10 Nights 11 Day Western-Central Bhutan Cultural Tour
Paro focus for culture tour to witness the living cultural of Bhutan with a uniqueness, most countries culture has been losing with an adoption of other cultures
Day 01: Arrive Paro & Paro-Thimphu (distance: 54 km, estimated travel time:1 hour)
Arrive Paro by DrukAir (Royal Bhutan Airlines) or Bhutan Airlines (Bhutanese private airlines). After completing your immigration formalities, you will be welcome by our guide from Pawo Tours and Treks, our guide will be accompanying your entire trip.
Onward journey to Thimphu, you will experience the natural scene of Pachu (Paro river) and joins by the confluence of Wangchu (Thimphu river), en-route visit Tachog Lhakhang (temple), the 14th century temple located between Paro-Thimphu highway. Built by the great master architect Thangtong Gyalpo, the temple houses some unique statues, crossing the Pachu by iron-chain link made by Thangtong Gyalpo.
Upon arrived at Thimphu, after lunch sightseeing start in the afternoon:
- Motithang Takin Preserve, the Takin is national animal of Bhutan, the Takin are found in Bhutan and some part of Tibet. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They diet of Takin are grasses and bamboos. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds.
- Kuenselphodrang (commonly known as Buddha Point) where the largest Buddha Dordema statue in the country is perched on the hillock overlooking the Thimphu Valley and enjoy the magnificent few of Thimphu Valley and mountain peaks. you can take a short leisure walk through Kuensel Phodrang nature park.
- Tashichho-dzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, seat of the monarch’s throne room and summer residence of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot and Religious Monk body. The Dzong was built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the Dzong was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.
- National Memorial Chorten (stupa), the Chorten was constructed in 1974 as a memorial stupa in memorial of third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is the father of modern Bhutan. The term ‘chorten’ literally means ‘ seat of faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments the ‘Mind of Buddha’. You will see all age of people walking round the stupa several times (in circumambulation) in order to accumulate good merits (Bhutanese belief).
Dinner and overnight at hotel
Day 02: Thimphu Tour and Sightseeing
Morning visits includes the following places:
- The Folk Heritage Museum, the museum that gives an insight into rural life in Bhutan, an ancient Bhutanese styles
- The School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan, this symbolize the ancient living arts and crafts of Bhutan.
- National Institute of Traditional Medicine, typical medical pharmacy and where medicinal herbs are compounded and dispensed, and traditional medical practitioners trained date back early ages
- National Textile Museum which is a good place to witness the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of our ancestors wears the textile museum brings us to keep and practice the old textiles which are rich in colors and designs. You will also see people weaving with intricate designs.
Afternoon visit includes the following places:
- Traditional Bhutanese paper making factory. The handmade paper making in Bhutan stemmed from the old age tradition originated in the 8th century of Bhutanese history. The handmade paper contributes a valuable National heritage and cultural identity and is preserved throughout the ages. The Traditional paper is recognized and held high esteem both in home and outside world. Jungshi Paper Factory was established in November 1990 as an undertaking of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The unit now owns by the private company, which boasts as a major and sole dealer in handmade paper and its products.
- Centenary Farmers’ market (if tour coincides with Thu-Sun) where farmers would be selling their wide range of farm produces (vegetables from farms and wild ferns or bamboo shoots collected from forest, flour, rice, roasted rice, rice flakes, spices, yams both cultivated and wild ones collected from forests, fruits, etc) and livestock products (mainly cheese and butter). Free interaction with people from town as well as from villages come to this weekend market. Weekend market is from Thursday-Sunday (4 days).
- Bhutan Postal Museum (recently launched)-The museum tells the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the evolution of communications and postal system in the country. And also you can get personalized Bhutanese postage stamps with your photo on them. You can bring along your favorite photo to put on the stamps and put these stamps on your postcard to send to your family and friends.
- Craft Bazaar -A one stop place to witness Bhutanese culture and buy Bhutan made art and craft product. The Bazaar in its 80 stalls covers all aspects of the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. At this Bazaar craftsmen and artisans from across the country display and sell their handicrafts products.
Day 03: Thimphu-Punakha and Wangdue
Distance: 71 km, estimated driving time: 2 ½ hours
After breakfast, travel to Punakha & Wangdue through Dochula Pass 3140 m). At Dochula,in the clear spring sky, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. . Then pass by the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. En-route visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (monastery) which was built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan) as a tribute to His Majesty the fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck and armed forces after His Majesty led a successful operation against Indian militants who had occupied certain areas of Bhutan. The gallery of the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang has beautiful murals depicting some of the important events in the reigns of the Kings of Bhutan.
Travel to Punakha. Punakha has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture. Punakha was old capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 1907.
En-route lunch at Metsina village and then walk or drive through paddy fields for about 20 minutes by walk or 5-minute drive to visit the Divine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can have conceived a special fertility blessing. While return visit a farmhouse in Lobesa village which gives you insight into the traditional Bhutanese way of life in Punakha region.
Then drive for about 20 minutes and walk across traditional Bhutanese cantilever bridge to visit the Punakha Dzong, the Dzong is built confluence of the Pho – Chu (male river) and the Mochu (female river). The dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. You can witness the traditional wooden structures.
Visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendup Lhakhang Nunnery in the evening which is situated on the hillock overlooking both Punakha and Wangdue phodrang valleys and enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful view of Punakha and Wangdue valleys from there.
Day 04: Punakha/Wangdue-Trongsa-Bumthang
Distance: 197 km, estimated travel time: 6-8 hrs
Travel to Bumthang via Trongsa. The drive will take you through dense forests of oak and blue pine trees and through the subtropical vegetation. The journey will also take you through the Pele la pass (3300m). Throughout your trip you will come across the beautiful sceneries of rural Bhutan. You will also pass through open meadows, and valley of yak herders and several other villages via Chendebji Chorten (Stupa) another opportunity to experience for photography.
On arrival at Trongsa, you will stop for refreshment and also visit Trongsa Dzong, which is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Built in 1644 by the Shabdrung, the dzong is an architectural masterpiece.
Arrival to Bumthang passing through Yotong La Pass (3400 m). Just before reaching Bumthang you will come across “Yathra” Weaving Centre at Zugney Village where you will see local weaver’s women are weaving Yathra. Yathra is the name for the colorful, hand-woven woolen cloth (often with geometric designs) that is produced in this region and wool used for this type of textile is sheep wool as the sheep is reared in this Bumthang Valley. Yathra is made into jackets, hand bags, other household material etc.
Day 05: Bumthang Tour and Sightseeing
Morning visit Tamshing Lhakhang. This temple is also known as Tamshing Lhendrup Chholing (Temple of the Good Message). Take a gentle and pleasant hike crossing the Chamkharchu (river) by a suspension bridge and visit the second oldest temple back to 8th century, the Kurjey (kurjey means, body imprint). Later at same location, the temple was built by Minjur Tempa in 1652. The great saint Guru Rimpoche meditated in the cave and left his body imprint.
Walk few minutes to the Jambay Lhakhang, the built in the 7th century by the King Songtsen Goempo of Tibet, the King built 108 temples in Tibet and its neighboring kingdoms to propagate the Buddhist.
Drive 10 minutes to visit Jakar Dzong, “castle of the white bird”. According to legend, when the lamas assembled in about 1549 to select a site for a monastery, a big white bird rose suddenly in the air and settled on a spur of a hill. This was interpreted as an important and good omen, and the hill was chosen as the site for a monastery and for Jakar Dzong. The fortress is now used as an administrative center of the Bumthang Dzongkhag and summer residence of Trongsa monks.
Visit another weaving center Dorjibi weaving center which is located in Dorjibi village, drive half an hour drive from Bumthang town, women engaged in making Bhutanese weaves using local dyes and improved looms.
Enjoy authentic traditional dinner in the Bumthang valley at the farmhouse.
Day 06: Bumthang Tang Valley Excursion
Whole day Tang Valley Excursion and witness the beautiful lush remote Tang valley. Tang valley is one of the four valleys in Bumthang district. The people of this valley raise sheep and at a higher elevation yaks are raised too as the soil this valley is not so rich for cultivation. Visit the century old Ugyencholing Heritage Museum, which once belongs to the Royal Family of Tang valley and visit Mebar Tso (burning lake) a treasure discovered by the great Terton (Treasure discoverer) Pemaling in the 15th century.
Lunch will be served at a farmhouse, back to Bumthang
Evening visit local handicraft shops in the town.
Day 07: Bumthang – Wangdue Via Phobjikha valley (distance: 197 km, driving time: 6-8 hrs)
Morning drive to beautiful Phobjikha via Trongsa, the Phobjikha Valley is important seat of the Terton (treasure discoverer) Gangtey Goempa (Monastery) and winter residence of endangered black-necked cranes, the valley falls the beautiful Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (formerly known as Black Mountains National Park), each winter the valley flocks around 300 black-necked cranes, the black-necked cranes festivals held in 11th November each year by the government. The surrounding hills and mountains are home to nomadic shepherds and yak-herders. This is one of the most remote and untouched regions in Bhutan and is only just opening its doors to the outside world. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit the Black Necked Crane Center. Travel to Wangdue and Punakha
Day 08: Punakha Hike & travel to Punakha-Paro (Distance: 125 km, estimated travel time: 3 1/2 hours)
Morning visit Punakha valley and take a hike for about an hour through farmland to the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Lhakhang (temple) built by Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan) for peace and stability in this ever-changing world. This temple is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley below. The temple is ideally built and its breathtaking beautiful views from the temple. Travel to Paro, on arrival at Paro in the evening visit local handicraft shops in the town.
Day 09: Paro Sightseeing
Morning drive 18 km north of Paro valley and visit the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, the Dzong was built in 17th century, the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Reconstruction of Dzong has been initiated by the government.
Visit Kyichu temple, same one like Jampay Lhakhang in Bumthang, among the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo, two lhakhangs fall in Bhutan. Brief history of 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songstem Gampo, a giant lady demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To subdued her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans and built the temples in the year 638 AD, and it is believed that the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built heart of the demon.
Visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is office of the administration center of Paro Dzongkhag and school for monks. Small hike downhill to Rimpung Bridge (Traditional Bridge), oldest bridge in Bhutan.
Visit the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). Here is an intriguing collection of artefacts which provide you with a wonderful insight to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Visit Dungtse Lhakhang, built by Thangtong Gyalpo in 14th century, the Lhakhang doesn’t use electricity light, mostly butter lamps are lit for welfare of all sentient beings.
Day 10: A Day Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest Monastery)
Drive for about 20 minutes to the base of Taktsang monastery and then hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’ a saint Guru Rinpoche mediated in the cave in the 8th century. In the view point you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Walked uphill, as per the Buddhist cosmology said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave for 4 months. The principal Lhakhang (monastery) of the present monastic complex was built by Gyelsey Tenzin Rabgay in 1692. Taktsang was damaged by fire in 1998 and now fully restored its former glory.
Day 11: Paro – Departure
A representative from Pawo Tours and Treks will see you off at the Paro International Airport for your onward destinations.
3 persons & above
Low Season:Dec,Jan, Feb,Jun, Jul & Aug
High Season:Mar,April, May,Sept,Oct & Nov
Thank you & Tashi Delek
- Bhutan Government Royalty of US$ 65 per person per night.
- Bhutanese Tourist Visa fee of US$40 per person is charged (one time).
- FIT surcharges of US$40per person per night for a single person and US$30 per person per night for the two persons.
- Twin sharing hotel rooms at 3 star hotels.
- All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner & light refreshments) at 3-star hotels/tourist standard restaurants.
- English speaking tour guide service.
- All transfers and excursions by private vehicles.
- All entrance fees to museums and monuments.
- All internal taxes and fees.
- Mineral drinking water.
- Single room supplement of US$40/room/night during low season and US$ 50/room/night during high season (optional).
- Travel assurance (recommended).
- 4 star and 5-star accommodations and meals (optional).
- Other personal expenses like overseas calls, laundry, etc.