Day 01: Airport pick up. Visit Ta Dzong and Rimpung Dzong. Then drive to Thimphu. Sightseeing: Trashi Chhoe Dzong, Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
Day 02: Thimphu
Visit National Museum, Handicrafts Emporium, National Library, Painting School, Traditional Medicine Institute, City View Point, Traditional Paper Factory, Mini Zoo, and the Folk Heritage Museum. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
Day 3: Thimphu to Phobjikha Valley
An early departure for a dramatic drive over the high mountain pass of Dochu La and on to the Phobjika Valley. Sights on the way include one of Bhutan’s first fortress monasteries, the 17th-century Simtokha Dzong, and ancient wall paintings at the Hongtsho Goemba monastery. The journey continues over the 3,050m mountain pass where on a clear day, towering Himalayan peaks are clearly visible. The descent down thru the Punakha Valley along the Kingdom’s only east-west highway continues on through the scenic village of Wangdi. Carrying on the highway follows the scenic Dang Chhu before climbing thru forests of bamboo and oak, and just before crossing the Pele La pass, a small side road splinters off to the hidden Phobjikha Valley. On arrival you will have time to visit the striking Gangtey Goemba, sitting at the head of the valley, and perhaps strolling thru the quaint Gangtey village. Overnight at the Hotel in Gangtey.
Day 4: Phobjikha Valley Exploration
This morning will start with a visit to the Black Neck Crane Center and depending on the season, time spent in the Center’s nearby hide is a must to view the breeding cranes. Various walks or a mountain bike ride thru this magnificent valley can be arranged. Soaking up the beauty of the valley from the Lodge or returning to the revered Goemba for an audience with the Tulku may be attractive (subject to availability), relaxing alternatives for the day. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: To Punakha Valley
Today’s journey back to Punakha will be brief and upon arrival, you will have time to take lunch at the lodge. In the afternoon you will explore the hidden village of Talo, home of the Queens’ and the valley’s protective deity Lhakhang. Later in the afternoon, a hike to an ancient monastery on the hilltop behind the lodge can be organized or enjoy the farmhouse and spa of the lodge.
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha
Day 6: Punakha Valley Exploration
The day in Punakha Valley begins with a beautiful hike from the Punakha Lodge along the Mo Chhu thru terraces of rice, chilies, and cabbage takes to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a monument recently built by the four queens of Bhutan. Following the hike, you will drive back up the valley towards Khuruthang passing Punthsho Pelri Palace and several other winter homes of the royal family before reaching the impressive Punakha Dzong. This ancient fortress is the winter residence of the monastic order’s head and still serves as the administrative headquarters for the Punakha region. A picnic lunch is served on the banks of the Punak Chu, before visiting the village of Lobesa where a short walk ends at Chimi Lhakhang, the auspicious fertility monastery built in 1499.
Overnight in Uma Resorts in Punakha
Day 7: Punakha to Paro Valley
After descending back down from Dochu La, you will follow your way back up the dramatic Wang Chu and Paro Chu river valleys, before crossing thru Paro Town towards the north end of the valley. Here, set in a pine forest, you will find the Amankora lodge and its spa. In the afternoon, there is an opportunity for a quick stroll to the nearby ruins, a visit to some of the valley’s oldest and holiest religious monuments or a ramble down Paro’s main street. Evenings at Amankora may include informative lectures on the history, religion, flora, and fauna of the region or an intriguing movie on the Himalayas.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro
Day 8: Paro Valley Exploration – Tiger’s Nest Hike
Today will be an auspicious pilgrimage up to one of Bhutan’s most revered monuments, the Taktshang Goemba, more commonly referred to as the “Tiger’s Nest”. The four to five-hour trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched on a cliff face 900m above the valley floor. Accommodating mules and donkeys will be on hand to lessen the exertion for the climb up, and along the way, a rewarding picnic will be served. The afternoon will be at leisure to enjoy the spa and ease those blessed aches from the morning’s pilgrimage.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro
Day 9: Early morning transfer to
Paro International Airport for your departure flight.