Upon arrival at Guwahati airport you will be received by our certified tour leader and drivers who will usher you into the comforts of your luxury vehicle and continue to Samdrup Jongkhar, a small bordering town which is the only entry point in eastern Bhutan. The place will provide a glimpse of indo-Bhutan relations across the border and how the people of Bhutan and India have juxtaposed each other to create a place called Samdrup Jongkhar.
Driving to Trashigang, you’ll pass by Sherubtse College –It is almost legendary as it has been greatly written about by well-known alumni members and you could do a campus tour if you are interested. Trashigang town is a cramped-up square where locals from near and surrounding villages gather with their precious agricultural produce. Normads from Merak-Sakteng attired in their traditional costumes come here to barter and sell their dairy products. You’ll then visit the Trashigang Dzong (fortress) built in 1659 perched on a hilltop overlooking the vast underlying valleys. Your hotel also provides you with a spectacular view of the town and the verdant nature around you.
After breakfast, proceed to Gom Kora, an ancient 17th century temple known for its religious treasures and a rock garden. It is believed that you’ll be liberated in this life if you carry a particular stone around the garden for three rounds and also reach the heaven of Guru Rinpoche if you are able to surmount the biggest rock in the garden. Think it is the easiest way to get to heaven? Well, we doubt you can make it!! So our advice is to continue driving onto Mongar and continue with life. Every year, Gom Kora comes alive with the annual Gom Kora festival, a picturesque festival attended mainly by people from the eastern regions of Bhutan. Overnight in hotel in Mongar.
Early morning visit the festival which will accompany with various mask dances and folk dancers along with jokers actions in the crowd. Truly a great climax to the most revered yearly festival of Bhutan.
On the way to Bumthang, you’ll see the ancient Zhongar Dzong which actually is in ruins after an earthquake and a fire outbreak that destroyed it. Our guide will narrate the mythical story of Zhongar Dzong to mesmerize you and at the same time make you realise that these mythical stories are a huge part of our everyday life. After a day’s drive through hinterland, we’ll make sure you are treated to some local speciality combined with fresh trout fish from the local river. If you are of the adventurous type, your dinner will be complete with some ara (home brewed alcohol) that fits perfectly with the Bumthang culinary.
This is a day that will make you almost feel like a hermit in the lost valleys of the world. The valley is dotted with some of Bhutan’s most important and sacred pilgrimage sites and you’ll witness some amazing sites and stories that go with it. We recommend exploring the valley on foot as the temples are strategically located to be able do a loop to your hotel. Visit Kurje lhakhang (temple) built in 1652 which contains one of Bhutan’s biggest statues of Guru Rinpoche and more importantly his body imprints in a cave. Jambay Lhakhang (temple), most probably is one of the oldest temple that is believed to be one of the two in Bhutan, out of 108 temples that King Srongtsen Gembo of Tibet built across the entire Himalayan region in the 7th century. Finally to Tamzhing Lhakhang (temple) built by Terton Pema Lingpa in 1501. We can also arrange a visit to the local cheese factory, the beer factory and the bee keeping farmers if any of these may interests you.
Enjoy the scenic drive to Trongsa, where you’ll visit the ‘Tower of Trongsa’ which served as a watchtower during the ancient times and now developed into a museum that houses some of Bhutan’s most prized possessions including the ‘Raven Crown’ used by the first two Kings. Now that is a must-see. Visit the Trongsa Dzong built in 1644. Trongsa dzong is the ancestral home of the present royal family. After lunch you could either go for a hike along the ancient trade route which descends rapidly to the river and then ascends to exit at a view point from which you could take good picture of the Dzong and the surrounding houses.
Continue your drive to Phobjikha. This valley is only one among the only two places in Bhutan which is host to the endangered ‘black necked cranes’ (Grus Nicorocolis) in the winter who migrate from Tibet and parts of China. The government has given much importance to the black necked cranes by preserving its part time migratory habitat by designating its roosting areas as restricted areas. Development of industry and electrification in the valley has been stalled lest it might disturb the birds, and the locals are unperturbed as the valley is gifted with large land area where potato is grown as the main cash crop. Overnight in hotel in Phobjikha.
After early breakfast visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery sitting atop a hill overlooking the whole valley. And drive to punakha, notice the changes in vegetation from a relatively high altitude of Phobjikha valley that is home to small bamboo shrubs to the lower altitudes of the Punakha valley covered with temperate broad-leafed forests. After lunch, Take a short hike to Chhimi Lhakhang, the fertility temple of the ‘Divine Madman’. Legend has it that many couples who couldn’t conceive were blessed with a lucky child. Our guides will narrate the entire story during a short hike up to the temple. Continue to Punakha valley and visit the most beautiful fortress of Bhutan-the Punakha Dzong, juxtaposed in between a confluence of two mighty rivers. You’ll be amazed by the fabulous woodwork that represents the richness of Bhutanese architecture. Overnight in hotel in punakha.
Before reaching Dochula pass (3140 m), we’ll take you to the Dochula cafe for a break of tea and snacks and at the same time enjoy the breathtaking view of the eastern Himalayan ranges through a telescope. Then you’ll continue and reach the top of the pass where the ‘Druk Wangyal Chortens’, a collection of 108 chortens (stupas) that stand at the backdrop of a spectacular view over the Himalayas. Upon reaching the capital, visit Buddha Statue and Stroll around the Takin Reserve Centre in the evening to meet the national animal of Bhutan- the Takin and Visit Trashichhoedzong, “fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Visit some of the treasures of the capital – the National Folk Heritage Museum, the Zorig Chusum school of 13 traditional arts/crafts, the Textile Museum, the Memorial Chorten (stupa) and the Simtokha Dzong. You will also visit the colourful vegetable market where proud villagers behind pyramids of their agricultural produce greet you with stone weights in their hands and smiles on their faces. It is interesting to see what may seem to you as ‘weird vegetables and forest products’ that actually enriches the Bhutanese Palate. After dinner, we’ll take you to some of the most interesting bars for some drink, music and conversation. After all these days of showing you our rich heritage and culture, you may most probably be surprised to meet outspoken, friendly and gregarious urban dwellers who are keen to give your their perspective of the current affairs and the general observations of the world. If you are interested in dancing (no age restrictions), we may as well hit the dance floors of Thimphu for some taste of local choreography.
Visit Paro Museum housed at the graceful Ta Dzong, once a watch tower situated strategically overlooking the Paro valley. The Museum houses a rare collection of Bhutan’s historical, religious, cultural and artistic heritage, all beautifully preserved and displayed in a unique setting a museum lover’s heaven. Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong): Explore the Rinpung Dzong which the locals call the ‘fortress of a heap of jewels’. Built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the dzong stands on a hill above Paro Township. It is linked by the traditional cantilever bridge (called the Nemi Zam) over the Pa chu (Paro river) where one may pose a photograph. Experience a walk up a paved stone path running alongside the imposing outer walls. Once inside the Dzong, you can visit the temples inside the dzong. In the evening you can stroll around Paro town and you may visit local Bhutanese handicraft stores.Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Definitely the best for the last, we will drive north for a short hike to the famous Taktshang monastery (translated Tiger’s nest). A two-hour hike up will bring you to the temple perched on a 1000 feet cliff – truly a modern marvel which defies all engineering theory. The view of the temple as our clients have been saying is “nothing short of spectacular”. Your guides will complement the experience with its history. Lunch will be served at the temple cafeteria. An exclusive feature of ‘The Bhutan Memorable Travels’, we have teamed up with a local theatre company to provide you a cultural evening at the hotel which will showcase some of our traditional music and dances, mask dances and folklore at the hotel. After dinner, a dip in the traditional hot-stone bath may help you unwind and reflect about your journey before departing.
The itinerary is subject to change in case of extreme weather conditions or in anticipation of assumed risks, see unpredictable can put visitors at risk (roads, crowd movements, political instability. In an emergency it is left exclusively to assessing your Accompanist who knows the terrain otherwise we will refer to suggest the best option. We reserve the right to modify if necessary the choice of hotel or local hosting a replacement in its very category or, alternatively, higher. It is compulsory to be in possession of a visa to enter Bhutanese territory. Attention depending on the selected day of departure and the route chosen some sites may be closed, festivals or events may be out of step with the progress of the circuit. Thank you properly tell us if you have requirements wishes before departure. As part of a tailor-made program, it is possible to modify the duration of the trip to us upon request.