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Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is a land of monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic topography ranging from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are a destination for serious trekkers. Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) monastery, a sacred site, clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.

Capital: Thimphu
King: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Prime minister: Tshering Tobgay
Currencies: Bhutanese ngultrum, Indian rupee
Official language: Dzongkha

After disembarking at the airport, you’ll meet your chauffeur for the one-hour drive to Thimphu and check-in to your hotel. With the formalities behind you, and perhaps a rest and freshen up, you will be free to explore the city.

Today’s journey to Punakha will take at least two and a half hours as your vehicle climbs upward! Fortunately, the Dochula Pass neatly bisects the itinerary. If the weather is clear you might see the superb views of Bhutan’s Himalayas, but don’t hold your breath: mist is more likely.
Afterwards, a visit to a farm house in one of a typical village in Punakha will illustrate the lifestyle of rural Bhutan. You will be served various snacks and tea in the farmhouse followed by Bhutanese local wine as the merriment draws into the evening.

Phobjikha day excursion An early breakfast is required for the two and a half hour drive to reach the attractions of this valley on time. Your first visit will be to the Gangtey monastery. Founded in the 15th century, it’s one of the Nyingmapa monasteries (the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism).
From the monastery, a few more kilometres will take you to the Phobjikha Valley below the monastery. In winter you might meet one of the world’s rarest birds in its roosting area, the Black Necked Crane. From there, it’s time to return to your hotel.

A gentler drive this time, 135km from Phobjikha to Thimphu, will take you to the country’s capital. After check-in at your hotel and lunch there will be time to wander, perhaps visiting the handicraft emporiums and shops for souvenir shopping.
In the early evening (5pm), you’ll visit Tashicho Dzong.

The school of Arts and Crafts is a good beginning to introduce Thimphu’s many attractions. It was established to preserve and promote Bhutan’s ancient traditions and is now a thriving enterprise. The students are taught thirteen different traditional arts to a high quality: all items must follow the original time-worn designs precisely.
Next, and close by, is the National Library, a lexicon of old records, letters and photographs, as well as rare and important books and manuscripts, mostly focused on sacred items.
Finally, you’ll visit the Memorial Chorten, built in in 1974 to honour the memory of the Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, considered the Father of Modern Bhutan,. The religious paintings and complex tantric statues reflect both the peaceful and wrathful aspects of Buddhist deities.
An hour’s drive will take you to Paro, and after checking-in into your hotel, you’ll have some time to wander around the streets before lunch. Then, after your culinary pleasures, another feast will appear but this time it will be an orgy of culture.
Next is another historical fortress, Drugyel Dzong, but this one is in a sorry and ruinous state.

After breakfast, you’ll be driven upwards through the pine trees until the road peters out and your hike up the hill begins. Walking time will be around five hours for a round trip.

Our guide and driver will take you to the airport for you your departure.
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