Duration: 8 Days
This hiking tour program gives great opportunity to visit quaint corners of the valley. The hike in Phobjikha covers the 3½-hour ‘less travelled’ old trade route relatively unknown to outsiders. Hikers will hike through different layers of vegetation, get good view of the whole Phobjikha valley from the pass, and take in wonderful sights of spring when the Rhododendron flowers are in full bloom.
Be totally enchanted by the breathtaking landscape and pristine environment of the Paro valley upon arrival at our international airport. You will be warmly received by our friendly, traditionally dressed representative with the offering of a white welcome scarf.
- Transfer to hotel in Thimphu (about 1.5-hour drive from airport).
- Arrival at hotel in Thimphu, relax with welcome tea followed by check-in at hotel.
- Rest till lunch in hotel / nearby restaurant.
- After lunch, take a 10-min drive to Changangkha Temple (built in the 15th century by famous Lama Nima). Inside the temple is “God of Compassion” made out of platinum. You may witness blessing of a newborn baby in this temple.
- Drive to Mini Zoo, Bhutan’s only zoo to see the national animal Takin.
- Drive to Sangay Gang, lookout point of the Thimphu city.
- Visit nunnery founded by 16th Drubthob Tshangthong Gyalpo in 1976. More than 40 nuns study Buddhism in this nunnery.
- Visit Zorichusum (meaning 13 arts and crafts) which is popularly known as the painting school. Students in this school learn traditional arts and crafts like painting, sculpture, wood carving, weaving and embroidery.
- Visit the National Library which consists of 2 buildings. On the ground floor of the old building is the largest book in the world and religious books on the upper floor. English books are kept on the ground floor in the new building.
- Drive to Thimphu Tashicho Dzong, a fortress built in 1772 by the temporal ruler Zhidar and Younten Thaye the Chief Abbot.
After breakfast drive along the Thimphu River for 25km to the Tango monastery. Be prepared for a steep climb from the open car park and 20-minute hike through the blue pine and oak forest to reach the monastery. The Tango Monastery was founded in the 12th century by Lama Gyalwa Lhananpa. Phajo Drukgom Shipo also meditated and saw the vision of God Tandin (God with Horse Head), hence the name “Tango” which means horse head.
- Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Punakha, old capital of Bhutan (about 3-hour drive from Thimphu).
- Stopovers on the way at enchanting Docula pass (3040m above sea level). On a clear day one can see panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayas Mountains ranges.
- From Dochula Pass start hick to Lungchu Tshekha Lhakhang. The walk takes two and half hours walk. The temples was built by Lama Terton Drugdra Lingpa in 14th centuries. On the way back take different trail to Dochula cafeteria for lunch.
- Leave hotel for Phobjikha valley, visiting Wangdi Phrodrang Dzong on the way. Built in 1638, this was the third Dzong built by Zhabdrung Rimpoche after Punakha Dzong. It is built on the hill between Dangchu Punatshang rivers.
- Drive from Wangdi to Phobjikha valley, enjoying scenes of different vegetation zones. Possibly spot Gray Langures, Mucked Monkey and other animals along the way.
- Visit Gangtay Gonpa, the only Ningma Monastery school in western Bhutan. The temple is 457 years old and was founded by first reincarnation of Terton Pemalingpe. It was rebuilt by his successive reincarnation Teazin Lakpay Dendup in 1613. Today it is site of Pedling (Teaching of Terton Pemalingpa).
- Visit the Cranes Information Center and enjoy a good view of the whole crane habitat.
Drive to Ruckji, a small village on the other side of Pele la. Hike back to Phobjikha through draft bamboo and different vegetation zones. Catch a good view of the Phobjikha valley when you reach the pass.
In the afternoon walk around the cranes feeding area and see cranes in very close range.
Drive back to Paro across 2 passes : Lawala and Dochula, your second chance for a good view of the high mountains again. From Lawala you can see faraway mountains – in the north east direction the Rinchenzoe La (5600m) and Mt. Jomolhari (7314m); and in the North West direction the Jichudraki (6980m) and Drakigang (6040m). From Dochula you can see almost the whole Eastern Himalayas Mountains Ranges including Bhutan’s highest mountain the Gangkar Puensum (7550m).
Hike to Tiger Nest Monastery, the holiest monastery in the Buddhist World.