Day 01 : Arrive Paro, transfer to Thimphu
In clear weather, flying into Bhutan provides wonderful views of the Eastern Himalayas, culminating in an exciting descent, past forested mountains, to Paro in Western Bhutan.
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by our representative for the 1.5 hour drive to Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan.
This afternoon, you may choose to visit a number of Thimphu’s visitor attractions, including the Folk Heritage Museum; the National Textile Museum; the National Institute of Traditional Medicine; the Institute of Zorig Chusum, where students study and practice Bhutan’s traditional arts; and on weekends, the Centenary Farmers Market, handicraft market or a game of archery in the National Stadium.
Evening free. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02 : Thimphu
This morning, we will visit Trashichho dzong, the seat of Government and office of the King. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of Bhutan. From there, we continue to the National Memorial Chorten, one of Thimphu’s most important religious monuments, where local residents come to offer their daily prayers. It was built in 1974, as a memorial to Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”).
Our first stop after lunch is the Buddha Dordenma, one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world, overlooking the southern end of the Thimphu valley.
This afternoon, we drive back to Paro. On the way, we may stop at the fifteenth century Tachog Lhakhang Dzong, a small temple built by Thangton Gyelpo, the iron bridge builder, who built many iron bridges throughout Bhutan ad Tibet. A replica of one of his bridges takes us across the Paro Chhu to the small dzong.
After checking into your hotel, enjoy a stroll around the small, pretty town of Paro. Shops along the main street are open in the early evening and Paro dzong is beautifully illuminated in the darkness.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 03 : Paro
We begin the day’s sight-seeing with a visit to Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, overlooking Rinpung Dzong, and now the site of Bhutan’s National Museum. Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, on the banks of the Paro Chhu and the setting for much of Bertolucci’s film, Little Buddha. Today, the dzong is home to a community of monks and the civil and administrative offices of the Paro district.
After lunch, choose from a short walk through the valley’s rice fields, some last-minute souvenir shopping or a visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in the seventh century by the Tibetan king, Songtsan Gampo.
Evening free. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 04 : Depart Paro
After breakfast, drive to the airport for your flight to your onward destination.