Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Paro
- 1 night Punakha
- 1 night Limukha Village
- 1 night Chungseykha
- 2 nights Paro
Day 1: Arrive in Paro
Arrive in Paro after enjoying the scenic views of the Himalayas from the plane as you fly into Bhutan. You will be met at the airport and transferred to Paro town for lunch before visiting the National Museum of Paro, where you can learn about Bhutanese history. Later you’ll be driven to Thimpu, the only capital city in the world without traffic lights. In the evening you’ll visit the Tashi Chhoedzong, the beautiful monastery and fortress at the edge of the city before checking into your hotel for the night.
Day 2: Thimphu – Punakha
This morning you’ll be driven north of Thimphu Valley for a hike through the dense forests of rhododendrons and pines to the old monastery at Tango, dating back to the 14th Century. Around 235 monks pursue higher studies here, learning meditation and Buddhist philosophy. Heading back to Thimphu for lunch you’ll depart for Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan along a road that often offers panoramic views of the Himalayas. Descending along the hairpin bends down into the Punakha Valley you’ll visit the Chime Lhakhang, the temples of the “Divine Madman” built in 1499. Explore local life in the village of Lobeysa before continuing on to the city of Punakha where you’ll check into your hotel for 1 night.
Day 3: Punakha – Limukha (start of trek)
After breakfast you’ll visit Punakha Dzong, an ancient monastery that spans the rushing Mo Chu and Pho Chu rivers. After exploring the area you’ll be driven to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan and the start of your 3 day, 2 night trek. The trail leads you into the valleys of Shengana and Limuka, you’ll visit the locals in Dompala village enroute and learn about their way of life. Tonight you’ll camp in Limukha village under the Himalayan stars. (Distance today: 12kms, Walking Time: 4-5 hours)
Day 4: Limukha – Chungseykha
Today the trail leads you through the sand oak forest into the village of Chungsekha, visiting an old temple used by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 14th Century enroute. Depending on the time of year, the rhododendrons might be in bloom, with pink blooms lining the path you follow through the trees. You’ll interact with the locals and learn about the way of life for the people who live deep in the valleys of Bhutan. You’ll camp overnight in the village. (Distance today: 11kms, Walking time: 4-5 hours)
Day 5: Chungseykha – Samtengang
Up bright and early today you’ll set off on your final trek, across the river and up the hill into the Sha Valley of Wangdue, where the still waters of the green rice terraces shine in the sun. You’ll visit Seygang Lhakang, a monastery which dates back to the 12th Century before having dinner in a local house, where you’ll also stay the night. (Distance today: 13km, Walking time: 5 hours)
Day 6: Wangdue – Thimphu - Paro
After breakfast you’ll be driven back along the stunning Dochula Pass to Thimphu for your lunch before spending an hour or two browsing the markets of Thimphu, watching as farmers sell their produce and even spotting bargains of your own. Later you’ll head back to Paro and enjoy the rest of the afternoon exploring, admiring the quaint architecture of the city, checking into your hotel for 2 nights.
Day 7: Paro
This morning you’ll drive along the winding road north of Paro to visit the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, built in 1647 and burnt down in a more recent accidental fire, left in ruins as a reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. On a clear day you’ll enjoy views of Mount Jhomolhari before driving to Ramthangka to hike to the famous Taktsang (Tigers Nest) monastery. The view of the monastery is unforgettable and one of the most iconic images of Bhutan, a wonderful sight to end your time in this magical country.
Day 8: Departure from Paro
Unfortunately your time in Bhutan has come to an end and you’ll be transferred from the hotel to the airport to catch your onwards flight.