There is nothing like taking a stroll through the quaint Bhutanese villages, interacting with the real villagers, and enjoying a multitude of vista, all while enjoying the scent of fresh mountain air. This "Bhutan Revelation" tour provides just that perfect blend for explorers and nature lovers alike. Everyday presents a new opportunity to exploring and understanding the depths of the Bhutanese way of life.
The flight into Paro (2,200 m/ 7,800 ft.) on the national carrier, Druk Air (‘Druk’ meaning Dragon), is a befitting introduction to the magnificent beauty of Bhutan. From a window seat on a clear day you can enjoy a spectacular view of Bhutan’s snow capped peaks as you approach Paro International airport. On arrival you will be received by our representative, and then taken to your hotel. After refreshing yourself, visit the National Museum (housed in Ta Dzong - watch tower), which displays works of art, handicrafts, costumes, armor and rare stamps.
Down the hill lies the Paro Rinpung Dzong, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the Dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. A short distance further is one of the many archery grounds. (Archery is the national game of Bhutan). We may catch a match in action. Have an easy evening walk around the Paro town.
Bhutan National Museum, Rinpung Dzong
- Naksel Paro Hotel
- Haven Paro Resort
Drive to Haa valley via Chelela pass (3,750 m). Stop for a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari (7,314 m) from the pass.
Take a short hike along the ridge and absorb some of the best views of the Himalayas. Make a descent to Haa valley. After lunch, explore Haa town; visit Lhakhang Karpo Monastery. An hour drive south of Haa will bring you to Dorikha village (2,700 m). Visit the newly renovated village monastery and meet the monks. Meet the family. Dinner and overnight at lodge/farmhouse.
Chele La pass, Karpo Lhakhang, Dorikha village
- Risum Resort
- Lechuna Heritage Lodge
After breakfast, take a village tour - tour the traditional house construction site and meet the villagers. Observe and/or take part in their chores where possible. Dinner and overnight at lodge/farmhouse.
Take a village tour
Weather permitting, after an early breakfast, drive up the dirt road to Tergo La (“Ter” means treasure, “go” means gateway) pass (3,660m). From the pass are great views of Mounts Jomolhari and Jichu Drake (6,970m) in the north. Also visible in the distance is Mt. Kanchenjunga in Sikkim. Hike along the ridge towards Sele La pass and you will be treated to some great panoramic views of the deep valleys on the sides. Enjoy your lunch and return back to Dorikha village. After tea and refreshments and goodbyes, proceed to Thimphu (2,400m), Bhutan’s capital. Overnight at hotel.
Trekking near Dorikha village
- Terma Linca Resort & Spa
- Druk Thimphu Hotel
Thimphu has a population of about 100,000 people. The main street of Thimphu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops of all descriptions, mainly stocking goods imported from India and Thailand. This is the only capital in the world where there are no traffic lights.
Visit the “Takin Preserve” and learn the story behind the existence of the national animal of Bhutan. You must see it to believe it. Drive to Sangaygang, a hill overlooking Thimphu valley, for a bird’s eye view of the capital city. From there we will take a pleasant 2-hour morning hike to Dechen Phodrang Monastic school.
In the afternoon, visit the National Memorial Chorten (monument) built in 1974 in honor of our late Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. We will then visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine founded in 1988 and the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, the 13 forms of traditional arts and crafts commonly referred to as “the painting school.” We will also visit the National Library, all of which are within walking distance.
Takin Motithang Preserve, Dechen Phodrang Monastic school, National Memorial Chorten...
The road to Punakha from Thimphu begins with a gradual climb through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochu La pass (3,050m/10,000ft.). We will stop to soak up the breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. The views continue to entertain us as we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha (1,350m/4,430ft.) where Punakha Dzong (Fortress) sits between the two rivers Pho Chu and Mochu (Father and Mother River). This fortress is now used as the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (the Spiritual head of Bhutan). This Dzong had served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than 300 years (until 1955).
Drive up the valley and have lunch by the banks of the beautiful Mo Chu River. A pleasant 40-minute hike will lead us to Khamsum Yuley Namgey Lhakhang (temple) which presents a great view of the Mo Chu valley below.
Dochu La Pass, Punakha Dzong, Khamsum Yuley Namgey Lhakhang
- Drubchhu Resort
- Dhensa Punakha Resort
The next morning we will hike up to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. It is a pleasant 30 minutes hike through the rice paddies and a small village. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in 15th century known as Lama Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as the “Divine madman” in the west. He preached in the way that is unlike the stiffness of clergy and society of the time; it is also believed that this temple blesses couples having fertility problems. A popular pilgrimage spot for the Bhutanese, it is frequented by childless couples and parents who have difficulty raising children from all over the world.
Head down the valley to Wangdue Phodrang and enjoy the 2-hour scenic drive east to Phobjikha valley. Before we reach Pele La pass, we make a right turn on a spur road and exit the highway. The road will lead us to the broad and beautiful valley of Phobjikha. This valley is also home to the Black-necked cranes, an endangered species of bird that migrate from the plateau of Tibet. The birds migrate in late October and they return to Tibet in March/April. The Black-necked Crane, deeply revered as a heavenly bird (lhab-bja), is also known as Thrung Thrung Karmo. The birds have harmoniously coexisted with the local residents largely due to locals’ strong Buddhist beliefs. The lhab-bja appears in the Bhutanese folk lore, songs, dances and historical references. Visit to Gangtey Goenpa (Monastery).
Chimi Lhakhang, Phobjikha Valley, Gangtey Goenpa
- Gangtey Goenpa Lodge
- Dewachen Gangtey Hotel
After breakfast, take a beautiful hike around Phobjikha valley, explore the villages, and watch the black necked cranes if there are any; visit the crane information center. Return journey towards Dochu La Pass.
Hiking around Phobjikha valley, explore villages
Start a gradual uphill climb through moss covered giant rhododendron forests to a recently renovated Lungchu Seka Monastery, which sits atop a mountain overlooking Punakha valley to the east and Thimphu valley to the west. After lunch at the monastery, continue on an easy downhill hike to Tashigang Goemba (Retreat Monastery). Another hour of hike will take you to the road at the village of Hongtso. Spend the rest of the evening exploring the streets of Thimphu if you wish.
Lungchu Seka Monastery, Tashigang Goemba
We can spend the morning doing more sightseeing or take a stroll in the town. We will return to Paro after lunch. Visits also include Bhutan’s oldest temple/monastery, the Kyichu Lhakhang, Dungtse Lhakhang. Spend the evening at your leisure in town or your hotel.
Kyichu Lhakhang, Dungtse Lhakhang, Drugyel Dzong
After early breakfast drive towards the trailhead to the Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutan's monasteries. Taktsang means "Tiger's Nest," so named after Guru Rimpoche reportedly flew to the site of the monastery on the back of a flying tigress in the 8th century. The monastery is perched on a cliff nearly 3,000 ft above the Paro valley floor. This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! It takes about hour and half to reach the cafeteria, which gives a breathtaking view of the Tiger’s Nest. If you still feel like hiking then you can take another hour to reach the temple.
After lunch, visit the ruins of the 17th century Drukgyel Dzong, and hear how it holds an important place in our history as you hike around. Spend the rest of the evening at your leisure.
Taktsang Monastery, Drukgyel Dzong
After breakfast, drive to Paro airport in time to catch your morning flight to your onward destination.
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