DAY 01: SAMDRUP JONKHAR TO TASHIGANG: 180KM/APPROX 6HR
Today your travel, East – West Bhutan Himalayan tour, will begin from Samdrupjonkhar to Trashigang all the way uphill through the thick vegetation of tropical zone. Through this route you will experience the wide range of culture and livelihood of the eastern people as you gradually ascend.
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. 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.
Now it is a 22km drive to 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.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Tashigang.
DAY 02: TASHIGANG TO MONGAR: 90 KM /3 HRS /sightseeing
After an early breakfast we will drive to Rangjung along the course of aggressive Gamri chu river. We will pay visit to Rangjung Yoedselcholing Monastery founded by His Emminence Garab Rinpoche. After having tea and snacks drive back to Trashigang for lunch. After lunch move to Mongar (90kms.3 hrs drive) where on the way you will visit the popular holy site of second Buddha (Guru Padmasambhava) in a place called Gomphukora. For detailed story behind this place you can ask your guide. When you reached middle of way you will have hot tea and snacks. You will experience different environment to that of SumdrupJongkhar-Trashigang route as you will be moving mostly through subtropical forest. Dinner and overnight hotel in Mongar.
DAY 03: EXCURSSION TO LHUNTSHE (1524m): 76KM/APPROX 3HR
Today you will drive to Lhuntshe, one of the remotest districts in Bhutan. The landscape is spectacular, with rocky cliffs encroaching the road and standing like vertical green walls on either side of the river. The region is famous for weaving traditional textiles, and their distinctive textiles are generally considered to be the best in the country. The Kurtoe region of Lhuentse is the ancestral home of the monarchy. A statue of Padmasambhava(Guru Rinpohe) 148 feet 30 foot high lion throne and 17 foot high lotus seat in the form of Guru Nangsi Zilnoen is being built in Takela, Lhuntse to bring peace and harmony to the world as prophesied by Lord Buddha. This will be the world’s largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Mongar.
DAY 04: MONGAR TO BUMTHANG: 198KM/APPROX 7HR
Today after early breakfast you will briefly visit the Mongar Dzong and you will start your journey to Bumthang which is considered as one of the most beautiful routes in the Himalaya, crossing the 3800m high Trumshing La pass. About one km from a small satellite town of Lingmithang you can see the ruins of 12th century Zhongkhar Dzong, once the most powerful dzong of eastern Bhutan.
We will continue driving further up through green paddy and maize field in the village and broad tropical type forest. After entering Namling Brak( endless cliff) , the range of steepest cliffs, we will have lunch. After lunch you will drive further up till we get great view of Namling Brak waterfall as it explodes off the mountain side and crashes down into the gorge. Ascending sharply from here you again enter forest stretch and road clings precariously to a sheer mountain and will reach to a plateau at Sengor (2957m). From Sengor you will drive to the highest point of the day Thrumshing La (3780m). You will descend down to Ura Village through conifers and rhododendrons and drive past Sherteng La (3596m) and reach to Bumthang.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Bumthang.
DAY 05: BUMTHANG (2600 – 4000m)
Today we will explore the Bumthang Valley which is the collective name for four valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Chokhor and is considered to be one of the most beautiful and sacred valleys of Bhutan.If the weather is clear, you will enjoy the view of green valley, dotted with hundreds temples, thousand flags and beautiful Chamkhar river flow through the valley. The valley is also called mini Switzerland of Bhutan. Your visit in Bumthang includes Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in the Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan; and Kujey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, where Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. From there we will hike 30minutes to Tamshing Lhakhang lies on the other side of the river opposite the Kurje Lhakhang. It was built by Terton Pemalingpa the treasures discover, he was the ancestors of Royal Family; Kenchosum Lhakhang; and Mebar Tsho (Lake of Burning Fire), and this is a sacred lake for the Bhutanese who believe that Pema Lingpa discovered religious treasures from the lake.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Bumthang.
DAY 06: BUMTHANG TO PHOBJIKHA VALLEY (3050m): 125KM/APPROX 5 ½HR
Today you drive into the glacier valley of Phobjikha ; the valley is one of the most important wildlife sanctuary in the country, because of the large flock of black-necked cranes in winter. The valley also has a very interesting Nyingmapa monastery that dates back to the 17th century.
On the way we will stop at Chendebji Chorten, the design imitative of Katmandu’s Swayambhunath stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. Stop enroute to visit the Ta Dzong Museum that highlights the history of Bhutanese monarchy and showcases some of the rare and priceless artifacts of the Kingdom, followed by visit to Trongsa Dzong built in 1648 which is the ancestral home of Royal family. Both the first and second Kings ruled the country from this ancient seat. All the four kings held the post of Trongsa Penlop before being the King of Bhutan.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Gangtey.
DAY 07: PHOBJIKHA VALLEY TO PUNAKHA (2320m): 95KM/APPROX 4 ½HR
Our journey continues with travels to Punakha through some of the Kindom’s richest agricultural land and most dramatic river valleys. Before driving back to Punakha we will visit to Crane Observation and information center. Then we will drive to Punakha en route stop at Wangdue to visit Wangdue Dzong built in the 17th century. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur, which has the elephant shape, and commands as impressive view over both the north-south and east-west roads and visit Chimi Lhakhang the auspicious fertility monastery dedicated to Divine Madman, we will take 20minutes walk through the rice fields.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Punakha.
DAY 08: PUNAKHA TO THIMPHU: 77KM/APPROX 3HR
Morning, visit Punakha Dzong which was built in 1637. It was in Punakha Dzong that, the first King of Bhutan was crowned on 17th December 1907. You will continue drive to Thimphu with stop at Dochu La for lunch; from there we can enjoy the most spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan ranges and Bhutan’s highest mountain. We will also visit Druk Wanggyal Lhakhang built by the eldest Queen mother; the past and future appear to merge in the details of the Lhakhang that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future. Continue drive to Thimphu capital city of Bhutan. Evening freely stroll in Thimphu town and mingles with the local people.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu.
DAY 09: THIMPHU (2320m)
Today’s exploration of Thimphu begins with visit to National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to world peace and prosperity in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan; the Kingdom’s rich culture at the National Library; the National Institude of Zorig Chusum where students undergo training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts; Folk Heritage Museum which will provide an insight into traditional Bhutanese farm house.
After lunch visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress like temple which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Takin Preserve to see the rare national animal of Bhutan. This animal is chosen as the national animal of Bhutan for its uniqueness and its association with the country’s religious history and mythology. A further drive towards the BBS tower will provide a bird’s eye view of the capital; visit nunnery temple followed by a visit to Tashichho Dzong or “the fortress of the glorious religion” which is Bhutan’s administration, religious centre and houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and other Government offices. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu.
DAY 10: PARO HALT (2280m)
Today’s day will begin driving through the Paro valley to take on a stunning hike on foot to visit the Taktshang Gompa or Tiger’s Nest viewpoint. Our hike to Taktshang from the road point will take through the well maintained path which is quite uphill and it takes around 3-4 hours at an average walking speed.
The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees adorned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 746 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger,Dorji Drolo, said to be his consort.
In the afternoon we will drive to the beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. The third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck housed it into the National museum in the 1960s. The seven floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 8th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative center and school for monks, and walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Evening if you wish your dinner at typical Bhutanese farm house to experience the Bhutanese living or we can halt a night in farm house or at hotel, Paro.
DAY 11: PARO DEPARTURE
Morning depart for Paro International Airport, your journey begins and a future culture to further explore the hearts and lands of the Kingdom’s pleasant farmers, mesmerizing weavers, enthralling monks and charming leaders awaits. Thankyou and Tashi Delek!