Bhutan – West to East
Day 1: Arrival at Paro
The first day flight to Paro airport will bring you the most spectacular view of the Himalayan ranges. After arrival at Paro check in your hotel and if time permits leisure in Paro town. Night in hotel.
Day 2: Paro Sightseeing:
Drive to the end of Paro valley to visit Drukgyal Dzong a ruin fortress. The Dzong was named Druk (Bhutan) Gyal (victory) to commemorate the victory of Bhutan over Tibetan invaders. Then you will experience a small hike of 3 hrs to the Taktsang monastery (The tiger’s nest). As believed by the Bhutanese, Guru Padmasambhava flew here on a tiger’s back in the 8th century and meditated there. A highlight of the trip. Later in 1684 this holy place was built. When you finish your climb you will reach a cafe where you will get a very good view of the monastery. For those who want can hike further to visit the monastery. It is a memorable spiritual journey & your total walking time will be about 4hrs in total. Later in the evening drive to Thimphu the capital of Bhutan. Night in hotel.
Day 3: Thimphu sightseeing
Visit the Memorial Chorten which was built in memory of the third King in 1974. After lunch, visit the School of traditional Bhutanese Arts where painting, sculptor, wood-carving, embroidery, weaving and other Bhutanese handicrafts are taught and produced by students. VisitTextileMuseum, Tashichhodzong which is the seat of the Royal Government and central Monastic body. Visit Post Office for beautiful stamps. Overnight at hotel.
(Please note that if you are in Thimphu during the weekends, then you can visit the Sabji Bazaar that’s the vegetable market (farmer’s market), where you will witness a lot of natural people in their own style of selling and buying vegetables).
Day 4: Drive to Punakha / Wangdiphodrang.
Morning drive over Dochula which is at 3150m (pass). On a clear day you can view chain of snow capped mountains of eastern end of Himalayas which borders Bhutan to Tibet. The pass itself is surrounded with 108 beautiful Stupas built by the Royal Family of Bhutan. Around the pass there are verities of Rhododendrons, Magnolia & different species of plants. Lunch can be picnic with lunch boxes or can be arranged in Restaurant. After lunch visit KhamsungYuellayTemple built by King’s family in the form of Stupa. One has to walk about 40 minutes through rice fields and has a panoramic view over the valley from the Stupa. Overnight in Hotel in Punakha or Wangdi as these 2 places are near each other.
Day 5: Punakha / Wangdi to Bumthang (175Kms)
About 3 hrs drive from Wangdi is PeleLa pass (3300mts) in this area the forest is entirely of rhododendrons & if the winter has been cold you will see herds of Yaks. Prayer flags mark PeleLa pass and the ground covered with high altitude dwarf bamboos. As you drive you will pass through village of Rukubji, Nikkachu & Chendebji. At Chendebji the great white washed stone Stupa built in 18th century lies on the bend below the road. As you approach Trongsa, you cannot miss viewing the never reaching Trongsa Dzong in the distance. Drive further on to Bumthang over YotonglaPass (3600mts) & you will be passing a weaving center of the famous Yata textile often used for making jackets & scarves. Night in Hotel.
Day 6: Bumthang sightseeing (2600mts)
Bumthang is also known as the Swiss valley as it is open & spacious valley with rich pine forest. Visit Jampay Lhakhang the oldest monastery in Bhutan from 7th century, visit Kurjey Lhakhang where the famous saint Guru Padmasambhava has meditated in 8th century & left his body print on the rock. Then you have the option to hike on the other side of the valley to visit Tamshing monastery built by Terton Pema Lingpa who is known to have found the sacred Treasure of Buddhist, visit Swiss farm where you can buy good swiss cheese, fruit brandy, ciders & etc. Night in Hotel.
Day 7: Bumthang to Mongar in east Bhutan is about 9 hrs drive. It is a beautiful drive over the highest motorable pass in Bhutan which is 4100 meters high. There is a big chance to see the rare species Golgen Langur (is a kind of monkey) which is only in Bhutan. Area around the pass is now converted into botanical garden and the change in vegetation as you drive is interesting. Night in hotel.
Day 8: Day’s excursion to Lhuentsi district towards the north of Mongar and is 65 kms one way. The Royal Family of Bhutan comes from Lhuentsi district. Visit the Dzong in Lhuentsi and then the village around the Dzong. Then drive back to Mongar in the afternoon. Night in same hotel.
Day 9: Mongar to Tashigang which is 3 hrs drive. You are in east Bhutan and has different vegetation from west Bhutan. Afternoon visit the dzong in town and then leisure in Tashigang town where you will see herders from Merak & Sakten village in their typical dress made from Yak hair & still wearing leather pants. Night in hotel
Day 10: Days excursin to Radi village which is popular for raw-silk weaving. Radi village is beautiful with lots of rice terraces around. If interested you can ask your guide to arrange for a farm house visit as people are very friendly. Night in same hotel
Day 11: Days excursion to Tashiyangtsi district which will be about 65 kms one way. In Tashiyangtsi there is a famous Stupa dates back to 18th century. In this district people make wooden bowls & cups which is traditionally used as plates & cups. On the way one can visit Gomkora monastery which is from 8th century & blessed by Guru Rinpoche. Then there is iron chain bridge built in 15th century at Doksum on the way. Night in same hotel.
Day 12: Today is the last day in Bhutan and is to drive to south-east Bhutan to the border to Assam in India. The drive is about 6 to 7 hrs and difference in vegetation is interesting. After 30 kms from Tashigang, is Kanglung the only university in Bhutan. After 25 kms from Kanglung one can visit a traditional weaving centre in Khaling village. Then the drive further down takes you to Samdrupjongkhar, the border town to Assam state in India which is only 200 meters from sea level. Night in Bhutan side in hotel.
Day 13: Cross the border and enter Assam and drive to Gawahati the capital of Assam which is 3 hrs drive from Bhutan border. Afternoon sightseeing in Gawahati or boat ride on Bramaputra rive river which flows just next to the city. Night in hotel.
Day 14: Departure to Delhi by flight.