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May 22, 2014 B+Michael, USA
Thank you for your trekking service in Nepal. Our guide Mingmar Sherpa was outstanding! He took good care of us from Monday evening (when we landed late to Lukla)... Read More
DAY 1: ARRIVR PARO (2280mFlight into Paro with Druk Air, Bhutan’s national Airline is spectacular. The flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering most beautiful scenery of the world’s highest peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the Paro Dzong (fortress) on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watch tower and now National Museum, above it. On arrival you will be greeted by our representative from Yeoong Travels. Evening stroll through the market and mingle with the local people and visit shops. Overnight stay at Hotel Paro.
DAY 2: THIMPHU (2320m)
Today’s morning you will drive to Thimphu on arrive visit to National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to world peace and prosperity in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan; the Kingdom’s rich culture at the National Library; the National Institute of Zorig Chusum where students undergo training course in Bhutan’s thirteen traditional arts and crafts; Folk Heritage Museum which will provide an insight into traditional Bhutanese farm house and rural past through exhibits and documentation of rural life.
After lunch visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress likes temple which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Taken Preserve to see the rare national animal of Bhutan. This animal is chosen as the national animal of Bhutan for its uniqueness and its association with the country’s religious history and mythology. A further drive towards the BBS tower will provide a bird’s eye view of the capital; visit nunnery temple and followed by a visit to Tashichho Dzong or “the fortress of the glorious religion” which is Bhutan’s administration and religious centre and houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, other Government offices. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu.
DAY 3: HIKING SIMTOKHA – TALAKHA PEAK: 17KM/APPROX 8HR WALK
Today your hike will start from Simtokha Dzong, it is the oldest dzong in Bhutan, today the houses the Institute for Language and Cultural Studies. Optional you can also drive to Talakha monastery to reach the peak or you start from the dzong itself the trail is up the ridge through blue pine and poplars. Once you reach Talakha monastery the view is excellent. In clear weather the views of the high Himalayas from here are stunning – the best in the Thimphu area. You can see most of Northwestern Bhutan from this spot. Straight ahead rounded cone of Jomolhari, Bhutan’s most sacred mountain 7314 meters, the sharp pinnacle of Jichhu Drake 6989 meters, Tsherem Gang 7000 meters guard Bhutan’s northern border, 150 km to the west, on the Sikkim-Nepal boarder, massive Kanchenjunga 8589 meters towers over the lower mountains of Paro and Haa. It is truly clear, you can look far into Nepal, where Makalu 8481 meters and possibly Mount Everest 8848 meters are just visible against western horizon. Further to the east the high Himalayas of Lunana and Black Mountains dominate the skyline. Optional you can also camp for one night to enjoy the view during the sun rise and set of the mountains and valley. From here your hike back to Thimphu can see almost all of them. The urban sprawls of Thimphu deep below you seem a world away.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu.
DAY 4: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (1300m): 77KM/APPROX 2 ½HR
Your journey continues with travels to the east onwards to Punakha through some of the Kingdom’s richest agricultural land and most dramatic river valleys. En-route we will stop over Dochu La, the 3050meter pass, snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass deeper into the essence of Bhutan. The beauty is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chorten – 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen Mother. Once you cross the pass, you wind down into a warm fertile valley. En-route will stop at Chimi Lhakhang the auspicious fertility monastery dedicated to Divine Madman; we will take 20minutes walk through the rice fields.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Punakha.
DAY 5: PUNAKHA (1300m)
Today you will drive north of Punakha Valley following the Mo Chu and we will hike up to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, the splendid example of the Bhutanese architecture and art. Evening visit Punakha Dzong which stands majestically at the junction of the two rivers- Pho Chu and Mo chu. The Dzong is said to be the most beautiful of dzong in Bhutan; it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork, and the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot). Also this is the second dzong built in Bhutan by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyel in the year 1637.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Punakha.
DAY 6: PUNAKHA - PHOBJIKHA VALLEY: 69KM/APPROX 3 ½HR
Today you drive into the glacier valley of Phobjikha the valley is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country, because of the large flock of black-necked cranes in winter. The valley also has a very interesting Nyingmapa monastery dates back to the 17th century. On the way we will stop at Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Katmandu's Swayambhunath stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.
After lunch you will continue drive to Phobjika valley and we can do short walk leads downhill from mani stone wall just north of Gangtey Goenpa to the Khewa Lhakhang. The trail descends to Semchubara village and keeps straight at the Chortens into the edge of the forest, before descending to a square Chorten and the Lhakhang. From here we can cross over the metal bridge to the community school.
Overnight stay at Hotel, Gangtey.
DAY 7: PHOBJIKHA VALLEY – THIMPHU (2320m) 95KM/APPROX 4 ½HR
Before driving back to the Thimphu you will visit to Crane Observation and information center. Then we will drive to Thimphu on way you stop at Wangdue to brief visit Wangdue Dzong and hike to Rinchen Gang clustered village, houses are made from mud and stones. The people of the village are said to be Indian origin. We will stop at Dochu La for lunch, from there we can enjoy the view of Himalayan ranges and snow peaks.
You will also visit Druk Wanggyal Lhakhang built by the eldest Queen mother; the past and future appear to merge in the details of the Lhakhang that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future. Continue drive to Thimphu capital city of Bhutan. Evening freely stroll in Thimphu town and mingles with the local people. Overnight stay at Hotel, Thimphu.
DAY 8: PARO TIGER’S NEST HIKE
Today’s day will begin driving back to the Paro valley to take on a stunning hike on foot to visit the Taktshang Gompa or Tiger’s Nest viewpoint. Our hike to Taktshang from the road point will take through the well maintained path which is quite uphill and it takes around 3-4 hours at an average walking speed. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees adorned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria.
This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger Dorji Drolo, said to be his consort.
You will visit the auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang, a scared monument pinning down the left foot of a treacherous ogress, which is built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. This Monastery is one of the 108 monasteries built across the Himalayan region by the Tibetan King to subdue the Demoness that lay across the Himalayan region. The rest of the monasteries lie in other neighboring countries; Drugyel Dzong the imposing fortress which was the strategic vantage point for numerous defeat of invading Tibetan armies and here in clear weather can view the spectacular view of mount Jomolhari 7314m.
In the afternoon drive to the beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. The third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck housed it into the National museum in the 1960s. The seven floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative center and school for monks, and walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Overnight stay at Hotel, Paro.
DAY 9: PARO DEPERTURE
Early morning, drive to the airport, your journey begins and a future pilgrimage to further explore the hearts and lands of the Kingdom’s charming farmers, fascinating weavers, enchanting monks and charismatic leaders awaits.
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