12- Day Bumthang Jambey Lhakhang/Prakhar Festival
Day 1: Arrive Paro international airport by Druk Air
During the flight, on a clear day, you can see breathtaking views of the Himalaya Mountains, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
In the afternoon you can visit the Paro Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the dzongs (forts) currently. You'll cross a traditional wooden bridge on the way to the dzong. You can then tour the National Museum, formerly the watchtower for the dzong. It now houses a collection of fine arts, paintings, thankas, statues, and antiques. Afterward you will visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. In the evening you can stroll through the Paro market and town. Overnight in Paro.
Day 2: Paro - Thimphu morning hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuntse to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to reach the viewpoint to the monastery makes for a nice half-day excursion. After lunch, drive to Thimphu. In the evening you can explore Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, and absorb the lifestyle of the people. You can also visit some interesting handicraft shops. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu sightseeing
After breakfast you will visit the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong), and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan: the takin. From there you will visit the nunnery temple, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts), and the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school). After a relaxing lunch, you will visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a traditional paper factory, the majestic Tashichodzong, and Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress in the kingdom). Overnight in Thimphu
Day 4: Thimphu - Wangduephodrang (3-hour drive)
After breakfast you will drive to Trongsa, with a stop en route for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. After lunch you will drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, and visit Punakha Dzong, which is noteworthy both for being one of the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan and also for having been built by the first Shabdrung in 1637. On the way back from Punakha, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lakhang, which is a fertility temple, where you may receive a special fertility blessing if you wish. Overnight in Wangduephodrang.
Day 5: Wangduephodrang - Trongsa (5-hour drive)
You will begin the day by driving to Gantey. You'll pass through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons and arrive at Gantey village, where you'll visit Gantey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. From Gantey, you can see the picturesque Black Mountain range as well as Phobjika Valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. From there you'll head to Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300-meter-high Pele La, and at certain times of year it's possible to see yaks. You can browse through the Trongsa shops and town in the afternoon. Overnight in Trongsa
Day 6: Trongsa - Bumthang (3-hour drive)
In the morning you'll visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, and you'll also see Ta Dzong, the watchtower built to defend this dzong. You will then proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, with lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way you will stop at a yethra (textile weaving) factory, where the yethras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. You can spend the evening strolling through Bumthang town. Overnight in Bumthang
Day 7: Bumthang Jambey Lakhang Festival
Today you will attend the Festival at Jambey Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. At the festival you will get to see Bhutanese from around the area gathered in all their finest clothing. It is an exciting tradition to witness. Overnight in Bumthang.
After the festival you will tour the beautiful region and visit sights including Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; the Udee woodcarving factory in Jakar and Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, because Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. Over night in Bumthang
Day 8: Bumthang attend Prakhar Festival
Today you will attend the Prakhar Festival. At the festival you will get to see Bhutanese from around the area gathered in all their finest clothing. There will be mask dances, music, feasting, and religious blessings.
After the festival you will tour Tamshing Lhakhang, which houses interesting religious Buddhist paintings, and you will make a stop at the Swiss cheese factory. You will also see Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche's treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discover Pema Lingpa. You can spend the evening strolling through Bumthang town. Overnight in Bumthang
Day 9: Bumthang - Wangduephodrang
You'll begin the day at the Bumthang market, and then drive to Wangduephodrang, where you can stroll through the town and visit the shops. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings and bamboo work. Overnight in Wangduephodrang
Day 10: Wangduephodrang - Thimphu
In the morning you will drive Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, and visit Punakha Dzong, which is noteworthy both for being one of the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan and also for having been built by the first Shabdrung in 1637. On the way back from Punakha, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lakhang, which is a fertility temple. In the afternoon you will drive to Thimphu Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 11: Thimphu - Paro
After breakfast, you will tour the Textile Museum and the Folk Heritage Museum, and you can explore the interesting handicraft shops. In the afternoon, you will drive to Paro. In the evening you can visit a traditional farmhouse and, if you wish, enjoy a typical Bhutanese dinner. Overnight in Paro.
Day 12: Depart Paro
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