A Walk above the Clouds

A WALK ABOVE THE CLOUDS

ITINERARY

Day 1 Arrival of Guest at Paro airport and sightseeing in Paro

Day 2 Drive to Thimphu and sightseeing in Thimphu

Day 3. Sightseeing continue in Thimphu

Day 4. Drive from Thimphu to Punakha

Day 5.Drive from Wangdue to Gangtey

Day 6. Drive to Bumthang

Day 7. Sightseeing in Bumthang

Day 8.Drive to Punakha

Day 9. Drive to Paro

Day 10. Hike to Taktsang Paro (Tiger’s Nest)

Day 11. Depart from Paro Airport

 

ITINERARY DETAIL

Day 1. Arrive Paro by Drukair. Elevation: 2280m.

 

On the flight to Paro, you will be able to enjoy a breath-taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, the sacred Mount Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake. On your arrival at the Paro Airport, you will be greeted by the wide open landscape filled with rice fields and many sacred temples and the majestic Paro Dzong. Your personal tour guide will meet you at the airport and will accompany you for lunch .

 

Sightseeing in Paro will include:

Ta Dzong(watch Tower), now turned into the National museum.

 

Paro Rimpung Dzong, built duing Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. You may recognize the dzong as it was featured in Bertolucci’s film “little Buddha”.

 

Kitchu monastery, built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gyampo in the 7th century to subdue the Ogress that lay across the whole of the Himalayas.

 

In the evening a two hour slow drive to Thimphu. The drive takes you over the hills through some astounding countryside along the Wangchu river. En-route you will view Tachogang monastery, “the temple of excellent horse” built by Thangthong Gyalpo (Iron chain builder in Bhutan) before reaching the Chunzom(confluence). At the confluence of paro –Thimphu River. you will see three stupas buit in Nepalese, Tibetan and Bhutanese forms.

 

Thimphu overnight: Hotel.

 

Day 2. Drive to Thimphu : Sightseeing in Thi,mphu. Elevation 2320m (56km/2hrs).

Breakfast at 07:30. Sightseeing in Thimphu include:

 

Visit folk Heritage Museum to see a traditional Bhutanese farm house and the everyday farm life.

 

Institute for 13 Traditional Arts (zorig chusum), where you can see young Bhutanese students at work on their chosen craft, such as mural painting, statue-making or wood-carving.

 

Takin (mini zoo). The takin is the national animals of Bhutan.

 

Viewpoint, festooned with prayer flags.

 

If time permits, stop at the chang-gangkha temple, where parents brings their new-borns to get blessing from the local diety, and to get names for the babies from the lamas.

 

Buddha statue).

 

Traditional weaving centre and, if time permits, the hand made paper factory.

 

Visit General Post Office: browse through the selection of Bhutanese stamps.

 

Thimphu Dzong: On office days the Dzong is closed until after 4:30.

 

Dinner and overnight: Hotel

 

 

Day 3.Thimphu Sightseeing.

 

Breakfast at 07:30. The beautiful Cheri Monastery was built in 1620 on a mountaintop. After a short drive up to the foothill, the hike to the monastery starts by crossing an old lovely traditional cantilever wooden bridge over the Thimphu river. The climb is steep but the beautiful trail in the woods and the occassional sighting of mountain goats on the cliff faces make the ascend worthwhile. Luch in Thimphu.

 

Visit the National memorial chorten(stupa) which was built in 1974, by Her Majesty Ashi Phontsho Choden Wangchuck, in memory of His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third hereditary king of Bhutan. The paintings and frescos on the walls of the Chorten provide a deep insight into Buddhist Philosophy.

 

Dinner and overnight: Hotel.

 

 

Day 4. Drive from Thimphu to Punakha Elevation:1300m. 77km/3hrs

 

Breakfast at 07:30. The drive to Phunakha takes you over the Dochula pass(3150m). A stop at the saddle of the pass not only gives you the chance to enjoy the vast expanse of the Himalayan moutain peaks, weather permiting, but also witness the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens. Gradully snaking down to 1500m subtropical setting where you will pay a visit to Chimi lhakhang, built atop a hilllock blessed by the15th century Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the maverick saint of Bhutan, or the “Divine madman”. Lama Drukpa Kuenley advocated the phallus symbol paintings on the walls and and the use of flying wooden phallus at the four corners of the houses. This can still be seen in the villages and towns. Most infertile couples come to the temple to invoke the saint to bless them with conception.

 

After a lovely stroll through ricefields lunch will be served at the Chimmi Lhakhang restaurant.

Visit Punakha Dzong. It was the capital of Bhutan untill 1951. The dzong is situated in between the Phochu and Mochu rivers (male and female rivers). The impressive cantilever bridge which is the main access to the dzong was recently reconstructed keeping the original architectural shape. The Dzong serves as the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief Abbot) and the center monastic body.

 

Dinner and overnight:Hotel

 

 

Day 5. Drive to Wangdue / Phobjikha.

 

Drive to Phobjikha, accross a high valley. En-route you will pass by the ruins of Wangduephodrang Dzong which was tragically lost to fire in June 2012. In Phobjikha, pay a visit to Gantey monastery, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan, recently renovated. Take a an easy hike on the Natural Trail, passing through villages and valley of the winter home of the rare species birds, the black-necked cranes, during the months of November to February. Visit the RSPN(Royal society protection of Nature) information centre to learn more about these large cranes.

 

Dinner and overnight:Hotel.

 

 

Day 6. Phobjikha to Bumthang: Elevation 2600m.

 

Drive to Trongsa takes you over the Pelela pass, one of the highest passes in the country at 3390 meters above sea level. Gradually snaking down you will arrive in the beautiful village of Rukhujbji, which has the shape of a gaint snake. Legend has it that a certaina Saint subdued the giant snake in the area and hence the village took the shape of a snake. Further down stream of Rukubji, you will stop for lunch at the Nepalese styled Chendebji Chorten built in the 19th century. After another two hours drive you will reach Trongsa with a stop at the view point for photogrhaphy.

 

In Trongsa, you will visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong, built on the site where Ngagi Wangchuk is believed have meditated. Whilst he was meditating he saw butter lamps lighted at the ridge. Taking this to be a sacred site and as prophesied by the great Palden Lhamo, he built a small temple on it in 1543. Many people became his deciples and began building themselves small huts around the the temple. The place soon grew to became a small new village and hence the name Trong-sar (New-Village).

 

Crossing another high pass at 3400 meters, the Yotongla, you will see the gradual change in vegitation as you enter the Bumthang valley. Bumthang valley is shaped like a Bumpa, holy vessel, found on the alters of Bhutanese homes. Thang, means valley, hence the name Bhum-thang, the valley of holy vessel.

 

Overnight:Hotel

 

 

Day 7.Sightseeing in Bumthang.

Hike to Jambay Lhakhang monastery. It is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, on the same day as Paro Kitchu lhakhang. He is believed to have built 108 temples on the same day accross Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal. The temple hosts Jo Jamba, the future Buddha as its arch statue. One of the most sacred festivals Jamba Lhakhang Drup, takes place here every year. Visit Kurjey monastery. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, left an imprint of his body shape etched into a rock face where the inner sanctum of the Monastery stands. Hence the name Kurjey, Kur-body, and jey- imprint.The big cypress tree beside the monastery is belived to have been grown from the walking stick of the Guru Rimpoche.

 

Visit Tamshing Goemba, Temple of the good message. It was established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is considered as the most important Nyingmapa Temples in the kingdom.

 

After lunch visit Jakar Dzong. It was built on a ridge overlooking the Bhumthang valley. Jakar Dzong, Ja-means bird and ‘kar’ means white. - teh Evening free time around the town.

 

Overnight:Hotel.

 

 

Day 8. Drive to Punakha.

 

Punakha overnight:Hotel.

 

 

Day 9. Drive from Punakha to paro.

 

Breakfast 07:30. Drive back to Paro. In Paro, visit the ruines of Drugyal Dzong. Th Dzong was built to commemorate victory over the Tibetan invaders. On a clear day you could enjoy a beautiful view of Mount Jhomolhari.

 

Dinner and overnight:Hotel

 

 

Day 10. Hike to Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest).

 

An early morning hike up to Taktshang monastery. The monastery built on a shear rock face at a height of 300m above the ground, is a holy site of pilgrimage for the Buddhists. Guru Rimpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan and the region, is said to have landed there by riding on the back of a flying tigress and meditated at the site where the inner sanctum of the temple stands. The hike takes about 4 hours. Lunch will be served at Taktshang cafeteria.

 

Dinner and overnight:Hotel.

 

 

Day 11.Departure.

 

Transfer to airport for flight departure from Paro.

 

 

Bhutan Dreamland Tours

Bhutan Dreamland Tours, P.O. Box 1873, Moti-thang, Thimphu, Bhutan, Tel: +975 17 34 98 25. Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved. Last updated: 21.03.2018