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ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk air A 319, the only national carrier. The flight offers you beautiful view of mountains and landscapes. On arrival and after visa formalities you will be received by ITT members. Afternoon / evening time at leisure.
Overnight Kichu Resort.
Day 02: Paro Sightseeing - visit the ruined fortress of Drugyel dzong which still attracts visitors due to the strategic location of the fort. The fort defended the Paro valley from the Tibetan invasion from the north in the early 17th century. On clear weather Mount Chomolhari 7320 meters can be seen towering over the dzong. Proceed through the beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. It was housed into the National museum in the 1960s by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The seven floors museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative center and school for monks. Walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Evening drive 1 & 1/2 hours to Thimphu (54km).
Overnight at Hotel River view or similar.
Day 03: AM sightseeing - visit the Indigenous hospital where traditional old art of healing is still practiced, Art & Craft school, National library, Royal goldsmith workshop and Handicraft centers. PM visit the Memorial chorten built in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, 15 century Changangkha monastery, Motithang mini zoo to see the rare "Takin" national animal of Bhutan and drive further down with good view of the Thimphu valley. Visit the new Drupthob nunnery temple and free time in the market. Overnight same.
Day 04: Drive 3 hours to Wangduephodrang via Punakha crossing the Dochula pass 3100 meters. On fine weather you will see the eastern Himalayan ranges including the highest mountain in Bhutan Mt.Gangar Punsum 7520 meters. The drive from the pass is all the way downhill dropping to the lower and warmer valleys of lobesa. Visit the Punakha Dzong which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every year during the month of February a procession known as the Punakha Serda takes place to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. Proceed 45 minutes to Wangduephodrang and visit the the market area. Check into Wangdi Kichu Resort.
Day 05: Drive almost 6/7 hours crossing 3 passes over 3000 meters. The route offers magnificent views of the Himalayas and beautiful landscape through scattered hamlets and forest of rhododendrons and pine. After one and half hours from Chendebji Chorten arrive at a small town known as Trongsa meaning new village. The town mainly consists of fresh Tibetan refugees but the most impressive of all is the Trongsa Dzong. The whole of eastern Bhutan was controlled from this fortress during the mid 17th century. Proceed another 2 hours to Bumthang visiting the Chume weaving center. Overnight at Lhendupcholing lodge.
Day 06: Bumthang altitude 2600m, has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Here tales of Guru Padmasambhava and his re-incarnation known as Tertons still linger in most nooks and corners. It is also known for its woolen material (yathra) which can be seen hung outside of houses for sale. Sightseeing - Visit the Jakar Dzong, 7th century Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey monastery, Tamshing and Kunchosum monastery. This sightseeing is a round trip so it is more interesting done on foot.
Day 07: Excursion 2 hours to Ura village and visit the new Ura monastery. On the way visit the Mebartso meaning burning lake. Stroll around the village and return back to Guest house. Evening walk to the swiss farm where apple juice, cider, cheese etc... are made.
Day 08: Drive back to Wangduephodrang.
Overnight at Wangdi Kichu Resort.
Day 09: Drive 3/4 hours to Paro via Lobesa and a short walk through farm houses and fields to Chimme Lhakhang. This monastery was built in the 15 century and dedicated to the famous Lam Drukpa Kunley or divine mad man. He is one of the most famous saints in Bhutan and his temple is visited mostly by childless couples. Drive on to Paro visiting the oldest building in Bhutan, the Simtokha Dzong. It now serves as a Buddhist university. Overnight Kichu Resort.
Day 10: Day hike to Taktsang monastery. Horses can be arranged with an extra cost. The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 3 /4 hours through pine forests (total walk 4/5hrs). The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro valley. It is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism and converted the Paro valley into Buddhism. During the end of the 17 century a monastery was built on the spot where the saint mediated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time. Stroll back to Resort. Evening at leisure. Overnight Kichu Resort.
Day 11: Transfer to airport for departure.