*Note: Hotels subject to final confirmation. Should there be changes, customers will be offered accommodation similar to this list.
1. In the event of local religious festivals, unforeseen circumstances and/or bad weather condition, the sequence of the itinerary may be changed or substituted in by alternative sites without prior notice and/or at short notice in order to ensure smoother journey and tour.
2. Excludes tipping for Guide & Driver/Porter at USD8/ pax/day (Adult & Child).
3. Excludes tipping for Tour Leader at USD3/pax/day (Adult & Child).
4. Excludes luggage porter service, USD2/pax/day (Adult & Child).
Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Upon arriving at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide once you exit the arrival hall. The plan for today is to take It easy so that you can acclimatize to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu and begin your sightseeing tour. See the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) - where youll find the world’s largest statue of Sakyamuni Buddha situated on the top of a hill overlooking the city of Thimphu. Thereafter, visit the National Memorial Chorten, one of the most prominent religious landmarks in Thimphu. Rest for the night in Thimphu.
After having breakfast at your hotel, make your way to Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong). The original fortress was constructed in 1216, before being renamed ‘Fortress of the Glorious Religion’ in 1641, and was finally rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s when he moved his capital to Thimphu. Once home to the National Assembly, the dzong now houses the secretariat, the offices of the king and some ministries. Thereafter, join in the festivities of the Thimphu Tshechu Festival, which honours the saint Guru Rimpoche who is credited with having introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. Admire the masked dances performed by monks clad in colourful brocade attire and listen to the chanting and reading of Buddhist scripts. The culmination of the festival constitutes the unfolding of a huge cloth thangka (scroll) depicting the saint and imagery from the Buddhist Pantheon. Next, visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, established to preserve and promote traditional art and craft in Bhutan. The institute trains students in Bhutan’s 13 traditional art disciplines, including painting, woodcarving, embroidery and clay work. Last but not least, drop by a weekend market (Friday to Sunday) where locals from surrounding villages gather to sell their produce. Stay overnight in Thimphu.
Note: If the Zorig Chusum National Institute is closed, it will be replaced with a visit to the National Textile Museum.
Today, begin a journey to Dochula Pass, a beautiful mountain pass consisting of 108 stupas at 3,150 metres high. These stupas hold an important piece of history as they were commissioned in memory of the Bhutanese soldiers killed in a 2003 military operation. Then, head to Punakha River for a picnic lunch, before trying your hand at archery, the national sport of Bhutan. After that, visit Punakha Dzong - the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan that's also incredibly beautiful. Next, make your way to Chimi Lhakhang Temple, also known as ‘The Fertility Temple’. Built atop a rotund hill in 1499, the site has been blessed by eccentric Buddhist leader Drukpa Kunley, who is known for his unconventional preaching. Return to your hotel in Thimphu to rest for the night.
Start off the day with a trip to the Bhutan Post Office Headquarters. Admire the traditional Dzong architecture and grab the chance to make a special stamp with your own photo or send a postcard home, at your own expense. Next, head to the Dechen Phodrang Monastic School to meet the young student monks. The school also houses a number of important historical Bhutanese artifacts such as a collection of 12th-century paintings. Thereafter, pay a visit to the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory for a look at the ancient methods of producing traditional Bhutanese paper. Then, drop by the Motithang Takin Preserve to explore the wildlife reserve area for takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Visit the National Library of Bhutan - home to a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, as well as the Folk Heritage Museum, which provides a glimpse into rural Bhutanese life through various artifacts. Last but not least, make a stop at the Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar for a wide range of unique handicraft products showcased within a row of traditional bamboo huts. Spend the night in Thimphu.
After breakfast, make a trip to the National Museum of Bhutan, which is housed within an old watchtower perched above Paro Dzong. Afterwards, visit a local farm house for a first-hand experience of the lifestyle of Bhutanese farmers, and sample a taste of the local rice wine ‘ara’. Stop by the Kyichu Lhakhang Temple, the first and oldest temple of Bhutan as well as the location where famous Hong Kong actor Tony Leung held his wedding ceremony.
Kick-off the day with the journey of a lifetime as you embark on a mountain hike to Taktsang Monastery, also known as the ‘Tiger's Nest (pony rides are available at your own expense, about USD40 per person). The one-and-a-half-hour hike up to the viewpoint will be well worth the effort, as you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the monastery clinging precariously to the steep cliff. Continue your trek up to the monastery, which will take approximately 1 hour, to explore one of the most important monuments of spiritual significance in Bhutan. Next, head into Paro town for some last minute shopping in a local market. In the evening, enjoy a traditional cultural show and get the chance to try on the Bhutanese traditional costumes - Gho and Kira. Snacks and refreshments will be served when there is aminimum of 6 persons in the group.
Enjoy breakfast on-the-go as you transfer to the airport for your early flight back to Singapore.