With a mix of cultural tours and day hikes, the Highlights of Bhutan tour immerses us in Bhutan's breathtaking scenery and vibrant culture. The 07-day Bhutan tour covers the major highlights of the entire country, from western Bhutan's Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha.
We tour prominent landmarks as well as dzongs (fortresses) and Lhakhang (temples) unique to this region while visiting Bhutanese townships and villages. We will also go on a visit to various temples, which will enrich our experience of this beautiful country. The Glimpses of Bhutan Tour concludes with a hike to the perched Taktsang Monastery.
Paro - Thimphu (55 kms / 1½hr)
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by Indian Marvels representative and proceed to Thimphu. On arrival, check in at your hotel. After brief leisure proceed to visit the Memorial Chorten, National Textile Museum, National Library and Folk Heritage Museum. There may also be a chance to shop for Bhutanese handicrafts and jewelry. Evening visit Memorial Chorten, the stupa was built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan‘s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
Overnight stay in Thimphu.
After breakfast take a short drive to Lhakhang. It is a fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu, south of Motithang. Later drive to BBS Tower for fascinating view of Thimphu valley. Visit Takin Preserve/Mini zoo - the Takin is the national animal of Bhutan. Later visit Anim Dratshang (nunnery) at Drubthob Goemba.
On the way back to town visit Trashichhodzong: This impressive fortress/monastery houses Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Thimphu – Punakha
An early departure brings you on a dramatic drive over the high mountain pass of Dochu La and on to the Punakha Valley. En-route visit one of Bhutan’s first fortress monasteries, the 17th century Simtokha Dzong, and ancient wall paintings at the Hongtsho Goemba monastery. The journey continues over the 3,050m mountain pass where on a clear day, towering Himalayan peaks are clearly visible. The descent down the Punakha Valley along the Kingdom’s only east-west highway will loop you through the town of Wangdi to visit the rustic Wangdiphodrang Dzong and perhaps the local temple next door. Time will be afforded to walk this small village and explore its row of intimate shops before heading back into Punakha Valley. This afternoon offers time to visit the village of Talo, home of the Queen’s and the valley’s protective deity, lhakhang. Later in the afternoon, enjoy a hike to an ancient monastery on the hilltop behind the lodge or the farmhouse and spa.
After leisurely breakfast hike up through fields of chilies, cabbages and rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the upper end of the valley and the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the Queens and consecrated in 1999. On the way back visit impressive Punakha Dzong, home to the remains of Bhutan’s first ruler, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, and the winter residence of the monastic order’s leader and his entourage of monks. Later drive to the village of Talo for a walk in the beautiful and quiet grounds of the village temple and visit the home village of the Kingdom’s four Queens. Afternoon at leisure or explore the surrounding areas. Stay overnight in Punakha
Punakha – Paro (124 kms/4hrs)
Morning after breakfast drive to Paro, descending back down from Dochu La, follow the way back up the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys, before crossing through Paro Town towards the north end of the valley.
On arrival at Paro, check in at the Hotel. After brief leisure, proceed to visit Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan's National Museum in 1968. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors. Stay overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Morning after breakfast, proceed for an excursion to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger Monastery (5hrs hike). It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendor.
Those who are not keen to hike, can take an excursion to Chela la pass (alt 4200 meter). The road climbs up towards the pass through blue pine & rhododendron forest for about 45 km. The Chele La view point offers magnificent view of 7314 meter Chomolhari peaks & Jichu Drakey. It is about one and half hour drive from Paro city to the pass. A short walk around the view point can be taken to savor the grand view of eastern Himalayan range. On the way back to Paro visit Drukgyel Dzong, a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 166 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders.
After a leisurely breakfast checkout and you will be transferred to Paro airport for your flight to onward destination. Tour ends.