Day 1 | Arrive Paro
On a clear day, the flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. You will see major Himalayan peaks such as Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu, and then on the final approach to Paro Bhutan’s own snowy peaks, Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang will come into view. You will be received by your guide from Bhutan all travels at the airport and then transferred to your hotel.
After lunch take a stroll around Paro town.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 2 | Paro
Morning hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest temple. Lunch in the cafeteria on the way back. After lunch hike back till the road and drive back to the hotel.
Evening tea at a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse in the village nestled below the Dzong.
Overnight at Paro.
Day 3 | Paro – Thimphu
Visit the national museum and the Rinpung dzong. Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, established in the 7th century, and one of the two oldest shrines in the kingdom.
After lunch drive to Thimphu, the capital town, passing through idyllic countryside, with villages and paddy fields on either side of the road. En route visit Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortresses of the country, which now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies. Check into hotel in Thimphu. Your evening will be free for you to explore the busy Thimphu town on your own or with your guide.
Day 4 | Thimphu
Visit National Library, Arts and crafts school National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), National Memorial Chorten, Tashichhodzong, Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums, Handicrafts Emporium.
Overnight at Thimphu. (Altitude: 2400m)
Day 5 | Thimphu – Punakha
After breakfast, visit the weekend market and then head for Punakha across Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft). The highest point on the road is marked by a large Bhutanese chorten and prayer flags fluttering on the hill. On a clear day, there is a breathtaking view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas from this spot.
Check into the hotel on reaching Punakha Visit Punakha Dzong, built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century and situated at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers.
Overnight at Punakha.
Day 6 | Punakha – Wangduephodrang – Gangtey (Phobjikha)
After breakfast, 45 min drive to Wangduephodrang and visit the Dzong. Wangdue district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate, which are mined up a valley a few kilometers from the town.
Then drive over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gompa ,the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.
Overnight at the guest house, or camp under the stars.
Day 7 | Gangtey (Phobjikha) – Tongsa
In the morning explore Phobjikha valley, hopefully sighting some black necked cranes, if you are there at the right time of year. Later, drive to Tongsa 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. It is built in the Nepalese style, with painted eyes at the four cardinal points.
The landscape around Tongsa is spectacular and its impressive dzong, stretched along a ridge above a ravine. On arrival, check into the lodge.
Overnight at Tongsa.
Day 8 | Tongsa – Bumthang (Jakar)
Morning visit to Tongsa Dzong. Built in 1647 by the Shabdrung, it is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. 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 pass (3,400m/11,155ft), then runs 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 at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 9 | Bumthang
Bumthang is the general name given to a group of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000m/8,530 to 13,125ft. We start the day by visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom, then visit Jambey Lhakhang
After lunch, we will visit Tamshing Lhakhang, then take a stroll through Bumthang’s market area before returning to the lodge.
Dinner and overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 10 | Bumthang – Mongar (700m/2,300ft)
The journey continues eastwards, winding through more rugged terrain up into the hills above the valley and then past Ura village, before climbing sharply to the highest point on Bhutan’s motorable road network, Thrumsing-la pass (4,000m/13,125ft).The drive to Mongar takes about 6 hours, with spectacular views en route.
From here, the road gradually descends to the alpine valley of Sengor. Vegetation changes from alpine to subtropical with the loss of height, and bamboos and luxuriant ferns overhang the road as we drop down to the valley floor. The descent stops at 700m/2,300ft, where we cross the Kuri Chu river. We ascend again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets to reach Mongar town, high on a gentle slope above the valley.
Picnic lunch at a scenic spot en route to Mongar.
On arrival at Mongar town check in to your hotel and evening leisure to explore the bustling town of Mongar.
Overnight at Mongar
Day 11 | Mongar 700m/2,300ft – Tashigang(1,100m/3,610ft)
We visit Mongar Dzong, visit the Yagang lhakang and Wenkhar ( community farming center), visit a typical local farmhouse where you can see the wine being brewed form corn and also the a traditional Bhutanese way of making a snack from maize, which is their main source of income.
After lunch head for Tashigang, which is about 3 hours, drive through leafy forest filled with ferns and corn fields and banana groves taking us to Yadi, a fairly recent and now fast-growing settlement.
En route you will see temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village which is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums.
Tashigang clings to a steep hillside above the Gamri River. Tashigang is the principal township of the biggest and most populated district in the country.
We will visit Tashigang Dzong on our arrival which serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the Dzong is occupied by the local monastic community.
Overnight at the lodge in Tashigang.
Day 12 | Tashigang (excursion to Tashiyangtse)
After breakfast we visit the temple of Gom Kora about 24 km from Tashigang. We will visit Tashiyangtse Dzong, which overlooks the town and was built in the late 1990s when the new district was created. If time permits, we will also visit the dazzling white stupa of Chorten Kora on the riverbank below the town, and the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.
In the evening we return to Tashigang.
Dinner and overnight at the lodge in Tashigang.
Day 13 | Tashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar
The Tashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar journey down it to the Indian border takes about 6 hours. Along the way, we pass by Sherubtse College in Kanglung, which was founded in 1978. We also visit the nearby Zangtho Pelri temple .We then drive on to Khaling, home of the National Institute for the Disabled and the Weaving Centre. Visits to these may be arranged by prior request only, before leaving Thimphu. From here, it is a further 80 km. to Deothang, which is remembered in history as the site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the Duar Wars, in which the forces of Jigme Namgyal defeated the British. The road then descends fairly rapidly to the plains through dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns.
Overnight at Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 14 | Samdrup Jongkhar – Guwahati
After breakfast, drive to Guwahati, the capital town of the Indian northeastern state of Assam, for flight to Delhi/Kolkata or onward program in that region.
Please be aware that, for security reasons, the route from Tashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar may sometimes be closed but will keep you informed as we finalize your itinerary for this trip.