The Bhutan Photo Tour is aptly designed to have a touring route that has literally picturesque monuments, landscapes, villages, and cities. Every destination seems to outdo the other in terms of art, architecture, beauty, and awe. On top of that, it is a Himalayan country sandwiched between Tibet, China and India. It is somewhat comparable to Switzerland by virtue of its shape and mountainous landscapes, and thus, known as ‘Switzerland of Asia’. What’s breathtaking about this tiny Buddhist nation is monuments and monasteries built upon cliffs and ridges. They are bewildering. They are mystifying. It is the only Vajrayana Buddhist nation in the world that has played a major role in its arts and crafts. You will have quite an amazing experience like never before.
You won’t have to wait long to come to its wonder. Right after you arrive in Paro, the gateway to Bhutan, for here is the only international airport, your visit to Paro Dzong and Ta Dzong will warm you up for upcoming marvels. Moreover, the Taktsang Palphung Monastery located on a precipice is incredible. Also known as the Tiger’s Nest, it is perched on a cliff approximately 900 meters above Paro Valley. It will be your eerie and ethereal experience. It is absolutely picturesque. In addition to it, when you get to Drugyel Dzong, you will have a magnificent view of Bhutan’s second-highest peak the Mount Jumolhari.
Being a Himalayan country, it has a lot of passes which will allow you a panoramic view of mountains and hills. You will cross such passes while traveling to Punakha. Dochu La Pass is pretty amazing. The Eastern Himalayan range will be a compelling sight to be hold. The capital city Thimpu has something extraordinary to offer—the painting school National Institute of Zorig Chusum, Folk Heritage Museum and handmade paper factory are a few. You would want to have their photos taken.
All the way to Samdrup Jongkhar, you will be visiting a myriad of magnificent historical, religious, and cultural sites and monuments. Equally majestic will be green hills and soaring mountains.
Day 01: Arrival in Paro
Day 02: Visit Paro (Taktsang Monastery & Drugyel zong)
Day 03: Drive Paro to Punakha via Thimphu
Day 04: Drive Punakha to Wangdue
Day 05: Drive Wangdue to Trongsa
Day 06: Visit Trongsa
Day 07: Drive Trongsa to Bumthang
Day 08: Drive Bumthang to Ura
Day 09: Drive Ura to Mongar
Day 10: Drive Mongar to Drametse
Day 11: Drive Drametse to Trashigang
Day 12: Visit Trashigang
Day 13: Drive Trashigang to Rangjung
Day 14: Visit Rangjung
Day 15: Drive Rangjung to Samdrup Jongkhar
Day 16: Drive Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati, India (Departure)
Day 1 Arrive Paro: You will be met by our representatives who will greet you in traditional fashion and then escort you to your private vehicles for the short drive to your hotel. Enjoy lunch at hotel over a brief trip introduction and then begin sightseeing in the valley. First, we will visit Paro Dzong and the Ta Dzong, now home to the national museum, and then walk down to a traditional wooden covered bridge. Here you will continue on foot to explore Paro town. Later have dinner while enjoying traditional Bhutanese dancing.
Day 2: Visit Paro: After an early breakfast at your hotel, hike to Taktsang Monastery or “Tiger’s Nest” (approximately 4 hours roundtrip). The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 3,000 feet and overlooks the Paro valley. It is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites in the Himalayan world and houses 13 holy places. In the afternoon, continue sightseeing in the valley as time allows including visits to Drugyel Dzong (from where you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan’s second highest peak) and Kichu Monastery.
Day 3: Drive Paro to Punakha via Thimphu (approximately 4 ½ hours): Begin the drive to Punakha after an early breakfast. En route we will stop in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital city, with visits to the National Institute of Zorig Chusum (“Painting School”), Folk Heritage Museum, and the handmade paper factory. After lunch in Thimphu town, continue on to Punakha. 45 minute outside of Thimphu we cross the breathtaking Dochu La Pass and pass the 108 Dochu La chortens. At over 10,000 feet, on a clear day you get an amazing view of the eastern Himalayan mountain range.
Day 4: Drive Punakha to Wangdue (approximately 1 hour): The day begins early with a drive to Logodama Primary School, from where we walk approximately 1 hour to a site which offers top views of the Punakha Dzong. After ample time for photos, we will venture into the Dzong and later over the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. After lunch, visit Chimi Lhakhang which can be reached by a 20-minute gentle walk through rice fields. Also known as the Divine Madman’s, people now visit to receive blessings for fertility from his wooden phallus. In the evening, as time permits, visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong and small Wangdue town.
Day 5 :Drive Wangdue to Trongsa (approximately 5 hours): With a pack lunch, we begin the long but scenic drive towards Trongsa and into central Bhutan. Stop en route at the spectacular Chendebji Chorten, and later enjoy an optional 2-hour hike through the forest which ends just below the Trongsa Dzong where your driver and vehicle will be waiting for you.
Day 6 Visit Trongsa: Spend a leisurely morning taking photos in Trongsa with visits to the Dzong and new museum. Later drive 1-hour south to Kuenga Rabten, the winter palace of the second king, passing several huge waterfalls along the way.
Day 7 Drive Trongsa to Bumthang (approximately 2 ½ hours): Awake at your leisure for breakfast at the hotel and finish sightseeing in Trongsa or directly begin the journey to Bumthang. Often considered the cultural heartland of the country and home to some of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, Bumthang offers many places and sights of interest. Spend the day touring these sights, some of which include the Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong, Tamshing Lhakhang, and Wangdichholing Palace. Visit Jakar town in the evening for shopping and visiting with the Bumtaps.
Day 8 Drive Bumthang to Ura (approximately 1 ½ hours): Today we drive to Bumthang’s highest valley of Ura with an optional stop en route at Membartsho, or the “Burning Lake. Later we’ll visit the traditional village of Shingkhar and the Dechen Chholing Goemba. After a picnic lunch, we continue on to the charming village of Ura and its cobblestone streets.
Day 9 Drive Ura to Mongar: Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before beginning the long but spectacular drive into eastern Bhutan to Mongar which takes you over two passes and alongside precipitous drops. Stop for pictures along the way as you like and enjoy a pack lunch en route.
Day 10 Drive Mongar to Drametse (approximately 2 ½ hours): We leave Mongar early morning for the drive to Drametse, the biggest and most important monastery in eastern Bhutan. Spend the afternoon at the monastery and exploring the small village.
Day 11 Drive Drametse to Trashigang (approximately 1 ½ hours): Enjoy a private masked dance show by the monks of the Drametse Goemba. Enjoy lunch amongst the monks and locals, before continuing on to Trashigang.
Day 12 Visit Trashigang: From Trashigang take a day trip to witness the Gom Kora festival approximately 1 hour each way). Attend the festivities as you like with a late afternoon return to Trashigang.
Day 13 Drive Trashigang to Rangjung (approximately 45 minutes): The morning is free to explore the interesting Trashigang town and the carefully perched Trashigang Dzong. Later begin the trip south to Rangjung, Spend a leisurely afternoon exploring the area on foot and visiting the Rangjung Woesel Chholing Monastery.
Day 14 Visit Rangjung: Today we will have the unique opportunity to witness a private cultural show by the Merak people, including yak dances and other traditions native to their culture. These semi-nomadic tribesmen, noticeable by their sheepskin and yak hair clothing, inhabit the nearby region where no foreigners are allowed to visit. After the festivities have concluded, we will feast on a traditional meal with the participants.
Day 15 Drive Rangjung to Samdrup Jongkhar (approximately 7 hours): After breakfast begin the long drive to Samdrup Jongkhar. Stop en route in Kanglung to see the Zangtopelri Lhakhang and later, Khaling to see the National Handloom Development Project. The evening is free for activities in Samdrup Jongkhar as you choose.
Day 16 Drive Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati (4 hours): After breakfast at your hotel, your guide and driver bid you farewell for your onward journey to Guwahati, India.
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