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Road Trip to Bhutan

Bhutan is best known to the world today as the last Shangrila. Participants who make the rare journey into this extraordinary kingdom will discover that there is no other destination like this land of pure and exotic mysticism. Experience the tranquility of the monastries and drive through the incredibly beautiful mountain peaks. Road to Bhutan is an epic journey which will leave lifetime memories that you will cherish forever.

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Day 1

Arrival: Paro – Thimphu

bhutan-paro-road-journeyParticipants will get together in Paro. If you are flying to Paro, your vehicle will be waiting for you at the airport. Our team will orientate you on the driving rules and regulations of Bhutan. Drive to Paro town for lunch and to freshen up. After lunch, visit the National Museum and Paro Rinpung Dzong, the District Administrations’ and Religious activities’ centre.

We will drive to Thimpu which is only an hour away from Paro. You can spend the rest of the evening walking around the town or visit the Takin Preserve to see the National animal of Bhutan, a weird animal that looks like a cross between a cow and a goat. Later go visit Tashichhoe Dzong, the Dzong is a fortress in the evening to see the seat of the Government and Religious activities. The King and the Chief Abbot’s office are in this building.

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 2

Thimphu Excursion

thimpu-buton-road-tourHave breakfast at the hotel and start off the day by driving towards north of Thimphu to Tango/ Chari Monastery, the drive is about half hour up and once you are there you can hike up the to Tango monastery (45 mins up). It is one of the renowned Buddhist colleges in the country and also the residence of a high Lama (reincarnated). Come back down to town for lunch and then visit the School of 13 Arts and Crafts and the Folk Heritage Museum. Later, around evening time (after 5pm), visit Tashichhoe Dzong, the Center of Administrations and Religious activities of the country.

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 3

Thimphu – Punakha

punakha-journey-by-roadAfter a leisurely breakfast, we will drive to Dochula Pass (3000m) and stop for a view of the snow capped Himalayas. Continue driving towards Punakha. Stop at Lobesa village and have lunch before going for a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility), it is dedicated to Lam Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Mad Man) and is the place from where Phalluses originated as the symbol of fertility and protection and can be seen everywhere in Bhutan, on house walls and roofs and altars. We continue driving through the incredible landscapes and by evening we will reach the beautiful town of Punakha.

Overnight at a hotel in Punakha/ Wangdue Phodrang.

Day 4

Punakha  – Bumthang

bhumtang-tour-indiaAfter breakfast go for a short walk in the valley and then drive toward Bumthang. We will drive through Yotungla Pass at an altitude of 3400 metres. The air is much cooler and from there you will descend towards the valleys of Bumthang, the hills are much gentler and the valley wider, Bumthang is known as the ‘Switzerland of Bhutan’.

Overnight at a hotel in Bumthang.

Day 5


No driving today! You have a whole day to relax and wear your tourist hat. Lots of interesting places to visit in Bumthang!

Jambey lhakhang

Jambay Lhakhang was built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in 659 AD.  The temple was blessed by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang. It is said that Guru Rimpoche was the one who brought Buddhism to Bhutan.  It was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life with his magical powers. Many believe that there is a natural lake under the temple in which Guru Rimpoche took refuge on several occasions.

Kurjey Lhakhang

The Kurjey Lhakhang is a monastery located in the Bumthang Valley of Bhutan. The Kurjey Lakahng Temple Complex is a 20 minute hike from the Jambay Lhakhang. According to legend, Guru meditated in a cave there to subdue an evil spirit and left an imprint of his body in the cave to serve as a reminder to all evil beings of his wrath. A cypress tree stands behind the temples, it is believed to have grown from Guru Rinpochhe’s staff. The Kurjey Lhakhang Temple complex consists of 3 major temples and surrounding Chortens. The first one dates back to the 17th Century, second one was built by the first King in the 1900’s and the last one was built by the Queen Grandmother in the 1980’s

Tamshing Lhakhang

The Tamshing Lhakahng is home to Lama Sungtrul Rinpoche, the present day speech reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, the ‘Treasure revealer’.The temple was constructed in 1501 by the great Pema Lingpa himself. Before 1960 Tamshing was privately owned. The core mission of the Tamshing monastery is to teach the Dharma, perform religious service for the community and educate the young monks under its care. Since the monastery is not state run the monks find it a challenge to support the operation of this monastery and survive off donations from the devout. Most of the young monks in the monastery are under the age of 15 and are either orphans or come from very poor families who can’t afford to send their children to even the state run schools.

Mebartsho (The Burning Lake)

It is not a lake as such but a small stream instead which gets collected into a small pool. This is the place where Pema Lingpa discovered his first treasure. The villagers didn’t believe that he found the treasures there. So, to prove that he was not lying he jumped in the lake with a burning butter lamp in his hand, when he came out he had some more treasures in his hand and the lamp was still burning.

Overnight at a hotel in Bumthang.

Day 6

Bumthang – Phobjikha valley

food-bhutanWe start driving back westwards today. Drive towards Trongsa, visit Trongsa dzong, which played a very important role in the unification of Bhutan between the 17th and 19th Century, after that visit the Ta Dzong, the watch tower which has now been converted into a museum. Lunch will be at the museum restaurant.

Then drive to Phobjikha, the valley of the Black Necked Cranes. This is the winter nesting grounds for the endangered Black Necked Cranes, they start arriving by October end and leave for the Tibetan plateau by February. Visit the Crane Centre for information on the cranes.

Overnight at a Hotel/ Guest house in Phobjikha valley.

Day 7

Phobjikha – Paro

paro-bhutan-road-by-journeyAfter breakfast, we will go for a Nature Trail hike that takes you around the valley said to be a glacial valley. Later, we will visit the beautiful 17th Century Gangtey Monastery stands, which is also home to the largest privately owned Nyingmapa Buddhist School. After a quick stop at Wangdue Phodrang, we will continue driving towards Paro.

Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

Day 8

Paro: Taktsang hike

tiger-nest-taktsangHave early breakfast and drive up to the base of Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The most famous and sacred site among all the places in Bhutan. Guru Padmasambhava is said to have come riding on a flying tigress to this place and meditated in a cave for 3 months, it wasn’t until Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal came to this place and meditated that it gained the popularity that it has now. The present structure is said to be built in the 15th century but was destroyed by fire in 1998 and has been restored.

The walk is about 2 hours till the top through wide pathways which was built during the restoration works. One hour into the climb there is a tea point from where you get a very good view of the monastery, they also serve lunch here. From there it’s about another 45 minutes climb to the 2nd view point and the highest point in the hike.

Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

Day 9

bhutan-road-tripOur Bhutan Adventures comes to an end. Bid goodbye to your new friends and fellow travellers and fly back home!

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