Day 1 Paro arrival, transfer to Thimphu: The flight into the Himalayas reveals scenic and breathtaking views of Himalayan Mountains of the world. Weather permitting you will be able to see Mt Everest (8.848m) and other Himalayan mountain ranges. Landing in the Paro valley, surrounded by 4.000 meter high mountains stretching across the west of Bhutan, enables you to have a visual landing which is indispensable and that makes your day an unforgettable one.
Your Bhutanese representative from Himalayan Rock will greet you on arrival and drive you through the beautiful valley of Paro to the capital city Thimphu. (2 hrs drive).
Thimphu is a bustling town on the banks of the Thimphu Chhu and set gloriously in the hills of the Thimphu valley. It is home to the Bhutanese Royal Family, the Royal Government to several foreign missions and development projects. Bhutan`s only golf course, a nine-hole circuit, is situated next to the magnificent Tashicho Dzong.
In Thimphu visit:
Zorig Chusum Institute: 13 traditional arts and crafts. It was established in 1971 by the Royal Government in order to preserve the invaluable heritage and promote the arts of Bhutan.
Tashichho Dzong: The `Fortress of the glorious religion` houses the throne room of His Majesty the King, the main secretariat building and the central monk body.
Mini Zoo: Here you can see just one animal - Bhutan's national - the Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes.
Sangaygang view point: As well as being the location of the transmitter tower of the only national television tower in the country (BBS), the view point is also the perfect place to take in some truly breathtaking views of the entire city of Thimpu.
Evening: Includes Night in `down town` Thimphu, Evening Meal with music and dancing.
Overnight at Hotel Dragon Roots, Thimphu. Dragon Roots is located in the middle of the town, nice room, comfortable, very good service and good meals.
Day 02 Thimphu: Morning visit the weekend market. Market days are absolutely central to the lives of the Bhutanese, but there are many reasons to visit other than the delicious fresh food on offer every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Take a hike to Cheri Monastery: Hike about 2hrs leds to Cheri Gompa (Cheri Dorji Dhen)
Later you can stroll around the city and if you wish you can do some shopping too.
Overnight at Hotel Dragon Roots, Thimphu.
Day 03 Thimphu - Gangtey: The valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the black necked cranes. Bhutan is home to around six hundred black necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from Tibetan plateau. These elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March. Overlooking the Phobjikha valley is the Gangtey Monastery. This is an old monastery that dates back to the 17th century.
Hand Made Paper Factory: Jungshi Paper Factory was established in November 1990 as an undertaking of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
Later drive to Gangtey valley (4 hours drive).
Overnight at Hotel Dewachen, Phobjikha. Hotel Dewachen is located in the valley of Gangtey with Cranes residing side by side. Warm and comfortable room, good view of the glacial valley, peaceful surrounding, good service and good meals.
Day 04 Gangtey to Gogona: The first day of the trail begins from Phobjika Valley, through meadows, and then through a mixed forest of rhododendron, bamboo, juniper and magnolia. You reach Hele La pass (3,438m, 11,277ft) and after crossing some meadows, you will descend to a valley. There will be a short climb to the camp at Gogona. Nearby is a small village where you can drink some homemade arra (spirit). The women in this village are known for the woven blankets they make. Altitude: 3,140m, 10,300ft (8.7 miles or 14 km, 5-6 hrs walk).
Day 05 Gogona - Chorten Karpo: The trail goes gently uphill. You will notice the daphne plants, from which the Bhutanese make traditional paper (and which you can purchase in Thimphu). After a long, but gradual climb, you will cross Shobju La (pass) at 3,410m. The trail is downhill from here. You will pass an old coalmine and a miner`s camp. Eventually you will come to Chorten Karpo, where you will see four 'chortens' in honor of the four chief abbots who came from this area. You will then camp nearby Chorten. Altitude: 2,720m, 8,920ft (9.3 miles or 15 km, 5 - 6 hrs walk).
Day 06 Chorten Karpo - Tika Zamp: A short ascent leads to a pass; then the path descends steeply through a wonderful forest full of birdlife and ever changing vegetation to the bridge in Wangduephodrang. Your trek ends there. Your car will be waiting there for transfer to the hotel in Punakha. Altitude: 1,350m, 4,455ft above sea level.
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. It is the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the monk body. It has a temperate climate and its rich fertile valley is fed by Pho (male) Chu and Mo (female) Chu. Chu means river. (3 hrs drive).
Wangdue Town: Wangdue has a unique town to look around with small huts by the side of the road.
Overnight at Hotel Meri Phuensum, Punakha. Hotel Meri Phuensum is located on an hill top, away from the town .Warm and comfortable room, good view with lots of flowers around, good service and good meals.
Day 07 Punakha - Paro: This beautiful valley is home to many Bhutan`s oldest monasteries and temples. The country`s only airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to Mount Chomolhari (7,300 meter) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pa.
Chu flowing through the valley.
In Punakha visit:
Kham Sum Yule Lahkahang: It was built by HRH Azhi (Queen) Tshering Pem Wangchuck for a successful rule during the reign of the present Crown Prince Daso Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck.
Punakha Dzong: Remarkable for its ability to withstand natural disasters - fires and earthquakes have done nothing to diminish its grandeur - the Punakha Dzong is rightly famous throughout Bhutan, as well as being one of the most well protected buildings in the country.
Later drive back to Paro (4 hours 30 minutes drive). Overnight at Namsey Chholing Resort, Paro. The resort is located away from the town. Peaceful surrounding, warm and comfortable room, good service and good meals.
Day 08 Paro: Taktsang Monastery is generally regarded as Bhutan`s most recognizable cultural icon. The Taktsang Monastery, or Tiger`s Nest, is strikingly iconic of the country`s culture and traditions.
Later Visit Farm House: Bhutan is justly NOT famous for its cuisine, which is somewhat predictable. Eating at a local farmhouse at least gives a slightly different variation.
Later stroll around the town and see how locals live.Overnight at Namsey Chholing Resort.
Day 09 Depart from Paro: Early breakfast at the hotel and then drive to the airport to board the flight. Your escort from Himalayan Rock will assist you with exit formalities and bid you farewell.
ACCOMMODATION: The hotels used in this holiday are the best government appointed hotels in the country and equate roughly to 3 star standards. All have private bathrooms and are comfortable and well-appointed. There are a few independent luxury hotels, which can be used on request. Tents for the trek are imported from Nepal and are of a high standard.