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Home of the Dragon


Traditional Crafts






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Home of the Dragon - Eastern Bhutan

13 Nights/14 Days (Fly in/Drive out to Guwahati, India)
Paro -Thimpu-Punakha-Wandue-Gangtey-Trongsa-Bumthang-Mongar-Trashigang-Tashiyangtse-Samdrup Jongkhar-Guwahati


Day 01 – Paro
You will be met at Paro airport then check in to your hotel. After lunch we stroll around the town, visit the archery and local shops.

Day 02 – Paro (Takstang)
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 03 - Paro – Thimphu
In the morning we will visit the National Museum, Kyichu Lhakang, and if time permits the Rinpung Dzong. After lunch we drive to Thimphu, check into our hotel and visit the Folk Museum.

Day 04 – Sightee 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 05 – Thimphu – Punakha
After Breakfast, we proceed towards Punakha. It is a scenic 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 Lama Drukpa Kunley also known as Divine Madman. It is a glorious 20 minutes walk through the paddy fields and at its small shrine you can receive a special 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 06 – Punakha – Wangdue – Gangtey
After breakfast it’s a 45 min drive to Wangdue, a small town located on a ridge. Here we visit the impressive Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and the interesting local market.
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 (only Nyngma monastery in western Bhutan).

Day 07 – Gantey – Trongsa
In season we visit the viewing area for a sight of the rare black cranes, which take refuge in this valley each winter.
Driving onto Trongsa we go over the high Pele-la pass with many prayers flags (it marks the boundary between western and central Bhutan). 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 08 – 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 quite freely explore.
Following this we travel to the open and relaxing mountain village of Bumthang. It is now 68 kms and 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 09 – 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 10 - Bumthang – Mongar
This drive will introduce you to the more dramatic scenery of Eastern Bhutan. With spectacular views, it will take about seven hours. We first pass through beautiful Ura village then climb sharply to the highest motor road pass in Bhutan, Thrumshingla (4000m). We then descend to the alpine valley of Sengor where bamboos and ferns overhang the roadway as we drop to the valley floor. The journey continues eastwards, winding through more rugged terrain. We climb again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets till we reach Mongar town.

Day 11 - Mongar – Tashiyangste
After a leisurely breakfast we visit Mongar Dzong, Yagang Lahkang and the Community Farming Centre. We may even see the brewing of wine from corn.
After lunch we head for Tashiyangtse. En-route we visit the historical Gom Kora Chorten (stupa) - a popular pilgrimage site where Guru Rimpoche meditated and subdued a massive demon. Every spring the Gom Kora Festival is held here. On arrival in the quiet and lovely town of Trashiyangtse we visit the local dzong and Chorten Kora (stupa).
Chorten Kora was constructed in 1740 and it is said to be a replica of the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandhu, Nepal. There are only two other replicas – one in Tibet and one in Arunachal Pradesh. Gom Kora also has an annual masked dance festival that is well worth a visit. Tashiyangtse is famous for woodcarving. There is an area where the black cranes may fly in annually from Tibet. We may, if time permits, visit the Institute for training in traditional arts and crafts.

Day 12 Tashiyangtse – Trashigang
Trashigang is about a 3 hour drive. It is the second largest district in Bhutan and the main market place for the East, including people from Merak & Sakten. You will recognize them by their unique little yak hair hats and yak leather coat.
From Trashigang we take an excursion to the village of Radi and visit the weavers. We travel back to Trashigang and visit its impressive dzong - a 17th century fortress standing at the extreme end of the spur, overhanging the Gamri River.

Day 13 - Trashigang – Samdrup Jongha
Early morning breakfast, drive out of the high ranges into the thick jungles to Samdrup Jonghar (6 hours). Along the way we pass by Sherubste, the first college of the country in Kanglung, then we go on to Khaling to the National Institute for the Disabled and the Weaving Centre. (we need to have made application in Thimphu to visit) From here, it is a further 80 km. to Deothang, which is the site of a famous 19th century battle in which the forces of Jigme Namgyal defeated the British. The road then descends to the plains.

Day 14 – Leave
After breakfast we transfer to the Indian border and Guwahati, capital of India’s Assam, for your flight to onward destination.


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