Day 01 :- Arrival Kuzuzangpo la Welcome to Bhutan!
The flight to Paro is an experience like no other. During the journey, you will get inspiringly beautiful glimpses of some of the worlds most famous Himalayan peaks. At the airport, Sakten staff will welcome you and escort you to your hotel. Drive up to your hotel, check in and begin the sightseeing with Ta-Dzong, the National Museum (closed on Sundays and Mondays), which was originally the watch tower of the Paro Dzong and stands imposingly on a hillock overlooking the Paro valley. A short visit here will give you an idea of the cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan. Ramble down to visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong, the 'fortress of the heap of jewels' and on to Dungtse Lhakhang by crossing Namai zampa (a traditional cantilever bridge). This Lhakhang is conceived as a 'mandala' with the different storeys corresponding to different levels of initiation and has a remarkable collection of some of Bhutan's most interesting paintings. Overnight: Hotel in Paro.
Day 02 :- Paro sightseeing - Bagdogra Taktsang excursion
The main highlight of the day is the hike to one of Bhutan's most venerated pilgrimage sites, the Taktshang Goemba, commonly referred to as the 'Tiger's Nest'. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900 m above the valley, Taktsang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular four hour walk will be your most overwhelming experience ever. Drive on to visit Drukgyel Dzong (the ruined fortress -17 km from the town), built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetans in 1644. Drukgyel means 'fortress of the victorious Drukpas'. The Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, and the Mount of Jumolhari (Alt 24,000 feet) appearing as a back drop on a fine weather is an awe-inspiring sight. On the way back, stop at one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the Kyichu Lhakhang built in the 13th century by the famous Buddhist Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo . Overnight: Hotel in Paro.
Day 03 :- Paro Jele Dzong (7 kms) Alt 2576 m (8,500 ft) Time = 4-5 hrs
This is a short trekking day. The trek trail is rather gradual till the camp and if the weather is clear, you will see an awe-striking view of the Paro valley against the back drop of the snow-capped mountains. O/n Camp
Day 04 :- Jele Dzong Jangchulakha (10 kms) Alt 2879 m (9,500 ft) Time = 4-5 hrs
You begin with an uphill climb for an hour and a half. The trail takes you through thick alpine forest and dwarf rhododendron trees. You may see yaks with yak herders around your campsite. O/n Camp
Day 05 :- Jangchulakha Jimilangtso (11 kms) Alt 3330 m (10, 890 ft) Time = 5-6 hrs
The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the view of the mountains and valley are breathtakingly beautiful. The campsite is close to the Lake Jimilangtso. These Lakes are known for their giant size trouts and if lucky you may enjoy a well-prepared trout for dinner. O/n Camp
Day 06 :- Jimilangtso Simkota Lake (11 kms) Alt 3485 m (11, 500 ft) Time = 4-5 hrs
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and the lake of Janetso. You may come across some Yak herder's camps where you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of nomadic life. The campsite is close to Simkota Lake and if you are lucky, you can do some trout fishing.
Day 07 :- Simkota Phajoding Thimphu (18 kms) Alt 2879 m (9, 500 ft) Time = 5- 6 hrs
The trek begins with a gradual climb. If the weather permits, you will have a spectacular view of Mount "Gangkhar Puensum", the highest mountain in Bhutan as well as other Himalayan mountain ranges from the Dochula pass. From here, the trek takes you downhill to Phajoding. The trek to Thimphu is all the way downhill through a forested area of mostly blue pine. The walk, at a leisurely pace, takes about three hours. Hot shower and dinner at the hotel. O/n Hotel in Thimphu
Day 08 :- Thimphu sightseeing
Morning, visit the Memorial Chorten, the Changangkha temple, the Institute of Traditional Medicine and the Thimphu Hospital. Also visit the post office town to see/buy a wondrous collection of Bhutanese stamps and postcards. In the afternoon visit the Folk Heritage Museum, the Institute of Arts and Crafts, the National Library and the Paper factory. Drive up to the BBS tower view point and enjoy the stunning view of the entire Thimphu town. On the drive back, stop at the mini Takin zoo (Takin is the national animal of Bhutan). Visit "the fortress of the glorious religion", TashichhoeDzong. It's a majestic fortress in all its grandeur and serves as the seat of Bhutan's government. The Dzong houses the secretariat, the throne room, the offices of his majesty the king and the ministries of home affairs and finance. On the drive back, you will pass the only golf course in the country. Ramble along the numerous handicraft stores in town in the evening to check out intricately woven Bhutanese textiles and exclusive handicrafts which you can take back with you as a souvenir of your trip to Bhutan. Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 09 :- Thimphu to Punakha via Dochula pass Drive = 3 hours
Drive on to the beautiful valley of Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. After a dramatic one hour drive, the zigzag course of the road brings you to Dochula, a beautiful mountain pass (alt 3,140 m) with its fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens. On a clear fine day, you will also get awe-inspiring glimpses of the towering Himalayan peaks around. The remaining part of the drive is mostly a gradual descent into Punakha valley. Check in to your hotel in Punakha and begin the sightseeing. Start with the Punakha Dzong, strategically built between the two rivers, the Phochu (male river) and the Mochu (female river), the winter residence of the Je-Khenpo (the religious leader of Bhutan). This is followed by an evening hike to Khamsum Yule Namgyel Chorten, a three- storey shrine built by the Queen of Bhutan. It's a brief 30-40 min walk uphill through terraces of paddy fields, chilly plantations etc. Drive to the small town of Wangduephodrang. Right before arriving Wangduephodrang you will catch a glimpse of the very distinctive Rinchengang village whose inhabitants are all celebrated stonemasons. Visit the impressive Wangduephodrang Dzong built in 1638 A.D. On the way back stop at the bride and take a short hike(45 min walk) to the Rinchengang village.This is a very unique and interesting village with all the houses clustered together like a Tibetan village. Here you can visit some village houses to see how the people live here. Return back to Punakha. Overnight: Hotel in Punakha
Day 10 :- Punakha to Paro Drive = 4-5 hours
Visit Chimi Lhakhang in the village of Lobesa (20 mins from Punakha), the auspicious fertility temple built by the famous divine madman. It's a beautiful 30 min walk amidst paddy fields and typical Bhutanese houses. Stop at some of the local village homes here to get a feel of the traditional Bhutanese way of living. The temple is beautifully perched on a small hill top overlooking the entire village. On the way back, stop for picnic lunch. In Paro, check in to the hotel and some last minute shopping. Evening: Enjoy a relaxing traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath at the hotel. Overnight: Hotel in Paro
Day 11 :- Departure
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