Arrive at Paro and check in to your preferred hotel. This is your day to get a taste of this quaint little town, to hear the silence of its valley and familiarize yourself with its many historical attractions.
Spend the day in Paro, and visit Ta Dzong or the National Museum, then drive up valley to the Drukgyel Dzong or the Fort of Drukpa Victory and hope to sight the snow-capped sacred peak of Mt Chomolhari. Hike uphill for about three hours to get a close up look at the Taktsang Lhakhang or Tiger’s Nest Monastery and a magnificent view of the entire Paro Valley.
Drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan where you will visit the Tashichhodzong, the Memorial Chorten, and stroll through the markets and the lanes where you may even be lucky enough to catch a game of archery in progress at the Changlimithang compound below the town.
Thimphu – Gangtey
From Thimphu, you will take an extraordinarily beautiful drive to Gangtey, through the Dochula Pass at 3,200 m from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Himalayan range to the north.En-route you will also catch a glimpse of the Chimi Lhakhang temple and the Wangdiphodrang Dzong, the gateway to central and eastern Bhutan, strategically located on a promontory overlooking the meeting point of the Sunkosh and Tangmachu Rivers. Gangtey, or rather Phobjika village, on the valley floor a few kilometres beyond, is the winter haven of the rare Black Necked Crane, migrating down from Siberia and the Tibetan Plateau. And on a hillock overlooking the small villages is Gangtey Gompa, dating back to the 17th Century, the only Nyingmapa temple in the country.
Gangtey – Jakar - Bumthang
From Gangtey you will proceed to Jakar via Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family of Bhutan. Drive over the Black Mountains, which divide western and central Bhutan. Pass through rich forests of rhododendron and magnolias, and yak settlements. Cross the Nikarchu Bridge to enter the Trongsa regions in central Bhutan. A great white stupa built in the 18th Century in Nepalese design stands below the road as testimony to the subjugation of a demon by the Lam Shida. Then, you will get a view of the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, the Tongsa Dzong, where unfortunately, tourists are not allowed entry. Built in 1647 by the Shabdrung, this dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. An architectural masterpiece, it is built on many levels into the sides of the hill, and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa, declaring its strength and majesty. After lunch, drive further across Yutongla Pass (3,505 m), arriving in Bumthang Valley by evening.
Bumthang is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. Here, many sacred grounds mark the places where the great teachers meditated. Consequently, tales of Guru Padmasambhava dominate many of the holy shrines in the valley which is dotted with countless monasteries and temples, including the important Jakar Dzong.
Bumthang - Mongar
Drive on to Mongar, passing through the charming village of Ura in Bumthang, before climbing sharply on the highest motorable road in the Kingdom, the Thrumsingla Pass at 3,800 m. The drive across Thrumsingla and the subsequent descent from high altitude alpine forests to lush pastures and orchards is probably the most exhilarating experience in Bhutan. As you drive down to Sengor, cascading waterfalls, steep cliffs with steeper drops, endless turns and fog rising out of the valley, blazing flowers and constantly changing vegetation combine to make the journey as varied as it is beautiful.
The road from Mongar to Trashigang, the eastern most region of Bhutan, begins through lush forests and ferns as you travel through the Kori La Pass at 3,439 m. descending rapidly through cornfields and banana groves, you will reach the village of Yadi. Follow the Gamri River until it bifurcates into Drametsi. About 30 kms onward lies Tashigang, at an altitude of 1,150 m. Once the bustling centres of trade between Bhutan and Tibet, it is today the biggest and most populated district in the nation. Here, you will tour the 17th Century Tashigang Dzong, that stands proud on the jagged spur jutting out towards Gamri Chu, and visit the famous weaving centre at Khaling en-route to Samdrup Jhongkhar.
Tashigang - Guwahati – Onward Flight
It’s time for your discovery of Bhutan to come to an end. Take a nine hour long but beautiful drive from Trashigang to Guwahati in India, to board your onward flight.