Bhutan: Happier Himalayan Village
The healthy-pleasant climate, the breathtaking views, and the majestic monasteries, may seem a cliched way to describe Bhutan, but each word used for this gorgeous country is in its purest form. This is a country where the rice is red and where chillies aren't just a seasoning but the main dish; where monks check their smartphones after performing a divination, and where giant protective penises are painted beside the entrance to many houses. This Buddhist land is the only place on earth that absorbs more carbon than it emits!
Day 01: Arrival at Phuentsholing You can fly into Bagdogra airport, or travel by train to NJP, Alipur or Hashimara, or travel from Darjeeling, Gangtok and Kalimpong to the Indo-Bhutan border at Phuentsholing. Upon arrival in Phuentsholing, we process route permit and then take a leisurely stroll through the market in the evening. Overnight in hotel.
Day 02: Phuentsholing – Thimphu (165 Km/5 hrs.) Complete immigration formalities and drive to Thimphu, which takes about five to six hours. En-route visit Rinchending monastery, and stop in villages and scenic spots to enjoy and photograph the landscape which is replete with bounties of nature including waterfalls. In Thimphu visit the site of the world’s biggest Buddha statue, Memorial Stupa and stroll around the town. Overnight in hotel.
Day 03: In Thimphu The capital of Bhutan also has most things to see for visitors. A full day tour of Thimphu’s cultural sites and monuments may include Memorial Chorten, traditional Art school or Painting school, Indigenous Hospital, Nunnery at Zilukha, a short drive up to a view point for aerial view of the capital and its suburbs. Along the way, visit Takin Sanctuary, the national animal of Bhutan. Also visit giant Buddha statue. There are others like Zangdopelri temple, Changangkha monastery, Simtokha Dzong, Crafts workshop, Textile museum which can be visited as per available time or based on your interests. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 04: Thimphu – Gangtey, Phobjikha Valley (130 Km/4 hrs.) Drive across the spectacular Dochula La Pass to Gangtey, Phobjikha Valley (5 hr.). The scenery is stunning and ever-changing, as the road climbs and descends. Along the way, you can stop at several places. Upon arrival, visit ancient Gangtey Gompa Monastery and take a short walk to visit local homes. Overnight in farmhouse
Day 05: Gangtey to Punakha (75 Km/2-3 hrs.) In the morning, take a short easy walk in the valley and also visit the Nature information centre. One of the main attractions of the valley is the endangered black-necked crane, which reside in Phobjikha from late October till March. Later drive back and descend into sub-tropical valley of Punakha – Wangdue (2-3 hrs). Visit the township of Wangdue and its massive fortress. on arrival in Punakha head for your river side picnic lunch (pictures attached). In the evening, take a short easy walk to see Chimi Lhakhang temple, which is through a small village. Overnight in camps along with bon-fire & Barbeque, where guest can also cook in supervision of our cook.
Day 06: Punakha to Paro (130 Km/3-4 hrs.) In the morning, visit the impressive Punakha Dzong at the confluence of Pho and Mochu rivers. If you wish, you can also take a short (40 minute each way) walk to visit Khamsum Yuelley Chorten. On the return drive to Thimphu, we spend some time below Dochula pass to explore the botanical park and nearby surrounding for birds for diverse flora. Lunch could be planned at Dochula pass. After descending into Thimphu, continue short drive to Paro. The popular attractions within Paro include visiting Rinphung Dzong, National Museum, temples of Kichu and Dungtse, visiting local home and the stroll around the township. Overnight in Paro.
Day 07: Paro Valley (Taktsang Hike) Drive for about hour to Paro and hike to famous Taktsang (tiger’s nest) monastery (3120m/10,200ft). Visible from afar, this magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 1,000 feet above the valley floor. It is one of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan. If for some reason, you are not able to hike, your Guide can arrange other interesting alternatives. You can also hire pony for the uphill part, till the first view point & cafeteria but you must be able to walk back downhill. While some will probably not make it all the way to the monastery, however it is worth even to try getting till the first view point. Return to Paro, where we may have more time for stroll around the town. Overnight in Paro
Day 8: Paro – Phuentsholing (160 Km/5 hrs.) After breakfast, drive back to Phuentsholing (5-6 hours). Upon arrival, check-in and evening at leisure. Overnight in hotel. Day 9: Phuentsholing - Departure Departure transfer to Bagdogra Airport/ NJP railway station for your onwards journey.