The Dragon Trails
Places & Attractions
Paro, Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Thimphu, Phuentsholing
Discover Bhutan as you journey across the western side of the country. Admire the stunning scenery and unique Bhutanese architecture. Experience the peaceful rural life and feel the difference as you descend into the frontier town of Phuentsholing on the southern foothills.
Day 1 - Arrive Paro By Druk Air
The flight into Bhutan is marked by breathtaking views of snow capped mountain peaks and dense virgin forests.
The descent into Paro is another exciting experience as aircraft glides into the valley of terraced rice fields, its wings almost touching the side of hills.
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be received by our representative and transferred to the hotel. In the evening stroll around Paro’s town’s main street of handicrafts stalls, coffee shops and delightful eateries offering unique fares.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 2 - Paro
Morning hike to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest.
It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, the father of the Bhutanese strain of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery in the eighth century.
It is a three-hour hike at moderate passes through pine forests laden with fungus at the higher altitudes.
After lunch, visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum, which has a collection of ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts and weapons.
Walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (fortress) situated at commanding height, overlooking Paro valley. It is the religious and secular centre of all affairs of the valley. Evening visit a traditional farmhouse and experience the lifestyle of local people.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 3 - Paro to Punakha
(125 Km, 4.5 Hours)
After breakfast drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, about 18 km from Paro town. From this fortress, Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred temples of the Kingdom and a harbinger to the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Drive to Punakha across Dochula pass (3,050m), a popular stop with visitors who want to take in the views of souther Himalayan range.Until 1955, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and is still the winter seat of the Je Khenpo, the chief abbot.
Visit Punakha Dzong built in 17th century at the confluence of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. It has been destroyed by four fires and an earthquake in 1897 and has frequently been devastated by floodwaters coming from the great northern glaciers. The Dzong has now been fully restored to its original splendor. In the evening visit the local market.
Overnight at hotel in Punakha.
Day 4 - Punakha to Wangduephodrang
to Thimphu (90 Km, 4 Hours)
After breakfast, drive to Wangduephodrang, the last town in the west before arriving at the central region of Bhutan. The town’s formidable fortress (Dzong), perched on a narrow ridge is its most visible feature. In the 17th century, it played a criticial role in unifying the western, central and southern.
After lunch, drive to Thimphu, the small charming capital of Bhutan. Thimphu’s has a number of museums and places of historic interest. Its architecture is a blend of modern and traditional elements. Spend the afternoon at your own leisure.
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 5 - Thimphu
In the morning visit Trashichhodzong, situated on the banks of Wang Chu. It is the seat of government and the summer residence of the central monastic body.
Bhutan’s National Library is located close to the Thangkha painting school and contains arguably the best collection of religious and historic literature in the Himalayas. The country has its own brand of Himalayan medicines and this can be seen at the Indigenous Hospital.
The Textile and Folk Heritage Museum offer insight into Bhutanese material culture and living traditions. The Memorial Chhorten, a landmark monument, was built in 1974 in memory of Bhutan’s third King. On any given day you will find people of all ages circumambulating this white structure prayers for the well being of all sentient beings and universal harmony.
Also visit the Handicrafts Emporium, which displays a wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted products. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 6 - Phuentsholing (179 Km, 6 Hours)
The Thimphu / Phuentsholing road was built in 1962 by Dantak, the Indian Border road organization. The drive on this route is very pleasant passing gushing rivers, watefalls and forested hills Just before arriving Phuentsholing, visit Kharbandi Goemba, the monastery built in 1967. It houses the large and attractive statues of Sakyamuni, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Rinpoche.
Overnight at hotel in Phuentsholing.
Day 7 - Phuentsholing – Siliguri (160 Km, 4 Hours)
After breakfast drive to Siliguri passing through lush tea gardens set up by the British a century ago.
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