Day 01: Arrival at Paro
Flying in to the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression. On arrival at Paro airport, after immigration and custom formalities, your guide from Discovery Bhutan for the trip will receive you and transfer you to Thimphu.After lunch, go to Bhutan National Bank for currency exchange and then you can get an opportunity to purchase exquisite collector Bhutanese stamps.Overnight in hotel.
Day 02: Thimphu day hike to Tango and Cheri monasteries
We will drive 12km north of Thimphu to hike to Tango and Cheri monasteries. It will take about 45 minutes to hike to the monastery. Tango Monastery is a Buddhist college, and it's the residence of the Desi Tenzin Rabgye, a young boy who is the reincarnation of the 16th-century monk who built Tango. We will then hike to Cheri monastery, which is also about a 45-minute hike.After picnic lunch then drive back to Thimphu for city sightseeing. We will visit the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school), the National Institute of Traditional Medicine and then drive to the Buddha Dordenma sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the 13th Desi Druk, overlooking the southern approach to Thimphu. It is one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world, at a height of 169 feet (51.5 meters). You can also enjoy the view of the Thimphu city clearly from here..Overnight in hotel.
Day 03: Thimphu to Wangdue Via Punakha.
Drive early to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan taking about 03 hours across Dochu-La Pass at 3050m from where snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass taking you deeper into the essence of Bhutan. Once you cross the pass, you wind down into a warm fertile valley and meander along a gently flowing aquamarine river that leads you to the Punakha valley. Then visit the Punakha dzong, the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot). Punakha dzong is the second dzong system built in Bhutan by Shebdrung Nawang Namgyel in the year 1637. The Dzong is said to be the most beautiful of Dzong in Bhutan; it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork.After lunch short hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten in the northern part of the valley. Newly built and it is a more elaborate version of the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu. It has an astounding work of frescoes and intricate statues.Overnight in hotel.
Day 04: Wangdue to Bumthang
Drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830ft). This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and central Bhutan. Further down the road, stop to visit Chendebji Chorten erected in the 18th century by a Tibetan lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. It is built in the Nepalese style, with painted eyes at the four cardinal points.The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and its impressive Dzong, stretched along a ridge above a ravine, first comes into view about an hour before the winding road suddenly leads you into the town.Visit and experience the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture at Tongsa Dzong. It was Shabdrung’s great - grandfather who founded the first temple at Trongsa in 1543. In 1647 the Shabdrung had begun his great work of expansion and unification, realizing all the advantages that could be gained from Trongsa’s position; he constructed the first Dzong at the place where his ancestors had erected the temple. The Dzong was called Choekor Rabtentse. In 1652, Minjur Tenpa, the Penlop of Trongsa, had the Dzong enlarged. The Dzong is built in such a way that in the old days, no matter what direction a traveler comes from, he was obliged to pass through the courtyard of the Dzong. This helped to make the Penlop of this Dzong as powerful as it had a complete control over the east - west traffic. The watch tower above the Dzong further strengthened its defense. The father of the first king known as the black regent and the first king served as the Governor of Trongsa before the emergence of the Bhutanese Monarchy, since then it has become a tradition for the young crown prince to serve as the Governor of this place before he is crowned.After lunch proceed to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the holy heartland of Buddhism. The 68 km. journey takes about 3 hours. The road winds steeply up to Yutong La (3,400m/11,155ft), and then run down through dense coniferous forest to enter a wide, open, cultivated valley, known as Chumey valley. From here it is about an hour to Bumthang, a most pleasant run in the soft, late afternoon light.Overnight in hotel.
Day 05: Bumthang Sightseeing
We will take a drive through Tang Valley to have a short hike to Ugyencholling Palace. En route we will visit Tang Member Tsho (Burning Lake) from where Saint Pemalingpa had discovered several hidden treasures from the lake.In Ugyenchholing, we can see the palace which is also a museum and cluster of villages along the path. On the way back, visit the only Buddhist Institute which provides degree in Buddhist philosophy for women which was founded by 9th Gangtey Tulku Rinpoche, the present reincarnation of Saint Pemalingpa.Overnight in hotel.
Day 06: Hike to Tharpaling
Today we will hike to Tharpaling one of the most beautiful and holiest place in Bhutan. Tharpaling monastery (3600m) is located on the northern ridge, dominating the whole Chumey valley. It will take 3 hours to reach there and scenery is very beautiful. Tharpaling is considered the most important of the eight religious foundations that the Nyingma master Lonchenpa also called honorifically Kunkhyen Loncen Rabjam (1308-1363), built in Bhutan, ,where he was in self-exile from Tibet for ten years. Tharpaling was built in 1352 and restored several times. We can also visit Chödrak Monastery, a place where Guru Rinpoche meditated, and Again above Chödrak Monastery, there is a meditation cave of Guru Rinpoche, a meditation cave of Longchenpa and a rock throne, where Longchenpa wrote part of the Seven Treasures. After lunch walk down to Domkhar Dzong and then check in the Chumey Nature Resort. You can visit the village on your own.Overnight in hotel.
Day 07: Bumthang to Gangtey
It’s a return journey from here as we drive back retracing the road till Pele La to go to Gangtey. We will have as many stops as possible on the way to make the drive easier and to enjoy the sceneries.The Phobjikha valley is surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Visit the 17th century Gangtey Gonpa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan and it houses about 200 monks. If time permits we will walk down the alpine meadow passing by the habitat of the black necked cranes which come here in winter across the mountains from Tibet.Overnight in hotel.
Day 08: Lhongtey Longmaya Hike.
After breakfast, we will drive to Lhongmaya village then our day hike start from here. The trail that leads to Lhongtey is below the motor road and follow the trail through the bamboo thickets and crossing a small wooden bridge gradually upto the village of Lhongtey. Then climb up gradually and then continue towards the Gyeche la pass( 3590mtrs ). These trail that is being, mainly used in the olden days before the motor road came, by the natives of Gangtey and Sephu for trading and movement of yaks to higher grazing meadows during the winter months.After about three hours of gradual to steep climb through this pristine mixed forest is the Gyeche La Pass marked by a stone structure with prayer flags. The view from here of Phobjikha Valley and its monastery Gangtey Gompa is absolutely gorgeous ad break taking. After a break of photo opportunity here on the pass, then we will continue to descent quite steeply till Gangtey Kunzangcholing Buddhist Collage. After a short and gradually hike through the pine forest, our vehicle will waits for us above the monastery to take us to our hotel.Overnight in hotel.
09: Gangtey – Paro
Morning walk to explore the village, then return to Thimphu (about 05 hours drive). From Gangtey, the road gradually descends into the balmy Punakha valley, and then begins a long climb back up to the Dochu La, where a stunning field of white chortens and colorful prayer flags send blessings up to the Himalayan sky; snow peaks line the horizon. From the La, it is only another hour to Thimphu. Stop here for lunch, then continue to Paro (just under 2 hrs), one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan with its slate-roofed farmhouses, graceful willow trees and rushing glacial river beneath snow covered peaks. En route visit Botanical garden and Takchok lhakhang built by Drupthop Thangthong Gyelpo the Iron chain bridge builder. Still you can see the iron chain bridge which is built by him.Overnight in hotel.
Day 10: Hike to Tiger’s Nest (05 -06 hours)
Today, we hike up to the famous cliff-hermitage called Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Nest.” This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! It takes about two hours to reach the cafeteria, which gives a breathtaking view of the Tiger’s Nest. From Cafeteria it takes 1 hour to reach the main temple. This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend has it that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.In the late afternoon, visit drive to Drugyel Dzong which is built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, the towering outer walls and central keep remain an imposing sight. On clear day you can see the splendid view of Mt. Jhomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong. Drive back to hotel and last day dinner in the town.Overnight in hotel.
Day 11: Departure
After breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport in time to catch up your onward flight. Your escort from Discovery Bhutan will bid you farewell and soon the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.