Day 01: Arrival to Paro
Day 02: Hike To Tiger’s nest
Today hike to Tiger’s nest is one of the holiest places on the planet. The Tiger’s nest is strategically perched on a hill overlooking Paro valley. This place is especially venerated because of its association with Guru Rinpoche, who is said to have flown to Paro Tiger’s nest in the form of DorjiDrolo, mounted on a flaming dakini-tigress in the 747 A.D
Guru Rinpoche visited Bhutan for 3 times. His first visit to Bhutan in 746 A.D from India was when he was invited to Bumthang to treat the Sindhu Raja, the ruler of Bumthang, who was seriously ill. The king was cured and was converted to Buddhism. He promised to return to Bhutan again to further propagate the Buddhist teachings.
A year later, Guru Rimpoche was invited to Tibet by King ThrisongDuetshen to assist him in the construction of the Samye Monastery. He travelled to Tibet and by his tantric powers he cleared away the demonic forces that were disturbing the construction of the monastery and so the monastery was successfully completed.
During this visit in 747 A.D to Tibet, Guru Rimpoche decided to visit Bhutan again with his Tibetan consort khandroYeshiTshogyel and DenmaTsemang. He travelled all over the country and blessed the people.
While in SingyeDzonginKurtoe, Guru is believed to have flown to ParoTakshang (Tiger’s Nest) in the form of Guru DrojiDrolo, the 8th and the final aspect that he assumed, mounting on a dakini-tigress. Before his arrival, the whole country was believed to have been inhabited by hostile evils spirits. On his arrival he subdued eight categories of evil spirits and bounded them by solemn oath to be the protectors of teaching for all times to come.
Day 03: Drive to Thimphu and sightseeing
Today drive to Thimphu through Paro’s traverse rice field and climbs high above the river providing a great view of Paro airport.
The road descending will lead to the confluence at Chuzom, 24 Kms from Paro and 18 Kms from Bomday.
Chuzom means confluence of two rivers Paro and Thimphu Chu Rivers which we believe this place inauspicious, thus there is a presence of 3 very unique chorten (Stupa) to ward off this inauspiciousness.
Before reaching Chuzom you can see TachogangLhakhang
It is private temple founded by ThangthongGyalpo, located few Kilometers before Chhuzom, the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu River.
ThangthongGyelpo had a vision when he meditated here of an excellent horse Balaha, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, thus as a good omen, he built this temple.
Below this temple he built Iron Bridge who is said to have been built 108 iron bridges throughout Bhutan and Tibet by iron man called ThangthongGyelpo.
After 30 minutes’ drive from this place you will reach Thimphu city which is capital city of Bhutan.
Day 04: Sightseeing at Thimphu
Thimphu is located at an altitude of 2320m. Capital of the Kingdom, the population of Thimphu is about 100,000. The population is increasing each year due to rural-urban migration.
Thimphu became capital during 3rd King’s time in early 19s.
This place has a special magical atmosphere with its prayer flags fluterring in the wind and its feeling of riding above the bustle of the city.
Changgangkhalhakhang is one of the oldest lhakhang in Thimphu valley.
It was built in the 12th century by Nyima, the son of PahjoDrugomZhigpo, the founder of the Drukpa School in Bhutan.
Located on the way to the BBS tower, there in an unlimited trail leading to large fenced area.
Used to serve as a zoo with various wild animals, which were later, released in the wild as per the order from the present King.
The King decided that such facility was not in keeping with the Bhutan’s environment and religious convictions.
The Zoo has different kind of deer including barking dear, black dear and most importantly national animal Takin.
Visit Kuensel Phodrang to see the 8th largest sitting Buddha statue on the world.
Afternoon stroll around the Thimphu city by your own.
Dinner and overnight stay at Thimphu
Day 05: Drive to Punakha and Sightseeing
The road to Punakha and WangduePhodrang, branches of a short distance before Simtokhadzong.
The road, which loops back as fly-over bridge, is the east-west highway, which was constructed in 1984.
About a Kilometer past the turn-off there is a magnificent view of Simtokhadzong, the first fortress of Kingdom.
The road then climbs past the forestry research center at Yusipang, then through apple orchards and forests of blue pine.
Within few minutes’ drive from here you will reach Dochula La ( Pass) at 3050m.
It is a 45 minutes’ drive from Thimphu. This pass is marked by a chorten with an array of colorful prayer flags.
Dochula cafeteria of Queen mother, located quite near to Dochula stupas which are of 108 stupas to commemorate victory over Indian insurgents .
Dochula Pass offers a breathtaking, panoramic view of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.
Such days are rare. The best chance of view is in the early morning between mid-October and mid- February.
The pointed peaks standing opposite Dochula are:
- Kang Bum-6526m
- Gangchhenta- 6840m
- Masang Gang-7158m- This mountain dominates the region of Laya
- Tshenda Gang- 7100m
- Teri Gang- 7170m
- Jejekangphu gang-7158m
- Zongphu Gang- a Table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana is 7060m
- And GangkarPuensum -7497m is the highest peak in Bhutan
Gasadzong almost 50 kms to the northcan also can be seen from the Dochula cafeteria.
Drive to toPunakha from this place changes the vegetation dramatically to Oak, maple and blue pine to a moist mountain forest of rhododendron, alder, cypress, hemlock and fir.
And lead to Chime Lhakhang
It is believed that a demons who has been terrorizing the valley had transformed herself into a black do to escape the wrath of DrukpaKuenley. But he had caught the dog on the WangduePhodrang route and buried it under a pile of earth shaped like a woman’s breast. He had been built a chorten( stupa) on top of this mount and prophesized that a temple would one day be consecrated over it. True to the prophecy, his brother Lam NgawangChogyel built Chime temple in 1456.
Chimi comes from” Chimi” meaning “ dog” and “med” meaning “ no”, which in all means’” no dog” meaning this black dog will never come back from underground.
After few drive from this place then reaching to PunakhaKuruthang which is settle light town.
Punakha is located at 1250m. The central School was consecrated and the village expanded in the mid-1980s.
Punakhadzong which is also known as PungthangDewachenpoePhodrang is located between Mochu ( Female) and Phochu River ( Male) were once lovers, flowing in the same bed. PunakhaDzong( fortress) is the second largest Dzong of Bhutan built by Unified father of Bhutan ZhabdrungNgawangNamgyel in 1637 which was blessed by Guru Rinpoche in 8th century and prophesized that name called Namgyel will come and build a fortress in this place.
Thus, true Guru Rinpoche’s prophecy ZhabdungNgawangnamgyel built a remarkable dzong which is now having the important relics of RangjungKharsapani, which is statue of Avalokistesvara which appeared marvelously from the vertebrate of TshangpaGyare, the founder of Drukpa School in Tibet.
Above 10 minutes’ walk from this Dzong you will find longest suspension bridge in Bhutan (200m) to enjoy beautiful valleys.
Dinner and overnight stay Punakha
Day 06: Punakha- Phobjikha
Visit to GangteyGoenpa is the 451 year old, the jewel of the region with its distinctive yellow roof, is nested upon a small hill overlooking the large green expanse of the Phobjikha valley………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Day 07: Phobjikha- Bumthang via Trongsa
Distance: 170km/estimated 5-6 hours
- Phobjikha to Trongsa
After the Phobjikha junction, it is 14kms through sleep mountainside to Pelela.
It is one of the highest passes that rise up to 3300m.
It is marked by a chorten surrounded by prayer flags.
Its main significances in the history of Bhutan is that traditionally it was considered as the boundary between eastern and western Bhutan.
Drive to Trongsa crossing Rukubji village, Chendebji and Chendebji village is picturesque which lies above 2400m. The main features of this village is marked by Chendebjichorten built by Lama Shida in Swayambhunath style ( Chorten Jaro Khashor ) in Kathmandu.
Then drive further to Trongsa crossing Tangsibji, Tshangkha and LangciPhakha.
Finally reaching Trongsa which is an altitude of 1900m above the sea level.
The attractions in Trongsa are the followings:
Visist Trongsa Dzong which is the biggest and the most impressive dzong in Bhutan signifying the magnificent work of Buddhist architecture. It is maize of courtyards, passageway and corriders.
It has been described as being perched so high on a mountain that the clouds float below it.
The dzong fits narrowly on the spur that sticks out into the gorge of Mangde Chu River.
Ta dzong ‘watch tower’ is built to guard the TrongsaDzong from the inter-region and outside invaders.
One of the towers inside the chapel is dedicated to the TrongsaPenlop, JigmeNamgyel, father of the 1st King.
In another small Chapel upstairs, there are is an interesting representation of palace, with small statues of horses, yaks and elephant.
During the Duar war, two British soldiers are said to have been held as prisoners in the dungeon here for several months.
In the golden days, the Ta Dzong strengthens the defense of the main dzong below.
- Trongsa to Bumthang
Distance: 65km/Estimated 3 Hours
The road quickly climbs up 7kms to reach the Trongsa viewpoint, from where we get splendid view of the TrongsaDzongstitting on the ridge.
28 Kms from the viewpoint is the Yotong La at 3425m.
The pass is marked by with a chorten and arrays of fluttering prayer.
As the road opens into the Chhume valley, the superb scenery changes to a gentle forest fir, blue pine and a dwarf bamboo.
After reaching Chhume valley
Chhume valley begins at Gyetsa and has an average altitude of 2500m.
It is 42 Kms from Trongsa.
It is wide valley dotted with number of villages and temples.
Visit Yathra factory at Chummi Village while en-route to Hotel at Bumthang.
Dinner and overnight stay Bumthang.
Day 08: Bumthang Owl Trek
The Bumthang Owl Trek offers an invigorating experience of the culture and environment of the country. It is a moderate 3-day hiking route which starts from Menchugang and ends in Jakar Dzong. The trail has an abundance of flora and fauna, and the panoramic views of the valleys beneath the hill tops and the Himalayas spread over a broad horizon would be an experience that one shall cherish for a lifetime. This trek could be a substitute for the Bumthang Cultural Trek that has been deteriorated to a great degree by the farm road constructions.
Day 09: Trekking life
Start at Manchugang and visit the biggest village in Bumthang, called Dhur at an elevation of 2900 meters above sea level. The village consists of about 75 households with a recorded population of around 800 people. The single village has three types of inhabitants the Kheps (tax payers) having cattle and farmland, Brokpas (nomads) having Yaks and a third group having either. This village has two different dialects, the usual Bumthang Kha and the Brokke (nomadic dialects). A walk above the village to get the overall view of the village is interesting. Climb down to the river where the traditional water-driven flour mill can be visited. This traditional water driven flour mill used to be a source of livelihood for the people of Dhur village. It has been abandoned after the intake channel was washed away by flashflood. The programme has been rehabilitated as it symbolizes an authentic Bhutanese tradition. Continue the trek uphill through the blue pine forest and reach the camp at Schonath (3450m) in hemlock and juniper forest. The hauling of owls through the night is quite common, hence the name the Owl Trek.
Day 10: Trekking life
Trekking through the virgin forest of huge temperate trees like spruce, hemlock, fir, birch and many species of rhododendron makes you breathe the real wilderness of Bhutan. Bamboos are the main undergrowth of this wild forest. During the months of April and May the rhododendrons are in full bloom. In about two hours, you will arrive at the Drangela Pass (3600m). Ascending the Kitiphu ridge brings you to an altitude of 3870m for the night camp. If weather favors you, have a wonderful view of the valley and the panoramic snow caped Himalayan Mountains. The highest mountain of Bhutan Gangkarpunsum (7541m) stands right in front of you when you are on the peak of Kitiphu (4000m).
Day 11: Trekking life
The magnificent sun rise in the morning is a new experience in Bhutan. Climb down to the monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak and Tharpaling which brings you to the religious life of monkhood, the historical Buddhist learning centre. Chuedak monastery has 100 Avoloketeshvaras in the form of Chukchizhey (eleven heads) that you will see nowhere else in the country. Afternoon, walk along the ridge of Kikila and finally follow the traditional trek route between Trongsa and Bumthang (the Royal Heritage Trail). The best view of Jakar Dzong will end your three day trek with many interesting and unforgettable memories.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel.
On this trek you have the opportunity to see:
- Village life in a very big village like Dhur.
- The virgin temperate forest of blue pine, hemlock, fir, spruce, juniper with undergrowth of bamboo spices, rhododendrons, birch, maple, chestnut and many others. In spring the rhododendrons flowers are in bloom that beautifies the whole trek route.
- The valley views and the Himalayan snow capped mountains in the north.
- Birds of different spices, among them the big monal pheasants can be sighted around the second camp and Tharpaling area during mornings and evenings.
- The Monastry life in Tharpaling, Choedak and Zhambala are yet very interesting.
Day 12: Bumthang Halt
Today Explore sightseeing below
In 1549, the monastery was completed and named it JakarDzong, “Monastery of the white bird.
SongtsenGampo, King of Tibet built 108 lhakhangs in the year 659, throughout Tibet and Himalayas to overcome a demoness.
All the Lhakhangs were built on the same day.
Among the 108 Lhakhangs, JambayLhakhang in Bumthang and KyichuLhakhangws erected on the demon’s left foot, JambayLhakhang was placed on the demon’s left knee.
JambayLhakhang was visited by Guru Rinpoche in the 7th century when he came to Bumthang.
Sindhu Raja renovated the temple after Guru had restored his life force at JambayLhakhang.
Located 7 kms from the Chamkhar town at 2640km.
In 746, Padmasambhava( Guru Rinpoche) made his first visit to Bhutan. SindhuGyab, an Indian, established himself as the king of Bumthang, with the title Sindhu Raja. There arose a fed between Noachhe’ Big Nose”, a rival Indian king in the south of Bhutan and SendhaGyab.
Also known as TamshingLhendrupCholing, but popularly known as TamshingLhakhang.
Located north of Tamshing from the footbridge, it is about 100m from the road.
Built by PemaLingpa in 1490 around the cave where the Guru Rinpoche meditated and assumed his manifestation of Padmasambhava.
Day 13: Bumthang- Mongar
While drive to Mongar en-route visit Mebartsho
The Tang rivers cuts through the first line of hills, forming a narrow gorge which contains one of the great pilgrimage site in Bhutan: Mebartsho, “ The burning lake”
Today it is a sacred pilgrimage site where the devoted Bhutanese float small butter lamps and makes a wish.
Images of PemaLingpa and his two sons are carved on the rock.
There is no sanctuary but the site of the gorge itself is sacred.
Dinner and overnight stay at Mongar.
Day 14: Mongar- Trashi Yangtse
Day 15: Trashi Yangtse- Trashigang
Day 16: Trashigang- Bidung Village
Drive to Barsham Village across country’s most aggressive Gamri River. About 5 km drive from Trashigang town on Trashingang-Rangjung highway the road diverts to left and climbs up the hill through scenic beauty of blue pine forest. This beautiful road way gives you the joy of witnessing many wonderful and indigenous villages of Trashigang district (biggest district of the country) After 2 hour uphill drive from Trashigang then we will reach Barstham village. Visit Chador Lhakhang, the country’s biggest monastery. We will then drive to Bidung Village (10km) which is one of the spectacular villages in the country. Unlike western part of the country, eastern region has richest culture and tradition, and different ethnic group of people live in these areas.
Known for its traditional attributes we will find indigenous buildings made of locally available masonries. Local people flocked together performing local dances during annual rituals are common scenes in these areas. We will have great opportunity to mingle with the local people. They are very friendly and interesting people. More than five hundred local people participate in this religious procession carrying teachings of Lord Buddha (Buddhist script) , statues, relics, trumpets , corns etc and marching through the villages.
Normally, it takes 3 days to complete this religious procession through the village. You will be welcomed to participate in this procession.
Day 17: Bidung Village- Rangjung: 4 Km/ 3 Hours by walk
After breakfast then start walking through villages having snap shots of unique cultures and traditions of their own kind. On the way between Bidung Village and Rangjung we will come across different types of culture. Evening freely stroll around the small market. Visit Rangjung Monastery Yoedseling Choling Goenpa built by His Eminent Dungsey Gyarab Rinpoche (Spiritual Master).
Day 18: Rangjung- Merak Sakteng: 36km/Approx 2 hours
After breakfast drive to Radhi village which is known for traditional weaving. Visit in the village to see how local people weave the traditional dress. In the afternoon, drive to Merak-Sakteng, the locality of Semi-Nomadic people of Bhutan, this is located in the remotest place in Bhutan at a high altitude. Royal Government of Bhutan has recently given modern facilities such as electricity and road connectivity to these places. Before 2009, it was completely delinked and remained isolation from rest of the Bhutanese people. Their livelihood is unique and they still practice butter system. These people in Merak Sakteng known as brokpa are purely dependent on live stock like Yak and Sheep. They are wanderer, during summer they live in Merak-Sakteng and winter they move in the lower place with their livestock. They wear distinct costumes to the other Bhutanese people. Merak-Sakteng place is really virgin and due to its local tradition, it is gaining popular destination for tourists. In this locality they usually perform Achi Lhamo dance only found in this place which is interesting to watch. During our stay in this place we will see life style of Semi-Nomadic people. We will walk door to door to see how Bhutanese people live in this isolated place.
Merak- Sakteng has one of the best scenarios in Bhutan and due to good surrounding makes this place magnificent to live. You can find cluster of small nomadic house in the beautiful meadow with sheep and hurdle of Yaks grazing on the land. This place is filled by spectacular Alpine flowers especially during spring season and June month. We feel that we have reached in another realm of complete silence.
Dinner with Special Yak meat and overnight in the local house.
Day 19: Merak- Sakteng – Trashigang: 45km/Approx 2 ½ hours
Start three hours exploratory walk to Radhi Village, which is famous for the raw silk. There you can explore the nearby village and see the vast cultivated land rice and maize. You can also see the women folks weaving a tapestry of textiles with raw silk. We can also visit the nunnery monastery and meet the nuns, they will be happy to see you. In the evening you will drive back to Trashigang. Overnight stay at Hotel, Tashigang.
Day 20: TRASHIGANG- SAMDRUP JONGKHAR: 180km/ 7 Hours
Now morning visito Tashigang Dzong (fortress) which is located on a rocky ridge risen from left bank of Dangmey chu river. It was the hub of trade with Tibet. Today it is the junction of the east west highway. The Dzong was built in 1658 and now serves as the administrative seat for the district as well as the home of the monk body.
Today you will begin drving from Trashigang to Samdrupjonkhar all the way uphill through the thick vegetation of tropical zone till Yongphula. From there soon you will reach to Kanglung which lies on a gentle slope after driving past Yonphu La (2500m). In this village the country’s oldest college is located.
You will have the lunch at Womrong. Then start our journey further up to Khaling where you will guided to National Handloom Development project to see the live weaving by young and beautiful women of eastern Bhutan.
Then descend the driving through great scenic beauty of plain of India from Bhutan Himalaya.
You will reach Samdrup Jongkhar border town of Bhutan. Gateway to India.
Dinner and overnight stay at Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 21: Samdrup Jongkhar – Guwahati: 175km/4 Hours
Today we will drive to nearest Indian Airport (Guwahti) through green lush of Tea Garden in the Indian Assam land.