River Rafting & Cultural Tour for 7 nights/ 8 days
Day 1 : Arrive Paro
Flying into Paro, Bhutan is a unique experience altogether. The flight offers views of the majestic eastern Himalayas, and the arrival into a solitary runway at the country’s only airport is a mind-boggling event with the landscape and weather conditions dictating a steep descent into a narrow valley. The flight normally arrives by about 11 AM local time.
You will be received by your guide and driven to hotel for check in and refreshment. After lunch, visit Paro Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing and abutted by two guard houses to the Dzong. Today, this massive fortress built in 1645 AD is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower( Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the nation. Visit the National Museum ( Ta-Dzong).Once the watch tower for the Rinpung Dzong ( Fortress), it was converted into the national Museum in 1968 (one of the best museums of Asia). The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. In the evening walk around Paro town and interact with the local people.
Day 2 : Thimphu Sightseeing
After an early breakfast, drive to Thimphu via the winding river of Wangchu. It about one hour drive. Enroute stop by the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest Dzong in the country and now home to a monastic school. Morning drive to the animal sanctuary where the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin, is found in captivity. Walk around the BBS tower which is also known as the “romantic point” and lovers often come here to look at the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley. Enroute visit Nunnery temple. You can show your devotion here by praying with the Buddhist nuns.
Visit the Traditional Medicine Centre which includes hospital and herbal medicine manufacturing unit based on the Tibetan system of medicine. The center also trains indigenous medicine doctors known as “Dungtso”.
Visit the Zorig Chuksum “School for Thirteen Traditional Arts and Crafts” followed by a visit to Textile Museum, Handicraft Emporium and some local shops for antiques.
Day 3 : Thimphu – Phobjikha (5 hours drive)
The journey takes you through different ranges of vegetations, from Alpine to Sub-tropical and to a glacial region. On the way stop at Dochula pass (3150m) for a hot cup of tea/coffee and witness the most spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayan Mountain and walk around the 108 stupas. Enroute visit Royal Botanical Garden in Lamperi. Situated at an altitude range of 2100 metres to 3800 metres, the Royal Government of Bhutan has created the country’s first Royal Botanical Park in an area of high conservation value. The park features a variety of forest types, spectacular scenery, natural rhododendron groves, endangered wildlife and a lake. The natural attributes have been complemented with a visitor’s information centre, Cafe, Walking tracks, a garden showcasing 46 native rhododendrons and many flowering herbs, picinic and camping sites and gazebo shelters. The park has a conservation, reaserach, education and recreation functions. Spread over an area of 47 square kilometres. The park has :
1. Plants over 300 species( 28 rhododendron + 114 ferns)
2. Wild life – over 21 species
3. Birds, over 220 species.
Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the periphery of the north western tip of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is a conservatoin area and lies on the northern boundary of the Jowo Durshing range. Phobjikha is also one of the roosting grounds of the Black-necked cranes that migrate each year in winter from its nothern habitats in Tibet and Siberia to these grounds. Visit Information Centre for the cranes. Evening, take a hike through the Blue Pine forest to the village farmhouse. Try traditional Bhutanese snacks made from corn and rice with a home made wine.
Day 4 : Phobjikha – Wangdue/ Punakha (2 hours drive) and Rafting Mo Chhu
The road take you through Pelela pass (3300m). On a clear day you can get great views of the highest peaks of the kingdom and its quite common to see yaks and yak herders at this point. After check in and refreshment you get the first taste of Bhutanese whitewater today. We head up the Mo Chhu valley to a point referred to as “Sonam’s Put-in.” Rafting the Mo Chhu is loads of class III/IV excitement. Take-out is at the Khamsum Yulley Bridge. Evening, visit to the Punakha Dzong “Palace of Great Happiness”. Punakha Dzong is the former winter Capital and at present day hosts the administrative seat of the district. Also the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female river. It was built in 1637 AD It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan’s first king was crowned. Take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang to visit the temple of one of Bhutan’s foremost saint, Lama Drukpa Kunley, also known as the “Divine Madman.” This temple is called the Temple of Fertility as it is believed that childless couples who come here to pray for a child is usually blessed with a male child.
Day 5 : River Rafting Puna Tsang Chhu
After an early breakfast we drive 2 1/2 hours along some of the most impressive Class VI big water in the world. We won’t run this section of whitewater, but it makes for a great sight on our way to the put in for the Tsang Chhu. We put in at the Waklaytar Bridge and raft Grand Canyon style big water Class III and IV rapids. Picnic lunch will be arranged along the way. After some rest in the resort drive to Thimphu. Enroute visit Wangdue dzong, this classic fortress has many sacred temples in it. Stop by the newly opened farmers market which opens on Friday, Saturday and sunday. Interact with the locals from various villages. This was previously the weekend market. Evening visit Tashichhoe Dzong, the main Secretariat Building. This massive structure houses part of the Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at hotel.
Day 6 : Meditational Retreat & Walking Tour or Mountain Biking
Walking tour would start from Changangkha Lhakhang and end at the Clock Tower. You will be exploring Thimphu city and its valley on your own, on foot. If you are interested in Mountain Biking you can ride up to Tango Chari along with your guide. A retreat monastery built on the rocky cliff in 12th century. It is 12 km away from the city. . Evening, a Buddhist Master will teach you a series of ancient traditional meditations. Go on a meditational retreat with the Master himself and carry the flavour of it on your trip back home. You can even make some of these secret meditation an integral part of your life. After dinner free to shop or go on a leisurely stroll. (Friday Night Club Optional)
Day 7 : Excursion To Taksang
After you arrive Paro. Spend the day hiking up a forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous and scenic icon. The climb is steep and takes about 4 hours round trip. An important place of pilgrimage and refuge for more than 1200 years, Taktsang Monastery clings to sheer cliffs two-thousand feet above Paro Valley, and from your closest vantage point on a rocky ledge directly across from it, you will still need 200-300 mm lenses and a steady tripod to get tight photographs. This sacred place got its name when Guru Rinpoche rode there on the back of a flying tiger and meditated in a cave behind the present-day monastery. Sadly, in 1998, the central temple was destroyed by fire, leaving the country in mourning for their holiest of spiritual places. But religious leaders and the King quickly developed a plan to rebuild Taktsang and donations started pouring in from Buddhist centers all over the world, and today, the magnificently rebuilt exterior is complete. Tiger’s Nest is once again the subject of cloud-shrouded posters that say, “Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon.” Picnic lunch on the mountain.
Special permit will be arranged for you to enter the Tiger’s Nest monastery but you will not be allowed to take pictures of the inside shrines.
Evening visit a typical village home for a traditional Bhutanese style dinner accompanied by the local liquor called “Ara” (tastes somewhat like the Japanese Sake). Then luxuriate in the Bhutanese equivalent of a Jacuzzi called a “Chu Tsen.” River rocks are heated and dunked into a large wooden tub with herbs. This type of bath is considered to have medicinal properties of healing.
Day 8 : Departure
Our representative will bid you farewell at the Airport. Tashi Delek!
Please Note : This is a proposed schedule for your trip to Bhutan. Ours guides are highly trained on innovating the tour program to your best interest and giving you one of the fondest memories as you leave our Kingdom. If you want to change or add anything on your itinerary, the management will be more than happy to discuss and create a more suitable program for you once you arrive Bhutan.
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