This cultural tour is ideal for those wishing to enter Bhutan from the Indian state of Western Bengal via the southern overland border gateway of Phuentsholing. Beginning with a breathtaking journey on roads surrounded by lush green tea plantations with breathtaking views of the Himalayan foothills, this tour explores the highlights of Bhutan’s western valleys.
Enjoy the many cultural sites of Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital including the National Memorial Chorten, the National Library, the arts and crafts school and Tashichhoedzong before crossing the 3050m Dochula Pass into the sub-tropical Punakha Valley featuring the incredible the Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakang, temple of the ‘Divine Madman’.
The ‘Land of Thunder Dragon Tour’ cultural tour explores all of the highlights of Bhutan’s western valleys at a relaxed pace allowing time to really gain the most out of this unique Kingdom. It provies the perfect overview of Bhutan’s rich culture and spectacular scenery.
On arrival at Paro International Airport by Druk Air Flight from Delhi. Our representatives from Bhutan Himalayan Holidays will be there to receive you with “Tashi Khada” traditional way of receiving our guest.
Check in hotel.
Visit Ta Dzong-fortress (built in 1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the center of civil and religious authority in this valley.
A short walk takes you to the base of the Dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. Stroll Paro Town, rows of shops line the main road built in traditional architecture. This stretch of about 250 meters, with farmers leading their horses, its occasional idlers leaning against the storefronts, the town of Paro strangely resembles a village of the old American West.
O/N Hotel in Paro: Khangkhu Resort or Equivalent – 3 star.
Ater early breakfast visit. National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.
Other highlights include a visit to the TashichhoDzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).
Visit Changangkha Monastery: (This monastery was built in 15th century by the Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo) where the new born child of Thimphu valley is taken to receive 1st blessing from a High Lama.
Visit Dupthop Lhakhang: One of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.
Visit Mini Zoo, where Takin(our national animal of Bhutan). Drom there drive to Sangaygang, where you can see view of Thimphu Valley.
Visit National Library,Folk Heritage Museum, Indigenous Hospital and painting school.
Visit Sunday market (if the day falls on Friday,Saturday and Sunday) of Thimphu(Farmers Centenary Market). Cross traditional wooden bridge, there you see handicrafts.
Witness Archery tournament.
We then and to Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work. Evening free for shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu.
Over night: Hotel in Thimphu: Phuntsho Perli or Migmar(3-4 star)
After breakfast drive to Punakha(77km) 2 ½ hrs drive via Dochula pass. You will see 108 stupas which were built by our grand queens. Druk Wangyel Lhakhang is near to 108 stupas. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass (3050m) to view Higher Himalayas.
On the way, visit Chime Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.
Visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River).
For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him thepalaceofGuru Rimpoche.
From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (PalaceofGreat Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952.
Drive to Wangdi. O/N hotel in Wangdi. Hotel Damchen Resort(3 star)
After breakfast drive to Paro(142km) enroute Wangdi Dzong. Wangdiphodrang Dzong (from outside) built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong, four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of Buddhist religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers.
Drive to Paro(142).-4hrs on the way if we have time you will see Semtokha Dzong(Oldest Dzong of Bhutan)
O/N in Paro.Khangkhu Resort or Olathang Hotel – 3 star.
After breakfast our representatives from Bhutan Himalayan Holidays will drive you to Paro international airport for outbound journey to Delhil by Druk Air Flight Farewell for outbound journey.