The east of Bhutan has been explored very little, particularly for tourism. But if you want to experience the raw beauty and wilderness of Bhutan, this tour package is the right one for you. This trip offers the opportunity to crisscross Bhutan, a journey across the East-West lateral highway, covering over 1,200 kilometers to and fro. The journey can be daunting yet mesmerizing at the same time. The journey takes you through steep mountainous terrains, the constantly changing altitudes, and a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Add to it, the arcane culture and rich traditions of the west, central and eastern Bhutan! It’s a trip worth taking!
Day 1: Paro/Thimphu
Your local tour executive will welcome you at Paro International Airport. After refreshment, you will be taken for an orientation tour of Paro. You will visit Rinpung Dzong, Ta-Dzong (National Museum of Bhutan) and the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang. After your tour of Paro, you will travel to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
Day 2: Thimphu sightseeing
Today, you will take a tour of Thimphu. You will visit the Folk Heritage Museum, Painting School, National Library and the Memorial Chhorten. After lunch, you will visit Changangkha monastery, the Takin zoo, and Tashichhodzong towards the end of the day. You will also be taken to two opposite view points – the Sangaygang and Buddha’s point, from where you will have a spectacular bird’ eye view of the capital city.
Day 3: Thimphu/Trongsa
After early breakfast, we will drive to the central district of Trongsa. We will stop for a brief while at Dochula Pass from where you will be able to view the majestic mountain ranges and peaks on a clear day. Lunch will be served in Wangduephodrang. After lunch, you will continue the journey to Trongsa across Pelela, the mountain pass that divides east and west. Along the way, you will stop at Chendebji Chorten. You will halt for the night in Trongsa.
Day 4: Trongsa/Bumthang
Early in the morning, you will be taken to south of Trongsa to visit the historic Royal palace of Kuenga Rabten, the resident of the second king of Bhutan. On your return, you will visit the Trongsa Dzong followed by Ta Dzong overlooking the giant fort, now housing a museum. Towards afternoon, you will be driven to Bumthang.
Day 5: Bumthang (Halt & sightseeing)
Bumthang Valley offers endless opportunities to experience the cultural and religious diversity of Bhutan. It is in fact, one of the spiritual heartlands of the country, blessed by numerous Buddhist masters including the 8th century Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche.
You will visit two of the most religious sites in the country, Kurje Lhakhang and Jampa Lhakhang. You can also take a short hike across the river to Tamzhing Lhakhang, the seat of 14th century Buddhist master and treasuer revealer, Terton Pema Lingpa. After lunch you will visit the Jakar Dzong, overlooking the valley, that houses the district administratiion and monastic body. Later, and later visit the town.
Day 6: Bumthang/Mongar
The journey to eastern Bhutan cuts across serpentine roads, deep valleys, mountains, waterfalls, lush vegetation and precarious cliffs. It is marked with breathtaking landscape and scenery. Mongar is 197kms away from Bumthang and takes about seven hours. On the way, there will be a stopover at Thrumshingla National Park and later at Lingmithang birding paradise to explore its rich natural biodiversity. You will view the ruins of Zongar dzong on the way. You will halt for the night in Mongar town.
Day 7: Mongar/TrashiYangtse
Mongar town, by far, is the biggest one in eastern Bhutan. It is home to Mongar dzong, and Aja pilgrimage. In Mongar, you will visit the Dzong and Yagang temple followed by lunch. Later, you will be driven to Tashiyangtse, the winter home to the endangered black-necked crane.
Day 8: Trashiyangtse/Trashigang
Trashiyangtse offers wide range of cultural hikes and sightseeing. The landscape is covered with natural beauty. You will visit Dongdi Dzong, Chorten Kora and Institute of Zorig Chu Sum. On your journey back to Trashgigang in the evening, you will visit Gom Kora temple by the riverside.
Day 9: Trashigang Sightseeing
Trashigang is a hot tub of cultural and ethnic diversity. Here you can come in touch with the highlanders of Merak and Sakteng. Trashigang also offers a variety of cultural tour and hikes. You can visit Radhi village, a very popular place for the production of locally woven silk garments in the country. You will also visit the Trashigang Dzong and take an excursion to Rangjung and Radhi village.
Day 10: Trashigang/Bumthang
You will start early in the morning. On your journey back to Bumthang, you will have lunch in the scenic valley of Sengor and stop at the Thrumsingla – the highest point on the road – to take photographs.
Day 11: Bumthang/Punakha
Today, we will travel to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan. It’s an eight-hour journey.
On the way, when you cross Pelela, you will take a detour to the valley of Phobjikha, the winter home to black necked cranes. After a brief tour of the village and scenic valley, we will be on our onward journey to Punakha.
Day 12: Punakha/Thimphu
The old capital of Bhutan, Punakha, offers a remarkable experience to visit monuments that have shaped the country’s history. The puna dewa chenpoi phodrang or the palace of great happiness is built at the confluence of Phochhu and Mochhu. After visiting the fortress, you will take a short hike to Khamsum Yuelay Namgyal stupa perched on the majestic blue pine hill of Sirigang. After the visit, you will be driven back to the capital.
Day 13: Thimphu/Paro
After breakfast, you will be driven to North Thimphu. From the road point, it is a gentle hike uphill to Tango monastery. The trail runs through a beautiful forest. Tango monastery is the leading Buddhist University in the country. After the hike, you will be driven to Paro for the night halt.
Day 14: Paro/Tiger Nest Hike
Today, we will take the famous hike to the Tiger Nest or Taktshang as it is locally known. The Tiger’s Nest is a monastery located 3,000m above Paro valley. It takes around 2-3 hours’ hike to reach the monastery but when you do, the beauty of the sight of rhododendron and pine forests below will spellbind you. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche flew to the location on the back of a flying tigress, a manifestation of his consort Khandu Yeshe Tshogyel, and meditated here for more than three months to subdue an evil spirit. Legend has it that Guru incarnated his eight manifestations at Taktshang for the first time. Later in 1692, Desi Tenzin Rabgay initiated the construction of a temple at the Tiger’s Nest to introduce Mahayana Buddhism learning centre. The temple gradually turned into a place of worship with tens of thousand devotees coming from across the country and the world. The hike to Tiger’s Nest offers unparalleled experience. In the evening, you will be treated to a traditional hot stone bath in a farmhouse, which will relax your tired sinews, which will be followed by a traditional and cultural program.
Day 15 Exit
Your tour executive will see you off at the airport for your onward journey home.