01: Fly into Paro International Airport
During the journey, one will experience from the left-hand side of the plane breathtaking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jhomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by a representative from Mongland Gateway Travels, who will escort you to Down Town of Paro for Special Warm Welcome Lunch by your host Namgay Dorji. Enjoy lunch in quaint Paro village and we then proceed to visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) once the watchtower for Rinpung Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing and abutted by two guardhouses, to the dzong. Today, the Dzong is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, displays superb woodwork. A 2-hour drive brings us to Thimphu, Capital of Bhutan. Check into Hotel and go over itinerary with your guide. Tomorrow attend Thimphu Festival; Load your camera!
02: Thimphu Tshechu
Today we attend our
first day of Thimphu Festival. Enchanting in its spiritual ritual, Tshechu
blessings are received. Bhutanese from many different areas will gather to pay
respect and to be blessed at this social gathering. Locals dressed in their
finest cloth and jewelry attend this celebration of purification. Here we can
truly appreciate the essence of Bhutanese people and a preserved steadfast
culture. Enjoy a refreshing lunch nearby and a stop to exchange money at the
bank. Visit the post office to purchase collector item Bhutanese stamps, a must
for any collector. Return to Thimphu Festival for afternoon Tshechu. Departing
the Festival we will now visit the Royal Textile Museum of Bhutan; Visit the
exceptional Textile Museum, featuring masterpieces from the Royal Family of
Bhutan and splendid fabric and exquisite Thangkas. Overnight hotel.
03: Thimphu Tshechu
Returning to the Thimphu Festival we again are captivated by clanging cymbal, drum, horns and the unforgettable chanting of Buddhist monks who perform a religious dance of purification. Arrays of colorful brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the “thunderbolt step”. This afternoon after lunch at our hotel we will enjoy sight-seeing Thimphu city, a visit to the Takin Zoo, the National Animal of Bhutan, and Memorial Chorten of the Third King. Along the way perhaps an archery match! Bhutan holds gold in the Olympic Games for Archery, an ancient art in Bhutan still preserved and enjoyed. The National Library will interest you with ancient and medieval documents and scripts. The hand made paper factory and the house of incense are Bhutanese handicraft specialties worth visiting. Relax and enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers your hotel.
04: Thimphu – Punakha
Departing Thimphu today we begin our journey towards central Bhutan. We pass over 10,000ft Dochula Pass. We enjoy a photo stop here and view the high Eastern Himalayan mountains. We are encircled by many prayer flags, fluttering their prayer of peace and serenity. Here we will enjoy tea and a snack. We continue onwards Wangduephodrang, our destination tonight. After lunch, we will visit Punakha Dzong, the former winter capital and present administrative seat of the district. Also the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female rivers. It was built in 1637 AD. Many feel Punakha is the most beautiful of all dzongs in Bhutan. We visit Chimi Lakhang, the Fertility Monastery. Overnight at Punakha
05: Punakha – Bumthang (7Hours)
Departing Punakha we journey deeper into Bhutan with our destination tonight in Bumthang, central Bhutan. A long drive (7 hours) on a scenic and breathtaking highway rewarded by a stop at the Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the royal family. Winding down the steep mountain road you begin to glimpse Trongsa Dzong from afar, and you wonder at this architectural wonder. Built by Chogyel Minjur Tempa, the Third Desi, in 1648 it is presently the administrative seat of the district and home of the monastic school. Built at split-levels on a narrow spur, the Dzong is an architectural wonder. Views from here are extensive creating the strategic location of this Dzong. Over the Dzong is the medieval Watchtower. This ancient structure gives unobstructed views of the valley, and it’s winding river and roads. The Watch Tower is located strategically above the Trongsa Dzong. Climb the ancient ladders to the top, as you view warrior armor and aging altars, immersing yourself in the presence unchanged within its walls. We will lunch in Trongsa town and continue to Bumthang. Overnight Guesthouse in Bumthang.
06: Bumthang: Thangbi Mani Festival
Today we attend a very unique village festival: Tangbi Mani Festival. Masks of glorious demonic demons and animals arouse your senses as you watch the purification take place. The intensity goes on. Your spirit will fly, Your camera will snap away, and you will again be transported. We will join the local people for a picnic lunch. Watch for the Atsara (clown) This dancer, unique in his own style, mimics dancers and entertains onlookers. Festival deities are invoked through benediction and luck is increased and misfortune is gone. Overnight Guest House.
07: Bumthang: Thangbi Mani Festival
Returning to Tangbi Mani Festival in the morning and enjoy our last hours of Festival. After lunch, we visit Jakar Dzong, Tamshing Monasteries and Jambay Lhakhang. A stop for refreshment at the Cheese and Beer Factory and village handicraft shops. Here in Bumthang are some of the best weavers of the Bhutanese famous style of textile. Weavers weave their magic on ancient back strap and toe looms. Textile fabric can be purchased here at a good price. Unique and wonderful gifts. Overnight in Guest House
08: Bumthang – Gangtey (6Hours)
Drive to Phobjikha Valley. October is the time of year best to view Black Neck Cranes. These large beautiful and graceful birds migrate each year from Tibet and Siberia to Phobjikha glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. No electricity or telephones are here to keep the valley pristine. The punishment imposed on anyone injuring a Black Neck Crane is life imprisonment. We visit the Khebethang Nature Study Center to observe and learn more about the cranes. Overnight: Farm House
09: Gangtey – Wangdue (3Hours)
Drive to Wangdue with scenic stops for a photo opportunity along the way. Look for Yaks along our route. Retracing our route. Visit the Wangdue Dzong after lunch and Wangdue town stalling. Over Night Hotel in Wangdue.
10: Wangdue – Thimphu (3Hours)
After breakfast, we continue onto Thimphu and arrive at our hotel in Thimphu. Check in hotel, relax and refresh. After a hearty lunch, we depart for an exhilarating afternoon hike to Tango Monastery. We drive to our path and embark on a vigorous hike up the mountain to Tango Goemba Monastery. Tango is one of Bhutanese’ most important Buddhist colleges. Its name, meaning ‘horse’s head’, is derived from the horse-head shaped rock at the top. It is a beautiful dzong built in the 18h century by the 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye. Today Tango is home to the eight-year-old reincarnate Lama, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu
11: Thimphu – Thimphu
Day Hike to Phajoding
Monastery. The round trip takes about 5 Hours. Phajoding is a very secret place
for the monks as they go for long term meditations. Picnic Lunch at Phajoding.
After the Hike your host Namgay Dorji will arrange a Steam or Sauna Bath in the
town. If time permits visit a local bookshop and handicraft shops. There is much
in Thimphu to explore. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu
12: Thimphu – Paro (2Hours)
After breakfast, we visit the famous weekend market, a must in Bhutan. The marketplace is alive with fresh and organic fruits, rice, chilies, wonderful textiles, handicrafts, art and jewelry, and so much fun. Lunch and check out of the hotel. Departing Thimphu toward Paro, we visit the famous Tigers Nest Monastery along our way. Hike or ride a pony to the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 4,000 feet. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, the saint who converted Bhutan to Buddhism, alighted here upon the back of a tigress. Here we enjoy snacks and tea at the cafeteria viewpoint. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
13: Paro – Paro
Day excursion to Haa
Valley situated in the north-west of Bhutan bordering Tibet. It was closed to
tourism until 2002. On arrival in the picturesque Haa Valley, stroll through
attractive town. Return to Paro and stop at Chelela Pass at 3990mts. Thatâ€™s
the Highest pass in the motor road where one can see the Mount Jhomolhari
7314mts. The round trip takes about 5hours. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
14: Drive to Paro international Airport
where your Guide and Driver would bid farewell and safe journey back home.