Day 1 – Arrive in Bangkok
Upon arrival in this bustling city, you will meet your prearranged transfer and be driven to your accommodation for the night.Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel
Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, is situated right next to the airport terminal. The hotel offers the nearest and most luxurious of airport hotel accommodations. A private 24-hour shuttle transports guests to and from the airport every 10 minutes. There is also a walkway connected to the property allowing guests direct access to the terminal. The 5-story hotel features wireless Internet access throughout its 612 rooms, 4 restaurants, 2 bars, a swimming pool, fitness center, spa area, 6 meeting rooms, 800-person conference room, and business center. Families will enjoy connecting rooms while business travelers may prefer the Executive Rooms. Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is the perfect venue for guests who look for a distinctive atmosphere, comfortable accommodation, and an amazing selection of on-site facilities.Starting Accommodation:
Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Day 2 – Bangkok to Thimphu
Proceed to the main lobby to be transferred via shuttle to the Bangkok Airport for your flight to Paro, Bhutan. On arrival at the Paro Airport, a private driver will transfer you to your Thimphu accommodation.
En route, visit Tashichho Dzong, an impressive building also known as 'the fortress of the Dharma Raja'. It has traditionally been the seat of the Druk Desi, the head of Bhutan's civil government.Starting Accommodation:
Taj Tashi (B)
Day 3 – Explore Thimphu
The Memorial Chorten, also known as the Thimphu Chorten, is a large Tobetan-style Buddhist Monastery and a popular landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells. It was built in 1974 to honor the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The architecture of the chorten has been designed to present it as 'one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu'.The King when he was alive wanted to build 'a chorten to represent the mind of the Buddha'.
A three storied traditional building houses the Folk Heritage Museum. The earthen and timber building was renovated and restored few years ago to appear as it was century ago. Established in 2001 in Thimphu, the museum provides a glimpse into the traditional Bhutanese material culture and way of life. The artifacts, which are kept inside the house, remind the visitors about how the rural Bhutanese live today.
The National Library of Bhutan was first established in 1967 under the patronage of Queen Ashi Phuntso Choden with a small collection of precious texts. It is a permanent home for the sacred religious books and manuscripts.
The National Institute of Traditional Medicine was established in 1988 with the concept to merge the allopathic and traditional systems of healing. It contains an impressive, large laboratory and production facilities that ensures quality of the products, the components of which includes plants, minerals, animal parts, precious metals and gems. The Institution produces traditional Bhutanese medicine towards the needs of the public. There is a day-care facility and clinic where doctors diagnose patients and prescribe appropriate medicines or treatments.Starting Accommodation:
Taj Tashi (B)
Day 4 – Thimphu to Punakha
Today you will depart Thimphu and drive to Punakha, approximately 47 miles. Enroute visit Dochula Pass and upon reaching Punakha you will visit Chimi Lakhang and Punakha Dzong.
On the way to Punakha from Thimphu, the Dochula Pass offers a 360-degree of beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range, especially on clear winter days.
The majestic Punakha Dzong, also known as 'the palace of great happiness or bliss' is the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Constructed on the 8th day and 8th month of the Fire ox year in 1673, the Punakha dzong was the administrative center and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. The drive will take approximately three hours.Starting Accommodation:
Dhensa Boutique Hotel (B)
Day 5 – Punakha Hike
After breakfast and accompanied by your guide, you will hike for about an hour to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten which is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture and artistic traditions. Built on a beautiful ridge above the Punakha valley, this four-story temple has been dedicated for the well-being of the kingdom, its people and all sentient beings. The Chorten was built to remove the negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the ever changing world.Starting Accommodation:
Dhensa Boutique Hotel (B)
Day 6 – Punakha to Gangtey
After an early breakfast, we begin our drive to Gangtey, a beautiful place situated at an altitude of 3000m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque black mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley which is one of the biggest and the most beautiful valleys in the country.
The Phobjika Valley is a vast U-shaped glacial valley, also known as the Gangtey Valley named after the impressive Gangteng Monastery. This broad valley is the best known marshland in Bhutan and is popular for its scenic splendor and cultural uniqueness. The drive is approximately four hours.Starting Accommodation:
Gangtey Lodge (B, L)
Day 7 – Explore Gangtey
After breakfast, take a short hike around the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trails in Bhutan. The trail hike starts from the Mani stone wall to the north of the Gangtey Gonpa and ends in Khewa Lhakhang passing through pine forests and small bamboo plants. You are rewarded with a beautiful view of the Phobjkha valley.
The Bhutanese Royal Society for the Protection of Nature's (RSPN) Black Necked Crane Information Centre in the Phobjikha Valley offers visitors a chance to learn about these rare birds. The Centre has exhibits about the birds, their migration paths and behavior and about the ecology of the valley as a whole. In the observation room, visitors can use high-powered telescopes to observe the birds.Starting Accommodation:
Gangtey Lodge (B)
Day 8 – Gangtey to Paro
After breakfast you will enjoy a leisurely drive back to Paro. The drive is approximately six hours.
Paro Dzong, also known as Ringpung Dzong, means 'Fortress on a heap of jewels'. This impressive dzong is the finest example of Bhutanese architecture and is one of the most popular and well known dzongs in Bhutan.
Paro is also home to the National Museum. The museum is set in Paro Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower that now displays hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artifacts and artwork including traditional costumes, armor, weaponry and handcrafted implements for daily life. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country.Starting Accommodation:
Zhiwaling Hotel (B)
Day 9 – Hike to Taktsany Monastery
Today, accompanied by your guide you will hike to Taktsang Monastery and later visit Kyichu Lakhang. Total duration is approximately four and a half hours.
Perched on the side of a vertical cliff at 3000m altitude north of Paro, the beautiful Taktsang Monastery, also known the 'Tiger's Nest', is the most famous and an unofficial symbol of Bhutan. An hour hike up to a small wooden tea house called Cafeteria provides a close view of the monastery. A further and a rather challenging hike will lead you to the glorious Taktsang Monastery. Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen caves in which Guru Padmasambhava meditated.
Located close to the Paro Airport, the Kyichu Lhakhang is an important Himalayan Buddhist Temple. Built in the 7th century, this is one of Bhutan's oldest religious sites in Bhutan.Starting Accommodation:
Zhiwaling Hotel (B)
Day 10 – Paro to USA
A private vehicle will transfer you from your accommodation to the Paro Airport to begin your journey back to the USA.