Day to Day Itinerary
THU Oct 22. Arrive Paro (7,382 feet): The flight into Paro, Bhutan provides opportunities to see spectacular views of the great Himalayan peaks – The highlight being Mt. Kanchenjunga (28,169 feet) the world’s third tallest mountain. As you enter Bhutan airspace, you will see many of Bhutan’s majestic peaks such as the sacred Mt. Jomolhari & Mt. Jichu Drake – for unobstructed views, try to get a seat on the LEFT side of the plane. Upon arrival into Paro, and after completing your visa & customs formalities, a representative of The Noble Traveller Bhutan will be there to receive you. Explore Paro Valley - Paro Dzong (fort), built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional wood covered bridge called Nyamai Zam. (Overnight 3 Star - All meals, no drinks).
FRI Oct 23. Day trip to Chelela Pass & Kila Nunnery: Your journey to Chelela Pass will take you thorough blue pine & rhododendron forest for about an hour to reach Chelela pass (13,083 feet). Chelela pass is the highest motor pass in Bhutan and from here, weather permitting; one can have superb views of Mt. Jomolhari (24,035 feet) & Mt. Jichu Drakey (22,930 feet). Enroute to Chelela Pass, visit Bhutan's oldest nunnery, the Kila Nunnery, dating back to the ninth century; the Nunnery is situated along the mountainside, at an altitude of over 9.800 feet. From Chelela pass embark on a short walk (optional) up the ridge to see Haa Valley. Return to Paro, time permitting explore Paro cultural sites. Paro Dzong, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional wood covered bridge called Nyamai Zam. The National Paro Museum (Ta Dzong) - One time watchtower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. Since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. Drukgyel Dzong (under restoration) - built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when its was destroyed by fire in 1951. Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang). The Lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, built the first temple and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern. (Overnight 3 Star hotel - All meals, no drinks).
SAT Oct 24. Paro to Jakar, Bumthang (8,464 feet): Depart Paro for Jakar, Bumthang on Druk Air KB010 (11:50-12:25). With gorgeous scenery, magnificent temples, and elegant homes, Bumthang valley is a lovely place to admire the beauty of Bhutan. Bumthang is steeped in its own unique culture and history, different from Western Bhutan. Begin your cultural journey of Jakar by visiting some of its most iconic cultural landmarks such a the Jambay Lhakhang (Temple), one of the oldest temples in the Kingdom - Founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. The King was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in a day to subdue the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. The temple is one of the two of the 108 built in Bhutan. A second is located in Paro; the Kichu Lhakhang also built on the same day. Continue on to visit Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 at the site where the great Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche meditated. Prior to returning to your hotel, visit Wangduechhoeling Palace, the Birthplace of Bhutan’s Monarchy. As the birthplace of the first king of Bhutan, Druk Gyalpo (King) Ugyen Wangchuck, the Wangduechhoeling Palace serves as an important landmark in the history of the monarchy in Bhutan. In addition to its historical importance, the palace is also an extraordinary example of traditional Bhutanese architecture, painting, and craftsmanship that continues to influence Bhutanese architecture today. The Bhutan Foundation is currently spearheading the restoration of the Wangduechhoeling Palace. (Overnight 3 Star - All meals, no drinks).
SUN Oct 25. Explore Jakar, Bumthang & Attend Jakar Tsechu: Today you will start your day by first visiting the Jakar Dzong or the “Castle of the White Bird” which dominates the Chamkhar valley and overlooks the town. Constructed in 1549, by the Tibetan Lam Nagi Wangchuk the Dzong played an important role as the fortress of defense of the whole eastern Dzongkhags. It also became the seat of the first king of Bhutan. Spend the morning attending the Jakar Tsechu. In the afternoon, you may visit Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER), which is considered the premier institute for research and training in forestry and environmental science for Bhutan and the Asian region. After lunch you have the option to rest or embark on nature walk, relax or visit another key cultural sites. Tamshing Lhakhang, a temple built by the Buddhist Saint Pema Lingpa, contains some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan (Overnight 3 Star - All meals, no drinks).
MON Oct 26. Day Trip to TANG Valley: Tang is one of the four valleys of Bumthang, it is higher than Choekhor(Jakar) valley. The road from Jakar follows the west-east towards Ura for about 10km until it diverts towards North ascending uphill towards the narrow gorge of Tang. You will spend the day visiting the Tang Valley starting with a short hike to Mebartsho (The Burning Lake) where Pema Lingpa, one of Bhutan’s most revered saints and Tertons (Discoverers of Hidden Treasures), dove into the lake with a lighted lamp, only to emerge back with the lamp still burning holding a statue and a chest containing sacred Buddhist texts. You will then continue up the valley to Ogyen Chholing Palace, now converted into a museum which houses permanent exhibits on three floors of the main building. Traditional living quarters are recreated to capture the realistic ambiance of the ancient lifestyles and conditions of the households. Everyday kitchen and weaving utensils, war weapons--including petrified yak dung to make gunpowder--tools and farming implements are the main part of the exhibits. After lunch at Ogyen Chholing Lodge, return to Jakar. Drive time 1.5 hours each way. (Overnight 3 Star - All meals, no drinks).
TUE Oct 27. Jakar, Bumthang to Phobjikha Valley (9,842 Feet): After breakfast, you have the option to participate at the Jakar Tsechu. Begin your journey westward to Phobjikha Valley (Via Trongsa). Drive time today is about 5 hours. Upon arrival, visit the Trongsa Dzong and the Ta Dzong, which has been made into a museum covering the history of the monarchy of Bhutan. Trongsa Dzong: Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All four kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (“governor”) prior to ascending the throne. The dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built. Because of the dzong’s highly strategic position, on the only connecting route between east and west, the Trongsa Penlop was able to control effectively the whole of the central and eastern regions of the country from here. Ta Dzong: This watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands on a promontory above the town. It was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the 1st Governor of Trongsa in 1652. It has four observation points resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon. Climb up the path to visit Ta Dzong, which now houses a shrine dedicated to the epic hero, King Gesar of Ling. A visit to this former watchtower provides visitors with an insight into the significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. From Trongsa, continue your journey to Phobjikha Valley, crossing the Pele La Pass (11,250 feet) where on a clear day you can see Mt. Jhomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drakye and Mt. Kang Bum, three of Bhutan’s prominent peaks. From Pele La Pass, Phobjikha Valley is a short distance away. (Overnight 3 Star - All meals, no drinks).