Dragon Trail Tour 14 Nights
This Bhutan 14 Nights and 15 Days Tour will give a satisfying experience of coming to Bhutan and truly enjoying your two weeks stay. Travelers will go from Western Bhutan through Central Bhutan and reach Eastern Bhutan.
This travel route will take you through different cultures, changing flora and fauna,tall standing Dzongs(fortresses),farm lands, forests,and different landscapes. Some travelers says this tour is a great opportunity for the Best photography
This tour is called the “Bhutan Dragon Trail Tour” as it goes from West Bhutan till East Bhutan and goes through all the important and lovely places in Bhutan.
Day 01: Arrival into Bhutan at Paro and then to Thimphu:
Paro is the first town you will enter when flying in to Bhutan. You will be boarding the one and only Airline of Bhutan called the “Druk Air” where Druk means “Bhutan” so in translation called “Bhutan National Airline”
When flying into Bhutan, from the left hand side of the aircraft you will see the Majestic Himalayan Range with the Peaks of Mt.Everest, Mt.Kanchanganga, Mt.Jumolhari and Mt.Jichu Drake whereby the latter two Mountains are in Bhutan.
On arrival at the Paro Airport, you will be welcomed and greeted by the representatives of Bhutan Jewel Travel so from the time you touch the Bhutan soil, we at Bhutan Jewel Travel will be accompanying you so that you experience the warmth and care of Bhutan Jewel Travel Team and Bhutan, the Last Shangrila on this Earth.
Then you will go to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Check in at Thimphu Hotel and after refreshing then start Thimphu Sight seeing.
Visit to the National Memorial Stupa, built in 1974 by Royal Queen Mother and dedicated to the father of Modern Bhutan, the Late His Majesty the Third King of Bhutan. This Chorten or Stupa is built with a mixture of Bhutanese and Tibetan Architecture. The Inner stupa depicts the three sects of Buddhism, whereby the Top most Floor depicts the Gongdu Sect, The Middle Floor depicts the Drukpa Kagyud Sect with the Second Buddha Statue facing the East where the sun rises, and the Ground Floor depicts the Phurba or the Thunderbolt.
After Government Office hours, Visit the Tashichhodzong which is a large ancient fortress and presently houses all Government Ministries , the Royal Throne Room and is the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan. Tashichhodzong has a wide flat stone court yard and recently a Gallery named “Thuendrel Thang” was built to witness the Festivals a long side the Ancient Dzong.
Night Halt in Thimphu Hotel
Day 02: Thimphu To Punakha
After breakfast drive to Winter Capital for the Monastic Body, Punakha which is at 1300m.
On your way you will reach the Dochula Pass and then to Punakha and Wangduephodrang. Punakha and Wangduephodrang are two Western Bhutan Districts close by to one another.
Stop by the enchanting and mesmerizing Dochula Pass which is at an altitude of 3150 meters and takes around 1-1.5 hours to reach from Thimphu.
Dochula Pass is a Great place to feel the cool air and see thousands of prayer flags fluttering high on tree tops. There are 108 Stupas and a Temple build by the Queen Mother for the long life of the Fourth King and the well being of all sentient beings.
After spending some time here and having some tea and snacks/lunch, continue journey to Punakha
Visit Historic and one of the most beautiful Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Great Zhabdrung Rimpoche who unified Bhutan in 17th Century
Night Halt in the Punakha Valley
Day 03: Punakha To Bumthang (210 kms, with approximate driving time of 6-7 hours)
After breakfast,you will start moving to Central Bhutan,to a District called Trongsa and then to the Bumthang Valley. Trongsa is around 142 kilometers from Punakha/Wangdue and takes around 5 hours.
Lunch will be served on the way.
Going to Bumthang you will pass by the Pelela Pass which is at 3340 meters, and then descend to Rukubji Village and thereafter to Chendebji where there is the Nepalese style stupa(similar to Bodinath Temple in Kathmandu if you have been to Nepal),where you can relax for a while and circumbulate this stupa if you wish to. This Stupa was built in the 15th Century.
After Trongsa , Bumthang is just 68-70 kms and will take you 2 hours to get to Bumthang.
Night Halt in Bumthang Valley
Day 04: Bumthang To Mongar (198 Kms, 6-7 hours Drive)
Today you will cross Thrunshingla Pass at 3750m. Picnic lunch will be served on the way. Best photography time. Altitude of Mongar is 1600m. Mongar is the central hub for the Eastern Districts of Bhutan. Night Halt in Mongar
Day 05: Mongar To Trashigang (90 Kms, 4 Hours Drive)
Altitude of Trashigang is 1070meters so much warmer than Bumthang. Visit Trashigang Dzong and enjoy a stroll through the Trashigang small town. On your way to Mongar Cross over the Korila Pass at 2400meters. Night in Trashigang.
In Trashigang the nomads and higher altitude people come to barter their good like the cheese, butter, hides and skins for their ration to take back home with them. Trashigang is a very quiet and isolated district and you will see mostly just Bhutanese people.
Day 06: Trashigang Day Excursion
Today after breakfast, we will take a day excursion to Trashi Yangtse, where Bhutan’s one and only handloom center is located. Enroute stop at places that chant you and enjoy the silent and calm beauty at every road stop. Reaching this handloom center, you will see how designs are created and how natural dyes are made and used with a blend of the traditional and modern knowledge. You will do some hiking too.
Evening return to Trashigang as there are no accommodation available in TrashiYangtse.
Day 07: Trashigang To Bumthang (288 Kms, 10 Hours Drive)
Since we only have 1 highway connecting west to east so you have to drive back the same way with the same passes. Picnic lunch will be provided and you can enjoy resting along the high way wherever you like. Night Halt in Bumthang
Day 08: Bumthang Sightseeing
Visit the historical Jakar Dzong built by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Desi (Temporal ruler) in 1646 A.D. It was later repaired and expanded by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth Desi of Bhutan in 1683 A.D. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. Visit several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang, Tamshing and Pema Samba Lhakhangs. Also visit the Bumthang Swiss farm and the Member Tso” The flaming Lake” which is considered one of the most important pilgrimage spots, The Red Panda beef factory and Swiss Cheese Factory
Night Halt in Bumthang
Day 09: Bumthang To Gangtey (6 Hours Drive)
After an early breakfast in Bumthang, drive towards Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha valley is a high altitude wide valley at a level of 3000 meters above sea level. From this valley one can see the beautiful Black Mountain range. Phobjikha Valley is one of the widest and biggest Valleys in Bhutan and winter roosting place for the Endangered Black Necked Cranes, which come into Bhutan around the beginning of November and start leaving by mid February the following year. These birds fly into Bhutan during the winter months all the way from Tibet. Bhutan Government seriously takes care of these birds and even have a Black Necked Crane Festival every year on 11th November coinciding with the Fourth Living King’s Birth Anniversary. Also small but important initiatives are taken like the power cables are put underground if any so that the Birds do not have accidents when flying around and the whole of the Phobjikha Valley is a protected area where development is minimal so that the vast valley is kept untouched and thus undeveloped for the Cranes to roost on. You can visit the Gangtey Monastery too which is the only religious sect Nyiningpa Monastery in the Country.
En route to the Gangtey Valley, Visit the Trongsa Dzong(Fortress) which was the ancestral home of the Ruling Monarchs of Bhutan. This Fortress was built in the year 1648 A.D and is at present used as the Government Administrative Office.
Tronga Dzong is known for its never ending view as this Fortress can be viewed from across the road leading towards Trongsa but the road goes on and on and at times you wonder when you are going to reach it. Trongsa Dzong is built at different levels and over look the river “Mangde Chu”. The position of this Dzong is such that all around the Dzong you get a clear view of all areas around, such that in ancient times, no matter from which side a person came from they had to pass the Dzong and thus no one could escape the sharp vigilance from this Dzong. This Dzong was built in such a strategic location because of its importance to control the East and West of Bhutan. Later Visit the “Ta-Dzong” in translation known as the “Watch Tower”. This Ancient watch Tower is around a kilometer from the Trongsa Dzong. Presently this watch Tower is a Museum called the “Museum of Monarchy” and many artifacts related to the Monarchy like ancient battle armours,etc are there displayed wonderfully.
Night Halt in Gangtey Valley
Day 10: Gangtey To Punakha
Drive to Punakha. Enroute visit the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Wangduephodrang Dzong which is just 13 Kilometers from Punakha. This Fortress was build in 1638 A.D and houses all administrative office and the Monk Body of the Wangduephodrang District so it’s still a vibrant important facility in Wangdue.
Wangduephodrang Town and its Dzong is perched on a long hill top over looking the Punakha Chu and the road to Punakha and Southern Bhutan.
Wangduephodrang is known for its windiness where people say nothing can beat the wind here..so Guests hold on to what ever you have cause if the Wangdue Wind blows it away there is no way that you will be able to chase after the wind.
Night Halt in Punakha
Day 11: Punakha To Thimphu (74 Kms, 2-3 Hours Drive)
After breakfast visit the “Chimi Lhakhang”. From the road head walk towards this temple and even a leisurely pace will take you just beyond 20-30 minutes to reach this temple.
Chimi Lhakhang is famous for couples who want children and thus known as the “Temple of Fertility” and is widely believed by the Bhutanese people that if you want to conceive, then this is the temple to pray for a child where you are blessed with an ancient Wooden Phallus. Since this temple was built by the naughty and shabby looking religious saint in the year 1499 A.D, known as” Drukpa Kuenley” meaning Devine Mad Man, thus this temple is also known as the Devine Mad Man Temple. When walking to Chimi Lhakhang you will go through the nearby village with a few Traditional Bhutanese houses and through their paddy fields, so it’s a very refreshing and moderate walk.
After another drive passing the Dochula Pass, before going to Thimphu, Visit the Simtokha Dzong. Simtokha Dzong was the first Dzong built in Bhutan in the year 1629 A.D by the founder of Bhutan Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Presently it houses a monk body and is the Institute of Language and Buddhist Studies in Bhutan. This Dzong is perched on a hill top over looking the Thimphu Valley.
Night Halt in Thimphu
Day 12: Thimphu Sightseeing
Today you will visit all sights in Thimphu and later take a stroll in the Thimphu Streets for souvenirs and Bhutanese gifts. Night Halt in Thimphu
Day 13: Thimphu To Paro 56 Kms, (2 Hours Drive)
Altitude of Paro is at 2240mts. visit the Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 AD. A flag stoned path leads toward the Dzong. This Dzong overlooks the Paro valley and you will also cross over an ancient wooden bridge with guard houses at the sides of the Bridge.
Paro Dzong and its bridge is the location where the holly wood movie “The Little Buddha” starring Keanu Reeves was filmed. Rinpung Dzong presently houses the Government Administrative offices, the Judiciary and a section is used by the Paro Monastic Body. Visit the Ta-Dzong(watch Tower) which was converted into the National museum of Bhutan in 1968. Here you will see many ancient artifacts of Bhutan, like the rare Egg, rare ancient stamps, ancient thankas etc. Paro Rinpung Dzong show cases the wooden architecture and wall paintings.
Evening stroll the Paro Town and Villages near by.
Night Halt in the beautiful Paro Valley.
Day 14: Paro Taktsang Hike
The Famous Taktsang Monastery is at a height of 2900mts. Today after an early breakfast you will take a hike to the world famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery known as “Taktsang”. This is a beautiful Monastery perched precariously on a rocky cliff with a drop of 900 meters. The legend has it that in the second half of the 8th Century, Guru Padma Sambhava, also known as the Second Buddha or Guru Rimpoche in Bhutan meditated at this cliff for three months. Guru came here flying on the back of a tigress. This Tigress was his favorite consort Khandum Yeshey Tshokey, whom he had transformed into this Tigress.
In the beginning, Guru Rimpoche used to meditate in Eastern Bhutan,in a place known as the Singye Dzong and people from the Paro Valley used to go to Singye Dzong to welcome and request the Guru to come and flourish Buddhism in Western Bhutan and also to subdue the evil spirits and the demons.
Then after Guru came to the taktsang Monastery and meditated here, the Paro Valley flourished with goodness and enjoyed Happiness, had good harvest, and was protected from all evil. Then later on , other Buddhist Scholars from the neighboring Countries like Tibet meditated here and enlarged the Monastery.
After this Hike, visit the “Drugyal Dzong” which in translation means “The Victory Fort” and was built in 1649. This Dzong is in ruins after it was completely burnt down in the 1950’s. Drugyal Dzong is reminiscence of ancient Bhutan, when the Bhutanese had war with the Invading Tibetans and it was here that Bhutan pushed the Tibetans away and won the battle. From this Dzong one can view the beautiful “Mount Jumolhari Peak” standing tall at 7314 meters , also known as the “Sacred Goddess Mountain”. Night Halt in Paro
Day 15: Depart Bhutan
Today you will be departing Bhutan from the Paro International Airport. Your Bhutan Jewel Travel representative will escort you till the check in at Paro Airport and we will bid fare well with Good wishes to see each other once again.