|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. Depending on arrival time visit of Tashicho dzong, the castle, which serves as seat of the king and government. If time permits, visit of the other sights.
|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.
|Wangdue / Punakha – Trongsa
|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, 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. Drive to Trongsa over Pele-la pass (3550m) with stop at Chendebji stupa, built after the Boudhanath stupa of Kathmandu. Reaching hotel by evening.
|Trongsa – Jakar
|Visit the great Trongsa dzong, the castle from which the royal dynasty of Bhutan has risen. Intricate museum in watchtower Ta Dzong hosts number of interesting artifacts related to royal dynasty, history of Bhutan and many religious statues and temples. Drive to Jakar over Yotong-la pass (3550 m). Visit of Red Panda brewery or other sight, if time permits.
|Visit of sleepy castle Jakar dzong and old Jambay lhakhang temple, which pins down the leg of giant demoness. Walk to Kurjey lhakhang temple complex. After exploring the place, enjoy the picnic lunch on beautiful riverside. Finally continue walk to Tamshing Gompa, the temple which was allegedly built and marvelously painted by 15th century saint Pema Lingpa with the help of angels. Explore the town with it’s interesting curio shops and welcoming local restaurants.
|Jakar – Paro (by flight)
|Taking domestic flight to Paro is extraordinary experience. In clear weather, you might spot many of the seven and six thousand meters high mountains on the border with Tibet, including Gangkhar Punesum, the world's highest peak never conquered by man. After landing in Paro, visit National museum and Paro dzong, castle where Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha film was shot. Explore the lively small town.
|Drive to castle-ruins of Drukyel dzong, from where you can see the top of holy Jomolhari mountain. Explore the calm Kyichu lhakhang which also pins down giant demoness body. 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.
|If time permits, you can make visit to Dzongdrakha gompa, the temple built below the rocky cliff which beauty is only rivalled by Tiger's Nest. Perfect place to give Bhutan good bye! After that, you depart from Paro by flight or take 6 hours drive to land border in Phuntsholing.
Tour variants, extensions and combinations:
- Include pristine Phobjikha valley (+1 day): Add one more day to stop in pristine Phobjikha valley in between Trongsa and Wangdue.
- Reach to Tang valley in Bumthang (+2 days): Visit Phobjikha as above and also spend more time in beautiful Bumthang and visit Tang with interesting museum in old aristocratic palace. See details in Historical Heart of Bhutan II, 10 days program.