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Heart of the Dragon








Dolchula Pass


Bhutan Monastery


Mani Wall






Buddhist Monks Bhutan


Heart of the Dragon - Central Bhutan

10 Nights/11 Days
Paro-Thimphu- Punakha- Wangdue-Trongsa-Bumthang-Gangtey-Paro (including Taktsang and Haa Valley)

Day 01: Arrive Paro, Drive to Thimphu
Day 02: Sightsee in Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu-Punakha
Day 04: Punakha-Trongsa
Day 05: Trongsa-Bumthang
Day 06: Bumthang
Day 07: Bumthang-Gantey
Day 08: Gantey-Paro
Day 09: Paro (Tigers Nest)
Day 10: Paro–Haa Valley-Paro
Day 11: leave


Day 01: Arrive Paro - Thimphu
You will be met at Paro airport then driven through the picturesque Paro valley to Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan. Here you will check-in to your hotel.

Day 02: Sightsee in Thimphu
Full day of sightseeing in Thimphu where you may choose from a range of sites, according to your particular interests -
Folk Heritage Museum, National Library, School of Traditional Arts, Traditional Medicine Institute.
Tashichhodzong - “Dzongs” are magnificent regional fortresses built to house the religious and administrative functions of the country‘s rule. They are actively used and are a highlight of architecture and art.
National Memorial Stupa, where many locals gather each day.
Chang Gangkha Monastery (15 century)
Mini zoo where you can see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan – this wild looking creature, that defies classification, was miraculously created by yogi Drukpa Kunley “The Divine Madman” by combining different animals!

Note – some guests have taken an option to extend the stay in Thimphu in order to spend time hiking – Thimphu is filled with great day or half day treks and another a special place to visit is the Tango-Cherry.

Day 03: Thimphu - Punakha
After Breakfast, we proceed towards Punakha. It is a scenic 3 hours drive, taking you over Dochula Pass (10,500 feet) where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. Later you will pass the Semtokha Dzong built in 1629 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the spiritual and temporal founder of Bhutan. It is the oldest dzong in Bhutan.
After lunch we visit Chimi Lhakhang, built by Drukpa Kunley also known as the Divine Madman. It is a glorious 20 minutes walk through the paddy fields and at its small shrine you can receive a special fertility blessing!
Later visit the majestic Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is the second oldest Dzong and perhaps the most magnificent in Bhutan.

Day 04: Punakha- Wangdue- Trongsa
After breakfast, we proceed towards Trongsa for this day’s drive. We travel via Wangdue, a small town located on a ridge. Here we visit the impressive Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and the interesting local market.
Along the way we have a picnic lunch. We pass through oak and rhododendron forest and the high Pele-la pass with many prayers flags (this marks the boundary between western and central Bhutan). The road is beautiful with pristine vistas. Our last stop is the huge Chendebji stupa, which sits alone on a riverside warding off evil spirits and keeping passers by safe. Here we pay our respects, absorbing it’s good wishes and protection and proceed for the final miles to Trongsa, our evenings destination.

Day 05 Trongsa - Bumthang
This morning in the pure air we visit the Trongsa dzong, which sits along the high ridge above the town, much like a lion watching over her cubs. After crossing the small bridge leading to this fortress you climb into a new world, which you can freely explore.
Following this we travel to the open and relaxing mountain village of Bumthang. It is 68 kms. We rise steeply to the Yutong-la-la Pass (3,400m), where the scenery changes to spruce and fir slopes. At Zugney we pause to watch the ladies weaving yatras, the speciality of the region. On arrival in Bumthang we check in to our hotel then explore at leisure the town or take an easy afternoon walk to Memba Tso (lake) or a longer one to the hill top where Pema Lingpa meditated.

Day 06 Sightsee in Bumthang
Bumthang is the name generally given to a group of four valleys which lie at an altitude from 2,600 – 4,000 metres. This valley is the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. It is home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples – some of which, listed below, we visit today. The quiet and solace of these holy places will bring joy to your heart and rest your mind.

Kurje Lhakhang : the Guru Rinpoche holy site which comprises three temples and is surrounded by 108 chortens.

Jambey Lhakang : In the 7th century King Songtsen Gampo subdued a giant demoness who was trying to prevent the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. This is one of 108 temples he erected all over his kingdom. This site pins the left knee of the demoness preventing her from causing more trouble.

Tamshing Lhakhang : Founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, a re-incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava. There are very old religious paintings around the inner walls of the temple.

Jakar Dzong : Constructed in 1549 by the great grandfather of the first Shabdrung, the dzong was initially built as a monastery. Upgraded in 1646, after the Shabdrung had firmly established his power.
Jakar Dzong is now used as the administrative center for Bumthang valley, and also houses the regional monk body.

Day 07 Bumthang - Gangtey
We drive back toward home though forest and vista. After a high pass we trundle down into the beautiful Phobjikha valley, which opens before us. We enter the large courtyard and shrine hall of the restored Gantey monastery and, in season we visit the viewing area for a sight of the rare black cranes which take refuge here each winter.

Day 08 Gangtey - Paro
After a relaxed morning we depart for Paro. On arrival settle comfortably into the hotel and begin exploration of Paro - archery games and local shopping. Afterwards visit Ta Dzong and the National Museum of Bhutan with its fine collection of ancient paintings, textiles, weapons and other artifacts. Later walk down a hillside trail to Rinpung Dzong, (aka fortress of the Heap of Jewels). Alternately you may choose to drive further up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (Fort of Drukpa victory) or visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom.

Day 09 Paro (Tigers Nest)
Today is devoted to Paro Taktsang or “Tigers Nest”. This mountain monastery is built around a cave in which Guru Rinpoche (also known as Padmasambhava) meditated after riding to it on the back of a tigress. The monastery clings seemingly impossible to a cliff of rock at 914 meters above the valley floor. Horses are available for part of the climb.

Day 10 Paro - Haa Valley - Paro
Today we take a special excursion to the Haa valley. This day begins with drive to Chele-la pass (12,600feet) famous for its mountain views. Then we drive down into the very special Haa valley, which is fringed by three hills, each representing a different deity. We picnic, see the black and white temples, meditate, reflect and enjoy! The Black Lhakhang is said to be no different than that of the Lhasa Jowo in Tibet.

Day 11 Leave
Early morning breakfast and transfer to airport for your next destination.


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