Bhutan the Last Shangri-La Tour – 8 Nights 9 Days allows you to explore this tiny Himalayan Kingdom as it is also renowned as The Last Shangri-La. This a week-long trip to Bhutan starts with major sightseeing in Thimpu and Paro Valley including Thimpu Dzong, Memorial Chorten, Buddha Point, and travel to Punakha passing through the Dochu-La Pass, observe stunning 108 Choterns.
On this Bhutan the Last Shangri-La Tour – 8 Nights 9 Days, you will visit stunning Punakha Dzong situated between Mo Chu and Pho Chhu Rivers and visit Gangtery Valley. The Gangtey Valley is known as the home of Black-necked cranes during the winter season and also you will explore Trongsa where the famous Trongsa Festivals take place around the year. After the exploration around Punakha, Gangtey and Trongsa on this Bhutan the Last Shangri-La Tour – 8 Nights 9 Days, back to the town and end your trip with hiking to stunning Tiger’s nest also known as Takshang Monastery at the elevation of 3180m.
Arrive at Paro Airport and then drive to the capital city Thimphu. Altitude: 2320m/ 7656ft above sea level.(1 hour 30 minutes drive)
The flight into the Himalayas reveals scenic and breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains of the world. If weather permits you will be able to see Mt Everest (8848m, 29,198ft) and other Himalayan mountain ranges. After checking into the hotel later visit, Your representative from the agency will greet you on arrival and drive you to the capital city, Thimphu.
Tag Dzong: This means – watch tower, which it served as during the 17th century to guard the region against the Tibetan invasion. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of Bhutanese art, relics, religious thankas (used to bolster the visualization generated during meditation and were made from Himalayan animal fibers), paintings, animals found in Bhutan, arms and ammunitions and the country’s exquisite stamp collections.
Tashichho Dzong: Fortress of Glorious Religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
Later relax for the day and stroll around the city.
Overnight in Thimphu
Morning visit to the Memorial Chorten: This particular Chorten was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of the country, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan.
Visit Changgangkha Lhakhang and later Visit Zilukha nunnery in Drubthob Goemba: Thimphu is the biggest nunnery in Bhutan. The Nunnery and Goemba once it belonged to the Drubthob (Realized one) Thang Thong Gyalpo often referred to as The King of the open field. In the early 15th century with his multiple talents, he popularly became the Leonardo da Vinci of the Great Himalayas.
Simtokha Dzong: Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was one of the greatest builders of Dzongs in Bhutan and to consolidate his newly acquired domain in western Bhutan and to defend himself from both the internal foes and external enemies started the constructions of six Dzongs. The first Dzong that he undertook to construct was the Simtokha Dzong. The location has great historical significance. The present place where the Dzong stands were the crossroads of the three prominent western regions of Sha (Wangduephodrang), Wang (Thimphu) and Pa (Paro). The Dzong was successfully completed in 1631 corresponding to the Iron Sheep Year of the Bhutanese calendar after two years. The Dzong was named as “Sanga Zabdhoen Phodrang” (Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras).
Later visit the weekend market in Thimphu: Held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the people crowd the stalls every day, dressed in full color and gathered to meet and to barter, much like the street markets in London!
Overnight in Thimphu.
Altitude: 2800m/ 9240ft above sea level (5 hours drive)
Morning driving towards Gangtey, we come across a pass known as Dochula (3140m, 10362ft) from where a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range can be seen, especially in clear winter days. The beauty of this place is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chortens- 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.
In the mountains east of Wangdue Phodrang lies the beautiful Phobjikha valley, on the slopes of which is situated the great monastery of Gangtey, established in the 17th century. The village of Phobjikha lies a few km. down from the monastery, on the valley floor. This quiet, remote valley is the winter home of black-necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate.
Overnight in Gangtey.
Altitude: 2200m/ 7260ft above sea level. (5 hours drive)
Morning you will hike across Gangtey Nature Trail: (Duration: Half day: two hours at a quicker pace): This is one of the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trail. In this trail you have the opportunity to visit the magnificent Goemba(Monastery), it also leads to a sloping area of green grass, flanked by pine trees on either side. You will even come across some villages, rivers, crane roosting ground.
Trongsa Museum: Situated strategically above the Trongsa dzong, the Ta Dzong served as the watchtower for centuries. It was built by Choeje Minjur Tempa in 1652. The museum is equipped with state of the art technology and includes a media room where visitors can watch a documentary program on the history of the monarchy. The Ta Dzong was renovated and converted as a museum at a cost of Nu. 97 million with funds from the Austrian government. The museum is dedicated to the coronation and centenary celebrations.
Overnight in Trongsa.
Morning visit to the famous Trongsa Festival: The day begins with the famous mask dances. Festivals in the Land Of Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in honor of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. There is simply no better way of experiencing the color, passion and sheer vibrancy of Bhutan than by attending one of the numerous religious festivals that take place around the year. Tsechus are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylized masked dance rituals are performed. Attendees adorned in astounding color gather from far and wide, sporting exotic masks and taking part in the myriad events that are on offer, from games of chance at the local fairs to elaborate mystic rituals. An experience that is not to be missed!
Later stroll around the city and relax
Altitude: 1350m/ 4455ft above sea level. (6 hours drive)
Morning drive to Punakha visit to the Punakha Dzong (fortress): Built-in 1637 by Zhabdrung which is remarkably located between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu (river) and Pho (Male) Chu. Until the time of the second king, it served as a seat of the king.
Hike to Chimi Lhakhang(Temple of fertility): This Temple was built by lam Drukpa Kuenley (The Divine Madman) in 1499. It is about thirty minutes hike across fields from the road –Wooden phalluses are often found hanging in the four corners of the houses and also phalluses are painted on the walls of houses. It is the common belief that this helps in driving away evil spirits. (30 minutes hike to and fro, gentle steep, good footpath across the valleys and villages)
Overnight in Punakha/Wangdue
Altitude: 2280m/7524ft above sea level. (4 hours drive)
Morning drive to Paro and visit, Rimpung Dzong: The Bhutanese Dzongs are huge architectural structures constructed for a variety of functions throughout the country, from administrative buildings to monasteries and temples, yet they are carefully and thoughtfully designed and are strikingly beautiful. The Rimpung Dzong, known as the “fortress of the heap of jewels” in the picturesque setting of the Paro valley, is, of course, no exception, built in the time of the dynamic spiritual and political leader Zhabdrung in 1644. Once a year, as part of the Tsechu festival, one of the oldest Thongdol (gigantic scroll paintings) is ceremonially unfurled here.
Kichu Lhakhang(Monastery): It is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.
Drugyel dzong: This ruined dzong is of historical importance. It was built in 1649 by Zhabdrung to commemorate the victory of the Drukpas over the Tibetan invasion in 1644. The Bhutanese still vividly recall and celebrate this victory which was tremendously important to the history of the area. On a clear day (7326m/ 24176ft), you have a fascinating view of the white-domed peak of sacred Jhomolhari (Mountain of Goddess).
Overnight in Paro.
Morning hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest): This is Bhutan’s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800m/2640ft up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimpoche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands. (Five hours hike to and fro, some gentle and some steep hike, some stony footpath, and some good ones) If you ride a horse upward it will cost an extra US$25 per person.
Visit Farmhouse: Picturesque farm houses dot the valley amongst fields and hillsides. We welcome you to enjoy the hospitality of the Paro farmers. Thrill yourself as the farmers welcome you to their homes with genuine smiles. The two to three-storied Bhutanese farm houses are handsome in appearance, with colorfully decorated outer walls and lintels, and are traditionally built. A visit to a farmhouse gives an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of a farming family. (If you take a hot stone bath in the farmhouse it will cost extra US$25 per person.)
Later walk around the town and see how locals live.
Overnight in Paro.
Early breakfast at the hotel and then drive to the airport. Your escort will assist you with exit formalities and bid you farewell
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