters’ Trail ends. From here we will drive to Thimphu.
There are a good many things to see in the capital which has a very relaxed, laid-back feel about it. Thimphu is relatively small having a population of approximately 90,000 people and the streets are wide and tree lined.
Evening is at your leisure. Walking along the street you will see many interesting places. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 05 – Thimphu
In the morning you will visit the Late King’s Memorial Chorten, The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the Father of modern Bhutan”) and a monument to world peace. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy. Later visit the National Library, the indigenous hospital specializing in herbal medicine, handmade paper factory, and the nunnery at Zilukha.
In the afternoon, tour of the school of fine arts where young students learn the traditional arts and crafts (Zo Rig Chusum – the thirteen crafts); Zangtopelri Lhakhang, the Handicraft Emporium and the local handicraft centers to see the varieties of textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, jewellery etc. on display. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 06 – Thimphu – Punakha
After an early breakfast drive to Punakha (approx. 70Kms/ 03 hours). On the way, halt at the Dochula pass– 26kms away from Thimphu (3120m) for tea and snacks. From this pass, if the weather is clear, you will get the most spectacular view of the Entire Eastern Himalayan Mountain ranges. You will also find 108 beautiful Stupas known as the “Druk Wangyel Chortens’ in the middle of the pass which reflects Bhutan’s spiritual as well as artistic traditions.
Upon arrival at Punakha, check into the hotel followed by lunch at the hotel.
Later visit the Punakha Dzong which is strategically built between two rivers known as Phochu and Mochu which means “Male River and Female River”, then visit the beautiful Khamsum Yule Namgyel temple (30 minutes round trip from the road).
Afternoon visit Lhawang Tshering’s small incense making factory, the most successful and leading incense exporter in Bhutan. Incense, (poi) is one of the most essential elements in religious offerings. Its aroma, it is said, can help to soothe and calm a restless mind. After visiting the incense factory we will visit the small town of Wangduephodrang. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 07 – Punakha – Paro
After early breakfast, drive back to Paro (approx. 140Kms/ 04-05 hours). Upon arrival check-in at the hotel.
Later visit Ta Dzong (Sunday, Monday and Government holiday closed): once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.
Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
Return back to the hotel for overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 08 – Paro
Morning after breakfast, a day excursion to Tiger’s Nest
Taktshang or ‘Tiger’s Nest’ as it is often referred to for Taktshang Pelphung monastery, is one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan’s monasteries. It is located on the face of a 900m sheer cliff. It is an impressive and unmissable site, but accessible only by walk or to ride mules/pony.
According to the legend, Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche, who spread the Buddhism across the entire Himalayas is said to have flown here in the 8th century on the back of a Tigress, in order to subdue negative spiritual forces that were hostile to spread of Buddhism. In 853, one of his students, Pelgyi Senge mediated here in the main cave. The stupa inside one of the temples contains his mortal remains and therefore the cave is known as ‘Pelphung or Pelgi’s cave’. Subsequently many great spiritual masters such as Milarepa, Thangthong Gyalpo, Phajo Dugom Zhigpo, Shadrung and many others, passed periods here in profound meditation. In 1692, Tenzin Rabgye built a two storey temple around what little may have existed previously. This was expanded and refurbished many times over the period of time. Taktshang and several temples in the area were burnt down in 1951 by fire accident but much of them remained intact and most of the relics were saved. Soon after, the, Taktshang was rebuilt by population of Tsento village. Again in April of 1998, a major fire destroyed the main structure of the building and its contents (some believe it to be arson). Reconstruction began in 2000 and was completed and consecrated after extensive efforts and financial support of Governments as well as donors.
Return back to the hotel for relaxation & overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 09 – Depart Paro
Today after breakfast you will be transfer to Paro airport to connect your flight for onward destination.