Bhutan, the size of Switzerland, was declared one of the 10 global hot spots on Earth. With more that over 675 bird species (more that what is found in the whole of North America), 178 mammals, 7000 plant species, and 46 recorded species of rhododendrons, Bhutan is truly unique. Rhododendrons are found between the altitude of 1000 meters to 5000 meters and they start blooming from February to July. Dwarf rhododendrons and blue poppy are found best in June at the altitude of 4000 meters.
Day 1: Paro – Thimphu
Arrival at Paro International Airport where you will be greeted by representatives from World Perfect Tours. After lunch visit the Paro Dzong, after which you will drive to Thimphu. Check in Hotel. Leisure evening. Overnight Thimphu. Drive time from Paro to Thimphu: 1 hour
Day 2: Thimphu
Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan is located in a wooded valley, along the banks of the Wang-Chu River. Over the past couple of years Thimphu has not only developed in terms of infrastructure but the population has drastically increased as well. With population of roughly 100,000, you will notice that the rural-urban migration is very high here. Start your day by visiting the Zorig Chosum (School of Arts and Crafts), National Library, Handmade paper factory, Silversmith, Zilukha Nunnery, Tashicho Dzong (Central Secretariat), Handicraft Emporium and finish the day walking along Thimphu Main Street. Overnight Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu – Wangdiphodrang
Drive to Wangdiphodrang over Dochula Pass (3100 meters). Dochula Pass boast 108 chortens and a monastery (Druk Wangyel Lhakhang) built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck dedicated to 100 years of Monarchy. The monastery has beautiful murals depicting the Wangchuck Dynasty. Continue drive down the valley to Wangdiphodrang. Drive time from Thimphu to Wangdiphodrang: 2 hours
Day 4: Wangdiphodrang – Phobjikha
Visit Rinchengang village, and Wangdiphodran Dzong before driving to Phobjikha. Picnic lunch will be served at Pelela Pass (3300 meteres) and afternoon visit Gangtey Monastery and Crane centre. Phobjikha is the winter home of the black necked cranes where they migrate from Tibet. Check in hotel. Overnight at Phobjikha.Drive time from Wangdiphodrang to Phobjikha: 4 hours
Day 5: Explore Phobjikha
Explore Phobjikha valley or hike over Tselela Peak over looking Phobjika valley. Overnight Phobjikha.
Day 6: Phobjikha – Bumthang
Further drive to Bumthang with lunch break at Trongsa – en-route visit Chumi Weaving center. Overnight Bumtang. Drive time from Phobjikha to Bumthang: 4.5 hours
Day 7: Bumthang Sightseeing
After breakfast, sightsee around Bumthang valley. Visits will include Jakar Dzong and Jambay Lhakhang (one of the two oldest monasteries in Bhutan) followed by visit to Kurji Lhakhang. Walk across the suspension bridge to Tamshing Monastery. Afternoon visit the Monastic School of Namkhey Ningpo and walk around Chamkhar Bazaar. Overnight Bumthang.
Day 8: Bumthang (Jakar – Tang)
Hike to Tang valley – this is a one day cultural trek of Bumtang. You will have to drive till Ngalhakhang. Then trek over Pherpherla Pass and arrive in beautiful Tang valley or start hike from Petseling to Kunzangda and then hike to Orgyen Choling. Overnight stay at Orgyen Choling Guest House. Orgyen Choling is yet another historical place and you can compare it with Kingarabten, which you will later visit on your way to Zhemgang. This place is the only structure today of its size and history used and lived in by the family with direct links. Few years ago, the heir of Orgyen Choling converted it into the first private Museum in the country.
Day 9: Bumthang (Tang)
Visit museum and explore local villages on foot or day hike to Thowaida. Overnight Orgyen Choling Guest House.
Day 10: Bumthang – Zhemgang
Drive to Zhemgang. Drive time from Bumthang to Zhemgang: 6 hours
Day 11: Zhemgang – Trongsa
Nature drive to Tingtingbi – to see Bhutan’s own GOLDEN LANGURS found only in Bhutan and after lunch drive back to Trongsa – en-route visit Kinga Rabten Palace, the winter residence of the Second King. Overnight stay at Trongsa. Drive time from Zhemgang to Trongsa: 2 hours
Day 12: Trongsa – Wangdiphodrang
In the morning visit, Ta Dzong Museum, and the Trongsa Dzong and then take a two hour walk through the old mule route that used to connect Eastern and Western Bhutan- lunch at Chnediji- further drive to Wangdue Phodrang. Drive time from Trongsa to Wangdiphodrang: 3 hours
Day 13: Punakha Sightseeing
Drive up to the suspension bridge follow by a pleasant hike through the rice fields to Khamsum Yulley Chorten built by Her Majesty Queen Mother of the Fifth King dedicated to the present King. Later visit to Punakha Dzong – this is the most beautiful Dzong in the country and it used to serve as the capital of Bhutan till mid 20th century. Today, it is still the winter residence of the Central Monk Body and about 1000 monks with the Chief Abbot reside here for six months in winter. Recently the cantilever bridge has be restored by friends from Germany, making the record of the world’s longest unsupported wooden bridge. PICNIC LUNCH – afternoon drive to Norbugang Village. High tea in village home. Overnight at Dragon’s Nest Hotel, Wangdiphodrang. Drive time from Punakha to Wangdiphodrang: 30 minutes
Day 14: Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu
Drive back to Thimphu – leisurely afternoon and you will have dinner at a private home. Drive time from Wangdiphodrang to Thimphu: 2 hours
Day 15: Thimphu – Pumula
After breakfast – hike to Pumula over Pumu Dachasa-. Hike starts from Thimphu and take about 6-8 hours reaching 4000 metres. Night Hot stone water will be arranged. Overnight camping in Pumula.
Day 16: Excursion to Tsemakota Glacial Lake
Excursion to Tsemakota glacial lake following ridges above Thimphu – 4000+ meters. Here you will be able to enjoy beautiful scenery with full blooms of dwarf rhododendron, other alpine flowers and blue poppy. Evening walk back to Pumola. Hot stone water bath. Overnight camping.
Day 17: Tseluana – Hele Dzong – Paro
After breakfast – hike down to Tselunana and hike to Jele Dzong. The vehicle will meet you above Ta Dzong. Drive to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 18: Paro Sightseeing
In the morning visit Paro Dzong built in 17 century during the reign the first theocracy ruler of Bhutan, Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel. Follow by hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery with lunch at the Cafeteria. Taktsang Monastery is one of the most famous in Bhutan from over two thousands monasteries. It is perched on a cliff more than 2000 feet above Paro valley. The name Taktsang means Tiger’s Nest because it is believed that Guru Rimpoche, the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan, was said to have flown on the back of a Tigress to the cave for meditation and this is where the monastery stands today. The original Monastery was built by Desi Tenzin Rabgye in 1646. This site is considered very sacred by pilgrims of all walks of Mahayana Buddhists and a highlight of one’s visit to Bhutan. Hike back in the afternoon. Evening walk around Paro town. Leisurely evening in Paro Town. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 19: Chelela Pass
Drive to Chelela Pass (4000 meters) and hike over the ridge, another beautiful place to see flowers including blue poppy. Picnic lunch will be served. Walk down from the ridge to Keeli Nunnery for tea. Evening drive back to Hotel. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 20: Departure by Druk Air.