Happiness Bhutan Cultural Tour
Enjoy spectacular views of the snow capped Himalayas from the various high mountain passes, mingle with the locals, dip in a traditional wooden tub of hot stones and visit awesome places and enjoy the intricate art and architecture that is evident in almost everything and everywhere. Enjoy the ride through the mountains as you drive from high mountain passes to lush green valleys and riverside and be prepared for temperate to tropical weather conditions.
Day 1Paro International Airport – Your first glimpse of Bhutan
On arrival at the Paro International Airport you meet your tour guide and driver. Check into your hotel and after a brief rest, start your magical experience of Bhutan by first visiting the impressive Rinpung Dzong/Fortress of Heaped Jewels a fine example of the ostentatious Bhutanese art and architecture. Rinpung Dzong Paro Bhutan. The Dzong is located in the heart of the town and a few minutes walk through Nyimazam, one of the few last remaining traditional cantilever bridges in Bhutan. Dzongs serve as both monastic institutions and district administrative offices.
Located above the Dzong is the National Museum that houses various antiques and artifacts of Bhutan and provides a glimpse into Bhutan’s cultural and religious history.
Visit the 3 storied Dungtse Lhakhang/temple, built in the mid 1430’s by Thangtong Gyalpo, an iron bridge builder, to subdue a demon and the temple is firmly chained to the ground. The three floors of the temple represent hell, heaven and earth and houses some of the finest murals in Bhutan.
In the evening visit a traditional farmhouse replete with paddy fields, vegetable garden and farm animals. Enjoy a hot stone bath in a wooden tub, get some cooking tips and help in preparing your dinner which you will eat in the traditional Bhutanese style with the whole family.
Day 2Paro to Thimphu
After a leisurely breakfast drive for an hour to Thimphu through the beautiful landscape. Thimphu is one of the few capital cities in the world not having traffic lights and the traffic is still manned by traffic policemen.
Office Of The Golden Throne Thimphu1Check into your hotel and visit the Simply Bhutan Museum. And visit Tashichhoedzong/ fortress of the Auspicious Religion and office of the Golden throne of the Dragon King of Bhutan. Visit one of the oldest temples in Bhutan called Changangkha Lhakhang Later stroll through the craft bazaar, a single line of shops selling art and craft items.
Day 3Thimphu Valley
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and is one of the last few capital cities without traffic lights and the traffic still managed by traffic policemen. Thimphu is the most populated city with about 100,000 people and truly a combination of the ancient and the modern. While strictly maintaining the traditional style of architecture in modern building, there are also very old temples and numerous monasteries in and around the city, and few discotheques and Karaoke.
Memorial Chorten Thimphu1Soak in the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley from the site of the gigantic Lord Buddha, a 51 meter bronze Shakyamuni Buddha statue gilded in gold.
Day 4Thimphu To Wangdue & Punakha Valleys
After breakfast check out of your hotel and drive for about three hours to Wangdue and Punakha valleys. En route stop over at the Dochulaa Pass (3150 meters) and enjoy the spectacular views of the snow capped Himalayan Mountains. The 108 small stupas built over a small hill is also a beautiful sight.PhobjikhaView Bhutan1 The road from the Pass winds down to the warm and fertile valleys and after a brief rest visits the Fertility Temple / Chime Lhakhang. It is a pleasant 30 minutes walk through mustard and paddy fields. Standing on a picturesque hilltop the Lhakhang is famous for its fertility wish grants to couples. Inside the walls of the Lhakhang are beautiful frescoes depicting the colorful life of Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman regarded for his crazy methods of teaching which included blessing women in the form of copulation!
Day 5Punakha Valley
Punakha valley was the old capital city of Bhutan and the Punakha Dzong meaning the fortress of Great Bliss was built by 1673 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (the first spiritual & political leader of Bhutan) to commemorate the final victory against numerous Tibetan invasions. Located on a piece of land between two rivers Pho Chhu and Mo ChhuWangdue Valley Bhutan1 (literally meaning male and female rivers), the Dzong is massive, huge and magnificent in all its architectural grandeur. Although ravaged by flood, fire and earthquake many times, the Dzong was always rebuilt with its original pattern and design. The Dzong has hosted significant events such as the crowning of the first king of Bhutan, The Royal Wedding ceremony of the Fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema on 13th October 2011 was conducted in Punakha Dzong and important religious ceremonies are still held in the Dzong.
Walk for about an hour to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten stupa. It is a beautiful walk through the pine trees, the stupa is stunning and so is the view from there. Enroute you will also be walking through a suspension bridge over the Puna Tsang Chhu – Punakha River.
After visiting the Punakha Dzong/Fortress of Great Bliss, drive to the Nunnery and enjoy the spectacular views of Punakha and Wangdue valleys.
Day 6Taktsang Monastery/Tiger’s Nest
Have a sumptuous breakfast for your hike to Taktsang Monastery / Tiger’s Nest which is about 3 hours uphill and 2 hours down. Riding ponies are also available if you think the hike is a bit daunting. Located around 900 meters above the Paro valley on a precarious almost vertical mountain cliff, Taktsang Monastery is truly a wonderful and spectacular sight in terms of its location, setting and history. In the 8th Century this was one of the major sites where Guru Padmasambhava – the patron saint of Buddhism in Bhutan meditated with his consort Khandro Yeshey Tshogyal. It is believed that Guru flew on a female tigress in pursuit of a demon which he subdued at the current site of the Monastery. It is one of the holiest site in the Buddhist arena and the most important cultural icon in Bhutan.
You can have your lunch, tea/snacks at the cafeteria midway.
Before you drive back to your hotel visit the Kyichu Lhakhang/temple, one of the oldest temples built in the 7th Century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gyembo.
If you wish you can go for a stroll through the valley or rest in hotel.
After breakfast you will drive to Paro International Airport where your guide and driver will bid you farewell. We hope you enjoyed your holiday and hope to see you in Bhutan again.
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