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Welcome to the Kingdom of Bhutan and the start of your eye-opening adventure! Our friendly team will be waiting in the arrivals hall to transfer you from Paro to Thimphu. Driving through the Paro valley en route to Thimphu, gaze out upon silvery Pa Chu (Paro River) meandering its way through the thick forested ravine, the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower).
Today’s full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley includes the National Library, which has a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts, and the Thimpu Painting School, famous for traditional thangkha paintings. The Traditional Medicine Institute is where the rich herbal medicines abundant in the Kingdom are prepared. Trashichhodzong, the beautiful fortress/monastery which houses the Secretariate building, King’s Throne room and other government offices, is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot. To see a wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted products, we visit the Handicrafts Emporium. This evening enjoy some down time at your luxury accommodation.
After breakfast we take to the road for a three hour drive over the Dochula pass, at a dizzying height of 3050m. Here we stop to view the panorama of east Himalayan peaks before our descent into low-lying Wangdu valley for a stretch of the legs to see the villages. Onward we re-ascend up the Black mountains area into Phojikha valley where your luxury accommodation is located. This afternoon enjoy a nature trek in the surrounding valley and hopefully spot one of the rare and endangered black-necked cranes.
Gangtey or Phobjikha is at an average altitude of 3,000m. This is a wide and beautiful valley designated as a conservation zone within the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park. Enjoy a full day exploring the amazing scenery in the valley with your guide. A tour will be included today to the ancient Gangtey monastery.
Early this morning we drive east across Pele la pass to Trongsa, which is around a three hour's drive. We then continue our drive across Youtongla pass into Jakar, then ultimately into Bumthang - around a two hour drive. Some time can be spent exploring the little towns along the way to gain a real insight into rural Bhutan culture and customs, and, of course, photo stops along the way of the mighty Himalaya peaks.
Bumthang is one of the most historic districts in the country and has a number of ancient temples and sacred sites within the four valley it consists of called Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. For this reason, the region is called the spiritual and cultural heartland of Bhutan. Today enjoy in-depth exploration of this region with your guide with short walks and short drives to visit its ancient temples, monasteries, farms, local schools, palaces and villages, and also sample some local food such as Buckwheat noodles.
Today we retrace our steps toward Paro and drive to Punakha, an old winter capital of Bhutan. On the spectacular drive back to western Bhutan enjoy re-crossing the Yutong la pass. We will make stops to visit Trongsa Chokhor Dzong, one of the most impressive and spectacularly located fortress/ monastery in the country. Then continue our drive to Punakha, which will take around four hours. En route we will visit Wangdur Dzong and Rinchengang village situated on sloping hillsides to gain some more insight into Bhutan's amazing culture and customs.
Today we drive through the idyllic countryside north of Punakha and trek for about 30 minutes to visit Khamsum Yeulley Chorten temple. In addition to its great art-works on display the walk to and from is very interesting through the paddies and villages with breathtaking views of the mountains. Later a visit to the impressive Punakha Dzong, located at the confluence of Pho and Mochu rivers, then return to your hotel.
Continuing our drive to Paro this morning, en route we stop at the lofty Dochu La Pass, 10,000ft/3,048m to view the rugged eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum at 24,770ft/7,550m. The region you drive through today is famed for its variety of flora and fauna and your guide will certainly be pointing these things out to you along the way.
Today take a scenic hike to view one of the most spectacular and unmissable sights of Bhutan, the Taktshang Pelphung monastery or Tiger's Nest as it is often referred to. It is one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan's monasteries. The monastery is only accessible by foot we have included a pony ride for part of the way. If you have more time and are ready for a more challenging day, there are several monasteries, temples, and retreat houses in the surrounding area of Taktshang. The most notable among them are Zangdopelri and Ugyen Tsemo.
Today marks the end of your unique journey. After breakfast and hotel check out we will transfer you to the airport in time for your onward departure journey.