Happy Holidays Treks and Expedition
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Bhutan often revered as the ‘Land of the Peaceful Dragon’ is still regarded as one of the last ‘Shangri las” in the Himalayan region because of its remoteness, it’s spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora and fauna and its unique ancient Buddhist monasteries.
It is in the relatively unexplored pockets of Asia which allows only limited number of discerning travelers to enter the country in order to protect its fragile environment and culture.
As you approach Paro, the view from the left side of our plane will be unforgettable. You will see many of the major peaks of the Himalaya, including Everest, Makalu and Kangchendzonga, three of the world’s highest mountains.
After arriving in Paro, you will have the rest of the day to relax or to check out the sights with our guides. The next morning we drive to Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan.
Thimpu, situated at an elevation of 8,000 feet, is the least known and most exclusive of the Himalayan capitals. It also has one of the richest Buddhist histories in all the Himalaya. Its unique architecture echoes a mix of Nepali and Central Tibetan styles.
Sites around town include the Late King\’s Memorial Chorten, the silversmith and pottery workshops, the Buddhist thangkha painting school, and the National Library. We have allotted a day here for shopping in Thimpu\’s wonderful markets, where some of Asia\’s finest textiles can be found. For the non-shoppers, there is no shortage of sightseeing opportunities.
On the morning of day four we drive to drive to Punakha and Wangdiphodrang via Dochula Pass. As one progresses along the route, there is a discernible change in the flora and temperature when one gradually descends from the alpine heights into the temperate regions of Punakha and Wangdiphodrang. All along the route the interruption by picturesque and almost medieval villages and towns rich in cultural spots make a fascinating sight.
After visiting a fortress called Punakha Dzong, we drive on to drive to Trongsa. This region forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were lunched. The Royal family has strong linkswith Trongsa.
Day 1: Traditional welcome at on arrival & airport transfers.
Day 2: Paro – Thimphu.
This 2 hour drive snakes along the Paro and Thimphu rivers offering fabolous views at every turn. On the way we stop to see the Simtokha Dzong.
On arrival: Visit the Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the third King of Bhutan, visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased and finally, the all-important Tashichho Dzong – the main Secretariat Building. This massive structure houses part of the Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. Visit Pangri Zampa Monastery.
Day 3: Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved.
Visit the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thankas (sacred Buddhist scrolls).
In the afternoon we drive to Dechencholing for a view of the fabulous Palace of the Queen Mother. You may also visit a small beautiful monastery on top of a hill located nearby.
Day 4: Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdiphodrang (77 km).
After an early breakfast, drive to Punakha and Wangdi. On the way halt at Dochula for a hot cup of tea/coffee and witness a most spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayan mountain ranges. Hotel arrangements at Zangtoe Pelri in Punakha/Government Guest House in Wangdi.
After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong which houses the district administration offices. It is also the winter residence of the State Monastic Body and its Chief Abbot. Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan. The Dzong (fortress) lies between two rivers known as Pochu and Mochu which means “Male River and Female River.\” It was built in 1637 AD. We also visit Wangdiphodrang Dzong and its small town perched on a hill between two rivers.
Day 5: Punakha – Trongsa.
After an early breakfast, drive to Trongsa a six hour journey.
Day 6: Morning: Visit the Trongsa Dzong and the Watch Tower.
The Trongsa Dzong was the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. Built in 1648 AD, it is also the district administration office this district. The view from the Dzong extends for many kilometers and in earlier days nothing could escape the vigilance of its guardians. This helped to augment its importance as it gained complete control over the east-west traffic. The Ta-Dzong, an ancient Watch Tower of the Trongsa Dzong is located on top of a steep hill about 1 km beyond the Trongsa Dzong. The watch tower displays many interesting armors used by the Bhutanese soldiers during the days gone by.
After lunch we leave for Bumthang. The Journey takes about 3 hrs (68kms.) and is passes through one of the most beautiful routes in Bhutan.
Day 7: Bumthang sight seeing:
Visit the historical Jakar Dzong built by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Desi (Temporal ruler) in 1646 A.D. It was later repaired and expanded by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth Desi of Bhutan in 1683 A.D. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan. We also visit several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang, Tamshing and Pema Samba Lhakhangs. There is also a Bumthang Swiss farm and the Meber Tso ” The flaming Lake ” which is considered one of the most important pilgrimage spots.
Day 8: A full day excursion to Ura Valley:
Visitors can drive up to Ura and take a leisure stroll in the clustered village of Ura. Ura has a beautiful Buddhist Monastery surrounded by typical Bhutanese farm houses which is worth seeing. You will also see yaks grazing in the rich pasture land of the Ura valley. We return to Bumthang in the evening.
Day 9: After an early breakfast, drive to Gangtey.
Gangtey is a beautiful place situated at an altitude of 3000m. Gangtey offers the best views of the picturesque black mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley which is one of the biggest and the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. During winter this place is frequented by the famous Black Necked Cranes.
Day 10: After breakfast drive back to Paro.
You have the entire evening free in Paro.
Day 11: Sight seeing in Paro:
After an early breakfast, drive up to Satsam Chorten (10kms) for a short trek to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest.” The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m. and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round trip hike takes about 4 hrs.
Afternoon : Visit the National museum (“Ta-Dzong”). This was actually the Watch Tower of the Paro Rinchen Pong Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968. Visit the massive fortress of Rinchen Pong Dzong. This fortress houses the Administrative seat of the district. Built in 1645 A.D., the central tower (“Utse”) of the Dzong is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan.
Day 12: Farewell and airport transfer for your flight back home.
With the exception of visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other visitors travelling to Bhutan need a visa.
Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a permit at the port of entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC).
All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior the travel to Bhutan. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed Bhutanese tour operator directly or through a foreign travel agent.
You are required to send the photo-page of your passport to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received, the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours.
At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.
Online Regional Permit System
In order to streamline and facilitate smooth visitation by tourists from Bangladesh, India and Maldives, the Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and the Tourism Council of Bhutan have launched the Online Permit System. The system facilitates the online processing of permits for regional tourists through registered Bhutanese tour operators and TCB certified hotels. The facility is offered as an optional channel to process permits for visitors from the region and is applicable for entry from Paro and Phuntsholing. Visitors who use this facility will be able to obtain their permit clearances and route permits ahead of their arrival in Bhutan similar to international tourists.