Day 1 : Arrival at Bagdogra Airport/ NJP Railway Station – Phuentsholing 165 kms (drive of 3hrs-4hrs)
Meet & Greet upon arrival at Bagdogra Airport/ NJP then transfer to Phuntsholing (298Mts / 977Fts), a small town at the Indo-Bhutan borders. You will come across of many beautiful tea bushes and the jungle of Gorumara. Check into hotel and rest for the day. In evening leisure walk around Phuentsholing and Jaigaon local markets. Bargaining in Jaigaon local market can be done. Meanwhile we will apply for the visa for Thimphu and Paro. Overnight in Phuntsholing followed by dinner at hotel or outside restaurants. Phuentsholing (alt. 300m/985 ft) - The frontier town, it is a thriving commercial centre, situated directly at the base of Himalayan foothills. It is a fascinating place where different ethnic groups mingle prominently Indian, Bhutanese and Nepalese. Being the border town, Phuentsholing serves as the convenient entry/exit point for Bhutan and also the important link to visit the Indian state of West Bengal, Sikkim and Assam.
Day 2 : Phuentsholing to Thimphu - 175 kms (drive of 5hrs-6hrs)
After breakfast and permit formalities completed, move for Thimphu the capital town of Bhutan through lustourous valleys and mountains. Its elevation is an elevation of 2,250 mts. Check into Hotel. Thimphu (alt. 2400m/7875ft) - The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural.
After breakfast move for the full day local-sightseeing. Memorial Chorten-This stupa was built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan's third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy. Trashichhoe Dzong Also known as "fortress of the glorious religion", it was initially built in 1641 and later rebuilt in its present form by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in 1965. The Dzong houses, main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. The National Assembly Hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong. During the warmer summer months, the monk body headed by His Holiness, the Je Khenpo, makes its home in the Dzong. Simtokha Dzong This dzong, built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stands on a low ridge 8 km down the valley from Thimphu. The Institute for Language and Cultural Studies is located here. The most noteworthy artistic feature of this dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard. National Library The history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts, which are preserved at the National Library. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts, the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags. Institute for Zorig Chusum Commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school. National Textile Museum With the opening of Textile Museum, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden, Bhutanese textile have reached new heights as one of the most visible distinct art form. The textile museum has opened its exhibition on six major themes - warp pattern weaves, weft pattern weaves, role of textiles in religion, achievements in textile arts, textiles from indigenous fibers and the royal collection. The crowns of Bhutan's Kings, namzas (dresses), the first version of Royal Crown and other accessories used by members of Royal family can be found in the museum. The goal of the museum is to gradually become a center for textile studies that will carry out documentation, research and studies on Bhutanese textiles. After completing move to Hotel. Overnight in Thimphu.
Your next Bhutan travel destination is Punakha, post breakfast we leave for Punakha a two hour drive from Thimpu. En route we will have a short coffee break at Dochula Pass (3150m). Dochula Pass: Stop at Dochula View Point which is the first stop after leaving Thimphu. Dochula Pass known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens- the construction of these 108 chortens was commissioned by the eldest Queen Mother, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. The pass is also popular spiritual destination for both locals and tourists because an important (Druk Wangyal Lhakhang) temple is located on the crest of Dochula pass. It offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range. The view is especially scenic on clear, winter days with snowcapped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass. Bhutanese families enjoy visiting the pass during holidays and weekends to picnic and simply enjoy the scenery. For tourists this is ideal location to capture beautiful pictures of Himalayan mountain range during clear, warm days. Punakha Dzong Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637, by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan's history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King. The Dzong is open for visitors during Punakha festival and in summer months when the monk body moves to Thimphu. The wedding of the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, and his fiancé, Jetsun Pema, was held at the Punakha Dzong, on 13 October 2011. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten A beautiful hike takes one to the regal Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. Chimi Lhakhang The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as "Divine Madman". This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning "field". It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang. After that we will drive to Wandue Phodrang Dzong and the local market. The district of Wandue Phodrang is also known for its bamboo products, stone and slate carvings, which can be purchased in the local market. Overnight stay in Punakha.
The Bhutan travel experience continues south of Punakha to Gangtey, we first visit the Gangtey Gompa (Monastery)- The Gangtey Monastery generally known as Gangtey Gompa, is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism. It is located in the Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan, is perched a top a small hill that rises from the valley floor. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the Monastery. In winter this families, together with the monastery’s ten monks, move away to another monastery, a day’s walk to the south. Gangtey, which is now controlled by the government, is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain’s and is also the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. It is directed by Gangtey Tulku, the ninth reincarnation (Tulku) to bear that name. Gangtey was founded by Pema Trinley, the grandson of Pema Lingpa, the famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan. Pema Lingpa visited this area and predicted that a monastery would be established by one of his descendants near the summit (tey) of a mountain (gang). Thus, in 1613, Pema Trinley establishes the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions of Pema Lingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin Legpa Dondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up good relations with Drukpas, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a Dzong. The Phobjikha valley- The Phobjikha Valley is a vast U-shaped glacial valley, also known as Gangteng Valley, where the black-necked cranes – visit central Bhutan to roost, circling the monastery three times on arrival and repeating this circling when returning to Tibet. Black-necked cranes in Bhutan are winter visitors during late October to mid-February to the Phobjikha Valley as well as Ladakh, India, and Arunachal Pradesh, India. They arrive from the Tibetan Plateau, where they breed in the summer. The phobijikha valley is popular for its scenic splendor and cultural uniqueness. The valley is rich in faunal biodiversity and has, apart from the globally threatened black-necked cranes Grusnigricollis, 13 other globally threatened species the valley is enclosed by the mountain ranges, which experience snowfall.
This morning your Bhutan tour will take you from Gangtey to Paro, on the way we will be visiting Simtokha Dzong one of the oldest fortress in the Kingdom of Bhutan completed in 1627. It is now converted into a school for religious studies. Later in the day post lunch we will be visiting Ta Dzong in Paro, Rinpung Dzong Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring. Ta Dzong One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors. The administrative office, and Paro chhu - You can enjoy the river bed of Himalayas. Timely Transfer to Phuentsholing. Spend the evening at leisure. Overnight at Phuentsholing. Overnight stay at a hotel in Paro.
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. It has an elevation of 10232 fts. The walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Refreshments and lunch will be arranged in the tent specifically pitched on the path to Taktsang Monastery. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang. Kyichu Lhakhang It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern. Inside this courtyard you will see the the orange tree, and if you blessed with orange accidentally then your desires will be fulfill, but you will not allow to pluck the fruits. It’s regarded as sin. Evening you can visit the local Paro market for some memorable shopping or just to feel the place for one last time. Overnight stay at Paro.