CENTRAL BHUTAN TOUR
Arrival and Drive from Paro to Thimphu.
Pick up from Paro International Airport (2280m). Depending on the arrival time of the Druk Air flight, you will either be served a meal in Paro or be driven straight to Thimphu, the capital city, which is about 53 kilometres away. The drive normally takes about an hour and a half. If Thimphu is reached early, you can go out in the town and mingle with the Bhutanese people. Dinner will be served in the hotel.
Sightseeing in Thimphu (2320m) includes visits to, National Library which was established in 1967 and has many ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts); Painting School or the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (the 13 traditional arts and crafts like painting, woodcarving, embroidery and statue making; National Memorial Chorten which was built in 1974 in memory of the third King of Bhutan; Semtokha Dzong which is about five kilometres south of Thimphu. Semtokha Dzong was built in 1629 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Today it houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.); Tashichhodzong is the seat of the government of Bhutan. It houses the secretariat, the Throne Room, His Majesty's secretariat, the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. If the sightseeing falls on the weekend you can visit Thimphu's open vegetable market where farmers from the nearby regions gather to sell their produce.
Thimphu to Punakha/Wangduephodrang
The first stop on this road journey is at Dochula pass at 3,140 meters. Dochula is about 23 kilometres from Thimphu and on a clear day, it offers a clear view of the Himalayas. After refreshments in Dochula, the journey continues to Punakha. Lunch will be served at the hotel. After lunch sightseeing in Punakha and Wangduephodrang. Punakha Dzong was built in 1637 and was the former capital of Bhutan. It lies at the confluence of the Mo Chu (female river) and the Pho Chu (male river). Punakha Dzong still serves at the winter residence as the winter residence of the Central Monk Body. Wangduephodrang is about 21 kilometres from Punakha and its dzong which sits on the top of the high ridge was built in 1638. The ridge provides a panoramic view of the valley. Return to the hotel where dinner will be served.
Wangduephodrang/Punakha to Trongsa
After breakfast drive to Trongsa. Trongsa is 129 kilometers from Wangduephodrang. Check-in to hotel. Check-in to the hotel.
Trongsa Sightseeing, Drive Trongsa to Bumthang
After breakfast visit Trongsa Dzong, one of Bhutan's oldest historical, political and religious monuments also known as Druk Minjur Chhoekhor Rabtentse Dzong. Built 463 years ago, Trongsa dzong sits on a high ridge overlooking the Mangde Chhu (river) and represents an important link with Bhutan's precious institution of monarchy. It was the dzong where future Kings formalized their ascension as Chhoetse Penlop before ascending the Golden Throne. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck's investiture ceremony as the Chhoetse Penlop in Trongsa Dzong took place on October 30, 2004. Visit Ta Dzong, the watchtower of the Trongsa Dzong. The chapel inside the tower is dedicated to the Jigme Namgyal, the 19th-century Trongsa penlop (governor). After Lunch Drive to Bumthang, 68 kilometres away. It is one of the easier and more scenic drives as it passes through many villages and monasteries as the highway enters the Bumthang valley. Check in to Hotel.
After breakfast Visit Jakar Dzong, the largest Dzong in Bhutan. It has a circumference of 1500 metres. Visit the Kurje Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, Tamshing Monastery and the Swiss Farm. Check in to Hotel.
Proceed to Ura (48 kilometres from Jakar), a valley to the southeast of Jakar. It is believed to have been the home of the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. Ura is a very beautiful valley with Buddhist monasteries and traditional houses. After lunch, Drive back to Bumthang.
Bumthang to Gangtey
After breakfast drive to Gangtey Goempa in Phobjikha valley. Gangtey Goempa overlooks the large green expanse of Phobjikha valley, a glacial valley on the western slopes of the black mountain range. The valley is an important wildlife centre in Bhutan and is the roosting ground of the endangered blacked-necked cranes that fly there from the Tibetan plateau during the winter grounds. Overnight in Hotel.
Gangtey to Paro via Thimphu
Drive to Paro after breakfast. Lunch on the way to Thimphu. Overnight Halt at Paro.
After breakfast, visit the National Museum housed in the Ta-Dzong which was built in 1656 and served as the watch tower of Paro Dzong in the past. Visit Paro Dzong, also called the Rinchen Phug Dzong, which means fortress on a heap of Jewels. Paro Dzong is one of the most impressive and well-known dzongs of Bhutan and was built in 1644. After lunch in town, proceed towards Drukgyel Dzong, 14 kilometres from Paro town. Also known as the fortress of victory Drukgyel Dzong was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1649 to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644. Return to the hotel. Dinner will be served in the hotel.
After breakfast, drive for about eight kilometres north of Paro town to visit Bhutan's most well-known monastery, Taktshang or Tiger's Lair perched on a cliff 900 metres above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the eighth century flew to a cave in Taktshang spot on a tigress and mediated for three months. The trek to the monastery and back takes about four hours. Lunch will be served in the cafeteria near the monastery. . Drive back to the Hotel.