Arriving in Bhutan is an experience unlike any other as your Druk Air flight arcs through the canyon. We have seen travelers slowly leave and then stand on the runway completely perplexed, so as you touch down, be sure to have your picture ready. Afterwards, proceed to immigration, where you will show your travel documents and letter approving your visa for the official stamp. Please proceed to the baggage delivery area after passing the immigration checkpoint; this is where you will first encounter your guide. After arriving in Thimphu (one and a half hours drive) and settling in, you can visit the National Memorial Chorten, National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, or National Library. Individuals may also have time to browse the Main Street for intriguing Himalayan relics or fabrics.
Le Meridien Thimphu
Taj Tashi Thimphu
You’ll go to the northern section of the valley this morning to see Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the location of Bhutan’s administration and palace offices, and to see Pangri Zampa, a pair of 16th-century structures that currently serve as a religious learning centre for astrologers. If you want to get some exercise, you can climb to Cheri Goemba, at the top of the valley, the abbey where the first religious institution in the Kingdom was founded. You should be able to stop by a couple of the city’s cottage industries upon returning to town, including a center for weaving and conventional paper production.
We decide to leave early in order to take a breathtaking drive through Dochu La, a high mountain route, and on to the Punakha Valley. On the way we will visit the Simtokha Dzong, one of Bhutan’s original fortified monasteries, and the Hong Tsho Goemba monastery both include historic wall paintings. The trek continues across a 3,050-meter mountainous area from which, on a clear day, majestic Himalayan peaks can be seen. The sole east-west roadway in the Province will circle you around the Valley of Wangdi as you descend the Punakha Valley. Here, you can explore the basic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and probably the nearby town monastery. Before returning to Punakha Valley, time will be given to stroll through this small village and browse its row of quaint stores.
You will have the option of going to Talo village this lunchtime, where the guardian god Lhakhang of the valley and the Queens are worshipped. Later in the mid-day, stop by the village of Lobesa, where a little stroll will bring you to the 1499-built renowned fertility convent known as Chimi Lhakhang.
Stay at Amankora Punakha.
Your day in Punakha Valley starts with a climb up through meadows of rice, cabbage, and chilies along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the high end of the valley where the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten is located. This magnificent structure was recently constructed by the Queens and dedicated in 1999.
As you make your way back through the valley, you will have plenty of time to admire the majestic Punakha Dzong, which houses the remains of Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal, the first emperor of Bhutan, and serves as their winter palace. On the banks of the Punakha Chhu, with a view of the magnificent Dzong and the meeting of the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu, enjoy your picnic meal alongwith your Bhutanese guide.
We depart for Paro after lunchtime. As you make your way down slowly from Dochu La, you’ll pass through Paro Town and make your way back through the stunning Wang Chu and Paro Chu river basins. This is where you’ll cross the valley again towards the northern end. The Amankora lodge and its spa are located here, surrounded by a pine forest.
There are options for brief midday excursions to neighboring ruins, trips to some of the earliest and most revered religious sites in the valley, or strolls through Paro’s main street. At Amankora, evening activities can include educational lectures on the area’s culture, religion, flora, and animals or an intriguing film about the Himalayas.
Stay at Amankora Paro.
The National Museum, located in the Ta Dzong (watchtower), is where the day begins. This location’s amazing collection of artifacts provides a superb introduction to the Kingdom’s rich tradition and culture. The imposing Paro Dzong, a remarkable example of a medieval Bhutanese structure, is just a short distance downhill. Visitors are transported to the municipal monastery, constructed in 1525, to see historic wall murals after crossing the Nyamai Zampa, a conventional cantilever bridge, as part of the tour from the Dzong. There are beautiful picnic areas in Paro, or you might go have lunch with the family on a traditional homestead.
Climb to see Taktshang Goemba, also known as the “Tiger’s Nest,” one of Bhutan’s most revered structures, in the midday. This holy abbey, positioned 900 meters above the valley level on a cliff wall, can be seen in all its glory during the four-hour trek.
You can get into a vehicle and be driven to Paro Airport. It would be best to get to the terminal at least an hour before your international aircraft takes off, as the transfer takes about 30 minutes.
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Keywords: Bhutan Journey with Luxury Amankora Hotels and Taj Tashi Hotel
Kathmandu (Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa and Durbar Square) – Flight to Paro (Bhutan) – Thimphu – Punakha – Paro – Tiger’s Nest – Paro Festival – Flight to Kathmandu – Chitwan National Park – Kathmandu
New Delhi – flight to Bagdogra – drive to Darjeeling – Gangtok (Sikkim) – Pelling – Gorumara National Park – Thimphu (via Phuentsholing), capital of Bhutan – via Dochula Pass to Punakha – Paro (Tiger’s Nest) – flight to Kolkata (Calcutta) or New Delhi