Trongsa Dzong also known as Choekhor Rabtentse Dzong is the most spectacularly sited dzong in Bhutan, with a sheer drop to the south that often just disappears into cloud and mist. Like almost all towns in the Kingdom, this Dzong architecture dominates the entire Trongsa horizon dwarfing the surrounding buildings. It was built in 1648 and it served as seat Trongsa Penlop. Both the first and second King ruled the country from this ancient seat. The Dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of the hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa heralding its strength as a defensive stronghold.
2 hours after arrival at the airport
Trongsa is the first central district from Thimphu, and forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts of unifying the country were launched. Before the unification of country under one king, Trongsa Penlop reigned superior to all other governors. Ugyen Wangchuck, prior to his unanimous election as the first ereditary monarch was then serving as Trongsa Penlop. The Crown Prince of Bhutan normally holds the position of the Trongsa Penlop prior to ascending the throne including the present King who was appointed Penlop in 2005.
Descending through the clear blue sky you will witness the Kingdom of Bhutan majestically positioned within the snow capped Himalayan mountain range. As you fly over this mystical peaceful sanctuary you can have a crystal view over forested hills and awesome peaks of Bhutan Jomolhari and Jichu Drake to mention few. Upon arrival at the airport you will be greeted by the guide and on completion of the airport formalities you will be guided to Kichu Resort in Paro. In the evening you can go for stroll around Paro Town, one of the notable towns in Bhutan.
In the morning take a tour over Paro valley, one of the historic valleys in Bhutan. Visit Drukgyel Dzong (the fortress of Bhutan’s victory) built in the 16th century to commemorate the victory of Bhutan from Tibetan invaders followed by a visit to National Museum, Rinpung Dzong (fortress of the heap of jewels) and Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. After lunch you will depart from Paro, another interesting drive for around 1 hour towards the capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu is the commercial hub and nerve centre for all activities in Bhutan. You will than pay a trip to the Memorial Chorten, Textile Museum and Folk Heritage Museum within the vicinity of the capital city. Before the dusk descends you will check in the hotel; rest, relax, shop or stroll, evening is yours to discover.
Morning: Visit Tashichho Dzong the “fortress of the glorious religion”, built in 1641. It houses the government and the central clergy of monks. Proceed to the National Library, where you can find an extensive collection of Buddhist literature and numerous others scriptures. The tour would than lead you to the Institute for Zorig Chusum (13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan) commonly known as the Painting School and National Institute of Traditional Medicine. The Institute supplies traditional medicines and medical services, trains doctors, and conducts research on traditional medicinal plants to identify the ingredients and develop new products. After lunch enjoy the scenic drive to Wangdi Phodrang via Dochu La (Pass, 3100Mtrs). Under the azure sky you can get spectacular views of the Himalayan peaks and amazing mountains. Lunch will be served at Dochu La. Passing amidst the downhill forested with rhododendrons, ferns and hemlock you will observe the beautiful Wangdi Town perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. Wangdue district is famed for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate which is mined up a valley a few kilometers from the town. Traversing through rice field you will arrive at Toebesa where you can visit the farm house and go for bird watching. You will than make you way to the nearby lodge. Overnight at hotel/farmhouse in Wangdi. Evening is yours to create and enjoy.
In the morning you will explore the typical Wangdi Phodrang town and nearby places. And the wheel spins to Trongsa via Gangtey Goenpa. Amidst overhanging boulders and sheets of lichens hanging like enormous cobwebs the approach to Pelela is a long climb. The stunning mountain roads would than take you to the plain gradient of Phobjikha, truly one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. You will than offer your prayer and circumambulate the Gangtey fortress while having a glimpse over the spectacular Phobjikha valley. The journey to Trongsa will recommence after lunch. Descending through the striking valley and beyond the fields of golden rape, you will reach the luminous Chendebji Chorten mirrored in the falling stream among the fluttering prayers flags. As you proceed further you will observe the stunning feast for the eyes, the glorious sight of Trongsa Dzong, one of the masterpieces of Bhutanese Architecture. Before the dusk you would check in the nearby lodge and take a comfy rest. Relax, shop or stroll, evening is all yours to explore.
Morning: Explore Trongsa, the then seat of power of the Wangchuck dynasty before unanimously enthroned by the people as the hereditary monarch of Bhutan in 1907. Traditionally the King of Bhutan first becomes the Trongsa Penlop (governor) before being named Crown Prince and eventually King. Built on a mountain spur high above the gorges of the Mangde Chhu, the Trongsa dzong controlled east-west trade for centuries. Higher yet on the hilltop is a watchtower, called Ta Dzong that currently houses an astounding museum. The tour would than lead you to Bumthang, a terrific destination covered with lush valleys and hilly forests in central Bhutan. Along the way you will come across a textile weaving ‘Yathra’ factory. The weavers at loom design patterns unique to Bumthang in their own creative ways. Bumthang is a bountiful valley blessed with numerous ancient temples and is the revered birthplace of many saints. Check in hotel on arrival. Evening is for you to explore.
Tour in Bumthang begins with sightseeing at Jakar Dzong, positioned on a ridge above Jakar town in the Chamkhar valley, the dzong is now the seat of the district administration and monastic body of Bumthang. Proceed to Jambay Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659 AD on a single day, to pin down an ogress to earth forever. Next, the holly Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred temple where you will find on cave the meditating body imprint of Guru Rimpoche, a spiritual master. After lunch, you will take a tour to Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings followed by Kencho Sum (Tripple Gem) Lhakhang. Explore Bumthang valley, visit farm house perhaps it would be a wonderful opportunity to discover the lifestyle of the local people and taste the unique Bhutanese cuisines. Overnight at the hotel or farm house or camp under the glittering stars, the choice is all yours.
Your day begins with an exciting excursion to Ura Valley, about one and half hour drive from Chamkhar town. The road climbs through conifers and beautiful landscape passing though the Shelthang la (Pass, 3600 Mts) with a glorious view of Mt. Gangkar Punsum (7540 Mts), the highest unclimbed peak in the world. Explore the beautiful valley and the exclusive life style of the locality. On the way back you will visit Tang Mebartso (the burning lake), a site from where the great Terton Pema Lingpa discovered his religious treasures. Today people have the tradition of lighting butter lamps and release in the lake. You can further proceed to Tang Valley, a remote village in Bumthang. From the road head you will hike to the Museum, the then Ugyen Chholing Palace. And end the day with a scrumptious dinner at the hotel. Travel around and discern the night life in Bumthang. It is all yours to create and enjoy.
A town which is as rich in history as it is in magnificent sights has a very unique market, take time to eye on their distinctive exhibition. In the late morning hours you will roll back to Wangdi once again crossing the thick forests and high passes. You can impede as and when you encounter something that pleasures you or you may also pose yourself with the beautiful and daunting waterfalls and sceneries on the way. Delicious and appetizing food items complete the table, ever jovial and enchanting faces will greet you for your lunch at Nodding Kuenphen Restaurant. Resume your journey after lunch and along the way visit the typical Bhutanese shops and local markets. Traversing through the bank of Dangchu River you will see different settlements of the Bhutanese people alongside the road. Overnight at hotel in Wangdi Phodrang.
Morning scenic drive to Punakha and visit Punakha Dzong/Punthang Dewachenp Phodrang (Palace of great happiness), which is stunningly situated on the ridge confluence of Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo chu (Female River) like an anchored ship. The Dzong houses the most sacred relics of the Drukpa Kagyu school including the Rangjung Kasarpani, and the sacred remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (a great lama of Drukpa sect) and Terton Padma Lingpa. Later you can go for sightseeing in Punakha. Walk across the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, than follow the road passing through the farmhouses and gradually climb the Dompola Hill. Enjoy spectacular views of the Punakha Dzong, the Phochu and Mochu Rivers and the surrounding village set amidst chir pine forest. Another two hours climbing would take you to Limbhukha, a village known for its love, peace and tranquility. Tour around the village to learn about daily lifestyle and practices of the local people and visit farmhouse, probably you will be served butter tea or “ara” local wine. Overnight in farm house/hotel/camp under the stars in Punakha. Evening is yours to create and enjoy.
In the morning you will explore the Khuruthang town and nearby places. On the way back to Thimphu you take a walk through the paddy fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Arriving at Dochu La lunch will be served. You will than offer your prayer at Druk Wangyel Lhakhang (Temple at Dochu La) and circumambulate the 108 Chortens (pagodas) set in concentric circles, built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother. You will reach Hongtsho in 30 minutes drive where you will visit Hongtsho Lhakhang built in 1452. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu, experience the night life in Thimphy city.
In the early morning drive to Paro and hike to Tiger’s Nest, the sacred Taktshang monastery. Lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria. Returning from Taktshang you can take a tour over Paro valley, one of the historic valleys in Bhutan. Visit farm house and discover the lifestyle of local people. Relax, rest, stroll or shop and enjoy your last day in Paro.
After breakfast in the early morning hours you will check out from the resort and head towards Paro international Airport for departure. You will than bid farewell to the land of thunder Dragon.