Bhutan - The Last Shangrila

Duration : 12 Nights/ 13 Days
Destination Covered : Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Punakha - Wangdiphodrang - Gangtey - Tongsa - Bumthang (Jakar) - Mongar - Tashigang - Samdrup Jongkhar - Guwahati


The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all moutain flights. One can see Mount. Everest, Kanchenjunga , Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Khang. The first gift from Bhutan will be cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the aircraft. Received by SP Holidays representative and transfer to the hotel. Evening take a stroll through Paro market. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 02 : PARO

Paro is a picturesque valley with quaint clusters of hamlets amidst terraced paddy fields. The town still maintains traditions by way of architecture and the simple way of life.

Morning trip to Ta Dzong or National Museum . Rated among the best natural history museums in Asia , the Ta Dzong offers a unique and varied collections ranging from ancient armour to textiles and thangkha paintings. Then walk down the trail to visit Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) built during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. It now houses the Paro monastic school and office of the civil administration. Also Rinpung Dzong is venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in spring. Afternoon drive up valley to the Drukgyel Dzong or the Fort of Drukpa victory. From this fortress Bhutanese repelled several invasion by Tibetans throughout the course of history. Looming above the smouldered ruins is the snowcapped peak of Mount . Chomolhari. Also visit traditional Bhutanese Farm House nestled below the dzong. Then drive towards Paro town enroute visiting Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest monastery of the Kingdom reflecting introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan . Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Paro.


After breakfast drive to Thimphu , the capital town passing via idyllic countryside, through villages and paddy fields. Enroute visit the Simtokha Dzong the oldest fortress of the country now houses the School for Buddhist studies. Afternoon sightseeing of Thimphu valley, visiting Tashichhodzong ; the seat of the government, Memorial Chorten; the stupa built in the memory of Bhutan 's Third King and Handicrafts Emporium displaying rich traditional crafts of the Kingdom. Also, you may be able to catch a game of archery in progress at the Changlimethang compound, just below the town. Evening take a stroll around market area. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu .
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Morning, in Thimphu visit to National Library: which has fascinating collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts and texts, the Painting School : famous for traditional thangkha paintings and Traditional Medicine Institute: where centuries old healing arts still practised. Then proceed to Punakha across Dochula pass (3,100m). The pass is marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flags. The pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas . Arrive Punakha and check into the hotel. Untill 1955, Punakha served as the capital town of Bhutan and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. Visit to Punakha Dzong, built by Shabdrung Ngawang, Namgyal in 17th century and situated at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Later visit to Punakha town and market. Over night at the hotel in Punakha.


After breakfast drive to Wangdiphodrang and visit Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north- south and east-weat. Wangdi district is also famous for its bamboo work, slate & stone carvings. The approach to Phobjikha valley is through a forest of Oak and Rhododendron. Phobjikha is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and chosen home of black necked cranes which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters. Explore Phojikha valley and also visit to Gangtey Monastery, the only Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan . Overnight Guest House / Camp.


Morning explore Phobjikha valley for Black Neck Cranes and later drive to Tongsa across Pelela pass (3,300 m). This pass is traditionally considered the boundry between Western and Central Bhutan. Further ahead stop enroute at Chendbji Chorten built in 18th century in Nepalese style. The landscape around Tongsa is spectacular and for miles on end the dzong seems to tease you so that you wonder if you will ever reach it. On arrival, check into the lodge. Dinner and overnight at thelodge in Tongsa.


Morning visit to Tongsa Dzong, situated at the altitude of 2,200 m and built in 1647 by the Shabdrung it is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan . Then visit the Ta Dzong, standing on the side of the mountain and built to guard Tongsa. After lunch proceed to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. 29 kms ahead of Tongsa cross Yutongla pass (3,400m) and from here again the landscape looks different and dense forests of conifers stretches. The arrival of Bumthang beings with wide, open, cultivated Chumey valley. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.


Bumthang is the general name given to a complex of four valleys namely Chumey, Choekhor,Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600 m to 4,000 m. Visit to Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred place in Bhutan as Guru Rimpoche meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to the Jambey Lhakhang. Like Kyichu Lhakhang in the Paro valley, this temple is said to be the first that King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet constructed in 7th century. Afternoon visit to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting Buddhist paintings. Later see the Jakar Dzong, the dzong of the white bird'which houses the administrative seat of the district and is the only dzong in the country that does not contain a Drukpa monastic community.

Evening take a stroll through Bumthang market area. Dinner and overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.


The journey continues eastwards winding through more rugged terrain. The drive, with spectacular views will take about 6 hours. Pass through Ura village in Bumthang before climbing sharply to the highest motorable pass in the Kingdom, the Thrumshingla pass - 12,465 ft. Graduallydrop down to Sengor, watching cascading water falls on the way. The descent stops at 2,130 ft., on a bridge over the Kurichu. Ascent again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets to Mongar town. Visit Mongar Dzong, built albeit quite recently, the dzong still maintains the architectural traditions of old dzongs. Overnight at the lodge in Mongar.


This trip of about 96 kms takes 3 hours passing through Kori la pass (2,450m), the place marked by a pretty chorten and a stone wall. The first part of journey is through a leafy forest filled with ferns. Later road descends rapidly through corn fields and banana groves arriving the famous zigzags of Yadi which is a recent settlement. After that follow the Gamri river until the bifurcation to Dametsi, this temple perched on top of steep hill was founded by Choeden Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan . This is the place from where the famous Naga Chham, mask dance with drums, originated. About 30 kms onwards lies Tashigang at 3,375 ft. Tashigang is the centre of the biggest and most populated district in the country. View the Tashigang Dzong standing at the extreme end of the spur, overhanging the Gamri river. It serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the dzong is occupied by Drukpa monastic community. Overnight at the lodge in Tashigang.


24 kms from Tashigang, visit the temple of Gom Kora , set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river. Gom Kora is the famous place where Guru Rimpoche meditated in order to subdue a demon. Further ahead reach to Doksum village where you can see women busy in weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric. Visit to Tashiyangtse Dzong, situated at the altitude of 1,850 m, was established just after the Drukpa conquest in around 1656 and later completely renovated in 1976. In former times Tashiyangtse was important centre because it lies on one of the carvan routes leading from western and central Bhutan . Evening return to Tashigang. Dinner and overnight at the lodge in Tashigang.


Tashigang - Samdrup Jongkhar road completed in 1965 and the journey takes about 6 hours. Along the way see Sherubtse College , the only college in country founded in 1978. Also visit Zangtho Pelri temple built in 1978 by the late Minister of Home Affairs and represent Guru Rimpoche's paradise. Driving ahead reach to Khaling to visit Blind School and Weaving Centre. Deothang, 80 kms from Khaling is the centre of Technical training college and road maintenance head quarters for the east. From here the road descends fairly rapidly to the plain through a dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns. Overnight at the lodge in Samdrup Jongkhar.


After breakfast drive to Guwahati, the capital town of Indian north eastern state of Assam , for flight to Delhi / Calcutta or onward tour programme in that region

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