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The east west Transact (14 days)
Day 1: First day in Paro
The first day flight to Paro airport will bring you the most spectacular view of the Himalayan ranges.Twenty five minutes before you land in the Dragon kingdom you will be able to view the highest mountain range, The Everest and then other mountains like the Mt.Kanchenjunga, Mt.Makalu and at the later end you will also see the mountains of Bhutan like the most famous Mt.Chomolhari, Mt.Jichu Darke, Mt.Tsrim Gang etc. Finally after a great view you will reach Paro airport after 2 hrs 45 minutes (from BKK) or 1 hr 30 minutes (from KTM). There your respective guide will receive you. Here there are two options, one you can either drive to the Capital, i.e 2hrs from Paro or halt at Paro (2250 m) i.e 15 minutes away from the airport. If your flight is early then you will be served lunch at your respective hotel. You can then discuss the other following programmes with your guide. In the evening if you are not tired then you can take a drive/walk through the Paro town.
Day 2: Paro Sightseeing
On your second day you will go for Paro Sightseeing. In the morning you will experience a small hike of 3 hrs to the Taksang monastery (The tiger’s nest). A small history on this monastery will help you understand further and appreciate the monastery.
As believed by the Bhutanese, Guru Padmasambhava flew here on a tiger’s back in the 8th century and meditated for three months. Later in 1684 this holy place was built. When you finish your climb you will reach a cafe where you will get a very good view of the monastery. There you will be served tea and snacks. For some tourists who wants to get a very close view of the monastery, they can further climb for the next 45 minutes and enjoy the 50 meter close view of the Tiger’s Nest. You can ask your guide to give you a detailed explanation. Later when you reach back then the first sightseeing will be to visit the Drukgyel Dzong (fotress) which is 10 klms further. This dzong was built in 1684 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel to celebrate the victory over the Tibetans. At present too you can view this dzong in ruins since it was burned down accidentally by a candle fire in 1874.You can proceed to go for lunch either in town or back to your hotel. After lunch you can then proceed to visit the Tag Dzong which was later converted into the National Museum in 1967.Inside the museum you will find many antique thankas, different kinds of textiles, a small temple of life, different statues, etc. After this you can drive to the Rimpung Dzong or the Paro dzong which was built in 17th century. This dzong is now the administration center and school for the monks. In the evening you can take a short walk in the town. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Drive to Thimphu
You can have an easy start from Paro since Thimphu (2300m) is just 2hrs drive. On the way you will see a monastery called the Tachogang lhakhang. You can ask your guide for some explanation. After a drive of 1 hour you will reach a place called chuzom which means the meeting of two rivers. The Thimphu river and Paro river meets here at a confluence of three different kinds of monastery that you will see in the country. There will be a road junction from which one goes to the south which leads to Phuentsholing in the southern part of Bhutan and the other to the capital. Before reaching Thimphu you will see a dzong on the top of a hill which is the Simtokha dzong. Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel built this dzong, which is infact one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan. It was built in 1627 and at present it is being used as a school for the monks and also for students who want to learn Dzongkha in a professional field. You will reach Thimphu after 15 minutes from this dzong and then you can either check in your hotel first or start with your sightseeing after lunch. The first thing you will visit is the Memorial Chorten which was built in memory of the third king in 1974.You can further go inside the Chorten and enjoy the most exotic statues of the gods. You can then visit the Indigenous hospital, the Painting school where the art of ancient painting is used by the students. Then you can visit the Tashichhodzong from outside which is the seat of the Royal Government and central monastic body. After this you can go back to your hotel for some tea and relaxation. Then you can further continue your sightseeing by going to the Post office, Paper factory, a small weaving practice center, Changangkha monastery, Zangto Pelhri monastery and Zilukha nunnery. In the evening you can drive to the viewpoint from which you can view the whole Thimphu City. On the way you can also stop and visit a small zoo to see the National animal of Bhutan, the Takin. Later you can go for a walk on your own in the town. Overnight at hotel.
Please note that if you are in Thimphu during the weekends then you can visit the Subji Bazaar i.e the vegetable market where you will witness a lot of natural people in their own style of selling and buying vegetables.
Day 4: Drive to Punakha & Wangdiphodrang
This day consists of your drive to Punakha and Wangdiphodrang, which is 4 hours, drive from the capital. On the way you will stop at the Dochula Pass which is at 3050 meters. There is a café above the pass where you can enjoy a hot cup of tea & snacks. From there you will experience a superd view towards your north of the Himalayan ranges. You will then drive down further through temperate forests into semitropical range of orange and cactuses. Before you reach a junction you will see Chime Lhakang built by a famous divine madmonk Drukpa Kinley.This monastery is a famous pilgrim site for infertile women who wish to bear children. As you drive further you will pass Khuruthang which is the Punakha town. This town has been shifted from the pervious town near the dzong and is a new settlement of the Punakha People. When you reach near the dzong you will see the Punakha dzong built on the meeting of the Phochu (Male River) and the Mochu (Female River). This Dzong was the winter capital 300 years ago; today it is the winter residence of the Je- khenpho the chief abbot and also serves as the administration center of the Punakha district.
You can then proceed for lunch to Wangdiphodrang. On your way you will see a different kind of village called the Richengang village. Here you will see the houses are built very close together. You can visit the Wangdiphodrang dzong, which was built in 1647 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel. Overnight at Wangdi or Punakha.
Day 5: To Tongsa via Gangtey.
After an early breakfast you will head towards the eastern Bhutan. You will reach a beautiful valley, the Gantey valley within a 3 hours drive. Gantey is a winter home to the rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes (grus nigricllis) who migrate to Bhutan around mid November from Tibet and China. These cranes have the human imaginations for centuries with their intelligence, sociality, beauty and freedom which has given rise to several myths, legends, folktales and songs. Last year 1999 about 415 cranes visited the kingdom and by February they always fly back to their native land. There is small monastery by the name Gangtey monastery that is said to be the only Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan headed by the Gangtey tulku. You can have lunch at the guesthouse and then start to proceed for Tongsa. You will continue your journey passing through the Pela La pass (Alt. 3150 meters) crossing the Black Mountains, which divide the Western & the Eastern Bhutan. On the way you will see a big white washed Chorten, the Chendebji Chorten built by a lama called Shida in the 18th century. You can take a little rest and look around the Chorten. After 5 hours of driving from Gangtey you will view the Trongsa dzong from one side of the road. Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel built this dzong in 1647. It is a masterpiece of his architecture that includes countless courtyards, passageways and corridors. The Tongsa market is small town and you will mostly find Tibetain settlements as shopkeepers in the shops. You will be guided to a hotel for the overnight.
Day 6: Journey to Bumthang
You can have an easy drive of 2 hours and reach Bumthang. Sightseeing in Bumthang mainly consists of the Jakar dzong built in 1646 AD. You can the visit different important monasteries in Bumthang like the Jambay lhakhang, Kurjey lhakhang, Kenchog sum Lhakhang , Tamshing ,Kurjey Lhakhang and other Pema Samba lhakhangs.
You will visit a lake, the Flaming Lake i.e the Membartsho, 10 klms from Bumthang. In the evening you can drive to some important villages like the Ura valley and the Tang valley.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Bumthang to Mongar
The journey today is a little longer so you should have an early start. You will pass through the Thrumshing La (3800 mtrs) and is the highest pass in Bhutan. As you drive for an hour you will experience to drive through the Namling village where you will see a beautiful waterfall. You will then drive downwards until you come to a place called Limithang. This place is not much noticed but there is a Agricultural farm below the road. The road
further drives to a bridge, Kurichu zampa where the junction of two roads divides. One road leads to the Kurichu project i.e the hydroelectricity project (60 Mega Watts) and the other climbs to Mongar. After covering 20 more Klms you will reach Mongar district. Overnight at Guesthouse.
Day 8: Mongar to Trashigang
After breakfast you can star your sightseeing. Mongar is a district headquarters but hardly more than a transit town. The dzong in Mongar is not very big but it also serves as an administration headquarters for the government and a school for monks. It was built in 19th century and restored in 1990 since it was gutted down by fire. After lunch you can start moving to Trashigang. The journey from Mongar to Trashigang is 3 hours. When you reach Trashigang you can check in your guesthouse and then relax and prepare for your sightseeing for the next day.
Day 9: Trashigang Sightseeing
Visit the Trashigang dzong built in 1659 AD. The dzong overlooks the Gamri river and has a remarkable view of the Trashigang valley. After lunch you can drive to a Rangjung and visit a monastery there. Overnight at guesthouse.
Day 10: Drive to Khaling
The next day you can drive to Khaling, 65 klms away from Trashigang. On the way you will pass through the only University of Bhutan, The Sherubste University and also the Zangtopelhri monastery. In Khaling you will you can visit the Blind school, the weaving center and then return back to Trashigang.
Trashigang to Bumthang
Bumthang to Thimphu
Thimphu to Paro
Day 14: Drive to airport
BUT IF YOU ARE LEAVING THROUGH GUWAHATI (INDIA) THEN AS CONTINUED FROM DAY TEN
Trashigang to SamdrupJongkhar
After visiting Khaling you can further drive to SamdrupJongkhar in the south and stay over night.
SamdrupJongkhar to Guwahati
Your guide will then drive you to Guwahati and see you off there.