London Heathrow to Delhi by flight
Day 02: Delhi
Upon arrival at Delhi airport welcome, meet and assist by our representative and transfer to Hotel – 1400 Hrs standard check-in time
Rest of the day at leisure and Overnight stay at Hotel
Day 03: Delhi to Paro by air
ARRIVE PARO BY AIR & TRANSFER TO THIMPHU (55 KMS / 1½ HRS DRIVE APPROX)
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in the entire Himalayas. Whether flying along with the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be the cool, clean, fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative. Then drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan with a stop-off at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Three different styles of stupas: Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese adorn this confluence. Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left the Tachogang Lhakhang, “the temple of the excellent horse”. It is a private temple, built in the 15th century, as a result of the visitation from Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig, the compassionate Buddha.
On arrival in Thimphu, check-into the hotel. Thimphu is also the centre of government, religion, and commerce. It is a unique city with an unusual mix of modern and ancient traditions and culture. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a metropolitan and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and the monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style.
In the evening, take an exploratory walk around Thimphu’s Main Street and market area. Also, visit the Local Crafts Bazaar and browse through some of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry and many interesting items made from local materials.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu (Altitude 2400m).
Day 4: Thimphu
After breakfast, sightseeing in the Thimphu valley including a visit to the following: The National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts; the Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. Later, visit the Textile Museum, which provides an insight into one of the most distinct art forms in Bhutan. Also visit Simply Bhutan, a living museum and studio encapsulating the cultural heritage of the Bhutanese people. After lunch, take a short drive (15 km) to Pangri Zampa, built in the 16th century and one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan located just north of Thimphu. Here is a monastic school where Buddhist monks learn Lamaism and astrology based on Buddhist philosophy.
Afterwards, visit the Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). Located a short drive away from Thimphu city center, visitors can get a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley from here. You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest in the country. A walk in and around the premises taking in the scenic beauty of the surroundings is a popular activity even among the locals. Then visit the Memorial Chorten where you will always see people from all walks of life circumambulating and chanting mantras or spinning prayer wheels. This landmark was conceived by Bhutan’s third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the Father of modern Bhutan”) who wished to erect a monument for world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and a monument to global peace.
Later, visit the Trashichhoedzong, one of the most important dzongs in the country. This impressive fortress/monastery houses the Throne Room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot and the central monk body.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
Day 5: Thimphu – Gangtey (150 KMS / 5 HRS DRIVE APPROX)
After breakfast at the hotel and check out, drive to Punakha across the beautiful Dochula pass (3O8Om). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten (stupa) and prayer flags. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view of the towering peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day. The Druk Wangyel Stupas (hundred stupas) are a sight to behold against this backdrop.
The highway follows the scenic Dang Chhu before climbing through forests of bamboo and oak into Gangtey/Phobjikha valley.
On arrival at Gangtey, Check-into the Valley Camp (hlrbhutan.com). In the evening, take a stroll around the fascinating Gangtey Village. Overnight in Gangtey
Day 6: Gangtey
After breakfast, proceed to visit Gangtey Goempa, perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor. The Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountains and also the biggest one in Bhutan. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens (lay monks) who take care of the Monastery.
Later, explore the wide Phobjikha valley. A few kilometres beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor, lies the village of Phobjikha. This quiet, remote valley is the winter home of the black-necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangdue Phodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley boasts two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Chhu Naap-black water) and Gay Chhu (Chhu Karp-white water). According to a local legend, the two rivers actually represent a snake and a boar. The two animals once raced each other with an agreement that if the snake (Nakay Chhu) won, Phobjikha valley would be able to grow rice, but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area. The snake lost since it had to meander all the way during its journey. Rice cannot be cultivated in the valley even today.
Also visit the Black Necked Crane Visitor Centre: Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the Centre has an observation room equipped with a high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also displays information that outlines the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop that sells handicrafts produced by the local people. Overnight in Phobjikha.
Day 7: Gangtey – Punakha (70 KMS / 3 HRS DRIVE APPROX)
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan. On arrival in Punakha; Check-into the hotel. Later visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still serves as the winter residence of the monk body.
Next, visit the Chimi Lhakhang. From the hotel, it is about 15 mins drive up to the motorable road from where the walk starts through paddy fields and villages. (about 1.1/2 hour walk, to and fro). The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the center of the valley is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that childless couples who pray at this temple are usually blessed with a child very soon. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. A walk through the village near the temple will give you a rare glimpse of the daily lives of the people in the community.
Overnight in Punakha
Day 8: Punakha – Paro (120 KMS / 4½ HRS DRIVE APPROX)
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Paro along the scenic highway, Enroute visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country built-in 1627. It houses some sacred shrines that offer solace and peace. Also visit the Black Necked Crane Visitor Centre: Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the Centre has an observation room equipped with a high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The center also displays information that outlines the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop that sells handicrafts produced by the local people. Overnight in Phobjikha.
Day 9: Paro
After breakfast, excursion to Taktsang Monastery (approx. 5hrs walk): It is one of the most famous monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived on the back of a tigress and meditated here and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site is recognized as one of the most sacred places in Bhutan. It was also visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and is now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of the building. However, this iconic monastery has been restored to its original splendor.
After the day hike to Taktsang monastery, you may enjoy the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel or shopping in Paro town.
Overnight in Paro.
Day 10: Paro to Delhi by Air
After an early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell. Upon arrival at Delhi airport transfer to Hotel. Rest of the day and Overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 11: Delhi to London Heathrow by flight
Transfer from hotel to Delhi airport in time to board flight for London Heathrow