Later drive to Thimpu, (176 kms/06 hrs)
Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan since 1960, lies at an elevation of over 7600 feet in the fertile valley of the Thimpu Chhu River. The wooden houses stand side by side with concrete buildings, all painted and constructed in the traditional Bhutanese architectural styles.
Arrive Thimpu after having travelled through some of the most scenic mountain roads in Bhutan and on arrival check into the hotel
Late afternoon, (if time permits) visit the Motithang mini zoo to see the rare “Takin”, the National animal of Bhutan. Overnight in Thimpu
Trongsa – At an altitude of 2200 m forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. The Royal family has strong links with Trongsa. Both His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck ruled the country from this Dzong.
Late afternoon, visit Trongsa Dzong built in 1648 is an impregnable fortress. The massive structure is built on many levels into the side of the hill that includes countless courtyards, passage ways and corridors in addition to the 23 temples inside the Dzong. Due to its highly strategic position, as the only connecting route between east and west Bhutan, the Trongsa Penlop (Governor) was able to control the whole region effectively for centuries from here. Above the Dzong, a Ta Dzong (watch tower) was built to watch out for invaders and travellers. Now it’s a temple dedicated to the great hero Ling Gesar. Overnight in
Bhumtang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions of Bhutan. Comprising of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bhumtang is shrouded in religious legends. It is also the traditional home to the greatest Buddhist teacher Pema Lingpa, to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its ancestry. Overnight in Bhumtang.
Bumthang, at an altitude 2600 metres 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 most nooks and corners. It is also known for its woolen material (yathra) which can be seen hung outside of houses for sale.
Visit the Jakar Dzong, 7th century Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Monastery, Tamshing and Kunchosum monastery. This sightseeing is a round trip so it is more interesting to do this on foot. Overnight in Bhumtang.
Afternoon: Tour of the cty, visiting the Tashichho dzong, the main secretariat building, which houses the throne room of His Majesty. This is also the summer residence of the Central Monk Body. Thimpu is a lively place and maintains a strong national character in the architectural style of its houses. Visit the indigenous hospital where the traditional old art of healing is still practiced, the Arts & Crafts school, the National library, the Royal goldsmith workshop and Handicrafts centers. Visit the Memorial chorten built in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and the 15th century Changangkha Monastery. Overnight in Thimpu.
Morning, visit the weekend market. Every Saturday & Sunday most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. This is the only time in the week when fresh vegetables are available.
Later drive to Paro (65 kms /2 hrs). On arrival, check into the hotel.
Paro, “The Beautiful Valley”. To the north, Mount Chomolhari (“Mountain of the Goddess”), reigns in white glory. The glacier waters from its “five sister” peaks, plunge torrentially through deep gorges, finally converging to form the Paro Chhu River that nourishes the rice fields and the apple and peach orchards of the Paro Valley. Paro is one of the most fertile valleys in the kingdom, producing a bulk of the famous red rice from its terraced fields, home to some of Bhutan’s oldest temples & monasteries.
Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Paro.
Afternoon: At leisure to explore the town or to tale a long walk into the quiet coubntryside. Overnight in Paro.
(A terrible fire at the Taktsang Monastry a few years ago had caused much damage to the interiors, which has now been re-constructed. From the Takatsang Cafetaria, there are good views of the Monastry)
The hike to the view point of the Taktsang Monastery will take about 2 hrs. Horses can be arranged at an extra payment. The hike is all the way uphill through villages and pine forests. It is believed that the great Saint Guru Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism in the Paro valley. At 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 to visit once in their life time.
Afternoon at leisure for independent activities. Overnight in Paro.