(7 nights 8 days)
This is a compact trip that allows you to see every aspect of Bhutan that makes it an exclusive & sought after destination: the grandeur of the mountain peaks, the terraced hills, the lush, green valleys, the dense forests filled with rare flowers, the fast flowing crystal clear rivers, the pure, clean air, the unique architecture, art and culture and above all the delightful people who make the soul smile.
- Day 1: Delhi/Kolkata - Paro - Thimphu (2350 M) 65 kms/ 1 ½ hrs Reach Paro in the morning by air from Kolkata / Delhi. Short but beautiful drive to reach Thimphu by noon. Check into your hotel room. Freshen up, have a sumptuous meal, and post lunch visit the Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd King. Drive to the quaint Dodena Bridge – a typical Bhutanese wooden bridge; and do a 2.5 km return / 2 hr hike to the beautiful Tango Gompa. On return to the bridge, if time and an inclination are both there, a rigorous but rewarding hike of about an hour to Cheri Gompa is also possible. Please note: those not interested in hiking would could visit the Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd King. Visit Changangkha Lhakhang- the oldest temple in the valley & Zilukha Nunnery.
- Day 2: Thimphu After breakfast drive over Dochu La – at the pass enjoy exquisite views from the 108 Memorial Chortens built here to commemorate the ousting of Assamese guerillas. Carry on via Wangdue into the hidden & pristine Phobjikha Valley – home to the rare & endangered Black Neck Cranes. It is also a protected wildlife conservation area within Jigme Singye Mountains National Park. Later visit the imposing Gangtey Gompa, located atop a hilltop this is the largest and only monastery of the Nyingmapa sect in western Bhutan. Overnight in a hotel.
- Day 3: Gangtey Full day of walking in the valley, visiting typical Bhutanese farm houses and meeting locals and students.
- Day 4: Gangtey - Punakha (1260 M) 78 kms/ 3 hrs Leave early and drive back towards Thimphu, at Wangdue we take a detour to reach Punakha – the winter capital of Bhutan. After freshening up visit the Punakha Dzong - this Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan’s history. In its 300+ years of existence the building was devastated by four catastrophic fires & an earthquake, but it is now gloriously restored to its original glory. Later do a great hike along the river to the other end of the valley and visit the Khansum Chorten -do the walk at your own pace, stopping to admire the exquisite scenery as often as you like. Overnight stay in a hotel room.
- Day 5: Punakha - Paro (2200 M) 124 km / 4 - 5 hrs Check out hotel and drive towards Thimphu; en route stop to do a short but sweet 1 hour return hike to Chimi Lhakhang – Temple of Fertility. That done, drive up to Dochu La and leave on a beautiful hike of about (7 km return / 4 hrs) to Lungchuzekha Gompa through dense forests of Hemlocks, Junipers, Birches and Rhododendron, interspersed with meadows. Once at the gompa enjoy superlative 360° views covering various ranges in the Bhutanese Himalayas crowned by 7000 M + giant peaks like Jhumolhari, Gangkar Puensum – the highest unclimbed mountain in the world, high peaks of the Lunana. Walk back to Dochu La and drive about 2 ½ hrs to reach Paro by late evening. Overnight in a hotel in Paro. Please note: those not interested in hiking would drive from Dochu La to reach Paro in the afternoon and do some sightseeing.
- Day 6: Paro Visit the National Museum - the first of its kind it has a collection that covers everything from natural history to religious paintings and then leave on a great hike to the awe inspiringly located Taktsang – Tiger’s Nest. Late afternoon visit the 17 century Paro Dzong on foot and continue walking through the oldest wooden bridge still in use followed by an evening stroll in old Paro town to take a peek into some local handicrafts stores. Please note: Tiger’s Nest is a must-see site, if hiking is not your cup of tea then you could hire ponies for this trip.
- Day 7: Paro Drive over Chele La into the pristine & incredibly beautiful Haa valley and walk to the secluded Kila Gompa Nunnery.
- Day 8: Paro - Delhi/ Kolkata - Fly back Morning transfer in time to board a flight back to Kolkata/Delhi.
If you have more time and would also like to experience the many ‘walking delights’ that Central Bhutan offers, please click here Drukyul Walking Tour (12 nights 13 days)