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This Western Bhutan adventure will take you to the best of western Bhutan, its culture and traditions, towering forts, temples, and monasteries. The lush green valleys and hills are dotted with prayer flags and flags, and the cultural tour includes short hikes and visits to historic sites.
Tashi Delek and welcome to Bhutan. Our local representative will greet you at the only international airport in Bhutan that is located in Paro(2262m), Western Bhutan. Then check in at your sweet hotel for a good rest while getting used to the time difference.
This morning we will drive to Haa Valley which is known as the "Hidden-Land Rice Valley", after the sightseeing with Chele La Pass, Dzongdrakha Goempa, Lhakhang Nagpo, Lhakhang Kharpo, Wangchuck Lo Dzong we will be back to Paro (round trip of 130km, about 4.5h). Enjoy the welcome dinner with the Bhutan culture dance show.
Chele La Pass (3988m) is the highest motorable road pass in Bhutan and can be reached by a two hours’ drive from Paro. As the spot with incredible views of the high Himalayan Mountains, you may get the chance to see Mount Jomolhari(6706m), the most sacred peak of Bhutan, Jichu Drake, as well as the majestic sights of the Tsherimgang Mountains. Also, Chele La Pass is the best site to discover the rare White Poppy native to this region.
Dzongdrakha Goempa (Mini Tiger's Nest, Dzongdrakha Monastery) is a cliff-side temple complex on the western side of the Paro Valley. Built-in the 16th century by the first local king, Chogay Dragpa, it is said that when Guru Rinpoche visited Bhutan, first landed at Drakarpo, and then Dzongdrakha before arriving at Paro Taktshang (Tiger's Nest). Dzongdrakha Monastery is often referred to as the second Taktshang (Tiger's Nest) mainly due to its location which is perfect to get a good view of Paro Bondey valley. Don't forget to visit the cave where Drubthog Gyonpo Dorji, the founder of the Lhakhang has meditated.
Lhakhang Nagpo (The Black Temple) is about 10 mins walk away from the Lhakhang Karpo. It's said that around the 7th century Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo released a white and black pigeon preparing to build temples wherever the pigeons landed. This Lhakhang was built where the black pigeon landed. The walls are painted in black, with horizontal stripes of red and white that symbolize the tantric practices of the valley in ancient times.
Lhakhang Karpo (The White Temple), one of the oldest temples around, is located in the foothills of the Meri Puensum mountains, and its walls adorned with exquisite murals and paintings, embody the values of kindness and Dharma. According to the legend, it was King Songtsen Gampo who built this temple at the place the white pigeon landed.
Wangchuck Lo Dzong, built in 1915 to replace the smaller Dumcho Dzong that burned to the ground in 1913, is an administrative center for the Bhutan Royal Family. According to a local legend, this Dzong was also constructed to protect the people and their livestock from the evil influences of the 108 serpent deities that live around this area. Since the 1950s, this Dzong is the headquarters of the Indian Military Forces and their training ground which also functions as a military school. We can admire the Dzong from afar with its exquisite modern construction on a gentle slope that leads to the pristine Haa Chhu River.
Meals：Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Today we will drive from Paro city to the start point of the hiking route of the Tiger's Nest Monastery. It takes about 2.5 hours to reach Tiger's Nest by foot (5 hours for a round trip), and you can have a rest at the view terrace which is located at the halfway point of the hiking road. Also, you can choose to ride a horse(self-paying) from the camp base to the Taktsang Cafeteria (lunch spot). We will enjoy Bhutan’s traditional Hot Stone Bath in the late afternoon.
Tiger's Nest Monastery (Taktsang Goemba, Takhtsang Lakhang, Paro Taktshang), first built in 1692, is the iconic landmark of Bhutan. As a world cultural heritage, it is sited on the side of a cliff at a height of 900m above the Paro Valley. It is said that Guru Rinpoche (a Buddhist saint) rode a tigress to the current site of the monastery and meditated in a cave for 3 years 3 months and 3 days. Now it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bhutan and a sacred religious site for Bhutanese to pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime.
Complimentary Bhutan Traditional Hot Stone Bath in the late afternoon. A visit to Bhutan without enjoying the health benefits hot stone bath would be incomplete. After the hiking, a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath is perfect to relax in the water heated by hot river stones roasted on the fire.
Meals：Breakfast Lunch Dinner
In the morning, we will head to Bhutan’s capital city Thimphu (72km, about 2.5h) via a visit to Tamchog Lhakhang on the way. After sightseeing in Thimphu (2360m) with Buddha Dordenma Statue, National Memorial Chorten, Motithang Takin Preserve, and Tashichho Dzong, we will have dinner in the Folk Heritage Museum. Then have a good rest in your hotel.
Tamchog Lhakhang (Tachog Lhakhang) is located by the Paro river on the way to Thimphu from Paro. To get to the temple we must walk across a unique iron chain bridge with colorful fluttering prayer flags. Both the Lhakhang and the iron bridge are built by the saint Thangthong Gyalpo (1385-1464, Tibetan polymath). As the "King of the Empty Plain", Thangthong Gyalpo is now commonly known as the "Iron Bridge Maker". Enjoy his pioneering old-aged buildings left till today.
Buddha Dordenma Statue (Kuenselphodrang, Buddha Point) is a landmark of Thimphu city and you can have a great view of the Thimphu Valley there. With 51.5m in height, built of bronze and gilded in gold, the statue is famed as the largest sitting Shakyamuni statue in the world and there are 125,000 smaller Buddha statues placed within it. The statue was finished in 2015(built for 9years) to fulfill an ancient prophecy to emanate an aura of happiness and peace all over the world.
National Memorial Chorten is the most visited landmark of Thimphu which was built in 1974 in memory of the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk(the Father of Modern Bhutan) by his mother. Due to the idea of Jigme Dorji, this stupa is dedicated to world peace and prosperity. It is a Tibetan-style chorten with amazing paintings and brilliant sculptures, you can see the classical stupa pattern like the pyramidal pillar crowned by a crescent moon and sun. It is also a good place to meet local Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day in a clockwise direction for praying.
Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong) is located on the right side of the Wangchu River in the northern part of Thimphu city. As the "Fortress of the glorious religion", it houses the throne room of His Majesty the King, government offices, and the central monk body. Thimphu Dzong was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. There are two main entrances in the Tashichho Dzong. One leads to the administrative section to the south and the other one (at the north) leads to the monastic quarter where festivals and dances are performed.
Motithang Takin Preserve (Takin Zoo) is a wildlife reserve for Takin (Budorcas taxicolor), the national animal of Bhutan. Drukpa Kunley (Divine Madman), the famous Tibetan saint, is said to be responsible for the creation of Takin which has the head of a goat and the body of a cow.
Folk Heritage Museum (Phelchey Toenkhyim) was established on July 28th, 2001 with the initiative of Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan). It is set inside a three-storied, 19th-century traditional house and provides visitors with a glimpse of the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle, artifacts from rural households, collection of typical household objects, tools, and equipment. The museum also organizes regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits, and customs as well as hosts educational programs for children.
Meals：Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Time to say goodbye to Bhutan, the beautiful Himalayan country. Our local representative will meet you at your hotel and send you to the Paro International Airport (50km,1.5h). Happiness is a place, wish you get happiness and great memories from the Bhutantrip with us. We look forward to seeing you again, Tashi Delek!
Please note that some of the sites in the itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the right to alter the itinerary. The changes in Itinerary will mainly base on improving your tour experience in Bhutan.