Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Destination: Thimphu, Punakha & Paro
This adventurous Hidden Kingdom Motorcycle ride in the Land of Gross National Happiness is an experience into the vibrant living heritage of this tiny kingdom. The tour starts in the enchanting Paro valley and takes you over several scenic valleys, traverse through countryside, and learn about the cultural, history and traditions of the kingdom. You will stop at out-of-the-way sites in between and meet true grassroots Bhutanese on their home soil. This multi-day Wild Mountain Adventure’s motorcycle ride takes you between the lines of a truly memorable travel tale.
Day 01: Depart to Paro
Depart from your city to Paro. On arrival at Paro airport our representative will pick you up. Drive to the main point where you will assemble your motorcycle and get the guidelines regarding the road trip and other information. The drive to Thimphu (7700ft/2350m) is only 65km long and easily negotiated in 1.5 hours. Reaching Thimphu, check in to your hotel, relax, and unwind from your long journey for a little while. After a lavish lunch featuring Bhutanese and continental cuisine, your tour guide will lead you to visit some of the interesting place of sightseeing.
- Simtokha Dzong: This was the first of the many dzongs constructed by Zhabdrung in 1631.
- National Meomrial Chorten: It was built in 1974 in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk by his mother.
- Changangkha Lhakhang: The oldest temple in Thimphu, dating back to the fifteen century.
- Trashichhoe Dzong “The Fortress of Auspicious Religion” ,Your last stop for the day. The Dzong can be visited only after 5 pm on week days, when the government office closed-or then during the day on Saturday/Sunday
Day 02: Thimphu Sightseeing
Your sightseeing in Thimphu continues and you are set to depart after breakfast. In the morning ride to the northern end of Thimphu and hike for 1 hour.
- Tango Gompa: This is a 300m hike and takes around one hour. After the hike return to Thimphu for lunch after which you can take in some more attractions that this quaint capital city has to offer.
- Sangay Gang: Heading towards the telecom tower which is at 8807ft/2685m and provides a vantage point for brilliant, clear views of the town and surrounding countryside.
- Mini-Zoo: Stop a few minutes at the ‘mini-zoo’ which is now a large outdoor enclosure that holds one of the strangest looking creatures you are likely to see- the takin.
- Drubthop Gompa: A small building surrounded by prayer flags that now house the Zilukha Nunnery. Located above the dzong, this gompa is believed to protect it from fires.
- Dechen Phodrang: It is the original site of the Thimphu dzong and is now occupied by the state monastic school. National Library: This was open in 1967 to preserve the ancient Dzongkha texts and act as a repository for thousands of old religious books and manuscripts as well as the wooden blocks used for printing
- National Institute Of Zorig Chusum: Offers a six year course on Bhutan’s traditional crafts for those who are artistically inclined
- “If you are in Thimphu over the weekend, try and visit the local open market with its vast array of fresh produce, handicrafts and other items”
Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha (72 Km 2 ½ hours 4430ft/1351m)
Your glance at Bhutan package continues as you leave for Punakha after breakfast.
- Druk Wangyel Chorten: There are a 109 chortens. Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk initiated the building of this chortens. Beside these magnificent chortens in an amazing setting you will be able to sport some of the great Himalayan peaks .
- Chimi Lhakhang: It is a pleasant 30-40 minute walk from the road head, through cultivated fields and up a gentle slope. This lhakhang dates back to 1499 and was built by Lama Drukpa Kinley, when he visited this valley. Lama Drukpa Kinley is believed to have subdued the demoness residing at Dochu La with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom’ and a wooden effigy of this is preserved within.
- Punakha Dzong: The dzong straddles the confluence of two rivers and resembles a giant battleship. This extremely impressive fortress was built as far back as 1937. It was the second of the mighty dzong built by Zhabdrung and was the seat of government until 1955.
Day 04: Punakha Sightseeing
After your breakfast in the hotel dire to visit:
- Chorten Ningpo Walk: The walk to Chorten Ningpo passes through many tiny village. Many visitors love this walk in summer and in autumn. In summer, the rice fields are lush and gardens are filled with multitude of vegetables and fruits. Likewise autumn enchants visitors with golden hue of ripen rice.
- Khamsum Yuely Namgyel: The queen mother of the fifth King to bring universal peace in this world built the fascinating temple. The best of the spiritual art was painted on the inner walls. There are also paintings of Buddhist teacher and tutelary deities of the country. This is the great temple to study the symbolic meaning from frescoes and sculptures.
Day 05: Punakha – Phobjikha Valley (11,000ft/3354m 65km)
Today leave Punakha and depart to Phobjikha glacier valley. The valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home to the Black-necked Cranes (Grus Nigricollis) that migrates from the Tibetan plateau. In the morning hour, make a short visit to;
- Wangdue Phodrang Dzong: Stretched along the hilltop above the confluence of Punatshangchhu and Dangchhu river, the imposing Wangdue Phodrang Dzong is the town’s most visible feature. During pre monarchy days, the governor of this dzong played an important role.
- Gangtay Goemba: Gangtay Goemba was established in 17th century.
- Black Necked Crane Centre: Visit the Black Necked Crane Centre, though you might not be on a Crane season, you will get a loads of information about the crane, even a short 3-4 minute documentary will be available regarding the Black Necked Crane
Day 06: Pobjikha Valley – Trongsa (2,316m 4-5 hours)
After your breakfast in the hotel ride to Trongsa which is one of the most important district in the country. Trongsa district played a pivotal role in the recent time in the history of the country.
- Chendebji Chorten: En route to Trongsa is the Chendebji Chorten. Lama Zhida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot, built it in the 18th century.
- Trongsa Dzong: Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. The dzong is the massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built. Ta Dzong: This watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands on a promontory above the town. Chhoje Minjur Tempa, the first governor of Trongsa in 1652, built it. It has four observation pints resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon. As of date, the Ta Dzong of Trongsa is the most fascinating museum of the country.
Day 07: Trongsa – Bumthang (1,800m – 4,000m 4hrs 76 km)
Your ride to Bumthang takes only 2 hours and takes you through crossing Yotongla Pass (11000ft/3345m) and Keki La Pass (9300ft/2835m). This fascinating valley is the spiritual heartland of the kingdom and home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. The valley of Bumthang is famous for honey, cheese, apples and the yatra (woolen materials).
- Jakar Dzongl: The Jakar Dzong or “Castle of the White Bird” dominates the Chamkhar valley and overlooks the town. Constructed in 1549, by the Tibetan lama Nagi Wangchuk. The protected water supply is still intact to this day. Jambay Lhakhang: Built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo. It is one of 108 monasteries which he built to subdue the giant ogress who tried to demolish Buddhism in Tibet
- Kurje Lakhang: Located further along the valley, Kurje Lhakhang compresses three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 against the rock face, where Guru Rinpochhe meditated in the 8th century. The middle temple was built on the site of a cave containing with the rock imprint of Gurus body, and is therefore, considered the most holy. 108 chorten walls surround these three temples.
- Tamshing Lakhang: Founded in 1501, a Terton Pema Lingpa. The temple contains the old religious painting around the inner wall, which was restored at the end of the 19th century.
- Thangbi Gompa: Shamar Rinpochhe of the Karma Kagupa religious school founded this temple in 1470. The building compresses two sanctuaries and a temple of terrifying deity.
Day 08: Bumthang Sightseeing
Your sightseeing in Bumthang continues with a morning ride to visit Tang Valley.
- Membar Tsho (Burning Lake): It is a sacred lake for the Bhutanese who believe that Terton Pema Lingpa discovered religious treasures from this lake in the late 15th century.
- Ugyencholing Palace: It is a privately owned home now turned into a museum depicting the life of Bhutanese nobility and serves as a retreat for those engaged in religious studies.
Day 09: Bumthang–Wangduephodrang (7-8hours)
Today at your early morning hotel check out ride to your destination Wangduephodrang. En-route stop for photography and other sightseeing, which you have missed before, the adorable landscape, can prove the beauty of the country. Reaching Wangduephodrang, check in to your hotel and rest day at leisure.
Day 10: Wangduephodrang – Paro (4.5 Hours)
After your leisurely breakfast in the hotel you will be led by your tour guide to Paro via crossing the beautiful Dochula Pass 10,150ft/3100m. If the weather is clear you can have a short stop for the panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. After the break continue your ride to Thimphu where you will halt for lunch and after lunch stroll around the town for shopping. Later continue your ride to Paro which is only 1.5 hours drive from the capital city and after arrival ride straight to visit:
- Paro Dzong: Local known as the ‘Fortress on the Heap of Jewels”. Built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the dzong stands on the hilltop above Paro township. Experience a walk over a paved stone path running alongside a imposing outer walls.
- Kyichu Lhakhang: Go back in time and history and visit the 7th century Kyichu lhakhang. As the name suggest, the temple is a reservoir of peace, where you will really feel peace here. Next to the temple is a house now turned into museum dedicated to the late Delgo Khyentse Rinpochhe. One can come across photographs and other artifacts belonging to Rinpochhe.
Day 11: Hike to the Famous Tiger’s Nest (3000ft/915m 4-5hours)
- Taktsang Gompa: It is now time to embark on your somewhat arduous adventure for the day ascending the 3000 ft cliff reach the most spectacularly located Gompa in all of Bhutan. According to the legend Guru Padmasambhava visited the site in 8th century flying from the East of the country on the back of a tigress( a form that one of his consorts is believed to have taken). He meditated for three months in the cave here and then domining his terrifying form of Dorli Droloe subjugiated the evil spirits. Following him many permanent saints came here to meditate; notably Milarepa, Labdoenma and Thongtong Gyalpo. Today, Taktsang is more a holy place in the country.
Day 12: Hotel – Airport