Day 1 - Fly Bangkok to Paro, Bhutan; Visit the Rinpung Dzong

If possible, it is a good idea to arrive in Bangkok a couple of days early to explore the city and adjust to the new time zone. You are responsible for lodging and meals while in Bangkok.Fly into Paro, taking in the majestic views of the eastern Himalayas as you descend into the narrow Paro Valley. This picturesque town of traditional houses nestles amid more than 100 historic sites and monasteries.

The airport in Paro, Bhutan

Meet your guides as you exit the airport and have lunch. In the afternoon we'll visit the Rinpung Dzong (ancient fortress) and Kyichu Lhakhang (monastery).

Night at hotel (L,D)

Day 2 - Raft the Paro Chhu, Travel to Thimphu

After breakfast we raft a beautiful Himalayan stream, the Paro Chhu. Along the way, we'll stop at a famous iron bridge built by a Tibetan monk in the 14th century.

Rafting on Bhutan's Paro Chhu

This 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.

Buddha Dordenma is a 177 foot tall Buddha statue

Buddha Dordenma is a 177 foot tall Buddha statue

If time permits, we may also visit the local textile museum, the National Library, or the National Memorial Chorten.

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

efore 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 - Raft the Mo Chhu, Hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten

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.

Yoga class at Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Yoga class at Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

That 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

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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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