Eight days Bhutan tour is a simple tour package showing you the best of Bhutan. The itinerary we have given is just a sample itinerary. We will discuss with you and make an itinerary that will suit your date and preference. This tour can be done through out the year.
Eight days Bhutan tour
Eight days Bhutan tour starts in Paro. You will fly into Paro and do the following sightseeing depending on when you land in Paro.
The Paro Dzong is probably Bhutan's best known and most iconic Dzong. This is probably the first building you will notice when you land at Paro International Airport and will probably be your first memory of Bhutan. The imposing Dzong is perhaps the finest example of Dzong architecture existing the world today, the massive buttered walls of the fortress dominate over the valley. The Rinpung Dzong's name translates to the " Fortress on a heap of Jewels ".
The fortress was constructed in 1644 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal on the foundation of an ancient monastery. The fort played a crucial role in the history of the Paro valley as the Dzong helped keep the marauding Tibetans away from the Paro valley.
The Dzong was hit by an earthquake in 1897 but survived unharmed, but a fire in 1907 ended up causing severe damage to the Dzong.
The Dzong is built on a steep hill along the banks of the Paro Chu river. The front part of the Dzong is home to the District administration while the other courtyard towards the rare houses the district monk body.
The approach toward the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called the Nemi Zam. A paved stone path runs alongside the imposing outer walls of the structure. The valley's annual springtime religious festival called the Paro Tsechu is organized each year in the courtyard of the dzong and is attended by tourists from all over the world.
Ta Dzong ( National Museum )
The National Museum of Bhutan is housed inside the six storied circular Ta Dzong. The Ta Dzong is a medieval watch tower situated above the Rimpung Dzong. The Ta Dzong was constructed in 1656 with a purpose to give advance warning to the Paro Dzong in case of an approaching army, in fact the word Ta means 'to see' in Dzongkha.
The future first king was imprisoned here for a brief period in 1872. In 1968 the Ta Dzong was converted into the National Museum of Bhutan. The Museum houses a priceless collection of textile, costumes, paintings, appliqué, wooden handicrafts, weapons, armour and jewellery. There is a small section dedicated to the natural history of Bhutan. There is a small chapel on the top of the building with icons representing Himalayan Buddhist traditions.
In evening we will visit local market of Paro and overnight in a hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Paro – Thimphu (1 ½ hours drive)
After breakfast drive to Thimphu. In Thimphu you will visit :
The Tashichho Dzong is a Buddhist monastery cum fortress at the northern edge of Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan. The Dzong was built on the western bank of the river Wang Chu, and has historically served at the seat of the Druk Desi or the Dharma Raja of Bhutan’s government. After the kings assumed power in 1907 this post was combined with that of the king and Thimphu severed as the summer capital of the kingdom before becoming the full time capital of Bhutan.
The original Thimphu Dzong (the Dho-Ngyen Dzong) is said to have been constructed in 1216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa. And was later taken over by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo before the Dzong was conquered by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who found the Dzong to be too small and expanded it to what is now known as the Tashichho dzong is also called the "fortress of glorious religion." It was erected in 1641 and was subsequently rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s.
The Dzong has been seat of the Royal government since 1952 and presently houses the Throne room and the Kings secretariat. The Tashichho dzong is also home to several ministries of the Bhutanese government, and the Central Monk Body which is the apex organization of the country's main spiritual order. The monument welcomes visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu festival which is held in autumn each year. The Dzong’s main structure is a two striped quadrangle with 3 storied towers on each of its four corners
Folk heritage museum.
The folk heritage museum was open to the general public in 2001 upon completion. It treasures troves of culture and rich Bhutanese heritage provide rich insights into the Bhutanese ethos. Try to schedule your visit during the morning hours since the museum is less crowded at that time and there is plenty of sunlight to go around.
The folk heritage museum is housed in a replica traditional Bhutanese house learn first-hand about Bhutan’s rich cultural traditions, its deeply rooted heritage which spans thousands of years and the Bhutanese way of life. The tour of this almost living museum will also give you a glimpse onto how many rural folk of the country live today following the ancient Bhutanese ways.
National textile museums:
The second important Museum that also opened its doors in 2001 is the National Textile Museum of Bhutan. During a trip to this museum you will get an up close and personal experience of the living national art of weaving. The changing exhibitions at the museum will introduce you to the major weaving techniques that the weavers employ to make these beautiful fabrics. It also gives you a chance to see the various styles of dressing of the men and women from different parts of Bhutan.
National memorial chorten
The National Memorial was built by Bhutan's third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who is also known as the "father of modern Bhutan." He wanted to erect a monument carrying the message of world peace and prosperity. However, he was unable to give shape to his idea in his lifetime due to pressures of state and other regal responsibilities.
After his untimely demise in 1972, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfill his wishes and erect a memorial that would perpetuate his memory and also serve as a monument to eternal peace, harmony and tranquility The National Memorial Chorten was gifted to the nation on 28 July, 1974. The exquisite wall paintings and the delicately carved statues reflect deep insights into Buddhist spirituality and a rich tradition of prayer and learning.
The National Memorial Chorten is known as the ‘most visible religious landmark in Bhutan’. The Chorten was consecrated by His Holiness, the Late Dudjorn Rinpoche. Unlike other Stupas the Chorten is not a shrine for the mortal of the late King. The Chorten on contains a photograph of the King in full ceremonial attire. The King had intend for the Choten to be “ a Chorten that represents the mind of Bhuddha ”
The national Memorial Chorten is located in the center of the capital city, Thimphu and is designed like a Tibetan style Chorten. The Chorten is patterned of the classical Stupa design with a pyramidal pillar crowned by a crescent moon and sun. One of the most distinct features of the Chorten is its outwards flaring rounded part that makes the Chorten look more like a vase rather than the classical dome. The interior of the Chorten has a large number of paintings of Tantric deities, in explicit sexual poses that sometimes can be a little disconcerting to visitors.
The Kuensel Phodrang or the Buddha point is the world’s largest sitting Buddha statue, the statue is 167 feet high. The statue is situated on top of a hill overlooking the city of Timphu, it can be accessed by road and is about 15 minutes away from the city’s center. The word Kuensel means everything is clear and from this place you will sure enjoy a great view of the Thimphu Valley on both sides. The statute will house a temple inside it, the statue and its adjoining car park and recreational center are currently under construction and is expected to be ready by December 2012.
The statue is constructed out of bronze and is studded with many semi-precious stones. Since they are no factories in country that can make such a large bronze cast structure, statute is being manufactured in China and the pieces are brought to Bhutan and are assembled here.
On the drive to the statue the steep winding hill road offers an unparalleled view of the city of Thimphu and is an excellent place to capture a view of the city especially after dark. A journalist once described the view as “seeing an oasis of light in the desert of darkness “as the city light of Thimphu shine very bright in an otherwise dark Thimphu valley.
Motithang takin preserve
The Motithang Takin Preserve also known as the Thimphu Zoo by many is a small natural preserve for the Takin Bhutan’s national animal. It was originally a mini zoo, but it was converted in a preserve later on as the Takin. The mini zoo contained a small number of Takin but the King of Bhutan later decreed that it was improper for a Buddhist nation to keep an animal in captivity.
The animals were set free and the zoo was shut down, but for some reason the Takin refused to leave the area for the forests nearby. Instead the animals were frequesntly found roaming around the streets of the capital city in search for food. As a result the government decided to demarcate an 8 acre fenced location as the Motithang Takin Preserve.
The preserve is a forested preserve that mimics the Takin’s natural habitat, in addition to the Takin there are a few musk deer and barking deer that live inside the preserve. There are plans to expand the preserves collection to include other rarely seen animals that live in Bhutan, currently the preserve plans to add the Red Panda and the Himalayan Serow to the preserve.
National institute of zorig chusum
The art and crafts currently taught in Bhutan, were introduced to the country in the 15th century by Trenton Pema Lingpa. Trenton Pema Lingpa also known as the Great Treasure National Institute for Zorig Chusum - Discoverer is credited to have introduced these art forms to the people of Bhutan.
These traditional crafts are a representation of the centuries of knowledge and ability that was been handed down to master craftsmen and artisan through each generation. Bhutan’s unique artistic tradition has played a vital role in shaping the countries distinct culture and heritage.
It was realized that this unique and priceless heritage of the nation need to be protected and promoted with the strong patronage of the royal government. With this vision in mind the royal institute for Zoring Chusum was established in the year 1971 to train the youth in the 13 traditional Arts and Crafts of Bhutan.
The institute now falls under the aegis of the National Technical Training Authority which was established in 1990 to ensure high quality vocational training for the people of the country. The institute has now been operational for almost 40 years and has taught students the arts of painting, embroidery, calligraphy, sculpting and wood carving.
Bhutan's National Library was established in the 1967. Its mission is to preserve the literary treasures of the nation which constitute a significant heritage. The library was established with a small collection of precious texts, National library Thimphu Bhutan and was housed in the central tower of the Tashicho Dzong.
The collection then moved to the its present building located in the Changangkha area of Thimphu. The building that houses the collection is traditionally constructed four storied eight cornered building that is a homage to the central tower temple located in Bhutanese Dzongs.
It houses an extensive collection and archive of Buddhist literary works mostly in ancient block-printed format, with some manuscripts several hundred years old. This collection, which is also known as the "Choekey Collection," mainly comprises Buddhist literature written in Choekey, the religious script of Northern Buddhism.
It also includes works written both in Tibetan and in Dzongkha, Bhutan's national language. There is also a foreign literature collection which comprises works written in English with subject interest on Buddhist studies, Bhutan, the Himalayan region and neighboring countries like India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka where the Buddhist religion is also practiced.
The Chagangkha Lhakhang temple is a early medieval Buddhist temple in the capital city Thimphu. The temple is situated on a ridge overlooking the city, near Mothithang on the outskirts of Thimphu. The temple is the oldest temple in Thimphu and was constructed by Lama Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo in the 12 century AD. Lama Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo is also the founder of the Drukpa Kaygo School of Buddhism.
The Lhakhang’s central deity is Chenirizig. There is a large statue of Chenrizig, the 11 headed, thousand arm manifestation of Avolokiteshwara. The prayer books in the temple are larger in size compared to the usual Buddhist texts. There are also large prayer wheels and paintings in the walls of the temple. The temple offers an excellent view of the city of Thimphu from its courtyard.
Jungshi handmade paper factory
The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory is a small paper factory located in Thimphu that produces paper using traditional Bhutanese methods. The paper products produced at the factory are made from Daphne or Mulberry plant bark. On you visit to the factory you will see the process from the beginning to the end. The process starts with people pulling the bark off the plant to the process of cooking to create wood pulp to the creation of the final product. There is a small shop at the factory that sells a variety of paper and stationary that is produced from paper made here.
Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha (3 hours drive)
Today early morning after breakfast, we will visit to Punakha via Dochula Pass. We will stop over for tea at Dochula (3,150 m), where on a sunny day, you can get stunning views of the Himalayan ranges. The Dochu La Pass is probably the best known mountain pass in Bhutan. Located at an altitude of 3150 meter above sea level, the Dochu La Pass is about 30 kilometer away from the capital city Thimphu and the road to Punakha.
On a clear day the pass offers visitors a spectacular view of the majestic eastern Himalayan Ranges. A cup of hot coffee or tea at the pass has almost become part of tradition for people travelling to and fro from Punakha to the capital city.
There is a small cafeteria at the pass that offers a chance for travelers to enjoy a hot beverage or a snack, it is located just off the road and overlooks the pass and is an ideal place to sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Another striking feature at the pass are the 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens, that were built for the well-being of all sentiment beings on earth.
The 108 Chorten were built as a tribute to the Kings of Bhutan for their selfless service and leadership they offer to the people of Bhutan. These Stupas or Chortens also represent the peoples love, appreciation and loyalty towards the country’s King. Then we will drive towards Punakha and visit:-
The Chimi Lhakang or the Chimmy Lhakhang is a Bhuddhist monastery located in the Punakha District of Bhutan. The monastery stands on a small hill close to the village of Lobesa and was constructed in 1499 by Ngawang Choegyel, the 14th Drukpa heirarch.
The Temple is very deeply connected to the legends of Saint Drukpa Kinley also known as the Devine Madman. It has been said that the demon of Dochu-La with a magic thunderbolt of wisdom in imprisoned him in a rock close to the temple. Drukpa Kuenley is called the Divine Madman due to his unorthodox methods of teaching via songs, humor and sometimes bizarre and shocking behavior with deep sexual overtones.
You might be shocked to see that the temple houses a number of wooden phalluses that the Lama had brought with him from Tibet. Pilgrims who visit the monastery receive the blessing by being struck on the head with a ten inch wooden Phallus (erect penis). The symbol of an erect penis is said to ward off evil.
The monastery is also known as the temple of fertility and is visited not only by the Bhutanese but women from countries as far as Japan and United States to receive a special blessing that can help these women conceive children. These women receive the blessing by getting struck on the head with a 10 inch wooden/ ivory phallus.
The Temple can be accessed by undertaking a short 20 minute walk across the rice fields from the nearest road head. The Lhakhang is a square shaped building with a golden spire on its roof. The temple has many rows of prayer wheels and the temples exterior has embedded slate carvings of various Buddhist saints.
Near the temples entrance there is a small Chorten that marks the spot where the Lama subdued the demon of Dochu La.
The Punakha Dzong or the Pungtang Dechen Phortang Dzong is located at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu River, combine to form the Puna Tsang Chu which in turn is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Dzong was constructed by Sahbdrung Ngwang Namgyal Wangchuck in 1638 on the exact spot as prophesized by the Guru Rinpoche some 800 years ago.
According to the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche “a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. And lo behold! Shabdung Ngawang Namgyal found that the peak of the hill was in the shape of an elephant’s trunk and built the Dzong at that very spot. Another
legend associated with the Dzhong is that of Zowe Palep, the architect of the Dzong received vision of the Dzong in his sleep. This vision got imprinted in the architects mind and enabled him to construct the Dzong without putting his plans to paper.
The Punakha Dzong is the second largest and the second oldest Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong is home to some of the most sacred relics of the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism; it is also home to the sacred mortal remains of Shabdrung Nagawang Namgyal and Trenton Pema Lingpa the great treasure discoverer of Bhutan. The Punakha Dzong has also served as the of capital Bhutan till 1955 before the capital was moved to Thimphu.
The Dzhong is still the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) and the central monastic body.
Overnight in a hotel in Punakha.
Day 04: Punakha - Gangtey – Punakha
After breakfast you will drive to Gangtey visit Gangtey Goemba. The Gangtey Monastery or the Gangtey Goempa is an important monastery / temple associate with the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism. The Monastery is Located in the Wandue Phodrang Dzongkhag in central Bhutan.
The Gangtey Monastery is situated in the picturesque Phobjikha Valley, which is also renowned for being the winter home of the rare Tibetan Black Necked Cranes. The monastery was established in 1613 by Peling Gyalse Rinpoche, the grandson of Trenton Pema Lingpa the great treasurer discoverer.
According to a story during a visit to the Phobjikha Valley, Trenton Pema Lingpa foretold the people that one day his descendants will construct a monastery on the hills surrounding the valley and make it the seat of the Peling Tradition. The present ruling dynasty of Bhutan is descendant of the great Trenton Pema Lingpa. The monastery is a complex of five temples that surround a main central tower. The main hall of the monastery is built in Tibetan style
architecture and is made completely out of wood with its 8 main wooden pillars considered to be the largest in Bhutan. Between 2002 and 2008 the monastery underwent a complete renovation / restoration.The monastery was consecrated by the present day reincarnation of the Pema Lingpa in October 2008. The monastery has a very close connection to the royal family of Bhutan.
The Phobjikha is a wide glacial valley located in close to the Gangtey Monastery. The Phobjikha valley is the winter home of the rare Black Necked Cranes that migrate from Tibet from the arid plains of Tibet to roost in the more comfortable climate of the Phobjikha Valley.
The valley is at an altitude of 2900 meters above sea level and experiences a much lighter winter as compared to the harsh extremes of Tibet. A part of the valley lies in the Black Mountain National Park. There are 2 rivers that flow through this valley called the Nakay Chu and the Gay Chu. According to legend it is said that the rivers represent a serpent and a wild boar.
Once upon a time there was a race between the two to determine whether people can grow rice in the valley or not, if the serpent won then the people of the valley could grow rice but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area.
Eventually the serpent lost and till date rice is not grown in the Phobjikha Valley. While visiting the Phobjikha Valley one must take time out to visit the Black Necked Crane Information Centre, the centre is located at the edge of the main forest are along the road and can be easily accessed. The centre has an observation deck that is equipped with a high power telescope that gives visitors a chance to spot some cranes. The Information Center has a display that offers an insight in to the natural and cultural history of the valley.
Overnight hotel in Wangdue/Punakha
Day 5: Punakha - Paro.
After early morning breakfast, you will be driven to Paro via Thimphu in Thimphu visit the rest of the sightseeing places missed out on the earlier visit. After lunch you will have free time to walk around the Thimphu town. Thimphu is a good place to shop for souvenirs. Later in the afternoon drive to Paro. Overnight in a hotel in Paro.
Day 06. Paro – Haa- Paro
Today early morning after breakfast we will go for a half day excursion to Haa Valley. The pristine and picturesque Haa valley is located about 3 hours west of Paro. The Drive from Paro to Haa valley take you up to the Chele-La pass which is located at a height of about 3800 meters.
Make sure you ask you drive to stop the car here so you can enjoy a beautiful view of Bhutan’s 2 highest and best known peaks the Jichu Drake and Mount Jumolhari, some times of a clear day you might be able to catch a glimpse of Mount Kunchenchunga the 3rd highest mountain in the world from this view point. From there we will descend down into the Haa Valley down to the town of Haa.
The Haa valley till recently was closed off for tourists and even today people of the valley live in a manner not very dissimilar from a time long ago. The Haa valley is one of the most isolated and least populous districts of the country. The Haa valley is also home to a Indian army base that helps protect the border of Bhutan from Chinese incursions.
There are many small temples and monasteries in the district with the most important being the Lhakhang Karpo( White Temple) and the Lhakhang Nagpo ( Black Temple). The Lhakhang Nagpo’s central shine is said to be identical to the central shrine of the Jowo Temple in Lhasa, Tibet.
Legend has it that the Karpo temple was constructed along with the assistance of the Local deities, as a result of this divine intervention the started to be known as the Hay (Surprises in Dzongkha) and later on Haa. After spending the day in the valley we will return back to Paro for the night since there are no hotels of note in the valley.
Day 07: Paro
After early morning breakfast, We will take you for a morning hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Hanging precariously and magically from a rather steep cliff, the Taktshang monastery is a monument of genuine pride for the Bhutanese nation. It defies architectural principles to the core and amazes tourists from around the world.
It is a sight to behold. Taktsang or the Tigers lair as the monastery is called, it is widely regarded is one of the most important monuments of spiritual significance in Bhutan. Its history is deeply associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava, the revered Indian saint who came to Bhutan in the 8th century AD. The cave was named Taktsang after Guru Rinpoche flew into the cave from KurtoeSingyeDzong in eastern Bhutan while riding on a tigress.
When he landed in the cave, he took the wrathful form of Guru DorjiDrolo who is regarded as one of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche to decimate the demons.
Several saints have chosen this sanctuary to pray and meditate in solitude. The monastery was built in 1692 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgaye who is said to be one of the reincarnations of Guru Rinpoche. The Monastery consists of four main temples along with their residences that are constructed along the rock ledge. There 8 caves in total out of which 4 are relatively easy to access.
The monastery was ravaged by fire twice in the 1900s first in 1951 and later the fire of 1998, which nearly destroyed the monastery completely. The government then undertook a comprehensive reconstruction in 200 with funding from foreign donors. The monastery was recreated to its original splendor and re-opened to the public shortly thereafter.
From the road, the hike toward Taktsang follows an uphill route and takes approximately 3-4 hours at an average walking pace on a clear, sunny day. We recommend that you carry sunscreen lotion, large quantities of drinking water, a walking stick just in case you need to shoo of the birds and a hat to further protect yourself from the sun.
In evening we will visit local market of Paro.
Day 08. Fly out
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