Bhutan stands at the far end of Tibet. It is worthwhile to visit Bhutan at least once as it is one of the most solitary and different countries in the world. There you will find really mild and generous Bhutanese dressed in Khos and Kiras, a landscape with dzongs, temples and houses with architecture found nowhere else in the world. Visitors can trek, enjoy the culture, the intriguing festivals and the green and snow-clad mountainous scenery. The air and environment are not polluted. Colorful monasteries and temples dot the mountainsides of valleys. While guests are welcomed and well cared for, please be informed that Bhutan is remote, unique country emerging from isolation. Accommodations after Thimphu and Paro have very little in western style. A simple lodge or a guesthouse (but clean) may be where you spend your nights. There are no televisions, casinos or any nightlife in Bhutan.
Day 1 Kathmandu Paro/Drive to Thimphu Flight KB
108 arrival at Paro at 1145. Transfer to Dechen Cottages for lunch. Afternoon drive to Thimphu which takes approximately 1.5 hours. Night in Yedzon Hotel. Altitude of Thimphu 2,300 meters.
Day 2 Full day sightseeing in Thimphu
Full day in Thimphu valley with visits to Memorial Chorten (Stupa) dedicated to the Late King. Handicrafts emporium, National Library, School for Arts and Crafts and the Tashichodzong. Night in Thimphu
Day 3 Thimphu Paro
After breakfast, visit Simtokha Dzong. Thereafter, drive to Paro and check in at Dechen Cottages. Afternoon visit Drugyal Dzong (Ruined Fortress), Kjichu temple and free time in Paro bazaar. Altitude of Paro 2,200 meters.
Day 4 Paro Festival
Full attend festival of Paro. Here monks and lay men perform religious dances based on Tantric teachings. People from all walks of life come out in their finest dress and jewelry to watch these dances. Afternoon visit the only National Museum of Bhutan housed in an old watch tower. Night in Paro.
Day 5 Paro Taktshang Monastery
After breakfast, take a short drive till Satsamchorten, and from there, hike up to Taktshang monastery. It takes approximately 1.5 hours up to the cafeteria and another 45 minutes till the new point. The monastery which clings to a sheer rock cliff, overhanging the valley below by 900 meters is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites of Bhutan. Legend says that in the 8th Century Guru Padmasambhava came to Taktshang on a flying tigress and meditated at Taktshang. Since then, Buddhist masters, including Milarepa, Phadampa Sangye, Yogini Machig and many others have made this an important retreat in their spiritual quest. After lunch, walk down to motor road and drive to hotel.
Day 6 Paro Thanka display/Trek to Jele Dzong
At 3:30 am drive to Paro dzong and witness as the four hundred years old huge appliqued Thanka is taken out of Paro Dzong with long procession of Monks and Officials and unfurled from the building at Deyankha. Religious ceremony is performed by the Monks of Paro Dzong, presided by the Head Lama. Bhutanese believe that a mere viewing or touching of the Thanka, one can be delivered from the cycle of reincarnations. At 7:30 the Thanka is rolled back and taken to the Dzong and kept out of sight till the next festival. After breakfast, drive till the Museum and then trek all the way uphill to Jele Dzong. It is a short trek with a distance of 6/7 kilometers. Altitude at the camp site is 2.600 meters. Overnight in camp.
Day 7 Jele Dzong Jangchulakha Distance 10 Kilometers.
The trek takes through thick alpine forests and rhododendron trees. En route and around the camp sites you see Yak herders. Altitude at the camp area is 3,000 meters.
Day 8 Jangchulakha Jimilangtsho Distance 11 kilometers.
The trail follows the ridge and on clear days the views of mountain peaks and valleys are beautiful. Camp is close to the lake of Jimilangtsho known for giant sized trout at 3,500 meters.
Day 9 Jimilangtsho Simkota/Phajoding Distance – 20 Kilometers.
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and then passes by the lake of Janetsho. Lunch will be served at Simkota Lake. After lunch, continue with gradual climb. If the weather is clear you will have beautiful views of Mt. Gangkhar Puensum and many others. Then slowly descend till you reach Phajoding monastery founded as early as the 13th century AD. Night in camp at an altitude on 2,600 meters.
Day 10 Phajoding Thimphu/Drive to Punakha Distance – 7/8 kilometers.
The trek is all the way down hill through forested area of mostly blue pine. Taking leisurely you reach hotel in about 2.5 hours for hot shower and lunch. Afternoon, drive to Dochula Pass (3,500 m) and thereafter to Punakha to see the Dzong. Overnight at Zangtopelri hotel or at Riverside Hotel (new). Altitude – 1,400 meters (by car – 2 hours).
Day 11 Punakha Trongsa/Bumthang (Jakar)
After breakfast, drive to Wangduephordang and across Pele La Pass or the Black mountain which divides the western and central Bhutan – you reach Chendebji marked by an 18th century Chorten (Stupa). Thereafter to Trongsa for lunch. Afternoon, continue to drive to Bumthang across Pass "Yotong La". Forests with colorful flowers splashed among the soft green wild herbs with Yaks grazing are a memorable site along the Pass. Night in Bumthang at Swiss Guest House. Altitude of Jakar 2,600 meters. Distance – 212 kilometers. 8 – 9 hours drive.
Day 12 Bumthang Trongsa Full day in Bumthang,
Bhutan's cultural and historic center where tales of Guru Padmasambhava dominate the holy places. In the morning visit Kurjey temple, followed by a gentle walk through the valley to see Tamshing temple. After lunch, visit Jambey Lhakhang (temple) and then drive to Trongsa for overnight stay at Sherubling lodge. Altitude 2,200 meters.
Day 13 Trongsa Paro
After early breakfast, visit Ta Dzong watch tower and view the Trongsa Dzong from outside only. Then drive to Wangduephordang for lunch. Afternoon drive to Thimphu and thereafter to Paro for overnight stay in Dechen Cottages.
Day 14 Paro Kathmandu
Early morning drive to airport for departure to Kathmandu KB – 107. End of services.