After breakfast at your hotel, you will visit the Nalanda Monastery, home to a group of monks who are pursuing higher Buddhist studies and learning English as well. You will be able to interact with the monks and chat with them. They will be more than happy to practice their English language skills with you!
After the visit, you will be transferred to Sew Drangsa, where you will find a clearing marked with prayer flags, which is where the monastic body stops for lunch when they transfer between its winter residence in Punakha and summer residence in Thimphu. From here, you will rejoin the Trans Bhutan Trail and descend towards Punakha Dzong (fortress), enjoying spectacular views of the Punakha Valley on the way.
After lunch at a restaurant in Punakha, enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing around the charming town of Punakha. Start off at the Bazam (bridge) across the river from Punakha Dzong (fortress), where you will need to be wearing formal Bhutanese dress, including a gho for men and a kora for women, in order to cross on foot. Once on the other side, enjoy a tour of the Dzong (fortress), which was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in around 1637 at the confluence of the Phochhu (male river) and the Mochhu (female river). Arguably, it is the most beautiful Dzong in the country. The Dzong guards Bhutan’s most treasured relic, the Rangjung Kharsapani, an image of Chenresig kept away from the public in the utse (tower). It has survived Tibetan invasions, numerous fires, floods and a glacial lake burst. The Dzong served as the capital and seat of the Bhutanese Government until the early 1950s; and the coronation of His Majesty the First Druk, Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck, took place here. The building currently serves as the winter residence for the monastic body.
Dinner will be served at your hotel.
Trek Distance: 8 kilometres (4.97 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 50 metres (164 feet)
Starting Elevation: 1,751 metres (5,745 feet)
Ending Elevation: 1,225 metres (4,019 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 1,751 metres (5,745 feet)