Detailed Itinerary of Bhutan Photography Tour
Day 1 - Upon arrival at Paro International airport, you will be welcomed by our company representative and the tour guide will receive and escort you to designated Hotels in Paro or Thimphu depending on the Final Itinerary that may be agreed upon.
The drive to Thimphu - world's smallest capital takes about an hour on a well paved two lane road that follows Paro River downstream to the confluence with Wang Chu (Thimphu River). The 60 kms road then turn upstream towards Thimphu along the Wang Chu. Check in at the designated hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2 - After an early breakfast, drive to Tashichho Dzong to attend the Thimphu festival. Tashichho Dzong is the main Secretariat Building, where the government ministries, the office of His Majesty the King, the Throne Room, the offices and living quarters of the monk body and its Chief Abbot are housed. You will see colorful people in festive moods that have come to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. In the evening, time free at leisure for own activities and relax in the hotel to acclimatization with Bhutan weather conditions. Overnight at Thimphu.
Day 3 - We will start our sightseeing tour visiting Memorial Chorten built in memory of the 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Further, we will visit the Zorig Chusum - 13 Arts & Crafts Institute where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive. The visitors can see students of different trades at work like: Sculpting, Thanka Painting, Wood Carving and other skills.
Afternoon visit to the Textile Museum, Handicrafts Emporium, Crafts Bazaar where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. In the evening free for a leisure walk to explore Thimphu city. The walk around the city is easy and would be enjoyable to experience the Bhutanese way of life. Overnight at Thimphu.
Day 4 - Check-out from the hotel and drive to Punakha, the former Capital of Bhutan (77 Km) from Thimphu. Enjoy panoramic view of Black Mountain range at Dochu La, Visit Druk Wangyel Lhakhang, and Royal Botanical Garden on the way. Dochu La is a paradise for photographers. Details will be included in the Final Tour Program.
On arrival we will visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the 'Unifier of Bhutan' to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region. It is placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch and displays some of the best works of Bhutanese arts and crafts. Overnight at Punakha.
Day 5 - Enjoy a leisurely walk of about 12 kms to reach Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten situated on a beautiful hillock. It houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions. Take a picnic lunch on a picturesque riverside before an excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility, blessed by the Divine Mad in the 1500s. The walk to the temple will take about 45 minutes one way through rice paddy fields. Overnight at Punakha/WangduePhodrang.
Day 6 - Enjoy exploring the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang before visiting Wangduephodrang Dzong. Built in 1639 the strategically located Dzong is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. Drive over the Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range, which divide western and central Bhutan. White languor monkeys can often be spotted in the moss-draped forests in this area. On the way visit beautiful Chendebji Chorten, erected in the 18th century. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Overnight at Trongsa.
Day 7 - Following breakfast visit the Ta Dzong museum located on the hill overlooking the Trongsa Dzong. The museums main focus is on the history of the monarchy, and is dedicated to the coronation and centenary celebrations of the Bhutanese monarchy with very rare and precious artifacts on display.
Afterwards, drive to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the spiritual heartland of the kingdom. The road climbs rapidly up a series of hairpin turns out of Trongsa. After passing through cultivated fields and forested hillsides you will reach the Yutung La Pass. From here drive down through a dense, beautiful coniferous forest to a wide, cultivated valley known as Chummey valley before continuing on in the soft afternoon light to the town of Jakar. Overnight at Bumthang.
After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong, also known as "Fortress of the White Bird". It was founded by the great grandfather of Shabdrung. The Dzong was initially built as a Monastery in 1549 but was upgraded after Zhabdrung had firmly established his power in 1646. The Dzong is now used as the administration center for Bumthang valley.
Day 8 - Enjoy a day exploring some of the incredible sites of Bumthang, including Jakar Dzong (Dzong of the white Bird) and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Terton Pemalingpa (founder of the Nyingmapa sect) and containing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Pemalingpa's heavy coat of nails is kept in the Vestibule and people are permitted to try it on. It is said that if they can walk around the inner sanctuary three times while wearing it, some of their sins will be forgiven. Also visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan's patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated and Jambay Lhakhang, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of the Kingdoms oldest temples. Overnight at Bumthang.
Day 9 - Start early today for Gangtey, about 6 hrs from Bumthang. Farmhouses and temples dot the landscape and you will see local farmers wearing the traditional woven bamboo hats of central Bhutan. The wide and picturesque Phobjikha valley is one of Bhutan's few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November - March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Visit Gangtey Goempa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Overnight at Phobjikha.
Day 10 - After an early breakfast drive back to Thimphu. In the afternoon, time free at leisure for own activities and relax in the hotel to acclimatization with Bhutan weather conditions.
Day 11 - Today we will go on a day long Excursion to Phajodng which is at an altitude of 3700m. The 3 hours hike is considered one of the most enjoyable short hikes through coniferous forests. The panoramic view of Thimphu valley and surrounding mountains will be most rewarding. There are several monasteries, state monastic Buddhist school and it is also a popular meditation place for many devout Buddhists. Late afternoon transfer to Paro. Overnight at Paro.
Day 12 - Hike to Tiger's Nest, one of the most sacred Taktshang monasteries in Bhutan. It is perched on the cliff where Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Zhabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Overnight at Paro.
Day 13 - The guests will be Seen Off by a Representative of our company and the Tour Guide at the Exit Gate. Wish Bon Voyage!!!