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Welcome to the Kingdom of Bhutan. Airport arrival transfer from Paro airport to Thimphu. Driving to Thimpu (55kms/1hr), en route visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom which now houses the School for religious and cultural studies. This evening visit National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King ('the Father of modern Bhutan') and a monument to world peace. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
In the morning you will visit the Late King’s Memorial Chorten, the National Library, the indigenous hospital specializing in herbal medicine, handmade paper factory, and the nunnery at Zilukha. In the afternoon, tour of the school of fine arts where young students learn the traditional arts and crafts (Zo Rig Chusum – the thirteen crafts); Zangtopelri Lhakhang, the Handicraft Emporium and the local handicraft centers to see the varieties of textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, jewellery etc. on display.
Today, we drive to Punakha. On the way, halt at the Dochula pass for tea and snacks. From this pass, if the weather is clear, you will get the most spectacular view of the entire Eastern Himalayan Mountain ranges. You will also find 108 beautiful Stupas known as the 'Druk Wangyel Chortens' in the middle of the pass which reflects Bhutan's sprititual as well as artistic traditions. In Punakha, check into the hotel. Lunch at the hotel and then visit the Punakha Dzong which is strategically built between two rivers known as Phochu and Mochu which means 'Male river and Female river,' Then visit the beautiful Khamsum Yule Namgyel temple.
After breakfast, we drive back to Wangduephodrang Valley (25kms/30mins) for day excursion.
Drive to Gangtey also known as Phobjikha valley. Gangtey is a beautiful valley of rolling hills and green meadows surrounded by snowcapped mountains. It is situated at an altitude of 3000m. It is also the winter home for the famous Black Necked Cranes who migrate here during the winter months. Visit the impressive Gangtey Goemba overlooking the lush green valley of Phobjikha. Check into the hotel. After lunch at the hotel, visit the Black Necked Crane centre and do some hiking in the National park. Also explore the valley of Phobjikha by walking along some of the most interesting nature trails and see the most fascinating cultural and natural sites.
Drive back to Paro via Thimpu. Upon arrival check in at the Hotel. Afternoon at leisure.
Visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
Day excursion to Tiger's Nest. Taktshang Pelphung monastery or Tiger's Nest as it often referred to, is one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan's monasteries. It is located on the face of a sheer 900m cliff above the floor of Paro valley. Today take a scenic hike to view this spectacular and unmissable sight!
Transfer to Paro Airport to connect departure flight.