This tour has many elements that add to your Nepal trip. First, it takes you to see the Land of Thunder Dragon Bhutan, then it takes you close to the great Himalayas. All of these sights are truly beautiful and offer spectacular views. The view of the Himalayas offers scenic views of some of the world’s highest glacial peaks. Another sight that you will see is Paro Valley. As you enter here, you will be amazed by its natural beauty.
In addition being a Buddhist country, Dzong is one of the sites present here. Some of the elements include Paro Dzong (fortress), Ta Dzong (watch tower) and Punakha Dzong. On this trip, you will also visit the National Museum, which is the Chuzom bridge where the Paro and Thimphu river meet together. The three styles of stupa built here are for the subdivision of evil spirits. The other special aspects to this tour include the National Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Temple, Chimmi Lhakhang, temple, traditional hospital, and the handicraft emporium which Bhutan is famous for. Last but not the least, we will end this trip with visiting the Taktsang monastery, which is also known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest.’ Here you will be able to hike two hours up to the cliff and enjoy the spectacular views of this Grand monastery.
The tiny Himalayan Kingdom now provides travelers with a rare glimpse inside their treasure trove of ancient temples, monasteries and Dzong fortresses, though the isolation has delicately preserved almost all of the original heritage and culture. Nestling in the Himalayas, the country has a thrilling mountain views, agricultural terraces where fruit, rice, tea and tobacco are grown, as well lowlands with lush green forests and copper mines. The stunning national parks are surrounded by cities steeped in culture, and filled with famously friendly locals. The Bhutanese, who are predominantly Buddhist, regularly vote themselves as the happiest people in Asia on international polls.
2 Hours Before Flight Time
(By Druk Air flight): Your Guide from Himalayan Circuit will receive you at the airport and drive you the short distance to the hotel. After Tea, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jumolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo.
After breakfast drive to Punakha 5 hours drive crossing the the Chuzom bridge, visit to Punakha Dzong and Trek up to “ Khumsum Yuele : The temple is newly built by the queen mother of the crown prince for the well being of Prince and the country. The temple is built on the ridge of a mountain looking over the Punakha valley and one has to hike with gradual up hill through the agriculture field and pine forests for almost 1 hours. For Birders : Punakha valley is in the temperate climate and has many kinds of Himalayan birds including the water birds like Heron, kingfishers, lapwing, ibis bill, shell duck, cormorant etc. which migrate in winter. Overnight – Hotel in Punakha, Bhutan.
After breakfast drive to Dochula pass, Stop for the while at Dochula to View the Himalayan Mountain, you will see mountain peak if the weather is clear and stop for the lunch at Dochula with view point. After lunch sightseeing vist changangkha Temple, Drupthob monastery, Tashichoe Dzong and the Folk heritage museum and then visit the Handicrafts Emporium. Overnight – Hotel in Thimphu
After breakfast drive to Paro Hike to Tiger Nest (Taktshang)Taktsang, The Hike to Tiger Nest (Taktshang)Taktsang is the most famous of Bhutan’s for scene Monasteries perched on the side of the cliff 900m above the floor of Paro Valley, where the only sounds of wind and water and the chanting of monks. The name means ‘Tiger’s Nest; the Guru is said to have flown to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress. The trail is broad and the walk uphill takes you a little more than a 1000ft above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang monastery built on the cliff is a spectacular sight. It is a great pilgrim site for the Buddhists and also it is one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayan world, a pilgrimage destination for devout Buddhists. For a close look at the cliff-hanging site, hike about 2 hrs up hills to a view point’s directly opposite the monastery a hilltop filled with prayer flags. From here Taktsang is clearly seen, clinging to a sheer rock wall 3000 ft above the valleys floor, at an altitude of 10,000ft. Beyond the viewpoint, the path is narrow and steep as it climbs to a point above the temple, from where walkers descend to the building itself. Restoration after a fire in 1998 is now almost completed. The main deity of Taktsang is Dorji Drolo, the wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche, the precious Teacher, also known as Padmasambhava .The great tantric mystic is said to have flown here on the back of a tiger, a manifestation of his consort, Yeshi Tsogyal, when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th century. The image of Dorji Drolo inside the temple is shown standing on a tiger. There are 13 sacred sites at Taktsang, and several meditation caves in the cliffs above. Many saints have meditated here, not only Guru Rinpoche but also Milarepa and the female yogin Machig Labdronma. Here you can meditate awhile before beginning the descent. You will have lunch at Tiger nest cafeteria, and in the evening you will have farm house dinner. Over night Hotel in Paro, Bhutan.
Early morning drive to Paro International Airport and your Bhutanese friends from Himalayan Circuit will accompany you to bid farewell as you embark on your onward journey to back home.
Until recently, the tiny Asian kingdom of Bhutan remained tucked away in total isolation from the rest of the world. That segregation helped to preserve its deep Buddhist traditions, importance of the family and pristine landscapes. It’s also made it a fascinating country to study.
AUTHOR: Elissa Leibowitz Poma, WWF Travel Manager
Most Mysterious Country in the World
Bhutan is one of the most closed countries in Asia. Visiting as an independent traveler is pretty much impossible — an official tour is compulsory.
Although Bhutan no longer restricts the number of tourists per year as they once did, exploring the country can be expensive. To receive a travel visa, all visitors to Bhutan must book through a government-approved tour agency and pay the full price of the trip before arrival.
The full amount of your stay is wired to the Tourism Council of Bhutan in advance; they then pay the tour operator which arranges your hotels and itinerary. Foreign travelers get very little choice of where to stay or what to do.
Some Bhutanese claim that foreign visitors are shown only what the government wants them to see. Tours are censored to maintain a false image of internal happiness.
The visa and tour agency fees to visit Bhutan average more than US $250 per day.
I could not remember what I had learned in the beginning. A couple of more days in Bhutan would have been nice. We only got a shallow expression of the country and its inhabitants we were just lucky that we were able to join a local party.