The land locked Kingdom of Bhutan comprises mountains, forests and rivers and offers all that the Himalayas has to offer. For centuries the Bhutanese have traveled through their country on foot and the trails they used then have today been developed as trekking trails. However, modern development and the building of roads to access the remote regions has led to the disappearance of numerous old routes, leaving only a few intact as they eons ago. Bhutan had been closed to the outside world (with a very few exceptions), until the first paying tourist group visited this hidden paradise in 1974. Adventure travelers make up for only 10 to 15% of the total number of tourist arrivals a year (17000 + in 2006). Therefore travelling in Bhutan is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Bhutan boasts a forest cover of approx 70 % and provides an enormously rich flora and fauna.
A Window to Bhutan
Day 01 :
Fly to Bagdogra and transfer to Phuntsholing by road (4 hrs) where we complete immigration formalities. Overnight hotel.
Day 02 :
Early next day drive through scenic Bhutan to Paro, approx 4 hour drive plus photo / lunch stop. We drive to our hotel overlooking the beautiful Paro Valley. We””ll have a late afternoon visit to the National Museum, housed in an old watchtower above Paro Dzong (a dzong is a fortress-monastery). The museum’s collections include displays of spectacular thankas (religious scroll paintings), bronze statues, Bhutan’s beautiful stamps, and the Tshogshing Lhakhang (Temple of the Tree of Wisdom), with its carvings depicting the history of Buddhism. Night at hotel (Namsey Chholing Resort/Tenzinling Resort/Gangtey Palace Resort) in Paro
Day 03 :
Drive above 9 miles north of Paro town to the trailhead where you start a 1 ½ hr hike to the viewpoint of Taktsang Monastery (aka “Tiger’s Nest) perched on a cliff 2700 feet above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche arrived here on the back of one of is consorts who was in the guise of a flying Tigress sometime in the 7th century. Hence the name “Taktsang” (Tiger’s Nest). After a short tea break, the options are to sit back and read a book for a while or if you feel energetic enough, to continue another 45 minutes up to the monastery. After the day trip up to Taktsang drive on to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
Overnight at Hotel (Dragon Roots, Wangchuk Hotel, Hotel Pedling, Chomolhari/ Hotel Riverview) in Thimpu.
Day 04 :
Thimpu – Punakha : Morning Thimpu sightseeing, visit Memorial Chorten, Painting School, National Library, Bhutanese Hand Made Paper factory. After lunch drive 3-4 hrs to Punakha across the Dochula Pass (Alt. 3050 m) where one can see the beautiful views of Eastern Himalayan Ranges. The Punakha valley till today serves as the winter seat for central monastic body of Bhutan headed by HH the Je Khenpo. Weather permitting, one get a picturesque view of the eastern Himalayan range from the top of the Dochu La pas (10000 ft). Enroute visit the Chhimi Lhakang :The Temple consecrated in honor of Lam Drukpa Kuenley aka “The Divine Madman.. by Keith Dowman” It is here that couples wishing to have children go to for blessings…. And believe it or not… it works.. the blessings are given by the caretaker with a wooden phallus. The short 25 minute hike to Chhimi Lhakang goes through a serene village and paddy fields.
Overnight at Hotel (Meri Phuensum/ Zangtopelri/Damchen Resort) in Punakha.
Day 05 :
In the morning visit the Punakha Dzong. Hike 2.5 hrs up the Po Chhu with sweeping views of the Punakha valley. Reach the bridge at the start point, in time for lunch. Raft the lower section of the Po Chhu with Class 2/3 rapids (2 hrs). End the trip at Punakha Dzong. Transfer to Punakha Camp.
After an early breakfast, drive to the put in of the upper section of the Pho Chhu. Raft the upper section of the Pho Chhu Class III and some class IV. Optional trip change on the Mo Chhu depending on river levels (Classs 2/3). Overnight Punakha Camp.
Day 07 :
Raft the lower section (class II/III) section of the Pho Chhu and take out past the Punakha Dzong. After lunch drive back over the Dochula Pass to Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.. night out in Thimphu
Day 08 :
Day of leisure at Thimphu. Or Optional day trip to Tango Monastery. A day trip/hike to the temple of Tango Cheri which is about a half hr drive up valley and then about an hour hike to the monastery. The monastery was built in the 12th century by Gyalwa Lhanampa and it serves as the monastic school for the study of Buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poets and other Buddhism related studies. Late afternoon drive back to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 09 :
Transfer to Paro airport for flight out.
Important Note : If Paro flights are unavailable due to the time of your booking, we drive to Phuntsholing on Day 09 (4-5 hrs), to Bagdogra on Day 10 (4 hrs) and board flight Bagdogra-Delhi. Note extra costs below for this option.