Western Bhutans sights and places within Paro, Thimphu, Wangdiphodrang and Punakha. In this trip will take you to a complete journey into the beauty and significances of Bhutanese culture and tradition.
Here is how you will spend your time
Day 1: Fly Paro, Drive To Thimphu
Fly onboard Druk Air to Paro, Bhutan. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. In Paro you will be received by your Bhutanese guide and transferred to Thimphu that takes an hour. There are a good many things to see in the capital which has a very relaxed, laid–back feel about it. Thimphu is relatively small having a population of approximately 90,000 people and the streets are wide and tree lined.
Day 2: Thimphu – Cheri Hike
After breakfast, we will drive towards northern end of the valley for about 20 minutes to get started for an exciting walk to CHERI GOMPA (monastery). This is a pleasant rural walk, gently up a valley through paddy fields and woodland via a Tibetan village. The walk commences at the junction just before the village of Dechencholing . Walk through the village along the track to Pangri Zampa gompa, by the river. The route passes Tibetan village, through paddy fields, past chortens and the village of Choku to Begana (also known as Dodena). From Dodena, after crossing the cantilevered bridge, it is another 30–45 minutes steep climb up hill. Cheri Dorji Dhen was first built in 1620 by Shabdrung, the first ruler of Bhutan, who also established the first order of monks here. It is usually possible to enter Cheri courtyard, but may not be allowed to visit the shrines inside. Descend to the bottom of the hill, where your transport arrives to take you back to Thimphu. In the late afternoon/evening drive to the site of Colorful Weekend Market where people from all walks of life come to sell and buy their stuffs. It’s place to get an experience with Bhutanese lifestyle, tradition and culture. (Note: Saturdays and Sundays are the days of weekend Market but most people rush on Friday to buy fresh vegetable/fruits and other goods which arrives earlier in the day from near by districts and places. Overnight at hotel.
The weekend market in Chubachhu (across the river from the main town) has over 100 stalls selling hand woven cloth and other handicrafts.
Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha
n the morning you drive to Punakha, an old winter capital of Bhutan. En–route stop at Dochu LaPass, 10,000ft/3,048m to view the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutans highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. The road then drops down through varied –ever changing forest, finally emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley. Afternoon visit one of the most impressive Punakha Dzong and later hike to the Chimi lhakhang – the temple of Divine Madman.
Punakha Dzong:Also known as Pungthang Dechen Phodrang “Palace of Great Happiness” is located on the confluence of two rivers (Phochu and Mochu). It was built in 1637 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal and following the ancient traditions, it serves as winter residence for chief abbot (Je–khenpo) and the monks of Central Monastic Body, who returns to Thimphu in the summer. The building was damaged and rebuilt several times, due to flooding, fire and earth quake. It is one exemplary masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture.
Chimi Lhakhang:It was built by lama Drukpa Kunley in 1499. He subdued the demoness of the Dochu la with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom.’ A wooden effigy of the Lama’s thunderbolt is preserved in the Lhakhang, and childless women go to the temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint. It’s a 20–minute walk across the rice fields from the road at Sopsokha to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. There are very few monks at the temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings. Overnight at hotel, Punakha.