Across the Country Tour | Bhutan

Across The Country : The Living Culture Of Bhutan

East, West and Central Bhutan – 17 Days tour

Day 1 : Paro

You will be flying in on our national carrier, Druk Air. Your Bhutanese escort will greet you on arrival and then drive you through the beautiful valley of Paro to your hotel. Paro is a picturesque valley with quaint clusters of hamlets amid terraced paddy fields. Although the site of the nation's first airport, Paro still retains tradition by way of architecture and farming. Visit Ta-Dzong, built in the 17th century as a watchtower for Paro Dzong. This Dzong was converted into the National Museum in 1967. The museum boasts antique Thangkas, textiles, weapons, armours, household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Night halt at Paro.

Day2 : Paro to Punakha

Early morning visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries built in the 7th century. After breakfast, start our Journey from Paro to Punakha, which is for 5 hours over the Dochula Pass. On a clear day one can view the Greater Ranges of Himalayas from the pass. Lunch at Dochula Cafeteria. Punakha is at a much lower altitude then Thimphu or Paro. It is about 1300meters and the temperature is much warmer. Night halt at Dragon Nest Resort.

Day 3 : Punakha Sightseeing

Morning after breakfast, visit Punakha Dzong (Fortress), built in 1637. As foretold by Guru Rimpoche, that a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant, Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal visited Punakha and chose the tip of the trunk of the sleeping elephant at the confluence of the Mochu and Pochu as the place to build the Dzong. Visit Drupthop Nagi Rinchen’s famous shrine. Lunch at Dragon Nest. Evening hike to divine Madman’s Monastry, Chimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, built in 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Night halt at Dragon Nest Resort.

Day 4 : Punakha to Phojikha

Early morning, you will begin the day by driving to Gangtey. You’ll pass through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons and arrive at Gangtey village, where you’ll visit Gangtey Goenpa, the only Nyingmapa Monastery in western Bhutan. From Gangtey, you can see picturesque Black mountain range as well as Phobjikha valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked Cranes. Overnight at Gangtey/Phojikha valley.

Day 5 : Phojikha to Trongsa

Drive to Trongsa via Chendebji. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300- meters high Pele La, and at certain times of the year it’s possible to see yaks. Visit Chendepji stupa and drive to Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family. You can browse through Trongsa shops and town in the late afternoon. Overnight at Trongsa.

Day 6 : Trongsa to Bumthang

In the morning you’ll visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, and you’ll see a Ta Dzong, the Watch Tower built to defend this Dzong. After lunch, you’ll proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, with lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way you will stop at a Yathra (textile weaving) factory, where the Yathra are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. The afternoon will be spent sightseeing in the area, including Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley: Night halt at Bumthang.

Day 7 : Bumthang Sightseeing

After breakfast, visit Jambay Lhakhang (7th century monastry). Bhutanese history says that this temple was one of 108 temples built in a single day in 659 AD by Songtsen Gonpo, one of the first kings of Tibet, for the specific purpose of pinning down an aggress who, covering all of Bhutan and Tibet, was impeding the spread of Buddhism in the area. Kurjey Lhakhang (Guru Rimpoche’s holy shrine) Guru Rimpoche, the central figure in Tantric Buddhism, visited this valley in the 8th century. He hid treasures of enlightenment, or terma, throughout the valley and Bhutan. Once these terma are found by a “revealer of treasures” or Terton, the benefit inherent in the treasure is dispersed. A monument is built to commemorate the great event. Kurjey Lhakhang, the Monastry where Guru Rimpoche meditated, is one such place, and one can see the imprint of his body in the rock where he sat. Visit Tamshing Monastery, founded by great Terton Pema Lingpa. This temple contains exquisite paintings and Statuary said to date back to the time of the great revealer himself. After lunch, visit Burning Lake. Night halt Samtenkhangsar hotel.

Day 8 : Bumthang to Mongar

You will begin your journey, which is different from western and central Bhutan in terms of development and lifestyle. The steepness of the region lends itself to some spectacular views, with rushing waterfalls and sheer drops. The drive on this day is an exhilarating 8 hours, particularly the Thrimshing La (Pass), which peaks at 3,750m. Stroll around Mongar town in the evening. Have a relaxing dinner. Overnight at Mongar.

Day 9 : Mongar to Trashigang

Visit Mongar Dzong after breakfast, which is more modern than most Dzongs in Bhutan (Though architecturally it looks the same), which was built in 1953 at the request of the third King. Proceed towards Trashigang passing through several villages. In the afternoon, you can visit Trashigang Dzong and stroll through the towns, absorbing the culture of eastern Bhutan. Overnight at Trashigang.

Day 10 : Trashigang

Visit Trashiyangtse, which is a pleasant and small town. This place is popularly known for producing the best wooden bowls and containers in Bhutan. Just below the town is the Chorten Kora. Along the way to Trashiyangtse, you will stop at the Gomkora temple, behind which is a large black rock. It is said that Guru Rimpoche meditated in a cave in the rock and that you can see the impression of his thumb, his hat, his body on the rock. You will also visit the abundant iron chain-link bridge behind the village of Duksum. It is said that this is the last remaining bridge of those built by a Tibetan Bridge builder by the name of Thangtong Gyalpo in the 15th century. Later in the day you can relax in Trashigang and enjoy a nice dinner. Overnight in Trashigang.

Day 11 : Trashigang- Mongar

In the morning, you can visit the weaving center in Khaling (which is operated by the national Women’s association of Bhutan), Sherubtse College in Kanglung (Bhutan’s first College), and Zangtopelri Monastery. From there you will head back to Mongar. Overnight in Mongar.

Day 12 : Mongar- Bumthang

Drive the spectacular 8hours route back to Bumthang, with stop for lunch and tea in nearby villages. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 13 : Bumthang to Wangdue

You will begin the day at the Bumthang market, and then drive to Wangdiphodrang, where you can stroll through the town and visit the shops. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings and bamboo work. Overnight at Wangdue, Kyichu Resort.

Day 14 : Wangdue to Thimphu

In the morning you will drive back to Thimphu. After lunch, you will tour the textile museum and the folk heritage museum, and you can explore the interesting handicraft shops. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 15 : Thimphu sightseeing and hike to Tango Monastry

In the morning, visit the memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of third king of Bhutan who reigned the kingdom from 1952- 1972 before you drive towards the base camp of Tango Monastry. Not only rich in its historical event today. Tango is a center of higher Buddhist studies for monks. It was built by the “Divine Madman” in the 15th century. The hike up will take approximately. 45minutes. The view from the Tango Monastery is breathtaking. In the evening, relax or shop around the town. Dinner at Bhutan Kitchen to taste the typical Bhutanese cuisine. Overnight in Druk Hotel.

Day 16 : The highlight of the 16 day tour:Hike to Tiger’s nest Monastry (Taktshang)

After breakfast, drive back to Paro and stroll around Paro town. After lunch, hike up to the most famous monastry in the entire kingdom of Bhutan perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900m above Paro valley. From the cafeteria, you can see the Monastry hanging on the cliff. As per the legend, Guru Rimpoche flew from eastern Bhutan on a tigress bringing Buddhist teachings to Bhutan. This is one of the most venerated and sacred sights for the Buddhist pilgrimage around the world and local people. Lunch at Taktshang cafeteria. Walk down hill to the road head and visit Drugyal Dzong, fortress of victory in 17th Century. It has been destroyed by accidental fire in 1951 and now stands as ruin, which reminds of the ancient architecture. If you wish, you can take short meditation section in the Monastery. Night halt at Paro.

Day 17 : Departure

Departure from Paro.