Cultural Trip to Bhutan without Bumthang

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Cultural Trip to Bhutan without Bumthang

Tour Start Location

Paro

Tour Start Location

Paro

Itinerary

Day 1Arrive Paro – Thimphu

After arriving & visa formalities and collection of baggage, you will be welcomed by our tour representative who will be your tour guide during your entire trip in Bhutan.

Check into your hotel in Thimphu. Free until lunch time for some rest from early morning flight, refreshment and lunch.
Afternoon, you can choose to visit any or all of the following places:-

Tachogang Lhakhang
Tachogang Lhakhang is located in Paro district, on the way to Thimphu. It was founded by Thankthong Gyelpo after he experienced a vision of Guru Rimpochhe, Amitaba and Avalokiteshvara near site. The caretakers today are said to be descendants of Thangtong Gyelpo. Inside the temple one can see the masters relics, including his walking stick.

ChangangkhaLakhang
This popular temple, perched like a fortress on a ridge above central Thimphu, hums with pilgrim activity. It was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama PhajoDrukgomShigpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet. Parents traditionally come here to get auspicious names for their newborns or blessings for their young children from the protector deity Tamdrin (to the left in the grilled inner sanctum). Children are blessed by a phurba (ritual dagger) and given a sacred thread.

Tashichho Dzong
The Tashichho Dzong is a Buddhist monastery cum fortress at the northern edge of Thimpu the capital city of Bhutan. The Dzong was built on the western bank of the river Wang Chu, and has historically served at the seat of the DrukDesi or the Dharma Raja of Bhutan’s government. After the kings assumed power in 1907 this post was combined with that of the king and Thimphu severed as the summer caital of the kingdom before becoming the full time capital of Bhutan.

Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2 Thimphu

After the breakfast we will drive to following places:

Kuensel Phodrang
The Kuensel Phodrang or the Buddha point isthe world’s largest sitting Buddha statue, the statue is 167 feet high. The statue is situated on top of a hill overlooking the city of Timphu, it can be accessed by road and is about 15 minutes away from the city’s center. The word Kuensel means everything is clear and from this place you will sure enjoy a great view of the Thimphu Valley on both sides. The statute will house a temple inside it, the statue and its adjoining car park and recreational center.

National Memorial Chorten
The National Memorial was built by Bhutan’s third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who is also known as the “father of modern Bhutan.” He wanted to erect a monument carrying the message of world peace and prosperity. However, he was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state and other regal responsibilities. After his untimely demise in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory and also serve as a monument to eternal peace, harmony and tranquility.

It was originally a mini zoo, but it was converted in a preserve later on as the Takin. The mini zoo contained a small number of Takin but the King of Bhutan later decreed that it was improper for a Buddhist nation to keep an animal in captivity. The animals were set free and the zoo was shut down, but for some reason the Takin refused to leave the area for the forests nearby.

THE CENTENARY FARMER’S MARKET
Located below the main town, near the Wangchhu River, Thimphu’s weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan.
Located below the main town, near the Wangchhu River, Thimphu’s weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market. With its wide assortment of fresh, organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favourite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life.
Nearby, across a cantilever footbridge, KuendeylingBazaam, to the west bank is a collection of stalls selling clothing, textiles and handicrafts.

In evening we will visit weekend market of Thimphu.
Thimphu’s ‘Weekend Market’ occupies the west bank of the Wang Chhu, just north of Changlimithang Stadium. Vendors from throughout the region start arriving on Thursday and remain until Sunday night. Most people combine a visit here with some souvenir shopping in the nearby Handicrafts Market. The incense area is one of the more interesting sections, full of deliciously aromatic raw ingredients and pink cubes of camphor and saffron that are used to flavour the holy water given to pilgrims in lhakhangs.

Overnight In Thimphu.

Day 3Thimphu

After breakfast we will hike to following places
Enjoy a hike through the beautiful and beguiling Bhutanese countryside. Visit the Cheri and Tango Goemba, two beautiful monasteries in the hills between which lies the Thimphu Chu River.
Begin the day with drive to take a short hike to Cheri and Tango Goempa. Located 18km north of Thimphu, it takes about 30 minutes’ drive to get there, followed by an hour long walk through shaded rhododendron forests. Though steep, the trail is well pathed and you can take your time to enjoy the views here. Spot deer and mountain goats, known as jaru along the way.
The site of the monastery was established in the 12th Century and later Lama Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Madman) founded the present building in 15th Century. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, a great Bhutanese saint, meditated in a cave near the monastery and helped to ensure the defeat of an invading Tibetan army. Today, Tango functions as a university for Buddhist monks, with 280 dedicated students.

ZilukhaNunnary
ThangthongDewachen Nunnery is a Buddhist monastery in the small Himalayan country of Bhutan. The nunnery is located in Zilukha, Thimphu overlooking Tashichodzong and is a few minutes’ drive from the town. It is popularly known as the ZilukhaAnimDratshang. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of ThangtongGyalpo, DrubthobRikeyJadrel. Currently, the nunnery is home to about 60 nuns.

Overnight at Thimphu

Day 4Thimphu – Punakha

Post early breakfast, you will drive towards Punakha via Dochula Pass. We will stop over for tea at Dochula (3,100 m), where on a sunny day, you can get stunning views of the Himalayan ranges. The Dochu La Pass is probably the best known mountain pass in Bhutan. Located at an altitude of 3150 meter above sea level, the Dochu La Pass is about 30 kilometer away from the capital city Thimphu and the road to Punakha.On a clear day the pass offers visitors a spectacular view of the majestic eastern Himalayan Ranges.

Punakha Dzong
The Punakha Dzong or the PungtangDechenPhortang Dzong is located at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu River, combine to form the Puna Tsang Chu which in turn is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Dzhong was constructed by ZhabdrungNgawangNamgyalWangchuck in 1638 on the exact spot as prophesized by the Guru Rinpoche some 800 years ago. According to the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche “a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. And lo behold! ZhabdrungNgawangNamgyal found that the peak of the hill was in the shape of an elephant’s trunk and built the Dzong at that very spot. Another legend associated with the Dzong is that of ZowePalep, the architect of the Dzong received vision of the Dzong in his sleep. This vision got imprinted in the architects mind and enabled him to construct the Dzong without putting his plans to paper.
(Overnight in a hotel in Punakha)

Day 5Punakha

After an early breakfast, we will be driving down to Trongsa. Admire the view en route the valley of Wangdiphodrang. We will drive to Chimmi Lhakhang to start with. The Chimi Lhakang or the Chimel Lhakang is a Bhuddhist monastery located in the Punakha District of Bhutan. The monastery stands on a small hill close to the village of Lobesa and was constructed in 1499 by Ngawang Choegyel, the 14thDrukpaheirarch.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
A beautiful hike takes one to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond.

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery
Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang(Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.

The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.

(Overnight in a hotel in Punakha)

Day 6Punakha - Trongsa

After an early breakfast, we will be driving down to Trongsa. Admire the view en route the valley of Wangdiphodrang. We will drive to ChimmiLhakhangto start with. The ChimiLhakang or the ChimelLhakang is a Bhuddhist monastery located in the Punakha District of Bhutan. The monastery stands on a small hill close to the village of Lobesa and was constructed in 1499 by NgawangChoegyel, the 14thDrukpaheirarch.

ChendebjiChorten
Located 2 kilometers away from the village of Chendebji is the Chendebji Chorten, a large Buddhist Stupa. The Chendebji Chorten is a large white structure built in likeness to the famous BodhunathStupa located in Kathmandu in Nepal. The Chorten was constructed by Lama Shinda from Tibet in the 19th century AD. The Stupa is believed to have been constructed at a spot where an evil spirit was subdued by the Lama.

Trongsa Dzong
The Trongsa Dzong or the CheokhorRabdentse is one of the largest and most impressive
Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong is located on a cliff overlooking theMangde Chu river gorge. The Dzong was built at the site of a temple that was constructed in 1543, by a Drukpa Lama. This huge multi-level fortress comprises of a series of courtyards and passageways that are built along the topography of the ridge.
Trongsa Dzong
(Overnight in a hotel in Trongsa)

Day 7Trongsa – Gangtey

After breakfast you will drive to Gangtey and visit GangteyGoemba. The Gangtey Monastery or the GangteyGoempa is an important monastery / temple associate with the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism. The Monastery is Located in the WanduePhodrangDzhongkhag in central Bhutan. The Gangtey Monastery is situate in the picturesque Phobjikha Valley, which is also renowned for being the winter home of the rare Tibetan Black Necked Cranes. The monastery was established in 1613 by PelingGyalse Rinpoche, the grandson of Trenton PemaLingpa the great treasurer discoverer.

Phobjikha valley
The Phobjikha is a wide glacial valley located in close to the Gangtey Monastery. The Phobjikha valley is the winter home of the rare Black Necked Cranes that migrate from Tibet from the arid plains of Tibet to roost in the more comfortable climate of the Phobjikha Valley. The valley is at an altitude of 2900 meters above sea level and experiences a much lighter winter as compared to the harsh extremes of Tibet.

(Overnight in a hotel in Gangtey)

Day 8Gangtey – Haa

After early morning breakfast, you will drive to Paro and on the way, we will visit:-

Simtokha Dzong
The Simtokha Dzong is a small Dzong located approximately 5 kilometers south of Thimphu. The Dzong is officially called the SangakZabhonPhodrang which roughly translates to the Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras. The Simthoka Dzong is said to be the first fortress to have been built by the legendary ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal in Bhutan. Later drive to Paro, and after lunch we will visit:-
(Overnight in a hotel in Haa)

Day 9Gangtey – Haa

Depart for Haa, the westernmost valley in Bhutan. This is a beautiful drive (3.5h) that is relatively free of traffic. The road takes us back to Chuzom (river confluence) where we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits, and then traverses left past Dobje Dzong, an ancient prison which now houses a monastery. Picturesque and quaint villages dot the hillsides for the rest of our drive to Haa. Overnight at Lechuna Heritage Lodge (if rooms are available) or at hotel in Haa.

Day 10Haa – Paro

hike to Kila Nunnery (optional bike descents). Start early for the drive to Chele La Pass which (3,988m) from which on a clear day the view sweeps away to Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari(7314m). Striding out along the Edelweiss covered ridge, we pass a sky burial site. We then descend for the two-hour hike through dense rhodendron forest, possibly sighting shaggy yaks, to KilaGoemba, an ancient nunnery nestled in a craggy patch on the mountainside below. KilaGoemba is a serene retreat for 32 Anims (Buddhist nuns) who lead an undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation. Overnight in Paro

Day 11Paro

After early morning breakfast, we will take you for a morning hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Hanging precariously and magically from a rather steep cliff, the Taktshang monastery is a monument of genuine pride for the Bhutanese nation. It defies architectural principles to the core and amazes tourists from around the world. It is a sight to behold.

KyichuLhakhang
The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. The temple was built by the Tibetan King SongstenGampo in the 7th Century AD. The KyichuLhakhang was one of the 108 temples constructed by him to subdue a demon that was terrorizing the people of the Himalayas.
The Lhakahng underwent many extensions during the ages with the last one being carried out in 1965 by the Queen Mother AshiKezangChodenWangchuck.

Day 12Paro Departure

In the morning after early breakfast we will see you off at the Paro Airport for your onward destinations.

Tour Map
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