Day 1: Arrival and sightseeing in Paro (2,250m/7,382ft)
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Drugyal Dzong, built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in Paro.
Day 2: Paro to Thimphu (2,320m/7,610ft): 54 km, 1 hour drive: Hike to Taktsang Monastery
After breakfast, we hike for around 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor and leave for Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Hike to Wangditse Gompa followed by sightseeing in Thimphu
In the morning, we drive to BBS Tower and then hike for 1 hour to Wangditse Gompa on leveled trail with great view of Tashichho Dzong. From here, we also get an amazing view of the Samtenling Palace, home to the fourth King and Dorje Drak meditation retreat on the hillside above. After touring the Gompa, we return to Thimphu. On the way, visit the mini Zoo to see the Takin, national animal of Bhutan. After lunch, we visit the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), the nunnery temple, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts) and the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. We may also visit the Textile Museum, the Handicraft Emporium, the traditional paper factory and the majestic Tashichho Dzong. In the evening, we enjoy strolling in the streets of Thimphu and observe the local lifestyle. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 4: Thimphu to Punakha (1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours drive: Hike to Lungchutse Monastery
After breakfast, we drive to Dochula pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day we can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. We will begin 2 hours hike to Lungchutse Monastery from 108 chortens. The trail passes through rhododendron forests. Walking along the high ridges dotted with colorful Buddhist prayer flags offers us stunning views of Himalayas, plus incredible vistas into the valleys below the pass. Hike back to Dochu La Pass. After lunch, drive downhill through the rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. On the way, we stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 5: Punakha to Paro: 130 km, 4 hours drive: Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
At dawn, we drive 12 km north of Punakha and begin our 2-hour hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. It is located on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang and contains elaborate paintings dedicated to the old sect of Buddhism. We hike further towards Punakha. On the way back, we visit the Punakha Dzong which was built in 1637. It is also the second oldest and the second largest Dzong in Bhutan. In the afternoon, we drive to Paro and spend the night there.
Day 6: Final Departure
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after breakfast, we will be taken to the airport in the morning for final departure.
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.