After an early breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our Druk Air flight KB401 departing at 9:45am. This is one of the most spectacular flights in the Himalayan area as we fly past Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga, 2 of the 3 highest peaks in the world. Arrive Paro at 11:00am. Welcome to Bhutan! After clearing customs and visa control, we meet our local guide then drive to Paro to check in. We will then head to Paro town for lunch followed by a visit to Ta Dzong (an ancient watchtower) which now houses the National Museum, and Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. Wonderful buildings with terrific views over the Paro valley. After the visit we will check in to our lovely rustic hotel. Dinner here tonight. (B,L,D)
This morning we will drive to Shari, from where you can hike or horseride to Takstang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, the most photographed in Bhutan. The view is definitely worth the steep trek up a wide mountain path. After a picnic lunch overlooking the beautiful monastery we will drive back to Paro visiting a typical Bhutanese farmhouse on the way. Rest of afternoon free to look around Paro town, which should still bear signs of the recent festival (Tsechu), or rest up at the hotel. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will visit Kyi Chu Dzong,the most ancient temple in the Paro Valley before a short drive to the capital, Thimpu. After lunch and hotel check in, we visit some notable sites including a nunnery, the National Memorial, the Library, the Arts and Crafts School, the Traditional Medical Institute and the Folk Heritage Museum. (B, L, D)
This morning we drive to the wildlife preserve of Mothitang to see Bhutan’s national animal and one of the most curious sights, the Tarkin. We then travel to Punakha, driving through Docho La (Pass). (3,050m). We have great views here of the Himalayas. At Punakha we visit the ancient capital of Bhutan, the mighty Punakha Dzong and it’s impressive river setting. A short drive takes us to Wangdue (pronounced ‘Wong Dee’) and our hotel. (B, L, D)
After breakfast we have an exhilarating drive East up mighty passes, then continue to Gangtey, on the flanks of the Black Mountains. We then enter the Valley of Phobjikha – one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas. We will do a short trek here and visit Bhutanese farmhouses and the black Crane research centre before driving back to Wangdue. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we return to Thimphu via the Docho La (Pass) and a 2nd chance of views of Mt. Jomolhari. Lunch in Thimphu then the afternoon free to explore the capital, sights such as the main Dzong, Clocktower and nearby markets and shops. Dinner at hotel. (B, L, D)
This morning we drive to the Forbidden Valley of Haa (closed to outsiders until 2002). This valley borders Tibet and will be the most traditional area we visit. Here we visit some ancient sites before returning to Paro via the Chele La (Pass) (3,780 m). We have magnificent views from here. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. (B, L, D)
An early breakfast at the hotel before we drive to the airport. Check-in for Druk Air or Buddha Air charter flight, departing to Kathmandu at 8:20am. On arrival in Kathmandu at 9:05am we will be transferred back to the hotel.