HEAVEN (Thimphu-Gangtey-Punakha-Paro)

8 Nights | 9 Days

Day 01: Arrive Paro, Transfer to Thimphu Valley (1hr/54kms)

Your journey to Bhutan begins with the most spectacular flight experience with views of major Himalayan peaks such as Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu, all dressed in beautiful white snow. The final show of Bhutan’s own magnificent peaks awaits your arrival. The sight of marvelous mount Jomolhari along with Jichu Drake and Tserimgang greeting you is a must experience at all cost. You fly over the southern hills, known as ‘Duars’, or gateways into the Himalayas as they rise from the plains until they meet the great snow-capped peaks that rise up to the sky.

After landing at Paro airport and while completing of airport formalities, you will be received by your guide for the rest of your stay in Bhutan. You will then be driven from Paro to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan and an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.

After the swift drive to Thimphu, you will be taken to you hotel to freshen up and after which you can take a leisure stroll around the town.

You can spend the evening visiting the striking fortress, Tashichoedzong which houses the throne room of the King and various government offices.  It is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and the central monk body. The fortress exhibits excellent masonry skills of the Bhutanese artisans as the architecture of the structure is simply awe-inspiring.

Visiting the fortress in the morning has certain eye-catching experiences like as you will be treated with the sight of the National flag being hoisted and the march of the royal guards.

Visiting hours: Weekdays (Open: Mon-Fri [Mar-Oct after 5:30pm] [Nov-Feb after 4:30 pm]

                        Weekends/Govt. holidays: Open on Sat, Sun, Govt. Holidays)

 (Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu)

Day 02: Thimphu Valley Exploration

Thimphu, perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world is the seat of government. This bustling town is home to Bhutan’s royal family, the civil servants, and foreign representatives in Bhutan. It is also the headquarters for a number of internationally funded development projects.

Today’s visit will include:

Buddha Dordenma is one of the most popular attractions in the country. The 51.1 meters tall statue of Buddha Shakyamuni sits on top of a hill overlooking Thimphu valley. The Statue is probably one of the tallest in Asia. The site of Buddha Dordenma offers unobstructed views over the capital town.

Visiting hours: (Closes Daily Nov-Feb at 4pm & Mar-Oct at 5pm)

National Memorial Chorten: the construction of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. He wanted to erect the monument to spread an aura of peace and prosperity in the world. The construction was completed in 1974 after his untimely death. The stupa serves as a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”), and a monument dedicated to peace. The place gets swamped during the mornings and evenings with people of all ages circumambulating the Chorten/stupa, praying and prostrating at the shrine. Turning the big prayer wheels, offering butter lamps, basking in the sun as they socialize and mingle, is a must observe activity.

Visiting hours: (Closes Daily Nov-Feb at 4pm & Mar-Oct at 5pm)

Zorig Chosum: Widely known as known as the painting school, the center offers a six year course in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. The students follow a comprehensive course that starts with drawing and progresses through painting, woodcarving, embroidery and statue-making. This is a great opportunity to interact and photograph the students while they practice their skills in the classroom.

Visiting hours :( Closed on Sat 1pm, Sun, Govt. Holidays, School Break Jul, Jan-Feb).

National Library: The National Library was established in the late 1960s mainly to preserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. It now houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature mostly in block-printed format, some of which are several hundred years old. This collection is known as the Choekey Collection and it mainly comprises of Buddhist literature written in Choekey language. Choekey is the religious script of Northern Buddhism and also includes scripts written in Tibetan and in Dzongkha. Dzongkha is Bhutan’s national language. The national library also flaunts of the biggest book in the world – “Bhutan” (a former Guinness Book of World’s Record holder). Besides its sheer size and weight, the continuously printed images (printed on a roll of paper longer than a football field and with a gallon of ink) are spectacular – vivid colors and human size portraits.

Visiting hours: (Closed Sat, Sun, Govt Holidays)

* Handicrafts Emporium: The handicrafts emporium is owned by the government. The emporium exhibits a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. It also showcases a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture.

Visiting hours: (Closed on Sun / Govt. Holidays)

Jungshi Paper Factory: The traditional paper factory is located opposite to the centenary farmer’s market in Thimphu. There, you can witness the process of traditional paper making from start to finish. The paper is made from the barks of the black Daphne tree. In ancient times, the traditional paper was used to write Holy Scriptures. The thicker paper is used for scriptures and the thinner ones are used for wrapping gifts and various other purposes.

Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu)

Day 3: Transfer to Gangtey Valley(5 -6 hrs/130kms)

After an early breakfast, you will drive towards the tranquil Phobjikha valley. On the way, you will stop for a quick break at Dochula pass (3,088m). Dochula pass is one the most scenic passes in Bhutan with breathtaking views and the fresh mountain air. The 108 stupas and the colorful fluttering prayer flags adds to the beauty of the pass. On a clear weather day, you will be treated with a panoramic view of the mighty Himalayan peaks in their glory. If you are very lucky and the day gets any clearer, you will also be graced by some of the country’s highest peaks including; Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, GangkarPuensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

After taking in all the beautiful views, you will continue to drive towards Wangduephodrang. After a quick lunch at Wangdue town, a long and winding descent into the Wangduephodrang valley is the next agenda.  . The drive will take you along scenic Dang Chhu before ascending into forests of bamboo and oak, and just before crossing the Pele La pass; en route to Sha-Radap Temple, you will finally see the hidden Phobjikha Valley. There will be occasional breaks along the journey to stretch your legs and to relax your muscles, also to take pictures and for restroom breaks.

Gangtey is considered one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in Bhutan (3000m/9800ft).The area is best known as the winter home of the rare endangered species of bird; the Black-necked Cranes. The charming birds migrate to Bhutan from Tibet in Nov and leave by March, and thus is an important protected area for wildlife.

On arrival, you will visit the Black Necked Crane Center. Depending on the time of your visit, you can also observe the breeding cranes.

(Overnight at Hotel in Gangtey)

Day 4:  Gangtey Valley

An early morning visit to Gangtey Gompa (Monastery) can be the best way to start your day. Located on a ridge overlooking the small village, the monastery is   the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.

Then we proceed on an easy hike on the Gangtey Natural Trail (1.5-2 hrs). This hike is considered as the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trails in Bhutan. The trail hike starts from the stupa stone wall to the north of the Gangtey Gompa and ends in Khewa Lhakhang. The hike takes about 1hr 30minutes through verdant pine forest and small bamboo plants. You can see the Phobjikha valley so beautifully from this point. It is one of the best hiking places for the Nature lovers. During the winter months (Nov-Mar), this hike offers an excellent spot to observe the endangered Black Necked Cranes up-close.

Various other leisure walks or village excursions can be arranged in this magnificent valley.

(Overnight at Hotel in Gangtey)

Day 5: Transfer to Punakha Valley (3hrs/76kms)

After breakfast, you will head towards Punakha valley. Punakha valley is located in a sub-tropical region with warm summers and pleasant winters. Punakha also served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 after which the seat of government moved to Thimphu. Punakha still serves as the winter residence for the chief abbot and the central monk body.

The first attraction you will visit is Chimi Lhakhang; a temple dedicated to the “Divine Madman”, an eccentric monk from the 16th century famous for many his many amusing, Rabelaisian folklore stories. A 30-40 minute gradual walk through the village and paddy fields will take you to the temple. Situated on a hillock overlooking the village of Sopsokha, The temple is popular for blessing childless couples with the children.

Later visit the magnificent Palace of great bliss (Punakha Dzong)

Punakha Dzong: The fortress is strategically built at the junction of the Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) river. After being damaged by 4 catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong/fortress has been fully restored to its former glory. Punakha Dzong is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Bhutan. The fortress is known to give immense joy to the person looking at it, hence its Dzongkha name Punthang Dewachenpoi Phodrang literally translates to; The palace of great bliss. The fortress plays a significant role in the history of Bhutan as most of the remarkable events occurred in the fortress which aided in shaping Bhutan as a nation.

Visiting hours: (Open 11am-1pm & 3pm-5 pm)

 (Overnight at Hotel in Punakha)

Day 06: Punakha Valley

Punakha valley offers a multitude of sightseeing opportunities to its visitors.

Today’s sightseeing includes:

Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup Nunnery: The nunnery is perched on a ridge with spectacular views of the Punakha and Wangdue valleys. The temple houses a 14 foot bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig with thousand hands and thousand eyes), one of the biggest in the country.  The statue was handcrafted entirely by local artisans. The temple houses a complex for higher studies and meditation center for 120 nuns. Apart from religious schooling, the nuns are also provided with important life skills such as embroidery, tailoring and statue making. The ambience of the nunnery offers amazing opportunity for the visitors to immerse in meditation and self reflection.

Villages of Talo or Nobgang: The picturesque village of Talo and Nobgang is the ancestral home of the Queen Mothers of Bhutan. The village is spread along a ridge above the Punakha valley at an altitude of around 2,800m and is known amongst Punakha villages for its neat and clean facade. The women here are particularly known for their beauty.

Nalanda Monastery: to visit the monks who are pursuing higher Buddhist studies and learning English as well. You may interact with the monks and chat with them. They will be more than happy to practice their English language skills with you.

(Overnight at Hotel in Punakha)

Day 07: Transfer to Paro Valley (4hrs/130kms)

Your trip begins with a hearty breakfast in Punakha and then set off for Paro after once again crossing Dochula pass. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

This beautiful valley encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends.  The valley is dotted with countless of ancient temple and monasteries. Known as the gateway to the world, it is also home to the country’s only international airport. The valley offers a plethora of attractions including the National Museum.  Mt. Jomolhari (7,300m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley, its glacial waters plunging through deep gorges to form the Pa Chu (Paro River). The Paro valley is one of the kingdom’s most fertile, producing the bulk of Bhutan’s famous red rice from its terraced fields.

National Museum: Originally built as a watch tower to protect the Paro Dzong, the museum has circular body structure like most of the watch towers. Later it was refurbished as a national museum to exhibit history to the visitors. The museum flaunts some of the rarest ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons, coins, stamps and a small natural history collection.

Visiting hours 🙁 Closed on Govt. Holidays)

Kichu Lhakhang: one of the oldest temples in the country. The temple is one of the 108 temples built in one day throughout the Himalayas by the Tibetan king, SongtsenGampo to subdue a demoness in the 7th century. The construction of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

 (Overnight at Hotel in Paro)

Day 08: Taktsang Hike (Total Hike Time 4-5 hrs)

The Tiger’s Nest monastery is the most famous attraction in the whole of the country. The marvelous structure is spectacularly suspended on the side of a cliff at 900m above the valley floor. Legend has it that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche rode on the back of a flying tigress from eastern Bhutan to the current monastery site and meditated in a cave here for several years, hence the name, “Tiger’s Nest”. The principal temple of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. The main structure was relentlessly damaged by fire in 1998, but after many years of painstaking restoration work, the complex has now been fully restored to its former glory. A pilgrimage to Taktshang is the dream of a lifetime for any visitor. 

The hikers can hire Ponies with a little extra charge to carry the stuffs or even ride one to the monastery. They are available from the base point.

Explore the beautiful Paro town in the evening

 (Overnight at Hotel in Paro)

Day 09: Depart Paro

Transfer to Paro International Airport for your onward flight.

We cannot change the night halt at designated places but our sightseeing programs are completely flexible and upon arrival the guide can speak with the guests about any special interests they may have. Running day to day, the program remains open to what the guests would like to experience (hiking, Mt. biking, rafting, kayaking, fly fishing, etc.)We only offer a recommended program as a guideline and not a mandatory list to follow sternly.

The driving and hiking times mentioned are approximate times and do not include breaks in the journey for sightseeing, photo/tea/meal/rest or stops. During the treks/hikes, there may be delays or diversion of hiking trails due to trail conditions, inclement weather and other unforeseen natural circumstances.

Places of Interest

These are the most popular ones there plenty more to discover,hidden places but we can t put them all here