Perhaps the last bastion of Mahayana Buddhism in the Himalaya, Bhutan meticulously retains its age-old traditions and unspoilt culture. Colourful festivals that include mask dances liven up the Spartan life in its numerous monasteries. Majestic fortresses, called Dzongs, dominate the landscape in several towns.
In clear weather, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the valley of Paro. This short tour discovers the magic and mystery of Bhutan, covering the rich sights of Paro and Thimphu and takes in a visit to the amazing fortified monastic dzongs of Punakha. We have included the beautiful valley of Gangtey, famous for the migrant black-necked crane and is an excellent base for walks.
Day 1 Kathmandu
On arrival, in the afternoon, transfer to the Malla hotel for an overnight stay. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the bustling Thamel quarter on your own.
Day 2 Kathmandu, Thimphu
Take a short flight into Bhutan, landing in Paro. You’ll be met on arrival and driven to Thimphu, the capital city, for your two nights’ stay at the simple Kisa, Thimphu .
Day 3 Thimphu
A full day is spent visiting the sights of Thimphu. This includes an impressive Dzong, a fortified monastic building found in nearly all of Bhutan’s main settlements as well as the King’s Memorial, Simply Bhutan Museum,Buddha Point and a Local Craft Bazaar.
Day 4 Thimphu, Gangtey
Begin the journey eastward with a morning’s drive up to the Dochu La Pass (3,088 metres). Continue on to Gangtey and the valley of Phobjika. Two nights are spent at the simple Dewachen Resort, Gangtey.
Day 5 Gangtey
The valley is considered sacred to the Bhutanese as it is the winter residence of a small but significant Black Necked Crane population that migrate over the Himalaya from Tibet. Visit the Black Necked Crane centre to learn more about these birds and the significant place they hold in local folk lore.
Day 6 Gangtey, Punakha
Drive to Punakha in the morning for one night at the Damchen Resort, Punakha . Visit the beautiful Punakha Dzong this afternoon, considered to be one of the finest examples of Dzong architecture in Bhutan. Later take a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang also known as ‘Fertility Temple’.
Day 7 Punakha, Paro
Drive in the morning to Paro (4-5 hours). En route visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country, which now houses the School for Buddhist studies. Stay at Gangtey Palace hotel for two nights. Afternoon is at leisure.
Day 8 Paro
A full day’s sightseeing including visits to the Ta Dzong, which houses the National Museum, the Rinpung Dzong and an arduous walk up to the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), which rests precariously on a rocky hillside overlooking a wide forested valley.
Day 9 Paro, Kathmandu
Fly back to Kathmandu for an overnight stay at the Malla hotel.
Day 10 Kathmandu, Delhi, UK
Transfer to Kathmandu airport for your return journey back to the UK.
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