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The glacial valley of Phobjikha Tour(10days)
Day 1: Arrival at 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 Drake, 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 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 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 the 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: Paro to Thimphu/Thimphu Sightseeing
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. This dzong was built by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel 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 Bazar 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: Visit to Punakha & Wangdiphodrang
This day consists of your drive to Punakha and Wangdiphodrang that is 4 hours from the capital. On the way you will stop at Cafe called the Dochula Pass which is at 3050 meters. From here 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 which was built by a famous divine madmonk named 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 Jekhenpho the chief abbot and also serves as the administration center of the Punakha district. After the sightseeing of Punakha valley you can then proceed to Wangdiphodrang. On your way you will see a different kind of village, 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. After a satisfying view over the dzong you can have your lunch in Wangdi town.
Gangtey is 3 hours drive from Wangdiphodrang. As you enter Gangtey,”the valley of Dwarf bamboo shoots” you will find it as one of the most beautiful valleys in the country. This place is the winter home of the endangered blacknecked cranes (Grus nigricllis) who migrate from the Tibetain plateau and China. There is a guesthouse in Gangtey owned by the Gangtey Tulku. There you can enjoy the privilege of the only lighted guesthouse in the whole valley. A monastery stands next to it and is headed by the Gangtey Tulku. It is said that this is the only Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. Overnight at Guesthouse.
Day 5: Journey to Bumthang
You will be surprised to see another valley further south of the Gantey valley. It is called the Phobjikha valley but it is a part of the Gangtey itself. Over there most of the tourists camp for the night and also fish along the meanders. The Black necked cranes are mostly seen there. After breakfast you can start your journey to Bumthang, 5 hours 30 minutes away from Gangtey. Well crossing the Black Mountains which divide the Central and Eastern Bhutan and the Pele La Pass at an Altitude of 3150 meters, you will then pass a White washed Chorten, the Chendebji Chorten. It was founded by a lama, Shida. After an hour’s drive you will then reach Trongsa. Trongsa Dzong built in 1647 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel is a masterpiece in architecture that includes countless courtyards, passageways and corridors and 23 temples. After lunch you can drive for 2 hours and reach Bumthang. Overnight in guesthouse.
Day 6 & 7: Bumthang Sightseeing
You have reached one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. Bumthang is a paradise place for trekkers, hikers ranging from an altitude of 2,600 meters to 4000 meters. In this valley you have the opportunities to visit many monasteries infact the important ones like the Kurjey Lhakhang, Jamphel lhakhang etc. You can also visit the Dzong that was built in 1646 and from there you can catch a good view over the Bumthang valley. After your sightseeing, if you remember on your way yesterday you must have come across some villages and one of them being Chumey village which is really famous for the rich woolen textiles dyed with natural colours. You will also find Yatas and thin woolen cloth with patterns made into warm Jackets and other clothes. If you would like to do some shopping you can ask your guide to help you. Overnight at guesthouse.
Drive back to Wangdiphodrang (8 hours drive).
Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu (3hrs).
Day 10: Thimphu to Paro (2-hrs)
Depart from Airport.