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Bhutan often called the last Shangrila, nestled between two giant countries India and China, offers an abundance of unique culture and arts.
Being isolated from the rest of the world until a few decades ago and with a revolutionary policy of Gross National Happiness introduced by their monarchs, Bhutan has maintained its wonderful pristine nature, culture and history. With this tour filled with short hikes to historical sites, ýeld trips to art institutes, schools and quaint villages, experience enchanting Bhutan with us.
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DAY 1:ARRIVAL AT PARO
Welcome to Bhutan, the land of Thunder Dragon. On arrival at the airport, you will be received by our representative. Your ýrst visit will be to the National Museum, which holds a heritage gallery. It will be a good introduction to Bhutan. Then we head to the small and charming capital city Thimphu. Enroute, we will visit the Iron Chain Bridge built in late 1300s by Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo famous for his metal work in Bhutan and Tibet. Overnight at the hottel in Thimphu.
DAY 02: THIMPHU
In the morning, we will visit the Hindu Samudhaya Temple, the ýrst Hindu Temple in Bhutan. Although it hasn’t been inaugurated, the work is almost complete and devotees can visit the temple. Going further up we reach Kuensel Phodrang where one of the largest Buddha statue stands.
From there you can enjoy the bird eye view of the Thimphu city. Returning downhill, we will visit the National Memorial Chorten where you can witness þock of people both young and the old making rounds for good merits.
Later, we will visit a mini zoo to see the unique Takins, the national animal of Bhutan. We will also go to the Folk Heritage Museum where you will be introduced to the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle and architecture. We will be having a Bhutanese lunch at the museum.
After lunch, we will explore the Royal Textile Academy where you can witness living art of traditional weaving. Later we visit the Bhutan Postal Museum where you will learn about the evolution of the communication system in Bhutan.
DAY 03: THIMPHU - GANGTEY
Today you will be introduced to the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. First at the Traditional Art School, a training institute to uphold the 13 different ancient art forms, you will be exposed to the ýnest of arts like sculpturing and painting to the laborious arts like masonry and blacksmithing.
In the second ýeld trip, we will go and visit the Jungshi Paper Factory, where you will learn the whole process of the age old art of paper making. In the evening we will be leaving via Dochula Pass for Gangtey which is a beautiful and tranquil place surrounded by lush forests.
DAY 04: GANGTEY - WANGDUE
When you wake up you will be greeted by a spectacular view of the valley. We will stroll around the Gangtey valley known as the winter home of the exotic black-necked cranes (Grus nigricollis) and visit the Crane Observation and Education Center to learn about these endangered birds.
Before lunch, you will be demonstrated on how to cook the popular Bhutanese dish Kewa Datshi. Then we will visit the exquisite Gangtey Goempa to discover the monastic lives of the monks.
You will learn about the basic Buddhist philosophies and how they have roots in Hinduism. In the evening we will be heading towards Wangdue Phodrang.
DAY 05: WANGDUE - PUNAKHA
Today we will go visit a local school at Wangdue Phodrang to learn about the educational system of Bhutan. You will also be attending a special class with the local students on Gross National Happiness, a visionary and revolutionary developmental policy framed by the Fourth King of Bhutan.
This will give you an opportunity to interact with the local students. Later we head to Punakha Dzong, the 17th century fortress which has played an important role in shaping modern Bhutan.
Near the Dong, we study the Bazam cantilever bridge, built with a beautiful combination of modern technology while maintaining its ancient architectural roots. followed by visit to Punakha suspension bridge which is the second longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. Overnight at Punakha.
DAY 06: PUNAKHA - PARO
Right after breakfast we take a short one-hour hike to Khamsum Right after breakfast we take a short one-hour hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, the newly built stupa.
You will be passing through a beautiful paddy ýeld and taught about the basic agriculture practices in Bhutan. After lunch we will be returning back to Paro.
On the way we will visit a nature park at Lamperi, a protected destination for nature lovers to engage in the ecological richness which boasts the highest species of rhododendron þower blossoms in Bhutan and many other medicinal plants and it is also the home to many rare animals like musk deer, red panda and leopard.
It is a place to visit especially during the spring where you will be immersed in its full glory of blossoms.
We will also be teaching you the geographical features of Bhutan such as its climate and vegetation. After just a few kilometers drive we stop to take in the breathtaking display of the hundred and eight stupas. Overnight at Paro.
DAY 07: PARO
This morning we hike up to the most famous pilgrimage site in Bhutan, Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest).
Visible from afar, this magical monastery clings to a vertical cliff 1,000 feet above the valley þoor. It is one of the most important architecture in Bhutan.
It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, an Indian saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan þew on a tigress to the site and meditated there. After the hike, we take you around the vibrant Paro market for you to shop your souvenirs.
DAY 08: DEPARTURE
Depart from Paro International Airport.