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Mountains & Rivers of Bhutan Itinerary

Day 1 – Fly Bangkok to Paro, Visit the Rinpung Dzong

Fly into Paro, Bhutan and experience the majestic views of the eastern Himalayas as you descend into the narrow Paro Valley.

Arriving at the Paro Airport in Bhutan
Arriving at the Paro Airport in Bhutan

Meet your guides outside the airport, check-in to the hotel, and have lunch. In the afternoon we’ll visit local monasteries and the Rinpung Dzong.

Night at hotel (L,D)

Day 2 – Raft the Paro Chhu, Travel to Thimphu

After breakfast spend a few hours rafting a beautiful Himalayan stream, the Class III+ Paro Chhu. Along the way, we’ll stop at a famous iron bridge that was built by a Tibetan monk in the 14th century.

Rafting the Paro Chhu in Bhutan
Rafting the Paro Chhu in Bhutan

That afternoon we drive an hour east to Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu, located at 7,656 feet in the Wang Chhu valley. We’ll check into our hotel and visit the largest sitting Buddha in the world.

Night at hotel (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Drive over Dochu La, Temple of the Divine Madman

We spend the morning enjoying the cafes, shops, and ancient-meets-21st-century streets of Thimphu before traveling by bus over Dochu La pass (10,300 feet) and into the Punakha Valley.

Prayer flags and 108 stupas at Dochu La

Before checking into our hotel, we’ll hike through lush rice fields to the Temple of the Divine Madman. This monastery decorated with giant phalluses was built in 1499 to honor a local folk hero, Drukpa Kunley. Here you can participate in an ancient fertility ceremony.

Night at hotel (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, Raft the Mo Chhu

In the morning we hike past rice fields to a three storied monastery overlooking the Mo Chuu Valley. This monastery was built in 2004 by the Queen Mother to promote world peace, stability, and harmony.

This afternoon we raft the Mo Chhu down towards the Punakha Dzong before its confluence with the Pho Chhu (Father River).

Night at hotel (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Raft the Pho Chhu, Visit Punakha Dzong

We hike up the the fertile Pho Chhu Valley and then paddle it’s class II/III rapis and emerald green water. After lunch we tour the famous Punakha Dzong.

The Punakha Dzong is situated between the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu
The Punakha Dzong is situated between the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu

The Punakha Dzong is a fortress that built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1637-38. It is one of Bhutan’s most attractive landmarks and has survived 6 fires, 2 glacial lake outbursts, and 1 massive earthquake. It was built at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Pho Chhu, which is considered an auspicious location. The Punakha Dzong was the site of the coronation of Sir Ugen Wangchuck as the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan in 1907. More recently, the coronation of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the 5th King of Bhutan, was held here on October 31, 2008.

Night at hotel (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Back to Thimphu

Travel by van back to Thimphu and arrive with plenty of time for shopping, sightseeing, and rest.

Zorig Chusum is a school that teaches the 13 traditional handicrafts in Bhutan
Zorig Chusum is a school that teaches the 13 traditional handicrafts in Bhutan

If time allows we’ll organize a trip to Zorig Chusum (art and craft school), Takin reserve, or the National Memorial Chorten.

Night at Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Raft the Thimphu Chhu, Travel back to Paro

Spend a leisurely morning in Thimphu followed by rafting Thimphu Chhu down to its confluence with the Paro Chhu at Chuzzom.

Night at Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Hike to Taktsang (the Tiger’s Nest)

Hike up to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest). It typically takes about 2 hours to reach the view point and another 20 minutes to the entrance of the monastery.

Hiking to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest)
Hiking to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest)

Taktsang is probably the most recognizable site in Bhutan. It’s perched precariously on a cliff-face 3,000 feet above the Paro valley. Mythology says that Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a flying tigress, which was actually one of his consorts in disguise, and landed here in the 8th century. The guru meditated in caves on the cliff and would eventually spread tantric Buddhism throughout Bhutan.

Night at Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Fly from Paro to Bangkok

Fly from Paro to Bangkok. Spend a few days in Bangkok, or head directly home the following day.

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