11Days/10Nights Eastai??i??West Traverse
Day 01. Arrival at Paro in Druk Air, Bhutan National Airline: The flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering the most beautiful scenery of the worldai??i??s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the Paro Dzong (Spiritual and temporal), the national museum and the Paro town. Your representative from Pristine Druk-Yul will welcome you at the airport and drive you through the fascinating valley of Paro to Thimphu, the capital. The distance from airport to Thimphu is 55kms and takes about 2 hours in car, along the Pachu river and Wangchu river and through paddy fields, orchards and farms. Overnight at Thimphu.
Day 02. Sightseeing of Thimphu valley: After breakfast, it is time for you to enjoy a full day sightseeing that includes visits to the: Memorial Chhorten(stupa), the most impressive stupa built in 1974 by the Grand Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden in the memory the Third King of Bhutan; National Library which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts, manuscripts and also modern academic books; Handicrafts Emporiums that displays wide range of beautifully woven fabrics for man & women, crafted products & other decorative items; Painting School, famous for traditional thanka paintings from where you can also buy if you like them; Institute of Traditional Medicine where rich herbal medicines abundant in the kingdom are prepared; Tashichhodzong, the fort that houses the Kingai??i??s Throne Room and other government offices. It is also the summer residence of Monk Body.
Day 03. Drive to Punakha, the winter residence of Monk Body: The drive passes through the Dochula pass at an altitude of 3050M. The pass offers the most spectacular view of the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day. Druk Wangyal Chhoeten (108 stupas) and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) enchant the Dochula pass with the spectacular view that they offer. The road then descends a long way to Punakha & Wangdue Phodrang through temperate forest of rhododendron & magnolia bloom in mid-March that lasts till May. Then you will enter into a semi-tropical zone where orange trees, banana trees and cactuses are found in abundance. After your lunch at the hotel in Punakha, visit the outskirt of Punakha Dzong situated in the confluence of two rivers. Entering inside the courtyard of the Dzong can be permitted only if the Chief Abbot has moved to his summer residence in Thimphu. Overnight at Punakha.
Day 04. Drive to Trongsa: The drive to Trongsa via Wangdue Phodrang is 145kms, about 6 hours in car. On the way, you will cross the Pilela Pass (alt. 3.300m). After the pass, the road descends gradually till you reach Trongsa. En-route, you will stop at Chendebji Chhoeten built in Nepalese style by Lama Sidha in the 18th century. The next halt is 16 kms away from Trongsa from where you can have a close and spectacular view of Trongsa Dzong. Overnight at Trongsa.
Day 05. Drive to Bumthang: Morning, visit the outskirt of Trongsa dzong, and the Kuengarabten nunnery and the dzong. After lunch, 3 hours drive to Bumthang, one of the most magnificent valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. 29kms away from Trongsa, you will cross Yotongla Pass (alt, 3,400m). Beyond the pass, the landscape looks different as dense conifer forest stretches far and wide. You will also cross a small pass before descending to the valley of Chamkhar. Overnight at Bumthang.
Day 06. Sightseeing at Bumthang: Bumthang is the general name given to a complex of 4 valleys viz: Chumey, Choekor, Tang & Ura with altitude variation from 2600m to 4000m. After breakfast, visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred temples in Bhutan. It is believed that in the mid 8th century, Guru Rimpoche meditated here for several days and left his body impression until his body on a rock. He also manifested into different forms and subdued Sheiling Karpo, the local deity of Bumthang valley and converted him into protector of Buddhism. On your return, visit Jambay Lhakhang built in the 7th century AD by King Songtsen Gompo of Tibet. It is one of the 108 temples built by him all over Nepal, Tibet & Bhutan. After lunch, visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa, the treasure discoverer. It contains interesting Buddhist paintings. Also visit Koncho Sum Lhakhang that is nearby. Overnight at Bumthang.
Day 07. Drive to Mongar: After early breakfast, 8 hours drive (196km) to Mongar in the eastern part of Bhutan. The road traverses Urala Pass and Thrumshingla pass (3,800m). It also passes through conifer forest with underbrush of rhododendron. The road descends till its lowest point at Kuri zam, the bridge over the Kurichu river. About 13km uphill drive from the bridge, the road branches. One goes north to Lhuntse district (65km) and the other continues for about 12 km to Mongar. Overnight at Mongar.
Day 08. Drive to Trashigang: After your breakfast, 3A? hours drive to Trashigang (96km). You will cross the Korila pass (alt. 2,450m), 18kms away from Mongar. After the pass, the first village that you come across is the village of Nagtshang. From here the road descends rapidly through cornfields and banana groves, and Yadi village. After about 20kms drive, the road reaches its lowest point at Sherichu river. From there, the road mostly follows Gamri River till a few kilometers before your arrival at Trashigang. Overnight at Trashigang.
Day 09. Sightseeing at Trashigang: Visit the Trashigang town and Trashigang dzong that stands at the extreme end of the spur, overlooking the Gamri river. The dzong was built in 1659 on orders from the Trongsa Penlop Minjur Tempa. It was named Trashigang, meaning ai???the fortress of the auspicious mountainai???. This site had probably been occupied, when the king of eastern Bhutan settled and built a small fort. If time permits, the visit of Chhoeten Kora (50km) can be made. Overnight at Trashigang.
Day 10. Drive to Shamdrupjongkhar: After breakfast, 7 hours drive to the border town of S/Jongkher (180km). The road most of the time traverses ridges, giving lovely glimpses of the surrounding countryside. It also passes through villages of Wamrong, Riserbo hospital, among several other villages. Overnight at S/Jongkhar.
Day 11. Drive to Gauwahati: After breakfast drive to Gauwahati, the capital town of Indian state of Assam, for flight to Delhi/Calcutta or onward tour program.