10 Days Tour - Crane Valley Tours & Treks

10 Days Central Bhutan Tour
Day 1 - Arrival in Paro, Bhutan
Elevation 2,280 m
Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International
Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take
it easy to acclimatise to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and lets have
your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine.
Sangaygang - Drive about 15 minutes from the main city to a hillock where the Bhutan
Broad Casting Tower is stationed. From there you can relish the beautiful scene of the
whole of Thimphu City. On the way up or down from the hillock, you can also see Takin the
national animal of Bhutan.
Buddha Point at Kuensel Phodrang, will be open to tourists once it is complete d in 2012.
The 169 feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma , Vajra Throne Buddha symbolising
indestructibility will be completed soon. The Buddha statue itself is competed awaiting
paintings, but visitors can drive up to the Buddha point and view the tallest statue of Lord
Buddha. The view of Thimphu valley from the Buddha point is spectacular and beautiful,
especially at night.
Takin enclosure- On the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s
national animal, the Takin; a strange looking beast some say looks like a beestung moose.
Day 2 - Tour of Thimphu
Elevation 2,320 m
Heritage Museum- Dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past though
exhibition of artefacts used in rural households.
Textile Museum - Witnesses the art of traditional weaving.
National Memorial Chorten - Which was built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji
Papermaking Factory - Witnesses the art of papermaking.
Simtokha Dzong - Five miles from Thimphu, on a lofty ridge, stands Semtokha Dzong the
oldest fortress in the Kingdom.
Day Trek to Tango Goemba and picnic/lunch by river In the afternoon. The Tango
Goemba site has had religious significance since the 12th century when it was the home of
the Lama who brought the Drukpa Kagyupa school of Buddhism to Bhutan. The monastery
was built there in the 15th century by Drukpa Kunley ("The Divine Madman"). Tango is the
highest center of Buddhist learning in the country; almost every Je Khenpo (religious head
of Bhutan) completed the 9-year program there. After completing that program, monks
traditionally spend 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in mediation at the nearby Cheri Goemba
retreat, built in 1619 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder or first unifier of
Bhutan. It is currently the home of an 11-year-old boy believed to be the seventh
reincarnation of the fourth desi, or ruler, of Bhutan.
Centenary Farmers’ Market - Every Saturday and Sunday most of the Thimphu population
congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. Here villagers
from the valley and other nearby places come to sell their agriculture products.
Day 3 - Thimphu to Punakha
Elevation 1,300 m
Thimphu Dzong - The largest Dzong, is also the seat of the office of the King of Bhutan.
Dochula Pass - The 108 chortens was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi
Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to
liberate of the souls lost.
Punakha Dzong - Built in 1637, the dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy,
headed by the Chief Abbott, the Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese
architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a
distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been
carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship.
Chhimi Lhakhang - A 20 minutes walk across terraced fields through the village of
Sopsokha from the roadside to the small temple located on a hillock in the centre of the
valley below Metshina. Ngawang Chogyel built the temple in 15th century after the ’divine
Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. It is a pilgrim site for barren women.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten - Built by the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering
Yangdon wangchuck this Chorten is a slpendid example of of the Bhutanese architecture
and art and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been built over eight and a half
years and its details have been drawan from religious scripture.
Day 4 - Punakha to Bumthang
Elevation 2,600 m
In the morning, we would start our drive to Central Bhutan. Before we start we will pay a
visit to Chhimi Lhakhang (left) - A 20 minutes walk across terraced fields through the
village of Sopsokha from the roadside to the small temple located on a hillock in the centre
of the valley below Metshina. Ngawang Chogyel built the temple in 15th century after the
’Divine Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. It is a pilgrim site for barren
Passing Wangdue (left), one of the major towns and district capital of Western Bhutan.
Located south of Punakha, Wangdue is the last town before central Bhutan. The district is
famous for its fine bamboo work and its slate and stone carving.
We will pause to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Built in 1638, Wangdue Dzong is
dramatically perched on the spur of a hill and overlooks the confluence of the Tsang Chu
and Dang Chu rivers.
Day 5 - Bumthang
Elevation 2,600 m
This is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism
in Bhutan. It is an area with a wide variety of fauna and flora. The Guru Rinpoche and his
lineage of Tertons (treasure finders) making Bumthang his home have led to more than 40
temples being built in this peaceful valley.
In the morning, we will hike to the Tamshing Goemba, built in 1501 by the Buddhist saint
Pema Lingpa. We will also visit Kurjey Lhakhang (left-bottom), one of the most sacred
monasteries in Bhutan. Built by the Guru Rinpoche in 1652, it houses a rock with his body
imprint. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche manifested as a Garuda to defeat the demon
Shelging Karpo who had taken the form of a white lion.
We will also visit Jambay Lhakhang, built in 659 by Tibetan King Sontsen Gampo to pin
down a demoness who was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Come October, the
Jambay Lhakhang Drup is one of the most colourful festivals in Bhutan.
Jakar Dzong - pitched on a high ground overlooking the town junction, it was built as
monastery in 1549 by the great grandfather of the Zhabdrung. It is now used as the
administrative center for Bumthang district
In the afternoon, we will hike up toThangbi Valley, crossing a suspension bridge to visit
theThangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century via an unpaved road.
Day 6 - Bumthang
Elevation 2,600 m
Me-Bar Tsho (Burning Lake) One of the most sacred sites in Bhutan, the holy lake is said
to be one of the holiest lakes in Bhutan. Long time ago, Terton Pema Lingpa (Buddhist
saint and treasure discoverer) dived into the lake while holding a burning butter lamp on
one hand. Several hours later when he came out of the lake, he was holding some relics
one one hand and the butter lamp on his other hand was still burning. Thus the lake was
called Me-Bar Tsho (Me-bar=Burning Tsho=Lake)
Ugyen Choling Palace Our journey about 2hours drive, we stop at a roadside temple and
a nunnery, ending in the Tang valley and the village of Kesum. From the road head we
have a one-hour hike over a suspension footbridge, through farm fields and cluster
villages, up a "hill" to the mystical Ugyen Choling Palace where we will spend nights in the
owner’s guesthouse or in the Dzong.
Ugyen Choling Palace built 17th century by Deb Tsokey Dorji, a descendant of Buddhist
Saint Dorje Lingpa. Ugyen Choling is a national treasure, privately owned by th e same
family for hundreds of years. Its remote location makes it one of the less frequently visited
historical sites in Bhutan, hosting fewer than two hundred guests per year. One of the
owners wrote a book on Bhutanese folk tales of the Yeti and her brot her is the property’s
The best part of the Palace is the quaint museum housing permanent exhibits on three
floors in the main building and the Utse, the central tower. Traditional living quarters are
recreated to capture the realistic ambiance of the ancient lifestyles and conditions of the
households. Everyday kitchen and weaving utensils, war weapons --including petrified yak
dung to make gunpowder--tools and farming implements are the main part of the exhibits
In the evening, villagers (mostly single ladies looking to meet our guides and drivers) will
come to the Palace for an evening of cultural entertainment. You’re invited to join in the
singing and dancing.
Day 7 - Bumthang to Gangtey
Elevation 3,000 m
On route to Gangtey is Trongsa, the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty.
Trongsa, literally "New Town" in the Dzongkha language, is where the current monarchy
had its origin in Bhutan. Each King in the line of succession has held the post of Trongsa
Penlop or Governor before donning the Raven Crown.
Trongsa Dzong - The foundations of Trongsa Dzong were laid in the 16th century by by
Pema Lingpa. The Dzong flourished during the 17th century und er Shabdrung Ngwang
Namgyal. With its massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu
Valley, the Dzong commands the east-west road.
Taa Dzong - Built as a watchtower the Taa Dzong has since been turned into a Heritage
Museum. A book on this prominent Dzong is written by Christian Schicklgruber entitled The
Tower of Trongsa, Religion and Power in Bhutan.
Day 8 - Gangtey to Paro
Elevation 3,000 m
The Valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the Black necked crane
(Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black -necked cranes with
Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months
from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November
to end of March.
Another significant landmark in Phobjikha is the famous Gangtey Gompa monastery. This
is an old monastery that dates back to 17th century.
Paro Valley- The beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan’s old monasteries and
temples. The country’s only Airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to mount
Chomolhari (7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water
forms the Pachu flowing through the valley. The following are some of the prominent
places to visit in Paro.
Paro Dzong - also known as Rinpung Dzong, this 15th century massive
fortress/monastery, is also the administrative center of the dzonkhag.
Ta Dzong - Built as a watchtower the Ta Dzong, it was converted into the National
Museum in 1968. The museum boasts antique Thangka, textiles, weapons and armour,
household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Drukgyal Dzong - Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and
unifier of medieval Bhutan. The Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins
as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the
ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past.
Day 9 - Paro
Elevation 2,280 m
Taktsang Monastery - A one hour hike to the cafeteria is also a vantage view whereby
you can enjoy the stunning view of the monastery. Praye r flags adorn the clifts and this is
also where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.
Kyichu Lhakhang - After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu
Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
Day 10 - Depart Paro
Elevation 2,280 m