Bhutan lies in a hidden corner of the eastern Himalayas, sandwiched between China (Tibet) to the north, Sikkim to the west, and the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal to the south and Arunachal Pradesh to the east. To protect its natural environment and the sacred values of its peoples, the Bhutanese Government actively restricts the number of tourists allowed into the country and as far as trekking is concerned, the situation has always been that permission could only be obtained for specified routes. This itinerary gives you a chance to explore this beautiful country in a variety of ways. With short treks, the raft trip on Pho Chu, and the beautiful drives, all that is special about Bhutan will be revealed.
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Day 01: Fly to Paro
Fly to Paro. The flight to Paro offers spectacular views of mountains, alpine forests, small monasteries, temples and flat-roofed farmhouses. A single road lined with willows, clear mountain streams, families working in the roadside fields and one of Bhutan’s most impressive Dzongs (fortress monasteries) creates a memorable first impression. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Drive to Punakha
Today we drive eastwards on Bhutan's only highway, via the pocket-size capital of Thimpu and across the Dochu La to Punakha. This is Punakha, the traditional winter capital of Bhutan. Punakha Dzong is the winter home for over 1000 monks. Every year the Punakha festival celebrates the famous victory over the Tibetans, who were repulsed whilst trying to recapture the sacred statue of Avalokiteshvara, brought to Bhutan by Shabdrung in 1637. Overnight at lodge.
Day 03: Day Rafting trip on Pho-Chu
From Punakha we take a leisurely 2 hr hike to Samdenkha. After a bit of rest we come down some exciting class III rapids and some spectacular scenery. This three hour trip is the best day rafting trip in Bhutan. Overnight at lodge.
Day 04: Drive Punakha to Gantey
After breakfast at our lodge, we head east again, towards the Pele La. The continuation of our drive takes us by way of the pleasant town of Wangdi, which has another commanding dzong on a spur above the river. This is one of a handful of monasteries in Bhutan of the Nyingmapa Buddhist sect. Overnight at lodge.
Day 05: A day in the Phobjikha Valley
The Phobjikha valley is one of the few places in the Himalayas where the black-necked crane overwinters, having spent the summer on the high plateau of Tibet. There is also plenty of opportunity for us to visit the monastery today and to meet the local people. Overnight at lodge.
Day 06: Drive back to Thimpu
We make an early start for the drive back to Thimpu, which is sited in a broad, green valley and surrounded by terraced rice fields. This town of fewer than 20,000 people is the administrative centre of Bhutan. Later sightseeing/excursion to the great Tashichoedzong Palace, which houses the offices of the King and is the summer residence of the Je Khenpo, the spiritual head of Bhutan. Overnight at hotel.
Day 07: Optional Tango Monastery hike
There is another chance to stretch our legs today, with an optional hike up to Tango Monastery which sits in a commanding location above the northern end of the Thimpu Valley. This beautiful and well-kept monastery dates back to the 15th century and is one of the most important centres of Buddhist learning in Bhutan. Overnight at hotel.
Day 08: Return to Paro, Taktsang Monastery hike
We make the short drive back to Paro and have the afternoon free for exploration. There is the option to walk up to the famous cliff-side Taktsang Monastery, also known as the 'tiger's nest'. This monastery has the most stunning location, perched on a ledge of a cliff high above the Paro Valley. Overnight at hotel.
Day 09: Onward Flight
Transfer to Paro Airport to catch the onward flight back.
PARO TO PARO
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of White Magic