20 Day Sakten Tsechu
Day 1 : Arrival BKK –PBH by Drukair or Bhutan Airlines
Welcome to Bhutan “the land of Thunder Dragon.” Your introduction to our enchanting kingdom begins on a flight over the world’s highest peaks and the approaching valley of Paro with its primeval alpine forest, monasteries, temples and farmhouse nestled in splendid mountain isolation.
Greetings in Bhutanese style with tashi khada (white scarf) by our representative & your guide at the airport. You will be escorted to hotel for refreshment and a quick briefing on your tour program. (Please note; your sightseeing is flexible and you can skip few sights if you wish to rest more or need time for yourself. Your guide can also give you options based on your interest)
Paro Sights & Acclimatization Day!
- The National Museum which is one of the best museums of Asia.
- Rinpung Dzong (fortress) meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels.”
- The oldest temple of Bhutan – Kichu lhakhang, built in 629 AD.
- Stroll around Paro town in the evening.
Overnight Paro (Alt; 2280m)
Day 2 : Quest for Mystical Taktsang
- Healthy breakfast and drive Drugyel Dzong (a ruined victory fortress 16km from Paro town. Walk in the ruins and get a glimpses of medieval Bhutan.
- On the way back, hike up the forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous and scenic icon. Tiger’s Nest clings to sheer cliffs of 900m above Paro valley. The climb is steep and takes about 4-5hrs round trip. (Ponies & horses optional)
- Lunch at the hillside cafe with close Tiger’s Nest view.
- In evening, Bhutanese style dinner at a typical village home with local liquor called “Ara.
- Hot stone bath, optional. River rocks are heated and dunked into a large wooden tub with herbs. This type of bath is considered to have medicinal properties of healing. Overnight Paro.
Day 3 : Escape to Kila Gomba & Haa Valley (65km/ 2.5hr)
- Drive to Chelela pass (3,810m) & enjoy the bird’s eye view of the Mt. Chomolhari (7134m).
- Walk on the ancient trail amidst tall Alpine trees to the solitary Kila gomba. The hike to this oldest nunnery takes about 2hrs round trip.(drive via new road to Kila gomba, 0ptional)
- After picnic lunch, drive to the pristine Haa valley which was closed to the outsider till 2001.
- Visit the remote monasteries below mountain peaks like the temple of Black Dove & White Dove.
- In evening, walk in the local town and talk to villagers.
Overnight Haa. (Alt; 2670m)
Day 4 : Thimphu Lifestyle & City Tour (106km/ 4.5hr)
- Drive along the remote countryside of the old road to Thimphu. Thimphu is a small, charming capital city nestled in the heart of the Himalayas.
- Drive to Buddha Gang to enjoy the first glance of Thimphu city. This massive Buddha statue is one of the biggest in the world.
- Circumambulate around Memorial chorten (huge stupa). The favorite spot for the locals to chant mantras, prostrate and pray.
- Bhutanese Paper Factory (optional). You will see how papers are made in a traditional way.
- Visit the Changagkha, this 12th century site acts like a birth registration temple of the valley.
- Walking tour in Thimphu city; Hongkong market, Norzin lam, Main traffic area, Wogzin lam, Clock tower etc. Overnight Thimphu (Alt; 2320m)
Day 5 : Thimphu Cultural Sightseeing
- Drive to Sangay-gang and see the Takin, national animal of Bhutan. This hill is also called the “romantic point” as lovers often come here to enjoy the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley. On the way down, interact with the nuns at Zilukha Nunnery.
- National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. They also have on display the largest Picture Book on Bhutan in the world.
- Folk Heritage Museum to embrace the cultural lifestyle of the ancient Bhutan.
- Traditional Medicine Centre which includes indigenous hospital and herbal medicine manufacturing unit.
- Zorig Chusum “School of the Thirteen Traditional Arts and Crafts” followed by a visit to Textile Museum for authentic handicrafts.
- Farmer’s Weekend Market & Craft Bazaar; Good place to try organic fruits & shop for souvenir..
- Tashichhoe Dzong, the main secretariat building, the office of the King and Throne room and also the house of the State Monastic Body.
- Dinner in gho & kira (national dress) if interested/ private cultural performances alongside borfire. Optional. Overnight Thimphu.
Day 6 : Discovering Punakha & Wangdue Phodrang (78km/ 3hr)
- En route stop by Dochula pass ( 3150m) to enjoy spectacular views of the eastern Himalayan mountain range.
- Stroll around 108 Stupas and enter Drukwangyel (Royal temple).
- Hike to Chimi lhakhang, a solitary “fertility temple” where a childless couple who comes to pray is usually blessed with a child.
- After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. This beautiful fortress lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female river.
- In evening, optional hike to Khamsum Yuelling chorten through paddy field across a small village, a lovely stupa built for world peace. (2hrs round trip).
Overnight Punakha/ Wangdue. (Alt; 1240m
Day 7 : Phobjikha Rural Expedition (65km/ 3hr)
- Drive to Phobjikha stopping for tea & coffee in Nobding village. Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the north western tip of the Black Mountain. It’s also one of the roosting grounds of the Black-necked cranes.
- Visit Gangtey gomba; the largest Nyingma monastery of the country.
- Embark on Nature Trail Hike across the refreshing Blue-pine forest to a Kewa village. Visit some village homes and interact with the family..
- Visit the Crane Info Centre.
- In evening, free to walk further around the village or drive to your hotel for rest. Overnight Phobjikha (2900m)
Day 8 : Trongsa & Bumthang Tour (140km/ 5.5hr)
- Drive to Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. Bumthang is often called by travelers as the “Little Switzerland of Asia.”
- En route stop for mountain-view at Pele la pass (3,300m) & Yotong la pass (3425m). It’s common to spot yaks along this pass
- Stop along the journey to enjoy landscape & villages.
- En route circummabulate Chendebji chorten, a large white stupa beside a stream.
- Visit Trongsa Dzong; a white fortress that appears to grow directly up from the narrow green ridge.
- The ancient Watch Tower which is now turned into a historical museum.
- As you enter Chumey valley, visit Yathra weaving centre. The hand-woven woolen cloth produced locally.
- Kharchu draktsang (monastery); the biggest Buddhist colleges of the kingdom.
- Stroll down from the monastery to the river bank and walk around Bumthang’s local town. Overnight Trongsa (Alr; 2180)
Day 9 : Bumthang Spiritual Sightseeing
- Jakar Dzong (fortress of the White-bird). It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference.
- Hike through series of ancient and important sites such as, Jambay lhakhang, Kurjey lhakhang, Pema Sambha lhakhang & Tamshing lhakhang. (These temples have many mythical stories linked to its origin and dates back as early as 7th century. Your guide will unfold its mystery as you visit these sites).
- Wangdichholing Palace; the first palace of the present Wangchuk dynasty and also the first palace that was not designed as a fortress.
- Witness/ participate in an archery match played by the locals with lots of hue & cry.
- Evening, time at your leisure. Overnight Bumthang.
Day 10 : Ura’s Nomadic Sojourn (48km/ 1.5hr)
- After breakfast; short hike on the riverside to Menbar Tsho (the burning lake). This lake is the holiest lake in Bhutan and is believed to be a wish fulfilling lake.
- On arrival, visit the village temple located in the heart of Ura valley.
- Stroll around Ura village and hop into few friendly villager’s home for tea and chit-chat. Ura is one of the oldest villages of the kingdom. The people here still live a semi-nomadic lifestyle by herding yaks and sheep.
- Home-made dinner & home-stay in a clean traditional Bhutanese home.
Overnight Ura (Alt; 3100m)
Day 11 : Lhuentse Landscape Tour (207km/ 7-8hr)
- Embark on the most scenically beautiful routes of Bhutan to Lhuentse. This journey will unfold the rivers, landscapes, cliffs, different types of forest, water fall and the distant glacial peaks.
- Picnic lunch will be arranged at the tip of the waterfall near Namling’s rocky cliff.
- Stop at Thrumshingla pass (3800m) to view Gangkhar Puensum (7541m), the highest peak of Bhutan and the highest unclimbed peak in the world.
- On arrival, check-in hotel in Lhuentse. Lhuentse is one of the most isolated districts of the kingdom with stark cliffs towering above river gorges and dense forests.
- The region is famous for its weavers, and considered best in the country. Overnight Lhuentse. (Alt; 1460m)
Day 12 : Rural Textile & Monggar Getaway (77km/ 2.5hr)
- Explore Lhuentse village and interact with the talented villagers with your guide. Visit village homes and watch the art of traditional weaving.
- After lunch, drive to Monggar, the beginning of true homeland of the eastern people, the Sharchops. Sharchops are shy yet friendly & hospitable.
- Visit Mongar school, sit in the class for observation and interact with the teachers and students.
- Walk around Monggar town and in evening, time at your leisure. Overnight Monggar. (Alt; 1600m)
Day 13 : Getaway to Trashi Yangtse (128km/ 5hr)
- Drive to Trashi Yangtse, situated in a small river valley. The lovely countryside is famous for wooden containers, bowls, attractive and useful mementos.
- Stop at Korila pass (2400m) to offer butter lamps, and for tea and cookies as we have all along most of the passes.
- Circumambulate the famous Chorten Kora (huge stupa), next to the running brook.
- The Zorig Chusum “School for Thirteen Traditional Arts and Crafts of the East”
- Drive 10km on a farm road to the pretty Bomdeling village. Black necked cranes are found in this region too.
- In evening, stroll around the alluring Trashi Yangtse town. Overnight Trashi Yangtse. (Alt; 1830m)
Day 14 : Finding Amity in Trashigang (53km/ 2hr)
- After breakfast, drive to Doksum, walk around the village and then visit Gomkora temple Drangmechu river. In 8th century Guru Rinpoche meditated under the rock cave and subdued a demon. This cave still contains the body print of the second Buddha. This temple is the holiest of the eastern Bhutan.
- It is said that if anyone can climb below the rock cave and emerge from the summit, he will be forgiven of all his sins.
- On arrival, visit the mesmerizing Trashigang Dzong located on a rocky cliff above Drangmechu river. The entire eastern Bhutan was ruled from this fortress in the early history
- Visit the general hospital of Trashigang. (optional)
- In evening, stroll around Trashigang’s cheerful town and visit some local shops & friendly bars. Overnight Trashigang. (Alt; 1070m)
Day 16: Trashigang to Sakten Tsechu ( 4 to 5 hours )
- Drive from Trashigang to Sakten via Rangjung
- Attend Sakten Tsechu, Sakten Tsechu is a unique festival that is not often visited by tourists due to its remote location. However, for those who do make the journey to Sakten, it offers a rare glimpse into traditional nomad mask dance performed by the nomads who live in Sakten who are yak herders.
- Drive back to Trashigang in the evening
- Overnight stay in Trashigang
Day 17 : Samdrup Jongkhar “The Final Voyage” (180km/ 6-7hr)
- En route in Kanglung. Try homemade tea & snacks at Aum Chimi’s home. After a farewell from this family.
- Walk around Kanglung’s small town and visit the nearby college & interact with the students. Sherubtse college was rated as the 7th best college in Asia at one point of time.
- Visit the Zangtopelri. This temple is a replica of the celestial abode of the second Buddha in heaven.
- Stop in Khaling and visit the post office for stamp collection. Take a short walk in Khaling town followed by Wamrong town.
- Picnic lunch will be arranged next to the Melong brak (a steep narrow mirror like cliff).
- After lunch, your guide will assist you in putting the wind-horse flags on the trees & cliff. This flag along with some prayers can bring blessing and protection to sentient beings. Since this is your last day in the country. We believe this will bring you safety & happiness on your return trip to hometown.
- On arrival, check in hotel and free to shop or walk around. Grand farewell dinner and overnight in Samdrup Jongkhar. (Alt; 233m)
Day 18 : Departure
Transport will be arranged for your drop to Guwahati. Our representative will bid you farewell at the Indo-Bhutan Gate. Travel through the plains of Assam toward Guwahati Airport (India). Tashi Delek!