Day 01: Arrive at Paro by Druk Air
The Druk Air flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. Whether flying along the majestic Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata, each flight is a mesmerizing feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom. On arrival at the airport, you will be received by our representative and transferred to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
If time permits, visit the Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery built in 1641 by the Founder of Bhutan Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is the centre of government and religion, His Majesty the King’s Throne Room and the seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot of the monastic body. After a fire, it was reconstructed in 1961 in the traditional Bhutanese manner without nails or architectural plans. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimphu / Punakha ( 75 Km, 2.1/2 Hours )
After breakfast, get a feel of the culture and traditions of Bhutan through an all encompassing sightseeing tour of Thimphu.
Visit the National Memorial Chorten. The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the Father of modern Bhutan”) who wished to erect a monument to promote world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace. It has now become a vibrant centre of spiritual practice and religious events.
Visit Buddha Dordenma located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park overlooking the southern entrance to the Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfills an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world. This massive statue of Shakyamuni is 51.5 m tall, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue- 100,000 statues of 8 inches and 25,000 statues of 12 inches. Each of these Buddhas have also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
Visit the National Library that has a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts.
The Painting School, famous for its traditional thangkha paintings. Here you will see students at work producing intricate design on cloth.
The National Institute of Traditional Medicine where centuries old healing arts are still practiced.
Later, visit the Royal Textile museum and the Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of Bhutanese culture and living traditions.
After lunch, visit the Handicrafts Emporium that displays a wide assortment of beautifully handwoven and crafted products for sale.
Evening- drive to Punakha across the Dochula pass (3,050m ). Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 03: Punakha / Paro ( 150 Km, 5 Hours )
After breakfast, visit the Punakha Dzong, the 17th century fortress built at the junction of two rivers, the Phochhu (male river) and the Mochhu (female river). Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955 and the Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. The fortress has withstood several damages from natural calamities over the centuries. The last flood in October 1994 caused great damage to the fortress but miraculously spared its most sacred Buddha statue.
Next, visit the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, that sits majestically on the ridge above Punakha valley with an amazing view of the countryside and the hills below. It was built by the Queen Mother Her Majesty Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck to ward off evil forces and bring peace and harmony to all living beings. It is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. It is located about 30 minutes drive from town and an hour’s trek up the hill. From the top of the Chorten you can enjoy the peace and beautiful view.
After lunch, drive to Paro with a short stop at Dochula to enjoy the scenic beauty of the 108 stupas built by the Queen Mother Her Majesty Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. Later en route visit Simtokha Dzong, the first and oldest fortress of the kingdom built in 1627 by the Founder of Bhutan Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 04: Paro
After breakfast visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum of the Kingdom. Originally built as a Watch Tower, it has been serving as the National Museum of the country since 1967. It has on display a fascinating collection of art, artifacts, thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps.
Next, take a short walk down to Rinpung Dzong which has a long and fascinating history. The first National Assembly of Bhutan was held here.
After lunch drive north of the Paro valley to the Drukgyel Dzong, currently under restoration. The Bhutanese repelled several invasions by Tibetan armies in the past. Then visit a traditional Bhutanese Farm House that offers a good insight into the lifestyle of the local people.
While returning, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in the Kingdom. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 05: Depart Paro
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for final departure.