Winding Trails to Tiger’s Nest
On arrival in the charming town of Paro you’ll be taken to your typical Bhutanese hotel. After your first night you’ll rise early to begin your hike to Bhutan’s most iconic structure; the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. This incredible building is perched on the side of a 3000m sheer cliff. A holy atmosphere pervades the whole area where only the creaking of prayer wheels and occasional gust of wind can be heard.
After you’ve caught your breath you’ll travel to your comfortable hotel in Thimphu. The Capital of Bhutan is an interesting city which encapsulates Bhutan’s juxtapositions of old and new. It is reputedly the only capital city without traffic lights, instead you should be able to spot the white-gloved policemen waving the traffic in each direction. Ask your driver to take you to the archery stadium to view Bhutan’s national sport.
Warm Welcomes & the Mighty Dzong
Now it’s time for a glimpse of life in the Bhutanese countryside. After crossing the prayer-flag laden pass of Chelala you’ll arrive amongst the lush greenery of the Punakha Valley where you’ll spend the night in a small hotel just outside the town. The next day you’ll walk through rice fields and visit one of the most beautiful monasteries in the country; the Punakha Dzong.
The colourful towers and white walls of this characteristic building form a striking contrast to the emerald green scenery and turquoise rivers. Next you’ll travel by car into Bhutan’s countryside, arriving at a local bed & breakfast late in the afternoon. This is where you’ll spend the night. The accommodation is simple and functional and you’ll have your own private room. This is a real opportunity to get a glimpse of Bhutanese village life.
Swooping Cranes in Sweeping Valleys
Visit one of the most beautiful valleys in the whole of the Himalayas, home to the black-necked crane. These celestial birds settle here between November to February. You’ll stay in a charming mid-range hotel on the edge of the valley. As the morning mist slowly rolls away and the rising sun sparkles off the morning droplets of dew, you’ll get the feeling of being somewhere truly special.
Uncover the Legends of Bumthang
Bumthang is the cultural and spiritual heartland of Bhutan. The journey takes around three hours, but you’ll travel along some of Bhutan’s most scenic passes, covered in prayer flags fluttering in the wind. During your stay in Bumthang you can set your own pace. Just a short drive from your hotel is the Red Panda Brewery; definitely worth a visit if you’re into your white beer.
There are many interesting monasteries and festivals in the region that are well worth a visit, so have a chat with your guide to see what’s going on during your stay. You can also take a trip to Burning Lake, a sacred part of the mountain river and a beautiful spot to relax. This region is also ideal for day hikes during which you can visit numerous remote temples. On the last day of your stay you’ll drive to the Ura Valley, one of the most unusual villages in Bhutan.
Through the Foothills to India
As you travel to the East of Bhutan and finally head south into India, you’ll notice how coniferous woodland and rhododendrons give way to soft bamboo forests and corn fields. Along the way you’ll spend a night in Mongar and 2 nights in Trashigang. You’ll take a trip to Trashi Yangtze, where you’ll find the Chorten Kora and have a go at making your own Bhutanese wood carving.
Back in your car, you’ll follow the rushing glacial waters down the mountains to the south. After one last outdoor picnic you’ll begin to feel the temperature starting to rise and the traffic slowly increasing. You’ll see and feel that you are close to the heat, noise and colours of India. You’ll stay one night in Samdrup Jongkhar, then cross the border into India the next day.
A peek at your accommodation