Journey to the Last Shangri-la
(8 Nights / 9 Days Package)
Day 01 : Arrive at Paro (Altitude 2280 M): You will be received by the representative from Yeti Homeland Adventure at the airport and drive to the Hotel.
After Lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in 1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. This unusual round building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell. The centerpiece of this Museum is a complex four-sided carving depicting the history of Buddhism and its propagation. One side is Sakyamuni and the great teacher Atisha, representing the Sakya School. On the next is Geylup, a disciple of Dalai Lama. Another is Nyingma lineage, the head is Guru Padmasanva, and the final is Drukpa Kagyu with the figure of Vajra Dhara. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. Here you can see finest example of Bhutanese architecture. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 02 : Hike to Taktsang: A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) monastery - a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, from there a 2 hour hike till the viewpoint point of the monastery. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684 by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favorite consort.
After lunch drive to Drukgyal Dzong, now in ruins was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in1644; the dzong name’s means indeed “victorious Druk”. The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951 when a fire caused by butter lamp destroyed it. Most of the Tibetan Invasions including the Mongolian Invaders led by the Famous Mongolian General, Gushri Khan were repelled back from this Dzong which has a strategic Defense location. Then visit Kyichu Lhakhang that was built in 659 by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo. This temples are the one of the oldest temple in Bhutan. Dinner and overnight in the Hotel.
Day 03 : Paro - Thimphu Sightseeing (Altitude 2320 M, 64 Kms, 1 Hr 20 Mins drive): After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. Sightseeing in Thimphu includes: visit the National Memorial Chorten, a monument dedicated to the Third King of Bhutan, His Late Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The inside paintings and statues provide a very rare insight into Buddhist Philosophy. Then visit the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts followed by visit to Painting School, famous for carving and free hand art and Folk Heritage Museum.
After lunch, visit Sangay Gang view point and the Takin Preserve center. In the evening, visit Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion), built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and reconstructed in 1961 by the Late King, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan. Then visit Handicrafts Emporium to see the exquisite artistry of traditional crafts and textiles. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 04 : Thimphu – Punakha: (Altitude 1250 M, 77 Kms, 3 hours drive). After breakfast drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. While in Punakha, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 05 : Punakha – Gangtey: (Altitude 3020 M, 78 Kms, 3 hours drive). After breakfast drive to the beautiful valley of Gangtey. Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangduephodrang, it includes: visit to Wangduephodrang Dzong (from outside) built in
1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong, four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Drive to Gangtey. Picnic lunch would be served enroute. . It is one of the most beautiful glacial valleys of the Himalayas. Visit Gangtey Gompa from outside. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang. Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. These cranes are very rare and endangered and highly protected by the Government. These cranes fly to Phobjikha valley which is their winter Habitat. The Cranes circle three times in a clock-wise direction around the Gangtey Gompa as a reverence to the Monastery before landing in the valley. They repeat the same practice before flying back to Tibet in early Spring. You can watch the cranes. Enroute we will stop in different places for the photography and have the view of different valleys. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 06 : Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang: (Altitude 2700 M, 188 Kms, 5 hrs 30 Mins drive). After breakfast, drive to Trongsa and visit the Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Then drive to Bumthang and visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structures were built in 1667 and then visit Lamey Goemba, a large palace and monastery built in 18th century by Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi. Visit Jambay Lhakhang, built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. The temple was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. Under the temple is said to be a lake in which Guru Rimpoche hid several Terma. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 07 : Bumthang Sightseeing: After breakfast, visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. After lunch, visit Membartsho which literally means, “The burning Lake”. It was here in this lake that Terton Pema Lingpa (Treasure Discoverer) discovered the Tresures hidden by Guru Rimpoche. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 08 : Bumthang – Thimphu: (280 Kms, 10 hours drive). After breakfast drive to Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 09 : Departure: Early Morning, drive to the airport and Farewell.