Start your journey with a breathtaking flight over the great peaks of the high Himalayas right into the Dragon Kingdom’s airport among the clouds at Paro (2,134 m). On arrival, your Bhutanese escort will drive you through the picturesque Paro Valley with its quaint clusters of hamlets amid terraced paddy fields, to check in at your preferred hotel. Over the rest of the day explore the town of Paro, its markets and museums, and witness the impressive presence of one of the oldest and most celebrated dzongs (fortified monasteries) in Bhutan, the Rinpung Dzong, or the Fortress of the Heap of Jewels where unfortunately, tourists are not normally allowed inside. If time permits, take a trip to one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Bhutan, the Taktsang Lhakhang where the founding father of the Bhutanese Mahayana Buddhism, Guru Rinpoche (also called Guru Padmasambhava), is said to have arrived on the back of a legendary tigress. Built atop a cliff, this famed Tiger’s Nest monastery also offers an amazing view of the Paro Valley.
Begin this day with a short drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong or the Fort of Drukpa Victory, the historical site from the ramparts of which the Bhutanese repelled Tibetan invaders, time and time again. On a clear day, you will be overawed by the sight of the 7,315 m white-domed peak of the sacred Mt Chomolhari (The Mountain of the Goddess). After lunch, you will visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum housed in an ancient watchtower, which has a fine collection of ancient Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and other artifacts. In the evening, a two-hour drive through the Paro and Thimphu Valleys takes you to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan at 2,286 m. En-route you will pass the Simtokha Dzong, built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, once the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu Valley, Simtokha Dzong is today a theological university.
This is your day to discover Thimphu. Situated on the banks of the Wangchhu River, modern day Thimphu continues to embody a strong national character in its architecture and planning and is, in fact, the only capital city in the world without traffic lights! Your sightseeing tour in Thimphu will include a visit to the National Library which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, the School of Thangkha Paintings, and the Traditional Medicine Institute, where centuries’ old healing arts are still taught and practised, although special permissions are now required to visit the Institute. Then, you will visit the Bhutan Arts and Crafts Centre and the Handicrafts Emporium to see the exquisite artistry of traditional crafts and textiles, and wander around for a little shopping and a lot of people-watching.
After lunch, you will visit the Memorial Chorten to his Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and proceed to Bhutan’s most impressive building, the Tashichnodzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion), built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and reconstructed in 1961 when the Late King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wang chuck, regarded as the Father of Modern Bhutan, shifted the capital from Punakha to Thimphu. Today, it is the seat of the central government where both, the temporal and spiritual heads of the country preside. In the evening, drive back to Paro.
After an early breakfast, drive to the airport for your onward flight.