Duration: 8 days/7 nights
Start/End: Paro/ Paro
Tour Route: Paro– Thimphu – Punakha – Gangtey – Punakha – Paro
Day 1: Paro Arrival (D)
Day 2: Thimphu City Tour (B)
Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha (B)
Day 4: Village Walk in Punakha and Evening Drive to Gangtey (B, L)
Day 5: Gangtey – Punakha (B, L)
Day 6: Punakha – Paro (B, L, D)
Day 7: Taktsang Goemba Hike (B)
Day 8: Departure (B)
Day 1: Paro Arrival & Sightseeing
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by our representative and help you check into your hotel. If your flight is in the morning, you will visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels“. It has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong, you can see the fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. You will then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 8th century. Later in the afternoon, you can stroll through Paro town. Walking through the market and meeting with people will be an enjoyable experience. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Thimphu City Day Tour
After breakfast, you will drive to Thimphu. Sightseeing in Thimphu includes the Folk Heritage Museum and the School of Arts and Crafts. In the afternoon head to Kuenselphodrang overlooking Thimphu valley and where giant Buddha statue is located. This 169-feet statue is recognized to be the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. Evening visits the Tashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress-monastery, which houses most of the Government’s office and Kings’ Throne Room. In the evening, you can stroll in Thimphu city and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha
Morning, drive to Punakha with a stop en route for tea at Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters). The pass, which is marked by Bhutanese Chortens and prayer flags offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the Himalayas on a clear day. En route stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley popularly known as the Devine Madman. If you wish, you may receive a special fertility blessing from a wooden phallus. On arrival in Punakha visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
Day 4: Village Walk in Punakha and Evening Drive to Gangtey
Today you will go for a village hike. The village is connected by a suspension bridge, which is the longest in Bhutan. After crossing the suspension bridge you will come to a local village. Explore the village farmhouse, architecture, and lifestyle. Lunch at farmhouses with Bhutanese butter tea and “ara” a local wine. After lunch, you will drive to Gangtey, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes, through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons. From Wangdue, it is a steady ascent to Lawal Pass, 3Km short of Pele La which is the crossover point into central Bhutan. Just after few minutes drive downhill from Lawal Chorten, you will arrive at Gangtey village from where you can see the picturesque Black Mountain range. Spend some time visiting the Gangtey Goenpa and interacting with monks studying there. Overnight at a hotel in Gangtey.
Day 5: Gangtey – Punakha (B, L)
Morning you will hike through Gangtey valley to explore the nearby villages. The valley is mostly surrounded by high altitude dwarf bamboo, pine trees, hiking trails, and farmhouse with impressive art and wood carving. You can visit a few farmhouses to see their way of life. You can also visit Nature Information Center which has informative displays about the crane and the valley environment. Later drive to Punakha. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
Day 6: Punakha – Paro
After breakfast, drive back to Paro. You will stop in Thimphu for lunch. After lunch visits the popular Weekend Market, the largest vegetable market in the country. You can witness the manifold food of the country, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and fruits. Additionally, many stalls converge Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. This is a really good opportunity for photography and to mingle with locals coming from nearby villages to sell their farm products; thus, keep your camera handy. Keep driving to Paro and overnight at the hotel.
Day 7: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (B)
This morning we enjoy a short hike to the Taktsang Goemba aka Tiger’s Nest Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery. The monastery is absolutely impressive as ut situated at 10,400 feet and perched on the edge of a steep cliff about 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley. Lunch is served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After an exciting time, you will hike down to the valley floor. This is a marvelous conclusion to your stay in Bhutan! Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Departure (B)
Time to say goodbye. Breakfast and morning at leisure until getting escorted to the airport for a flight coming back home. The trip ends. Hope you enjoyed this Bhutan family tour and wish that we could serve you on your Bhutan tour next time.