Eastern Bhutan Tour (13nights / 14days) - Bhutan Tours
Bhutan is the last Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom, and the teachings of this school of Buddhism are a living faith among its people. Spirituality exists even in the urban centers where the spinning of prayer wheels, the murmur of mantras and the glow of butter lamps in the houses are still important features of their every day life. Bhutan's unique architecture is one of the most striking physical features; the colour of house and buildings is a distinct source of aesthetic pleasure. The Dzongs, which are 300 to 400 hundred years old, are built on a scale without the help of any drawings and hammering a single nail.
Bamboo,ornaments of gold and silver and highly developed weaving kills represent an advancedart form. Various cultural trips into Bhutan introduce visitors to the unique aspects of Bhutanese culture, including sacred masked dance festivals and pilgrimage sites.
Day 1: Arrive Paro (by Druk Air). The flight into Paro (2280m/ 7524ft) on Druk Air is spectacular. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world's highest peaks give way to the verdant greens of the Paro Valley. The first gift from Bhutan is the cool, clean fresh air as we step from the plane. After clearing customs and visa control we are met by our guide and then drive a short distance to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure with a walk through the main streets of Paro. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Paro hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest) - Thimphu. After breakfast drive the winding road to the Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort, which was once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions. Mount Chomolhari, can be seen the on a clear day from Drukgyal village. You can visit a typical Bhutanese Farm House of a local family for a close up view of everyday Bhutanese life. We then drive to Shari to hike up (or horse ride) to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger's nest). The horse ride up or hike to the cafeteria will take around one and half hour. At the view point enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigeress in the 8 th century. After lunch at the café walk back to the road point. After lunch at the cafeteria walk back to the road point. On our way back to the hotel we visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temple in Bhutan built in 7 th century. Afternoon visit the Ta Dzong, built in the 17 th century as a watch tower for the Paro Dzong. This Dzong. was converted into the National Museum in 1967. The museum boasts antique Thangka, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Below the museum is the Rinpung Dzong, built in 17 th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong. is now used as an administration centre and school for monks. A short walk below the Dzong. takes you across a traditional cantilevered to one of the innumerable archery grounds. (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan). PM drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The drive will take around 1 hour. Thimphu has a population of about 100,000. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Thimphu Sightseeing and hike to Tango Monastary. After breakfast drive at Sangaygang, a field of Bhutanese prayer flags, perched high above the city. Colored flags send prayers to the heavens and white flags honor the dead. Visit the Motithang Mini Zoo where you can see the National animal Takin research centre where these odd animals graze peacefully in a small protected park. Walk to the Zilukha Nunnery and then drive to the Tango Monastery for a picnic lunch. The hike to the monastery takes about 45 minutes. It is a 13th Century structure and today is home to about 150 monks studying Buddhist Philosophy and meditation. Thimphu sightseeing continues with the Folk Heritage Museum (a beautifully restored Bhutanese farmhouse from the last century) and the National Painting School. In the evening visit the National Memorial Chorten built in honor of our 3rd king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (a wonderful opportunity to mix with the local population). All the buildings in Bhutan conform to national building principals and are beautifully carved and decorated. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Thimphu - Punakha. Morning depart for Punakha. Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for tea and the view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha and drive to your hotel for check in and lunch. After lunch visit Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. If time permits take a hike to Khamsum Yueley Chorten (45 minutes one way) through the terraced rice fields and over looking the village to kabina. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Punakha - Trongsa. Today we start for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive to Trongsa is approximately 6 hours crossing over Pele La pass (3,300 m) and Yotongla pass (3,400 m). "The Central Road", across the Black Mountains, was completed 30 years ago, and it brought about great changes to the people in central Bhutan. We pass Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan where we make a short stop to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pelela Pass (3,300 m) with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. If the weather is clear the Himalayan ranges can be seen, particularly the peak of Jhomulhari (7,314 m) to the west. En route we cross Chendebji Chorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon. Arrive Trongsa and check in at the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Trongsa - Bumthang. After breakfast walk by Tongsa Dzong, built by Shabdrung Ngawang namgyel in 1646 and then drive to Bumthang which is about 3 hours from Trongsa. One will cross Yutong La pass (3400 m). Further 13 kms ahead, the road enters into a wide, open, cultivated valley known as Chumey valley. On arrival in Bumthang, check into the lodge. After lunch, hike to Thangbi valley across the suspension bridge and visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14 th century, overnight at hotel Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Bumthang.
Day 7: Bumthang Sightseeing. This is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. The Guru and his lineage of Tertons (treasure finders), have led to the sprouting of many temples in the valley. In the morning we visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in 7 th century) and visit Kurjey Lhakhang (where the Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock). hike to visit the Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Terton Pema Lingpa), on the way back visit Jakar Dzong, (seat of the district administration). Evening stroll in Chamkhar Town. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Bumthang / Tang Ugyencholing Excursion
Today's early morning we take an excursion drive to Tang valley following the feeder road the Community School of upper Tang valley. You will pass through many villages scattered and people at work. From the school we hike about an hour to Ugyen Choling. Ugyen Choling monastery is located on the hill over looking valley. It's about an hour walk from the school. Brief historical account of Ugyen Choling begins with e visit of the great Tibetan master of Buddhism, Longchen Rabjam (1308 -63). He is the most celebrated writer and philosopher of Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism and is regarded as the synthesizer of the doctrine and methods of Dzongchen "school of great perfection". Ugyen Chloing was never so much a seat of political power but played a vital role as a religious center. Dinner and overnight at hotel
Day 9: Bumthang - Mongar.
After breakfast, drive to Ura village and visit Ura Lhakhang and then continue drive to Mongar through Thrumshingla Pass (3750mts highest pass on this east -west highway). The drive is through the dense forest of rhododendrons and mixed forests. Picnic lunch will be served En-route. You will begin your journey to eastern Bhutan, which is different from western and central Bhutan in term of development and lifestyle. The steepness of the region lends itself to some spectacular views, with rushing waterfalls and sheer drops. The drive on this is an exhilarating 8 hours from Thrumshing La once again you will see the spectacular views of the Himalayan range on the clear day. The Drive continues to Mongar and you can wander around Mongar town. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Mongar - Khoma - Mongar.
Today we drive towards Lhuntse, another isolated district in Bhutan. It takes 2 and half hours drive from Mongar to Sumpa Zam (suspension bridge). An hour's brisk walk from the bridge will bring us onto the main road of Lhuentse and further to the Khoma village, the best known weaving village in the country. This region is famed for its weavers and special textiles with intricate designs in the country and basket made from the bamboos. After spending an hour or two visiting the home of the weavers as there are no factories for weaving but only at the homes of the villagers, we drive back to Mongar. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Mongar - Trashigang.
This journey takes 96 kms and takes 3 hours until Korila pass (2,450 m; 8000 feet) which is marked by a pretty Chorten and stone wall and the journey is through a leafy forest filled with ferns. Your drive will cross over the old Chazam (iron bridge), Tashigang Dzong comes into view at the top of a spur overlooking the river. After Thimphu, Trashigang is the biggest urban centre in mountainous Bhutan. The altitude is 1,150 m (3,775 feet). Visit the Trashigang Dzong overhanging the Gamri River. Unlike most other Dzongs it has only one courtyard and serves as the administrative seat for the district and also Drukpa Monastic Community occupies part of the Dzong. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Trashigang - Day Excursion to Trashi Yantse.
Today you will visit Trashi Yangtse, which is about 52 km and 2 hours drive. The people are known for making wooden bowls and containers, which are said to be best in Bhutan. Just below the town is the Chorten Kora. Along the way to Tashi Yangtse you will stop at the Gom Kora temple, behind which is a large black rock. It is said that Guru Rimpoche meditated in the cave in rock and that you can see the impression of his thumb, his hat, and his body on the rock. After lunch. Explore in the town of Tashi Yangtse. Chorten Kora is one of the attractions of this valley in Eastern Bhutan. It is a great Chorten built in 1740 and modeled on the style of the Boudhnath Stupa in Nepal. Its annual Tsechu (religious festival) attracts enormous crowds. Drive back to Trashigang.
Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Trashigang-Samdrupjongkhar.
The Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar road was completed in 1965, distance is 180 Kms which is 6 - 7 hrs drive. Along the way we pass by Sherbutse College in Kanglung, which was founded in 1978 and is a degree granting institution affiliated to the University of Delhi. En route visit Khaling Blind School and weaving handicraft. Further drive will take you to Deothang. The road then descends fairly rapidly to the plains through the dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 14: Depart from Samdrup Jongkhar.
After breakfast your representative will help you with the exit formalities and bid you farewell.