Historical Central Bhutan Tour
Bhutan is a small country located to the eastern side of the mighty Himalayas at 27º28.0’N and 89º38.5’E in South Asia. It is a landlocked country and has the two Asian giants China (to the north) and India (to the east, west and south) as its neighbors. This Himalayan kingdom has an area of 14,824 square miles and a population of 768,844 (Source: National Statistics Bureau). The main ethnic groups of Bhutan are Ngalops, Sharchops, and Lhotshampas. The terrain of Bhutan is mountainous for the most part, but there are also some beautiful valleys and grasslands. The climate is tropical in the south while the central part experiences cool winters and hot summers. In the north, the winters are severe and summers are cool. Bhutan is rich in natural resources such as hydropower, timber, gypsum, and calcium carbonate. It is also rich in flora and fauna and is home to many rare species of animals such as the Golden Langur.
- Receive you at the airport and drive you to the hotel.
- After lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 by the great Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal,
- Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m).
- On the way back, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Songsen Gempo.
Day 02 Paro – Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m, Distance 52 kms):
Excursion to Taktsang Monastery:
- A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery,
- 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, flew here on the back of a flying tigress who was said to be a transformed form of one of his consorts.
- 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 Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal,
- A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. In the evening, drive to Thimphu.
Day 03 Thimphu Sightseeing: (Altitude 2320 m):
- The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk,
- The Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.
- Then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts,
- The Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).
- The Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices.
- 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).
- Finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu.
Day 04 Thimphu – Punakha (Altitude 1310 m, Distance 76 Kms,):
- • After breakfast, Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass.
- • On the way, visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.
- • In Punakha, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River).
Day 05 Punakha – Gangtey – Trongsa (Altitude 2800 m, Distance 157 kms):
- After breakfast drive to Trongsa via. Gangtey. Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang
- Drive further to Gangtey. While in Gangtey, visit Gangtey Gompa.
- Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter.
- Drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Zhabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay.
- Then Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Poenlop Jigme Namgyal.
Day 06 Trongsa – Bumthang. (Altitude 2800 m, Distance 68 kms):
- After breakfast, drive to Bumthang.
- In Bumthang, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”.
- Visit Jambay Lhakhang said to have been built by King Songsen Gempo of Tibet in the year 659A.D,
- In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here.
Day 07 Bumthang Sightseeing: (Altitude 2800 m):
- After breakfast, visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa.
- Visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom.
- Visit Membartsho (Literally means “Burning Lake”) a short distance up the road leading to Tang valley.
- The Terton Pema Lingpa discovered several of Guru Rimpoche’s hidden Terma / relics here. In the evening, visit Mathra factory & Cheese Factory.
Day 08 Bumthang – Wangdi Phodrang. (Altitude 1325 m, Distance 197 kms):
- Early breakfast, drive to Wangdiphodrang
Day 09 Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m, Distance 77 kms.):
- After breakfast, drive to Thimphu.
- After lunch, Excursion to Tango Monastery.
Day 10 Thimphu – Paro Airport: (Altitude 2280 m)
- After breakfast, drive to the airport and Farewell