Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trip Itineraries: Friendly Bhutan

Friendly Bhutan Tour
An introduction to Bhutan, this tour includes western Bhutan's highlights

PBH Airport

6 Night / 7 Day Tour, Paro-Punakha-Wangduephodrang-Thimphu-Paro

Day 01 : Arrive Paro

The Druk Airways flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in the world. You will experience breathtaking views of Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Jomolhari and other Himalayan peaks. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from the southeast, each flight is a mesmerizing aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom.

On arrival at Paro airport: immigration and custom formalities and then received by your guide and transfer to your hotel.

In the afternoon, take a stroll around town’s main street. 

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 02 : Paro

Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred temples of the Kingdom, reflecting the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum. The museum collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons and country’s exquisite postage stamps. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong situated at commanding height, overlooking Paro valley. This Dzong is symbolic as the religious and secular centre of all affairs of the valley.

Evening : visit a traditional farm house to get an idea of the lifestyle of local people.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 03 : Paro – Punakha (125 km, 4.1/2 hours)

After breakfast, drive alongside the Pa Chu river to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, about 18 km from the town. From this fortress, Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century.

Afternoon: drive to Punakha across Dochula pass (3,050m) which heralds the most enchanting views of Bhutan. The road passes alongside spectacular valleys and through dense forests. You will get a glimpse of farmhouses, rice fields and the traditional ways of the Bhuatnese people.

Arrive in Punakha. Until 1955, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo. Visit Punakha Dzong built in 17th century at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. It has been destroyed by four fires and an earthquake in 1897 and has frequently been devastated by floodwater coming from the great northern glaciers. The Dzong has now been fully restored to its original splendor.

Evening visit to local market. 

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.

Day 04 : Punakha – Wangduephodrang - Thimphu (90 km, 3 hours)

After breakfast, drive to Wangduephodrang along the thrilling mountain highway. The last town in the west before arriving at the central region of Bhutan, Wangdue is a typical small Bhutanese town. The town’s formidable Dzong is its most visible feature. In the 17th century, Wangdue played a criticial role in unifying the western, central and southern Bhutanese districts.

After lunch, drive to Thimphu, the small capital city in the heart of Himalayas. Thimphu’s charm is not only embedded in its wealth of museums or places of historic interest but visitors may wander along the main street and into shops, all of which are decorated in traditional style. Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 05 : Thimphu

Morning visit to Trashichhodzong, situated on the banks of Wang Chhu. It is home of the National Assembly and the summer residence of capital’s monastic community. The Dzong is the impressive result of a redesign of the original medieval structure sanctioned by the Third King, HM Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, when he moved Bhutan’s permanent capital to Thimphu.

Bhutan’s National Library is located close to the Thangkha painting school and contains arguably the best collection of religious and historic literature in the Himalayas. The country has its own brand of Himalayan medicines and this can be seen at the Indigenous Hospital. The Textile and Folk Heritage Museum opened in year 2001 is fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese material culture and living traditions. The Memorial Chhorten, a pious landmark for Thimphu’s residents, was erected in 1974 by the mother of Third King, in memory of her son. Visit Handicrafts Emporium which displays wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted products.

Return drive to Paro.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day  06: Paro

Morning: an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest. This monastery, unique in the world, clings to a granite cliff face at an altitude of 3000 metres. It is the best known image of Bhutan. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, the father of the Bhutanese strain of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. Taktsang was severely damaged by fire in year 1998 and now has been restored in its original grandeur.

If you've got energy left after the climb to the Tiger's Nest, a further climb is an option from this point.

Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 07 : Paro Depart

After breakfast drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.


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