Day 1: Arrival in Paro, Paro to Thimphu
Arrive in Paro by druk air, the only national carrier. The flight offers you beautiful view of mountains and landscapes. Upon arriving the Paro Valley and after completing visa formalities, you will be met by Gawaling Tours & Treks’ representative at the airport. We will then drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. The journey would take us one and half hours.
Upon arriving Thimphu, we will visit the National Painting school to see the young men and women at work in the production of handicraft items. Some specialize in mask making, some in wood curving, some in slate curving, and others in embroidery & scroll painting. Overnight stay in a hotel.
Day 2: Thimphu to Punakha
We drive to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan over the Dochu La in the morning. If the weather is clear, we will be able to see around 200 miles of Himalayan summits bordering northern Bhutan. As we descend from the pass, we will notice that the vegetation changes from sub-alpine to sub-tropical. At the lower elevation, we will see banana plants, cactus and other semi-tropical plants and the green terraced rice fields of Punakha.
We begin our explorations of Punakha valley with a visit to Punakha Dzong, located between two rivers. It serves as the winter residence for the central monastic body. Night halt at hotel.
Day 3: Punakha to Thimphu
After breakfast witness WangdiPhodrang festival. Afternoon drive toward Thimphu, on arriving Thimphu visit National Memorial Chorten, Next visit Handicrafts Emporium, Handmade paper factory and Takin zoo. Overnight at a hotel.
Day 4: Thimphu
Witness Thimphu Festival. In the evening stroll around Thimphu Town. Night halt at hotel
Day 5: Thimphu to Paro
Drive towards Paro and visit Ta Dzong, built in 17th century, as watchtower to defend Paro Dzong and the Paro valley. The fortress was later converted into the National Museum in 1968 by the Third King. It has a rich collections of antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and Bhutan’s renowned postage stamps. Below the Ta Dzong, is the fascinating Rinpung Dzong meaning ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’, which is the seat of the Paro district built in 1645 by Shadrung Ngawang Namgyal.
And visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred monasteries of Bhutan. Overnight stay at a hotel in Paro.
Day 6: Tiger’s Nest hike
Paro is a valley of religion and myth. The most famous landmark, the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), stands on a granite cliff about 800m above the valley. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, a famous Buddhist saint, flew to Paro on a tigress and meditated at Taktsang. The monastery is considered as a national treasure of Bhutan.
The hike to Taktsang would take us around two and half hours. To reach a cafeteria, a point from where one can enjoy a great view of the monastery is more than an hour walk from the road-head uphill. Those interested can walk further 45 minutes uphill to get a closer view of the monastery and return to the cafeteria for lunch. The journey downward to the road-head would take us less than one and half hours.
Day 7: Departure
After breakfast drive to the airport for departure.