Day 1: Arrival from Paro to Thimphu: (50 Kms / 1h20)
You are welcomed at Paro airport by the representative of our local agency or by your French-speaking guide for
Welcome to Bhutan.
Bhutan's first gift is fresh, clean air coming out of the plane. After customs clearance and visa check, you will be briefed by our guide and transferred to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. The trip will take about an hour.
Arrival of an installation at the hotel.
Thimphu has a population of around 100,000. The city is made up of only three rows of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. In the evening, we will visit the handicraft center, where all types of Bhutanese handicrafts are made and sold.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Thimphu:
This morning, after breakfast, you will visit the city of Thimpu.
• Memorial Chorten:This stupa was built in 1974 to honor the 3rd King of Bhutan, JigmeDorjiWangchuck. This religious structure is only circumambulated clockwise (saying prayers and spinning the large red prayer wheels).
• Buddha Stitch:Visit the world's largest seated Buddha, a huge statue housing a monastery and visitor center. Enjoy stunning views of Thimphu city from this point.
• Takin National Reserve (mini-zoo): Route in Takin National Park - Mini-zoo: Motithang Takin Reserve in Thimphu is a wildlife sanctuary to take for the takin, national animal of Bhutan. Originally a mini-zoo, it has was turned into a reserve when it was discovered that the animals refrained from living in the surrounding forest, even after their release.
• School of Thirteen Arts and Crafts: This is the main center of learning for Bhutanese artists. Depending on the student's interest, one can specialize in one of 13 arts and crafts, including painting, weaving, carving, blacksmithing, embroidery, etc. This is the best place to experience the traditional art of Bhutan.
• National Textile Museum – This museum is worth a visit to learn about the vibrant art of Bhutan's national weaving. The ground floor is dedicated to Cham costumes, while the upper floor displays the main weaving techniques, local clothing styles and the type of textile made by women and men. There is usually a small group of weavers working on their looms inside the store, which features work from the famous Lhuentse weaving center in northeast Bhutan.
• National Library: National Library created in 1967 and containing many ancient texts in Dzongkha and Tibetan. Dinner and overnight at the hotel
Day 3: Thimphu / Gangtey: (130 kms / 3h30)
After breakfast, you will depart for Gangtey. The road climbs steeply through a pine and cedar forest with lichens to the summit of Dochula Pass (3,150m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountains. After stopping for a cup of tea and admiring the view, we descend through a series of hairpin bends into the fertile Wangdue Valley, one of the major towns and district headquarters in western Bhutan. We stop briefly to admire the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. From there, a gradual ascent takes you to the Gangtey (Phobjikha) valley. Gangtey lies east of Punakha and Wangdue on the flanks of Black Mountain. It is an old Gangtey Gompa monastery dating back to the 17th century. The fascinating Phobjikha Valley is a few kilometers from the Gompa at the bottom of the valley. The gently sloping hills of Phobjikha are described as "the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas". It is a winter home of black-necked cranes that migrate from the arid northern plains to winter in a milder, colder climate Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 04: Gangtey / Bumthang via Trongsa: (160 Kms / 5h45)
After breakfast, we start today early for a fabulous drive through the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive from Bumthang via Trongsa takes about six hours and passes over Pelela Pass (3,300m). The Central Road, crossing the Black Mountains, was completed 30 years ago and has brought great changes to the people of central Bhutan. We then climb through semi-tropical vegetation and then reach Pelela Pass (3,300 m) in an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between Western and Eastern Bhutan. If the weather is clear, we can see the Himalayan range, especially the peak of Jhomulhari (7314 m) to the west. On the way, we pass through Chendebji Chorten, built centuries ago to quell a demon. After lunch, we will go to the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral cradle of the ruling dynasty. In the past, the Dzong commanded the passage between eastern and western Bhutan. We then head to Bumthang Valley (described as "one of the most beautiful spots in the Himalayas" by Yotongla Pass (3400m), Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 05: Bumthang:
Toady after breakfast you will visit one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and the heart of Buddhism, Bumthang. Guru and his line of Tertons (treasure hunters) gave birth to many temples in the valley.In the morning, we visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century) and Kurjey Lhakhang (where Guru Rinpoche subjugated a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock). Hikingto visit Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Terton Pema Lingpa).After lunch, walk in Thangbi valley, cross the suspension bridge and visit Thangbi Lhakhang (14th century), then go to Jakar Dzong. (headquarters of the district administration). Walk in the city of Chamkhar.Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 06: Bumthang / Punakha: (220 Kms / 7h30)
This morning after breakfast you will drive to Punakha.The drive to Punakha via wangdue takes about seven hours via Pelela Pass.Lunch served en route.Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 07: Punakha / Paro: (126 Kms / 3h20)
Today after breakfast visit Punakha Dzong, winter seat of Je Khenpo and former capital of Bhutan, remarkably situated between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. The Dzong is only open to visitors in summer, when Je Khenpo and the monk's body are in Thimphu.After visiting Punakha Dzong, we will drive to Paro. Check-in at the hotel in Paro.Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 08: Visit of the Paro Valley.
After breakfast, drive to Drukgyal Dzong (ruined fortress located 16 km from Paro town). The dzong, although ruined, has great historical significance. It was from this fortress that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan invasions. The name means victorious Bhutanese. This place offers a magnificent view of Mount Chomolhari, "Mountain of the Goddess" (7,329 m). Visit a typical Bhutanese farm on the way back. Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century, is a short distance south of the road. This temple was built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It holds the left foot of an ogress whose body is so large that it covers Bhutan and most of eastern Tibet. Also visit Rinpung Dzong. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first temporal ruler of Bhutan, it now houses the Paro monastic body and the offices of the Dzongda (governor) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. It is the venue for the Paro Tshechu festival which is held once a year.Then visit Ta Dzong, an old watchtower. This Dzong was turned into a national museum in 1968. The museum houses the ancient Thangka, textiles, weapons and armor, household items, and a rich assortment of natural and historical artifacts. Evening walk in the main town of Paro.Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 09: Paro - Hike to Taktsang:
Today, go early in the morning to Satsam for a trek to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery. The hike to the cafeteria takes about an hour and a half. From the vantage point, take in sweeping views of the monasterywhere Guru Padmasambhava is on the back of the tiger in the 8th century. Returning to where you are picked up by your car, you will be driven to your hotel. In the evening, do some last-minute shopping.Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Departure:
Today morning after breakfast, you are transferred to the airport according to the schedule of your return flight.