|Duration||011 Nights / 012 Day|
|Destination||PARO – THIMPHU - PUNAKHA – PHOBJIKHA - TRONGSA – BUMTHANG – JAKAR – WANGDUE - WANGDI - PARO|
|Package Value||On Request|
|Booking for:||Bhutan Village Walking Tours|
|Day||01||Arrive Paro – drive to Thimphu|
On arrival at Paro, you will be provided assistance in travelling to Thimphu. Day 1 will be a day of attunement in Thimphu (2,400m). After lunch you will visit the Changgangkha temple, where locals bring their children to seek blessings and babies are given their names by the revenant Lama. Then you will be driven to the Takin reserve to see the national animal of Bhutan. Then you will be driven to the viewpoint and you can take a short hike to Wangditse temple. The route passes through a mass of prayer flags and a small farm before descending along a small forest path to reach Wangditse temple ( it is under renovation so it is not accessible). From here the levelled path takes you full circle and presents good views of Thimphu dzong. You can descend by car to visit the impressive Dzong.
|Day||02||Thimphu - TANGO HIKE & PICNIC.|
Make an early start for a short hike to Tango monastery. You will be driven along country lanes on the way to the trail and then you have to hike uphill for just one hour before reaching Tango Monastery, one of the most important institutes of Buddhist studies for the monks of Bhutan. You can enjoy a delicious picnic lunch which will be served near the riverside before returning to Thimphu. In the afternoon, visit the Folk Heritage Museum and the Institute for the 13 Traditional Arts (Zorig Chusum). In the early evening visit the Buddha point and take a leisurely walk around the Memorial Chorten, where you will meet people from all walks of life. You will also have some free time for visiting the town centre. You may wish to visit the Post office where you can have the amazing experience to see the stamp collections and even have your own photo taken and your own stamp made.
|Day||03||Thimphu – Punakha ( UNAKHA MOUNTAIN AND VILLAGE DAY-HIKE)|
Day 3 begins with an early start, you will be driven towards Punakha. On the way you can stop at Dochula pass (3,000m) to witness the Himalayan peaks and circumambulate the chorten. A 40 minute downhill hike through rhododendron forests will give you a breath of fresh air which you miss in the hustle-bustle of city life. After that you start on a beautiful two-hour walk through villages and farmland. In the spring you will walk through small villages, skirt green rice terraces and see various exotic trees, plants and birds. In the fall the farmers will be harvesting their rice terraces. You may even see eagles swooping below you deep into the forested valleys. Here you get a chance to enjoy a picnic lunch in the fields, near a temple. You can continue for another 2-hour walk through villages until you reach the road where you will meet your vehicle. You can further proceed towards Punakha (1,200m). Punakha Dzong was the old capital of Bhutan and has an imposing temple full of colorful carvings, paintings and enormous statues. You will cross the recently restored cantilever bridge to enter the dzong. After visiting the dzong visit the exhibition which gives the details of the bridge restoration process.
|Day||04||PUNAKHA SIGHTSEEING AND TWO SHORT HIKES.|
On day 4 you will take part in two short hikes. Start off early in the morning for a short hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgayal stupa for views over the Punatsangchu river. Then drive to visit the Chimi Lhakhang temple, seat of the so called “Divine Madman.”After lunch, set out on a drive towards Talo monastery. The interior of the monastery is not open to tourists but you can visit the courtyard and enjoy the view over the valley. A series of short hikes will take you below the monastery criss-crossing the main road at various intervals and ending with a two-hour downhill hike past a village, a school and through some forested areas, that will lead you back to Punakha dzong. You have another option also where you can send half day in river rafting in the Punatsangchu river (book with us in advance).
|Day||05||Punakha – Phobjikha ( DRIVE TO PHOBJIKHA AND HALF-DAY VALLEY HIKING)|
You will be driven along winding Himalayan mountain roads from Punakha via Wangdi to the high glacial valley of Phobjikha (3½ hrs, which is at an altitude of 2,800metres). Here you are likely to see grazing yaks. This valley has some mesmerising rural scenery and consists of a central marshland, it is also winter home of the rare black-necked cranes, and farms where potatoes and other high-altitude crops are grown. Take an afternoon hike of 3 hours through the valley, alongside the pristine river, through forests and villages. You have an another alternative option for a cycle tour in the valley.
|Day||06||PHOBJIKHA SIGHTSEEING AND HALF-DAY HIKE/ DRIVE TO TRONGSA OR CHUMEY.|
You will be taken to visit Gangtey Monastery and the RSPN information centre, where you can learn more about the black-necked crane. Apart from this you have two options to choose from: Option 1: You can take a 3- 4 hour hike from Phobjikha towards the valley of Sephu and Rukubji. This is a fairly strenuous hike, which starts from above the Gangtey monastery and climbs for about 1½ – 2 hours to the Gyeche-La Pass, (3,580m), following the old routes when the road was not built. Visit Kumbu monastery before reaching the pass and then continue downhill into the valley where you will pass through several villages until you eventually meet your vehicle and continue on the journey towards Trongsa. Drive to Trongsa (2hrs). Arrive at the hotel in the evening. Option 2: If you don’t want to go for a long hike you can choose a shorter hike: Stop at the viewpoint before reaching Trongsa and take the old path that used to be the main access to Trongsa dzong. Descend sharply to a wooden cantilever bridge and then climb back up towards the dzong’s main entrance. This 1½hour hike will make you realize how the dzong dominated the route between the east and west of Bhutan. Visit Trongsa Dzong Then you will be driven to Chumey Village (1½hrs). Be sure to wander around a little to witness the daily life in a very typical rural village in the Chumey valley.
|Day||07||TRONGSA - DAY HIKE TO THARPALING MONASTERY/ JAKAR|
On day 7, get ready for an adventurous day. Pack your bags and set off for a picnic on a full day hike to Tharpaling Monastery. Drive up a rough road that leads all the way to Tharpaling monastery, which is perched on the mountain at 3,500m. Visit the monastery at Tharpaling, which has its resident monks and a very old temple. From the monastery you can hike directly uphill to the stupa of Ngulshey Khen Rimpoche, who is a teacher of the Dalai Lama. From here it’s a 1 hour hike to the ridge, from where you will get great views of the mountain ranges in the distance. From here the trek is downhill all the way, through rhododendron, dwarf bamboo and mixed conifer forests. Your vehicle will wait for you at Lamei Goempa and you will be driven to your hotel in Jakar. ( If you are interested in a tougher hike, this itinerary can be done in the opposite direction but must be planned in advance since you would stay overnight in Jakar).
|Day||08||BUMTHANG SIGHTSEEING (JAKAR).|
You can spend the day in sightseeing in Bumthang. Visit Jakar dzong, Jambay Lhakhang and Kurjey Lhakhang and have lunch in a village farmhouse to experience the ambience of a typical village before setting out on a short village hike to Tamshing monastery. Afterwards, you have to return towards town, stopping off at Karchu Dratshang where you may get a chance to see the monks debating in the Tibetan style.
|Day||09||JAKAR - DAY EXCURSION TO TANG VALLEY,|
You will be visiting OgyenCholing Palace Museum, an enormous and ancient building that used to be the home of a local lord and houses a good range of the original equipment of daily life. From here take a short hike through the villages of Ogyen Choling, Gamling and Kharab before reaching Namkhar Lhakhang where vehicle will be waiting for you. Afterwards, you can return to Jakar, halting at Lake Mebartsho, where the revered treasure revealer, Pema Lingpa retrieved a burning butter lamp from the deep waters.
|Day||010||JAKAR – WANGDUE ( RETURN DRIVE TO WANGDI (5 HRS).|
On the way, you can visit weavers at Zungney village and stop to visit the dzong (if not already visited) and climb the steps to the Trongsa Museum, located in the beautifully restored watch tower.
|Day||011||WANGDI - DRIVE TO PARO.|
You will be driven from Wangdi to Paro (3?hrs). On the journey to Paro you can see perched on the hill, Simtokha Dzong, the first dzong built in Bhutan by the Shabdrung. After taking lunch in Paro town, cross the traditional bridge and visit the impressive Rinpung Dzong, which was featured in Bertolucci’s film “Little Buddha.” Explore the Paro town in your free time.
|Day||012||’ PARO - HIKE TO TAKTSANG, THE “TIGER’S NEST”.|
You will begin your day with a morning hike or horseride to Taktsang temple, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, which is built into the sheer rock face at an altitude of 3,000 metres. This is the most interesting part of the tour and involves a 2-hour uphill hike. The visit to the temple, and the return downhill to the base makes this a 4-hour round trip. This hike requires a certain level of fitness but is not very difficult. In the afternoon, you will be driven towards the ruined fortress Drugyel Dzong from where you can get a view of the distant Jhomolhari mountain and enjoy the rural scenery of the valley with its small villages and farms scattered here and there. On the return to town, visit KyichuLakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. You can book a massage or a hot-stone bath at one of several hotel spas to remove the tiredness of the journey.
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