ARRIVE PARO VALLEY: During the journey, the traveler will experience from the left side of the plane a spectacular view of Mt. Everest, and other famous Himalayan Mountains including the sacred Mt. Jumolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport you will be received by your Bhutanese friend from Mythical Bhutan Travels. Lunch at the Hotel. Discuss the Tour Programme with the Tour Guide. After lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, built in 1647 by the Great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jumolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. This Monastery is one of the 108 monasteries built across the Himalayan region by the Tibetan King to subdue the Demoness that lay across the Himalayan region. The rest of the monasteries lie in other neighboring countries.
Overnight: Hotel in Paro.
A DAY EXCURSION TO TAKSANG MONASTERY:
After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, 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 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 in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favorite consort.
After lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”), the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. In the evening, drive to Thimphu.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu.
THIMPHU – SIGHTSEEING:
After breakfast, visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and drive further up, visit the mini zoo at Motithang where the national animal has been preserved, and drive to Sangaygang view point where you can get the spectacular view of the Capital city. Visit Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). We drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices After lunch, drive to Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu and other handicraft shops and stroll around the town to see the Bhutanese way of life and witness the Archery Tournament if there any, the National Game of Bhutan and drive in the evening to Punakha valley.
Over night: Hotel in Punakha.
CHAMINA – BALAKAYBA: (Trek begins). 2 hrs Trek.
BALAKAYBA – DUBSHIPANG: 4 & half hrs Trek.
DUBSHIPANG – CHORTEN NINGPO: 3 hrs Trek.
CHORTEN NINGPO – PUNAKHA – THIMPHU: (Trek ends).
After breakfast hike up to Hoko Tsho (Lake) which is about an hour hike from camp site. Picnic lunch at around the lake. After visit Hoko Tsho we walk down to the Punakha valley through the beautiful paddy farm, you might also come across the many farmers working in the paddy field and at the end of the farm land our transportation will be waiting for us. Afternoon visit Punakha Dzong which was built in 1637 AD 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. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952. Afternoon, drive to Thimphua via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (Devine Madman) in 15th century. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility” and in the evening drive to Thimphu.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu.
THIMPHU – PARO for departure.
Early morning drive to Paro International Airport and your Bhutanese guide from Mythical Bhutan Travels will accompany you to bid farewell as you embark on your onward journey to back home.