Reach the Bhutan’s international airport at Paro via its National Airline, Druk Air that flies through the natural beauty of mountains and valleys into the landscape of Himalayas. The best journey to Paro is from Kathmandu that gives a gorgeous view of the Himalayas. As soon as the plane takes off, a continuous chain of peaks appears and one can point out the famous black-pyramid Everest, grey-chair shaped Makalu and the huge-massif Kanchenjunga peaks to the best. The Shishapangma peak can be sometimes visible inside Tibet. If you have trekking experience in Nepal, than you can easily figure out many other peaks. The ‘peak of terror’, Jannu that is in dome-shaped is viewed as you pass Kanchenjunga.
The beautiful Jhomolhari and Jichu Drakye peaks are spotted as the plane approaches Paro. One can experience the picture-look landscape of the majestic dzongs and monasteries as you travel into the Paro valley of Bhutan.
Once Paro Airport is reached travel to the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu. It is about a 2-hour journey from Paro.
Visit the market place at Thimphu in the evening and overnight stay at the hotel.
In the morning, visit the oldest temple in Thimphu, the Changangkha Lhakhang hovering over a ridge above Thimphu towards the northern end of the town. The temple was established in 12th century by the Tibetan Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo. It houses a central-statue Chenrezig, an 11-headed thousand-armed manifestation of Avolokitesawara. You can view the mesmerizing Thimphu valley from the temple courtyard.
A short distance up the road from the temple leads to the large fenced enclosure Motithang Takin Preserve to spot the Bhutan’s national animal, Takin. According to the legend, Takin was created by Lam Drukpa Kunley by joining the bones of a goat’s head and bones of the cow’s body. The best time to see them is in the early morning when they gather to feed.
Then visit the gigantic statue of Lord Buddha at Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang) located at a short distance from Thimphu city center. It is the largest statue in the country wherein prayers are offered to Buddha. Then walk around and a take a glimpse of the valleys around.
The other places of interest in and around Thimphu are:
Trashichhoedzong: It is familiarly known as ‘fortress of the glorious religion’, houses the main secretariat building, the throne room of King of Bhutan and various government offices. During the summer, it makes the residence for the central monk body.
Memorial Chorten: This stupa was built in 1974 to memorize Bhutan’s third king, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (regarded as Father of modern Bhutan) and serves as monument to peace. The paintings and statues here provide a good example to Buddhist philosophy. The people offer prayers by their mantras and by spinning prayer wheels.
The Folk Heritage Museum: It connects people to the Bhutanese rural past through documentation, demonstrations and programs of their rural life.
Handicraft Shops: A wide range of colorful, hand woven textiles, paintings, jewelry, masks and craft products are available for purchase at the government run Handicraft Emporium and local craft shops. Weekend markets are held on the banks of the river (Paro Chu River) and it provides opportunity to mingle with localities. Have dinner and overnight stay at Thimphu hotel.
A two-hour journey crossing Dorch La Pass you can reach Punakha from where one can see the beautiful mountain ranges of Bhutan. Visit Wangduephodrang Dzong built in 1638 at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. It houses the secret artifacts and the embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The present King has restored the Dzong after the damages from catastrophic fires and earthquake.
Drive for about 6 hours to reach Bumthang and spend evening at leisure. Have dinner and overnight stay at hotel
In the morning, proceed to the following sightseeing:
Visit the administrative center of the region, the Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang that houses the oldest wall-paintings of Bhutan. Then visit the 7th century Jambay Lhakhang Karjey Monastery and Kunchosum Monastery.
After lunch drive to Trongsa, 68km from Bumthang over the Yotong-La pass. The road runs through the cultivated Chumey valley and into the deep forest reaching Trongsa.
Stay overnight at hotel.
Visit the Trongsa Dzong built in 1648, one of the oldest historical, political and religious monuments. It was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan and the first and second Kings ruled the country. Then visit Ta Dzong that gives a watch over-view of the Trongsa Dzong. The chapel inside the tower is dedicated to the 19th century governor, Jigme Namgyal.
Drive through Pele-La pass, the traditional boundary between east and west. The passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flag. En route to Chendbji Chorten on Kathmandu’s Stupa built by Lama Shida in 18th century. Next continue to Dochula pass and experience an eye-attracting view of the eastern Himalayas on your way. Visit Wangdue district famous for its bamboo work, slate and stone-carving. It takes about 6hours drive to reach Thimphu.
Drive to Paro at a distance of 65km and visit the National Museum housed in the Ta Dzong (closed on Sundays, Mondays and Govt. holidays) which was built in 1656 and served as the watch tower of Paro Dzong. It is also known as the Rinchen Phung Dzong and was built in 1646. It houses the monastic body of Paro, the Dzongda office and the judge of Paro district. Proceed towards to Drukgyel Dzong, 14kilometers from the Paro town. It was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1649 as mark of the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644.
Take morning excursions to Taktshang Lhakhang also known as ‘Tigers Nest’. It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of tigress and performed meditation here and hence the name. The Bhutanese strongly believe this place as the most sacred and visit at least once in their lifetime. The Bhutanese jewel has been restored here to its original splendor.
Other places around the Paro valley are Haa valley, the farm houses, Druk Choeding, Kyichu Lhakhang and Ugyen Pelri Palace.
Chele la Pass is considered as one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. The pass gives a stunning view of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. About an hour’s drive you can spot out a botanical paradise.
Stay overnight at hotel.
Drive back to the airport for your onward flight.