Once our suitcases have been dropped off at the hotel, we begin discovering the wonders of Bhutan by visiting the key attractions of Thimphu. After lunch, we reach the Chorten Memorial built in homage to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, then the Buddha temple and finally, if the weather permits allows, the Changangkha Lhakhang temple, dating from the 15th century. We go to the Textile Museum to learn the national art of weaving and end our day at the learning center for Bhutanese artists: the School of Thirteen Arts and Crafts.
In the evening, we have time to explore Thimphu town, handicraft stalls, and the centenary farmers market.
In the morning, we go north to Thimphu Valley (15 km) and enjoy a short 30-45 minute hike to Cheri Monastery. This monument built in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal is currently an important center of teaching and meditative retreat of the Drukpa Kagyu of the South sect.
Arriving in Punakha, we explore the village of Chimmi Lhakhang for a short 45-minute walk that leads us to the Fertility Temple built in homage to the Divine Fool Drukpa Kunley whose eccentric mores and practices have inspired local folklore. It is here that we will be able to see phallic representations by the thousands!
After breakfast, we will drive from Thimphu to Punakha on national highway, which leads from the cold of Thimphu to the hot, almost tropical area of the Punakha Valley. En route, we will stop at Dochula Pass, where you can visit the marvelous 108 stupas and have a coffee break.
After lunch you can explore visiting some farm house and handicrafts shops.
Transfer day to the Bumthang. With an average altitude of 2600m, this region has a special character that charms its visitors and sets it apart from the rest of the country. Made up of the 4 small valleys of Chumey, Choeskhor, Tang and Ura, this highly spiritual region is draped in religious legends.
This morning we go to Toktu Zampa, the starting point of our 3-day cultural trek in Bumthang.
This 1st section of our trek runs along the Chamkhar Chu river, renowned for its many trout. We stop at Thangbi Lhakhang temple for lunch. From there begins the hike in the Ngang Yul, which literally means "the land of the Swan", sheltering in its center, the temple Ngang Lhakhang. The valley was once populated by swans, hence its name.
Uphill: 170m Camp altitude: 2720m
We start the hike in the green meadows, with a panoramic view of the whole valley below. Then we gradually climb to Phephe La (3360 m), the highest point of the route. The route crosses lush forest areas where we expressly make frequent stops to enjoy the natural beauty of the environment. The descent serves a vast expanse of valley. Among the many campsites, we choose the one located at the back of the village of Tahung.
Uphill: 750m Downhill: 670m Camp altitude: 2800 m
After breakfast, we begin our escapade by crossing the Tang Chu River, another body of water filled with trout. On the shore stands the Lhakhang of Tang Rinpoche. We visit the lake of Mebar Tsho (or lake of fire), then resume our journey to the palace of Tang Ugyencholing.
From there we soon reach the road where our driver is waiting for us and brings us to our hotel in Bumthang.
In the afternoon we visit the Gangtey Monastery which overlooks wetlands surrounded by farms and natural forest areas, giving Phobjikha a sacred beauty. Then we hike for 1.5 hours along the Gangtey natural trail. This is one of the most magnificent short hikes in Bhutan. In the evening, we visit a farm in a traditional village.
After breakfast, we head to the valley of Phobjikha, known for its vast wintering fields which serve as a refuge for the rare and endangered black-necked cranes in Bhutan.
In the afternoon, the choice is given to us between a relaxing at the hotel or an exploration of the neighboring villages.
After breakfast, we will drive to Paro. On the way we will stop at Lamperi Botanical Garden which comprises of over 46 species of rhododendrons.
After breakfast, we hike to reach the Tiger’s Nest. It is the most picturesque icon and main attraction of Bhutan. Taktshang Tiger's Nest sits on the edge of a steep cliff, 300m above Paro Valley.
We dedicate the day to an in-depth visit of Paro and its surroundings. In particular, we will admire several dzong, the Bhutanese fortresses.
We start with the Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, and continue to the Ta Dzong, a clock tower whose role was to protect the Rinpung Dzong during the inter-region wars in the 17th century. We then pass by the Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest holy shrines in the kingdom and whose creation dates back to the 7th century. We end our day of discovery at Drukgyel Dzong, a fort erected in 1646, with a charming village nestled at its feet.
We drive you back at the airport accordingly to your flight departure.