DAY 01 ARRIVE PARO (DRUK AIR)
The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the worlds highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. A tour guide from Sambara Tours & Travels, who will be your personal host throughout your stay in Bhutan, will be waiting to assist you with customs and immigration formalities, and then drive to the capital Thimphu (54 km). Overnight at hotel absorbing the sights, sound and scents of Bhutan.
DAY 02 THIMPHU - PUNAKHA
We set in the morning for Punakha the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and clear, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. From Dochula the road descends along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha. In the afternoon we take a stroll through the small town and view the Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and ancient capital of Bhutan, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu. The dzong is open to visitors only in summer when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body are in Thimphu. Overnight at hotel.
DAY 03 PUNAKHA DROMCHHEY
The Punakha Domchhoe will enthrall you by taking you back in time. The grand pageantry consists of warriors dressed in traditional armour and ceremonial procession. The villagers will be in their finest traditionally woven costumes. You will be observing one of the grandest celebrations of the year. Overnight at hotel.
DAY 04 PUNAKHA
Today we visit a Bhutanese village (Goemkah) which is a short trek from the road. We will spend the day with the villagers. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 05 PUNAKHA - THIMPHU
After breakfast we drive to Thimphu. On the way stop at Dochula for refreshment and view the majestic Himalayan ranges. Lunch at the hotel in Thimphu. In the afternoon we visit the National Memorial Chorten built in honour of our Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). The Tashichho Dzong is open to visitors only in winter when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body move to Punakha the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. We finally visit the Handicraft Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the city.
DAY 06 THIMPHU - PARO
We leave for Paro in the morning and drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, 18 kms up the Paro valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the rampart and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jumolhari (7,314 m). We drive back to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon we drive to the Ta Dzong, and ancient watch-tower, which now houses the National Museum and return for an unhurried stroll through Paro town. A relaxed evening at hotel, sumptuous meal including (for the adventurous!) authentic fiery hot local cuisine, and a warm bed.
DAY 07 PARO - AIRPORT
In the morning our STT representative will bid you farewell at Paro airport. Good-bye and happy journey back home.