Day 01: (18th April): Bagdogra/Jalpaiguri – Phuentsholing (146 KM)
Arrival at Bagdogra airport / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. After a drive of about three hours along a road lined with lush green tea gardens you will reach Phuentsholing, the gateway to Bhutan, which lies directly at the base of the Himalaya. This rapidly growing town is Bhutan’s commercial center, with most commercial organizations headquartered here. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Phuentsholing.
Day 02: (19th April): Phuentsholing to Thimphu (153 KM)
After breakfast, proceed to Thimphu, making our first stop about 5 km. up the road to visit Kharbandi Gompa. This beautiful monastery situated in a garden of tropical plants and flowers, was built by Royal Grandmother, Ashi Phuntsho Choedron in 1967. There is a splendid view of Phuentsholing and the Indian plains from the monastery garden.
From this point the road climbs steeply up into the hills, winding in innumerable bends, to an altitude of approximately 2,000m/6,560ft. After a two hour drive we reach the site for Chukha hydroelectric power project. We cross the river, and rise up the mountainside even further into the hills.
After passing through Chapcha the road reaches its highest point of about 2,800m/9,185ft, then descends steeply and runs along the banks of the Wang Chu (river) to Chuzom (meaning confluence), where the Paro Chu runs into the Wang Chu. From here another 2 hours’ drive up the valley to Thimphu.
On arrival at Thimphu, check into the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast, proceed for Buddha view point, Simtokha Dzong, and Memorial Chorten.
Buddha View Point: Another place from where you can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley is from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang). It is again a short drive from the town. You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
Semtokha Dzong: Monastery was built in 1627 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It houses the Institute for Language and Cultural Studies. The carvings behind the prayer wheel in the courtyard are a major attraction of this temple.
Memorial Chorten: also known as the Thimphu Chorten, is a chorten in Thimphu, Bhutan, located on Doeboom Lam in the southern-central part of the city near the main roundabout and Indian military hospital.
Morning visit to Tashichhodzong, the main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King. Proceed to the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature. Visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School), where a six year training course is given in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.
Proceed to Paro after Lunch. Check in at hotel and take an evening stroll along the main street. Night Stay at Paro.
Morning after breakfast, hike up the hill to visit famous Tiger’s nest temple and in evening visit one of the oldest temples of Bhutan- Kyichu Lhakhang.
Taksang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest Temple): The most famous of Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery hence it is called Tiger’s Nest. Precariously perched on the edge of 1,200 meter cliff, this monastery creates an impressive sight, and is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. It is about 2 hour up-hill hike or ride a horse from the parking lot to the monastery. If the full hike sounds a bit tough you can hike for 1 hour to the cafetaria, a wooden tea-house restaurant which offers a good view of the monastery.
Kyichu Lhakhang: Built in 659 by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. It is believed to be one of the 108 temples built to subdue a demoness residing in the Himalayas and is also one of the oldest Temples in Bhutan.
In the evening, return to your hotel, enjoy your dinner and a comfortable overnight stay.
Day 06: (23rd April): Paro to Phuentsholing (149 KM)
The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions. In the morning, visit Ta Dzong. Once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. After breakfast, drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km. from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Also visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom.
After early lunch drive to Jaldapara in India. Jaldapara is a famous wild life sanctuary for one horned rhino and Indian elephant. We check in at Phuentsholing
Day 07: (24th April): Phuentsholing to Bagdogra / NJP (146 KM)
Early morning elephant ride / car safari inside the grassland of Jaldapara to watch the great Indian Rhino in their natural habitat. Back to the rest house for breakfast and drive to Bagdogra / NJP Station to catch the return flight / train.