Travel Diaries

5th May 2018

Bhutan City of thunder dragons

Photo of Travel Diaries by Anvitha G Bellamane
Day 7




Bhutan is a landscape of fluttering flags and majestic monasteries. It is also famous for its essentially undisturbed ecology and traditional ways of life. The serene atmosphere is a perfect setting for adventures and exploration. Your Bhutanese holiday would commence with your arrival in Paro. Be greeted by a MakeMyTrip representative at the Airport; he/she will brief you about the tour, itinerary, inclusions as well as cultural practices of Bhutan, including some do’s and don’ts. Head to Thimphu later on a shared basis in a bus/coach (seat-in-coach), as the scenic drive treats you with views of mesmerizing mountains and flowing rivers. The distance between Paro and Thimphu is 70 km and would be covered in approximately 1.5 hours.

On reaching Thimphu, check-in at the hotel, and spend the rest of the day at leisure. You could book a relaxing massage (at an additional cost) at any premium hotel. This relaxing massage would include transfers from and to the hotel on a private vehicle. This is only a suggested activity and is not included in the package. You could purchase this activity at the time of booking this package.

In the evening, enjoy a delicious dinner at your hotel.

After breakfast, get picked up from the hotel tentatively at 8.30 am for local sightseeing on a shared basis in a bus/coach (seat in coach). Visit the Simtokha Dzong - a monastery built in 1627 that today houses the Institute for Language and Cultural Studies. Then proceed to the Memorial Chorten (entry fee not included) - the most visible religious structure in Thimphu and the Buddha View Point. The view of the valley at this point is as magnificent as the statue of Lord Buddha that resides on the premises. You could grab lunch here (own expense) at one of the local eateries and sample the local delicacies of Bhutan.

Later proceed to the Takin Mini Zoo, home to Takin - the national animal of Bhutan that looks like a cross between a cow and a goat. Legend has it that it was created by the great Buddhist yogi Drupa Kunley. The animal is indigenous to Bhutan and its surrounding regions. Then head to the prominent Tashichho Dzong, a strikingly large structure amidst manicured lawns and beautiful gardens, featuring the throne room, offices of the secretariat and the King.

After exploring Thimphu, return to the hotel for a delicious dinner and stay.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast and then, tentatively at 8.30 am, set out for local sightseeing on a shared basis in a bus/coach (seat in coach). Visit the Arts & Craft School - the Institute for Zorig Chusum or the Painting School - where students are taught and trained in the 13 traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts. Then, see the extensive collection of Buddhist manuscripts at the National Library; followed by a visit to the Textile Museum to learn about the national art of weaving. Here, you will see exhibits on major weaving techniques, styles of local dresses and textiles made by women and men. You can enjoy lunch (own expense) at one of the local eateries and sample local delicacies of Bhutan. You could ask the guide for recommendation on restaurants in Thimphu.

Sightseeing continues after lunch with a trip to the Handicraft Emporium where an extensive range of colorful, hand woven textiles and other craft products will be available for purchase.

After being dropped to the hotel in the evening, relish dinner and a comfortable stay.

(In case day 3 of your tour is a Tuesday or Wednesday, you could visit the Craft Bazaar - a bazaar marked by a spectacle of traditional bamboo huts, showcasing a wide range of authentic Bhutan-made art and craft products.)

After breakfast, head to Punakha, that is approximately 75 kms from Thimphu. The transfer would be on a shared basis in a bus/coach (seat-in-coach) and tentative pick-up time would be 8.30 am. En route, you would make stops for some sightseeing. The first stop would be Dochula view point. The Dochula pass is 45-minutes from Thimphu and is perched at 3100 m, offering a glimpse of the Himalayan range. Coming closer to Punakha valley, you would stop at Chimi Lhakhang or the Fertility Temple. This sacred temple was made in honour of Lama Drukpa Kunley. Childless women go to the temple to receive a blessing or empowerment from the saint. It is a 20-minutes long pleasant walk from road at Sopsokha to the temple. You will also cross an archery ground along the way.

Then, make your way to the Punakha Dzong. Standing majestically on an island between the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers, it is one of the most photogenic of all of Bhutan's ancient fortresses. The dzong joins the mainland by an arched wooden bridge and houses many precious relics from the days when successive kings reined the kingdom from this valley.

Enjoy dinner and a comfortable overnight stay at the hotel in Punakha to end the day.

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, head off to Paro - the gateway to the Himalayan Kingdom. The journey to Paro will be on a shared basis in a bus/coach (seat in coach) and will take about 5 hours to cover the distance of 150 kms.

Upon reaching, you can enjoy a local lunch (own expense) and then spend the rest of the day at leisure. Later, You will visit the popular attractions of Paro such as the National Museum of Paro that displays antique items gathered from different parts of the country in a revamped Ta-dzong building. Another interesting site would be the Kyichu Lhakhang. It is believed that this temple was built in 659 to subdue a demoness residing in the Himalayas.

After marveling at the beautiful attractions of Paro, make your way to a Brewery (*valid only for customers booked on the Deluxe, Premium and Luxury categories). Discover the heritage of the locally produced beer and browse the many selections provided. And also get a chance to taste some of the local varieties and relish some snacks (limited).

Customers booked on a standard category package would head to a local market for lunch (own expense), and later explore the market for purchasing holiday souvenirs. Please note, an excursion to the Beer Factory can be availed at an additional cost at the time of booking the package or any time before travelling by customers booked on a standard category package. Please note that limited snacks and beer will be served.

In the evening, return to the hotel for a warm and comforting dinner before you retire for the night.

Note: Excursion to Beer Factory can be availed only by tourists above 25 years of age.

Get set to explore Paro after a delicious breakfast at the hotel; start from the hotel at about 8.30 am on a shared basis in a coach (seat-in-coach) to visit the famous Tiger’s nest temple (entry fee not included), also known as the Temple or Taksang Monastery. One of the most famous Bhutanese monasteries, it is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at the monastery. Perched precariously on the edge of a 1200 m cliff, this monastery is an impressive sight and the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. Do note that the up-hill hike would take around 2 hours, so it is recommended you wear comfortable walking shoes and carry light refreshments with water. An option to ride a horse from the parking lot to the monastery is also available. Alternately, you could also hike for about an hour to reach a cafeteria - a wooden tea-house restaurant which offers a good view of the monastery.

After that thrilling excursion, make your way to a local farmhouse to get a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a typical Bhutanese family. Here, you could take part in Bhutan’s national sport - archery. Deck-up in Bhutan's national dress (gho and kira) to click pictures and also gulp down Ara, a local beverage made of rice.

At the end of the tour, treat your taste buds to a mouthwatering buffet lunch, accompanied by a beverage. Drool over local flavorsome cuisines while taking in the aroma of curries, marked by a blend of spices. Gulp down the scrumptious food with a refreshing beverage.

In the evening, you would be dropped at the hotel, with dinner and a comfortable overnight stay to end the day.

After breakfast, you would check out from the hotel and head to the airport, on a seat-in-coach basis to board your return flight. Head back to India with memories galore and an increase in your personal happiness index.

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