DAY 01: ARRIVAL AT PARO – TRANSFER TO THIMPHU
On arrival, guests will be received at the airport by ZiniGo Bhutan representative who will be your
tour guide and companion for the whole duration of your tour in Bhutan.
Drive to your hotel in Thimphu. After refreshing yourselves and having lunch, visit the following Kuensel Phodrang or the Buddha point is the world’s largest sitting Buddha
statue, the statue is 167 feet high. The statue is situated on top of a hill overlooking the city of
Thimphu, it can be accessed by road and is about 15 minutes away from the city’s center. The
word Kuensel means everything is clear and from this place you will sure enjoy a great view of the
Thimphu Valley on both sides. The statute will house a temple inside it; the statue and its
adjoining car park and recreational center are currently under construction and are expected to be
ready by December 2012. The statue is constructed out of bronze and is studded with many semiprecious stones. Since they are no factories in country that can make such a large bronze cast
structure, statute is being manufactured in China and the pieces are brought to Bhutan and are
assembled here. On the drive to the statue the steep winding hill road offers an unparalleled view
of the city of Thimphu and is an excellent place to capture a view of the city especially after dark.
A journalist once described the view as “Seeing an Oasis of light in the desert of darkness “as the
city light of Thimphu shine very bright in an otherwise dark Thimphu valley.
Motithang Takin preserve: The Motithang Takin Preserve also known as the Thimphu Zoo by many
is a small natural preserve for the Takin Bhutan’s national animal. It was originally a mini zoo, but
it was converted in a preserve later on as the Takin. The mini zoo contained a small number of
Takin but the King of Bhutan later decreed that it was improper for a Buddhist nation to keep an
animal in captivity. The animals were set free and the zoo was shut down, but for some reason the
Takin refused to leave the area for the forests nearby. Instead the animals were frequently found roaming around the streets of the capital city in search for food. As a result the government
decided to demarcate an 8 acre fenced location as the Motithang Takin Preserve. The preserve is a
forested preserve that mimics the Takin’s natural habitat, in addition to the Takin there are a few
musk deer and barking deer that live inside the preserve. There are plans to expand the preserves
collection to include other rarely seen animals that live in Bhutan, currently the preserve plans to
add the Red Panda and the Himalayan Serow to the preserve.
Later in the evening you can visit Tashichho Dzong: The Dzong is a Buddhist monastery cum
fortress at the northern edge of Thimpu the capital city of Bhutan. The Dzong was built on the
western bank of the river Wang Chu, and has historically served at the seat of the Druk Desi or
the Dharma Raja of Bhutan’s government. After the kings assumed power in 1907 this post was
combined with that of the king and Thimphu severed as the summer capital of the kingdom before
becoming the full time capital of Bhutan. The original Thimphu Dzong (the Dho-Ngyen Dzong) is
said to have been constructed in 1216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. And was later taken over by
Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo before the Dzong was conquered by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal,
who found the Dzong to be too small and expanded it to what is now known as The Tashichho
Dzong is also called the "fortress of glorious religion." It was erected in 1641 and was
subsequently rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. The Dzong has been seat of the
Royal government since 1952 and presently houses the Throne room and the Kings secretariat.
The Tashichho Dzong is also home to several ministries of the Bhutanese government, and the
Central Monk Body which is the apex organization of the country's main spiritual order. The
monument welcomes visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu festival which is held in autumn each
year. The Dzongs main structure is a two striped quadrangle with 3 storied towers on each of its
four corners. Overnight stay at Thimphu.
DAY 02: THIMPHU (CITY TOUR)
Post breakfast, drive to Dochula Pass (3,100 m), where on a sunny day, you can get stunning
views of the Himalayan ranges. The Dochu La Pass is probably the best known mountain pass in
Bhutan. Located at an altitude of 3150 meter above sea level, the Dochu La Pass is about 30
kilometers away from the capital city Thimphu and the road to Punakha. On a clear day the pass
offers visitors a spectacular view of the majestic eastern Himalayan Ranges. A cup of hot coffee or
tea at the pass has almost become part of tradition for people travelling to and fro from Punakha
to the capital city.
There is a small cafeteria at the pass that offers a chance for travellers to enjoy a hot beverage or
a snack, it is located just off the road and overlooks the pass and is an ideal place to sit back,
relax and enjoy the view. Another striking feature at the pass are the 108 Druk Wangyal
Khangzang Chortens, that were built for the well-being of all sentiment beings on earth. The 108
Chorten were built as a tribute to the Kings of Bhutan for their selfless service and leadership they
offer to the people of Bhutan. These Stupas or Chortens also represent the peoples love,
appreciation and loyalty towards the country’s King.
Come back to Thimphu and visit the following
Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory: This is a private factory and they manufacture a special
watermark paper as well as products such as lampshades, envelopes and other objects made of
traditional Bhutanese paper. They make great gifts to take home with you and are genuinely
unique. It is not just the texture of these handmade paper products that will intrigue you, but also
their unique earth tones and natural hews. This factory manufactures a special watermark paper
as well as products such as lampshades, envelopes and other objects made of traditional
Bhutanese paper. Bhutan protects its environment through long-term sustainability, and they
follow it because they do not destroy the plant when they extract the raw material required. Paper
products are manufactured from "Daphne Papyracea".
Folk Heritage Museum: The folk heritage museum was open to the general public in 2001 upon
completion. It treasures troves of culture and rich Bhutanese heritage provide rich insights into Bhutanese ethos. Try to schedule your visit during the morning hours since the museum is less
crowded at that time and there is plenty of sunlight to go around. The folk heritage museum is
housed in a replica traditional Bhutanese house learn first-hand about Bhutan’s rich cultural
traditions, its deeply rooted heritage which spans thousands of years and the Bhutanese way of
life. The tour of this almost living museum will also give you a glimpse onto how many rural folk of
the country live today following the ancient Bhutanese ways.
Memorial Chorten: Referred to as the Memorial Chorten, its actual name is Gongzo Chorten or
Gyaldren Chorten. The Chorten (stupa) is a chief landmark in the capital city and is also a most
sacred place of worship for local people. The idea of the Chorten was conceptualized by the Third
King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to ward-off negative energies. After His Majesty’s
demise, the Chorten was built in his memory by the 4th King and the then Queen Mother in 1972.
Many old people come here early in the morning to circumambulate and say their prayers in the
hopes of garnering enough good karma for their afterlife; they are joined by the middle and the
younger generation in the evenings who also come to do either the same thing or to just relax
their mind. The doors of this stupa remain mostly closed except on holy days. Inside, there are
three stories and on each floor are statues of protective deities.
Changangkha Lhakhang: It is a 12th century temple sitting on top of a hill overlooking Thimphu
valley with the main statue of Chenrizig (The Buddha of Compassion). This temple is often
mistaken for a Dzong by visitors because it looks like one, and apart from the temple it also
houses a monastic school. Most of the couples go to this temple soon after birth to get blessings
for their child. Overnight stay at Thimphu.
DAY 03: THIMPHU – TRANSFER TO PARO
Post breakfast, drive to Paro and on the way visit Tamchog Lhakhang: Tachog lhakhang is temple
that is dedicated to the 13th century saint Thangthong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder. This temple
is located across the river about 15km's from the Paro towards Thimphu. In order to get to the
temple one must cross an iron chain bridge, one of the few remaining of the many that
Thangthong Gyalpo built. This is a private temple however tourists are allowed to visit if they are
given permission. Crossing this very old bridge with its swaying and undulating movements can be
quite an experience. The temple's location on the ridge and the high rocky barren hills which serve
as its backdrop makes this a good location to take pictures. Once in Paro, check-in at your hotel
and visit the following
Ta Dzong (National Museum): The name Ta Dzong translates to ‘watch tower’ and it served the
function of watch tower for the Paro Rinpung Dzong. Back in the day, similar look-out points were
built for other dzongs (fortresses) to counter any approaching hostilities, for those were the days
of frequent strife. These towers were specifically built high atop hills and other vantage points
during the old days. Presently serving as the national museum (since late 60’s), it houses an array
of antiquities such as ancient thangka (exquisite scroll painting), mural paintings and other forms
of art done by great personalities of those days, original textiles of the kingdom which represent
the culture that still flourishes, weapons & amour used back in the day, household objects typical
to the Bhutanese people’s way of life back then and even now, and other natural and historical
Paro Rinpung Dzong: (‘fortress of a heap of jewels’). It was built in the mid 17th century to
protect and to gain control over the region, many invasions were averted from this Dzong. It now
serves as seat of the Paro district administration and residence for the monastic school. Rinpung
Dzong like all other dzongs in Bhutan is adorned with wall murals that symbolize the lives of the
Bodhisattvas and other prominent saints, drawings from Buddhist parables within which the
country’s culture and traditional life is intricately represented and holy symbols that signify their
own individual religious meanings. Overnight stay at Paro.
DAY 04: PARO – (TIGER'S NEST HIKE OR CHALELA PASS)
Have early breakfast and drive up to the base of Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The most
famous and sacred site among all the places in Bhutan. Guru Padmasambhava is said to have
come riding on a flying tigress to this place and meditated in a cave for 3 months, it wasn’t until
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal came to this place and meditated that it gained the popularity that
it has now. The present structure is said to be built in the 15th century but was destroyed by fire in
1998 and has been restored.
The walk is about 2 hours till the top through wide pathways which was built during the restoration
works. One hour into the climb there is a tea point from where you get a very good view of the
monastery, they also serve lunch here. From there it’s about another 45 minutes climb to the 2nd
view point and the highest point in the hike.
Kyichu Lhakhang: Considered the oldest temple along with Jampa and Kenchosum Lhakhang in
Bumthang, it dates back to the 7th century when a Tibetan King ordered 108 temples to be built in
a single night to subdue a huge ogress. It was later renovated in the mid 19th century and in the
late 1960's by the Grand Queen Mother. It is also considered by many to be one of the holiest
places in the country. Inside the compound is an orange tree which always has oranges no matter
what the season. Overnight stay at Paro.
DAY 05: DEPART PARO - PARO (PBH) AIRPORT
After breakfast departure transfer to Paro (PBH) Airport for your onwards journeys.