Little Big Bhutan, 7 days

Gassa Dzong with mountain in the background
Cultural sightseeing
  • Visit to Gasa below snowy peaks
  • Enjoy famous Gasa hotsprings
  • All important places of Paro, Thimphu, Wangdue and Punakha
  • Stay in family farmhouse in Gasa
  • Must do hike to Taktsang gompa (Tiger's Nest monastery)
  • Reasonable driving times
From: 
US$ 1120 / person ?
Dates: 
Flexible
 ?
# Itinerary Program
1 Arrival, drive to Thimphu Arrival by plane to Paro airport and drive to Thimphu or in case of arrival by land, crossing border from India in Phuntsholing/Jaigon and full day drive to Thimphu. Visit of Tashicho dzong, the castle, which serves as seat of the king and government. If time permits, visit of the other sights.
2 Thimphu  Wangdue Early morning drive to Buddha Dordenma, the gigantic statue of Buddha overlooking the valley and walk to striking city viewpoint. See Memorial Chorten, always busy with devotees. Walk in Norzin lam street and see the traffic police signalling in junctions. Thimphu is only capital in the world without the traffic lights. Finish walk in main postal office with shop where beautiful and valuable Bhutanese stamps can be bought. Visit school of traditional arts, where the young men and women learns the arts and craft of their forefathers. Excursion to Takin enclosure, where the national animal, the mysterious takin, is kept. After that Changankha lhakhang, the oldest place of worship in the valley. Later transfer to Wangdue Phrodrang over Dochu-la pass (3010 m).
3 Wangdue – Gasa Short walk to Chhimmy lhakhang temple, devoted to 15th century saint Drukpa Kunley, know as “Divine madman”, who did taught Buddhism by singing, drinking and rampant sexual behavior. If time permits, also visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang nunnery with Bhutanese and Nepali style stupa, overlooking the valley from the high hill. Visit of Punakha dzong, which counts as the most intricately decorated castle in the kingdom. Drive to Gasa famous for it's hot springs, where you can wash your body before the treks starts. Overnight in farmhouse in Gasa as guest of local family. You can taste local delicacies, butter tea or ara spirit.
4 Gasa – Wangdue At the morning you will visit Gasa Dzong which dates back to 17th century and used to be important part of defense against Tibetan incursions. Stunning views of snowy peaks, especially Kang Bum (6550m) might be seen in clear weather.  Then drive back down to Punakha. On the way we will stop to make 1½ hike to Khamsum lhakhang with stunning views of the valley.
5 Wangdue – Paro Early morning drive to Dochu-la pass (3015m) where we will visit Druk Wangyel lhakhang, temple dedicated to 4th king of Bhutan. In clear weather, we can see panoramic view of the peaks on the northern border of the country, including the Gangkhar Punesum (7540m) highest peak not yet climbed by human. You might even see the Gasa Dzong as a white dot in distance. Then continue drive to Paro with stop at Tshog lhakhang to see the bridge reconstructed with old chains smithed by ancient saint and bridge builder Thangton Gampo. After reaching Paro, we will visit National Museum and Paro dzong (Rinpung dzong), the castle-monastery where Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha film was shot.
6 Paro Morning visit to the pristine Kyichu lhakhang is one of the two oldest temples built in Bhutan. Continue drive to Drukyel Dzong, ruins of castle which used to protect Bhutan against Tibet. Climb to Taktsang gomba (Tiger’s Nest), is the highlight of the tour. While the hike seems to be hard, it’s very rewarding. If you don’t feel so strong, you can climb just halfway to cafeteria with nice view of the place. You can consider to climb in the morning or early afternoon depending on weather, your fitness and preferences.
7 Departure from Bhutan  
Tour variants, extensions and combinations: 
  • Consider to extend trip to pristine Haa valley (+1 day): Haa is rarely visited district east to Paro. Also you will experience drive over Chele-la pass (3850m), the highest motorable pass in Bhutan. See Pristine Bhutan, 8 days program for details.