Welcome to Bhutan and your first day in the magical Land of the Thunder Dragon! Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, just outside the arrival hall, you will be greeted by one of our Executive . At more than 7,300 feet above sea level, you will need to acclimate to the high altitude. So, we will take it easy with a short drive to your hotel, enjoy a Bhutanese lunch, and then visit a few sights around the capital city of Thimphu.
We start our tour at Motithang Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan’s national animal, the takin. This unusual animal is often described as looking like a moose that was stung by a bee. Formerly a small zoo, the king decreed that penning up animals was contrary to Buddhist beliefs, so they were released. The takin had difficulty adapting, so the preserve was established to care for these gentle creatures.
We will then drive up to Buddha View Point where the Buddha Dordenma statue sits. At 169 feet tall, this bronze statue can be seen from just about anywhere in Thimphu. One of the largest statues in the world depicting a seated Buddha, it is the perfect place to enjoy stunning, panoramic views of the city.
Today we visit the National Folk Heritage Museum, dedicated to connecting Bhutan to its past with exhibitions, demonstrations, and artifacts. Designed to resemble a rural home, this 19th-century building houses three stories of art, culture, and relics.
At The National Textile Museum, you will witness the art of weaving and learn about the significance of textile design. Bhutanese weaving is considered a living art form and traditional weaving methods are preserved by the Royal Government.
The National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 to honor the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. A chorten is a hemispherical shaped memorial stupa. Known as the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan, it is used as a place of meditation.
At Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, you will witness the art of papermaking. Craftsmen demonstrate how Deh-sho paper is made using the bark of two local tree species. Buddhist monks use Deh-sho to write prayers and for woodblock printing. Outside Thimphu is Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress in Bhutan. Legend says it was built to imprison a demon that was terrorizing the area. The first fortress of its kind, it features beautiful Buddhist paintings and carvings.
Thimphu Tashichho Dzong, a traditional fortress and Buddhist Monastery, is the largest in the city. Featuring distinctive Bhutanese architecture, using neither nails nor written plans, the structure serves as the current seat of the King of Bhutan.
On our way to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, we will stop at Dochula Pass. Providing stunning 360-degree views of the Himalayan Mountains, it is also the location of the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens. Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the present Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the memorial to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to liberate the souls of those who died.
Sitting at the fork of two rivers, Punakha Dzong is considered one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. With spectacular displays of Bhutanese architecture, it stands like a medieval city surrounded by lavender Jacaranda trees. Built in 1637, the six-story structure is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. It still serves as the winter home of the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbott of the clergy. In 2011, it hosted the royal wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is a one-of-a-kind example of Bhutanese art and architecture, built by the third Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. This beautifully designed chorten took nine years to build, using only religious scriptures to construct the four-story temple. Accessible only by foot, the one-hour walk crosses over a suspended footbridge that is adorned with colorful prayer flags.
( Distance: 110 km
Estimated driving time: 4 1/2 hrs )
After breakfast, drive to Paro On the way take a short stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers with three different style of stupas adorn this confluence on reaching Paro have a lunch on a local restaurant and visit National Museum of Bhutan and Khichu Lakhang. In the evening check in to the hotel
Drive to Haa through Chele La (3,988 m). From the pass, you can see Paro valley on one side and then Haa valley on the other. You can also have a picnic at Chele La if you like to. In Haa, some sightseeing and then going to katsho village and visiting the Katso Lhakhang. The valley of Haa was only opened to Tourist in 2002 and Haa is the least visited valley in Bhutan due to the lack of Tourist infrastructure. This has helped in keeping Haa the way it has always been, with Bhutanese families living their traditional and simple life. There are no tourist standard hotels in Haa valley, so we return to Paro for the night.
After breakfast we hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes us to Taktsang Monastery. Built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor, the monastery is a spectacular sight. It is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. Legend has it that the great Guru Rimpoche flew here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments. In the evening return back to hotel and have a comfortable nightstay.
In the morning, your driver from Square Trip will escort you to the Paro airport for your onward destinations.
Indian Nationals travelling between Bhutan & India do not need Visa. An identity document, be it either passport or an election commission I. D card is, however required for presentation at the immigration during entry, to obtain an entry permit along with 04 passport size photographs. Indian Nationals travelling between Bhutan and Nepal require valid passport as per Nepalese immigration regulation.
It is required for those travelling to restricted areas beyond Dochula pass. The Route Permit is processed & issued in Thimphu, only after arrival in Bhutan and on production of the Entry Permit. Two copies of passport size photos required while processing Route Permit. Also this permit can be processed only during working days (Mon-Fri) and applications are accepted from 9-11 a.m. and permit granted on same day from 3-5 p.m in summer and 3-4 p.m. in winter.