Visiting the entire world is an immensely difficult task yet every new experience energizes you with greater passion to travel. However there are parts of the world, unique in its own way, unsoiled by man’s materialistic pursuit, where the past and the present, man and nature, live in harmony. Bhutan is one of those destinations where you will feel like you are traveling the time backward. The following are the best ways to spend five days and four nights in Bhutan
Day 01| Arrival Paro – Thimphu (1.5 Hours)
Early morning flight to Paro, Bhutan from Kathmandu/Delhi. The flight from Delhi/Kathmandu is considered as one of the most scenic flights offering the view of the world’s top ten highest peaks. The pilot in the plane will describe you as and when you are crossing over the highest peaks in the Himalayas. The guide can receive and welcome you in Paro airport and transport you to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Most probably in the afternoon you can visit the Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd King. This place now happens to be a get together point for the elderly people, who spend their whole day chanting prayers and meeting their friends.
Afterwards, you can visit Changangkha Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the valley offering a beautiful view of the valley. Then you can get to the enclosure where the national animal, Takins are kept and then drive to visit the largest and the newly built statue of Buddha offering magnificent view of entire Thimphu valley.
You may also try to fit in the visit the fortress of Thimphu, Tashichho Dzong, which houses the throne of the king during the same day. And in the evening you can walk around the Thimphu town, the largest and the most crowded town in Bhutan. Overnight halt in Thimphu. Thimphu| Altitude: 2300m
Day 02| Thimphu – Punakha (3 Hours)
If your visit falls on any of Friday, Saturday or Sunday then you can will visit the Thimphu vegetable market where the locals from the surrounding villages come to sell their agricultural produce. Then visit the traditional Hand Made Paper Mill and then the School of Arts and Crafts in Kawajangsa where students learn 13 different arts used predominantly in Bhutan. You can also see how the traditional Bhutanese house looked like in the olden days by making a visit to the Folk Heritage Museum.
Later, you can make a visit to the National Library which houses the collection of Bhutanese rich religious text and the contemporary Buddhism teachings. Further before afternoon, drive to visit the Dechenphodrang monastic school and meet the young monks. And then later continue to Zilukha nunnery to meet the nuns. You can have the lunch in the town and drive to Punakha crossing over Dochula pass (3200 m), which offers a beautiful and breath-taking view of the highest mountain peaks of Bhutan. Take a walk and visit the chhortens at Dochu-La pass. You will have opportunity to see rhododendron forests which usually blooms during late April or early May. En-route just before arriving the hotel, you can take a nice hike through the paddy field and old village to visit Chimi Lakhang, the temple of Lam Drukpa Kuenley who was also known as the Divine Madman. He is considered as a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to this temple for blessing. Overnight halt in Punakha. Punakha| Altitude: 1350m
Day 03| Punakha – Paro (4.5 Hours)
If you are staying in hotel Meri Puensum, hotel Zandopelri or hotel Densa, early morning it will be a treat to walk up to the hilltop to visit the nunnery and enjoy the magnificent view of Punakha and Wangdue valley. Later after breakfast drive to visit Punakha Dzong (fortress), which houses the most elaborated temple in the country. This is a must to see fortress in Bhutan and a fine example of Bhutanese rich Art and Architecture. Retrace your drive back to Paro.
En route could stop in Thimphu for lunch. After lunch could continue some of the sightseeing that you might have had missed earlier. Later in the afternoon continue your drive to Paro. Upon arrival in Paro, visit Paro Dzong (Fortress) on foot and continue walking through the oldest wooden bridge still in use. Continue further to stroll around the old Paro town and peep into some local handicrafts stores. You could get some opportunity to see the traditional game, Archery match going on. Evening back to the hotel. Overnight: Paro| Altitude: 2200m
Day 04| Paro Sightseeing
Morning drive to the base for the hike (3 hours uphill) to Tiger’s Nest, the most revered temple in the country that literally hangs on a granite cliff overlooking the Paro valley. Most of the day will go on the hike. On the way back, if you have the energy and time visit the Kichu Lakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan which marks the beginning of Buddhism in the country. Hot stone bath available at an additional cost. Farewell dinner with your guide. Overnight: Paro
Day 05| Departure
Morning transfer (15 minutes) to the airport for your departure flight. Your guide will bid you farewell at the airport.
Some useful Bhutanese phrases
Hello: Ku-zu-zam-po-la (meaning good health)
Thank You: Ka din chey la
See you: Lok jey gey
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