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Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Paro Taktsang monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.
In the afternoon enjoy sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong now housing as the National Museum of Bhutan displaying the religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Than visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered to be the master of meditation and believed to have attained enlightenment by the Bhutanese people. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours). Check into the hotel, overnight in Thimphu.
On arrival visit to the Memorial Chorten (1974).The temple was first initiated by our Third King as a monument to world peace but was complicated by Her Royal Queen Mother as a memorial stupa for the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who passed away in 1972.Folk Heritage Museum. The museum was opened to the general public in 2001 upon completion. In the museum you’ll learn first-hand, about Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions, its deeply rooted heritage which spans back thousands of years and the Bhutanese way of life. Try to schedule your visit during the morning hours since the museum is less crowded early morning. National Textile Museum, one of the important Museum opened its doors to the public in 2001. When visiting this museum you’ll get an up close and personal experience of the living national art of weaving and the changing exhibitions at the museum will introduce you to the major weaving techniques, used to make the beautiful Bhutanese fabrics. It also gives you a chance to see the various styles and way of dressing of men and women from different parts of Bhutan. We’ll drive to Kuensel Phodrang to visit the Buddha Dordenma Statue. Kuensel Phodrang or popularly known as the Buddha point, where you’ll find one of the World’s largest sitting Buddha statue, standing 167 feet high from the ground. The statue is situated on top of a hill, overlooking the city of Thimphu. As you drive to the statue, the steep winding hill road offers an unparalleled view of the city and is an excellent place to take pictures, especially at night as the City lights glow up the valley.Drive back to the hotel and dinner and overnight in the hotel
Drive to Phobjikha Valley (5.5-6 hrs). Drive to the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters) which on a clear day offers an magnificent view of Himalayan peaks before descending to Wangdi valley (Driving time: Max 3 hrs total). The drive through the countryside gives you a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote sites of Himalayan kingdom. Continue through the bustling market of Wangduephodrang, and up the mountain roads through mixed forests and over high passes before descending down into the wide and picturesque site of Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen as the winter home for the black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Overnight in Phobjikha Valley.
Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. Visit the Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Zhabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ .It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move in masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three stored temple of Punakha Dzong is the marvelous example of our traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. Bhutan’s first king was crowned here in 1907. After lunch enjoy an excursion to Yabesa village and hike through the ricefields and up to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions. In the afternoon you can go for a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of Drukpa Kuenly. He
Drive back to Thimphu where you will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Visit the nursing pen for Takins, the national animal of Bhutan. Visit Tashichhodzong, ‘The fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. The Fortress is also a Buddhist monastery located at the northern edge of Thimphu. It has historically served as the seat of Druk Desi and had been the seat for the Royal government since 1952 but presently houses the Throne room and the His Majesties secretariat. The monument welcomes visitors during Thimphu Tshechu which is held during autumn every year.Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
After an early breakfast drive to Paro and hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 3 hours uphill takes you almost more than a kilometer above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to the viewing point). The Taktsang Monastery is built on a sheer cliff, 900 metres above the valley floor providing a spectacular sight. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma
to Bhutan in the 8th Century. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the
108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in the
hotel at Paro.
Proceed to the airport for your flight back to home bound. It’s time to say good bye to everyone except your memories. We hope you are fulfilled with lots of happy memories.