Bhutan Punakha Tour – itinerary
Day 01: Flight from Kathmandu or Bangkok to Paro Transfer to Thimphu Hotel.
Morning flight from Kathmandu to Paro by Bhutan airways or Druk Air and Transfer to Thimpu. While flying, you will have great opportunity to see the spectacular views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake in Bhutan. When you arrive in Paro our representative will be pick up you from paro airport after immigration formalities and baggage arrival then transfers you to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan which is 55Km far from Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing
After breakfast, sightseeing in Thimphu valley including visit to the following: the National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts; the Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. Later visit Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese material culture and living traditions.
After lunch, visit King's Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.
Then, visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through example of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, interesting items made from local materials.
Evening drive past Trashichhoedzong, “fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu/ Punakha ( 75 Km, 3 hours drive)
After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m ), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana - finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.
Later visit to Punakha Dzong, Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan’s history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King.
After that drive to Wangduephodrang visiting Dzong and local market. The district of Wangduephodrang is also famous for its bamboo products, slate and stone carvings. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 04: Punakha excursion
After breakfast excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley. It is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings and due to this also known as ‘Divine Madman’. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.
Afternoon explore Punakha local market and town. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 05: Punakha / Paro (125 km, approx 4 hours drive)
After breakfast drive to Paro en route visit Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.
Afternoon in Paro, visit Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968.
Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 06: Paro Sighseeing
After breakfast drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century.
Then take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery hence it is called “Tiger’s Nest”. The excursion to monastery takes about 5 hours for round trip.
While return to Paro town visit en route Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 07: Depart Paro
After early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
Note: If above itinerary couldn’t meet your needs, we can design a tailor-made program to suit your equipments. It is also possible to combine with some other activities such as trekking in Nepal and cultural tour in Nepal, overland tour in Tibet, etc...
The trip cost will vary depending on the number of person in your group, trip duration and standard of services required. Please contact us or send us a quick inquiry with your details to obtain a quote.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses and emergency repatriation.