Explore South-West Bhutan I, 7 days

The stupa at Goempa in Tsirang Toe
Path less travelled
Cultural sightseeing
  • Most interesting sights with exploratory touch
  • Ideal for winter visit due to lower altitudes
  • All sights of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Wangdue
  • Witness southern Bhutan warmth and vivid nature
  • Lush natural beauty of Tsirang
  • See the distinct southern Hindu communities
From: 
US$ 1120 / person ?
Dates: 
Flexible
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# 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. Stop at Tachog lhakhang to see traditional bridge made using ancient iron chains. See Memorial Chorten, always busy with devotees. Other sightseeing depending on the arrival time.
2 Thimphu Early morning drive to Buddha Dordenma, the gigantic statue of Buddha overlooking the valley and walk to striking city viewpoint. 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. Continue with visit to Simply Bhutan Museum with exhibition on traditional village life in Bhutan. 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. Visit of Tashicho dzong, the castle, which serves as seat of the king and government.
3 Thimphu – Damphu (Tsirang) Transfer to Tsirang over Dochu-la pass (3010 m) with visit of royal temple Druk Wangyel lhakhang. In clear weather you have good chances for panoramic views of mountains, including Gangkhar Phuensum (7570m), the highest mountain of Bhutan. Descend to tropical valley of Punatsang chu river. Soon after lunch you will start driving down the valley below the Wangdue Phodrang castle (under reconstruction). On the way you pass around cascade of Punatsangchu hydro project, one of the major endeavors of Bhutan government. You will also cross the only road tunnel in Bhutan.   until you reach to Tsirang. Visit the sleepy town, botanical park and nearby joint Hindu-Buddhist temple, the unique feature symbolizing unity of local Buddhist and Hindu communities.
4 Dampu (Tsirang) – Wangdue / Punakha In the morning pay a visit to the Tsirang dzong, the modern built castle which servers as a center of local administration. It's impressive show of Bhutan's devotion to tradition. You should also peep in Damphu Dratshang, the seat of local monastic body. Then we will set to drive further north, taking longer diversion route through Tsirang Toe. On the way stop at Singa Devi Temple, one of the few authentic Hindu shrines in Bhutan. When reaching Tsirang Toe, you will walk above the central school to see picturesque ruins of large dzong (castle) who is said to be over 200 years old and use to be seat of local warlord Sang Sup Gyap, who was deposed from power by Jigme Namgyel, the father of first king of Bhutan. Walk from here through vital forest to Goemba, the viewpoint marked with stupa. Walk back to car and continue drive, reaching the main highway and continue to Wangdue. Stop at Sunkosh bazaar on the way to shop for homemade pickles, famous Tsirang oranges, honey and many other local products. Reach to Wangdue / Punakha and rest.
5 Wangdue / Punakha – Paro Early morning short hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten with wonderful view of the valley and it‘s terraced paddy fields. See the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan stretching the length of 350m over Pho Chhu river. Visit of Punakha dzong, which counts as the most intricately decorated castle in the kingdom. 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. Evening drive to Paro.
6 Paro Visit of the National Museum and Paro dzong (Rinpung dzong), the castle-monastery where Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha film was shot. Pristine Kyichu lhakhang is one of the two oldest temples built in Bhutan. 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.
7 Departure If time permits, you can make visit to Drukyel dzong, the castle ruins from where you can see the summit of holy Jomolhari mountain in clear weather. After that you depart from Paro by flight or take 6 hours drive to land border in Phuntsholing.
Tour variants, extensions and combinations: 
  • Dagana excursion (+1 day): Extend visit to south by one day excursion to Dagana, another remote district with large historical castle. See Explore South-West II, 8 days tour