Bhutan Overlanding
 
Himalayan Kingdom Spiritual Adventure - 5 Days

Season: All year
Number of Days: 5 Days
Grade: Soft
Destinations: Paro, Thimpu, Punakha and Wangdue

Day 1: Arrival at Paro International Airport & Sightseeing - Drive to Thimpu:
Fly on Druk Air to Paro. Druk Air is a Bhutan national flag bearer, which has an exclusive right to fly to Bhutan from 6 other sectors. Limited flights allow only restricted number of flyers into this beautiful Himalayan Kingdom, thereby preserving and conserving valuable culture and environment that has remained intact for centuries. On clear days, during this flight, you will experience breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains including Mt. Everest, Jichu Drak and Jumolhari in Bhutan. You will land in the beautiful valley of Paro, located at an elevation of 7,400 ft. At Paro International Airport you will be received by representative of Druk Yul Expeditions. White Khaddar or scarf with Buddhist blessings will be presented to you to be carried along your journey. Check - in at Hotel for lunch. Visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong): once a watchtower for the Rinpung Paro Dzong and the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A Dzong in Bhutanese is a fortress. Today there are about 20 Dzongs around the country, most built during early part of 17 th century. Dzongs are the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. These huge fortresses were used by Bhutanese to repel many Tibetan and Mongol invasions. Walk down further through walled flat stone pavements, and over beautiful ancient wooden bridge with shingle roofing, with two guardhouses on each entrance. Visit Kyichu monastery from 7th century. Have lunch and walk through the small and picturesque Paro town. Enjoy evening meal at a cozy restaurant before driving to Thimpu. During this drive, you will pass through idyllic countryside giving some idea about what you might come across on your journey over the next few days. Thimpu (2,280m) is a small, bustling city in the heart of the Himalaya. Thimpu’s charm comes not only from its wealth of museums or places of historic interest, but also from the strong national character of its architectural style. Arrive Thimpu and then transfer to your hotel. Evening is free to rest or walk around Town. You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time. Notice the dress, the traditional architecture and the fresh, clean air. Just before the Dinner, your escort will make brief presentation of the whole trip program. Overnight at the hotel in Thimpu. Important attractions in Thimpu include Memorial Chorten, which affords a very good view of Thimpu city. Weekend market; housed in a temporary area in Thimphu (open Fri through Sun). This is the meeting place for many farmers (mostly from western part of the country), who walk, ride horses, and travel by buses and truck to get their wares for sale at this biggest open market place in Bhutan. This place is filled with products ranging from fresh, organic fruits, rice, chilies, wild mushrooms, condiments, and spices, vegetables to yak butter, hardened cheese, and meat. On other side, you will find some village textiles, handicrafts, art, and jewels. All these showcase the Bhutanese way of life. A short drive north of Thimpu is the 15th century Changangkha Monastery, and further up north is the small man made habitat of Takin. This wild animal is internationally endangered and protected in Bhutan. Drive to Thimpu Viewpoint, for a stunning view of the town. Trashicho Dzong, the Dzong of auspicious religion is worth your time. Overnight at the hotel

Day 2: Thimpu – Punakha:
Today after breakfast we drive to Punakha across Dochu La pass (3,088m / 10,130ft), which affords a breathtaking view of the high peaks on a clear day. Until 1951 Punakha served as the winter capital of State and religious affairs of Bhutan. It is still the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). Visit a village house in Metsina and further hike up to 15th century temple where you can seek blessing from lord of fertility. This temple was initiated by the Divine Madman or Erotic Lama. This lama framed Bhutanese version of erotic stories or Kamasutra in 15th century. Here a replica of Poo or Dorji will touch above your forehead to bless you with fertility. Visit the Punakha Dzong built during first quarter of 17th century at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3: Punakha – Thimpu via Wangdue:
After breakfast we take a short stop at Lobesa and drive further up to visit the gigantic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, a 17th Century monument overlooking the typical village of Rinchengang. After the exploration one can walk around the Wangdue Phodrang Town located at an altitude of 1350m, the district is known for its fine bamboo work and slate carving. Check in for lunch at one of the hotel. After lunch, the drive takes us back over Dochu La, enroute visit the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest in Bhutan, now a traditional school specializing in Dzongkha and religious studies. After lunch at Thimpu, head towards Paro. Overnight at the hotel

Day 4: Thimpu – Paro – Taktsang Hike:
Morning drive to Paro with a visit to Ta Dzong which houses the National Museum, the ruins of Drugyel Dzong and the courtyard of Kyichu Lhakhang one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan - dated 7th century AD . Drive to Ramthongkha and then hike to viewpoint of Taktsang, the Tiger's Nest (one and a half hours). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley floor. The trail is broad and the walk uphill takes you a little more than a 1000ft above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang monastery built on the cliff is a spectacular sight. It is a great pilgrim site for the Buddhists and also it is one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayan world. Beyond the viewpoint, the path is narrow and steep as it climbs to a point above the temple, from where walkers descend to the building itself. The main deity of Taktsang is Dorje Drolo, the wrathful form of Guru Rimpoche, the precious Teacher, also known as Padmasambhava. The great tantric mystic is said to have flown here on the back of a tiger, a manifestation of his consort, Yeshi Tsogyal, when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th century. The image of Dorje Drolo inside the temple is shown standing on a tiger. There are 13 sacred sites at Taktsang, and several meditation caves in the cliffs above. Here you can meditate awhile before beginning the descent. Nearby there is a teahouse, where you can stop for lunch or a snack. In the evening, visit a farmhouse in Paro. Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 5: Departure:
Our escort will complete the departure formalities well in advance, and if need be assist you with it. Drive down to airport and check in at least 2 hours prior to flight departure schedule.
Trip ends

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