Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya
Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests
Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900 metres above the valley floor
View precious works of art and cultural artefacts at the National Museum
See Bhutan's national animal at the Takin Preserve
The ‘5-Day Dragon Kingdom Experience’ takes you on a spiritual and cultural journey through Bhutan’s country paired with thrilling adventures and scenic views. Visit the remote country’s most sacred religious sites including Changangkha Temple, Punakha Dzong and Taktsang Monastery. Step into the past at the centuries-old Kyichu Temple and Tachogang Temple, explore a bustling market filled with local vendors chatting and selling handmade goods, and simply soak up the magical atmosphere of this fascinating country.
Upon arriving at the Paro International Airport, your guide will meet you at the arrival terminal and give you a traditional welcoming gift called a 'khadar' (greeting scarf).
Before heading to Thimphu, visit the National Museum, which is a repository of not only precious works of art but of costumes, armour and other handcrafted objects from daily life that provide a snapshot of Bhutan's rich cultural traditions. Next, visit the Rinpung Dzong, which was built in the 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. Afterwards, drive towards Thimphu, the only capital in the world with no traffic lights. Urbanisation began here when Thimphu was proclaimed as a national capital in 1952 and yet it still maintains its ethnic architectural style. On the way, see the 15th-century Tachogang Temple, also known as the ‘Temple of the Hill of Excellent Horse’. The temple was built with a traditional bridge with iron chains on the left bank of the river, a few kilometres before Chuzom at the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu Rivers.
Check into your hotel and then begin your sightseeing tour with a walk around Memorial Chorten, one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu. Afterwards, visit the Takin Preserve to see Bhutan's national animal, a rare bovid mammal that only lives in Bhutan. Drive up to the BBS Tower for a magnificent aerial view of Thimphu Valley. In the evening, enjoy some free time in town to visit local handicraft shops.
Early in the morning, visit the 15th-century Changangkha Temple, which contains ancient scriptures and thankas. This fortress-like temple is perched on a ridge above central Thimphu and regularly hums with pilgrim activity. Then travel through the spiralling mountain road through the Dochula Mountain Pass toward Punakha Valley. On a clear day, Dochula offers stunning views of the snowcapped Himalayan range. Then, visit Druk Wangyel Chorten, a new landmark for travellers as they cross the first mountain pass within the country. Stop at the village of Sopsokha and take a 20-minute walk across paddy fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple where childless couples have come from afar to receive its blessings. Then check into your hotel.
In the morning just after breakfast, drive to the impressive Punakha Dzong, which was built in 1637 and is said to be one of the most beautiful dzongs of Bhutan. Inside, there is a set of the 108 volumes of Kanjur, a holy book of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage written in gold. The dzong also safeguards Bhutan’s most treasured possession, the sacred Rangjung Kharsapani relic. Then visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, located on a small but beautiful hill called Ngezergang. Explore this 3-storey chorten for roughly 50-minutes before driving back to Paro and enjoying a leisurely visit to Paro town.
After an early breakfast, take a short ride to the hiking trail that leads you to one of the most famous Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas, the Taktsang Monastery. Also known as 'Tiger's Nest', it is perched on the cliffside 900 metres (2,600 feet) above the Paro Valley. The climb up to the viewpoint will take around three hours. Afterwards, you will have lunch on the return hike.
In the afternoon, continue to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, which was built in 1646 and have prevented numerous invasions throughout the course of Bhutanese history. In fine weather, gaze upon the towering peak of Mount Jumolhari, which marks the frontier with Tibet and is believed to be the dwelling place of the goddess Jomo. Then, visit Kyichu Temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King, Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demoness lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, two of which are in Bhutan.
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