ARRIVE PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – PARO
During the journey, the traveler will experience from the left side of the plane a spectacular view of Mt. Everest, and other famous Himalayan Mountains including the sacred Mt. Jhomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport you will be received by your Bhutanese friend from Makalu Adventure Lunch at the Hotel. Discuss the Tour Programme with the Tour Guide. Afternoon sight seeing
Overnight:Hotel in Paro
PARO – A DAY EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY
Drive up to Satsam Chorten (10 km from Paro town) and from there walk up to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means "Tiger's Nest ". The Monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff drop of nearly 4000 ft. and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan meditated on this spot where the Monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round hike takes about 4 Hr. After lunch:Visit Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress), 16 kilometers away from Paro town. Although it has been in ruin but this Dzong has its great historical importance for the people of Bhutan. It was a place where the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetan invasion and drove them back. On a clear day one can view the sacred Mt. Jhomolhari (Mountain of Goddess). Its altitude is 7,329m.Visit Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means temple). Which was built in 659 AD by the King Songtsen Gompo of Tibet as one of the 108 such monasteries he built in various places to spread Buddhism. It is located between Paro Town and Drugyal Dzong. It is one of the holiest place in the country, as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country and visit National Museum which used to be a watch tower for Paro Rimpong Dzong (Fortress). It was converted into Museum in 1968. Visit Paro Rimpong Dzong, the Dzong was built in 1646 AD, and walk down to town on the way you can see the traditional wood bridge of ancient style. Over night:Hotel in Thimphu.
THIMPHU – SIGHT SEEING
After breakfast:Visit the Memorial Chorten (a great stupa) built in memory of the Third King of Bhutan who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the mini Zoo where the national animals were kept and drive to Sangeygang where you can have a spectacular view of Thimphu valley. Visit nunnery in Zulikha. Visit the Wood Craft and Painting school where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive through the instructions of painting and curving. Visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit Tashi Nancha Folk studio, the traditional folk and dances are learned and practiced. Early lunch in hotel in Thimphu. After lunch, drive towards Dodena. Trek along Thimphu Chu inside Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Park. Over night:Hotel in Thimphu
THIMPHU – PHUNAKHA
Drive to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3150m). On the way stop for a photo stop at Dochula Pass which is 26km away from Thimphu valley, and for Tea and snacks and to enjoy the most spectacular view of eastern Himalayan snow capped Mountains and also the great view of Gasa Dzong at a distance (If weather is clear). Dochula is home to 16 species of Bhutanese Rhododendrons. It also harbors different species of Primula, Lauraceae such as Litsea, Cinnamomum, Neolitsea etc., oaks, Virburnum, Magnolia, Daphne, Arisaema spp. Gentian, Himalayan Acer, and many others. Recently, on the pass of Dochula, 108 small chortens were erected which add beauty to the natural setting of the area. We will trek downwards, 30-40 minutes following the old route to have better idea of natural forest. The journey continues through varying scenes of greenery all the way to Punakha. Visit Punakha town. The Punakha Dzong lies between two great rivers with the wonderful view of Punakha Dzong. The names of the rivers are Phochu (Male River) and Mochu (Female River). This Dzong serves as the winter residence for the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body and also the office of the district Administration. Over night:Hotel in Punakha.
PUNAKHA – SIGHT SEEING
Drive to Tashithang, a part of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park, the largest park in Bhutan. Tashithang is situated in warm subtropical zones and vegetation is mainly of subtropical. Different epiphytic orchids such as Dendrobium, Cymbidium, Bulbophyllum, Coelogyne, Liparis, Pleione etc. as well as ground orchids such as Calanthe, Goodyera, Cephalanthera, etc. are found here. Wild Bananas (Musa) also thrives here. Tree species such as Engleherdia, Tauluma, Magnolia, Symploccus, Litsea, Cinnamomum, Rubus spp. Over night:Hotel in Punakha.
PUNAKHA – GANTEY VALLEY
After breakfast drive to Gangtey valley, on the way hike about 20 minutes to the Famous Chhimi Lhakhang where Devine Madman meditated in 14 century "Temple of Fertility", it is strongly believe that any couples who do not have children after long years of marriage go there and pray and in next month the woman gets conceived. Drive to warm valley of Wangdiphodrang towards Gantey Gonpa. Lunch at Wangue Phodrang. On the way, we will drive through part of Pele La (commonly known as Black Mountains) pass that separates western Bhutan from Eastern. During the drive, we will be able to see different species of Rhododendrons, Legumes, Magnolia, weeping Cypress (national tree of Bhutan), etc. Over night:Hotel in Phobjikha Valley.
GANGTEY VALLEY – BUMTHANG
Drive to Bumthang valley (200km) the journey takes about 6 hours through Pelela Pass which ascends up to 3340m where you can see wonderful view of Himalayan Mountains and this Pass separates the western from the other regions of the country. The drive will take you through the thick dwarf bamboo (grows in higher altitutes), a winter place for Yak, and through thick Rhododendrons forest with beautiful colors of red, white, and yellow. Lunch in Chendebji. After lunch, drive to Trongsa. On the way you will have the spectacular view of Trongsa from distance and take a picture of Trongsa Dzong from the view point. Visit the Trongsa Dzong, one of the largest Dzongs in the country, the ancestral home of our Royal family. It was built by Chogyel Minjur Tempa, the third Desi, in 1648. The Dzong is the office of the district Administration and central monastic body. Visit also the Ta Dzong (Watch Tower) and stroll through the small Trongsa town. Drive to Bumthang Valley across the Yutola Pass. The journey takes about 3 hrs and is one of the most scenically beautiful journeys to Bhutan, Enjoy the hospitality of Bhutanese family in farm house or guest house in Bumthang. Over night:Hotel or family owned guest house in Bumthang valley.
BUMTHANG VALLEY – URA VALLEY
After breakfast, drive to Ura valley, the one of the most impressive village in the country. On the way drive to Mebar Tso (Burning Lake) and with several stops to see the different species. The most commonly seen species will be few species of Rhododendrons, Rubus, Acer, Aconitum, Delphinium, Ranunculus, Clemantis, few species of orchid such as Coelogyne, Pleione, Cephalenthera, conifers such as fir, hemlock, Pine, Juniperus, Primulas, Androsac, etc. If time permits join the local people at the Ura monastery to witness the second day of annual festival this remote village. Over night:Lodge or Camp at Ura Village.
URA VALLEY – BUMTHANG
Early, we will drive to Thriumshing La National Park, established in 1998 covering Bumthang, Lhuentse, Zhemgang, and Mongar districts. In 2001, Royal Government of Bhutan designated one of the areas close to the pass as insitu-Rhododendron garden. Thumshing La National Park is home to many endemic species viz. Daphne ludlowii, Lobelia nubigena, Vanda griffithii, Rubus sengorensis, and Pedicularis spp. It is also home to some of the fauna species such as Red Panda, reptiles, amphibians and one can watch different avian fauna. In the afternoon, we will drive back to Bumthang. Over night:Guest house in Bumthang.
BUMTHANG – WANGDUE PHODRANG
Drive back to Wangdue. During the return journey, we will be stopping in many places to see what have left out, for new blossom, reconfirmation etc. Over night:Hotel in Wangdue
WANGDUE PHODRANG – HAA VALLEY
After breakfast drive to Thimphu, lunch at Thimphu, after lunch drive to Ha valley. Ha valley was recently open for tourists. Situated in the temperate region among the Blue pine forest, Ha used to be very important district in ancient time as a gateway to western Bhutan. During the drive, we will be able to see different species of both flora and fauna. Trees such as Populus, Altingia, Hammelidaceae, Pine, Acer, and shrubs such as Leycesteria, Lonicera, Coriaria, Rubus. Cotoneaster, Philadelphus, Hydrangea, and many herbeceous species. Over night:Hotel in Haa valley.
HAA VALLEY – PARO VALLEY
After breakfast Drive Paro valley via Chele La Pass to Paro. Chele-la (3800m) Chele-la that divides Haa valley and Paro valleys and has been one of the important routes in olden days for any travelers that would visit Bhutan from Northwestern India. It has been mentioned repeatedly in most of the writings by British Political envoys such as George Boyle, J. C White as well as other botanists. The accounts of Ludlow and Sherriff, two naturalists who visited Bhutan seven times and collected a historic record of 21, 000 Bhutanese plants have crossed this pass during their visit in 1938. Chele-la harbors one of the most exciting sites for Bhutanese flora. Many species of Primulas, Rhododendron, Iris, Betula, Lilies (such as Notholirion, Lloydia and Fritillaria), Saxifraga, Bergenia, Aconitum, Pedicularis, Gentians, and others grows extensively and will make any visitor's heart a delight. Over night. Hotel in Paro.
PARO – PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT for departure
Early morning drive to Paro International Airport and your Bhutanese friends from Bhutan Bigfoot Trekking will accompany you to bid farewell as you embark on your onward journey to back home.