Paro - Thimphu - Punakha Sightseeing - Punakha - Phobjika - Phobjikha - Paro
Upon your arrival in Paro airport, our guide will be there to welcome you and transfer to Thimphu. After Lunch visit the Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd King. This place now happens to be a get-together point for the elderly people, who spend their whole day chanting prayers and meeting their friends. Visit Changangkha Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the valley offering a beautiful view of the valley. The enclosure where the national animal, Takins are kept and drive to visit the largest and the newly built statue of Buddha offering the magnificent view of entire Thimphu valley.
Morning visits the happening weekend market (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) where the locals from the surrounding villages come to sell their produce. They sell their goods and in return, they buy their basic necessities. Visit the traditional Hand Made Paper Mill. Visit the School of Arts and Crafts where students learn 13 different arts used predominantly in Bhutan. Visit Folk Heritage Museum, which explains how, a traditional house used to be like in the olden days. Later visit the National Library which houses the collection of Bhutanese rich religious text and the contemporary Buddhism teachings from master all around the world. Drive further up to visit the Dechenphodrang monastic school and meet the young monks. Later continue to Zilukha nunnery to meet the nuns and interact with them. We will have lunch in the town and drive to Punakha crossing over Dochula pass.
Morning drive to visit Punakha Dzong (fortress), which houses the most elaborate temple in the country. This is a must to see fortress in Bhutan and a fine example of Bhutanese rich Art and Architecture. After the visit, if you are in the mood for a nice half-day hike, you could start the hike right above the Dzong with a short steep climb offering a great view of the valley with houses spread all around and the never-ending turquoise river and it’s sandy river bed. This trail is also popular for mountain biking. The hike ends through the farm field crossing the newly constructed bridge, where your car will be waiting on the other side of the river. If you choose the entire activity can be done on foot from your hotel. After lunch could relax on the balcony of the hotel to enjoy the nature.
If you are staying in hotel Meri Puensum, hotel Zandopelri or hotel Densa, early morning it will be a treat to walk up to the hilltop to visit the nunnery and interact with the nuns and enjoy the magnificent view of Punakha and Wangdi valley. Later after breakfast drive to the remote isolated valley of Phobjikha. En route could stop for a short hike to the ancient village of Rinchengang overlooking the ruins of Wangdi Dzong. It’s amazing how they have managed to be together and preserve the old houses. If you are tired to hike, could do it on the way back. The drive is very picturesque and worth every turn and climb.
Morning you can go to walk right below your hotel and meet the school children who all walk for hours to reach their nearest school. Or if you want to relax and start very late, today is the right day to make it happen. After late breakfast could go for Phobjikha Nature trail hike (2.5 Hrs), which offers the beautiful view of the valley. It starts from the valley and ends with Gangtey Goempa temple at the hilltop overlooking the valley. Gangtey Goempa temple is a beautiful temple, richly renovated with many monks living. Could also visit the Crane Canter supported by the RSPN.
Morning retraces the drive back to Paro crossing over Dochula La pass. Upon arrival in Paro, visit Paro Dzong (Fortress) on foot and continue walking through the oldest wooden bridge still in use. Continue further to stroll around the old Paro town and peep into some local handicrafts stores.
Morning drive to the base for the hike (3 hrs uphill) to Tiger’s Nest, the most revered temple in the country that literally hangs on a granite cliff overlooking the Paro valley. Most of the day will go on the hike. On the way back, if you have the energy and time visit the Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan which marks the beginning of Buddhism in the country
After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your connecting flights
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