Day 1: Arrival in Paro-Drive to Thimphu
You are met at airport and we drive one hour through the hamlets of Paro along the riverside to Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan.
On the drive we will pass the Tamchog Lhakhang, built by Thangtong Gyalpo (iron bridge builder/saint from the 14th-15th century. We shall stop to visit the 17th century Simtokha Dzong standing on a lofty ridge.
This afternoon we shall explore the small city including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, the Textile Museum and the Weaving Center.
Day 2: Thimphu
Our small group will enjoy visiting the cultural highlights of Thimphu.
Visit the School of Arts and Crafts, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, the Folk Heritage Museum, the textile museum and weaving center and Tashi Cho Dzong, as well as the bustling local bazaar.
Day 3: Wangdue-Gangtey
This morining we drive to Wangdue over the Dochula Pass where we see the 108 Bhutanese stupas.
We visit the remarkable ruins of the 378 year old Wangdiphodrang Dzong.
Then drive to Gangtey in beautiful Phobjikha Valley.
Day 4: Gangtey
We attend the Black-necked Crane Festival and visit the interesting Crane Information Center.
In the afternoon, we shall visit Gangtey Gompa, the largest Nyingma Monastery in Bhutan. Gyalse Pema Thinlay built a small temple in 1613, which was later built into the larger Gompa by the 2nd reincarnation Tenzin Legpai Dhendup.
You can take a walk from the Gangtey Monastery that ends over the meandering Chhu Nap (Blak River) near Khewang village.
Day 5: Gangtey-Trongsa-Bumthang
During a spectacular drive to Trongsa enjoy unspoilt natural scenery with many waterfalls alongside the climbing road. We drive over Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range.
Visit the beautiful Chendebji Chorten en route built in Nepalese style with painted eyes facing the four directions. The Chorten was erected in the 18th century by a Tibetan lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan's ruling dynasty.
We visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture and the largest Dzong in Bhutan. It is the location where the institution of monarchy in Bhutan began.
After lunch, a pleasant drive to Bumthang one the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the spiritual and historical heartland of the country. The road winds steeply up to Yo Yutung La Pass (3,400m) before descending down through dense coniferous forest to Chummey Valley.
Enjoy a visit to the Chummey weavers' workshop. Here you can see example of Bumthang's noted textiles.
Day 6-7: Bumthang
Our small group guided tour visits the many other rich cultural sites of Bumthang.
One day we will venture off the usual tourist route to visit the isolated village of Ura in the beautiful central valley.
Day 8: Bumthang-Trongsa
This morning we drive to Trongsa and visit Trangsa Dzong and Museum.
Day 9: Trongsa-Punahka
We drive to Punakha via Pelela Pass at 3340 mts and enjoy snow capped Himalayas. Enroute we pass prayer wheels turned by the flowing water.
Punakha was the old capital of Bhutan and the magnificent Dzong is situated on an island in the middle of the river. This is also the winter residence of the central monastic body.
The tour visits the Punakha Dzong (Fortress) and Chimi Lhakhang where childless women go to the temple to receive blessing from the saint and pray for progeny.
Day 10: Punahka-Paro
Returning to Paro, we drive again over the Dochula Pass (3050m). In Dochula, there are 108 stupas built by the queen for the well being of the country. Stop here for a cup of tea and enjoy the spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan Mountain Ranges (on a clear day). Visit Paro Highlights this afternoon including revered monasteries, chortens and the other sites.
Day 11: Paro - Taksang Monastery
An early start to hike of Taksang Monastery (Tiger's Nest Temple).
Afterwards, visit Drugyal Dzong, nearby, to see the ruins of the Dzong that defended the valley in the 17th century from Tibetan Invasion.
On the return to Paro town, visit the Kyichu monastery built from the 7th century. This is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan built by the great Tibetan King Songsten Gyepo and the main statue is of the Future Buddha, which is similar to the main Buddha statue in the Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet.
Day 12: Depart