Dochula pass is located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu. The pass is a popular location among tourists as it offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range. The view is especially scenic on clear, winter days with snowcapped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass.
Known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens- the construction of these108 chortens was commissioned by the eldest Queen Mother, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. The pass is also popular spiritual destination for both locals and tourists because an important temple is located on the crest of Dochula pass.The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) was built in honor of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The past and future appears to merge in the details of the lhakhang (temple) and its structure tells the story of a supreme warrior figure, whose vision pierces the distant future in a fine blend of history and mythology.Bhutanese families enjoy visiting the pass during holidays and weekends to picnic and simply enjoy the scenery. It is common to see families and groups of friends seated amongst the chortens, enjoying a packed lunch and hot tea. For tourists this is ideal location to capture beautiful pictures of Himalayan mountain range during clear, warm days.
5 Night’s 6 Days Essential Program
Day- 01. Arrive Paro:
Flight into Paro with Druk Air, Bhutan National Airlines, the flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering the most beautiful scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks, As you enter Paro valley, you will see the Paro Dzong (Fort), the national museum and the Paro town, your representative from Bhutan Galaxy Travels will be awaiting you at the airport. After completing the formalities, you will drive through fascinating valley of Paro to Thimphu, the capital. The distance is 55km and takes about 2hours. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day- 02. At Thimphu:
After your breakfast, you enjoy full day of sightseeing that includes: memorial Chorten: This is a most impressive Stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third king by the order of Grand Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Chhoden in 1974. National Library: It holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist tests, manuscripts and also modern academic books. Handicrafts Emporiums: It displays wide range of products & other decorative items. Painting school: It is famous for traditional Thanka paintings. You can also buy from here if you like them. The price can be negotiated a bit. Traditional medicine institute: It was established with the help of Europen Union to improve traditional medicine. The rich herbal medicines abundant in the kingdom are prepared here.Tashichhodzong: the biggest fort of Bhutan built in 1648. It houses secretariat building, king’s throne room and other government offices. It is also the summer residence of chief abbot.
Day- 3. Drive to Punakha:
Three hours drive to Punakha, the winter residence of chief abbot. The road climbs for about an hour till you reach a pass at Dochula at an altitude of 3050 meters. This pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas. However, the peaks can be seen only on a clear day especially in the month of October to mid-February. The road then decends a long way to Punakha and Wangdue through temperate forest of rhododendron and magnolia bloom in mid march and last’s till may, then a semi-tropical zone where orange trees, banana trees and cactuses are found in abundance. After your lunch at the hotel in Punakha, visit the outskirt of Punakha dzong situated in the confluence of two rivers. Entering inside the court yard of the dzong can be permitted only if the head lama is moved to Thimphu for his summer resisdence. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day -4. Drive Wangdue/Paro:
After your breakfast, fifteen minutes drive to Wangdue. Visit the town and the dzong area and continue to drive to Paro via the same road to Thimphu until the road bifurcate at Simtokha check point. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 5. At Paro.
After your breakfast sightseeing of Paro valley that includes: Ta dzong: the national Museum. It once served as the watch tower of Paro dzong. It was built in 1646 by the order of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the great builder of dzong and the unifier. Drugyel dzong: Meaning, the fortress of victory. It is now a ruined fort situated at the north end of the valley. It was built in 1647 by Zhabdrung to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644. Kyichu Lhakhang (Temple of god): It is one of the most sacred temples in Bhutan built in circa 637 AD by a Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. From then on Buddhism was flourished in Bhutan. Drive to hotel dinner and overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 6. Drive to airport for onward destination.
9 Nights/10 Days
Day -1 Arrive Paro by Druk Air:
As you enter Bhutanese air space, you will begin to get glimpse of magnificent snow peaks and numerous lovely valleys. At the Paro airport, the most beautiful valley, you will be greeted and received by our staff who will lead you to the capital city of Thimphu, which is about an hour and a half drive by car. Overnight in hotel at Thimphu.
Day -2. Thimphu:
Your visit to the national Memorial Chorten would lead you to various matters of interests. Thereafter, your visit would lead you to Dubthop Lhakhang, which is one of the few surviving Nunneries followed by visits to the National Library stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and to the Painting School which would draw your attention to painted sacred Buddhist religious scrolls.
After lunch, your attention would be drawn to ancient medicines practices at the Traditional Medicine Institute, Royal silver Smith, Bhutan handmade paper factory, and a visit to the Trashichhodzong, which is the seat of the central Monastic body and the national Government and finally to the Handicrafts Emporium for souvenirs. Overnight in the hotel.
Day -3. Thimphu-Punakha:
Another fascinating drive through greenery by hills and mountains towards Punakha, the road leads to the highest point called Dochula from where you can have panoramic views of snow clapped mountains ranges. Here you may stop for tea, view the scenery and have refreshments and then decend without ignoring any sight coming across till you reach (Male $ Female) rivers. The dzong and the two rivers add exclusively to the scenic beauty of Punakha valley. Overnight in hotel at Punakha.
Day- 4. Punakha – Wangdue-Trongsa:
A short drive after breakfast travelling along the meandering riverside, you reach a wide valley of Wangdue. From a distance, before reaching Wangdue, you can catch the glimpse of the Wangdue Dzong located on a hill at the confluence. You have the opportunity to take pictures of much beautiful scenery.
A fabulous 6 hours drive from Punakha takes you to Trongsa travelling through forest of pine and many others with hanging lichens, rhododendrons and draft bamboos. Lunch will be provided at Pilela pass (3,300 mts) or at Chendebji Chorten. A fascinating view of Trongsa dzong will be seen from a distance of 16 km’s. Finally after a long drive we reach Trongsa to lodge for the night at the hotel.
Day- 5. Trongsa -Bumthang:
While in Trongsa, go out to see the massive Dzong of Trongsa which is the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. Then we may go to visit the Ta-Dzong an ancient tower that display ancient Mongol armory. We then drive to Bumthang valley, which is one of the most beautiful places in the Himalayan region and stay overnight at Bumthang lodge.
Day- 6. At Bumthang:
After breakfast, we visit sacred places, shrines and monuments and get a glimpse of Jakar Dzong. We can also observe the famous Bumthang yatha (Wollen clothes) being woven and then visit the wood craft centre. Overnight in the lodge.
Day- 7. Bumthang -Thimphu:
This ends up our beautiful trip and we return via Trongsa and Wangdue. Packed lunch will be arranged on the selected spot on the way. It would be a long and adventurous trip back to Thimphu viewing scenery on the way, which perhaps you would certainly enjoy. Overnight in hotel in Thimphu.
Day- 8. Thimphu –Paro:
Immediately after breakfast, you may go around Thimphu town to do souvenir shopping. You may find many Bhutanese items for sale in the shops. Then a guide will escort you to Paro. After lunch, visit the places of interest in Paro namely Drukgyel Dzong, Kichu Lhakhang, national Museum and the Rimpong Dzong. Overnight in hotel in Paro.
Day-9. Excursion to Taktshang(Tiger nest monastery):
After you breakfast, we will drive you to the north of the Paro valley. From the road point you have to hike up through the meadow trees following the ridge till the café. Relax at the café with refreshments. Continue another hour walk up the hill till you reach the closest point. Return and have your lunch at the café. After lunch decend down the hill and drive to the hotel.
Day-10. Fly outward to onward Destination:
In the morning, our guide will escort and assist you for your departure formalities. After completion of the necessary formalities, they will bid you farewell and wish you safe journey back home to your country.
East west Traverse. (11 Days & 10 Nights)
Day – 1.
Arrival at Paro airport in the Drukair, Bhutan National Airline: the flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering the most beautiful scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the Paro dzong (Fort), the national Museum and the Paro Town. Your representative from Bhutan Galaxy Travels will be awaiting you at the airport. After completing the formalities, you will drive through fascinating valley of Paro to Thimphu, the capital city. The distance is 55 kms and takes about 1 hours drive. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day – 2. Sightseeing of Thimphu valley:
Soon after your breakfast, you enjoy full day of sightseeing that includes: Memorial Chorten: The stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third king by the order of grand Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Chhoden in 1974. National library which holds a vast collection of Buddhist text’s, manuscripts and also modern academic books: Handicrafts emporiums that displays wide range of beautifully woven fabrics for men and women, crafted products & other decorative items: Painting school, famous for traditional Thanka paintings from where you can buy them if you like them. Institute of Traditional Medicine where rich herbal medicine abundant in the kingdom are prepared: Trashichhodzong, the fort that houses the Kings Throne Room and other government offices. It is also the summer residence of the Monk Body.
Day – 3. Drive to Punakha:
3 hours drive to Punakha, the winter residence of chief Abbot. The road climbs for about an hour till you reach a pass at Dochula at an altitude of 3050M. This pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas. However, the peaks can be seen only on a clear day especially in the month of October to mid- February. The road then decends a long way to Punakha and Wangdue through temperate forest of rhododendron & Magnolia bloom in mid – March & lasts till May, then a semi- tropical zone where orange trees, banana trees and cactuses are found in abundance. After your lunch in hotel at Punakha, visit the outskirt of Punakha Dzong situated in the confluence of two rivers. Entering in the courtyard of the Dzong can be permitted only if the head lama is moved to Thimphu for his summer residence. Overnight at the hotel at Punakha.
Day- 4. Drive to Trongsa:
The drive to Trongsa via Wangdue is 145 kms and takes about 6 hours crossing the Pilela pass (Altitude-3,300m). After the pass, you decend gradually till you Sidha in 18th century. The view of Trongsa Dzong is stunning from 16 km away. Overnight at the Sherubling lodge in Trongsa.
Day – 5. Drive to Bumthang:
Morning, visit the outskirt of Trongsa Dzong, and also visit the Kuengarabten Nunnery and the Dzong. After lunch, 3 hours drive to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valley’s in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. 29 kms from Trongsa is the Yotongla pass (Altitude 3,400m) and after the pass the landscape looks different as dense forest of conifers stretches. Cross a small pass and then descend to the valley of Chamkhar. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day – 6. At Bumthang:
Bumthang: Is the general name given to a complex of 4 valleys viz: Chumey, Choekhor, Tang & Ura with altitude varying from 2600 to 4000m. After your breakfast, visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred Temples in Bhutan. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche came here in the 8th century and mediated for serval days until his body got imprinted on the back of the rock. He then manifested into different forms and subdued Sheiling Karpo, the local deity of Bumthang valley and converted him into Buddhism. On your return, visit Jampay Lhakhang built in 7th century AD by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It is one the 108 Temples built by him all over Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. After lunch, visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa, the treasure discoverer. It contains interesting Buddhist paintings and also visits Konchosum Lhakhang which is close to Tamshing. Overnight at lodge in Bumthang.
Day – 7. Drive to Mongar:
After early breakfast, 8 Hours drive (196 km) to Mongar in the eastern part of Bhutan. The road traverses Urala pass and Thrumshingla pass (3,800m). It also passes through conifer forest with underbrush of rhododendron. The road decends till its lowest point at Kurizam, the bridge over the Kurichu River. About 13 km uphill drive from the bridge, the road branches. One goes noth to Lhuntse District (65 km) and the other continues for about 12 km to Mongar. Overnight at Mongar.
Day -8. Drive to Trashigang:
After your breakfast, three and half hour drive toTrashigang (96km). You will cross the Korila pass (Altitude-2,450m) 18 km away from Mongar. After the pass the first village that you come across is the village of Ngatshang. From here the road decends rapidly through cornfields and banana groves, and Yadi village. After about 20 km drive, the road reaches its lowest point at Sherichu River. From there, the road mostly follows Gamri River till a few kilometers before you are arrival at Trashigang. Overnight at Trashigang.
Day-9. Sightseeing at Trashigang:
Visit the Trashigang town and Trashigang Dzong that stands at the extreme end of the spur, overlooking the Gamri River. The dzong was built in 1659 on orders from the Trongsa Penlop Minjur Tempa. It was named Trashigang, meaning “The fortress of the auspicious mountain”. This site had probably been occupied, when the king of eastern Bhutan settled and built a small fort. If time permits, the visit of Chorten Kora (50 km) can be made. Overnight at Trashigang.
Day-10. Drive to Samdrup Jongkhar:
After breakfast, 7 hours drive to the border town of S/Jongkhar (180 km). The road most of the time traverses ridges, giving lovely glimpses of the surrounding countryside. It also passes through village of Wamrong Riserbo Hospital, among several other village. Overnight at Samdrupjongkhar.
Day- 11. Drive to Gauwahati.
After breakfast drive to Gauwahati, the capital town of Indian state of Assam, for flight to Delhi/Kolkata or Onward tour program.