THE LAST SHANGRI LA                                                  

Duration;10nights,11days

 

Day 1- Arrival at Paro International Airport to Thimphu.

 (Altitude: 54km/1hr, 2350m/7710ft).

After your arrival at Paro International airport you will be welcomed by our professional company tour guide to the Land of Thunder Dragon.  Then we drive to Thimphu. We shall visit Kuensel Phodrang, where the 169 feet of Shakyamuni Buddha (The Indestructible Buddha) made of bronze metal rests peacefully above Thimphu valley. On the way to Kuenelphodrang we shall visit the National Institute of Zorig Chusum (the institute of 13 arts and crafts) introduced by the Terton Pema Lingpa in the 14th century..

In the afternoon, visit to national zoo to see the National animal ‘Takin’. We shall visit Thimphu local weekend market and then visit the Tashichhodzong, the fortress of glorious religion which was enlarged in 1962, after shifting the capital to Thimphu in 1955. It houses the secretariat offices, the central monk body and the King’s Throne room. It is also the summer residence for the Central Monastic Body and the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and where His Majesty’s office is also based.

In the evening we shall walk around the Thimphu city.

Overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Day 2- Thimphu (Sightseeing).

After breakfast, we shall visit the National Memorial Chorten (built in recognition to His Majesty the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk known as the father of modern Bhutan & for the world peace). We shall then visit the General Post Office of Bhutan and the Royal Botanical Garden at Serbithang. After Lunch we will visit the Royal Textile Museum and the handicraft shop on the streets of Thimphu.

Later we shall witness the national game of Bhutan called the Archery at Chamilingthang Stadium.

Overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Day 3 – Thimphu to Punakha (Distance: 70km/3hrs,1200m/ 3,936ft).

Today, we drive for about an hour along the east-west highway till the Dochula Pass (3050m/ 10,065ft), the most beautiful pass in Bhutan. From here one can have a spectacular view of the Himalayas to the north when the sky is clear. The pass is marked by 108 chortens (Stupa) and Druk Wangyel Chortens, which is Buddhist reliquaries, memorials to the teachings of the Buddha. The actual relics and statue of the Buddha or revered monks are inserted into the stupa. The stupa marks the landscape with reminders of the Buddha’s Dharma teachings. You can also visit the Druk Wangyel Monastery (victory temple).  En-route visit Chimi Lhakhang ( Divine mad man’s temple),a leisurely walk across rice fields and a village leads to Chimi Lhakhang, lineage of the legendary Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the crazy wisdom practitioner who shock and awed people out of their conventional reverie using unorthodox and apparently crude methods.

The adornment and paintings of the male organ is associated with him. The monastery is known for bestowing fertility in childless couples. At the temple you will be blessed by wooden phallus and the bow and arrow of Lama Drukpa Kinley.

After the hike, continue drive to Punakha. Visit Punakha Dzong (Palace of Great Happiness), built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Rimpoche. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until1955, when the capital moved to Thimphu, though it is still the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the monastic community.

Originally situated on the riverbanks of Pho chhu (male river) & Mo chhu( female river) and dominated by the towering walls of Punakha Dzong, the township was relocated to a safer site a few kilometers down the valley, after extensive flooding in the early 1990s.White river rafting can be enjoyed while in Punakha.

Overnight hotel in Punakha.

Day 4 – Punakha to Trongsa (Distance: 195km/ 6hrs, 2,200m/7,215ft).

After Breakfast drive to Trongsa crossing 3,300m high Pele la Pass. On the way visit the Chendeb je Chorten( Stupa) built in order to protect the travelers during the 19th century. The architecture of the Stupa is same as the Buddhinath temple in Katmandu, Nepal. The cold wind flattering prayers flags and the calm environment takes one to different realm. On the way we shall visit Trongsa (New village) and Trongsa Dzong(Commanding fortress), the master piece of Bhutanese architecture and the largest Dzong of Bhutan. Later visit Ta Dzong Museum (watch tower) built to defend this Dzong and the surrounding region.

Overnight hotel in Trongsa.

Day 5 – Trongsa to Bumthang (Distance: 68km/3hrs, 2,800m/9,185ft).

Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Today drive towards the Bumthang Valley, Visit the Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places where you can witness the Body print of Guru mediating in a cave. Later visit Jambay Lhakhang( Temple of Buddha of the future) the ancient monastery dating from the introduction of Buddhism in the country in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songten Gempo. Then visit the Jakar Dzong (Castle of the white Bird) the administrative centre of the Jakar valley.

Overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Evening at leisure, dinner and overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Day 6 – Bumthang (sightseeing).

Today we shall drive to the Tang Valley. On the way we shall visit one of the most sacred place of Terton Pema Lingpa called the “Mebartsho’ the ‘Burning Lake’. Later visit to the Kuenchosum Lhakhang and Tamshing Lhakhang, the treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings of 14th century Terton Pema Lingpa. Evening at leisure, dinner and overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Day 7 – Bumthang to Gangtay (Distance:188km/7hrs, 2900m/ 10,570ft).

Morning after visiting Bumthang market,drive to Wangdiphodrang . Lunch would be served enroute at one of the famous restaurant in Trongsa town. Later in the afternoon visit Chendibje Chorten and later in Gangtay visit the Gangtay Gompa and then explore by hiking down the Phobjikha valley which is the winter home for famous Black Necked Cranes. The cranes migrate here from Central Asiatic plateau to escape its harsh winters.

Overnight hotel in Gangtay.

 

Day 8 – Gangtay to Thimphu (Distance:123km/5hrs)

After breakfast we shall drive to Thimphu. Upon reaching Dochula we shall visit the Lamperi Bhotanical Garden to enjoy the natural heritage i.e., Rhododendron flowers, birds and animals at the park.

Later drive to Thimphu and visit the Traditional Paper factory, folk Heritage Museum and the National Post office of Bhutan.

Overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Day 9 – Thimphu to Paro (Distance: 54km/1hr, 2250m/7,382ft)

Early today we shall drive towards Paro valley. Upon reaching Paro we shall visit the oldest National Museum of Bhutan (Ta Dzong) and then visit Paro Rimpung Dzong(“Fortress on a heap of Jewel”), built in 1646 after the small Hungrel Dzong built by Lam Drung Drung, which was offered to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional

And late in the evening you can organize traditional hot stone bath, with dinner in a local farmhouse.

Overnight hotel in Paro.

 

Day 10 – Paro (Hike to the Taktshang /“Tigers Nest”)( 4hrs,3100m/10 ,230ft).

Our day begins after an early breakfast for the hike to view one of the Bhutan’s most famous pilgrimage sites, the Taktshang popularly known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The hike offers a spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched precariously on a sheer rock face 900mts above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, the father of Bhutan’s stream of Mahayana Buddhism arrived in the Paro valley more than a millennium ago on a back of a tigress and mediated there for 3months.We begin hiking by foot or on a pony ride to the cafeteria, which serves as a midway point and has wonderful views of the Tiger’s Nest. From here it’s about an hour’s walk through some stunning landscape to reach the monastery. Returning back, we stop by the Cafeteria for lunch. After lunch, we begin our descent to Ramthanka base and shall visit Kichu Lhakhang. This is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gempo in the 7th century to subdue the ogress that lay across the whole of the Himalayas. This temple also marks the first coming of Buddhism to Bhutan. Later in 1968, another temple was built alongside the first one by Her Majesty, The Royal Grandmother, Ashi Kelzang Choden. Inside the courtyard, there is an orange tree that bears fruits all-round the year. It is considered a blessing from the Future Buddha. It is the main center figure of the Temple because nowhere in the valley you can find orange tree that bears fruits all season. In the evening walk around the Paro town OR arrange Hot-stone bath.

Overnight hotel in Paro.

Day 11 – Departure from Paro International Airport.

After breakfast we shall drive to Paro International Airport for departure.

Tashi Delek!

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