Day 1: Arrive Paro International Airport, and Travel to Thimphu
Day 2: Thimphu Tour
Day 3: Travel back to Paro for Taktshang Hike
Day 4: Depart from Paro International Airport
This concludes your short trip to Bhutan
The only two international flight (Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines) to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. Soon after you leave the Indian low lying plains and the great view of The Mount Everest from your window, you will be flying over densely forested areas and will see the far-flung Bhutanese Temples and Monasteries built on the steep terrain-mountains and cliffs. Before you cease your imagination and wondering how people are going to get there on foot, you will be informed by flight attendant to fasten your seat belt to prepare for landing at Paro International Airport, the airport which has only one strip runway lying between a local community of Traditional Bhutanese Houses on one side and a high way motor road on the other side. Then as you descend towards the Paro Valley, you will be flying very close overhead the Paro Villages. The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions, with cover of green paddy fields, crystal clear Pa Chu river, the Paro Dzong (Fortress) and then slowly but spine chillingly (for the First timer into Bhutan), you will land at the airstrip and on landing, you are sure to wonder, “wow!!! The Pilot is really good”. And usually, the First Timers flying into Bhutan, clap in unison and then there is a guffaw of laughter and giggles. Truly an instant awakening of happiness from the moment you land.
On arrival at Paro international airport, you will be then ushered to immigration counter and baggage claim areas by very astonishing and helpful airport staffs. After then, your tour guide will be waiting for you at the exit door with full of excitement expression on his/her face with Khadhar (a white scarf on his/her hand to offer you as tradition culture for welcoming you). The reason for offering a white Khadar is; traditionally we believe white colour symbolising a purity, hence to show you, you are now encircled by pure-hearted people, you are welcome and be loved as our guest (not as tourist) and you will be taken full care from this day until the trip concludes.
Now, depending upon the local time of your arrival at Paro international Airport and your depending to your mood, you will be then taken to the sightseeing areas as per the tour outline.
The good-humoured/helpful driver and your cheerful local tour guide will be happy to gently pack your luggage in the SUV car and head towards your following sightseeing:
Visit Paro Rinpung Dzong: One of the main attractions in Paro is the Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress), which was built in 1646. The Dzong now houses for the office of the district Administration and district monastic body of Bhutan. On the way to Dzong, you can able to see Bhutanese traditional wooden bridge built in ancient style. In native language, the name Rinpung Dzong means, ‘the fortress on a heap of Jewels’. Overlooking Paro town, The Rinpung Dzong with its elegant and harmonious structures has become the must-visit tourist place in Bhutan.
Visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong): is located just above the Paro Rinpung Dzong, which was built to be used as the watchtower for the Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. The Ta-Dzong is now serving as National Museum. The Museum has got a collection of all kinds of traditional Masks, extinct wildlife animals skin cover, Stamps, Photos, Statues, Pottery, Arms and Ammunition, ancient costumes, relics, religious paintings, handicrafts, and hangs the Biggest mask in Bhutan. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snapshot of the rich cultural traditions of the country.
Travel to Thimphu (54 km, 1- 2hrs) and do Thimphu sightseeing
The distance of about 54km from Paro town to Thimphu takes around one hour excluding the sightseeing stops. Drive south following Pachu River to the river confluence at Chuzom. Just 5km before Chuzom is Tamchog Lhakhang, a private temple owned by the descendants of famous Tibetan bridge builder Thangtong Gyalpo.
Visit Tamchog Lhakhang: On en-route to Thimphu, we will take an opportunity to visit Tamchog Lhakhang. One has to cross an ancient bridge and this bridge is the main attraction as the iron on this bridge are an ancient and the legend has this that the treasure hunter of Bhutan pounded these, irons into Chain links in the 16th Century. Beating the iron on his thighs did the pounding.
After then we will continue our journey towards Thimphu, the next remarkable spot comes is Chhuzom (Confluence), is the juncture of Thimphu river (Wang Chu) and Paro river (Pa Chhu). Chuzom is also a major road junction, with southwest road leading to Haa (79km), south road to Phuntsholing (141km) and northeast to Thimphu (30km)
Visit Tashichho Dzong: Now after arriving in Thimphu, depending upon the time, we will visit Tashichho Dzong (office for the Great Present His Majesty the Fifth King of Bhutan); the Dzong has been the seat for Bhutan’s government since 1968. It presently houses the throne room and offices for the king, the cabinet secretariat and the Ministry for home & cultural affairs. It also houses the Central Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks. If you are lucky enough you will get chance to see the His Majesty the King coming out of his office and walking towards his palace just below the Dzong.
Visit National Memorial Chorten (Stupa): This stupa one of the most visible religious structures in heart of Thimphu city, The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace. Visitors will find elderly Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’.
Visit Buddha Dordenma Statue: This massive statue of Shakyamuni measures at a height of 51.5m, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue; 100,000 statues of which are 8-inches-tall and 25,000 statues of which are 12 inches tall. Each of these thousands of Buddhas has also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
Visit Textile Museum: you will see the Royal Collection, of Bhutanese antique textile artefacts, warp pattern weaves, and weft pattern weaves including crowns of Bhutan’s kings, Namzas (dresses) and other accessories are worn by the Royal Family, The ground floor of the Textile Museum has displays demonstrating the skills of spinning, colouring fibres, preparing a loom, and manipulating two sets of yarns. Decorative fabrics and textile arts and crafts are categorically displayed in the galleries situated on the first floor of the Textile Museum. There are displays showing the traditional regional garments produced by women and men in Bhutan, and those garments used for special religious occasions.
Visit Folk Heritage Museum: This museum lets you experience the traditional way of lifestyle at Bhutanese home. The museum also displays an impressive collection of typical household objects, tools and equipment. The Folk Heritage Museum is set inside a three-storied, 19th-century traditional house. The museum also organizes regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs as well as hosting educational programs for children.
Visit The National Library; was established in 1967 for the purpose of preservation and promotion of the rich cultural and religious heritage of Bhutan. It holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts and contains arguably the best collection of religious and historical literature in the Himalayas.
Visit National Institute for Zorig Chusum: Zorig Chusum refers to the thirteen traditional visual arts and crafts that Bhutanese have practised for generations. The thirteen arts and crafts include; painting, carving, sculpture, calligraphy, carpentry, gold- silversmithing, bamboo work, wood turning, weaving and embroidery, pottery, blacksmithing, masonry and incense-stick making. You can have an interview or conversations with the students and instructors to know more. The showroom sells good-value pieces made by students.
Visit Centenary Farmer’s Market: Located below the main town, near the Wang Chhu River, the vegetable market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan.
Centenary Farmer’s Market in Thimphu is an explosion of colours and scents. Thimphu residents throng the market on the weekends, to buy the freshest local produce (pure organic) from across the country, as well as a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and other products imported from India.
You’ll see the variety of food in the country, including basket the Bhutanese, including various types of Orchids and Ferns, eats fiery chillies, fresh cheese, and fruits and the seasonal vegetables. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. It’s fun to meander the aisles, taking in the lively atmosphere of the market.
With its wide assortment of fresh and organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favourite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life. Across a cantilever footbridge, Kuendeyling Bazaam, to the west bank is a collection of stalls selling clothing, textiles and handicrafts.
Visit Archery field: where most of the time there will be traditional archery competitions. You may know that Archery is a national game for Bhutan. You will enjoy watching Bhutanese unique style of archery game, as Competitions are a riot of colours and excitement, with two teams in traditional dress shooting at small wooden targets placed 140m apart (Olympic standard is 50m). When an arrow hits the target, teammates perform a celebratory dance and sing the praises of the shooter, who tucks a coloured scarf into his belt. Howls, chanting, encouragement, sing, dance and jokes often accompany this to entertain visitors.
Drive to Dochula pass (30km, 50min): Dochula pass is a popular location among tourists as it offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. The view is especially scenic on clear, winter days with snowcapped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquillity of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass. Bhutanese families enjoy visiting the pass during holidays and weekends to picnic and simply enjoy the scenery. It is common to see families and groups of friends seated amongst the chortens, enjoying a packed lunch and hot tea. For tourists, this is an ideal location to capture beautiful pictures of the Himalayan mountain range during clear, warm days.
Stroll through Thimphu town: Depending of available time, you may stroll through Thimphu Town on your own or with tour guide whichever you may prefer.
After early break fast, travel back to Paro for hike to Taktshang Monastery. Taktshang means tiger nest, the Monastery’ is one of the Himalaya’s most incredible sites, miraculously perched on the side of a sheer cliff 900m above the floor of Paro valley. The Monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff drop of nearly 4000 ft and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It’s the goal of every visitor to Bhutan and while getting there involves a bit of uphill legwork, it’s well worth the effort. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan meditated on this spot where the Monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress and now this site is a sacred shrine for Bhutanese pilgrims.
Visit Kichu Lhakhang: depending of your mood and tiredness, we’ll visit Kichu Lhakhang on the way back to Paro town. Kichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means temple), is the oldest temple in the country, built in the 659 AD, by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It is believed that the king had built 108 temples in the various place he visited on earth to spread Buddhism and Kyichu Lhakhang is included as one. The Lhakhang is located in between Paro Town and Drugyal Dzong. In Bhutan, people believe that the place where Lhakhang is built is considered one of the holiest places in the country, as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country.
Stroll through Paro town; depending upon of your mood and tiredness, we will have last chance to stroll through paro town.
Experience home stay in Paro village: While it is possible to stay in hotel as usual, we highly recommend you to experience Homestay in Paro village. Some of you might be hearing this term ‘Homestay’ for the first time; this homestay culture is very common in Bhutanese society. This literally means you are spending night in the traditional home of Bhutanese family, where you get to experience an excellent glimpse into the day-to-day life of a typical Bhutanese family. You’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals and the unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host. All officially sanctioned and listed home-stays are located in the gorgeous Bhutanese countryside, far from the noise and crowds of population centres. Our tour guide will have to arrange a home-stay with one of the local families. The farmers will happily welcome you into their homes and regale you with local legends of mermaids and ancient kings.
Experience hot stone bath in the home stay: By the time we concludes todays program your landlord will have organised Bhutanese traditional Hot Stone Bath. Taking a hot stone bath is the perfect way to unwind any hardship traveller’s day, and you will feel complete relaxed in the middle of nature reserved forested areas. In a traditional set up, cold water is poured into a wooden tub. The enclosed small room would also have a fireplace where the stones are heated and the fire also to keeps the room warm. Once heated, the hot stones are put into the tub in a segregated compartment releasing high concentration of minerals while also heating the water. Stones are periodically changed to maintain the water temperature. Herbs are also added to make it more therapeutic.
And this swiftly brings to conclude your short trip to Bhutan. We hope to see you again in the future exploring whole western and eastern Bhutan.
If you don’t mind, we have homework for you tonight. Your tour guide will give you a feed back form, which we humbly request you to kindly fill it and hand over to your guide on the next morning. We take serious note on the feed backs you provide us to further improve our services in the upcoming endeavour chore.
After early breakfast, drive back to Paro International airport for flight to onward destination. Our sincere service doesn’t end here. While you and tour guide exchange thanksgiving and bids farewell, your helpful driver will gently stack your valuable luggage on the trolley, and your tour guide will help you to push till check-in counter and waits until you get through to board gate.
Tak Tshang: Tiget Nest
Chazam: Suspension bridge