In this tour, travelers will be guided through the five popular districts of western Bhutan – Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, and Haa.
In Thimphu, you will visit the Tashi Chho Dzong (fortress), National Institute for Zorig Chusum (13 traditional arts), National Memorial Chorten, Jungshi paper factory, Takin reserve, Buddha Dordenma statue, and the adjacent Kuensel Phodrang Park where you can view a panoramic look of Thimphu town. The Takin reserve is a wildlife reserve area for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. The Tibetan saint Drukpa Kuenley, or popularly known as ‘The Divine Madman’, is credited with creating the Takin, amalgamating the body of a cow and the head of a goat.
In Punakha, you will visit the Punakha fortress, the Khamsum Yulley Chorten, and Chimi temple. Chimi temple, which is known widely as the temple of fertility as many childless women have been able to conceive after receiving the blessings from an artifact that belonged to the founding saint of the temple
In Gangtey valley, also known as Phobjikha valley, you will visit the resplendent Gangtey monastery, and the Black-necked crane Information Centre. If you are visiting Gangtey during November and March, you may be able to sight the endangered black-necked cranes, wild boars, sambars, red foxes, as well as an array of beautiful birds.
On your drive to Haa, we will drive through the Cheli la pass (3,700 meters) amid dense blue pine and rhododendron forests. You will also have the opportunity to glimpse the clear silhouettes of Mount Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drakey, two of the highest Himalayan Mountains in Bhutan.
In Haa, you will visit the 7th century White temple (Lhakhang Karpo) and the Black temple (Lhakhang Nagpo), both built in the 7th century by the divine powers of Tibetan king Songtsen Gempo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one single day. You may time your visit in the summer to attend the famous Haa Summer Festival, a jubilant celebration of the nomadic lifestyles and traditions of Bhutan. Set among pristine lakes and high alpine valleys, the Haa summer festival provides enriching insight into the lives and traditions of Bhutan’s nomadic herders. Immerse yourself in this one of a kind experience by playing the local sports, tasting delicious home-cooked cuisine and local liquor (Ara), and enjoying traditional songs and dances.
On your drive from Haa to Paro, you will stop by the Dobji fortress, which served as Bhutan’s central prison from 1976. It now serves as a central religious school.
In Paro, you will visit the ruins of the Drugyel fortress, Paro Rinpung fortress, and the National Museum which was built to serve as a watchtower for the Paro fortress. The museum holds an impressive collection of precious antiques and artifacts. You will also hike to the most iconic and sacred place in Bhutan, Taktsang (Tigers nest), built precariously on a hillside cliff. Legend states that Guru Rinpoche, the 8th-century Indian Buddhist master who introduced Buddhism in Bhutan, flew to the site on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. You will also visit one of Bhutan’s oldest and divine monasteries, Kyichu monastery.
In addition to visiting all of the above cultural and historical spectacles, your itinerary will also include enjoyable recreational activities such as learning how to play archery, relaxing in a traditional hot stone bath, and sampling a range of interesting local cuisine.