10 Days 9 Nights with Jakar Tshechu | Druk Asia

10 Days 9 Nights with Jakar Tshechu

Jakar Tshechu

Jakar Tshechu
Jakar Tshechu


Bhutan Tour Itinerary

Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatize to the altitude.

Day 1

Arrival in Paro, head to Thimphu

Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatise to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and lets have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine.

View of Trashi Choe Dzong [1 hours] - ‘Fortress of the Glorious Religion’ was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashi Chhoe Dzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. Entrance may be granted to guests only after 5 pm but the nine-hole golf course alongside makes for a quirky photo opportunity.

Walk Around Thimphu Town [1 hours] - Shop and walk around Thimphu town.Thimphu is the most modern city in Bhutan with an abundance of restaurants, cafes, shops and nightclubs. However, it still retains its cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernization.

Day 2

Thimphu

Buddha Point [1 hours] - Located at Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, the 51.5-metre-tall bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma, Vajra Throne Buddha is one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The Buddha Dordenma symbolises indestructibility, and is said to emanate peace and happiness to the world.

National Memorial Chorten [1 hours] - Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten. Chorten means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’. Treat yourself with the fantastic depiction of Buddhist teachings in the form of paintings and sculptures at this temple. As the name denotes this National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974, in memory of the Third King.

Takin Enclosure [2 hours] - On the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin, a strange looking beast some say looks like a bee-stung moose.

Folk Heritage Museum [1 hours] - If there is still time, we may visit this replica of a traditional Bhutanese house as it would have looked 100 years ago, and as many Bhutanese families still live to this day. Please note museum, monastery, temple and dzong opening days and times can and do vary with national holidays and events such a visit by a member of the Royal Family or auspicious ceremonies. [Opening hour weekday 10:00 AM – 04:30 PM, Saturday 10.30 AM – 01:00 PM, Sunday 11.30 AM – 03:30 PM]

Centenary Farmers' Market [1 hours] - Most of the Thimphu population congregate on the banks of Wangchhu River where the weekend market is held. Villagers from the Valley and other nearby places come to sell their wide range of agriculture products in the market. The market is by far the largest domestic market in Bhutan. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs. [Operating hour: Every Fridays to Sundays 07:00 AM - 07:00 PM]

Tashichhodzong (Thimphu Dzong) [1 hours] - The “fortress of the glorious religion” was first constructed in 1641 and restored by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhodzong houses the offices of some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monastic body. Opening hour: Weekday 05:00 PM - 06:00 PM Weekend 09:00 AM - 06:00 PM Winter 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM

Day 3

Thimphu to Punakha

We will set off early from Thimphu after breakfast. Then proceed to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan, about 2 1/2 hours drive from Thimphu across Dochu-la pass. Once you cross the pass, you wind down into a warm fertile valley and meander along a gently flowing aquamarine river that leads you to the Punakha Dzong, the second dzong to be built in Bhutan. wind down into a warm fertile valley and meander along a gently flowing aquamarine river that leads you to the Punakha Dzong, the second dzong to be built in Bhutan.

Chimi Lhakhang [1 hours] - Also known as the Fertility Temple, this monastery is located in the beautiful village of Sopsokha. It stands on a small hill close to the village of Lobesa and was constructed in 1499 by Ngawang Choegyel, the 14th Drukpaheirarch. This monastery is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley, the 'Divine Madman', known for his risqué behavior. The footpath to Chimi Lhakhang meanders through beautiful terraces of paddy fields. The walk across the fields takes about 30 minutes. Many have been blessed with children after praying at the temple. Visiting Window 9:00 A.M to 12:00 NOON 2:00 P.M to 4:00 P.M

Dochula Pass [1 hours] - At 3,100 metres, this beautiful pass located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu offers stunning 360- degree panoramas of the Himalayas mountain range. Here you will also see 108 chortens built by Her Majesty The Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. The pass is a popular spiritual destination for both locals and tourists.

Pho Chhu Suspension Bridge [1 hours] - At 160 metres, this is known as the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. From here, you will get spectacular views of Punakha Dzong and the Pho Chhu Valley.

Punakha Dzong [1-2 hours] - Located strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the Dzong was built in 1637 by the Great Unifer of Bhutan as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government in Bhutan was introduced in the 17th century. The first King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned here in 1907. Damaged by four fires and an earthquake over the centuries, the Dzong was fully restored in recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. It is now the winter home of Je Khenpo, the head abbot of Bhutan, along with a retinue of 1,000 monks. Marvel over intricate woodwork by the best craftsmen in Bhutan. Visiting Window: Summer Timing: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Winter Timing: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Day 4

Punakha to Bumthang via Trongsa

About four hours’ drive from Wangduephodrang is the central district of Trongsa, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and from where the first two kings ruled the kingdom. Long before you reach it, you see the resplendent Trongsa Dzong in the valley centre. Its labyrinth of temples, corridors, offices and living quarters for the monks add up to a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture preserved through professional restoration in 2004. Trongsa, literally "New Town" in the Dzongkha language, is where the current monarchy had its origin in Bhutan. Each King in the line of succession has held the post of Trongsa Penlop or Governor before donning the Raven Crown. The foundations of Trongsa Dzong were laid in the 16th century by. Its foundation was laid by Pema Lingpa and flourished during the 17th century under Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyal. The impressive fortress is a massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu Valley,commanding the east-west road

Chendebji Chorten [1 hours] - 2 kilometres beyond Chendebji village is Chendebji Chorten, at a lovel0y spot by a river confluence. The large white chorten is patterned after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu and was built in the 19th century by Lama Shida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that were killed. Trongsa Dzong [1 hours] - It was laid in the 16th century by Pema Lingpa and flourished during the 17th century under Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyal. The impressive fortress is a massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu Valley, commanding the east-west road.

Trongsa Museum (Taa Dzong) [1 hours] - Sits high above the valley at a strategic vantage point over Trongsa Dzong. The "Tower of Trongsa" tells the stories of the dzong and the valley that it has watched over for centuries. His Majesty the King inaugurates the Taa Dzong as a museum dedicated to the Wangchuk dynasty, land marking yet another significant event as the nation celebrates 100 years of the monarchy. It has been restored into a classy museum that represents a tasteful blend of tradition and modernity. There are 224 items on display, include a sacred image of Sung Joenma Dorji Chang (self spoken Vajradharna), a bronze statue of Pema Lingpa, made by himself and a number of centuries-old treasures like dance and ritual costumes and objects, ancient prayer books, paintings and scrolls and textiles.

Rest In Bumthang [1 hours] - After the long drive, we rest for tonight.

Day 5

Bumthang

Jakar Dzong [1 hours] - Pitched on a high ground overlooking the town junction, the Dzong was first constructed in 1549 by the great-grandfather of the first Shabdrung, the Dzong was initially built as a monastery. It was upgraded in 1646 after the Shabdrung had firmly established his power. Jakar Dzong is now used as the administrative centre for Bumthang valley, and also houses the regional monk body. Jakar Tshechu - The Jakar Tshechu, as all Tshechu festivals, honors Padma Sambhawa, also known as Guru Rimpoche, the precious yogi and saint who is credited with having introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. The festival's masked dances are performed by monks clad in colorful brocade attire and permeated by chants and reading of Buddhist scripts

Jambay Lhakhang [1 hours] - This 7th-century monastery was one of 108 monasteries built in 659 by Tibetan King Sontsen Gampo to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region and who was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Its present architectural appearance dates from the early 20th century. However, the inner shrine with the Future Buddha is believed to be there some 1400 years ago. Jambay festival (Jambay Lhakhang Drup in the late autumn) is famous for the Tercham. English speaking Bhutanese refer to this dance as the Naked Dance. Indeed, some dancers appear naked!

Kurjey Lhakhang [1 hours] - One of the most sacred monasteries in Bhutan. Built by the Guru Rinpoche in 1652, it houses a rock with his body imprint. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche manifested as a Garuda to defeat the demon Shelging Karpo who had taken the form of a white lion.

Day 6

Bumthang to Gangtey

The valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the Black necked crane (Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March.

Black-Necked Crane Information Centre [1 hours] - The valley of Phobjikha is known as the winter home of the Black-necked Crane (Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black-necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to an end of March. Black-Necked Crane Information Centre, which has informative displays about the cranes and the valley environment. You can use the centre’s powerful spotting scopes and check what you see against its pamphlet ‘Field Guide to Crane Behaviour’. If the weather’s iffy you can browse the library and handicraft shop, and watch videos at 10 am and 3 pm (Nu 200).

Gangtey Goempa [1 hours] - Situated on a forested hill overlooking the entire Phobijkha Valley is Gangtey Goemba, a monastery dating back to the 17th century. The largest Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan, it was founded in 1613 by Gyalse Pema Thinlay, the grandson and reincarnate of Pema Thinley, a 15th century “treasure seeker” who had predicted that a goemba named gang-teng (hilltop) would be built on this site and that his teachings would spread from here.

Gangtey Nature Trail & Explore Gangtey Valley [2 hours] - Located in the beautiful, broad and U-shaped glacial valley of Phobjika, the Gangtey Nature Trail is a very popular hike that takes people an average of 90 minutes to complete. You will start your hike near Gangtey Goemba, descend towards Semchubara Village and end your hike near a primary school on the other side of a metal bridge. The Gangtey Valley, also called Phobjikha Valley, is one of Bhutan’s most beautiful destinations. It is the winter home to a species of endangered black-necked cranes that arrive from the Tibetan Plateau every year. Gangtey is located in a remarkably attractive glacial valley called Phobjikha.

Day 7

Gangtey to Paro

The beautiful valley of Paro is home to many of Bhutan's old monasteries and temples. The country's only Airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to mount Chomolhari (7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pachu flowing through the valley.

Kyichu Lhakhang [1 hours] - At 1,300 years old, this is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. Like the Jambhay Lhakhang in Bumthang, it is one of 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to subdue and vanquish an ogress that was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Legend has it that all 108 temples were built in a single night. The Kyichhu temple’s name means “reservoir of peace”. Next to the temple is a museum dedicated to the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. You will see photographs and other personal artefacts belonging to the Rinpoche.

Archery and Khuru Tryout [1 hours] - You can try your hands on Archery and Khuru at Traveller's farmhouse. Our guide will be there to teach you how to shoot and hold the arrow. We also have another traditional game called Khuru (which is like a huge dart), whereby you throw it at the target.

Kha ja Throm Paro [1 hours] - Initiated upon Royal Command, and as a gift from His Majesty The King to the people of Paro, the Ka Ja Throm has been built so that vendors can showcase and sell their produce in a vibrant community space. The Farmer’s Market has 147 stalls for vegetables, fruits, meat, and other local farm produce, and food and drinks. A children’s park and an open-air liveband stage are also part of the Paro Ka Ja Throm. The market is envisioned to be a lively public space place for families and visitors to enjoy while also showcasing the best of Paro’s local produce. The management will organize regular live performances at the venue, alongside food and drinks stalls managed by de-suups from the DSP Culinary training.

Day 8

Paro

Zuri Dzong Hike [2 hours] - The Zuri Dzong is the oldest Dzong in Bhutan, and in there lies a cave that we can explore where Buddha came to meditate in the 8th century. The total journey time to get there will take approximately 40 minutes if one starts from the National Museum (Ta Dzong), and an additional 1 hour to exit out towards Uma. Tourists can expect to sit and relax there, and also remember to catch the amazing side view as you hike through the trek.

National Museum (Ta Dzong) [1 hours] - On a ridge immediately above Rinpung Dzong is Ta Dzong, originally built as a watchtower. In 1968, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as the first National Museum, and now holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangka paintings, Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps, coins and handicrafts, together with a small natural history collection. Start or end your trip with a visit to this marvellous museum.

Paro Dzong (aka Rinpung Dzong) [1 hours] - Explore Rinpung Dzong, which the locals call the ‘fortress of a heap of jewels’. Built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the dzong stands on a hill above Paro Township. It is linked by a traditional cantilever bridge called the Nemi Zam over the Po Chhu. Walk up the stone paved path running alongside imposing outer walls. Once inside the Dzong, you will be welcomed by the monks, architecture and beautiful frescoes. This dzong is a highlight for art and history lovers.

Day 9

Paro

Are you ready? We will be making the hike up to one of the key highlights in Bhutan today! Tiger's Nest aka Taktsang Monastery.

Taktsang Monastery [6 hours] - Also known as the Tiger’s Nest, this monastery set dramatically on the cliffs of Paro Valley, is Bhutan’s most famous landmark. In fact, some tourists would even say that “A trip to Bhutan is not complete without climbing to 7of 8 Taktsang.” According to local folklore, the Guru Rinpoche flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress (his consort Yeshey Tshogyal) and meditated in one of the caves, before emerging in eight manifestations. A hike up to Taktsang draws people with different interests. It fills those who are spiritually inclined with a sense of peace, while avid hikers feel a sense of achievement upon reaching the monastery. Take time to process the mental and physical sensations that wash over you during the uphill climb as you ascend more than two thousand feet from the valley floor to reach the monastery.

Day 10

Depart Paro

Today we will bid a fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country and take a flight back home. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments! Tashi Delek


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