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The 3 days Bumthang ‘cultural trek’ is popular and provides more opportunities to visit villages and lhakhangs (monasteries) than other treks. Although a short trek, it is quite strenuous and it involves a climb to Phephe La (3360 m).
Day 1: Arrival Paro
Pick up from Paro International Airport (2280m) and check into hotel. If time is available- visit to Paro town in the afternoon.
Day 2: Paro Sightseeing
After early breakfast, visit the National Museum – housed in the Ta-Dzong which was built in 1656 and served as the watch tower of Paro Dzong in the past. Visit Paro Dzong, also called the Rinchen Phug Dzong, which means the fortress on a heap of jewels. Paro Dzong is one of the most impressive and well-known Dzongs of Bhutan and it was built in 1644 CE (common era). After the lunch in town, proceed towards Drukgyel Dzong, which is 14 Km from the Paro downtown. Also known as the Fortress of Victory, Drukgyel Dzong, was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1649, to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644. Return to the hotel. Dinner served in the hotel.
Day 3: Takshang Sightseeing
After breakfast, drive for about 8 Km north of Paro town to visit Bhutan’s renown monastery called – Taktshang or Tiger’s Lair, perched on a rock-cliff of 900m above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century flew to a cave in Taktshang on a tigress and mediated for 3 months. The trek to the monastery and back takes about four hours. Lunch will be served in the cafeteria near the monastery. In the afternoon, drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan that is about 53 Km. The drive takes about an hour and half. In the evening, stroll around Thimphu and interact with the locals. Dinner will be served in hotel.
Day 4: Thimphu Sightseeing
Sightseeing in Thimphu (2320m) includes visits to: National Library which was established in 1967 and has many ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts); Painting School or the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (the 13 traditional arts and crafts like painting, woodcarving, embroidery and statue making); National Memorial Chorten which was built in 1974 in memory of the third King of Bhutan; Semtokha Dzong which is about 5 Km south of Thimphu. Semtokha Dzong was built in 1629 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Today, it houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.); Tashichhodzong – the seat of the Government of Bhutan. It houses the Secretariat, the Throne Room, His Majesty’s Secretariat, the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. If the sight seeing falls on the weekend you can visit Thimphu’s open vegetable market where farmers from the nearby regions gather to sell their produce. Evening is set aside for shopping in town. Day 5: Thimphu to Punakha/Wangduephodrang
The first stop on this road journey is at Dochula pass at 3,140m. Dochula is about 23 Km from Thimphu and during a clear day, it offers a clear view of the Himalayas. After quick refreshments in Dochula, the journey continues to Punakha. Lunch will be served at the hotel. After lunch, sightseeing in Punakha. Punakha Dzong was built in 1637 and was the former capital of Bhutan. It lies at the confluence of the Mo Chu (female river) and the Pho Chu (male river). Punakha Dzong still serves at the winter residence of the Central Monk Body. Wangduephodrang is about 21 Km from Punakha and its Dzong, caught fire in July 2012 and is under renovation ow. It was first built in 1638, that sits on the top the high ridge. The ridge provides a panoramic view of the valley. Return to hotel where dinner will be served.
Day 6: Wangduephodrang/Punakha to Trongsa
After breakfast drive to Trongsa which is about 129 Km from Wangduephodrang. Check into hotel in Trongsa.
Day 7: Trongsa sightseeing and drive to Bumthang
After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong, one of Bhutan’s oldest historical, political and religious monuments which is also known as Druk Minjur Chhoekhor Rabtentse Dzong. Built 463 years ago, Trongsa Dzong sits high on a ridge, overlooking the Mangde Chhu (river) and represents an important link with Bhutan’s precious Institution of monarchy. It was the Dzong where future Kings formalizes their ascension as Chhoetse Penlop before ascending the to Golden Throne. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.. Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s traditional ceremony as the Chhoetse Penlop in Trongsa Dzong took place on October 30, 2004. Visit to Ta Dzong, the watchtower of the Trongsa Dzong. The chapel inside the tower is dedicated to the Jigme Namgyal, the 19th century Trongsa Penlop (Governor). After the lunch – drive to Bumthang, 68 Km. It is one of the easier and scenic drives as it passes through many villages and monasteries as the highway enters to Bumthang valley. Check into hotel.
Day 8: Bumthang Sightseeing
After the breakfast – visit Jakar Dzong, the largest Dzong in Bhutan. It has a circumference of 1500 meters. Visit to the Kurje Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, Tamshing Monastry and the Swiss Farm. Check into hotel.
Day 09: Jakar – Nagang Lhakhang
Walking time around 6 hours. The walk from Jakar to Nagang Lhakhang is an easy and relaxed one. The trek route follows the Chamkhar Chu (river) and passes through many villages and temples. The camp for the night is at a village at an altitude of 2900m.
Day 10: Ngang Lhakang – Ugyenchholing
Walking time 7- 8 hours. The trail ascends gradually through juniper forests up to the Phephe La pass at 3340m. From the pass, the trail descends to Tang Valley and to Ugyenchholing village at 2850m.
Day 11: Ugenchholing- Jakar, visit Membartsho (Treasure hunt lake Lake)
The morning walk goes to Ugyenchholing Dzong and the surrounding villages, then drive to Jakar following the Tang chu (river) up-to the junction on the east-west highway. En-route to Jakar, visit the Membartsho (lake), where Terton Pemalingpa, the reincarnation of Guru Padmasambava, is supposed to have discovered religious treasures in the 12th century. This lake is very sacred and is visited by many Bhutanese during auspicious days to offer butter lamps. Overnight stay at lodge.
Day 12: Bumthang to Gangtey
After breakfast drive to Gangtey Goempa in Phobjikha valley. Gangtey Goempa overlooks the large green expanse of Phobjikha valley, a glacial valley on the western slopes of the black mountain range. The valley is an important wildlife sanctuary in Bhutan and is the roosting ground of the endangered species of blacked necked cranes that flies from the Tibetan plateau during the winter. Overnight stay in the hotel.
Day 13: Gangtey to Paro via Thimphu
Drive to Paro after the breakfast. Lunch on the way in Thimphu. Overnight halt at Paro.
Day 14: Departure
After an early breakfast, our representative will see you off at the Paro International Airport.
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