The last Shangrila
Day 01 Arrival at Paro (2280 m) (By Druk Air flight):
- Your Guide from Yak Adventure Travel to Bhutan will receive you at the airport and drive you to the hotel.
- 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”),
Day 02 Paro Sightseeing – Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m, Distance 52 kms):
- After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten,
- On our way past, an incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below, the Taktsang Monastery.
- 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 tigress who was said to be a transformed form of one of his consorts.
- In the evening drive to Thimphu.
Day 03 Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m):
- After breakfast, visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
- The Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.
- We 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,
- To Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work.
- Visit the Semtokha Dzong,the oldest Dzong in Bhutan built in 1627. It now houses the Institute for Language and Cultural Studies
- Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong,
- We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Over night in Hotel After breakfast,
- Visit Folk Heritage Museum,
- Textile Museum,
- Changangkha Lhakhang and Philatelic office.
- Visit Silver smith at work and Hand made paper factory.
Day 04 Thimphu – Punakha – Wangduephodrang (Altitude 1310 m, Distance 93 Kms,)
- After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass.
- On the way, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in 15th century. 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 Wangduephodrang to Gangtey (Altitude 3120 m)
- After breakfast drive to the beautiful valley of Gangtey.
- Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang
- Drive further to Gangtey. Visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery,
- Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter.
Day 06 Gangtey to Trongsa/Bumthang (Altitude 2800 m,)
- After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong of Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa,
- Then Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is dedicated to the Trongsa Poenlop Jigme Namgyal.
- Drive to Bumthang. Over night in Hotel.
- Visit Trongsa Dzong built in 1647 by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and is the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan
- Ta-Dzong was built as a watchtower to guard Trongsa.
- Drive to Bumthang
Day 07 Bumthang Sightseeing (Altitude 2800 m)
- After breakfast, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”.
- Visit Jambay Lhakhang, built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659A.D,
- In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here.
- 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 Membarstho which literally means, “The burning Lake”.
Day 08 Ura Valley exercusion
- After breakfast, Excursion to the beautiful valley of Ura and visit Uma Temple.
- Ura has a beautiful Buddhist Monastery surrounded by typical Bhutanese farm houses.
- You will also see yaks grazing in the rich pasture land of the Ura valley.
Day 09 Bumthang – Mongar
- The drive to Mongar takes about 6 hours, with spectacular views en route.
- We will drive up into the hills above the valley and then past Ura village, before climbing sharply to the highest point on Bhutan’s motorable road network, Thrumsing-la pass (4,000m/13,125ft).
- As we drive, vegetation changes from alpine to subtropical with the loss of height,
- The descent stops at 700m/2,300ft, where we cross the Kuri Chu (river).
- We ascend again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets to reach Mongar town, high on a gentle slope above the valley.
- We visit Mongar Dzong, built in the 1930s and one of Bhutan’s newest dzongs,
Day 10 Mongar – Trashigang
- This trip of about 96 km. takes only 3 hours.
- After driving through the Kori-la pass (2,450m/8,040ft), marked by a pretty chorten and a mani wall, we descend rapidly through corn fields and banana groves to reach the famous road zigzags just below Yadi, a fairly recent and now fast-growing settlement.
- After zigzagging down the hillside, the road east runs along the Gamri River. A turnoff on the left leads up to Drametse. The temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village, was founded by Choeden Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan.
- This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums.
- About 30 km. onwards lies Trashigang (1,100m/3,610ft),
- We will visit Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of a rocky outcrop far above the river gorge.
Day 11 Trashigang (excursion to Trashiyangtse)
- After breakfast we visit the temple of Gom Kora, set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river, 24 km. from Trashigang.
- Gom Kora is a famous place, as Guru Rinpoche is said to have subdued a demon here, trapping it in a rock.
- We continue on down the road to Doksum village, where you can see women busily weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric, and a chain-link swing bridge dating back to the 15th century.
- The road turns into the hills here, running up the side of a winding river valley to Trashiyangtse.
- In former times, Trashiyangtse was an important center because it lies on one of the caravan routes leading from western and central Bhutan.
- The area is famous for its wooden containers and bowls, which make inexpensive, attractive and useful souvenirs of a visit to this remote region.
- We will visit Trashiyangtse Dzong, which overlooks the town and was built in the late 1990s when the new district was created.
- If time permits, we will also visit the dazzling white stupa of Chorten Kora on the riverbank below the town, and the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.
- In the evening we return to Trashigang.
Day 12 Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar
- The Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar road was completed in 1965, and the journey down it to the Indian border takes about 6 hours.
- Along the way, we pass by Sherubtse College in Kanglung, which was founded in 1978 and is a degree-granting institution affiliated to the University of Delhi.
- We also visit the nearby Zangtho Pelri temple representing Guru Rinpoche’s paradise, built in 1978 by the late Minister of Home Affairs.
- We then drive on to Khaling, home of the National Institute for the Disabled and the Weaving Centre.
- Visits to these may be arranged by prior request only, before leaving Thimphu.
- From here, it is a further 80 km. to Deothang, which is remembered in history as the site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the Duar Wars, in which the forces of Jigme Namgyal defeated the British.
- The road then descends fairly rapidly to the plains through dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns. Overnight at the lodge in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 13 Samdrup Jongkhar – Guwahati
- After breakfast, the guide from Yak Adventure Travel will drive you to Guwahati Airport, the capital town of the Indian northeastern state of Assam,
Trip Duration: 13
Max. Altitude 3120 m
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