The Himalayan Jewel – 5 days

Day 01  : Arrive Paro by Flight & transfer to Thimphu (55km, approx. 1.1/2 hour drive)

Bhutan The flight to Paro is one of the most exciting in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift 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 with en-route stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Three different style of stupas ; Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese adorn this confluence.

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.

Evening an exploratory walk around Thimphu main street and market area.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320 m)

Day 02 : Thimphu

After breakfast, drive to 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, enjoying the view of the valley.

Then, visit King's Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.

Afterwards visit  to Textile Museum which has given a new platform to the nation’s textiles and boasts of an invaluable collection of antique textile artifacts of Bhutan. Then drive to visit Folk Heritage Museum, dedicated to connect people with the rich Bhutanese Folk heritage and rural history through exhibits, demonstrations, educational programs and documentation of Bhutanese rural life.

Post lunch, visit the National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts and the Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.

Then, drive to Takin Preserve. The Takin is national animal of Bhutan, and looks like a cross between a cow and goat.

Later in the afternoon visit 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.

Evening time can be spent strolling through the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts bazaar, to browse through example of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, interesting items made from local materials.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320 m)

Day 03 : Thimphu – Paro (55 km, approx. 1.1/2 hour drive)

After breakfast drive to Paro. En route visit Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortress of the country and known as 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.

Evening explore Paro local market.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 04 : ParoBhutan

After breakfast embark on an interesting excursion to Taktshang Monastery (approx 5 hours round trip walk).  It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. Legends say 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 recognized 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.

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After breakfast, driving excursion to Chelela pass.

Chele la (pass), at an elevation 3,988 meters is considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. About an hour's drive along a thickly-forested road, is this Pass-a botanical paradise. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. It is also marked by hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Here, visitors can see cascades of wild roses, purple and yellow primulas, and swathes of deep blue iris covering the forest floor. In season,  the top of the pass bloom with rhododendrons in a variety of colours-pale pink, deep pink, burnt orange, mauve, white and scarlet.

Later en route, walking excursion to Dzongdrakha Goempa. Often called as mini Takshang, Dzongdrakha is a cliff-side temple complex on the western side of the Paro Valley.  Four shrines make up the complex, dedicated to Drolma (Tara), Tsheringma (Goddess of Longevity), Guru Rinpoche and the Buddha of the Future, Maitreya. Local oral tradition states that when Guru Rinpoche first visited Bhutan, he came from Nepal, first landing at Drakarpo, and then Dzongdrakha before arriving at Taktshang (Tiger's Nest) farther north up the valley. Located approx 20 minute drive from Paro, these temples are built on a cliff above Bondey village but the walk is not as strenuous as Taktshang.

Afternoon drive to the base of Drukgyel Dzong, 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 enjoy Paro city centre.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m)

Day 05 : Depart Paro

After 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.

Tashi Delek!