5D4N BHUTAN escapade
Day One: Singapore/Bangkok To Paro (2,300m)
Arrive at Paro and proceed to Thimphu.
Elevation 2,300m | Drive time 01 hours
Thimphu being the capital, it is most populace city in Bhutan, the Royal family and all government headquarters are concentrated in Thimphu. On the way we will visit Tamchhog Zam (Iron Bridge), the bridge is made of iron chain and the materials are from 15 century.
It is a monument built in 1974 as the memory of the Third King of Bhutan and to World Peace. Visitors will find elderly Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’.
The chorten is an extraordinary example of Buddhist architecture and artwork with its gorgeous paintings and intricate sculptures. The chorten is a large white structure crowned with a golden spire. It is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is one of its most iconic monuments.
This massive statue of Shakyamuni measures in at a height of 51.5 meters [169 feet], making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue, 100,000 8-inch-tall and 25,000 12-inch tall statues respectively. Each of these thousands of Buddhas have also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
The Takin Preserve, located in the Motithang district of Thimphu, is a wildlife reserve area for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Native to Bhutan, India, and China, the Takin are docile creatures whose unique appearance attracts special attention. Local legends attribute the creation of these animals in Bhutan by a 15th century saint name Drukpa Kunley, popularly known as the Divine Madman.
While originally a mini-zoo, the area was converted into a 8.4 acre preserve when it was discovered that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest area, even when set free. A popular stop with tourists and locals alike, the preserve also houses a few native deers of Bhutan, including the barking dear and sambar.
Also known as Thangthong Dewachen Nunnery. The nunnery is located in Zilukha, Thimphu overlooking Tashichodzong and is a few minutes’ drive from the town. It is popularly known as the Zilukha Anim Dratshang. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo, Drubthob Rikey Jadrel. Currently, the nunnery is home to about 60 nuns.
"Fortress of glorious religion” constructed in 1641 and restored in 1960s. It’s the office of His Majesty the King and the secretariat, and houses two ministries and other offices.
The coronation of the present King took place in this fortress in 2008. The Dzong is open for tourist only after 5:00 PM on working days and weekend it is open all day long.
Starts around noon on Friday and ends on Sunday afternoon and It resembles the farmers market in the west. However since there are no big super markets, Thimphu's weekend market is the main source of fresh produce. It is an interesting place to visit, where village people jostle with well-heeled Thimphu residents for best and cheapest vegetables and other food products.
Day Two: Thimphu to Punakha
Elevation 1,300m | | Drive time 02 hours
It is located approximately 3,140m above sea level and it is a mountain pass to go to Punakha. It’s a breath-taking viewpoint where you can see panoramic view of Himalayan ranges that fall in Bhutan. There are also 108 Chortens (Stupas) built beautifully to mark the spot.
Chimi Lhakhang/ Temple of fertility
The 15th century temple believed to behold the blessings of fertility. The temple is founded by, the divine madman; popularly known as Drukpa Kuenly, a teacher, who the phallic symbol is associated.
It’s a pleasing 20 minutes walk to the temple through local field and village. While passing through the village we will have time to interact with the locals…
"The palace of great happiness or bliss", is the administrative centre of District, in Punakha Bhutan. Constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, in 1637. It is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures.
Punakha Dzong was the administrative centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu.
It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
Day Three: Punakha to Paro
Elevation 2,200m | | Drive time 03 hours
The beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan's old monasteries and temples. The valley is also home to Mount Chomolhari (7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pachu flowing through the valley.
Paro Rimpung Dzong
Also called the Rinpung Dzong, the Fortress of the Heap of Jewels, Paro Dzong was built in 1645 by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is an imposing square fortress, representative of typical Dzong architecture, with a central tower and courtyards housing the administrative quarters and the monastic section.
A short drive from Paro is Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan's oldest and most beautiful temples. The temple, is believed to have been built by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet, in 659 to pin down the left foot of a giant ogress who was thwarting the establishment of Buddhism into Tibet. Additional buildings and a golden roof were constructed in 1839 by the penlop (governor) of Paro and the 25th Je Khenpo. Elderly pilgrims constantly walk around the temple spinning its many prayer wheels.
TAKTSANG LHAKHANG aka Tiger's Nest Temple
Paro Taktsang was built around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave, where according to the legend the Indian Guru Padmasambahva, who is believed to introduce Buddhism to Bhutan, meditated in the 8th century.
According to the legend he was transferred to the cave on the back of a tigress. This is why the monastery got its popular name - the Taktsang, which literally means Tiger’s Nest.
Here Guru Padmasambahva, according to the legend, meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours.
Day Four: Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Temple)
Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site.
The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest”. This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley.
It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.
In order to arrive at the temple visitors must trek for around 2-3 hours through beautiful, shady pine forests. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site.
Day Five: Depart to Singapore/Bangkok
Return to Singapore/Bangkok aboard Druk Air/Bhutan Airlines. Your guide and driver will accompany you to the airport and bid their farewells there.