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Leisurely Bhutan

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Day 01
Arrival by Druk Air BAe 146-100 series, the only national carrier. The flight offers a beautiful view of the mountains and landscape. On arrival and after visa formalities, we will be received by ITT members and transfer to Thimphu (65km 2hrs), the capital of Bhutan. Overnight at Hotel River View or Druk.

Day 02
Thimphu sightseeing - We visit the Memorial Chorten built in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and the 15th century Changangkha Monastery. We take a tour of Motithang mini zoo to see the rare “Takin”, the national animal of Bhutan, and drive further down to get a good view of the Thimphu valley. There is a trip the new Drupthob nunnery temple and we may also spend free time in the market. Overnight at the same place.

Day 03

We visit the Painting school, National library, Royal goldsmith workshop and Handicraft centers. Overnight at the same place.

Day 04
We drive 3 hours to Wangduephodrang via Punakha, crossing the Dochula pass (3100 meters). During fine weather, we will see the eastern Himalayan ranges, including the highest mountain in Bhutan, Mt.Gangar Punsum (7520 meters). The drive from the pass is all the way downhill, dropping to the lower and warmer valleys of Lobesa. We visit the Punakha Dzong, which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress has been built between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every year during the month of February, a procession known as the Punakha Serda takes place to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. Proceeding 45 minutes to Wangduephodrang, we get a view of the Dzong from outside and stroll around the market area. Check into Wangdi Kichu Resort for overnight.

Day 05
We drive to Tongsa, the drive taking about 4 hours. The route offers magnificent views of the Himalayas and a beautiful landscape through scattered hamlets and forests of rhododendron and pine. After 11/2 hours, we arrive at a small town known as Trongsa, or new village. The town mainly consists of fresh Tibetan refugees, but the most impressive of all the town's features is the Trongsa Dzong. The whole of eastern Bhutan was controlled from this fortress during the mid-17th century. Visitors are not allowed inside the building. Overnight at the Sherabling Lodge or somewhere similar.

Day 06
We proceed another 2 hours to Bumthang, visiting the Chume Weaving Center. Bumthang, with an altitude 2600m, has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Here, tales of Guru Padmasambhava and his re-incarnation known as Tertons still linger in the area's nooks and corners. It is also known for its woolen material (yathra), which can be seen hung for sale outside houses. Sightseeing includes a visit to the Jakar Dzong, 7th century Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Monastery, Tamshing and Kunchosum Monastery. This sightseeing is a round trip, so it is more interesting if done on foot. We remain overnight Karma Tobden Guest House or somewhere similar.

Day 07
There is a 2 hour excursion to the Ura village and visit the new Ura Monastery. On the way, we visit the Mebartso, the burning lake. We stroll around the village, and return back to the Guest house. There is an evening walk to the Swiss farm where apple juice, cider, and cheese are made.

Day 08
A drive to Punakha via Tongsa. Overnight at Hotel Zangthopelri or somewhere similar.

Day 09
A 5 hour drive to Paro, visiting the visiting the oldest building in Bhutan, the Simtokha Dzong. It now serves as a Buddhist university. Overnight stay at Kichu Resort.

Day 10
Paro Sightseeing - we visit the ruined fortress of Drugyel Dzong, which still attracts visitors due to it's strategic location. The fort defended the Paro valley from a Tibetan invasion from the north in the early 17th century. During clear weather, Mount Chomolhari (7320 meters) can be seen towering over the Dzong. Proceeding through the beautiful valley, the watch-tower, locally known as Ta-Dzong, can be seen. It was integrated into the National museum in the 1960s by the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The seven-story high museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill leads us to the Ripping Dzong, which serves as the administrative center and school for monks. Walking a little further down, we cross the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Overnight at same spot.

Day 11
We have a day's hike to the Taktsang Monastery ( Horses can be arranged at an extra cost). The hike, which is all the way uphill, takes about 2 /3 hours through villages and pine forests. The Monastery, which clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro valley, was devastated by fire in 1998 but the Royal Government took immediate steps to restore the Monastery to its original structure. It is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism were subdued and the Paro valley was converted into Buddhism. During the end of the 17th century, a Monastery was built on the spot where the saint mediated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese, who must visit it once in their life-time. We stroll back to Resort and the evening is spent at leisure. Overnight at the same place.

Day 12
Transfer to the airport for flight to Kathmandu
GPO Box: 771, Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: 4415754 | 4414250
Fax: 977 1 4420239

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GPO Box: 771, Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: +977 1 4421328 | +977 1 4434251
Fax: +977 1 4414184


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