BHUTAN ADVENTURE TOUR (7 Days/6 Nights)
Kindly be at the check-in counter 2 hours ahead of your flight departure time. Your check-in luggage limit is 20kg on Economy Class / 30kg on Business Class, and hand luggage must not exceed 5kg.
DAY 1: PARO – ARRIVAL (-/L/D)
On arrival at Paro international Airport, you will be received by a representative of Bhutan Raewa Travels who will be waiting outside the arrival terminal of the Airport holding a placard with your name on it. The representative will be your guide for the duration of the tour and will welcome you in a traditional manner by offering a khadar (greeting scarf). Thereafter, you will be escorted to your hotel for check in.
After freshening up you will be taken for a short sightseeing tour around Paro town. During this tour you will visit:
- Dungtse Lhakhang, that lies just out of town, across the river. Dungtse Lhakhang is possibly the only ancient temple built in the shape of a chhorten. The lhakhang is literally chained down since local belief holds that it will otherwise fly off to heaven! It was constructed in 1421 by Thangtong Gyelpo who came to Bhutan in search of iron ore to be used for constructing bridges in his homeland Tibet.
- Visit Kyichu temple one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demoness lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demoness.
Evening free time to relax.
Overnight at hotel – Paro.
DAY 2: PARO – PUNAKHA (B/L/D) (142km, about 4 hours)
After breakfast, drive to Punakha valley (the old capital of the country) and en route see Tachogang Temple or the “Temple of the Hill of Excellent Horse”. The temple is located a few kilometres before the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu Rivers. It is believed that a Tibetan Saint had a vision of the excellent Horse Balaha – an emanation of Avalokiteshwara while he was meditating there. He decided thereupon to build a temple at this spot in addition to one of his famous iron bridges (later carried away by floods in 1969). The exact date of the temple’s construction is not certain, but it was probably around the year 1433.
Continue drive to Punakha via Dochula Mountain passes (3,140 m). On a clear day Dochu La offers a stunning view of the snow capped Himalayan ranges:
- Kang Bum (6,526 m)
- Gangchhenta (6,840 m)
- Masang Gang (7,165 m)
- Tsenda Gang (7,100 m)
- Teri Gang (7,300 m)
- Jejekangphu Gang (7,100 m)
- Zongophu Gang (Table Mt – 7,100 m)
- Gangkhar Puensum (7,541 m)
Visit Druk Wangyel Chhorten, built by the Queen Mother for the peace and stability of the country. The 108 Khangzang Namgyal Chhortens are a new landmark for travellers as they cross Dochula, the first mountain pass into the interior of the country.
On the way visit Chimi Lhakhang, located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina. There is a short 20 minute walk through the village of Sopsokha en-route to the temple wherein you will cross paddy fields and get a feel for rural Bhutan. The temple was built by Ngawang Chogyel in the 15th century after the ‘divine Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. The temple is believed to bless couples unable to have children and many people from around the world visit this holly site to seek its blessings.
On arrival in Punakha, check into hotel.
Overnight at hotel – Punakha.
DAY 3: RAFTING AT PHOCHU RIVER & OVERNIGHT CAMPING (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, the vehicle will drive you up to the point to begin the hike to Samdhingkha where your rafting crew will be waiting. The hike is approximately 2 hours through pine forest and farmlands along the bank of the Pho Chu River. On reaching Samdhingkha you will be rafting along the Pho Chu River coming across stretches of Class II and IV rapids. Upon arriving at a beach-like stretch of sand, some distance from a Chorten, you will be served lunch on the sandy embankment. The post-lunch rafting session will continue till you reach the relatively placid section of the river below the Punakha Dzong.
In the evening enjoy a sumptuous dinner with a bonfire in the company of your guide and rafting crew and retire for the night in the outdoor camp by the riverside with nature.
Overnight; outdoor camping at Zamling Thang – Punakha.
DAY 4: PUNAKHA DAY EXCURSION -THIMPHU (B/L/D) (77km, about 3 hours)
The day in Punakha valley begins with a drive through the town of Khuruthang and continues along the banks of the Mo Chu River, passing the Phuntsho Pelri Palace and several other winter homes of the Royal Family. At the upper end of the valley, a hike across a footbridge through terraces of rice, chilies and cabbage.
Then walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chhorten (50 minutes) – a three-storey chhorten built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck in 1999 for the protection of the country, stands on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang, and is located about 6 miles from Punakha. It presents an incredibly complex iconography, which belongs to the Nyingmapa tradition.
Later drive to Thimphu valley, at an elevation of 2,350 m / 7700 ft. Urbanization began here when Thimphu was proclaimed as a national capital in 1952 and the Dechenchoeling Palace was built at this Time. Even today the city retains its ethnic architectural style and is the only capital in the world with no traffic lights.
Check into hotel.
Drive to see the Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal, the Takin.
Further, drive up to BBS tower to get a view of the Thimphu valley.
Drive to Kuensel Phodrang where you can see the statue of the Buddha probably the tallest Buddha in the world and also enjoy nice view of the Thimphu valley.
A walk around Memorial Chhorten built in 1974 in memory of the Third King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk who passed away in 1972. The Memorial Chhorten is one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu, and for many people it is the focus of their daily worship. At the Memorial Chhorten, you have an opportunity to light butter Lamps. Buddhists believe lighting of butter lamps or offering of light is a means of dispelling the darkness of our own ignorance, giving rise to clarity and wisdom. The lighting of butter lamps is an offering of light to the deities and is one of the common means of increasing one’s merit. You can also offer for a loved one, a new venture or simply with a good intention. You can dedicate a single lamp, 21 or 108 lamps (traditionally auspicious numbers) or as many as you like. Your offering can be dedicated for those who are suffering, facing difficulties or for those who have died, for situations in the world that touch your heart …or you can offer lights as an expression of love, joy or gratitude.
Overnight at hotel – Thimphu.
DAY 5: THIMPHU – PARO INSIGHT (B/L/D) (65km, about 1 hours)
Morning visit Changangkha temple, built in the 15 century by Lama Phajo Drigom. It lies on a hilltop commanding the Thimpu valley. The temple has very old scriptures and Thankas. The main deity of the temple is Avalokiteshvara, God of compassion.
Later drive back to Paro passing through the idyllic countryside, dotted with villages and paddy fields, crossing rivers and natural forests to Paro.
On the way to Paro, visit Semtokha Dzong which is the oldest Dzong built in Bhutan by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1629. Then continue driving towards Paro Valley.
Check into hotel.
- Visit Rinpung Dzong built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders and is now used as an administration center and school for monks.
- The National Museum which is a repository of not only precious work of art but also costumes, amour and other hand crafted objects of daily life that provide a good snapshot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. It is rated as one of the finest natural history museums in South Asia and it is a wonderful insight into Bhutan the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Of special interest is the gallery of thangkhas which exhibits exquisite pieces of different vintages – those depicting Zhabdung Ngawang Namgyal, the first Je Khempo and first Druk desi are of particular significance.
- Visit Mani Dungkhor in Paro. It is believed that spinning a prayer wheel has the same benefits of chanting a prayer. Prayer wheels or Mani Dungkors come in different sizes and can be most commonly seen around religious structures. But how are these wheels made. In Paro, a 64-year-old man Samdrup has been doing this for over 30 years and plans to keep going for as long as he can. When he was around 30 years old, he started learning the craft of making prayer wheel from his late uncle. Since then he has been engaged in making prayer wheels for both religious bodies and individuals.
Evening Free time to relax and stroll around Paro town.
Overnight at hotel – Paro.
DAY 6: PARO – DAY HIKE (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast take a short drive to road point from where the hike begins to the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) which clings precariously to a cliff 800 m / 2,600 ft above the Paro valley. The climb up to the view point will take around three hours (depending on one’s fitness). In the second half of the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, alighted here upon the back of a tigress, and upon meditating for three months in a cave, assumed the form of Dorje Droloe, the Terrifying Thunderbolt and subjugated the Eight Evil Spirits who hindered the propagation of Buddhism. Thereafter, the Buddhist Dharma was introduced to Paro valley and soon spread to the rest of Bhutan. Taktsang is one of the holiest sites in the country and one of the most venerated Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas.
Indulge yourself in Meditation at Taktsang for about 60 minutes. The essence of Buddhist meditation narrates the meditative practice associated with the religion and philosophy of Buddhism. Meditation is understood as something that makes one’s body consciously soothed and relaxed, while the mind is made calm; a technique that aims to develop mindfulness, concentration, tranquility and insight. Well one would be surprised but it gets more interesting when one goes beyond just relaxing your mind and soothing your body!
Lunch will be served during the return hike back to the road point. The afternoon will comprise of a visit to Drugyal Dzong and a local farm house as detailed below:
- Drugyal Dzong, now in ruins, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders, led by Mongolian Warlord, Gushri Khan. Strategically built over the only passage into Paro valley, the Dzong helped to repel numerous invasions all through the course of Bhutanese history. It so impressed the early English visitors in 1914 that the Dzong was featured on the cover of the National Geographic Magazine. In fine weather, the towering peak of Mount Jumolhari 7314 m high appears as a backdrop. This mountain which marks the frontier with Tibet is sacred and the dwelling place of goddess Jomo.
- In the evening visit a local Farmhouse to see firsthand how rural Bhutanese live. The Farmhouses are very decorative, built and painted in a classical style. The houses are normally three stories; the ground floor is used for cattle, the top floor for drying hay, while the family live in the middle floor.
Farewell dinner will be served at the hotel during which you will witness a traditional Bhutanese cultural show.
Overnight at hotel – Paro
DAY 7: PARO – DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
After breakfast your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight onward.