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Operating throughout Bhutan from our offices located in the heart of Thimphu, Bhutan Calling Tours & Treks, licensed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, specializes in designing itineraries for Trekking tours, Cultural tours, Festival tours, Rafting, Kayaking, Biking. We are here to help you with all aspects of your vacation. Whether you are an independent traveller, travelling with children or looking for a group tour, Bhutan Calling Tours & Treks has the solution for you.

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Thunder Dragon

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Jambay Lhakhang Drup (12 days)

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11-Nights/12-days

Day 1: Arrival at Paro/Sightseeing

As you start approaching Bhutan, you can see breathtaking views of the Great Himalayas on this flight.  Arrive Paro where you will be welcomed to the Kingdom by your guide.

After 15-20 minute drive from the airport you'll reach the hotel.  Check in to the Hotel.

After lunch we will visit the 200 year old Watch Tower which was renovated and converted into National Museum in1968.  It has a unique character and beautiful panoramic views over Paro Valley. It houses a fine collection of national costumes and fabrics, gallery of thangkas, an impressive stamp gallery with three dimensional and CD stamps issued as early as 1960 that are remarkable and other galleries showcasing armor and silverware with the handsome Royal tea pots. On the top floor there is a four sided temple complex depicting the history of Buddhism and its propagation. Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the temple dates back to the 7th century. According to the Bhutanese legend, Songtsen Gempo, the first Buddhist King of Tibet, established a temple here on the left knee of an ogress in order to subdue her. The temple was restored in the 19th century and a similar one was added in 1968 by Ashi Kesang, the grand Queen Mother of Bhutan.

Overnight Paro.

Day 2: Paro – Haa (65KM, 2 hour drive)

After breakfast drive to Haa via Chelle-la pass. After driving 4 km. to Bondey village, we take a side road and begin the steep climb up the hillside to Chele-la (3,810m/12,573ft), reaching the pass after a 45 km. drive upwards through blue pine & rhododendron forest. On a clear day there is a superb view of mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake from this point, so if the weather is favorable we will stop here briefly to stroll around and enjoy the lovely mountain scenery. Then continue on to Haa (2670m/8,811ft), descending all the way for another 22 km., finally reaching Haa after about an hour drive.

After lunch we visit two famous monasteries, Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) The central shrine in Lhakhang Nagpo is said to be almost identical to that of the Jowo temple in Lhasa. Legend has it that local deities assisted in the construction of Lhakhang Karpo. As a result, the place came to be locally known as “Ha” (meaning “surprise”) which later became a due to varying interpretations and pronunciations over time.

The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa valley were called “Me Rig Puen Sum” especially after the event of the Lhakhang Karpo construction. Today the three hills are popularly known as ‘RigSum Gonpa signifying three deities, Jambayang, Chana Dorji and Chenrezig (known in Sanskrit as Manjushri, Varjapani and Avalokiteshvara, respectively). These are the three principal bodhisattvas (Buddhas to be) among the thousand future Buddhas to come, and representations of them are to be found in every Lhakhang (temple) and household shrine room.

Later, other Buddhist saints like Guru Rinpoche and ‘Machi Labdorn’ came to this place, Jungney Drag, in Haa and blessed the locality. After Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal unified the country under the Drukpa Kagyupa sect of Mahayana Buddhism in the early 17th century, the chief guardian deity of Haa became Ap Chundu.

Overnight Haa.

Day 3: Haa – Thimphu (115KM, 4 hour drive)

Morning drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan and largest city of the Bhutan. It is situated in the western central part of Bhutan and the surrounding valley is one of Bhutan's dzongkhags, the Thimphu District. The city became the capital of Bhutan in 1961. As of 2005 it had a population of 79, 185, with 98,676 people living in the entire Thimphu district. The city is spread out laterally in a north-south direction on the west bank of the valley formed by the Raidāk River, which is known as the Wang Chuu or Thimphu Chuu in Bhutan. Thimphu is spread over an altitudinal range between 2,248 metres (7,375 ft) and 2,648 metres (8,688ft).

Lunch at the folk heritage will give the opportunity to the guest to capture the traditional Bhutanese cuisine, freshly cooked and served and near the restaurant you can see the Folk Heritage Museum which gives you a glimpse of the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle, in addition to artifacts from rural households; it also displays an impressive collection of typical household objects, tools and equipment. The museum also organizes regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs as well as hosting educational programs for children.

At evening you can visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, and other interesting items made from local materials.

Overnight Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu – Punakha (70 KM, 3 hours’ drive)

Visit National Textile Museum – is worth a visit to learn about Bhutan's living national art of weaving. The ground floor focuses on cham costumes, while the upper floor introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and type of textiles made by women and men.

Visit Thimphu Memorial Chorten which is whitewashed structure with gilded carvings, located prominently in the center of Thimphu City. It was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928 – 1972), by the King’s mother, the late Queen Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck. Built in the traditional Bhutanese style, the glistening conical chorten houses statues and images of Buddhist deities, and is a place for worship. One of the most important prayer ceremonies in the country, the Moenlam Chenmo, presided by the chief abbot of Bhutan, takes place here annually. It is considered meritous to circumambulate the chorten clockwise, and many Thimphu residents like to add a few rounds around the chorten to their evening walks.

After lunch drive to Punakha via dochula pass. You can see the 108 Chorten built by Queen Mother to honor the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed when fighting the Indian rebels in 2003. Every traveler, both international and the local Bhutanese people stop by at Dochula Pass just to breathe in the cool mountain air and greedily be immersed in the view for a few minutes out of the busy life and schedule. Dochula pass has fabulous views of some of the most beautiful and spectacular Himalayan Mountains such as the Masan gang, Table Mountain, Tiger Mountain and others. After that continue drive to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan.

Overnight Punakha.

Day 5: Punakha – Trongsa (142 KM, 6 hours’ drive)

Morning visit to 17th Century Punakha Dzong (fortress), where the king was married in October 2011. It lies at the confluence of two rivers and is the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. Built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’, and Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move in masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan's first king was crowned. After lunch drive to Trongsa via Pele la pass at an altitude of 3,150 metres, a wonderful opportunity for photographs. Commanding the Mangde Chu at an altitude of 2,200 metres.

Overnight Trongsa.

Day 6: Trongsa – Bumthang (68KM, 2hours’ drive)

After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong, the main administration center during the second kings’s reign and it is also known for its masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Trongsa Dzong is closely connected to the royal family. The first two hereditary kings ruled from this dzong, and tradition still dictates that the crown prince serve as Trongsa penlop before acceding to the throne. The Trongsa rabdey (district monk body) migrates between winter (Trongsa) and summer (Bumthang) residences, just as the main dratshang (central monk body) does between Thimphu and Punakha. Then visit Ta Dzong, the watchtower built to defend this dzong. After lunch, travel to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, with lush valleys and hilly forests. Bumthang consists of four valleys--Chumey, Choekhar, Tang, and Ura--with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000 meters. Overnight at hotel in Bumthang Jakar.

Overnight Bumthang.

Day 7: Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival (27th – 28th Oct., 2015)

Attend Jambay Lhakhang Drup (Festival) for a full day. The temple is one of the 108 Buddhist temples built in the 8th century by the Tibetan. Songtsen Gampo. Revered as one of the oldest landmarks of the arrival of Buddhism in Bhutan, this temple holds a unique tshechu (festival). The main highlight of this festival is the most spectacular mid-night sacred naked dance (tercham) and draws a lot of tourists every year.

Overnight Bumthang

Day 8: Bumthang – Phobjikha (188KM, 6 hours’ drive)

Morning visit Jakar Dzong, "castle of the white bird". According to legend, when the lamas assembled in about 1549 to select a site for a monastery, a big white bird rose suddenly in the air and settled on a spur of a hill. This was interpreted as an important omen, and the hill was chosen as the site for a monastery and for Jakar Dzong. The fortress is now used as an administrative center of the valley and summer residence of Trongsa monks.

After lunch drive to Phobjikha, a wide glacial valley with a central stream meandering through the open grassland and thickets of dwarf bamboo. Farmlands occupy the peripheral slopes where potatoes and turnips are grown. The forests beyond the farms are mostly coniferous. The general vegetation is composed of mainly blue pine, birch, maple and several species of rhododendrons. The central valley inhabited by the Cranes in winter has mostly dwarf bamboo. The repeated grazing of the bamboos by the local cattle and horses in summer prepares the ground for the wintering Cranes. The magnificent Black-necked Cranes heighten the breathtaking scenery of Phobjikha in winter respiratory.

Overnight Phobjikha

Day 9: Phobjikha – Wangdue (65KM, 2 hours’ drive)

Morning visit at the old monastery that dates back to 17th century Gangtey Goemba monastery, enjoys the valley's prime chunk of real estate, on a forested hill overlooking the green expanse of the entire Phobjikha valley. The extensive complex consists of the central goemba, monks' quarters, a small guesthouse and outlying meditation centers. The Monastery is one of the main seats of the religious tradition based on Pema Lingpa's (treasure finder) revelations and one of the two main centres of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism in the country.

After lunch visit the home of Black necked crane. Bhutan is home to around six hundred black necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March.

Black-Necked Crane Information Centre - Your first stop should be the Royal So­ciety for Protection of Nature’s (RSPN) Black-Necked Crane Information Centre, which has informative displays about the cranes and the valley environment. You can use the centre’s powerful spotting scopes and check what you see against its pamphlet ‘Field Guide to Crane Behaviour’. If the weather’s iffy you can browse the library and handicraft shop. Evening drive to Wangdue.

Overnight at Wangdue.

Day 10: Wangdue – Paro (140KM, 5 hours’ drive)

Morning one hour drive to Punakha to visit Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, A 20 minutes’ walk across terraced fields through the village of Sopsokha from the roadside to the small temple located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina. Ngawang Chogyel built the temple in 15th century after the ’divine Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. It is a pilgrim site for barren women. After lunch drive back to Paro.

Overnight Paro.

Day 11: Hike to Tiger Nest (5 hours’ hike)

Early breakfast, Today, we hike up to the famous cliff-hermitage called Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Nest.” This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! It takes about two hours to reach the cafeteria, which gives a breathtaking view of the Tiger’s Nest. From Cafeteria it takes 1 hour to reach the main temple. This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend has it that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.

After Lunch, visit Drugyel Dzong, although mostly now in ruins. considered as the most beautiful and famous archaeological sites in Bhutan, is situated on a ridge in the upper Paro valley built in 1647 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel to commemorate the victory over Tibetan Invaders, which indicates by the name of the Dzong meaning Victorious Bhutanese Fort.  Evening traditional hot stone bath which releases key minerals to relieve aches.

Overnight at Paro

Day 12: Departure

Today we will drive to Paro international Airport to catch the flight to your next destination. Our guide and driver will bid you farewell and we wish you a safe and pleasant journey back home and hope to see you again in Bhutan.

 

Note: Jambay Lhakhang Drup (Festival) – 14th – 17th November, 2016

 

 

 

 

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