Bhutan Royal Heritage Tour
The traditional architectural buildings are national heritage sites for the country, and are significant to the country's history. The Royal Heritage Tours offers the visitors a unique look at some of Bhutan's Royal Family palaces. The driving tour takes places in major heritage sites across the country from the scenic mountains of the Paro Valley to the distant village of Lhuntse. Apart from royal palaces there are other heritage sites such as the giant fortresses and other significant architectural monuments in relation to the history of the monarchy. Hundreds of Buddhist temples, monasteries and chortens are found scattered atop rocky cliffs, on uneven enclosures and on every possible regions indicating that in Bhutan, Buddhism is flourishing in its ever youthful state.
Day 1 Baghdogra - Phuntsholing
Day 2 Phuntsholing-Paro
Day 3 Hike to Takshang (Tiger Nest) then in the evening drive to Thimphu
Day 4 Thimphu to Wangdue view Punakha
Day 5 Wangdue- Trongsa via Gangtey valley
Day 6 Eundu Chholing (Trongsa) - Zhemgang
Day 7 Drive back to Trongsa through same highway
Day 8 Trongsa - Bumthang
Day 9 Bumthang Valley (Drive to Ugyen Choling Palace)
Day 10 Bumthang - Mongar
Day 11 Lhuntshe and back to Mongar
Day 12 Mongar-Trashigang
Day 13 Trashigang to Trashi Yangtse
Day 14 Trashigang-Samdrup Jongkhar (180 Km)
Day 15 Samdrup Jongkhar-Guwahati (101 Km) and our representative will bid you Bon Voyage
Day 16 Guwahati-Bangkok (Every Wednesday there is direct flight to Bangkok)
Day 1 Bangkok-Paro/Delhi/Kolkata/Katmandu
Depart Bangkok international airport by our druk-Air (Royal Bhutan Airline). On arrival at Paro international airport, you will be received by our representative and escorted you to Hotel/Resort. After an early lunch, drive to Drugyel Dzong which is built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, the towering outer walls and central keep remain an imposing sight. On clear day you can see the splendid view of Mt. Chomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong. After lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. A short distance further is one of the innumerable archery grounds. (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan). If we are lucky, we may catch a match in action. The evening ends with a walk through Paro’s main shopping district.
Day 2. Hike to Taksang (Tiger Nest) then in the evening drive to Thimphu
Right after the breakfast drive towards the road point to Taktshang. Taktshang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries is perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. Taktshang means “Tiger’s Nest,” so named because Guru Rimpoche reportedly flew to the site of the monastery on the back of a flying tiger in the late centuries of the first millennium. The monastery is perched on a cliff nearly 3,000 ft above the Paro valley floor. This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! It takes about two hours to reach the cafeteria, which gives a breathtaking view of the Tiger’s Nest. If you still feel like hiking then you can take another hour to reach the temple. Then return back and drive to Thimphu (about 2 hours drive). Check into the Hotel.
Day 03. Thimphu to Wangdue view Punakha
After breakfast, go to Bhutan National Bank for currency exchange and then you can get an opportunity to purchase exquisite collector Bhutanese stamps. Then drive to Punakha. (The ancient capital of Bhutan) is 3 hours drive from Thimphu across Dochu-La Pass. (Alt. 11,400 ft) snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass deeper into the essence of Bhutan. 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 valley. After lunch visit the Punakha dzong, the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot). Punakha dzong is the second dzong system built in Bhutan by Shebdrung Nawang Namgyel in the year 1637. The Dzong is said to be the most beautiful of dzong in Bhutan; it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork. Then visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong, sit majestically on a steep ridge overlooking the highway that forks to the east and south of Bhutan. Overnight at hotel in Wangdue.
Day 04. Wangdue- Trongsa via Gangtey valley.
Today drive early to Phobjikha valley, A broad glacial valley (10’000 ft) on the flanks of the Black Mountains, Phobjikha with it’s gently slop is a place of astonishing beauty described as” the most beautiful valley in the most beautiful country of Himalayas”. Every winter, the rare and beautiful black-necked cranes return from Tibet to the Gangtey valley where they are protected. Gangtey also has a very interesting Nyingmapa monastery, the only one of the only one of its kind west of the Black Mountain range. The monastery is renovated by 9th Gangtey Tulku Rimpoche. On the way to Trongsa, stop Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Katmandu’s Swayambhunath stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It was built in the 18 century by Lama Shida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. Then drive further south of Trongsa valley is Eundu Chholing, the winter palace of the first king, Sir Ugyen Wangchuck. The palace was built by the first king’s grandfather-in-law Trongsa Penlop Ugyen Phuntsho. Presently the place is used as a residence by the Penlop’s great grand daughter, Ashi Kelsang. It also houses about 50 monks who are sponsored by them.
Day 05 Place tours and then drive to Bumthang
In the morning drive to Samchholing Palace which is 30 minutes drive from the Eundu Chholing palace. The Palace was built by the second king; it was later handed over to Ashi Pem Dechen, his junior consort and mother of HRH Prince Namgyal Wangchu. It is 15 minutes walk away from the road head below; the palace is located on a strategic point. From there, the vista over the region is very breathtaking. From there, the vista of the conventional hamlets strewn over the region is very breathtaking. The Palace has beautiful architectural designs and presently it is undergoing renovation. Then walk back to the motor road point and drive to Kuenga Rabten Palace. The Palace is under the Trongsa District formerly served as the winter residence for the second king, Jigme Wangchuk and his junior consort, Ashi Pem Dechen. It was built in 1928 and it has been well preserved on account of its royal connections. After palace you will see water falls on the way to Trongsa and will stop for lunch in the town. Right after Lunch, visit Trongsa Chekortse Dzong which holds a special place in the history of Bhutan as it was from there that the tradition of placing the Crown Prince as the Penlop before being enthroned as the king started. The title Chhoeste Penlop was derived from the Dzong. The first king’s Father Jigme Namgyal was the Trongsa Penlop and he was the one who paved the way for monarchy in Bhutan. Then Ugyen Wangchuk became the Trongsa Penlop and unified the country. He was the most powerful Penlop. With the birth of Bhutanese monarchy in 1907, the position of the Trongsa Penlop assumed a special significance. The institution of the Trongsa Penlop, therefore, came to signify the true heritage to the Bhutanese Throne and the investiture ceremony of the Trongsa Penlop became the formal declaration of the status of the Crown prince. Then visit watchtower, located directly above the dzong, has on display many interesting armors and other weapons of war used by ancient warriors. Finally, drive to Bumthang valley.
Day 06. Bumthang Valley Sightseeing
The valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in the kingdom. It is also the religious heartland where many saints and masters meditated leaving their imprints as sacred places of worship and pilgrimage Tales of Pedmasambhava dominate these holy shrines. After breakfast, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was built in 1667 and is said to be the largest Dzong in Bhutan. Then drive to Jampa Lhakhang which is built by Tibetain King Songtshen Gompa in 7th century and then drive to Kurji Lhakhang were body imprints of Guru Rimpoche remains preserved upon a rock. Then short hike to Tamzhing Monastery (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom.
In the afternoon, visit Wangdichholing Palace which was built in 1857 by Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel and was later restored by his son, Ugyen Wangchuk. It was the first palace to be built in Bhutan.
Day 07. Day Excrussion to UgyenCholling Palace
Drive to Ugyen Cholling palace, which lies in the remote eastern side of Jakar to the Tang valley. The journey is 20 miles driving, 13 miles of which is on an unpaved road till Kezum village. From the road head we have a one-hour hike over a suspension footbridge, through farm fields and cluster villages, up a “hill” to the mystical Ugyen Choling Palace. Ugyen Choling is a national treasure, privately owned by the same family for hundreds of years. Its remote location makes it one of the less frequently visited historical sites in Bhutan, hosting fewer than two hundred guests per year. The best part of the Palace is the quaint museum housing permanent exhibits on three floors in the main building and the Utse, the central tower. Traditional living quarters are recreated to capxure the realistic ambiance of the ancient lifestyles and conditions of the households. Everyday kitchen and weaving utensils, war weapons--including petrified yak dung to make gunpowder--tools and farming implements are the main part of the exhibits. On the way back visit the only Buddhist Institute who provides degree in Buddhist philosophy for women. It is founded by 9th Gangtey Tulku Rinpoche who is the chief Abbot of Gangtey Monastery. Then visit Burning Lakes from where Saint Pemalingpa discovered countless hidden treasures. Then back to the Hotel.
Day 08. Heritage historical Walk
Today you can go for historical walk which begins from Wangdichholing Palace and end in Domkhar palace. These Heritage Trail is used in the past by the Penlop, Desi and Kings with remnants and stories of historical use. The Domkhar Tashichholing Palace was formerly the summer residence of the second king Jigme Wangchuk beside the Wangdichholing Palace. It was built in 1937 by the second king. Then drive back to your hotel in Jakar and on the way visit Chumey Yatra Loom.
Day 09. Bumthang to Wangdue
Drive back to Wangduephodrang, on the way visit Trongsa Thruepang place. It was built by the 2nd king Jigme Wangchuk as his palace most likely in 1930’s. The palace was occupied by the senior queen Ashi Phuntsho Chhoden. The third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk was born in this palace and he spent most of his childhood traveling between the Thruepan, Kuenga Rabten and Wangdichholing palace. Then you can also visit Rukujee Vallage and can see the rural life of Bhutanese people. Finally drive to hotel in Wangdue.
Day 10. Wangdue to Thimphu
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. In Thimphu, visit the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. Then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).
After lunch drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices, and to Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). Then finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Over night in the Hotel.
Day 11. Thimphu/Paro Airport then to your destination
Tashi Delek and safe Journeys back to your country.