4 DAYS JOURNEY TO THE DRAGON KINGDOM
Kindly be at the check-in counter 2 hours ahead of your flight departure time. Your check-in luggage limit is 30kg on Economy Class / 40kg on Business Class, and hand luggage must not exceed 5kg.
DAY 1: PARO- THIMPHU (-/L/D) (65km, about 1 hour)
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).
- Before heading to Thimphu, Drive to see the Rinpung Dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration center and school for monks.
- Visit The National Museum: rated as one of the finest natural history museums in South Asia which is a repository of not only precious work of art but also costumes, armor and other hand crafted objects of daily life that provide a good snapshot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. Of special interest is the gallery of thangkhas which exhibits exquisite pieces of different vintages – those depicting Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first Je Khempo and first Druk desi are of particular significance.
Then drive towards Thimphu. On the way see Tachogang Temple or the “Temple of the Hill of Excellent Horse” which rises in austere surroundings on the left bank of the river, a few km before Chhuzom at the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu rivers. 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.
Further proceed 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. Yet unlike other capital cities in the world, Thimphu remains essentially pastoral in character and changes its demeanor with the seasons.
Check into hotel
After lunch begin local sightseeing of the following places:
- Walk around Memorial Chhorten in Thimphu built in 1974 in memory of the Third King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck 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.
- 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.
Evening: Visit Tashichhodzong, whose history dates back to the 13th century, wherein houses His Majesty’s Throne Room and is the summer home to the Monastic Body.
Overnight at hotel – Thimphu.
DAY 2: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEINGS (B/L/D)
After breakfast begin local sightseeing of the following places:
- Visit the Bhutan Post known for its world famous stamps where you can buy postcards and stamps. The Bhutan Post is definitely a place of significance where an extensive collection of exotic stamps made from metal and silk to three dimensional images and even stamps with mini-phonograph records are produced. Many major events of the world are recorded and made into stamps in Bhutan.
- Walk to the Textile Museum to get an understanding of the beautiful hand woven Bhutanese textiles. Bhutan’s textiles are an integral part of its cultural heritage and are unique for their diversity and sophistication. Textile Museum at Thimphu has given a new platform to Bhutanese weavers and boasts of an invaluable collection of antique textile artifacts of Bhutan. Some of the museum’s gems are the pearl robe from Tsamdrak Goenpa, crowns of Bhutan’s Kings, Namzas (dresses) and other accessories worn by the Royal Family, personal bedding of His Holiness Zhabdrung Jigme Dorji and the first version of the Raven Crown.
- Visit the National Library, a treasure trove of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. The National Library of Bhutan (NLB) was established in 1967 with the primary objective of collecting and preserving mainly ancient Bhutanese written and printed resources. The multi-functional library can now pride itself on being a modern library with a number of service and research facilities. It accommodates a large and steadily growing collection of manuscripts, books, scriptures and written documents as well as a large number of hand carved wooden blocks for printing traditional religious books.
- Then move to The National Folk Heritage Museum to get an insight into the typical Bhutanese way of life. Folk Heritage Museum at Thimphu provides you a glimpse of the lifestyle, items and artifacts of Bhutanese villages and rural households. Besides the display, the museum also organizes demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs, educational programs for children and research and documentation on the rural life of Bhutan. The museum building itself is one of the star exhibits of the library. It is a restored three-storey traditional rammed mud and timber house that resembles the average rural household in the Wang area during the mid-19th century, complete with typical household objects, domestic tools and equipments that were used by rural families of that period.
- See the Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.
- Then you can visit the Traditional Medicine Institute where equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines abundant in the kingdom are prepared here.
Overnight at Hotel – Thimphu.
DAY 3: THIMPHU – PARO (B/L/D) (65km, about 1 hour)
Morning after breakfast drive back to Paro.
The day in Paro begins with 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.
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.
Overnight at Hotel – Paro.
DAY 4: PARO- DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
After breakfast your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight onward.