Gateway to Bhutan – 7 Days
Experience Bhutanese hospitality at the beautifully restored Lechuna Heritage Lodge, engage in a variety of hikes that range from easy to moderate, or bike around the valley or riverside in this quiet location. Our experienced guides lead guests through the Haa and Paro Valleys on day walks, incorporating Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery, and a wild hike to Kila Nunnery, between the two valleys.
DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU
Our representative will receive you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities. Your first activity begins with a visit to Ta Dzong National Museum and a walk down to Paro Rimpong dzong. Afterwards, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 h). Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 02: THIMPHU
Begin your day with a drive to the viewpoint at the Big Buddha Statue. The park here has several walking trails which range from leisurely to moderate. Other places of interest are the National Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Temple (12C), Folk Heritage Museum, School of Arts & Crafts.
Afternoon visit weekend market (open Friday to Sunday). Additionally, visit the Takin pen and Trashichhodzong. Free time in the evening to stroll through Thimphu town.
If time permits, we can drive up to Dochu La pass (3,100m) where we can circumambulate the 108 stupas and, if the weather is clear, enjoy an incredible view of Himalayan peaks. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 03: THIMPHU – HAA
Depart for Haa, the westernmost valley in Bhutan. This is a beautiful drive (3.5h) that is relatively free of traffic. The road takes us back to Chuzom (river conﬂuence) where we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits, and then traverses left past Dobje Dzong, an ancient prison which now houses a monastery.
DAY 04: HAA
Haa remains one of the least visited areas in the country and retains the air of an unspoiled, primeval forest. This valley only opened to foreigners in 2002due to its proximity to the border with Sikkim and Tibet. This unspoilt valley harks back to a simpler, more traditional time, and its wooded hills give us an ideal setting for hiking and mountain biking.
There are several pleasant walking trails in Haa and biking on the virtually traffic free valley to visit local areas of interest and village homes is an enjoyable way to spend the day. Overnight at Lechuna Heritage Lodge (if rooms are available) or at hotel in Haa.
DAY 05: HAA – PARO
Chele La Pass and hike to Kila Nunnery (optional bike descents). Start early for the drive to Chele La Pass which (3,988m) from which on a clear day the view sweeps away to Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari(7314m).
KilaGoemba is a serene retreat for 32 Anims (Buddhist nuns) who lead an undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation. An hour’s descent from the monastery and we are back at the road where we can saddle up on a mountain bike and freewheel down to Paro Valley.
Difficulty: Moderate. Picnic lunch. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
DAY 06: PARO
After breakfast we hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes us to Taktsang Monastery.
In the afternoon drive to the almost fully reconstructed Drukgyel Dzong. The original monument (destroyed by fire in 1951) was built by Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, we can visit other remote monasteries in the valley.
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
DAY 07: DEPART PARO
Breakfast in the hotel, and then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.