Durations: 9 Days and 8 Nights Tour
Locations: Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Wangdue, Bumthang valley
Highlights: Tour of the Dragon starts in Bumthang and travels 255 km over 4 mountain passes before finishing at the Changlingmethang parking in Thimphu. It is the toughest one-day mountain bike race in the world.
DAY 01 : ARRIVAL TO PARO
DAY 02 : A DAY HIKE TO TIGER’S NEST MONESTARY
DAY 03 : PARO – THIMPHU
DAY 04 : THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING TOUR
DAY 05 : THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
DAY 06 : PUNAKHA – BUMTHANG
DAY 07 : SHORT RIDE AND SIGHTSEEING IN BUMNTHANG VALLEY
DAY 08 : START A TOUR OF DRAGON (FINISH LIN IN THIMPHU)
DAY 09 : A REST DAY IN THIMPHU
DAY 10 : DEPARTURE FROM THIMPHU
Fly into Paro by Druk Air, Bhutan’s National Airline. The great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens can be seen during clear weather. As the plane approaches Bhutan, if you look down farmhouses as dots on the hillsides can be seen.
As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, you will see Paro Dzong on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National Museum, above it. You will be received by the representative of Yelha Bhutan Tours and Travels (Bhutan tour operator) who will be your Bhutan travel guide throughout your tour.
After meeting with the guide and driver, drive to hotel and visit Paro Rinpung dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks. Visit Taa dzong which was built in the 17th century as a watchtower for the Paro Dzong. This dzong was converted into the National museum in 1967.
Places to visit:
Overnight at Paro in Hotel
After breakfast, drive up to the base camp of Taktsang and then hike up to the most famous Monastery in the entire kingdom of Bhutan perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley.
The hike to the viewpoint will take about an hour and it will take 2 hours to the monastery. Till view point, you can experience horse ride by paying USD 15 to USD 20 per horse but if you prefer to hike, then it is great.
Lunch at Taktshang Café just above view point or you can have picnic lunch.
On the way back to hotel from the tiring hike, visit Kyichu temple and then you will be visiting one of the farm houses in Paro to experience Bhutanese life-style and the organic Bhutanese dinner. You can also experience hot-stone bath at farm house (US $ 25 per person).
Benefits of Hot stone bath:
It is a good remedy for skin diseases, joint pains, body aches and to relax after a hard day’s work. No scientific study has been done but it’s believed that the herbs and the chemical in the stones are a good source of medicine.
Families in olden days would soak after their seasonal farm work in winter. The long, healing bath relaxed their tired bodies and helped cure backaches and joint pains.
Place to visit
After the breakfast, drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan and stop on the way and visit Tamchog Temple. Check into the hotel and rest for a while and then visit Buddha Dordenma (the larges Buddha Statue) at Kuenselphodrang, Memorial Chorten, Tashi Chhodzong and stroll through the town(town/city without traffic light) in the evening.
Place to visit:
And visit lots of other exciting places as per time permits – Its your private tour
Overnight in Thimphu resort
After the breakfast, we will visit Institute of Zorig Chusum (Institute of 13 Arts and Crafts) where students undergo 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.
Changzamtog National Weaving Centre, Takin Preserve which houses the national animal- takin which is found only in Bhutan. Takin is an extremely rare member of goat family.
Then visit Changangkha temple and end with Centenary Farmer’s Market where farmers sell their farm produces ( vegetables, fruits, cereals, spices, wild vegetable collections, livestock products and free interaction with local people who come shopping to this market, especially on weekends.
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft). If you have a clear sky, the view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges is spectacular and you can even see the Gasa Dzong as a white dot in the horizon.
Visit the beautiful 108 stupas built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo for the security and wellbeing of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. Travel onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body.
Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho – Chu (male) river and the Mochu (female) river.
visit the Chimi Lhakhang. The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings and due to this also known as “Divine Madman”. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility.
Overnight at Punakha in hotel
After breakfast, drives to Bumthang via Pelela pass at the altitude of 3,150 meters, a wonderful opportunity for photographs. En-route stops at Chummy village to visit yathra weaving central. Which Yathra are made into colorful scarves, bags, blankets and sweater.
Continue drive to the beautiful valley of Bumthang and check into the hotel and take a rest.
Overnight in Bumthang resort
The day to prepare for the race, go to the pre-race briefing, meet with the President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, walk around town. Sightseeing at the Bumthang Dzong, check out the local beer or cheese maker shop and nap.
After lunch our tour guide and driver will help for preparation. Then rest in preparation for late night start of the upcoming event.
Today is the day for the Tour of the Dragon mountain bike race. Starting in Bumthang, Central Bhutan the race travels 268 kilometres across four high mountain passes ranging 1,200 m to 3,340 m before concluding at the clock tower in the capital of Thimphu, Western Bhutan.
Follow the Bumthang Chhu 2,610 m and then climb to Kiki La 2,950 m to Yotongla 3,425 m and reach Pelela 3,390 m, followed by Dochula 3,116 m. After Dochula, it is all downhill to Thimphu 2, 320 m with a small climb only to the clock tower at Thimphu city square.
A last day to shop or view a Thimphu highlight that we missed on our prior day here. After lunch,you will witnesses the art of papermaking at Papermaking Factory and visit craft bazar. later we will visit Dechenphodrang lhakhang.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for the departure flight. Tashi Delek
• Deluxe rooms on twin sharing basis.
• Meals (Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner, Tea/Coffee with snacks as and when required)
• Accommodation in the best 3-4 star Resorts/hotels in Bhutan.
• Brand new Bus, SUVs’ (not exceeding 4-5 years)
• 1 complimentary Bhutan air ticket if group exceeds 17 Pax
• Tea, coffee and snacks during the long drive and tour.
• Complimentary 1 Hour cultural program and farewell dinner for 8 plus pax.
• All Trekking Equipments (2 men sleeping tents, Kitchen Tents, Dining tents, Toilet Tents, Cooking Utensils etc.
• Trekking Guide and trekking cook along with supporting staffs
• Medical Facilities on free of cost (consulting doctors & medicine)
• Mineral water on long trips both on trek and cultural tours
• Museum fees and other special entry fees.
• A sustainable tourism Royalty of $65. This Royalty goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.
• Laundry/Drinks / Telephone calls and any personal expenses.
• Travel Insurance (Recommended but not available in Bhutan)
• Excess baggage charges.
• Single room supplement USD$40 per night.
• Tips and Gratuities