Day 01: 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 Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower but has now been changed into the National Museum. The museum has a wide assortment of ancient paintings, armors, philatelic displays and a “field of Buddhas”, which helps one visualize while meditating. Overnight in Paro.
Day 02: Paro to Thimphu (2,320m/7,610ft): 54 km, 1 hour, hike to Taktsang Monastery
After breakfast, we hike for 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 the mountain. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor. This afternoon, we will drive to Thimphu, and spend the night.
Day 03: Sightseeing in Thimphu
In the morning, we visit Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, mini zoo to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Today, we also visit other landmarks of Thimphu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong and the traditional paper factory. However, some of the landmarks are closed in the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, if we are in Thimphu during the weekends, we explore the Weekend Market instead. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 04: Thimphu to Punakha (1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours
After breakfast, we enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La pass (3,100 m), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. We then pass through rice fields along river banks and reach Punakha. After lunch, we visit Punakha Dzong. Built between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 05: Punakha to Bumthang (2,850m/9,350ft): 214 km, 7 hours
After an early breakfast, we drive to Bumthang, the cultural heartland of Bhutan. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300-meter-high Pele La pass. There is even a chance of spotting yaks on the trail at certain times of a year. We stop in Trongsa for lunch. After which we visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture. Then, we proceed to Bumthang through lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way we stop at a yathra (textile weaving) factory, where the yathras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and we can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 06: Trek to Ngang Lhakhang (2,895m/9,500ft):10Km, 2 - 3 hours, Trek begins
The trek starts from Thangbi Goemba, near the small village of Thangbi and follows the Chamkhar Chu, a river known for trout fish. After an hour, we will pass the Zangling Lhakhang on the hill to the right. Stop for lunch at Thangbi Lhakhang. From here the trail enters the Ngang Yul (Land of the Swan), at the centre of which lies the Ngang Lhakhang (Swan Temple). In bygone days, the valley was populated by swans, and hence the name Ngang Yul. We will camp tonight at an altitude of 2900m.
Day 07: Trek to Ugyen Choling (2,895m/9,500ft):18Km, 6 - 7 hours
We will begin today's trek with a gradual climb to Phephe La Pass at an altitude of 3360m, the highest point of the trek route. The trail passes through beautiful forested areas where many stops can be made to enjoy the natural beauty of the place. We descend to Tang valley before arriving at Ugyen Choling Village. Our camp tonight is by the side of the river at an altitude of 2760m.
Day 08: Trek to Jakar/Bumthang (2,745m/9,000ft): 2Km, 1.5 hours : Trek ends
In the morning, walk up to the Ugyen Choling Palace, which is a repository for artifacts of ancient nobility. We will then take a short walk downhill to Kizam where our vehicle will be waiting to pick us up. From here it is 25km drive to the junction of the road near Mebartsho. We can visit the Mebertsho Lake (burning lake) where Terton Pemalingpa, is said to have discovered religious treasures in the 15th century. This lake is very sacred and visited by many Bhutanese on auspicious days. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 09: Sightseeing in Jakar/Bumthang
Today we visit impressive landmarks in Jakar. Jakar Dzong is the administrative center of the valley. Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating back to when Buddhism was first introduced here. Kurjey Lhakhang is one of the most sacred monasteries in Bhutan. It is said that, Guru Rinpoche, a great 8th century spiritual master left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. We also visit Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 10: Bumthang to Wangdue (1,240m/4,068ft): 197 km, 6 hours
We begin the day by touring Bumthang market then drive to Wangdue. It is a typical Bhutanese town with its dramatic Dzong perched on a ridge at the bend of a river. Other villages nearby the Wangdue village are also known for their slate and stone carvings. Overnight in Wangdue.
Day 11: Wangdue to Paro: 124 km, 3 - 4 hours
This morning we return to Paro via Dochula Pass. On the way, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. We stop for lunch at Dochula pass. Here, we visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the one of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. We continue our drive to Paro. The evening will be free for us to explore the town. Overnight in Paro.
Day 12: Final Departure
Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after having breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport depending on the flight schedule.