Little Big Bhutan, 7 days

Tour highlights

  • Visit to Gasa below snowy peaks
  • Enjoy famous Gasa hotsprings
  • All sights 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
# Itinerary Program
1 Arrival, drive to Thimphu Arrival by plane to Paro airport and drive to Thimphu. In case of arrival by land, cross border from India in Phuntsholing/Jaigon and ~5 hours drive to Thimphu. ➜ Stop at Tachog lhakhang to see traditional bridge made using ancient iron chains. ➜ After reaching Thimphu, drive to Changlimithang stadium to see the archery, traditional sport of Bhutan. Matches are going on from the morning to the evening! ➜ On working day, you might visit Postal Museum to learn about the colorful history of Bhutan's postal service. You can also have the stamps with your own face printed and send postcards to your friends and family back home! ➜ During weekends, you might like to see Centenary market where residents make their grocery shopping. Market also have interesting handicraft section. ➜ Visit to Tashichho dzong castle, the seat of the king and government. ➜ Optionally celebrate arrival to Bhutan in famous Mojo Park music club or other popular venue. ➜ Day's program is subject to arrival time.
2 Thimphu   Wangdue / Punakha 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 signaling in junctions. Thimphu is only capital in the world without the traffic lights. ➜ Finish walk at handicraft market where many interesting Bhutanese souvenirs can be seen and bought for reasonable price. ➜ Drive to Changlimithang stadium to see archery match, traditional sport of Bhutan (depends on luck if the game is going on). ➜ From Friday to Sunday you can also visit to Centenary market where local people go to shop for food supplies. Market also has interesting handicraft section. ➜ Otherwise, you can enjoy some free time in the town, exploring it on your own. ➜ Afternoon transfer to Wangdue or Punakha over Dochu-la pass (3010 m) and stop to enjoy mountain scenery (weather permitting) and admire unique 108 chorten stupa.
3  Wangdue / Punakha – Gasa Short walk to Chhimmy lhakhang temple, devoted to 15th century saint Drukpa Kunley, known as “Divine madman”, who taught Buddhism by singing, drinking and scandalous sexual exploits. ➜ 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 partly on unpaved road. Enjoy popular healing hot springs with other Bhutanese. ➜ Overnight in farmhouse in Gasa as guest of local family. You can taste local delicacies, butter tea or ara spirit.
4 Gasa –  Wangdue / Punakha 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 / Punakha – 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) the 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 Kiychu 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 hiking in the morning or early afternoon depending on weather, your fitness and preferences.
7 Departure from Bhutan Departure from Bhutan. Program subject to flight schedule.
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.
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