- Trip Outline
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DAY 01: ARRIVAL IN IXB/NJP TO PHUENTSHOLING (4 HRS DRIVE)
Depending on your flight/train arrival time, it will take about 4 hours to reach Phuentsholing. The drive will pass through crowded Siliguri town over Tista river into various tea gardens finally emerging into foothills of Bhutan in Phuentsholing. The journey will be hectic and long, recommended to book the flight arrival before 3pm in the afternoon.
Phuentsholing- Phuentsholing is the border point for any goods and services entry/exit into Bhutan. The town functions primarily as a place where Bhutanese and Indians do business.
Check into the hotel and relax. Overnight in Phuentsholing, altitude 300m
DAY 02: PHUENTSHOLING TO THIMPHU (5 HRS DRIVE)
Complete the immigration formalities before starting the journey to Thimphu, the immigration office gets open at 9am. The feeling of exhausted and crowded in Phuenthsoling comes to the end after half an hour drive uphill, you will start feeling fresh and enjoy the scenic beauty of the nature. The journey will pass through some of the most beautiful broad leaves forest to temperate alpine zone, villages, towns, water fall, hills and mountains up until we reach Thimphu, creating the history for you.
Chuzom- Meeting point of two rivers (Thimphu & Paro) this is tri junction of highway leading to Thimphu, Paro and Phuentsholing into three directions. Enjoy the lovely picture of beautiful portrait our King and Queen placed at chuzom which is so welcoming to all who visits Bhutan.
Explore Thimphu City- If time permits, walking through the city gives you immense joys and understanding of modern city. Good option for imported garments and local souvenir, beside unique local handicrafts. Thimphu offers mixed style of personalities taking the street walk in Thimphu- only city in the world without traffic lights. Overnight in Thimphu, altitude 2400m
DAY 03: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
Thimphu- This bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country. Thimphu is the most modern city with an abundance of restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs and shopping centers. However it still retains its cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernization, often referred as world only city without traffic lights.
National Memorial Chorten- It is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is one of its most iconic monuments. Visitors will find elderly Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day. The National Memorial Chorten was built in memory of Late Third King of Bhutan and dedicated to World Peace. Third King is regarded as father of modern Bhutan.
Buddha Dordenma- The Buddha Dordenma is located at a top of the hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the southern entrance to Thimphu valley.
Takin Preserve Center-National Animal of Bhutan which has very unique story and its one of the never seen strange animal. It’s worth a hike to the place.
Arts and Crafts Vocational School- Arts and Craft School is where student learn 13 different techniques to master in Bhutanese Arts. Some of the skills required eight years to graduate. You can see live carving, painting, sculpture etc. You are allowed to take the pictures/make video. Products made by students are on display at the showroom for sales as well. The school is closed in July and December to February, beside their exams and events.
Folk Heritage Museum-This museum was established in 2001 and provides visitors with fascinating insights into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life, especially the life of Bhutanese in remote parts of Bhutan.
National Library-The National Library was established in 1967 to preserve ancient Buddhist scripts and texts. One can also see world largest picture book on Bhutan.
Textile Museum- The National Textile Museum which opened in June 2001, is worth a leisurely visit to get to know the living national art of weaving. Changing exhibitions introduce the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by women and men. The small shop features work from the renowned weaving centers in Lhuntshe Dzongkhag, in north-eastern Bhutan. Each item is leveled with the name of the weaver and price. The textile museum's exhibition are centered around six major themes - warp pattern weaves, weft pattern weaves, role of textiles in religion, achievements in textile arts, textiles from indigenous fibres and the royal collection.
Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar- Bhutan’s first ever craft bazaar located behind Hotel Taj Tashi showcases wide range of authentic Bhutan-made arts and craft products with reasonable price range.
Handicraft Emporium- Realizing the importance of socio-economic growth, handicraft emporium was set up with the command of His Majesty 3rd King, this was the first step to showcase the authentic Bhutanese handicraft products in Bhutan. You can still find some of the fine products available here at reasonable cost.
Witnessing Archery Match- Archery is the national game of Bhutan, it is amazing to see Bhutanese archers hitting target from a distance of 145 meters range. Bhutan has top archers on some categories on Olympic games.
Weekend Market/Centenary Farmers Market- An interesting well organized permanent set of stalls built for vegetable vendors across the country. Its open from Wednesday to Monday and closed on Tuesdays. One can find wide range of local vegetables and fruits.
Other side of the river is place for indigenous goods and handicrafts section, where locally produced goods, including religious objects, cloth, baskets and hats etc from various minority groups are sold here. These shops are open from Friday to Sunday only.
Tashichho Dzong-Houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and government secretariat buildings, beautiful arts and crafts, built in 17th century. Visitors are open for an hour in the evening and closed during official meeting or gathering. Overnight in Thimphu
DAY 04: THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA (2 HRS DRIVE)
Start the most scenic drive to Punakha from Thimphu over dochula pass which takes about two hours. After the break at Dochula, the road descends into Wangdue and Punakha taking us to one of the warmest places of Bhutan.
Dochula Pass- The pass is at a popular location as it offers a stunning 180 degree panoramic view of the Great Himalayan mountain ranges. The view is especially scenic and very clear on winter days with snowcapped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass.
Lamperi Botanical Park- The park has many varieties of plants, herbs, birds and animals. If you visit between April and June, you can find about 38 out of Bhutan's 46 species of rhododendrons and spot some of the 220 species birds. This park is one of the must visit place for birds and nature lovers. You may enjoy the hot packed lunch here if you had planned picnic.
Chimi Lhakhang- This temple is known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that childless couples can visit this temple to pray for better fertility to conceive the child. There are stories and incidences that many visitors dream came true however one must truly need to believe and follow the lama’s instruction. The hike though the lovely villages of Mesina gives truly amazing experience. Enjoy the gentle walks from the road head.
Punakha Suspension Bridge- Punakha suspension bridge is considered one of the longest of its kind in Bhutan. The bridge connects the dzong with the villages Shengana, Samdingkha and Wangkha on the other bank of the Po Chhu river. In these small villages, locals sell their wares in tiny, traditional shops. Visitors can stop here for a quick and authentic view of true Bhutan. In order to access the suspension bridge from the dzong, one must walk past the King’s palace and the cremation ground.
Punakha Dzong- Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo religious head of Bhutan. King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck convened the first National Assembly here in 1952. This is one of the finest and must see Dzongs of Bhutan. The Dzong stands inbetween meeting point of two rivers, Phochu and Mochu making the most photogenic Dzongs of Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha, altitude 1350m
DAY 05: PUNAKHA TO PARO (4 HRS DRIVE)
As we proceed to Paro, we will retrace the journey crossing over Dochula, up until Chuzom and further to Paro. The entire stretch of drive will refresh your mind and give you second chance to enjoy the great snowcapped mountain views of the Himalayas from Dochula.
Riverside Visit- visit to riverside to enjoy the crystal clear river and group video/photo is must in Paro. HBT guides/drivers will take you to the best place to enjoy at beautiful river banks of Paro.
Rinpung Dzong- 'Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’, is ranked one of the best Bhutanese architecture. The massive buttressed walls that tower over the town are visible throughout the valley, particularly when landing at Paro Airport. The Dzong also offers administrative seat of the district of Paro. The Dzong was built in 1644 under the order of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
National Museum of Paro- Perched above Paro Dzong it was watchtower built in 1649 to protect the undefended Paro Dzong located below, renovated in 1968 to house the National Museum. Today this museum houses the best collections of all time historical items making worth for a visit.
Paro Town- Tiny Paro town actually can offer lot more, there are many authentic handicraft shops, readily available Bhutan made products, grocery and imported garment shops beside having many small restaurants around.
Outdoor Activities- Nicely made and well maintained activity place attached to whole sell Buddha statue store, offers wearing Bhutanese dress, playing archery and darts for guests visiting Bhutan. The center is maintained and operated by HBT herself and its free of cost for all HBT guests. Overnight in Paro, altitude 2200m
DAY 06: PARO SIGHTSEEING
This picturesque region in the kingdom is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley. Paro has more of historical sites, high-end tourist resort and many souvenir shops for shopping including world famous Takstang.
Taktsang Gompa/Tiger’s Nest Temple- is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious Buddhist site in the world. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest”. The temple is one of the holiest sites in Bhutan which clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 meters above the valley. Although good trekkers can make it to the top in two hours, most of the guests take whole day to complete the hike.
Kichu Lhakhang- Temple considered sacred Jewel of Bhutan was established by the Buddhist King Songstsen Gampo of Tibet to overcome the giant ogress that laid across Tibet and Himalayas preventing the spread of Buddhism. The king is believed to have built the temple at the left foot of the enormous ogress. Kichu Lhakhang was among 12 temples in Bhutan out of 108 temples said to have been constructed over single night. Kichu Lhakhang was initially small in size however later, the temple expanded both in grandeur and size to its form that we see today.
Hot-stone Bath- Hot stone bath is very unique to Bhutan and offers great medicinal values. In most cases, the bathtub is made of wood placed on a ground level in quite hut for the privacy. A couple can get into one bathtub to soak. Enjoy the great ancient techniques of curing body ache, joins pain and harness many other values. This is on additional cost check with guide/driver. Overnight in Paro
DAY 07: PARO TO PHUENTSHOLING (5 HRS DRIVE)
Starting early will enough time on the roads to enjoy the immense beautiful of the nature and landscape for the best pictures. En-route Visiting Khadbandi Goemba to understand ‘Bhutan starts where the hill starts and ends where the plain start’. Phuentsholing is also good for buying cheap Bhutanese brandy, agro products and garments for gifts for your relatives back home. Prepare yourself for the exit from Bhhutan.
Kharbandi Gompa- Monastery is built by Royal Grandmother in 1967. The monastery contains paintings on the life of Buddha, statues of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Rinpoche. From the monastery garden there is a fascinating view of Phuentsholing town and surrounding plains. Overnight in Paro.
DAY 08: END OF THE TOUR
- Accommodation on twin/triple sharing basis
- Tour Escort English/Hindi Speaking Guide
- Transport and sightseeing as per the itinerary by comfortable imported NON-AC vehicle based on group size- Paro to Paro
- MAP- daily breakfast & dinner in the hotel (buffet set menu)
- All taxes & service charges
- On board complementary a bottle drinking water
- Flight fare
- Entrance/Monument visiting fees
- Travel Insurance/Trip Cancellation Insurance/SDF if implemented by government
- Personal Expenses (tea/coffee/drinks/shopping/phone calls/laundry/breakage)
- Extra Services if taken (rafting, cycling, playing archery, hot stone bat, etc)
- Room upgrade charges incase required
- Anything which is not mentioned in the inclusion
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