Day 1: Arrive Paro
On a clear day, the flight to Paro is breathtaking, with views of major Himalayan peaks such as Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu, and on the final approach Bhutan`s own snowy peaks, the sacred Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. A representative of Sukhata Tours and the Tour Guide will receive and take you on a drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan`s capital.
You can stop on the way to take in the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan's iron bridge builder. Take an afternoon walk around town and soak in the atmosphere of this magical capital with its busy shops and bazaars and photogenic citizens in national dress.
Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing
- Visit the Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972.
- Visit the National Library (Optional) where ancient manuscripts are preserved.
- Visit the Zorig Chusum - 13 Arts & Crafts Institute where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive. The visitors can see students of different trades at work like: Sculpting, Thanka Painting, Wood Carving and other skills.
In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 629 AD). Night at Thimphu
Day 3: Thimphu - Punkha
In the morning drive to Punakha, the former Capital of Bhutan (77 Km) from Thimphu. Enjoy panoramic view of Black Mountain range at Dochu La, Visit Druk Wangyel Lhakhang, and Royal Botanical Garden on the way. Dochu La is a paradise for photographers.
On arrival to Punakha we will visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, "the unifier of Bhutan" to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region. It is placed strategically at the junction of the Pho chu and Mo chu rivers. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch and displays some of the best works of Bhutanese arts and crafts.
After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility, blessed by the Divine Mad Man in the 1500s. The walk to the temple will take about 45 minutes one way through rice paddy fields. Night at Punakha/Wangduephodrang.
Day 4: Punkha - Gangtey
Drive to Gangtey (at 3500 metres). Enjoy the views of the immense and remote Phobjikha valley and the black mountain ranges. Visit Gangtey Gompa (one of Bhutan's oldest monasteries and currently under renovation). Overnight in Gangtey village where the villagers continue to live a traditional Bhutanese rural lifestyle.
Day 5: Gangtey - Thimphu
Today we return to Thimphu via Wangdi, originally considered Bhutan`s secondary capital and commanding an important central position. We will stop for lunch or a drink in Wangdi although sadly the Dzong, built by the Shabdrung in 1638 on an auspicious site where four ravens were seen flying in four different directions, was badly damaged in a fire in June 2012 so there is not much to view until renovations works are complete. After lunch continue on your way. You should see plenty of flowering rhododendrons, orchids and magnolia to enhance the drive.
Day 6: Paro Tshechu
This morning you will visit Paro Festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is spiritual, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan's patron saint, Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche). There is inevitably a great deal of socialising as well. The occasion provides an opportunity for people to relax and forget the daily routine, and to dress in their finest clothes and jewellery, but it is also an occasion for prayer and blessings.
Day 7: Hike to Paro Taktshang
Hike to Tiger`s Nest, one of the most sacred Taktshang monasteries in Bhutan. It is perched on the cliff where Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery. Night Paro.
Day 8: Paro - International Airport
Morning: Breakfast timing may depend on the return Flight time. All hotels serve early morning Breakfast by 6.00 am.
Airport Drop: The guests will be Seen Off by a Representative of Sukhata Tours and the Tour Guide at the Exit Gate. Wish Bon Voyage!!!