DAY 01 (12 Dec): ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU DAY 02 (13 Dec): THIMPHU – PUNAKHA ATTEND DRUK WANGYEL FESTIVAL DAY 03 (14 Dec): PUNAKHA SIGHTSEEING DAY 04 (15 Dec): PUNAKHA – PARO DAY 05 (16 Dec): HIKE TO TIGER’S NEST MONASTERY DAY 06 (17 Dec): DEPART PARO The Druk Wangyel Festival is a unique festival performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or lay people. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. This one of a kind tshechu is performed against the backdrop of the magnificent Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain range
DAY 01 (12 Dec): ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU
DAY 02 (13 Dec): THIMPHU – PUNAKHA ATTEND DRUK WANGYEL FESTIVAL
DAY 03 (14 Dec): PUNAKHA SIGHTSEEING
DAY 04 (15 Dec): PUNAKHA – PARO
DAY 05 (16 Dec): HIKE TO TIGER’S NEST MONASTERY
DAY 06 (17 Dec): DEPART PARO
The Druk Wangyel Festival is a unique festival performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or lay people. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. This one of a kind tshechu is performed against the backdrop of the magnificent Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain range
DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, providing a spectacular panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Drive to the capital, Thimphu along the Paa chu River.
Visit Folk Heritage Museum is a great place for those who want to learn about the traditional lifestyle of the Bhutanese people. The museum houses a rich collection of equipment, tools, household objects and artefacts from rural households, all of which offer a glimpse of the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle. Apart from showcasing these objects, the museum is also involved in organizing regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, customs and habits of the local people. Educational programs for children are also held in the museum.
Later visit the Zorig Chusum refers to the thirteen traditional arts of Bhutan. At the National Institute for Zorig Chusum in Thimphu, students learn these arts, which include clay sculpting, traditional painting, tailoring, wood carving, gold and silver smiting, and mask carving. Some of the other arts taught here are wood turning and lacquering, embroidery, and traditional boot making. Aspiring artists attend the courses from one to four years. In the institute, one can visit the classrooms and watch students fine-tuning their crafts.
Jungshi Handmade paper factory, rough natural fibers are extracted from the bark of two species of highland shrubs and slowly transformed into beautiful translucent sheets of paper. The factory uses the bark of two tree species, the Daphne tree and Dhekap tree in the manufacture of traditional paper. Visitors can observe the entire process of producing handmade paper using ancient traditional methods that have been practiced for generations. You can even try your hand at this ancient craft and make some paper of your very own as a souvenir. Deh-sho paper was originally used by monasteries for woodblock and manuscript books and also for writing prayer books.
Weaving center Located in the south end of Thimphu, the Weaving Centre is a privately owned centre which produces traditional hand-woven textiles of the region. Apart from producing items for sale, the centre is also famous for producing ceremonial textiles for the for Bhutanese royals, including the gho and kushturara for the king and queen. The place is known for its huge collection of a wide range of clothing and readymade garments, including carves, belts, and jackets among other things. What attracts travellers to this place is the fact that one can see the weavers at work, and photographs are allowed too. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu
DAY 02: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA ATTEND THE FESTIVAL AT DOCHULA PASS 3000 METERS
Leave Thimphu early after Breakfast up to Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters) to attend the spectacular Druk Wangyal Festival (45 Minutes drive, 22 km). Set amidst this breathtaking backdrop of Himalayan mountains, the Druk Wangyal Tsechu is an experience unlike any other and truely exemplifies Bhutanese cultural traditions. The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang was built over a period of four years (2004-2008) under the vision and patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo. The Lhakhang honors the courageous service of the Fourth King, who personally led the troops against the insurgents, as well as the regular Armed Forces of the country. The Druk Wangyal Tshechu is a unique festival performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or lay people. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan
Afterwards drive towards the Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi, which is situated at an altitude range of 2,100m to 3,800m. The park (47 square kilometers), serves as the biological corridor connecting to the Jigme Dorji National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.
Continue on to Punakha where you will have the remainder of the day at leisure. Stroll around Punakha town in the evening. Overnight at hotel in Punakha.
DAY 03: PUNAKHA
Visit Punakha Dzong the impressive Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of 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. Considered the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan where every Bhutanese king has been crowned and where it is still in use as the winter residence of the official monk body of the kingdom. The Dzong is placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. This ancient fortress is the winter residence of the monastic order’s head and still serves as the administrative headquarters for the Punakha region.
After visiting the Punakha Dzong take a leisurely walk for 5 to 10 minutes to reach the longest suspension bridge of Bhutan. We have a great view of villages on the other side of the river.
Visit the Nunnery, nunnery is located on top of a hill overlooking the magnificent Punakha and Wangduephodrang valleys. Nunnery was built as a Buddhist College for nuns and currently houses about 120 nuns. The nunnery complex also houses a meditation center for nuns. Over night at hotel in Punakha.
DAY 04: PUNAKHA – PARO
After the breakfast drive towards Paro crossing the beautiful 108 stupas at the Dochula pass and the capital city Thimphu. Stop at Chuzom bridge, Confluence of Thimphu River (Wang Chu) & Paro river (Pa Chu) to stretch you legs from the long drive. En-route stop to visit the Tamchog, built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a pioneering engineer who introduced the construction of suspension bridges into Bhutan and Tibet. It is believed that more than 58 bridges were built across the country however only 2 have survived. One of these bridges still stands strong at the base of the Tamchog Lhakhang. Marvel at the iron bridge reconstructed using original chain links. Upon reaching Paro lunch will be served. After lunch do the Zuri Hike 45 minutes hike. The hike provides wonderful views down over the valley and Dzong and is perfect for you to train your legs for the tiger’s nest hike the next day. In the evening stroll around the Paro town to look for souvenir to take back home and take good rest in the hotel to prepare for the hike to the Tiger’s nest. Overnight in hotel at Paro.
DAY 05: HIKE TO TIGER’S NEST MONASTERY
After early breakfast we start the Tiger’s nest hike, the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometer above the Paro valley floor. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, founding father of the Bhutanese form of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. The main structure was severely damaged by fire in 1998, but after many years of painstaking restoration work, the complex has now been fully restored to its former glory.
Later in the evening we highly recommend you to take a relaxing hot stone bath at a traditional Bhutanese home stay to relax your sore muscles after the hike. (Extra charges applicable). Overnight in hotel at Paro.
DAY 06: PARO
Depart Paro for your onward journey.
Some of the sights/itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the rights to alter the itinerary since tours are made in advance and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve your overall travel experience in Bhutan
The driving and hiking times mentioned are approximate times and do not include breaks in the journey for sightseeing, photo/tea/meal/rest stops. There may be delays in transfer time due road conditions, road repair/widening works, inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. During the treks/hikes, there may be delays or diversion of hiking trails due to trail conditions, inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. Please note that at the moment there are numerous areas where road conditions are not very good due to road widening/repair works and you may experience rough and bumpy drives.
WHAT WE INCLUDE IN OUR TAILOR MADE BHUTAN TOURS:
• Passport (with at least 6 months’ validity from the date of your exit from Bhutan)
• Print out copy of the visa & International air tickets.
• Temperatures will fluctuate greatly depending on elevation and time of day. You should be prepared for a minimum temperature of 04 degrees and a maximum of 30 degrees. You have to plan for layered clothing to be prepared for such a wide-ranging temperature fluctuations.
• Drink only bottled water, sodas, beer, etc.
• Stay away from any cold salad! These are normally rinsed in tap water before or after being sliced and are a major cause of traveler’s gastro-intestinal distress.
• All tipping is optional and by no means mandatory, however if you feel that your staff and drivers have performed at a good or excellent level, it is a great way to let them know you appreciate their efforts.
A few reminders:
• Accept or offer items with the right hand or, more politely, with both hands. Using both hands to give or receive signifies that you honor the offering and the recipient or giver.
• When you visit Buddhist shrines or temples, it is appropriate and a sign of respect to walk around the building in a clockwise direction (so that the structure is to your right side). This is also true for mani walls (walls built of stone tablets with Buddhist mantras carved on them) and Chorten (small Buddhist shrines.)
• Your guide will give you additional tips along the way, when in doubt, check in with them. You will be travelling into areas that have had relatively few foreign visitors. Your positive attitude and interaction is needed and welcomed to maximize this adventure.
What should I bring with me for the trip?
• Good walking shoes
• Sunscreen (highest possible)
• Headgear for sunny days
• Bug/Insect repellent
• Cotton clothing for summer days, light woolen clothes for evenings. Heavy woolens for winter.
• Shorts for hiking and walking around town are fine. Out of respect, please don’t wear shorts in public buildings or monasteries. Have a pair of long pants or longer skirt for these locations.