This trip combines spectacular drives to three historically important valleys: the bustling capital of Thimphu; the tropical Punakha valley; and the open valley of Paro. We take a fabulous day camping trek to Bumdra monastery which includes a night in a wilderness campsite high in the Himalaya and a visit to the Taktsang Goemba or Tiger’s Nest Monastery, with experienced guides and cooks.
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Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Wangdue Phodrang
Paro - Thimphu
Tashi Delek! Welcome to Bhutan, the country with the happiest people in the world. Meet tour guide at Paro Airport then transfer to Thimphu – the capital town of Bhutan, en route to Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Check in of your hotel in Thimphu then you are free to explore. Overnight in Thimphu
Begin your day with a short drive to Kuenselphodrang, a popular vantage point, with the biggest Buddha statues in the world. This site offers a panoramic view of the capital below and also has several walking trails, which ranges from leisurely to moderate. Then visit the National Memorial Chorten, built in the memory of the Third King and for world peace. Continue on to the picturesque 12th century Changangkha Temple and Nunnery at Zilukha. Afterwards visit the Folk Heritage Museum featuring an exhibition of items and artifacts of Bhutanese villages and rural households. After visiting the museum we will walk to School for Arts & Crafts which is located close to the museum. This is one of the interesting schools where young boys & girls learn 13 different skills of arts & crafts in Bhutan. If your visit to Thimphu coincides on a weekend, you can visit the weekend vegetable market (open from Friday To Sunday). Overnight in Thimphu
Thimphu - Punakha - Wangdue Phodrang
We will leave Thimphu today for for Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. The road takes you over Dochu-La pass (3,100m) where you will stop to walk around the 108 stupas and, if the weather is clear, enjoy an incredible view of Himalayan peaks enroute we will stop on the pass for hoisting prayer flags. Before reaching Punkha, visit Royal Botanical Garden in Lamperi. Check into your hotel in Punakha. Afterwards, visit Lhawang Tshering’s small incense making factory, the most successful and leading incense exporter in Bhutan. Incense, (poi) is one of the most essential elements in religious offerings. Its aroma, it is said, can help to soothe and calm a restless mind. After visiting the incense factory we will visit the small town of Wangduephodrang. Overnight in Punakha
Morning visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness”. It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. After visiting the dzong we will walk about 10 minutes to see the swing bridge built over Pho Chu river connecting people from Shengana village with Punakha Dzong. After lunch, take a short walk across rice paddies takes us to Chimmi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as the Divine Madman. Then enjoy exploring the villages in and around Lobesa valley where you will have the opportunity to have a home stay with an opportunity to learn how to prepare some Bhutanese dishes and also try out local alcohol brewed from rice and wheat known as “ARA”. Overnight in Punakha
Punakha - Thimphu - Paro
Today you will retrace our steps over the Dochu La for a second view of the wonderful Himalayan range (clear weather permitting). In Thimphu, visit the National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Institute of Traditional Art & Crafts, and a handmade paper mill. Later in the afternoon, drive back to Paro visiting Semtokha Dzong (17 C), the oldest dzong enroute. Upon arrival, enjoy a stroll through downtown Paro before checking into the hotel. Overnight in Paro
Today, we will have a 5 hours hike from Sang Choekor Buddhist College (2,800m) to yak pastures below Bumdra Monastery (3,800m). The adventure begins with an early morning drive up to the Sang Choekor to meet our ponies. Our accommodation for the night is tucked in under Bumdra Monastery (cave of a thousand prayers) making the most of the awesome views of the Himalayan range. After lunch we can visit the monastery (if it is occupied) and also climb the peak to the north (about 4000m) for even better views. Overnight in Bumdra Wildnerness Camp
Hike from Yak pasture below Bumdra Monastery (3,800m) via Zangtopelri Monasteries to Taktsang Monastery (2,900m). After a couple of hours of descent we begin to catch glimpses of the golden temples below. then reach the gardens of Zangtopelri (Heaven on Earth). An hour later and we are at the gates of Taktsang looking across the gorge; a steep descent to a waterfall then up some steps and we pass into Tiger’s Nest itself. Retracing our steps we begin the final descent of about 45 minutes to reach our vehicle and drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1644 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to control northern route to Tibet. Overnight in Paro
Board on vehicle and drive to airport of Paro, from where, you will catch your flight onward to your next destination. Our service is finished now. The whole team of Bravo Asia Tours looks forward to meeting you again in your next trip to Asia.