Exotic Eastern Bhutan
Exotic eastern Bhutan (14nights/15days)
Welcome to the Kingdom of Bhutan! Many eastern classics and books of wisdom have referred to the Himalayas as the abode of the gods. These descriptions did not stem merely from the majesty and grandeur of the natural surroundings but alluded to a special environment where communion with the divine was possible through contemplation and meditation, And so since time immemorial, ascetics, mystics, scholars, philosophers and pilgrims have been drawn irresistibly to these remote and rugged mountains in their personal search for wisdom, inspiration, solitude and happiness. Tucked away in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan has been visited by a great many of these seekers, who blessed the land and its people with an invaluable spiritual and cultural legacy. At ‘Around Bhutan’we take you on indigenous trails with the purpose of bringing to you, an experience rich in cultural heritage. We believe that what the soul seeks in more than the pleasure of visiting popular destinations, the heart constantly seeks an experience or emotion which solely belongs to it. This 15 days tour of exotic eastern Bhutan takes you on the extreme eastern part of the country where you will experience of the modern and the rural Bhutan together, you will start your journey from the western Bhutan to the least visited regions in the country(Eastern Bhutan) where you will have the opportunity to explore the historical and cultural escapades ,great scenery,textile highlights and natural wonders.
Day 1:Arrive Paro: Arrive at Paro International Airport, it’s a beautiful airport directly connected to very select destinations across the world. You will be received by your guide and driver that will be responsible to take you on this eclectic journey across Bhutan and your friend for guiding you towards anything you need. Lunch at Paro. On your first day visit the National Museum, located in the watchtower (Ta Dzong) of Paro Dzong. After the museum you proceed to Paro Rinpung Dzong, which was built by the founding father of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1646. Today, this fortress houses the Administrative seat of the district of Paro and the district Monk Body with about 200 monks. The central tower (Utse) of the fortress is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan with its superb woodwork.
Day 2:Paro(Taktshang Hike): Today’s programme includes a hike to one of the most sacred places in entire Bhutan. About 15 Kilometres North of Paro Dzong and half an hour drive away is Taktshang Monastery. Perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800 ft, Taktsang was built in 1692, around the Taktshang Senge Samdup (stag tshang seng ge bsam grub) cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated for three months in the 8th century. Padmasambhava has introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen taktshang or “tiger lair” caves in which he meditated. Like an outgrowth of the terrain itself, the gem-like Taktshang monastery clings to a sheer, 3000 foot rock face. The name of this gravity defying cluster of buildings means literally "The Tiger's nest," an allusion to the popular legend that Padma Sambhava flews here from Tibet on the back of a Tigers. The Monastery shares its name with another monastery in North West Arunachal Pradesh which also shares very similar legend. Evening for your own leisure.
Day 3:Paro-Thimphu: In the morning you will drive to Drugyal Dzong (a ruin of a Dzong) which is situated at the end of Paro valley about 16 kilometers outside town. This Fortress is of great historical importance as it was here that the Bhutanese defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. From here, the snowcovered peaks of Mount Jhomolhari (7329m) can be seen on a clear day. After that visit one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the Kyichu Lhakhang. Built buy the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, Kyichu is considered to be one of 108 temples that were built to defeat an ogress (demon) that was lying over the entire Himalayas. After lunch We drive to Thimphu the capital of Bhutan. Along the winding road following Paro River you will stop by Tamchhog Lhakhang, a private temple owned by the residents of the famous Tibetan bridge builder Thongten Gyalop. The traditional iron bridge here was reconstructed in 2005 using some of Thangtong’s original chain links from Duksum in eastern Bhutan. The red soil around the temple contains low-grade ore that once supplied the raw material for iron works. Later in the evening we will take you to the impressive Trashichoe Dzong. This massive fortress houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the office and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot. Dinner at hotel.
Day 4: Thimphu: Post breakfast visit Kuenselphordang where you will see the 169 ft sitting Buddha statue. School of Holy Arts: From there we will head over to experience Bhutanese arts and crafts being taught at Zorig Chusum, the school of 13 Holy Arts. Visit the zoo to meet Takin, National animal of Bhutan. A local legend tells how the Bhutanese national animal was created from the remains of a lunch eaten by Lama Drukpa Kunley, a 15th-century Buddhist saint, known as the Divine Madman. He combined the skeletons of a cow and goat and brought them back to life with a loud belch. And after lunch we visit Simply Bhutan, Simply Bhutan is a unique project that observes conservation of our culture and tradition while generating employment opportunities for young job seekers. The infrastructure portrays ancient Bhutanese architecture which is being lost to modernization. The project is one of its kinds in the country. The uniqueness of the structure is in its composition of the materials used. The structure is built reusing old timber, window and door frames and other items from traditional and old demolished houses. The best part is the portrayal of the age-old life styles of the Bhutanese people. Visit Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in memory of the third King of Bhutan. Evening for your own leisure. Dinner at hotel.
Day 5:Thimphu-Punakha: Today we start our journey to Punakha driving through Dochu La, a 3140m high street pass. On clear days the pass offers a panoramic view of the Bhutan Himalaya. The collection of 108 chortens were built in 2005, and the new Druk Wangyel Lhakhang was inaugurated 2009, showing marvelous paintings. In reaching Mitsena we will visit Chimi Lhakhang. This temple was founded by Drukpa Kinley, commonly known as “Divine Mad Man”. After Drukpa Kinley subdued the feared demoness of Dochu La, he advised the local people to build a temple in 1499. Lunch will be at restaurant close to the temple. On the way we visit Punakha Dzong (fortress) that lies between two rivers known as Pochu and Mochu which means “Male River and Female River.” Built in 1637 under the reign of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the founding father of Bhutan, Punakha is today the winter residence of the central monk body and holds the famous Drukpa Kagyu relique “Rajung Khasarpani”. The main assembly hall shows paintings of the life story of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha. Dinner at hotel.
Day 6:Punakha-Trongsa: Today we drive towards central Bhutan. After crossing the 3420m high Pele La you enter the broad heavily cultivated Mangde Chhu valley. Stop for tea at the Chendibji cafetaria, just around the Chendibji Chorten, built in the 19th century by Lama Shida from Tibet to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was killed here. Still one hour before actually reaching Trongsa you will reach the viewpoint from which you have a stunning view over Trongsa Dzong and the villages. You reach your hotel for lunch. In the afternoon visit Trongsa Dzong. Then continue to the newly opened Museum in the Ta Dzong, dedicated to the reign of the Wangchuck family. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 7:Trongsa-Bumthang: Early morning you start the drive to Bumthang, crossing Jotong La 3425m and entering the region of Bumthang. The descent from the pass is through firs, then blue pines and bamboo. The road enters the upper part of the Chhume valley, marked by the small roadside Chuchi Lhakhang at Gaytsa. For those interested in textiles you can stop at the local weaveries at Chume. You will reach Bumthang for lunch. In the afternoon you will then start exploring the culturally reach and sacred Bumthang valley: drive up to Jakar Dzong and visit it inside. Then you drive to Membar Tsho, also known as “Burning Lake”, a site at which the famous treasure revealer Pema Lingpa revealed important sacred treasures in the 15th century. Dinner at Hotel.
Day 8:Bumthang: This day is dedicated to the famous monasteries of the Bumthang area. First in the morning visit Jambay Lhakhang, which dates back to the reign of Tibetan King Songtsen Ganpo, who built this temple to subdue an ogress that was lying across the Himalayan region. When the great saint Guru Rinpoche arrived to Bhutan in the late 7th century, he gave his first Buddhist teachings from the roof-top of this temple. The temple itself is dedicated to the future Buddha Maitreya and holds precious statues of the Buddha of the Past, Present and Future. After visiting the temple you continue to Kurjey Lhakhang which is nearby. Kurjey consists of three temples, with the oldest one dating back to the 1652 when it was built by Minjur Tenpa. The site of Kurjey reminds of the subjugation of the local demon by Guru Rinpoche, who was invited by the former King of Bumthang to help him defeat his enemies. Inside the temple the cave in which Guru Rinpoche meditated can be seen. The next temple you reach by walking across the river as it is located right opposite Kurjey Lhakhang. Tamshing Lhakhang is a private monastery that was established in 1501 by treasure revealer Pema Lingpa. Inside, some of the probably oldest paintings in the entire country can be seen, painted by Pema Lingpa himself. Also you will find the famous iron chain, made by Pema Lingpa who was a blacksmith until he started discovering the sacred Buddhist treasures, hidden by Guru Rinpoche and his disciples many centuries ago. Return to hotel for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon during which you can walk through the Bumthang valley or visit Jakar town. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 9:Bumthang-Mongar: It’s a long but scenic drive to Mongar, about 200 kilometers through one of the most impressive nature surroundings of Bhutan. After the first one and a half hours drive ,you stop nearby the neat Ura village for tea. Then the road leads through the Trumshing La Nationalpark, crossing the highest street pass of your trip, the Trumshing La (3800m), marking the boarder to Eastern Bhutan. The National park is located on altitudes between 700 and 4400 meters and covered with coniferous forests and without any settlements. Stop for a picnic lunch at picturesque Sengor village. The afternoon drive follows a windy and steep road along cliffs and eventually descends down to only 650 meters, where you find subtropical jungle and a rich vegetation. On the way you are likely to see some of the wildlife of Bhutan, as this area is home to the Red Panda, Golden Langurs and the endangered Himalayan Black Bear. After having reached Kuri Zampa on the bottom of the valley you start climbing up to Mongar for the last hour and reach the hotel in the evening . Dinner at hotel.
Day 10:Mongar-Trashigang: After breakfast take a short walk through Mongar village up to the Dzong. Then continue towards the very remote East, crossing the 2400 m high Kori La. Following the famous Yadi curves you descend down to Sherichhu at 600 metres, switching to the other side of the valley of the Drangme Chhu, leading to the dramatically situated Trashigang Dzong. Again, you first have to descend down to the river and cross Cha Zam bridge before climbing up to the village of Trashigang, situated high above the river at 1070m. You reach your hotel in the evening. Dinner at hotel
Day 11:Trashigang-Trashiyangtse-Trashigang –Mongar: For a one day excursion drive up to Bhutan’s northeast to the village of Trashi Yangtse. On the way you will pass by Gom Kora, an extraordinarily picturesque temple to the east of the road. After visiting this site continue to Trashi Yangtse where you will reach for lunch. In the afternoon visit the famous Chorten Kora, a large stupa, constructed in 1740 by Lama Ngawang Loday in memory of his late uncle, and to subdue local spirits. The Lama went to Nepal himself and brought back a model of Bodhnath stupa carved in a radish. Visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (the 13 Holy Arts and Crafts) in Trashi Yangtse. Return to Mongar in the late evening. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 12:Mongar-Bumthang: Today early morning we start our journey towards central Bhutan and in around late evening we reach Bumthang and we halt our night in Bumthang. Dinner at Hotel.
Day 13:Bumthang-Punakha: After breakfast we start our journey towards Punakha and around early evening we reach Punkha. Evening for you own leisure. Dinner at hotel
Day 14:Punakha-Paro: Today we take our journey towards Paro and around early evening we reach Paro. Evening for your own leisure. Dinner at Hotel
Day 15: Drive to Paro Airport: Today we shall bid adieu the land of dragons and departing for our respective destinations, see off by your Guide and Driver. Or you can exit from Gawhati continuing from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar to Gawhati.
Or Take a domestic Air line from Trashigang and Fly back to Paro.