Paro and Punakha


16 Days / 14 Nights

PARO

Overlooked by the spectacular Taktsang monastery, the beautiful Paro valley encapsulates the rich culture and scenic beauty of Bhutan. Perched on a cliff, the monastery is believed to be the site where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tiger in the eighth century and is one of the country’s holiest sites. Paro is also home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, including Rinpung dzong, the impregnable fortress, and Ta dzong, the old watchtower. Rinpung dzong is also the venue for the Paro festival, which for 2019 will take place between 17 and 21 March.


PUNAKHA

Situated in the lowest of Bhutan’s central valleys, Punakha is Bhutan’s winter capital. Its warmer climate sees the fertile valley blanketed in cactus plants and orange orchards. Naturally and culturally spectacular, Punakha is set against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains and pine-clad hills. The scenic drive from Thimphu passes over the stunning Dochu-La-Pass and through rhododendron forests. A short walk to Khamsum Yueling temple provides an idyllic spot for a picnic lunch and a walk across the second largest suspension bridge in the world, which crosses the Pho-chu river.

PARO

Overlooked by the spectacular Taktsang monastery, the beautiful Paro valley encapsulates the rich culture and scenic beauty of Bhutan. Perched on a cliff, the monastery is believed to be the site where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tiger in the eighth century and is one of the country’s holiest sites. Paro is also home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, including Rinpung dzong, the impregnable fortress, and Ta dzong, the old watchtower. Rinpung dzong is also the venue for the Paro festival, which for 2019 will take place between 17 and 21 March.


PUNAKHA

Situated in the lowest of Bhutan’s central valleys, Punakha is Bhutan’s winter capital. Its warmer climate sees the fertile valley blanketed in cactus plants and orange orchards. Naturally and culturally spectacular, Punakha is set against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains and pine-clad hills. The scenic drive from Thimphu passes over the stunning Dochu-La-Pass and through rhododendron forests. A short walk to Khamsum Yueling temple provides an idyllic spot for a picnic lunch and a walk across the second largest suspension bridge in the world, which crosses the Pho-chu river.

ITINERARIES

Day 1: Fly to Kolkata (N)
Day 2 Kolkata : On arrival transfer to the LaLiT Great Eastern for an overnight stay. (N)
Day 3 Kaziranga National Park : Fly to Guwahati and transfer to the Diphlu River Lodge for 2 nights. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Kaziranga National Park : Explore the park, in search of one-horned rhino, by 4x4 and on elephant-back. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Darjeeling : Fly to Badogra and travel to Darjeeling for 3 nights at the Elgin. (B, D)
Day 6 Darjeeling : Witness the sunrise over the mighty peaks of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga. Take the historic toy train ride to Ghoom and enjoy a halfday city tour of this sparkling hill resort. (B, D)
Day 7 Darjeeling : Spend the day learning all about tea, visiting tea plantations and enjoying a tea tasting. Afternoon at leisure. (B, D)
Day 8 Phuntsholing : After breakfast, take a scenic drive to Phuntsholing crossing the Coronation Bridge. Spend the night at the Hotel Druk. (B, D)
Day 9 Thimphu : Travel to Thimphu, visiting Simtokha dzong en route, the oldest fortress in the kingdom built in 1629. Spend 2 nights at the Hotel Kisa. (B, L, D)
Day 10 Thimphu : Explore Thimphu including the Tashichho dzong, School of Arts and Crafts, Simply Bhutan project and a local bazaar. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Punakha : Drive across the stunning Dochu La Pass to Punakha. En route enjoy a short walk to Khamsum Yueling temple which provides an idyllic spot for a picnic lunch. Spend 2 nights at the Meri Puensum. (B, L, D)
Day 12 Punakha : Visit the beautiful Punakha dzong, the largest in the country. Later take a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang also known as ‘Fertility Temple’. (B, L, D)
Day 13 Paro : Drive to Paro for 2 nights at the The Village Lodge. Experience a local hot stone bath. (B, L, D)
Day 14 Paro : Enjoy the spectacular walk to the 300-year-old Tiger’s Nest Monastery. At leisure or cycle through the Haa valley, try your hand at archery or enjoy a lesson creating spicy Bhutanese cuisine. (B, L, D)
Day 15 Fly to Delhi : Fly to Delhi. Overnight at the LaLiT New Delhi. (B)
Day 16 : Fly home (B)