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This Bhutan tour package to Phobjikha valley is a perfect cultural tour unfolding the wonderfully diverse environment in valleys of western Bhutan as well as their cultural heritages. The tour’s highlights includes visits to Bhutan’s many ancient fortresses, temples, monasteries, markets, farm houses and museums in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Gangtey. During the tour, you will also experience the daily life of Bhutanese and participate in special Buddhist ceremonies.
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Day 01: Paro Arrival – Thimphu
The flight to the Bhutan is one of the most breathtaking, spectacular and magnificent flights with the views of snowcapped peaks of Himalayas. Upon arrival in Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed by our Asia Senses tour guide in a Bhutanese style with Tashi Khada (white scarf).
Have lunch then take a visit to Ta Dzong which was converted into the National Museum in 1968. This museum houses many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past.
Afterwards, continually ride to Rinpung Dzong which is located near to the museum. It was consecrated in 1645 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal on the site of smaller fort. Today, this massive fortress is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. From the dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, the beautiful cantilever wooden bridge which provides good view for whole Rinpung Dzong.
Drive to Thimphu where we have dinner then overnight in one of the carefully-selected hotels in Thimphu.
Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation’s most modern city and the main center of commerce, religion and government. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, one of Thimphu's most iconic monuments. It was built in 1974 as a memorial to the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who reigned from 1952-1972.
After that, we will visit Thimphu Institute of Zorig Chusum where you can catch a glimpse of apprentices honing their skills and knowledge in 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan, Folk Heritage Museum Kawajangsa which is providing a detailed insight of the entire folk history and heritage of Bhutan. We also take a visit to Bhutan National Library where is housing Bhutan traditional books and historic manuscripts dating back to the 8th century.
In the afternoon, we will visit Motithang Takin Preserve to see takins, the national animal of Bhutan. Then take a visit to the majestic Tashichho Dzong which is located close to Thimphu town, next to the banks of the Wangchhu River. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed several times over the years. Now, it houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body. Later, we visit the traditional handmade paper factory where they produce paper manually from the bark of the plant called Daphne.
***Note: If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, we could take a walk through centenary farmers market which is the main source of fresh produce for Thimphu city. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products (vegetables from farms and wild ones collected from forests, fruits, etc) and livestock products (mainly cheese and butter). In addition, we also could visit many stalls which sell Bhutanese handicrafts and household items.
Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel Thimphu Tower
Day 03: Thimphu – Phobjikha Valley
After breakfast, our guide will take you to visit Simtokha Dzong, one of oldest Dzong in Thimphu that was built in the year 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan.
Afterwards, we depart Thimphu for Gangtey valley, one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. On the way, we will stop to visit Hongtsho Goemba monastery and its ancient wall paintings.
The journey continues over Dochula Pass where on a clear day, you could see the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the Eastern Himalayas while enjoying a hot cup of coffee/tea at the Dochula café.
After that, we continue driving to Gangtey, passing through beautiful and tranquil roads surrounded by lush forests of bamboo and oak. Just before crossing the Pele La Pass, a small side road splinters off to the hidden Phobjikha Valley. On arrival valley, we will take a visit to Gangtey Goemba, an important monastery of Nyingma school of Buddhism. From this monastery, enjoy the valley's prime real estate, on a forested hill overlooking the green expanse of the entire Phobjikha valley.
This morning, we will hike through the beautiful nature trail which goes through lush forest of blue pine, oaks and rhododendron. Visit the remote villages in Gangtey valley, pass through meadows and fields, forests of juniper, magnolia and rhododendrons in full bloom in April. On the hike, we may spot long-tailed minivet, streak-breasted scimitar-babbler, yellow-bellied bush-warbler, great barbet…
In the afternoon, visit the Black Neck Crane Information Centre which has informative displays about the black-necked cranes and the valley environment. Depending on the season, you will have the chance to watch rare black-necked cranes which migrate from the high plains of the Tibetan plateau in winter to the milder climate of Phobjikha valley.
Overnight in Phobjikha.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dewachen Gangtey Hotel
Day 05: Phobjikha Valley – Punakha
This morning, we will drive to Punakha, former capital of Bhutan, is located in the west of the country. After one hour and half of driving, we stop at Wangduephodrang, take a soft trek through the bustling morning market of town. Then continually drive through the temperate forest of rhododendron & magnolia and orange, banana, rice plantations along the way.
Before reaching Punakha, we will stop at Sopsokha village roadside and take a stroll (about 20 minutes) through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a pilgrimage site for childless couples. It is believed that childless couples will have children if they get blessing from the lhakhang's wooden phallus. Our trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. There are few young monks at the temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings.
Visit Punakha Dzong or the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by Ngawang Namgyal, a Tibetan Buddhist Lama and the unifier of Bhutan as a nation-state in 17th-century. This dzong is arguably the most beautiful dzong in the country and one of the must-visit places in all Bhutan tour packages. It also has a special significance in Bhutan history as is the place where Ugyen Wangchuck (first king of Wangchuck House) was crowned in 1907.
In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten which sits high above Punakha Valley, affording panoramic views of the verdant hillsides below. It was built by Queen Mother and dedicated to the King and for the wellbeing of Bhutanese.
Afterwards, we drive to Thimphu to visit Bhutan Royal Botanical Garden which was established in May 1999 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee Celebration of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. The main mandate of the garden is to act as an ex situ conservation area for the country’s flora and to educate the public on the value of conservation.
Return to Paro where we will take a visit to a traditional village in Paro. Observe the daily life of villagers and watching beautiful scenes surrounding village. Further hikes or valley excursions can be organized.
After an early breakfast we drive up to the starting point and prepare for our Bhutan trekking to the legendary Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) - a magnificent monastery, clinging on a rock cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. It was constructed in 1692, around the cave where Guru Rinpoche first meditated, the event that introduced Buddhism into Bhutan. Legend has it that in 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew to this exact spot from Tibet on a back of a tigress, thus giving it the name “Tiger’s Nest”. All Bhutanese Buddhist desire to come this monastery at least once in their lives. The hiking trails pass through the meadow of pines, rhododendrons and oaks.
***Note: Horse ride to the cafeteria is available and can be arranged at additional cost.
On the way back, stop then have lunch at the cafeteria. After that, if your energy allows, we drive to the ruins of the 17th-century Drukgyel Dzong which was a fortress and Buddhist monastery, now in ruins, located in the upper part of the Paro District. In good weather conditions, the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop.
Following the Drukgyel Dzong visit, it is worth stopping at the 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Buthan's oldest and most beautiful temples. The temple is popularly believed of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Gangtey Palace Hotel
Day 08: Paro Departure
The Bhutan Tour package wraps up today. After breakfast at the hotel, free at leisure until our guide and driver transfer you to Paro airport to catch your departure flight. End of our service. Tashi Delek!
Private Tour Price (2 Pax Up)
Tour Price Includes
07 hotel night accommodation.
Local English speaking guides.
Meals as mentioned.
All sightseeing as specified and entrance fees included.
Bottled drinking water per touring days.
Tour Price Excludes
Surcharge of 70 USD per person per night (if there is person in the group)
Surcharge of 30 USD per person per night (if there are 2 persons in the group)
Horse ride up to the Tiger's Nest
Other meals not mentioned in the program
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, etc...
Tips for your guide and driver (discretionary)
Any camera or video fees at any sites
When to Go
See estimated monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary