Hidden realm of wonders! The only world capital without traffic lights, Thimphu is a regal yet bustling town amid glorious hills and home to the revered Bhutanese Royal family.
City Highlights of Thimphu Visit the King’s Memorial Chorten, which is continuously circled ritualistically by people murmuring mantras and spinning prayer wheels. See Tashichhoe dzong, ‘fortress of the glorious religion’ – the center of government and religion. Browse the government-run handicrafts emporium and local craft shops for samples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Take home some handwoven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, jewelry, ceramics, slate and wood carvings. Visit the National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts and modern academic books on Himalayan culture and religion. Explore Zorig Chusum or the Painting School, the Thanka Art School and the Inst.of Traditional Medicine. Visit a handmade paper factory or the Mini Zoo, or peruse Thimphu’s weekend market. Enjoy scenic treks and nature walks with views of the famous denizens of the Himalayan kingdom.
Mountain rapture An erstwhile capital, it now makes for a magical stay with splendid views of the distant, heavenly Himalayas at Dorchula Pass with a soothing climate and relaxing ambience.
City Highlights of Punakha After breakfast enjoy a beautiful hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. Dominating upper Punakha Valley, the chorten affords commanding views of Mo Chhu and the mountainous peaks of Gasa. Visit Punakha Dzong, strategically built at the confluence of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King. In the afternoon, visit Chimi Lakhang, situated on a hillock and dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley or the ‘Divine Madman’. Also known as the temple of fertility, barren couples wishing to have children pray here, as it is believed they are usually blessed with a child soon after. Walk across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana meaning ‘field’. Visit Limbukha, famous for Bhutan’s infamous medicinal red rice. Enjoy trekking, kayaking and inner-tubing on Mo Chhu and Po Chhu rivers.
Indellible impressions of surprising beauty! One of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan, surprises the unsuspecting visitor with its wide flat valley sans any trees, after a hard climb through dense forests, augmented by an impression of vast space – an extremely rare experience where most of the valley’s are tightly enclosed.
City Highlights of Gangtey In the mountains east of Wangduephodrang lies the beautiful Phobjikha valley, on the slopes of which is situated the great monastery of Gangtey, established in the 17th century. Trek to Phobjikha valley (3,000m). Visit Gangtey Goenpa monastery, perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain and the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. Notice how it is surrounded by a large village, inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who care for the monastery. Visit also Black Mountain National Park; go fishing; take pony rides/treks and feed monks-in-training at the Gangtey Shedra.
Gateway to the Kingdom’s treasures! Known as the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon,’ the charming town of Paro is home to Mt. Chumolhari and some of the oldest monasteries and temples in the region.
City Highlights of Paro Vist Rinpung Dzong (fortress of the heap of jewels), a large Drukpa Kagyu Buddhist monastery and fortress built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It houses the district Monastic Body, government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. Explore Ta Dzong, once a watchtower and now the National Museum housing a collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and exquisite Bhutanase stamps. The museum’s circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors. See Drukgyel Dzong amid views of Mt.Chomolhari and Kyichu Lhakhang (a 7th century sacred shrine). Visit Taktshang Lhakhang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest, (as it is believed Guru Rinpoche arrived here on tigress back and meditated), perched on a 900m cliffside. If staying more than three nights, also visit Kila Goemba, home of Buddhist nuns, Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple), Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) and Rig Sum Goenpa (three giant hills) in Haa valley. Enjoy scenic valley treks.
Enchanting Travels employs people who really know how to listen to their clients and provide an exciting itinerary that is also safe and flexible. Everyone we worked with, from Brenda and Lavina to our guides Mr. Pongthep and Sangay, and our chauffeur Kengua, were professionals who seemed to really enjoy showing us their beautiful and exciting countries.