DAY 01: Arrive Paro
Upon arrival in Paro, transfer to Thimphu. A day of acclimatization in Thimphu (2,400m). After lunch, visit the Changangkha temple. Then drive to the takin reserve to see the national animal of Bhutan.
From here drive to the viewpoint and take a short hike to Wangditse temple. Descend by car to visit the impressive Dzong. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 02: Tango hike & picnic
Start early for a short hike to Tango monastery. Drive along country lanes on the way to the trail and then hike uphill for just under one hour before reaching Tango Monastery. A picnic lunch will be served near the riverside before returning to Thimphu.
In the afternoon, visit the Folk Heritage Museum and the Institute for the 13 Traditional Arts (Zorig Chusum). In the early evening visit the Buddha point and take a stroll around the Memorial Chorten (stupa). You may wish to visit the Post office where you can see the stamp collections. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 03: Punakha mountain and village day hike
Start early and drive towards Punakha. On the way, stop at Dochula pass (3,000m) to take in the views of the Himalayan peaks. Take a 40 minute downhill hike through rhododendron forests before you start on a beautiful two-hour walk through villages and farmland.
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the fields, near a temple and continue for another 2-hour walk through villages until you reach the road where you will be met by your vehicle. Proceed towards Punakha (1,200m) and visit the dzong (fortress). Overnight in Punakha.
DAY 04: Punakha sightseeing and two short hikes
Today you will do two short hikes. Start off early in the morning for a short hike to KhamsumYulley Namgayal stupa for views over the Punatsangchu river. Then drive to visit the Chimi Lhakhang temple, seat of the so called “Divine Madman.” Post lunch, drive towards Talo monastery. A series of short hikes will take you below the monastery criss-crossing the main road at various intervals and ending with a two-hour downhill hike past a village, a school and through some forested area that will lead you back to Punakha dzong. Alternative option: half day of river rafting in the Punatsangchu River (book with us in advance). Overnight in Punakha.
DAY 05: Drive to Phobjikha and half-day valley hiking
Drive from Punakha via Wangdi to the high glacial valley of Phobjikha (3½ hrs, which is at an altitude of 2,800 m. Here you are likely to see grazing yaks. This valley has some idyllic-looking rural scenery and consists of a central marshland, winter home of the rare black-necked cranes, and farms where potatoes and other high-altitude crops are grown. Take an afternoon hike of 3 hours through the valley, alongside the pristine river, through forests and villages. Overnight in Phobjikha.
DAY 06: Phobjikha sightseeing and half-day hike. Drive to Trongsa or Chumey (193 km, 7 hours)
Visit Gangtey Monastery and the RSPN information centre, to learn more about the black-necked crane.
Option 1: Start a 3- 4 hour hike from Phobjikha towards the valley of Sephu and Rukubji. This is a fairly strenuous hike, which starts from above the Gangtey monastery and climbs for about 1½ – 2 hours to the Gyeche-La Pass, (3,580m), following the old routes before the road was built. Visit Kumbu monastery before reaching the pass and then continue downhill into the valley where you will pass through several villages until you eventually meet your vehicle and continue on the journey towards Trongsa. Drive to Trongsa (2hrs). Overnight in Trongsa.
Option 2: A shorter hike: Stop at the viewpoint before reaching Trongsa and take the old path that used to be the main access to Trongsa dzong. Descend sharply to a wooden cantilever bridge and then climb back up towards the dzong’s main entrance. This 1½hour hike will make you realize quite how the dzong dominated the route between the east and west of Bhutan. Visit Trongsa Dzong. Drive to Chumey Village (1½hrs). Be sure to wander around a little to see daily life in a very typical rural village in the Chumey valley. Overnight at Chumey.
DAY 07: Day hike to Tharpaling monastery
You will have a full day picnic hike to Tharpaling Monastery. Drive up a rough road that leads all the way to Tharpaling monastery, which is perched on the mountain at 3,500m. Visit the monastery at Tharpaling. From the monastery hike directly uphill to the stupa of Ngulshey Khen Rimpoche, a teacher of the Dalai Lama. From here it is 1 hour hike to the ridge, from where you will get good views of the mountain ranges in the distance. Your vehicle will meet you at Lamei Goempa and drive to your hotel in Jakar. (For a tougher hike, this itinerary can be done in the opposite direction but must be planned in advance since you will stay overnight in Jakar). Overnight in Jakar.
DAY 08: Bumthang sightseeing (Jakar)
Visit Jakar dzong (fortress), Jambay Lhakhang (temple) and Kurjey Lhakhang and have lunch in a village farmhouse before setting out on a short village hike to Tamshing monastery. Return towards town, stopping off at Karchu Dratshang. Overnight in Jakar.
DAY 09: Day excursion to Tang valley
Start with a visit to Ugyenchholing Palace Museum. From here take a short hike through the villages of Ugyen Choling, Gamling and Kharab before reaching Namkhar Lhakhang where you will meet the vehicle. Return towards Jakar, stopping at Lake Mebartsho (burning lake). Overnight in Jakar.
DAY 10: Return drive to Wangdi (5 hrs)
En route, visit weavers at Zungney village and stop to visit the dzong (if not already visited) and climb the steps to the Trongsa Museum, housed in the beautifully restored watch tower. Overnight in Wangdi.
DAY 11: Drive to Paro
Drive from Wangdi to Paro (3⅓hrs). En-route to Paro you can see perched on the hill, Simtokha Dzong, the first dzong built in Bhutan by the Shabdrung. Post lunch in Paro town, cross the traditional bridge and visit the impressive Rinpung Dzong, which featured in Bertolucci’s film “Little Buddha.” Descend into Paro town for some free time. Overnight in Paro.
DAY 12: Hike to Taktsang/ Tiger’s nest
Hike or horse ride to Taktsang temple, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, which is built into the sheer rock face at an altitude of 3,000 metres. This is a highlight of the tour and involves a 2-hour uphill hike. The visit to the temple, and the return downhill to the base makes this a 5-hour round trip. This hike requires a certain level of fitness but is not excessively difficult.
In the afternoon, drive towards the ruined fortress Drugyel Dzong from where you can get a view of the distant Jhomolhari mountain and enjoy the rural scenery of the valley. Visit Kyichu Lakhang upon return which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. You may wish to book a massage or a hot-stone bath at one of several hotel spas to relax after your busy day. Overnight in Paro.
DAY 13: Departure
Drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. We hope to serve you again with our other exciting tour packages in the future.