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East West Bhutan tour

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East West Bhutan tour

This is fantastic East-West tour covering the best of both sides of Bhutan. You don't miss out on anything. This trek covers the national museum, Dungtse Lhakhang, Kyichu Lhakhang, the absolutely out of this world Taktsang Monastery perched on a sheer cliff, most of the important Dzongs (forts), there is the memorial chorten built in memory of the third king of Bhutan.

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This is fantastic East-West tour covering the best of both sides of Bhutan. You don't miss out on anything. This trek covers the national museum, Dungtse Lhakhang, Kyichu Lhakhang, the absolutely out of this world Taktsang Monastery perched on a sheer cliff, most of the important Dzongs (forts), there is the memorial chorten built in memory of the third king of Bhutan.

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Trip Highlights

Trip Itinerary

East West Bhutan tour itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air, drive to Thimphu (L/D)

Day 02: Thimphu Sightseeing of Thimpu. Overnigh at hotel.

Day 03: Thimphu drive to Gangtey (Phobjikha). Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Gangtey drive to Jakar (Bumthang). Overnight at hoel.

Day 05: Sightseeing of Jakar (Bumthang). Overnight at hotel.

Day 06: Jakar (Bumthang) drive toTrongsa. Overnight at hotel.

Day 07: Trongsa drive to Punakha. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Punakha drive to Paro and sightseeing. Overnight at hotel.

Day 09: Sightseeing of Paro. Overnight at hotel.

Day 10: Sightseeing of Paro. Overnight at hotel.

Day 11: After breakfast, transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight to onward destination. 

Detail Itinerary

Detail itinerary

Day 01 Arrival in Paro by Druk Air, drive to Thimphu (L/D)

Upon arrival in Paro, clear customs and immigration. Keep your copy of the visa clearance letter handy. P.P size pictures are no longer required and your visa has been paid. Meet your Guide and driver outside the terminal building and transfer to Thimphu. If time permits, walk around the capital city for familiarization. Overnight hotel, Thimphu.

Day 02: Thimphu (B/L/D)  

You will visit Memorial Chorten, Zilukha Nunnery, Takin Sanctuary, Trashichho Dzong, Traditional school of arts & crafts, Indigenous Hospital, Textile Museum, Heritage Museum and Handmade paper factory Overnight hotel, Thimphu.  

Memorial Chorten: This landmark of Thimphu was built in 1974 in the memory of third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan.

Zilukha Nunnery:  It has been housed in Drubthob Goemba (monastery). There are about 70 nuns who live and pray everyday in the monastery. The beautiful view of Tashicho Dzong can be seen from the nunnery.     

Takin Sanctuary:   Takin (Budorcas taxicolor) has been chosen as the national animal of Bhutan is based both on its uniqueness and its association with country’s history and mythology.

Tashichho Dzong: This fortress serves as the office of the King, ministers and various government organizations. It also is the headquarters for central monastic body of Bhutan.
School of arts & Crafts  (open 9-5pm mon-fri and 9-1pm on Sat –with exceptions of holidays and breaks).
Indigenous Hospital or National Institute of Traditional Medicine (Open 9-5pm Mon-Fri, 9-1pm on Sat) is government funded institute that facilitates research of traditional medicine and practices.

Textile Museum: A recent addition in the capital city, this museum displays the colorful and intricately hand woven textile, both old and new.

Heritage Museum: Heritage Museum is also a recent addition; housed in a traditional home displays the living style of the Bhutanese family in 19th century.

Paper Factory:  Traditional papers were made from the daphne plant, using simple methods.

Day 03: Thimphu – Gangtey (Phobjikha) (B/L/D)  

After breakfast, drive to Gangtey (Phobjikha). Enroute stop at Dochula and brief stop at Wangdiphodrang town. On arrival in Gangtey, visit Gangtey Gompa (monastery) and take a walk in the valley if time permits. Overnight hotel, Phobjikha.
Drive from Thimphu to Gangtey: Drive to Gangtey (Phobjikha) takes about 5 hours covering distance of 138 km. The road climbs from
Thimphu to Dochula pass (3,050m) and descends through ever changing forests into the semi-tropical valley of Punakha and Wangdi at around 1200m.
Phobjikha Valley: Phobjikha (3000m) is a wide-glacial and beautiful valley, designated as conservation zone within the Black Mountains National Park, a natural habitat for wildlife, including nesting black-necked cranes from Central Asia (mid autumn till early spring).
Gangtey Gompa: Gantey Gompa monastery sits atop a hillock that overlooks the Phobjikha valley. It is headed by the ninth Gangtey Trulku and is the largest Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan.
Black-necked Crane: ‘Thrung Trung Karmo’ as this bird is passionately called in Bhutan is subject of many Bhutanese songs and folklore. They are seen among the painting on the walls of temples and Thankga. .  

Day 04: Gangtey – Jakar (Bumthang) (B/L/D) 

Drive to Jakar (Bumthang). Stop at Chendebji Chorten (stupa) enroute. Enjoy lunch at Trongsa and drive to Jakar. You may stop at Zugney to see the Yathra Weavers. Overnight hotel, Jakar. 
Drive from Gangtey to Jakar: The drive to Jakar (Bumthang) takes about 5-6 hours covering distance of approx. 160 km. The road climbs again to Pele La pass (3400m) where we make stop for views of the snow clad peaks, including that of Bhutan’s sacred peak Mt. Chomolhari.  
Chendebji Chorten (Stupa): This chorten stands majestically along the high way connecting west to east. The ground by the side serves as famous site for picnic lunch. This monument was believed to have been built to subdue demons dwelling around the area. It has architectural resemblance to famous Boudha Nath of Nepal.  
Yathra Weaving at Zungney:  Yathra is colourful wool weaving pattern native of central Bhutan with deep colors. In the village of Zugney in Chumey valley, there are shops, where you can see the weavers- at-work. You may be able to see the dyeing of wool using natural dyes and other processes.  

Day 05: Jakar (Bumthang) sightseeing (B/L/D)

Jakar Sightseeing includes. Visit Jampay Lhakhang (temple), Kurjey temple complex and walk to Tamshing. After visit to Tamshing, walk down through the farms, stoping to take a brief look at Kenchogsum temple. Visit Swiss Farm, Jakar Dzong and Wangdicholing Palace. Time permitting, free evening to stroll around. Overnight hotel, Jakar.

Day 06: Jakar (Bumthang) –Trongsa (B/L/D)

From Jakar, you will be transferred to Trongsa. Overnight hotel, Trongsa.
Drive from Jakar – Trongsa: Firstly, drive to Jakar for about 50 km (1 ½ hour). From Jakar, drive to Trongsa is 68 km takes about 2 hours. You will drive across Kikila pass and another highest pass Yotongla at 3,551 m enroute and finally descend down to Trongsa. The total driving time will be about 5 hours.  
Trongsa: Trongsa (2,200m) lies at the geographical center of Bhutan. The town of Trongsa has been developing since 1980’s, with many of the shops being owned by Bhutanese of Tibetan decent. This small town located is on the face of the ridge and at the cross-road junction of lateral east-west highway, and the road leading south to Shemgang.

Day 07: Trongsa - Punakha (B/L/D)

After visiting Trongsa Dzong and Ta Dzong in Trongsa, you will drive to Punakha via Chendebji chorten and across Pelela pass.  
Trongsa Dzong:  or Choekhor Rabdentse is the largest and most impressively situated dzong in Bhutan, perched high on a cliff above the deep Mangdechu river gorge. It was built in 1648 on the site of temple which was built in 1543.
Ta Dzong:  The watchtower above the town area is shaped like tower with wings. It contains a shrine dedicated to Gesar, the legendary epic warrior king, and another named after Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first king.
Drive from Trongsa to Punakha: The distance is 140 km and takes about 4 ½ hours to reach Punakha. Leaving Trongsa, the road winds for 14 kms north west via Tsamkhar to cross Mangde chu river at Bjizam.
Punakha and Wangdiphodrang: Punakha and Wangdue, although two separate districts, are located in one valley (20km/ ½ hr drive apart) and they are at the lower elevation of about 1,250m with pleasant winters.

Day 08: Punakha – Paro (B/L/D)  Visit Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakhang (temple) and drive to Paro via Thimphu. Overnight hotel, Paro.

Punakha Dzong: or Pungthang Dechen Phodrang "Palace of Great Happiness"  is located on the confluence of two rivers, the Pho and Mochu.
Chimi Lhakhang:  a monastery and fertility temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as “the divine madman” and considered a folk hero in Bhutan for his unconventional ways. Drive from Punakha to Paro via Thimphu. The drive from Punakha to Paro takes about 4-5 hours covering a distance of 140 km. From Punakha, drive west and climb up to Dochula pass (3,050m), where you have another opportunity to view the peaks of the eastern Himalayas. Descend to Thimphu from Dochula takes about 40 minutes.
Paro: Paro is one of the most beautiful valleys in the country with Bhutan’s only airport located here, among the terraced fields, and elegant farm houses. Willow trees line many of the roads, contrasting with bright colors of the fields and the most popular and important sites also found within Paro district.

Day 09: Paro (B/L/D)

You will visit National Museum, Rinpung Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang (temple), Ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and Bhutanese farm House. Overnight hotel, Paro.
National Museum: Established in 1967, the museum is housed inside a circular Ta Dzong, an ancient Watch Tower. (open 10-4pm – closed on Monday).
Rinpung Dzong: meaning "fortress of the heap of jewels". Built in mid 17th century, it now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for the 200 monks of Paro.
Kyichu Lhakhang: Tibetan King Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples, along with Jorkhang in Lhasa. Kyichu is considered to be one of them and is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
Farm House or Village Home: Bhutanese farmhouses are colorful, decorative and traditionally built without any nails.

Day 10: Paro  - Tiger’s Nest Monastery/Taktsang(B/L/D)

Hike to famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) and visit Drukgyel Dzong and Rinpung Dzong on return to the valley. You will also witness afternoon program of Paro Tsechu (festival). Overnight hotel, Paro.   
Hike to Taktsang: Drive to north of Paro town for about ½ hr and embark on a trek to the famed Taktsang (Tiger’s lair) monastery. Taktsang monastery is located on the face of a 1,000m seemingly impossible sheer, vertical cliff, above Paro valley.

Day 11: Paro – Depart

After breakfast, transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight to onward destination. 

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What makes this trip different?

Eco Trip Nepal has been working hand to hand with nonprofit social organization SWAN Nepal (Social Welfare Association of Nepal) from its initial years. We provide continuous support to SWAN financially as well as by organizing charity and volunteering tours in the remote village of Baglung district. Organizing your holiday through Eco Trip Nepal will not only provide the chance to explore the natural grandeur of Himalayan country Nepal but also you will be playing a vital role in bringing positive changes in the lives of local community.

Financial support to direct beneficiaries:  In all our programs, we strive to ensure that we only use local operators and try to source all provisions from local businesses, so you can be sure that some part of the money paid to us for arranging your holiday goes to the needy people of Nepal. The money you pay for touring and trekking through Eco Trip Nepal directly benefits the local people through SWAN as we provide them certain percentage of our profits from each and every trip on regular basis. Our guests experience true satisfaction together with enjoyment from Nepal holiday.

Local development through tourism: Eco Trip Nepal along with SWAN has been working together in discovering new routes, making plans into action and constantly working on how it can positively impact on local community development through tourism. In this way we have developed the Eco-tourism Project which focuses to flourish local tourism preservation of nature and cultural heritages.

Community Tourism: We help experience the best of Nepal through the eyes of the local Nepalese community. We enhance community based tourism to help our guests discover local habitats and wildlife; celebrate and respect traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. In this way community will be aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage through tourism, and this will promote community based management of these resources.

For more details, visit SWAN Nepal's website www.swannepal.org