This package is an extension of the 5 day package with the addition of a 2 hour hike to a local monastary in Punakha that provides the guests a beautiful scenic view of the valley.
Day 01 Paro to Thimphu
Arrival Paro International Airport to Thimphu
On arrival at Paro International Airport, the representatives (tour guide and driver) of Druk Tersar Tours and travels will give you a warm reception and escort to your hotel in the capital city Thimphu. The duration of the ride is about an hour. After a brief rest at the hotel and tea/coffee, your tour will begin by visiting the following places:
Visit the Memorial Chorten. It was built in 1974 by Her Majesty the late Queen Mother in memory of her loving son, the third King of Bhutan (His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck). The third King of Bhutan is also known as the “Father of Modern Bhutan”. It was his wish to erect a monument symbolising world peace and prosperity but after his unfortunate and untimely death in 1972, the late Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck resolved to full fill his wishes. This chorten has a unique architecture and contains very finely detailed traditional sculptures and paintings.
Post office and The Bhutan National Bank
After lunch, visit the Post office and The Bhutan National Bank where you can exchange money and buy postcards and stamps to either add to your collection or have a stamp customised with you in it.
Traditional paper factory
We then drive down back across the town to visit the traditional paper factory. Here you can see how they produce traditional Bhutanese paper from Daphne plants without using modern technology.
Located below the main town, next to the Wangchhu River, Thimphu’s weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market. With its wide assortment of fresh, organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favourite spot for tourists and a recreational hub for people from all walks of life.
Day 02 Thimphu
Kuensel Phodrang / Buddha point
We drive up to “Kuensel Phodrang” to see the statue of the largest sitting Buddha in the world. The statue is 51.5 meters tall and is made of bronze and gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha statue, 100,000 8 inch tall and 25,000 12 inch tall statues respectively. The hill, where the statue is located, also provides a beautiful bird-eyes view of the capital city.
We drive up to the “Thimphu mini zoo”. Fenced between 8 acres of land, this area provides a sanctuary for an animal with a head like goat and a body similar to a cow. This strange animal, called the “Takin”, is believed to be a creation of the Divine Mad Monk (Lam Drukpa Kuenlay of Chimi Lhakhang) in the 16th century. The Takin is the National Animal of Bhutan.
Zorig-Chu-Sum (Arts and crafts School)
We then visit the Zorig-Chu-Sum (thirteen different traditional arts) Center, where young Bhutanese learn to master various Bhutanese arts and crafts like painting, sculpture, wood work, silversmith and so on. We can also watch the artisans while they create beautiful traditional art.
The folk heritage museum
A living museum that gives you an insight to the ancient Bhutanese way of life and rural folk life.
National Textile Museum
The changing exhibitions at the museum will introduce you to the major weaving techniques that theweavers employ to make these beautiful fabrics. It also gives you a chance to see the various styles of dressing of the men and women from different parts of Bhutan. The museums exhibits follow 6 major themes :
1. Wrap Pattern Weaves
2. Weft Pattern Weaves
3. Role of Textile in Buddhism
4. Historical achievements in textile
5. Textiles made from different indigenous fibres
6. The royal textile collection.
We visit Tashichho Dzong (Dzong means a fortress). Built by the political and religious unifier Zhabdrung Nagwang Namgyel in 1941, it was reconstructed and extended by the Third King of Bhutan in 1961. This Dzong was built in the traditional style without using nails or architectural plan. It is now the headquarters of the of government and the religious body, site of the king’s throne room and the seat of the Je Khempo (Chief Abbot).
After visiting the Dzong, we drive to the handicraft Emporium where Bhutanese textile, painting, thangkha’s (traditional scroll paintings), postcards and woodcarvings can be viewed and purchased. After that, you can either relax in your hotel or explore Thimphu town.
Day 03 Thimphu-Punakha (77km-3 hrs)
Dochula pass (3,100 m)
After an early breakfast, we drive towards Punakha via Dochula pass (3,100 m), where we will stop over for a short tea/coffee break. On a clear day the pass offers visitors a spectacular view of the majestic eastern Himalayan Ranges. Stopping for a cup of hot coffee or tea at the pass has become part of tradition for people travelling through Dochula.
We then proceed a little further to a small village, where we stop for lunch in a farm house. Our welcoming hosts will serve traditional food and drinks, and show you around their house.
After lunch, continue to Punakha, and then start the hike to Chimmi Lhakhang (also known as the Temple of the Divine Madman). This lhakhang is renowned as the temple of fertility and is the site where couples come to pray and receive blessings. The hike will last around 30-40 mins.
Overnight in Punakha
Day 04 Punakha
Yulley Namgyal Chorten
After breakfast, we drive approximately 7 kilometer north of Punakha to visit the Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The Chorten is situated on a hill up the valley and can be reached after a leisurely hike through the woods and terraces of paddy fields. It was constructed by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangden Wangchuck in the 1990’s. Built over a period of 9 years, Bhutanese craftsmen including carpenters, painters, and sculptors consulted holy scriptures rather than engineering manuals to construct this 4-storey temple. The temple is dedicated to the well-being of all beings that reside in the Kingdom and is considered as one of the finest examples of the use of traditional Bhutanese architectural style in modern times.
After lunch, we visit the Punakha Dzong, also known as the palace of great happiness, built in-between Pho – Chu (male river) and the Mo-chu (female river) by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637.
It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century and in 1907, where the first King of Bhutan, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, was enthroned. All coronations take place in this Dzong. The Dzong is also the second oldest and second largest in Bhutan
After visiting the Dzong, we will cross the Phochhu just behind the Dzong on one of the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan (350m long).
Overnight in Punakha
Day 05 Punakha to Paro (126km-4 hrs)
Dochula pass (3100m)
After breakfast, we start our journey to Paro via Dochula Pass
Lunch at Dochula Pass
Ta-Dzong (National Museum) and Paro Dzong
After arrival in Paro, we first visit the Ta-Dzong, which served as a watchtower for the Paro Rinpung Dzong in the olden days. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968. After the National Museum, we visit the Paro Dzong, which was built in 1645 on a hilltop near the Pachhu (Paro river). The Dzong has the finest example of traditional Bhutanese architecture and is now used as the District Administration Office, houses the district monk body and is used as the venue for hosting colourful local festivals and tsechus.
Overnight in Paro
Day 06 Paro
After breakfast, drive to the base of the Tiger’s Nest, locally known as Taktshang (tiger’s nest). Taktshang, located 2900-3000 meters above sea level. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche flew on a flaming tigress from Tibet and landed where the Taktshang monastery currently stands. It is believed that he meditated in one of the thirteen caves for over three years and was fundamental in spreading Buddhism in Bhutan.
Halfway up the trek, halt for a 15 minute’s tea/coffee break at the Taktshang cafeteria, take in the splendid view of the magnificent cliffs on which the monastery is precariously perched and pat yourself on the back for having almost made it. Then proceed for another 30-minute hike passing by magnificent waterfall right next to the monastery. After visiting the monastery and admiring, among other things, the tenacity it must have taken to build the monastery on those precarious cliffs, we head back to the cafeteria for a well-deserved lunch.
After lunch, walk down to the base and then drive to the north of Paro to visit the historic Dru-gyal Dzong (Fortress of Victory, “Dzong”) built in the 17th century to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the Tibet invaders. On a clear day, we can admire the snow covered peak of Mt. Jumolhari (7300mts).
Overnight in Paro
Day 07 Departure from Paro
Drive to Airport for departure to your next destination.