Bhutan, The land of the Thunder Dragon, is a landlocked country sandwiched between its larger neighbours India and China. Shrouded in mystery and magic, Bhutan is the place to be for every nature lover.
Declared as “the happiest place on Earth”, Bhutan still remains a mystery to most people all over the world. The pristine environment and rugged landscape of the country makes Bhutan one of the most popular tourist destinations. Bhutan may make you forget the beautiful hill destinations of India.
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Places To Visit In Bhutan
The historic valley town of Paro boasts of many historic buildings and sacred sites. The country’s only international airport is located in Paro. A crystalline river meanders down the picturesque valley.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Standing above the enchanting forest of the rhododendrons and blue pines, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery hangs on a cliff. It is the place where Guru Rinpoche arrived on the back of a tigress and brought Buddhism into Bhutan.
The largest city in the Kingdom of Bhutan, Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan. Though the city is now abundant with nightclubs, restaurants and shopping centers, Thimphu still retains its values and cultural identity.
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Cultural Panorama of Bhutan
Duration: 11nights/12 days
Day 1: Arrival at Paro international airport
On your arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by our English speaking representative, who will help you negotiate customs and immigration formalities. After a round of welcome drinks and an opportunity to settle in comfortably, you can either go out for a quick visit to the centre of town or relax at the hotel depending on the time of the day you have arrived and your personal convenience.
Day 2: Paro
While in Bhutan, enjoy taking long walks, as the beauty of this place can best be appreciated in this way. Paro is one of the destinations in the country that offers loads of interesting opportunity to travel and explore on foot. Therefore, leave a few hours of your second day to explore the place in this manner. Post breakfast begin the day with a visit to the National Museum, locally known as the Ta Dzong. The museum houses several exotic collections of arts, crafts, and paintings. To know about the culture of Bhutan, a visit to this place becomes mandatory. Once you have completely explored the museum, you can now enjoy a walking trail of Rinpung Dzong. Replete with legends and fables, visiting this place will contribute towards strengthening your treasure trove of knowledge of the country.
Post lunch visit the Drukgyel Dzong. The fortified ruins of the fort still resonate with the stories of valor and chivalry of the rulers who nipped several external invasions in its bud, in this very soil. On the 2nd day of your cultural tour, you may also visit a local farmhouse to witness the lifestyle and traditions of the natives staying here!
Visit the Kyichu Lhakhang in the evening, a very revered place in the country for the locals.
Day 3: Paro – Thimphu
The distance between Thimphu and Paro is about 60 km and offers for an interesting journey. Leave Paro after breakfast for Thimpu, Capital of Bhutan. Before you reach Thimphu, you will halt over at Chuzom. This place is mostly celebrated for being the confluence where the Paro River and the Thimphu River meet. Visit the Simtokha Dzong, located near Thimphu, which is the oldest fortress of the country. Today, this fortress houses the School for Buddhist Studies and attracts people from all over the world.
Post lunch visit the King’s Memorial Chhorten, a burial center and the Tashichho dzong that literally translates to fortress of the auspicious religion. Built in the mid 16th century, this place today houses the main secretariat building. In the late afternoon, a visit to the handicrafts emporium will just complete the day! This place also houses the folk heritage museum and is a great place to give you an insight into the traditions of the place. In the evening, visit the local markets to pick up local articles and souvenirs to carry back home.
Day 4: Thimpu sightseeing
After a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel complete with Bhutanese breakfast delicacies as well as traditional continental fare, visit Dupthop Lhakhang, a place of spirituality and worship for Bhutanese nuns. You will also visit the Thimphu Mini Zoo, where you will be greeted by Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. This animal is unique of Bhutan, as it lives only on the Himalayan slopes. Its head looks like that of a goat and the body resembles that of a cow or yak. Enjoy a really beautiful view of the sun set from Sangay Gang View Point which is about 2685 meters above sea level. The entire Thimphu Valley is visible from here. Return to your hotel, have dinner and take good night’s rest.
Day 5: Thimphu – Punakha
After breakfast, visit the National Library, the Painting School, and the Traditional Medicine Institute, a few of the popular attractions housed within the city. Post lunch proceed towards Punakha that was once the capital of Bhutan. Punakha continues to remain the winter residence of Je-Khenpo, the country’s spiritual leader.
To catch a glimpse of the beauty of Bhutan, halt en-route at Dochula and spend a few moments with nature. On arrival in the city, check into the hotel and rejuvenate your senses. In the evening visit the Punakha Dzong and the Khamsm Yulley Namgyal Chorten before finally retiring for the day.
Day 6: Punakha – Wangduephodrang – Gangtey
Have early breakfast and leave for Gangtey via Wangduephodrang. The scenic beauty that you will witness en-route between the two destinations will indeed mesmerize you. The thick greenery, the forests, the flowers and the chirping birds will almost make you feel as if everything is just surreal. To make yourself believe that you were still in Bhutan cultural tour, visit the impressive Wangdue Dzong, nestled comfortably atop a hill. The pretty architecture of the Dzong truly complements the naturally beautiful surrounding. The Gangtey village offers for an interesting insight into the lives of the locals here. Visit the place to carry back fond memories of the place. The Gangety Gompa located in the heart of the place boasts itself of being the only Nyingmapa monastery in the vicinity.
Day 7: Gangtey – Trongsa
Gangtey is locally popular as Phobjikha valley and is most visited for its natural ambience and distinct wildlife. The black necked cranes make this place their winter homes and can be seen in high numbers especially during the winter months. Post lunch travel to Trongsa to visit its markets and the Pele le Pass.
Day 8: Trongsa – Bumthang
Early morning, after breakfat, visit the Trongsa Dzong, most noted for its architecture. A fine example of Bhutanese art and architectural styles, the Dzong was built in the mid 16th century. Post this visit; embark on your journey to the next destination, Bumthang, popular amongst the natives and tourists alike for its religious significance.
Day 9: Bumthang
Bumthang refers to the culmination of the four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura across altitudes that range from 2600 meters to 4000 meters. Fondly frequented by devotees for the temples and monasteries housed here, even the tourists visiting this place can expect to spend some moments of serenity. While here, visit the Tamshing Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong, Kurje Lhakhang, and the Jambay Lhakhang – all ancient places of worship.
Day 10: Thimpu
After breakfast you will start for Thimpu, an eight hours drive from Bumthang. Stop en-route at Trongsa town and Wangduephodrang for lunch and refreshments and relax for a while. On reaching Thimphu check into a hotel. Have dinner and enjoy a good night rest after a long day out.
Day 11: Thimphu – Paro
On arriving in the Paro city, embark on an excursion to the Taktsang Monastery. This ancient monastery is a place of great reverence for the locals. Even tourists visit this place to soak themselves in the charisma that fills up the place. While here, do not miss to listen to the many fables that the locals will narrate to you. The interesting tales will enhance the pleasures of your trip to the place. Your stay will be organized in the pre-booked hotel in Paro.
Day 12: Departure
Post breakfast, leave for the airport for your onward journey to complete the Bhutan cultural tour and back home.
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