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The crystal clear rivers of Bhutan are one of the kingdom’s best kept open secrets. Fed by the glacial-melt of the Eastern Himalayas, six major rivers (Wang Chhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Kuri Chhu, and Dangme Chhu and their tributaries), have been scouted for kayaking and rafting. The rivers are plentiful with strong currents varying between slow, gentle flows in some places and powerful, raging torrents that can be found throughout the country. Although adventure sports and tourism are relatively recent introductions to Bhutan, they are rapidly gaining in popularity. The best time for rafting and kayaking is from March to April and November to December
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Fly into Paro by Drukair flight or Bhutan Airlines. After immigration and customs formalities, you will be received by our representative and driven to your hotel in Paro.
After checking into your hotel and refreshment visit Kyichu temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. Then Rinpung Dzong, built-in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks. Then walk down to Rinpung Bridge (Traditional Bridge), the oldest bridge in Bhutan.
In the evening stroll around Paro town and you may visit local handicraft stores. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, you will travel to Thimphu valley. On the way, visit Tamchog Lhakhang (temple), this 14th-century temple located on the base of a mountain across the Pa chu on the Paro-Thimphu highway, is a must-visit temple in the Paro valley. Built by the great master architect Thangtong Gyalpo, the temple houses some unique statues. To get to the temple one may actually walk over the iron chains that spans over the Pa chu (Paro river).
After crossing Chunzom which is the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers, the drive will take you along the Wangchu ( Thimphu River) to Thimphu valley. After checking into your hotel, you will visit the following:
Traditional Bhutanese paper making factory.
National Textile Museum which is a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles that are rich in colors and designs. You will also see people weaving with intricate designs.
School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.
Simply Bhutan– A living museum of rural life that provides visitors and tourists with fascinating insights into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
Craft Bazaar where craftsmen and artisans from across the country display and sell their handicrafts.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3140 m). In the clear spring sky, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. Then pass by the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan.
Then drive onto Punakha. On the way, stop for lunch at Metsina village and then visit the Devine Madman’s Monastery – Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing. Then visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho – Chu (male river) and the Mochu (female river). The dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (the person who unified Bhutan) to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast, an exciting rafting tour awaits you. Following a short drive, you arrive at the river and, after a full safety briefing, you take to your raft for a ‘soft’ rafting experience down the Pho-Chu (Male River). You will need to do a little paddling and you may get a little wet but it will all be worthwhile as this journey takes you through a wonderland of secluded scenic beauty. You drift along to Punakha Dzong, located on an island in the middle of the rivers.
After a picnic lunch on the riverside, you will take a short hike through farmhouses to the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Lhakhang (temple) built by Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan) for peace and stability in this ever-changing world. This temple is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley below. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast, yet another exciting day awaits you. This good stretch is for those who are apprehensive about going on a whitewater trip. Start your day by taking an hour or so hiking up to the temple at Nyezengong and then floating down the scenic Mo Chhu past the Punakha Dzong and to the take out at the high school. It is recommended to finish by mid-afternoon, as an upstream wind is common most afternoons.
In the evening you may visit Rinchengang village in Wangduephodrang where you will take a short hike through the village and have free interaction with the villagers. At the same time, you can view the ruins of Wangdue Dzong (the Dzong was razed to the ground by fire in 2012). Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast drive to Thimphu and after lunch at Thimphu visit the following:
Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds.
Kuensel Phodrang and take a short leisure hike to the Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park and enjoy the full view of Thimphu Valley below.
Centenary Farmers’ Market (open from Thu-Sun only): A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs.
Tashichhoe Dzong, a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
National Memorial Chorten: Meet the elderly local in circumambulation at the Memorial Chorten.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast drive to Paro for about 1 hour and hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Stop for refreshment at the View Point Cafeteria. It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for 3 months. After visiting the monastery, walk back down to the road on the way stop for lunch at the viewpoint cafeteria and then walk further down to the road point.
In the evening you may relax in the traditional hot stone bath. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, drive to the Paro airport and our representative will see you off at the Paro International Airport for your flight to your onward destinations.