Discovery of Bhutan
This itinerary starts from the capital Thimpu, at 2300 meters above sea level. Across the Dochu-La pass, at 3150 meters, you reach the Gangtey valley and continue crossing the Pele pass to Trongsa, surrounded by ancient forests. After passing the Yotong pass, you enter Bumthang, the cradle of Bhutanese civilization, whose name means "beautiful field", among lush valleys rich in the history and spirituality of the Druk Yul, the name with which the Bhutanese call their homeland and which means "land of the dragon". Then, Punakha, full of the largest and most splendid dzongs in the kingdom. The trip ends with the visit of Paro. Each stretch, in a surprising landscape, is interspersed with a visit to some of the most beautiful monasteries in Bhutan, such as Taktshang Monastery.
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu
Arrival at Kathmandu airport. Meeting with our staff. Transfer to the hotel. Visit of the historic center of Kathmandu, at 1330 meters above sea level, including the Palace Square with the pagoda temples and the Kumari Ghar, the house where the "child goddess" lives, considered the incarnation of the goddess Kali. Climb to the Swayambhunath stupa, about 2,500 years ago, a sacred place of Buddhism. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 02: Kathmandu / Paro (by flight) Paro / Thimpu
Breakfast and transfer to the airport and flight to Paros. Spectacular flight for the beauty of the landscape below. Upon arrival, meeting at the airport with our staff. Continue to Thimpu, the Bhutanese capital, on the western hills of the Wang Chu Valley, at 2300 meters above sea level, with enchanting temples and ancient monasteries. Photo stop in front of the 15th century Tschogang Lhakhang temple. Free afternoon for acclimatization to the altitude. Full board.
Day 03: Thimpu
Breakfast and visit of the National Memorial Chorten, the stupa built in 1974 and dedicated to King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, one of the most important religious buildings in the city. Visit of a Painting School (the National Institute of Zorig Chumsum) and of the Handicraft Emporium, with typical local artifacts. In the afternoon, visit Chan Gangkha Lhakang and the imposing Trashi Chhoe Dzong where the house of ministers, the National Assembly hall, the King's throne room and the summer seat of the Abbot of Bhutan, head of the Bhutanese monks are located . Full board.
Day 04: Thimpu / Dochula Pass / Gangtey ( Valley of Phobjikha)
In the morning continue to Gangtey along a panoramic road through the Dochula Pass (3120 m.s.l.m.) where 108 Chorten and prayer flags greet you. On a clear day you can admire an endless chain of Himalayan peaks above 6000 meters. From there we descend through forests of rhododendrons and magnolias to the subtropical zone of oranges, bananas and cacti. Continue to the Phobjikha Valley which belongs to the Black Mountains National Park, an important wildlife sanctuary in Bhutan. Every winter a flock of 300 rare and threatened black-necked cranes arrive from Tibet. The surrounding mountains are mainly inhabited by nomads and yak herders. Full board.
Day 05: Gangtey (Phobjikha Valley) / Trongsa /Bumthang
Breakfast and visit of the Gangtey Goemba, from the 16th century. Departure for Bumthang through the Phele pass at 3350 meters above sea level among gigantic conifers and silvery lichens, surrounded by the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, and then descend, through a landscape of wide grasslands, to the 19th century Chendebji Chorten, built by the lama Tibetan Shida on the remains of an evil spirit killed in this place. The Chorten is modeled on the design of the Katmandu Swayambhunath stupa. Continue to Trongsa, surrounded by high mountain passes, founded by Tibetan emigrants. Departure for Bumthang. Full board.
Day 06: Bumthang - Valley of Tang and Jakar
After breakfast, day dedicated to visiting the most important places in the Bumthang valley including the fortress of Jakar Dzong (the White Bird), the Kurjey Lhakhang temple which takes its name from the imprint of the body of Guru Rimpoche preserved in a cave inside the oldest of the three buildings dating back to 1652. Visit of the Thamshing temple, the Temple of the Good Message, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingua, which is the most important Nyingmapa center in the country and preserves important frescoes. Visit of the Jambey Ihakhang temple, built by the Tibetan king Songsten Ganpo in 659. Full board.
Day 07: Bumthang - Punakha
After breakfast, departure for Punakha. If time permits, you can visit the Chimmi Lhakheng, a temple whose history is linked to that of Lama Drupa Kunley, one of the most revered in Bhutan. Full board.
Day 08: Punakha - Paro
Visit of Punakha Dzong, the second oldest in Bhutan, seat of government until 1950. Departure for Paro, at 2,280 meters above sea level, in a valley of rice fields and woods, east of the sacred mountain Jhomolhari. With its colorful houses, Paro is full of beautiful dzongs. Upon arrival visit of Rinpung Dzong, one of the most important in Bhutan, built in 1644 on the foundations of an ancient monastery. In 1993 the director Bertolucci shot scenes from the film “The Little Buddha”. Visit of the National Museum inside an ancient watchtower (Closed on Sunday and Monday). In the afternoon, visit Kyichu Lhakhang temple, built in the 7th century, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. Full board.
Day 09: Paro
After breakfast, excursion to the famous Taktshang Lhakang (tiger's den) to be done on foot or on horseback or mule (about 2 hours - medium difficulty). Built starting from the 8th century, it stands at 3120 meters high in a suggestive position, clinging to the mountain to defy the laws of gravity. The monastery includes seven temples and is dear to the story of Guru Rimpoche, the Buddhist monk who spread Buddhism to the Himalayas. On the way back, visit Dum Tse Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, the builder of iron bridges. Full board.
Day 10: Paro - Kathmandu (by flight)
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival at the airport in Kathmandu, meeting with our staff. Visit of Patan and Bakhatpur, the oldest of the royal cities in the Kathmandu valley and UNESCO World Heritage. Dinner and transfer to the airport. Boarding the flight for the return home.