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A visit to Bhutan is an unique experience! The country of happiness will enlighten you with its beauty, charm and majestic. On this 7 day itinerary you will visit the famous Tiger’s Nest, get an insight into the local life, practise Bhutan’s traditional Arcerhery game, take in the most beautiful views and discover several temples, fortresses and monasteries..
Our Highlight itineraries cover the key attractions at a relatively quick pace. Enjoy them as they are or extend them to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
Morning flight to the Bhutanese city of Paro, our entry point located in a beautiful valley, where a warm welcome awaits. Jovial faces, prayer flags and the cool, fresh air of this high Himalayan city are immediately noticeable. Without spilling any quality time in this journey of life-time (at least for some!), we make our way to the capital city of Thimpu (1.5hr approx). The sights along the way will certainly up your excitement about your trip that is soon to unfold. After lunch, Orientation and free time follow.
Center of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a lively place, and an interesting combination of tradition and modernity. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monks, Thimphu maintains a strong national character thanks to the adherence to traditional architectural practices.
After breakfast, we embark on a tour to take in the highlights of Thimpu. Day’s tour will include:
National Memorial Chorten:
The building of this chorten was the idea of Bhutan's third King, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck ('the father of modern Bhutan'), who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, but was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state. After His Majesty’s premature death in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory as well as serve as a monument to peace. The National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974. The finely executed wall paintings and delicately fashioned statues within the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
Buddha Dordenma statue:
Later on, we drive to Buddha Dordenma statue - a Shakyamuni Buddha statue atop a hill which marks the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. 51.5 meters in height and made of solid bronze, the statue contains 125,000 smaller Buddha statues, 25,000 12 inch statues and 100,000 8 inch statues.
Institute for Zorig Chusum:
Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see and often talk with students and learn a little of the various skills and disciplines taught.
In the afternoon, we drive to a vantage point above the city towards a tiny zoo to be bemused by the sight of an animal that seems more out of the pages of a mythical story book. Takin, the national animal of the Druk Kingdom, is as strange a creature as you’ll ever see – an interesting concoction of a goat and catlle.
We then head further to a nunnery, Drubthob Lhakhang. En route, you can capture a fascinating sight of the city from high above. Visit to the local vegetable market on return to the city centre.
Later in the afternoon, we visit Tashichhodzong - The “fortress of the glorious religion”, was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, the King’s secretariat, and a central group of monks. It is open to visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu (held in autumn) and whilst the monks are resident in their winter quarters in Punakha.
Drive to Punakha (3.5hrs approx) via the Dochula pass (3,050 m). Mountain views are spectacular, weather permitting.
Capital of Bhutan until 1955, Punakha is the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). Blessed with a temperate climate and fed by the Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) rivers, Punakha is the most fertile valley in the country. Afternoon activity will include a walk to the temple of the Divine Madman- Chimi Lhakhang. The walk takes you through the farmlands and past the farmhouses to a hill with commanding views of the river valley below. A stop by a farmhouse gives you the low- down on the typical farm life.
Day start with the drive to Yambesa (7kms from Punakha). Drop off at a parking lot by the Mo Chhu River and hike through a beautiful pastoral setting to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten(40mins approx) – an impressive 30m tall chorten, dedicated to protector deities, perched high on the hill with the bird’s eye view of the valley below. After lunch, we make a visit to Punakha Dzong. Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center for the region. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch.
Leaving Punakha, we backtrack past Thimpu to the river confluence at Chhuzom. We then diverge from the Thimpu – Phuentsholing road that travels south, high above the Wang Chu (river), before descending into the erstwhile restricted zone of Haa (7hrs approx). Haa valley (The Valley of the Guardian Spirit) was opened to the visitors in 2002. The Haa Dzong is presently occupied by the Bhutanese military, but the views from outside its walls are stunning. After lunch there are visits to the Monastery of Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) followed by the Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). The central shrine of Lhakhang Nagpo is said to resemble that of the Jowo in Lhasa, Tibet.
The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa Valley are popularly known today as ‘Rig Sum Goenpa’, signifying three deities: Jambayang, Chana Dorji and Chenrizig.
A 22km ascent from the valley to the east brings us to the Chele-la pass (4,200 meters), the highest mountain pass in Bhutan. From here one has splendid views of the High Himal, including the magnificent peaks of Jhomolari, Bhutan’s most sacred peak at over 6,700m, and Jichu Drakey. We then descend driving through pine and rhododendron forest to Paro (2hrs approx).
Now the much-awaited hike up to the famed Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's nest), an iconic Bhutanese landmark. The upward climb will take around 2 hours and stunning views compensate for the energy expended. Local lore claims that it is here that Guru Padmasambava landed on the back of a Tiger in the 8th century, and then proceeded to meditate for three months. In 1684 a monastery was built on the site to commemorate the event.
Remainder of day: visits to other landmarks of Paro can be planned in consultation with your guide. Private transport and guide available
Early morning drive to airport for the return flight
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|Standard:||from AU $2,627|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
Availability of accommodation and season.