Day 1: Arrival Paro and transfer to Thimphu. Fly from Bangkok to Paro on Druk Air. From a window seat on clear days you can experience a spectacular view of Himalayan peaks as you approach Paro. On arrival you will be received by our representative and then drive to Thimphu the Capital City, the drive will take about 2 hours. After lunch, visit Bhutan National Bank for currency exchange and then you can get an opportunity to purchase exquisite collector Bhutanese stamps.
Then visit National Library where ancient texts and manuscripts are preserved; The Indigenous Hospital where traditional medicines are still practiced; Woodcraft and Painting school where traditional art and crafts are still kept alive; Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles are displayed and can be purchased. In the evening explore the busy Thimphu town with your guide or on your own. Overnight Hotel Megmar/Hotel Pedling.
Day 2: Thimphu – Punakha. Drive early to drive to Phobjikha, across Dochu-La Pass at 3050m from where snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass taking you deeper into the essence of Bhutan. Once you cross the pass, you wind down into a warm fertile valley of Wangdue. Visit Wangduephodrang which is built in 17th Century by Shebdrung Nawang Namgyel and afternoon hike to Chhimi Lhakhang the temple of fertility. Then drive to Hotel in Punakha. Overnight Damchen Resort/Hotel Zangtoperi.
Day 3: Attend Punakha Festival. After breakfast, proceed to Punakha town to view the majestic Dzong (fortress), situated between the two rivers Pho Chu and Mochu (male and Female River). This fortress is now used as the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (the Spiritual head of Bhutan). In the past this Dzong was the capital seat of the Kingdom. We visit the dzong inside and attend the ongoing festival. You have whole day for witnessing the masked dances and the fair around the monastery ground. Meet the local people and exchange information or make a lifelong friend. Overnight - Same hotel.
Day 4: Punakha to Paro. In the morning, short hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten in the northern part of the valley. Newly built and it is a more elaborate version of the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu. It has an astounding work of frescoes and intricate statues. Then drive to Dourchu la cafeteria for lunch. Then finally drive back to Paro valley. Overnight Tashi Namgay Resort/Tenzinling Resort.
Day 5: Paro Valley Sightseeing. Today first visit the Drukgyal Dzong built in 1647 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal, the Dzong was destroyed by fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. On a clear day you can get a magnificent view of the Mount Chomolhari, alt. 7314 m/23,990 ft. Go round the fortress, it is a 30 minutes leisurely hike, this is a beautiful walk. Drive south to Satsam Chorten, built in memory of the late Dilgo Khentse Rinpochey, and continue on to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in seventh century by a Tibetan King, Songtsen Gonpo. After lunch we will visit the National Museum of Bhutan, (Ta Dzong) which contains works of art, handicrafts, costumes, armors and rare stamps. Take a leisurely hike down to Rimpung Dzong. You will walk through a traditional covered bridge across the river to your waiting car and drive to your hotel. Overnight – same hotel.
Day 6: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery. After breakfast your car will drop you at the starting point of the excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue the hike (if not tired) for short while until you see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the remains of Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger. Looking at the monastery flying tigers doesn’t seem so impossible after all. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria. Overnight same hotel.
Day 7: Departure from Paro International airport. After breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport in time to catch up your onward flight. Your escort from Discovery Bhutan will bid you farewell and soon the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.
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