Village Walking Tour
This is the most spectacular way to experience and explore Bhutan’s natural pristine evergreen environment, and culture, and traditions. Walking through the crossing hills, fragrances filled with wildflowers, forest, and rice fields make your Bhutan village walking tours incredible. Village walking tours are smooth and comfortable alongside the opportunity to interact with local people and experience their hospitality.
Day 1: Arrive Paro – Thimphu
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. If you arrive via Kathmandu, which offers the most breathtaking view of the range, it’s possible to see Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga as well. Upon arrival in Paro, 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, thangkas, statues, and antiques. Afterward, you will visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. Later in the evening, drive to Thimphu. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2: 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), Buddha Point, Changangkha 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: 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. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu- Punakha (Village Hike)
Begins with an early start, you will be driven towards Punakha. On the way, you can stop at Dochula pass (3,000m) to witness the Himalayan peaks and circumambulate the chorten. A 40 minute downhill hike through rhododendron forests will give you a breath of fresh air which you miss in the hustle-bustle of city life. After that, you start on a beautiful two-hour walk through villages and farmland. In the spring you will walk through small villages, skirt green rice terraces and see various exotic trees, plants, and birds. In the fall the farmers will be harvesting their rice terraces. You may even see eagles swooping below you deep into the forested valleys. Here you get a chance to enjoy a picnic lunch in the fields, near a temple. You can continue for another 2-hour walk through villages until you reach the road where you will meet your vehicle. On the way, visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (Popularly known as “The Divine Madman”, in the year 1499. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of Bhutan’s Favorite Saints who was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary disciple of Pema Lingpa. He traveled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) using songs, humor, and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings of Salvation through sex. You can further proceed towards Punakha (1,200m). Punakha Dzong was the old capital of Bhutan and has an imposing temple full of colorful carvings, paintings, and enormous statues.
Day 04: Punakha Hikes- Wangdue Sightseeing
Start off early in the morning for a short hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal stupa for views over the Punatsangchu river. Drive to Wangduephodrang – The last town in the young lama Bhutan west before arriving at the central region of Bhutan, Wangdue is a typical small Bhutanese town – The town’s formidable Dzong is its most visible feature – In the 17th century, Wangdue played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern Bhutanese districts, Visit the Wangdiphodrang Dzong built-in 1638. (Razed by fire in 2012), now under construction and Return Back to Punakha, Overnight Hotel in Punakha.
Day 5: Punakha-Paro
Then we will return to Paro, a drive of approximately 4 hours. In Paro visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. Then you can visit a local farmhouse for tea or dinner allowing you to experience traditional Bhutanese village life. Take the opportunity to try the restorative properties of a hot stone bath! Overnight in Paro.
Day 06: Paro-HAA
Today we will drive to Haa at 2670 meters – the drive is around 3 hours and crosses the Chele La pass at 3800m from where you will have a view of Mount Jomolhari to the north as well as down to the Haa valley. First, we will stop to visit Kila Gompa a nunnery inhabited by about 30 nuns who live a life of contemplation and seclusion with daily prayer and spiritual practice. The community is one of the oldest of seven nunneries in Bhutan and was initially established in the early 9th century as a meditation site. The main temple houses ancient statues of Chenrezig and Guru Rinpoche among others. After visiting the nunnery you can follow an old trail for about an hour and a half uphill through rhododendron and hemlock forest towards Chele La pass where your vehicle will be waiting for you. Then continue your drive down into Haa town. Haa has only recently opened to tourists and the town is still very small – as yet there are only one or two basic restaurants and local lodges so the area remains quite remote. A great opportunity to view this beautiful rural scene. From Haa, you can walk to Katso village and from there you can visit Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo. Check into the farmhouse. Homestay is a traditional Buckwheat dumpling special to the valley of Haa. Today with the help of homestay family members, we will learn to make Hoentay.
Day 7: Haa-Paro
Drive about 30 minutes from Haa town to Kana village. Hike for about an hour and a half ascending gradually through blue pine and rhododendron forest to Gyensakha temple. From here you will have a view of Haa valley as well as down to Tsapay village school. Gyensakha temple is believed to have been founded by the Great Buddhist master Choley Tenzin in the 19th century. There is currently only one lay monk looking after the temple. The temple has a collection of interesting statues, the most important of which is the Buddha of Long Life. After visiting the temple, walk down towards Tsapay village. Your driver will be waiting to collect you in Tsapay village.
Option to continue riding bikes today in place of the hike. Overnight in Paro.
Day 08: Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3120m)
After breakfast drive towards the base camp of Taktsang for the hike up to the Taktsang Monastery-Tiger’s Nest. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 meters above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. The cave is said to be the origin of Buddhism in Bhutan. In the afternoon drive to the almost fully reconstructed Drukgyel Dzong. In fine weather, the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit other sights in Paro valley. Hot-stone Bath- Hot stone bath is very unique to Bhutan and offers great medicinal values. In most cases, the bathtub is made of wood placed on the ground level in the quiet hut for privacy. A couple can get into one bathtub to soak. Enjoy the great ancient techniques of curing body ache, joint pain, and harness much other value. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 09: Depart Paro
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for a flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek!