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Western Bhutan Cultural Tour – 13 n 14 d Tour
 

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paro
During the journey to Paro, one will experience from the left hand side of the plane breath taking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Chomolhari and Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by representatives of Bhutan Majestic Travel who will escort you to the hotel. Discuss and make necessary changes along with Tour Guide.
Overnight: Hotel in Paro

Day 2: Paro – Thimphu : Distance 2 Hours
The drive to Thimphu (Capital) through the winding road along the Paro and Thimphu river takes about 2 hrs. The distance is 65kms. On the way, 6kms before reaching Thimphu visit the Simtokha Dzong (Dzong means Fortress). Simtokha Dzong is one of the oldest Dzongs in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 A.D. by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel the founder of Bhutan, and was the first Dzong to be built by him. Check in at the hotel. Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon: Visit the Memorial Chorten (a huge Stupa) built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and various other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. Visit Tashichho Dzong the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the Government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room and the office and the living quarters of the Monk Body and its Chief Abbot.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

Day 3: Thimphu
Visit the National Library where a vast collection of ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit the Painting and wood craft school where children are taught the traditional art of wood craft and painting. Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon: Pilgrimage and hour long meditation at Thimphu’s Nunnery centre the Zilukha Nunnery.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

Day 4: Thimphu – Punakha/Wangduephodrang : Distance 77kms
After an early breakfast, drive to Punakha and Wangdiphodrang. On the way, halt at Dochula Pass 3150mts. (26kms) for a hot cup of tea/coffee and to enjoy the most spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayan mountain ranges. (possible on a clear day). Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan. The Punakha Dzong lies between two rivers known as Phochu and Mochu which means “Male River and Female river “. It is one of the most important Dzongs in Bhutan and now houses the District Administration office of the Punakha district and the winter residence of the Monk Body and its Chief Abbot. It was built in 1637 A.D. Wangdiphodrang lies 13kms from Punakha. The Wangdiphodrang Dzong and its small town is perched on a hill between two rivers. This Dzong also houses the District Administration office of the Wangdi district and the office and the living quarters of the district monk body. The Dzong was built in 1638 A.D.
Overnight: Hotel in Wangdue

Day 5: Wangdue – Wangdue
After breakfast walk to the famous Devine Madman’s Monastery The Chhimi Lhakhang “No Dog Monastery� built in 1499. Today it is very popular because couples who are married for so many years and don’t have childrens but always desired go there and get blessed from the wodden Phallus and in another Nine months the wife gets pregnant. We will visit the monastery and meditate and picnic lunch will be served outside the monastery in a lush green ground. After Lunch drive to Punakha and visit the beautiful and legendary Khamsum Yuley Namgyal Monastery built by Her Majesty the Queen mother of our Crown Prince.
Overnight: Hotel in Wangdue

Day 6: Wangdue – Trongsa
After an early breakfast, drive to Trongsa (142kms). The journey takes about 6 hrs with lunch stop on the way. After crossing Pelela at 3340 mts. Decend down to Rukhubji and then to Chendibji where your lunch will be served and circumambulate the Nepalese Style Stupa built in 15th Century.

Day 7: Trongsa – Bumthang:
Morning visit the Trongsa Dzong and the Watch Tower.The Trongsa Dzong was the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. It is also the district administration office of the Trongsa district. It was built in 1648 A.D. The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular, and for miles on end the Dzong seems to tease you so that you wonder if you will ever reach it. Backing on to the mountain and built on several levels, the Dzong fits narrowly on a spur that sticks out into the gorge of the Mangde River and overlooks the routes south and west. The view from the Dzong extends for many kilometers and in former times nothing could escape the vigilance of its watchmen. Furthermore, the Dzong is built in such a way that in the old days, no matter what direction a traveler came from, he was obliged to pass by the Dzong. This helped to augment its importance as it thus had complete control over all east-west traffic. The Ta-Dzong, an ancient Watch Tower of the Trongsa Dzong is located on top of a steep hill about 1 km beyond the Trongsa Dzong. The watch tower displays many interesting armors used by the Bhutanese soldiers during the olden days. Lunch at the hotel and leave for Bumthang. The Journey takes about 3 hrs (68kms.) and is over one of the most scenically beautiful routes in Bhutan. Check in at the Guest house. (Bumthang has only guest houses but they are very comfortable with good facilities.)

Day 8: Bumthang  – Bumthang
Bhutanese Buddhist MonksVisit the historical Jakar Dzong built by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Desi (Temporal ruler) in 1646 A.D. It was later repaired and expanded by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth Desi of Bhutan in 1683 A.D. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. Visit several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang, Tamshing and Pema Samba Lhakhangs. Also visit the Bumthang Swiss farm and the Member Tso ” The flaming Lake ” which is considered one of the most important pilgrimage spots.

Day 9: A Day excursion to Ura Valley (65kms from Bumthang)
Visitors can drive up to Ura and take a leisure stroll in the clustered village of Ura. Ura has a beautiful Buddhist Monastery surrounded by typical Bhutanese farm houses which is worth seeing. You will also see yaks grazing in the rich pasture land of the Ura valley. Pack lunch in Ura and return to Bumthang in the evening.

Day 10: Bumthang – Gangtey
After an early breakfast, drive to Gangtey. 174kms from Bumthang. Overnight in Gangtey. Gangtey is a beautiful place situated at an altitude of 3000m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque black mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley which is one of the biggest and the most beautiful valleys in the country. During winters, we can also see the famous Black Necked Cranes there. Overnight in the guest house.

Day 11: Gangtey – Paro
After breakfast drive to Paro (190kms.) Lunch on the way at Thimphu. Overnight: Hotel in Paro

Day 12: Paro
Drive to Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress – 16kms from Paro town). Although in ruins, this Dzong is of great historical importance. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. From here, the peak of Mount Chomolhari ” Mountain of Goddess ” can be seen on a clear day. Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon : Visit the National museum (“Ta-Dzong”). This was actually the Watch Tower of the Paro Rinchen Pong Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968. It is located on the top of a hill above the Paro Dzong overlooking Paro valley and the river. Visit Rinpung Dzong. This massive fortress is located in the Paro valley and is approached by a gently sloping flagstone road and a beautiful wooden bridge roofed with shingles and abutted by two guard houses. Today, the Dzong is the Administrative seat of the district of Paro and it also contains a state monastic community of about 200 monks. The central tower (“Utse”) of the Dzong is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan with its superb woodwork. The Dzong was built in 1646 A.D.

Day 13: Paro
After an early breakfast, drive up to Satsam Chorten (10kms) for a short trek to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest.” The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m. and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated at the spot where the monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round trip hike takes about 4 hrs.

Day 14: Departure
Drive to Paro International Airport and see off by your Guide and Driver.

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