Tour Name: Bhutan Pligrimage Tour (18 nights 19 days)
(Paro-Thimphu-Punakha-Phobjikha-Bumthang-Mongar- Tashi Yangtse- Thimphu–Paro)
(18 nights 19 days Western, Central- & Eastern Bhutan)
Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air & transfer to Thimphu
Upon arrival at Paro international airport, you will be warmly received by our tour representative and transferred to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan with an exciting blend of tradition and modernity. Thimphu is perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world.The Tashichho Dzong (Fortress) is the most prominent landmark situated near the Wang Chhu River and it houses the throne room of the King of Bhutan.During summer months, the monk body led by His Holiness, the Chief Abbot Je Khenpo of Bhutan, makes its home in the Dzong. Bhutan is only a country still no traffic lights and this will remain long into the 21st century as one of the world’s most pristine capital cities.
Evening visit to Trashichho Dzong:
Literally meaning, fortress of the glorious religion, Trashichho dzong, was first built in 1641 by Zhabdrubg Ngawang Namgyel, and later rebuilt in its present form in 1965 by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. This fortress houses the throne room \His Majesty the King of Bhutan, civil official and is the seat of the government and the summer residence for the monastic body.
Overnight at Thimphu.
Day 2: Thimphu – Gangtey / Phobjikha Valley
After breakfast, drive to Gangtey/Phobjikha, across Dochula pass (3,140m). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chortens (Stupas) and prayer flag. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.
Then visit Gangtey Goempa
Gangtey was founded by Pema Trinley, the grandson of Pema Lingpa, the famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan. In 1613, Pema Trinley establishes the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions of Pema Lingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin Legpa Dondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up good relations with Drukpas, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a Dzong.
It is one of the most beautiful and breath taking places in Bhutan The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space, and extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valleys are tightly enclosed.
Gangey Natural Trail:
Natural trail hiking from Gangety monastery to Phobjikha valley is one of the beautiful and easiest hikes climbing downhill, which will take about 2 hours.
This pleasurable walk provides opportunity to get nice feel of Phobjikha valley.from the small hilltop overlooking Gangtey Goemba, you will be passing through flower meadows towards village and through beautiful forests and into open valley. The trail ends at the local community school after passing Chorten and khewa Lhakhang.
Distance: 5 km. Time: approx..2 hours. Difficulty level: Easy.
Over night at Phobjikha valley
Day 3: Gangtey/phobjikha valley – Bumthang.
Morning explore Phobjikha valley which is famous for Black Necked Cranes. These cranes migrate here from Central Asiatic plateau to escape the harsh winters.
Black Necked Crane Information Centre
Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane information Centre has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The center also offers display information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people.
Then drive to Bumthang crossing 3,300m high Pele la pass which you will be enjoying fresh air. Stop en- route at Chendbji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes panted at four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. You will come across again over the Yutong-la pass (3,400m/ 11,155 ft).
On the way to Bumthang,visit Trongsa Museum
It is one of the beautiful museums in Bhutan. This watchtower (ta dzong) overlooking the dzong now houses an excellent museum. The five floors of displays focus on Buddhist art and royal memorabilia, including such as the football boots used by the teenaged fourth king.
Overnight at Bumthang
Day 4: Bumthang – Sightseeing.
Located at an altitude of 2600m-4500m/8530ft-14765ft.The place is very beautiful and also known as the Switzerland. Bumthang is one of the famous religious place in Bhutan.It is the home for Pema Lingpa the 15th century treasure discovered, the great Buddhist saint. Many temples and monasteries, some of which are the most scared and oldest in Bhutan. Bumthang valley,This region is also known for the unique designs and patterns of hand woven Yathra from the fibers of yak and sheep wool
Visit Kuje Lhakhang
Kurje Monastery comprises of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 on the rock face where Guru Rinpoche mediated in 8th century. Second temple was built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of Gurus body and is therefore considered as most holy. The third temple was built in 1990s by Ashi Kesang the queen mother. These three temples were surrounded 108 stupas.
-Offering butter lamp in the temple of imprint of Guru Rinpochhe’s body towards the cave.This is one of the amazing and most holy temple.
-Self-meditation of your own in the temple after offering the butter lamp.
-Offering white scarf to the imprint of Guru’s body to the cave
Jambey Lhakhang (Temple)
It is one of an oldest temple in Bhutan.This monastery was built in the 7th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.On the same day as Kyichu Lhakhang in paro.It is one of the 108 monasteries that were built to subdue evil in the Himalayan region.
Located just opposite to Kurjey Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang known as (temple of the good message) it was founded by Terton Pema Lingpa re-incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava in 1501.This monastery houses very ancient religious paintings like 1000 Buddhas and 21 Taras( female form of Bodhisattva)The temple was restored at the end of 19th century.
Jakar Dzong is said to be the longest fortress of Bhutan and it is known as castle of the white bird This fortress was built by the great grand-father of the first Zhabdrung in 1549 as a monastery. After Zhabdrung firmly established his power in 1646, it was upgraded as a fortress. Today, this fortress serves as the centre of administration of the district and houses the monastic body.
Evening leisure around town of your own. Note: The diner will serve in Swiss guesthouse.
Overnight at Bumthang
Day 5 : Bumthang – Mongar eastern part of Bhutan adventures
After breakfast, drive to Mongar which takes eight hours to reach Mongar via car from Bumthang. Travelling from Bumthang to Mongar is one of the most beautiful and spectacular in Bhutan, crossing Thrumshing La pass that peaks at 3750m.This journey takes you across a numerous waterfalls, steep cliffs and constantly changing vegetation. Mongar marks the beginning of eastern Bhutan highway. Mongar is situated on the side of a hill.
Evening leisure at town.
Overnight at Mongar
Day 6: Mongar – Tashiyangtse
After breakfast, drive to Trashiyangtse.The region is known for a variety of exquisite functional and decorative products like wooden bowls and cups, which are known to be the best in Bhutan. The day will be very exciting and memorable one (adventures) The road is very interesting followed by the back of river. The people are very sympathetic and kind to everyone. You can interact with them easily and the dinner would be served in farmhouse with typically tradition Bhutanese style.
En route to Tashiyangtse,you can also visit Gom kora a very popular holy place.Gom Kora is a temple situated few kilometres away from Trashigang. Guru Rinpoche is said to have mediated in a cave, in the huge black rock just behind the temple, in order to subdue a demon who dwelt in that rock. Today we can see the impression of his thumb, his hat, and his body on the rock. Every spring, all people from the nearby districts including as far as from Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh come to participate in the festival held at Gom Kora, and circumambulate the temple and the rock throughout the night.
Based on the shape of the Boudnath temple in Nepal, this stupa was built in 1740 by Lama Ngawang Loday. An interesting annual festival known as kora is held there. People from all parts of the country and from the nearby state of Arunachal Pradesh district of India also come to take part in the festival.
Bomdeling is the winter resting place of the black-necked cranes. In the winter, the cranes migrate to Bomdeling.Bomdeling is a calm, serene and beautiful place to visit the villages, who live in harmony with nature and their surroundings.
Day 7 : Tashiyangtse to Mongar
After breakfast drive back to Mongar.
Overnight at Mongar
Day 8 : Mongar – Bumthang
En route, you will pass, Ura valley one of a beautiful houses in a group and visit there if you wish.
Overnight at Bumthang
Day 9 Bumthang sightseeing (Tang valley day excursion (50 km 2 hours). Tang Valley:
After breakfast, visit Membertsho (Burning Lake)
Mebartsho or the burning lake takes about 20 minutes walk from the parking road. Terton (Treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa (Re-incarnation of Guru Rinpoche) is said to have discovered several religious treasures in the 15th century from this lake. This lake is very scare and revered and an extensive array of prayer flags flutter above the lake, along with numerous tsa tsa or clay tablets that decorate the rock niche. It is a lovely sport where nature religion and history blur into one. This is one of greatest pilgrimage sites of Bhutan.
Then drive to Tang valley which is one of the beautiful valley in Bumthang,
It is about 50 km from Bumthang 2 hourr drive.The road climbs up hill and then down .it is one of the remotest and beautiful valleys in Bumthang.You will passing road through village and enjoy the scene.On the way you can visit nunnery centre. Pema Lingpa, the re-incarnation of Guru Rinpochhe,(treasure discoverer) the famous saint, was born in the Tang valley of Bumthang. The peopleof this valley raise sheep and at higher elevation, yaks as the soil in this region is not so rich for agricultural activities.
Ugyen Chholing Palace
Ugyen chholing Place in Tang valley is another attraction, Perched on the top uphill walk to this hilltop from Tang valley, where 16th century naktshang or country’s manor originally built by Tshoki Dorji the one time Governor of Trongsa Restored in 19th century, it is now housing the family museum, a place that will transport visitors to another world and time. The visitors will view permanent exhibits recreated to capture the ambience of the lifestyle of the Trongsa Penlop( Governor) Tshokey Dorji and his house hold, it also serves as retreat for those engage in religious history. Bhutan’s history truly unfolds here.
Lunch would be served at the Ugyen chholing Palace guest house. Overnight hotel in Bumthang
Over Night at Bumthang.
Day 10 Bumthang to Punakha
After breakfast, explore further the fascinating valley of Bumthang. Then drive back to Punakha,the formal capital of Bhutan,
En-route to Punakha,visit Chhimi Lakhang (Temple):
It is suited on a hillock in the center of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatist his teaching and due to this also known as Divine madman.This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple,they are usually blessed with a child every soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana,meaning Filed. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.
It is built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu (Male) and Mo Chhu (Female) rivers in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Punakha Dzong is the main attraction in Punakha. This is the biggest and second largest dzong built by the Zhabdrung in 1637.It is the old capital of Bhutan. Today it houses the administration offices of the Punakha district and serves as a winter residence of the Je Khenpo(Chief Abbot) and the monastic body who migrate from Thimphuevery winter. Punakha Dzong is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Bhutan. Punakha Dzong joined to the mainland by an arched wooden bridge and contains many precious relics from the days when successive kings reigned the kingdom over this valley. Furthermore, it is blessed with a temperate climate, and lovely lilac colored jacaranda trees grow around the Dzong during the spring season
Punakha is located at an altitude of 1300m/4265ft.Punakha is the former capital of Bhutan.Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits.
Over night at Punakha
Day 11 Punakha sightseeing,
After break fast visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten ( Stupa):
Dominating the upper Punakha valley, this magnificent stupa was built to promote peace, stability and harmony in Bhutan. This stupa is dedicated to the fifth king and serves to protect the country; The 30 m- tall stupa took eight years to build and was consecrated in 1999.it is a 50 minutes hike to this monastery from the base.
Punakha Suspension Bridge
Apart from Punakha Dzong, what makes Punakha a popular tourist attraction is the Punakha suspension bridge. It is built over the Po Chhu River. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan, spanning 160 m. It connects Punakha town with Punakha Dzong. Draped with prayer flags, it is a delight for photographers. Walking on it will by far be one of your most adventurous experiences. Make sure to stop by here.
Location: 10 minutes away from Punakha Dzong, Punakha
Sangchhen Dorji Lehndrup Lhakhang Nunnery:
It is one of a very beautiful nunnery monastery perched on a ridge amid pine and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangdiphodrang gleams the magnificent of Sangchhen Dorji Lehndrup Lhakhang (Temple),The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong) god of compassion 1000 arms and 1000 eyes. Other statues included those of Guru Rinpochhe,Gautama Buddha,Zhabdrung ngawang Namgyel,Tse-la Namsum 21 Taras and Tsepamey (Buddha of longevity) The Avalokiteshvara statue one the biggest in the country was the handwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.
Overnight at Punakha
Day 12: Punakha – Gasa
breakfast, drive to Gasa northern part of Bhutan and the remotest
place of Bhutan. There are around 400 households and the least
developed place. They have very unique cultural and traditions.
People come there from all the places to take hot spring bath (Tsa
Chhu) to cure the different diseases.
Note: The night will be in camping /in a farm house
Day 13 :Gasa – Punakha to Thimphu
After breakfast, drive back to Thimphu,
Overnight in Thimphu
Day 14: Thimphu sightseeing,
kuensel Phodrang,Buddha Point
The Buddha Dordenma Statue is a 169 feet tall statue of Buddha, built at the foot of the hills in Thimphu. This iconic gold and bronze statue is visible from almost anywhere in Thimphu and is among the best tourist places in Bhutan.
This is a statue of Buddha and it’s a giant one at the top of the mountains in Thimphu and it’s also known as the Kunzang Phodrang. The presence of this giant statue of Buddha symbolizes the dominant religion of Bhutan. This very religion plays a solid part in this country and in the everyday life of the country people.
Buddha Dordenma is one of the largest sitting Buddha statue in the world today and it’s 51.5 meters tall and made of bronze. The statue will house over one lakh twenty five thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which like the Buddha Dordenma itself
Key attractions: The 169 feet tall Buddha statue, thousands of smaller bronze and gold statues of Lord Buddha, and the surrounding Kuensel Phodrang nature park
National Memorial Chorten:
This stupa was built in 1974 in memory of the Father of Modern Bhutan, the Third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who reigned from 1952-1972. The statues and paintings inside this stupa provide a deep understanding of Buddhism in Bhutan.The stupa is being now home for daily worship for the people of Thimphu.
Motithang Takin Preservation
At the Takin Preservation, you can see the Takins, the National Animal of Bhutan. This animal is smaller than a yak with short legs and resembles a moose with a big face and thick neck. It looks like a cross between cow and goat. It was chosen as national animal of Bhutan based on its uniqueness and strong association of our countrys religious history and mythology. It can be found only in Bhutan and nearby by areas. You can also see some barking deer too.
Zilukha nunnery is also called as Drubthob Goemba monastery,is located on the slopes, looking down at Golf course and Tashicho Dzong with around 70 resident nuns. The monastery was founded by later reincarnation of Druthob Thangtong Gyalpo or Drubthob Chakzampa, who in the 15 century was known all over Tibetan Buddhist world for building iron bridges.The main statues inside is statue of Drupthop Thangtong Gyelpo himself and the 21 Tara statues wish fulfilling god.
-Offering milk to 21 Tara statues known as wish fulfilling female goodness.
– Offering white scarf. -Self-meditation/chanting prayers of your own in the temple.
National Institute of Zorig Chusum
The institute commonly known as ‘Paining school. Students at this institute undergo vigorous training in Zorig Chusum ( the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan) The students at this school learn the skills of woodturning, woodcarving, carpentry,weaving,tailoring,thangkas- painted religious pictures on clothes,mask statues,bowls,embroidery,statues making out of clay,gold and silversmith courses, to name just a few.
Library of Bhutan:
The National library was established in 1967 to preserve ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts.The Library houses an extensive collection of religious texts, manuscripts, and ancient texts on Buddhism, and many ancient Buddhist texts in wood block format. Here you can also see how prayer flags are printed by using wooden printing blocks.
Most of the Traditional texts of Bhutan are kept folded in colored cloth. A lot of the texts have been written on them as well.
Postal Department is one of the oldest Govt.organization in Bhutan.It was started in 1962 as soon as after the road was opened in 1961.
Bhutan Postal Museum
Bhutan Postal Museum,was established in November 2015 to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
The main objective of the museum is to tell the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the lens of the evolution of communications and postal system in the country. The story is told through anecdotes, artifacts and the rich assortment of stamps the country has produced over the years.
Evening drive back to Paro.
Over night at Thimphu
Day 15: Thimphu – Phajoding Monastery day hike
Phajoding is around 5.5 km uphill trek from Motithang,Thimphu.It is always better to start your journey early in the morning.This monastery was built in the 15th century by Sacha Rinchen who introduced the Drukpa Kagyud School to Bhutan in the 13th century.
Evening leisure at town of your own.
Overnight at Thimphu.
Day 16 : Thimphu sightingseeing and – Paro
After breakfast, 1 hour drive towards North of Thimphu town and 45 minutes hike to Tango Buddhist Monastery College from the base road. En- route, you will see a beautiful Painting of Guru Rinpoche on the cliff.
It is around 2.5 km uphill walk from the base and. founded in the 12th century by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpoa, Tango Monastery was built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman.Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel mediated in a cave near the monastery in 1616 that ensured the defeat of invading Tibetan forces.
After lunch drive back to Paro.Then visit Ta Dzong/National Museum
Built in 1651 as a watchtower to defend Rinpong Dzong. This fortress was inaugurated as the national Museum of Bhutan in 1968.This museum located on a hill overlooking Rinpung Dzong houses ancient Bhutanese relics, religious painting, artifacts, armors, handicraft, coins, stamps of Bhutan and a small natural history collection.
Paro Dzong also known as Rinpung dzong, is one of the main attractions of Paro district. This fortress was built in 1646 by the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. This fortress now houses the district administration offices and the monastic body of the district. You will cross a traditional wooden bridge on the way to this fortress and you can marvel at the architectural wonder of this fortress. The annual Paro Tshechu festival is held once a year in the spring.
Overnight at Paro
Day 17 : Paro – Che – le – La pass “Day Excursions”
After breakfast,drive towards Che- le La pass:
Before reaching the pass,visit Kila Goemba Monastery
Kila Gompa is located below Chelela Pass. It is about 27km from Bongdey, Paro. The journey to this Goenpa will discover the lives in self-imposed isolation and the lives of our nuns (women and girls pursuing the religious activities). You can also enjoy the panoramic vistas of Paro Valley, Mt. Jhomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake from the spot on clear days.
There are around seven small temples and several retreat huts built into a dizzying sheer Cliffside, where between 30 to 70 nuns live in self-imposed isolation. You will surprise to see that their life is so simple and live in serenity and in harmony with Mother Nature.
The Sanskrit meaning of Kila is subjugating spiritual dagger that destroys the negativities. Your visit to this temple and know more about the lifestyles of the nuns living here will bring you the positive change and positive energy in your life. It is so fascinating to see nuns life in the fascinating country where they enjoy the true happiness and blessing of our Mother Nature and almighty god. Visit and enrich your life.
Che Le – La Pass
Once you reach pass,you can walk and relax of your own around and feel yourself comfortable. You can also see the Jomolhari Mountain if the weather is clear on that day.
Please Note: you can hang some prayer flags ( Lung Dhar) on top of the passes according to your date of birth if you wish.You will accumulate some merits, brings good luck and best wishes in your life( Please discuss with the guide in advace,so that he can arrange you accordingly.
It is the highest road pass in the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, the Chele La Pass lies at a dizzying 3988 meters (13 084 feet) above sea level. In addition to the spectacular scenery, a fluttering avenue of colorful prayer flags adds to the festive atmosphere of the almost two-hour drive along this rugged mountain road to the beginning of the hiking trail to the Kila Goemba. At this high altitude, the temperate drops and the air become clearer as get closer to the Pass. The winter months offer particularly beautiful views of the surroundings as you pass by trickling waterfalls, dense forests and alabaster snow en route to the hiking trail.
After Lunch leisure time of your own around town.
Evening Visit Local Farm House
Paro valley is one of the most beautiful and fertile lands where you can see people grow locally red rice as a main cash income. Bhutanese farmhouses are very colourful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. One can visit to Farm House and spend a night if you prefer. It is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
Note: Please let use known in advance,so that I can arrange you accordingly.
The dinner will be served in farm house where you can experience the life style of Bhutanese.
Over night at Paro
Day 18: Hike to (Taktsang Tiger nest Monastery
After early breakfast, hike to Taktsang monastery (Tiger Nest) which is perched on an edge of a steep cliff at 900m above Paro valley, Taktsang(Tigers Nest) monastery is Bhutans most sacred and revered monastery.Guru Rinpoche,who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan,is said to have arrived here on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuentse eastern part of Bhutan and mediated in a cave for three months where Taktshang monastery today stands. All the Bhutanese people make it a point to visit this monastery at least once in their lifetime. On 19th April 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of the building but now this Bhutanese jewels has been able to restored to its original glory.
-Offering butter lamp in the temple of talking statue Guru Rinpochhe (The lamp contains butter as it will get more merit than oil lamp)
-Self-meditation of your own in the temple of talking statue Guru Rinpoche after offering the butter lamp.
-Then hanging prayer flags for your good luck while coming back from Tiger nest.The prayer flag should get blessing from the temple.
Lunch will be served on the way back from the monastery at the cafeteria halfway.
Then Visit Kyichhu Lhakhang
It is one of the oldest and most scared shrines of the kingdom during back to 7th century (the other one is Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang) the lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtshen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968.Her Majesty, Ashi Kesang , the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.
Note: The dinner will be serve in the farm house with typically Bhutanese style.
Overnight in Paro.
Day 19 : Transfer to airport for destination.
Thank you & Safe Journey,
Visit us Again!