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16 Days Classic West to East Bhutan Tour

16 Days Classic West to East Bhutan Tour

(BT008) Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Wangdue - Trongsa - Bumthang - Mongar - Trashigang - Trashiyangtse - Mongar - Bumthang - Gangtey - Wangdue - Thimphu - Paro

Overview

If the western and central Bhutan are the paradise for trekking, cultural and religious sightseeing, then the eastern Bhutan, with more aborigines and well-guarded isolation, can also be an amazing place to explore the eternal oriental charm and tranquility. What bumps into your eyes are not confined to the pristine and barely touched forests or primitive lakes, but more Bhutan locals' living philosophy in every aspect. If you are stunned by how the resident achieves a harmonious coexistence with the wild animals, strike up a conversation with the local people or pay a visit to their houses.

Starting from the international city Paro, the west to east Bhutan tour takes you first to the gorgeous Bumthang area in central Bhutan and goes eastwardly to reach the Mongar District. During the entire journey, you are able to feel the marked differences between the west and east and also find what you come all this long to explore about this mysterious country in economy, culture, religion and other aspects.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paro (2,200 m); Paro - Thimphu (2,334 m)

Paro arrival by the Royal Bhutan airline, the Drukair flight. Your tour guide is ready to wait for you before picking you up and driving you from Paro airport to the downtown city.

The national museum in Ta Dzong (The Watch Tower) houses a large number of valuable collections which will broaden your eyes with wonderful and rich Bhutanese culture and heritages.

Travel to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The road runs down through the Paro valley to Chuzom, the confluence at the entrance to the valley where the Thimphu and Paro Rivers meet. Then visit the place of tantric teaching, Simtokha in which houses the Institute of Language and Cultural Studies.

Evening walk after dinner and overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2: Thimphu Tour and Sightseeing

Begins your Thimphu city tour in early morning and visit the following sights 1) The National Library
2) The Folk Heritage of Museum
3) The School of Thangka Painting
4) Institute of Traditional Medicine
5) The Memorial Chorten
6) The Tshichho Dzong

Day 3: Thimphu Short Trekking to Tango Monastery

After the breakfast, the bus will take you to the base camp of Tango Monastery which lies north of the Thimphu city. Starting from the base camp you follow the route in dense oak and pine tree dominated forest to the monastery, along which the red rhododendron flowers are in their full blossom and the fresh air drives away all the tiredness you suffer.

As the religious site, Tango Monastery is eminent for its home of the highly revered Buddhist monks who once brought the Drukpa Kagyupa school of Buddhism to Bhutan. Tango Monastery is well located so you can enjoy a spectacular views from it, peace and serenity mostly.

After you have visited the monastery, you start the return trip back to Thimphu.

Stay overnight in Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu (2,334 m) - Punakha (1,242 m) - Wangdue

After breakfast, travel from Thimphu to Punakha and Wangdue through the Dochula Pass (3,140 m). At Dochula Pass, enjoy the draw-dropping panoramic view of the majestic Himalaya Range and overlook the gorgeous flower-clustered valley below.

The bus will make a temporary stop at the amazing 108 chortens built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (The Queen mother of Bhutan) for the safety and wellbeing of His Majesty (The king of Bhutan).

After the lunch served at the Dochula Pass, the bus will drive you onto Punakha, a place regarded as one of the most beautiful and significant regions in Bhutan culture and had once been the capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1955 during which the 1st National Assembly was held there.

The bus also takes you to Metsina Village and makes a temporary stop to have the Devine Madman’s Monastery - Chhimi Lhakhang being sighted. The monastery has always been regarded as the fertility shrine by locals for a long time and you can receive an efficacious fertility blessing there.

Then visit the Punakha Dzong on the island of Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River) and appreciate the highest state of the wood crafts.

Never miss the stunning evening views of Punakha and Wangdue valley after you have visited the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendup Lhakhang Nunnery in the evening.

Both Dinner and overnight at hotel in Punakha.

Day 5: Punakha (1,242 m) and Wangdue - Trongsa - Bumthang

Set out in early morning after breakfast and travel to Bumthang through Trongsa. The drive takes you through the oak and pine trees deep into the dense forest and pass the Nobding Village. Get a fantastic panoramic view from the Pele La Pass (3,300 m).

Along the route, distant view of local settlements scattering far from the road gives you fresh and deep impression on Bhutan’s rural life. Meanwhile, the open green meadows with yaks and rhododendron ridden valley are worth ceasing your moving steps to enjoy in Chendebji Chorten (Stupa).

On arrival at Trongsa after lunch, you will take a temporary stop and visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan and built on a spur overlooking the gorge of the Mangde River.

Then you continue your travel to Bumthang by passing through Yotong La Pass (3,400 m). The route during this section takes you to the Yathra Waving Center at Zugney village where you can witness the locals waving Yathra, a name that refers to the colorful and woolen cloth with geometric design in Bhutanese. Then the bus takes you further to Bumthang Valley.

Check in the hotel and get ready for dinner

Stay overnight at hotel in Bumthang.

Day 6: Bumthang Tour and Sightseeing

Set out in an early morning after breakfast and visiting the following sites: Tamshing Lhakhang, also known as the temple of Good message, is famous for its collections of printings which exemplify the region’s style. It is also well known for being one of the few institutions continuing the teachings of Pema Lingpa.

Then after the suspension bridge, you meet the “Body Imprint Temple” Kurjey Lhakhang. Not far from Kurjey Lhakhang sits the Jambay Lhakhang, a temple built by the King Songtsen Goempo of Tibet in the 7th century. With his effort in the propagation of Buddhism, the Tibet king had an ambitious plan to build a total of 108 temples in Tibet and Bhutan.

Continue your Bumthang tour and arrive at Jakar Dzong after about 10 minutes’ drive. With a circumference of more than 1,500 meters, the majestic Jakar Dzong is definitely a wonderful piece of architectural art in Bhutan. The name Jakar is derived from the word “Bjakhab”, meaning “The white bird”.

According to Jakar’s foundation myth, a bird signals the proper and auspicious location to found a monastery. Now, the fortress is served as an administrative center of the valley as well as the summer residence of Trongsa monks.

After lunch, visit the Dorjibi Waving Center which is located half an hour’s drive from Bumthang town. In Dorjibi, you may have an intensive feeling of Bhutan’s environmental awareness by witnessing the utmost use of available raw materials rather the natural resources.

Experience the primitive life of Bhutan locals and enjoy the traditional dinner at one of their houses in Bumthang valley. Feel free to mingle with them.

Stay overnight at hotel in Bumthang valley.

Day 7: Bumthang - Mongar

Setting off in early morning, the bus begins to drive on the winding roads with rugged terrain. With the distance being about 192 kms, the entire trip will cost you about 6-7 hours. The road ascends to a pass and descends to Ura village.

The bus continues to move ahead and make a steep descent into Kuri chu valley after passing Thrumsingla pass (3,750m). The views along the route is spectacular with rock cliffs and numerous waterfalls

The village itself is also a fantastic place for birds watching, prepare your camera in advance and shoot the unique little animals. Then the road climbs uphill through the Chir-pine forest and the large cultivated fields come into your eyes. Continue to ascend, you will finally arrive at the hilltop where Mongar is located.

Day 8: Mongar - Trashigang

Today’s drive brings you to the eastern most regions. Galloping along the route, the bus takes you through lush forests, large corn fields and banana groves to reach Yadi village. Then follow the river to arrive at Drametsi, a medium sized monastery perched at the top of the hill and founded in 16th century and the exact place where the popular Drametsi Nga Chham, the mask dance with drums, originated.

After lunch, visit Khaling, the waving center under the women association of Bhutan’s Government and the place you can witness the whole process of waving. Then drive back to Trashigang.

Stay overnight in Trashigang.

Day 9: Day Excursion to Trashiyangtse

Excursion to Gom Kora and Tashiyangtse

Stay overnight at Tashiyangtse.

Day 10: Trashiyangtse - Mongar

From today, you begin your return journey back to Mongar after sightseeing the Trashigang valley.

Day 11: Mongar - Bumthang

Travel back to Bumthang by tourist bus.

Day 12: Bumthang - Gangtey - Wangdue

Travel to Wangdue/Punakha by passing through the Phobjikha valley. The bus will first make a temporary stop at Gangtey Monastery, a can’t-miss monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, after a dense forest. Then drive towards the Phobjikha valley which is one part of the beautiful Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.

During the winter, a large flock of black-necked cranes, the endangered species, gather there to escape from the chilly weather. Besides, the forest covered mountains around the valley have been widely accepted as the most remote areas where only the rarely seen nomadic shepherds and yak herders can find the trails.

Dinner will be served at the hotel in Wangdue/Punakha Region

Stay overnight at the hotel in Wangdue/Punakha Region.

Day 13: Wangdue - Thimphu

Visit the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Lhakhang after hiking to the upper Punakha valley and crossing the hanging bridge through large tracts of paddy fields. It takes you about 1 hour to reach the temple and the view sighted from the temple is also stunning.

Head for Thimphu and visit Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan on the route. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.

Stay overnight in Thimphu.

Day 14: Thimphu - Paro

After breakfast, set out for Paro. Along the route, the tourist bus will make a temporary stop at the Kyichu Temple, one of the 108 temples built by the Tibet King Songtsen Gampo.

After lunch, drive up to the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong where the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century.

Evening to visit some local shops

Stay overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 15: One Day Hike to Taktsang Ghoempa (The Tiger’s Nest Monastery, 3,750 m)

Drive to Paro in the early morning after breakfast, and then embark on the hike to Taktsang Ghoempa.

Climb up to the viewpoint (1.5 hr) to enjoy the stunning view of the monastery clinging to the side of the sheer vertical cliff.

After a temporary refreshment stop at the viewpoint (3,140 m), you continue to ascend higher to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery (1 hr) and get a closer look of this miraculous monastery. Take an overlook to find amazing sceneries underneath.

The principal Lhakhang (monastery) of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. Taktsang was damaged severely by fire in 1998 but has now been fully restored to its former glory.

After seeing the Monastery, you begin your return downward trip and drive back to Paro. Visit a farmhouse in Paro valley and experience the lifestyle of a farmer in Bhutan. Try a traditional Bhutan hot stone bathing and have dinner in Paro.

Day 16: Paro Departure

Today, our tour guide will transfer you to Paro International Airport for your next destination. Tour service end.

Service Guide

Service Included:

  • A minimum of 3 star accommodation (4 & 5 star may require an premium payment);
  • All meals specified in the itinerary;
  • Airport transfer, private transport for sightseeing in Bhutan;
  • Experienced driver;
  • An English-speaking and licensed Bhutanese tour guide for the extent of your stay;
  • Entry fee and road permits;
  • Government fee, royalty, taxes;
  • Bottled mineral water throughout the journey.

Service Excluded:

  • Bhutan Visa Fee;
  • International flight to and out of Bhutan;
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, postage, and laundry, etc.;
  • Travel insurance in Bhutan;
  • Emergency evacuation;
  • Tips and gratuities;
  • Costs arising from unforeseen events;
  • Extra activities like cultural show, kayaking, etc.

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