Best of Bhutan is the exclusive tour of the country tucked high up in the Himalayas and the best of what the Dragon Kingdom has to offer to the outside world.
Basically, the tour circulates around the prominent cities of Bhutan like Paro, the tiny capital – Thimphu and the old kingdom – Punakha.
In Thimphu, you will visit its prime tourist attractions like King Memorial Chorten, Centenary Market, authentic craft bazaar and others.
The tour then proceeds to Punakha where the beautiful Punakha Dzong, one of the most impressive in Bhutan, is located. En-route, you will hike up to the Chimmi Lakhang, popularly known as the fertility temple dedicated to Drupka Kunley.
Concluding Punakha, the tour re-traces it’s way back to Paro where another important feature of the tour awaits i.e. hike up to the Taktsang Monastery (3,120m) or ‘Tiger’s Nest’ perched in a vertical cliff.
Best of Bhutan is ideal for anyone who wishes to know more about this high Himalayan nation and get to know it’s ancient culture and traditions.
Day 01: Arrival Paro - Thimphu O/N 3 Star Hotel
Arrive Paro by Bhutan’s national carrier, Druk Air, and it’s a scenic flight as the plane touch down the lush green Paro Valley flying past the world’s highest mountains. Steeping down from the plane, cool, clean and fresh air welcomes the visitor, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing the customs and visa formalities met by the representatives and transfer to Paro for lunch.
Afterwards drive to Thimphu (one and half hrs) following Pa Chhu downstream. In Thimphu, drive on to the Buddha Terrance for a stunning view of the valley and take a drive to visit Takin Preserve to see Takin, Bhutan’s national animal - a strange looking beast which some say resembles a bee-stung moose!
Take a view of the majestic Tashichoe Dzong, the seat of the government before circumventing the Memorial Chorten – a monument erected in memory of Bhutan’s third king H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
Visit Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar, National Institute of Traditional Medicine that still dispenses traditional herbal medicines to the locals, the Folk Heritage Museum – a 300 year old traditional house converted into a museum.
Day 02: Thimphu - Punakha O/N 3 Star Hotel
After breakfast, drive for about 3 hours to Punakha. Climb up the mountain road to Dochula La at 3140m.
On clear weather, the pass commands a wonderful panorama of the Eastern Himalayas. From the pass, descend through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. Take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as "the Divine Madman".
The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples.
Enjoy some tea and snacks at the end of hike while overlooking the fields.
Day 03: In Punakha O/N 3 Star Hotel
After an early breakfast, hike up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyel Chorten erected by Royal queen mother for the purpose of present king in 2002. It offers a great view of the lower valley.
The temple is regarded as one of the most intricate with paintings. At the temple one can see three different sect of Mahayana Buddhism.
Afternoon: visit Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country.
Day 04: Punakha - Paro O/N 3 Star Hotel
Drive to visit a stunning hill-top nunnery - Sangchen Dorji Lhundrup Chholing. Have a chat with the nuns and enjoy the charm of the surrounds!
The main temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva of compassion (Avaloketeshvara) and next to the temple is a beautiful Stupa and there are slate carvings of religious figures. Re-crossing Dochula and stopping at Thimphu for lunch.
Arrive Paro in the afternoon and check hotel.
Day 05: In Paro - Sightseeing O/N 3 Star Hotel
After breakfast, head out of the tourist trail for a short hike to 15th century Zurig Lhakhang above Paro Dzong overlooking the valley. It offers great views of Ta Dzong (watch Tower) and Paro Rinpung Dzong.
En-route, visit the iconic 17th century Paro Rinpung Dzong which means “the fortress of the heap of jewels.” A quick descent takes us to covered cantilever bridge marked with giant stupas. Upon descend, drive 30 minutes to see the exterior of the remote ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (entry not allowed).
On a clear day, get rewarded with a view of snow-capped Mt Jhomolhari which is the third highest mountain in Bhutan.
Day 06: Paro - Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery O/N 3 Star Hotel
This morning, make an excursion to Taktsang Monastery – this has to be the monastery with the most outstanding setting in Bhutan. Set on a vertical cliff face at 2950m above sea level, it defies all engineering logic.
For the energetic one, hike 2 hours up to get a more dramatic view of the monastery. (The hike demands a certain level of fitness and a pony ride to the monastery can be arranged at additional cost).
Just on the outskirts of Paro town, visit Kyichu Lhakang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and have the opportunity to meet the local villages in a local farm house.
Day 07: Paro depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains.