Celebrate your marriage with a traditional Bhutanese wedding ceremony
Explore the National Museum's collections of religious relics, works of art and handicrafts
Enjoy views of Jejekangphu Gang, Zongophu Gang (Table Mountain) and Gangkhar Puensum
Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900 metres above the valley floor
Visit the Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan's national animal
Experience the once in a lifetime chance to celebrate your marriage with a traditional Bhutanese wedding ceremony. Then, explore the many cultural wonders and natural landscapes throughout the western valleys of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. Visit several of the most important museums, monuments and religious sites that showcase incredible art and artefacts and view the beautiful snowcapped Himalayas.
After arriving at the Paro International Airport, a representative of Diethelm Travel Bhutan will welcome you in a traditional Bhutanese manner by offering you a 'khadar' or greeting scarf.
The journey commences with a drive to Thimphu Valley, home to the only capital in the world with no traffic lights. Urbanisation began here when Thimphu was proclaimed as a national capital in 1952 and the Dechenchoeling Palace was built, yet the city still maintains its ethnic architectural style. Check into your hotel, enjoy lunch and then begin your city sightseeing tour with a walk around Memorial Chorten, which is one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu.
Afterwards, visit the Takin Preserve to see Bhutan's national animal and then drive up to the BBS Tower for a magnificent aerial view of Thimphu Valley. Continue to the 15th-century Changangkha Temple, which contains ancient scriptures and thankas. In the evening, visit the 13th-century Tashichho Dzong, which houses His Majesty’s Throne Room and is the summer home to the Monastic Body.
Once a rural village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is now the nation’s bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, beginning with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, which is decorated with paintings and statues showcasing the Buddhist faith. You will also visit the 12th-century Changangkha Temple and Drubthob Monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery. Continue to the School for Arts and Crafts where students are taught the thirteen types of Bhutanese art as well as the National Library, which is home to a collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century. Continue to the Traditional Paper Factory where you'll learn about the Bhutanese paper-making process and then onward to a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum, which has a collection of typical household objects, domestic tools and equipment that were used by rural families during the mid-19th century.
If there is time, you can visit a takin nursing pen and Tashichho Dzong, the ‘Fortress of the Glorious Religion’. If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of Bhutanese food including basket upon basket of fiery chillies, fresh cheese and fresh greens. Many stalls also sell Bhutanese handicrafts and household items.
After breakfast, drive on the winding mountain road through the Dochula Mountain Pass toward Punakha Valley. On a clear day, Dochula offers stunning views of the snowcapped Himalayan range. With powerful binoculars, you can view Jejekangphu Gang, Zongophu Gang (Table Mountain) and Gangkhar Puensum. Afterwards, visit Druk Wangyel Chorten, a new landmark for travellers as you cross the first mountain pass within the country. Next, continue the 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.
Today you will celebrate your wedding with a traditional Bhutanese marriage ceremony performed by local monks. At Chimi Lhakhang, which is also known as the 'Fertility Temple', sit down with the monks who will bless you with happiness, togetherness, long life and wealth. There will be a ritual ceremony that includes exchanging glasses of alcohol whereafter you will be declared man and wife. Afterwards, there will be an offering of white scarves or 'khadar' from the monastery and by the head monk, and then Diethelm Travel Bhutan will offer you khadars and other gifts.
Once the ceremony has concluded, return to your hotel to continue the celebrations.
The day begins with a drive through the town of Khuruthang and continues along the banks of the Mo Chu River, passing the Phuntsho Pelri Palace and several other winter homes of the Royal Family. Next, take a 50-minute walk to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a 3-storey chorten that stands on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang roughly six miles from Punakha. It presents incredibly complex images and symbols that belong to the Nyingmapa tradition. Afterwards, drive back to Paro, check into the hotel and enjoy a free evening in the city to relax.
Enjoy an easygoing sightseeing tour around Paro. First, visit the National Museum, which contains many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts that provide a snapshot of Bhutan’s historical, cultural and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great Saint Milarepa, who is considered the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Walk to the beautiful cantilever bridge still in use.
Alternatively, Day 6 can be spent on a day trip to the Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass, Haa Valley is characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain.
After an early breakfast, take a short drive to the trailhead of the famous Taktsang Monastery, which clings precariously to a cliff 900 metres (2,600 feet) above the Paro Valley. Also known as Tiger's Nest, Taktsang is one of the holiest sites in the country and one of the most recognised Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas. The climb to the viewpoint will take approximately three hours. Afterwards, lunch will be served during the return hike back to the road point.
In the afternoon, visit Drukgyal Dzong. Now in ruins, it was once strategically built over the only passage into Paro Valley. It helped to prevent numerous invasions throughout Bhutanese history, beginning in 1646. In clear weather, the towering peak of Mount Jumolhari that marks the frontier with Tibet appears as a backdrop to Drukgyal Dzong. Return to Paro and enjoy a free evening to explore the town at your leisure.
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