15 Day Gomkora Tsechu
Day 1: Arrive in Paro
Upon arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide and driver. Visit Rinpung Dzong, a fortress-monastery that houses the district administration office and the monastic body. The dzong was built in the 17th century and is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture, then visit the National Museum of Bhutan, which is located inside the Ta Dzong (watchtower) of the Rinpung Dzong. Next,visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred temples in Bhutan. The temple was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.
After sightseeing in Paro, drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, with a brief stop at the Tamchog Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangthong Gyalpo, a legendary bridge builder in Bhutan. In the evening, explore Thimphu city on your own.
Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing
After breakfast, start your Thimphu sightseeing tour with a visit to the King’s Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Next, visit the Changangkha Lhakhang, a popular temple located on a ridge overlooking the city. Then, will visit the Takin Preserve, a wildlife reserve where you can spot the national animal of Bhutan, Takin. Later in the day, visit the National Library, the Traditional Paper Factory, and the Institute of Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. In the evening, you can visit the Tashichho Dzong, the administrative center of Bhutan. Evening at your leisure.
Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha
After breakfast, rive to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. Stop at Dochula Pass on the way and enjoy stunning views of the Himalayas. Visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, a temple built to commemorate Bhutanese soldiers who died in a military operation in 2003. Afterward visit Punakha Dzong, a fortress built at the confluence of two rivers, Pho Chu and Mo Chu. The dzong is known for its stunning architecture, beautiful paintings, and intricate woodworks. Next visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a shrine located on a hilltop that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Visit the Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to the ‘Divine Madman’ Lama Drukpa Kuenley, known for his unconventional teachings and practices. In the evening, you can take a leisurely walk around the town and interact with locals
Day 4: Punakha to Gangtey with Nature Trail Hike
After breakfast, drive to the beautiful Gangtey Valley, which is home to the black-necked cranes that migrate from Tibet in winter. Visit Gangtey Monastery, one of the largest and oldest Nyingma monasteries in Bhutan. The monastery sits on a small hill overlooking the picturesque valley and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.Make a stop at the Black Necked Crane Center, where you can learn more about these graceful birds and their conservation efforts.
In the afternoon, we will embark on a nature trail hike through the Gangtey Valley. The trail is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of Bhutan and offers a chance to spot some of the local flora and fauna. After the hike, we will return to our hotel in Gangtey for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 5: Gangtey to Bumthang
After breakfast, drive to Bumthang, which is located in central Bhutan. Enroute, visit Trongsa Dzong, an impressive fortress that played a crucial role in the unification of Bhutan. Then visit Ta Dzong, which is now the national museum of Bhutan and houses an impressive collection of artifacts, costumes, and art.
Continue your journey to Bumthang, which is known for its beautiful scenery, ancient temples, and traditional culture. On arrival, check-in to your hotel and relax for the evening.
Day 6: Bumthang Sightseeing
Today, you will spend the day exploring the beautiful valley of Bumthang, which is considered to be the cultural heartland of Bhutan. You will visit some of the most important temples and monasteries in the region, including the Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, and Jakar Dzong.
You will also have the opportunity to visit a local farmhouse and try some traditional Bhutanese dishes, such as ema datshi (spicy chili and cheese stew) and red rice. In the evening, you can relax at your hotel or explore the town further.
Day 7: Bumthang to Mongar
After breakfast, you will depart Bumthang and drive to Mongar, a small town located in eastern Bhutan. The drive takes you through some of the most spectacular landscapes in Bhutan, with winding roads that offer stunning views of the mountains and valleys. You will pass through several small towns and villages along the way, and stop for lunch at a local restaurant.
You will arrive in Mongar in the late afternoon and check into your hotel. In the evening, you can explore the town and visit some of the local shops and restaurants.
Day 8: Mongar to Trashigang
After breakfast, visit Mongar Dzong,a historic fortress that showcases the traditional Bhutanese architecture then drive towards Trashigang. The drive takes around 3-4 hours and offers scenic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Upon arrival in Trashigang, visit Trashigang Dzong, a fortress that sits atop a hill overlooking the town. The dzong is an impressive structure with intricate woodwork and paintings. It also houses several temples and courtyards that provide a glimpse into Bhutanese architecture and religious practices. In the evening, explore the local market and enjoy a stroll around the town. Overnight in Trashigang.
DAY 09: Trashigang Gomkora Festival
Today is the day to experience one of the most unique and colorful festivals of Bhutan – the Gomkora festival held at Gomphu Kora Temple in Trashigang. Witness the local people from various regions of Bhutan in their traditional attire come together to celebrate and participate in various dances and rituals. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, try some local food and interact with the locals to learn about their traditions and culture.
DAY 10: Trashigang to Mongar
After breakfast, drive from Trashigang to Mongar, which is around 91 km and takes around 3 hours. On the way, enjoy the scenic beauty of the mountains, valleys, and the flowing rivers. You can stop for some photo opportunities or to stretch your legs. After reaching Mongar, check-in to your hotel and rest for a while.
DAY 11: Mongar to Trongsa
After breakfast, drive to Trongsa from Mongar which is around 96 km and takes about 3 hours. On the way, visit the Yadi weaving center and observe the weavers at work. After reaching Trongsa, visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong, one of the largest dzongs in Bhutan. You can also visit the Ta Dzong, a watchtower that has been converted into a museum, exhibiting the history and culture of Bhutan.
DAY 12: Trongsa to Wangdue
After breakfast, drive from Trongsa to Wangdue, which is around 129 km and takes around 4 hours. On the way, visit the Chendebji Chorten, a large and imposing Nepalese-style stupa. After reaching Wangdue, visit the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Evening at your leisure.
DAY 13: Wangdue to Paro
After breakfast, drive from Wangdue to Paro, which is around 128 km and takes around 4 hours. On the way, visit the Simtokha Dzong, the first dzong built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the unifier of Bhutan. After reaching Paro, you can explore the local market, try some local food and shop for souvenirs.
DAY 14: Paro Tigers Nest
After breakfast, drive to the base of the monastery and start the hike. The hike takes around 2-3 hours one way, and you can take breaks at various points to rest and enjoy the view. Once you reach the monastery, you can explore the various temples and learn about the history and legends associated with it.
DAY 15: Departure from Paro
After breakfast, check-out from your hotel and drive to the Paro International Airport for your departure flight.