Day 00: NJP Rly Station / IXB Airport – Phuentsholing
(Distance: 170 kms. / Driving Time: 5 hrs. / Altitude of Phuentsholing: 293 mts.)Meet & Greet on arrival at NJP Railway Station / IXB Airport and transfer to Phuentsholing(961 ft) - The Gateway of Bhutan by Road from India. It is a thriving commercial center on the northern edge of the Indian Plains. On arrival check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at Phuentsholing
Day 01: Arrival in Paro (2300m/7546 ft.)
Arrival at the airport, drive to hotel. Overnight stay at hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro – Excursion to Taktshang Monastery & back
Today is an exciting day we are to visit Tiger Nest, Taktsang the famed site where Guru Padmasambhava alighted upon the back of a tigress The walk up is fairly steep about half way through we catch sight of Taktsang and the stunning location of the monastery as it seems to cling to the edge of the cliff encourages us onwards. We refresh ourselves with some tea and biscuits and continue upward. Suddenly we find ourselves at the edge of a cliff and right on the opposite cliff is Tiger Nest. We climb the stone steps down to a small bridge light some butter lamps and start climbing up, the final leg on the way to heaven! And suddenly we are there and bowing in reverence to the deity in the inner sanctum. This is the high point of the tour in more ways than one! On our way back to Paro we visit Kitchu Monastery. A little away from Paro is the national Museum and the Rinpung Dzong and to complete our tour we visit them. Overnight stay at hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro – Thimphu (2200m/7218 ft; 65 km; 1½ - 2 hrs)
Visit the National Museum, the first of its kind, which has a collection from natural history to religious paintings. Visit 17th century Paro Dzong (Fortress) on foot and continue walking through the oldest wooden bridge still in use. Continue driving to Thimphu. Overnight stay at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 04: Thimphu sightseeing
Morning visit the weekend market (Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday), Hand-made paper mill, School of Arts and crafts where students learn 13 different arts used predominantly in Bhutan. Lunch in town and we can enjoy some spicy Bhutanese cuisine. Drive pass by Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd King. Visit Changangkha Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the valley and go to the Sanctuary to see the Takin which is the national animal, we then go the viewpoint and watch the sunset over Thimphu. Overnight stay at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 05: Thimphu – Punakha (1300m/4265 ft; 83 km; 3 hrs)
Spend morning in Thimphu. Afternoon drive through Dochula pass, the second highest road pass in your tour at an altitude of 3150m/10,332 ft. When the weather permits one can enjoy a spectacular view of the highest mountains of Bhutan at a site that stretches almost 180 degrees. After a short tea break continue to sub-tropical Punakha. Afternoon visit the Souvenir Making Center and the Punakha Dzong (fortress) which houses the most elaborated temple in the country. Overnight stay at hotel in Punakha.
Day 06: Punakha - Gantey (3000m/9843 ft; 70 km; 4 hrs)
After breakfast depart for Gantey visiting Wangdue Dzong enroute. Wangdi Phodrang Dzong, strategically built on a promontory overlooking the junction of the Sunkosh and Tangmachu rivers, is the gateway to central and eastern Bhutan and was built by the Shabdrung in 1638.Continue drive to reach the beautiful valley of Gantey, the home of the Black Necked Crane, migrating down from the Tibetan Plateau. On a hillock overlooking small villages is the Gantey Monastery. This is the only Nyingmapa temple in the country. Overnight stay at hotel in Gantey.
Day 07: Gantey - Trongsa (2200m/7218 ft; 3 hrs)
Post breakfast we start our journey, climbing steeply till Pele La pass at an altitude of 3420m/11,221 ft. The road then descends till Chendebji, an 18th century Nepalese style stupa built by saint Shida. From Chendebji, the drive to Trongsa is about an hour and half with great views of the historical Dzong and the valley southward. We visit the historical Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the Royal Family and also visit the watchtower. Built in 1648 AD it is presently the administrative seat of the district and the home of the monastic school. In the old days, it was a vigilance point for both the eastern and western routes. Overnight stay at hotel in Trongsa.
Day 08: Trongsa - Tang (2800m/9187 ft; 5 hrs)
Morning visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong (Fortress), the home of the royals. Drive pass by the second highest road pass in your tour at 3425m (Yotong La). En route stop by the weaving place, besides the road where “Yatha” (wool weaving) is hand done which Bumthang is famous for. Pass Jakar town and drive on the dirt road for 1 hr. 30 min to the most remote valley of Tang. Cross the bridge and walk uphill for 35 min to the Ugyencholing Palace which houses a museum and has a guest house. Overnight stay at guesthouse in Tang.
Day 09: Tang – Jakar (2700m/8859 ft; 2 hrs)
Morning visit the museum that has a historic private collection of the Lord of the valley. Walk downhill for 30 min. We then we get into our vehicles and continue to drive. En route visit the Burning Lake of Mebartsho. At Jakar we are at leisure to explore the surroundings and we walk around and enjoy the beauty. Overnight stay at a guesthouse in Jakar.
Day 10: Jakar Sightseeing
Visit Jampay Lakhang, one of the first 2 Buddhist temples built in the country. This is the home of the ‘tercham’ or the ‘treasure dance’ also known as the ‘naked dance’ that is still performed annually. Visit the Kurjey Temple, the site where Bhutan’s royals are cremated. One can either walk cross the suspension bridge and visit the village of Parar and Tamshing or drive there. End your day with a walk passing by the Swiss farm. Evening stroll in Jakar town and try some local pancakes and noodles. Overnight stay at a guesthouse in Jakar.
Day 11: Jakar – Mongar (1800m/5906 ft; 7 hrs)
Today’s drive takes you through Thrumshingla, the highest road pass in the country at 3900m making this the most spectacular drives, descending 3200m just in a distance of 84 km. En route visit Ura village, made of cluster of large stone houses. Overnight stay at a guesthouse in Mongar.
Day 12: Mongar - Lhuntshi (1440m/4725 ft.) – Mongar (3 hrs)
Make an excursion to the north and visit the province of Lhuntshi, ancestral home of the Bhutan’s royal family. Visit the picturesque Lhuntshi Dzong (Fortress). This region is famous for bamboo basket and silk brocade dress. Overnight stay at a guesthouse in Mongar.
Day 13: Mongar – Trashi Yangtse (1900m/6234 ft; 5 hrs)
Drive pass by the famous Yadi loops to the province of Trashi Yangtse famous for wooden containers made here using water-driven and treadle lathes. En route, visit Gom Kora temple. Visit Chorten Kora, the biggest and most important white washed stupa in the country. Stroll around the town. Overnight stay at a guesthouse in Trashi Yangtse.
Day 14: Trashi Yangtse – Trashigang (2100m/6890 ft; 3 hrs)
Visit the School of Arts crafts and the Drive to Trashigang. In the afternoon visit Trashigang Dzong (fortress) which is perched majestically on the tip that overlooks the deep gorge and Ranjung Monastic School. Evening stroll in town. Overnight stay at a guesthouse in Trashigang.
Day 15: Trashigang - Samdrup Jongkhar (180m/591 ft; 6½ hrs)
Drive pass by the first Bhutanese college. En route, stop to visit the government handloom factory. Evening - relax in your hotel. Overnight stay at hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 16: Samdrup Jongkhar - Guwahati (India) (4 hrs); Final Departure
Post breakfast, we cross the border and enter India. The mighty Himalayas have given way to the fertile plains and tropical forests. The air is thick and humid. We drive to Guwahati for our onward journey.Tour ends…