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Holiday Overview

Rinpung Dzong - Photo Courtesy Cfynn
Drugyel Dzong Photo Courtesy Pradyot
Jakar Dzong
Kurje Lhakhang (Photo Courtesy: Wikifrits)
Punakha Dzong - Photo Courtesy Lohen11
Chimi Lhakhang (Photo Courtesy: amanderson2)
The National Memorial Chorten (Nivalink Trip Dated - 26 March 2008)
Tashichho Dzong Monastery (Photo Courtesy: Christopher J. Fynn)
Tashichho Dzong (Photo Courtesy: Christopher J. Fynn)
Inside of Tashichho Dzong
Full view of Dochula Pass (Photo Courtesy: Nvvchar)
Dachula Pass with Druk Wangyal Chortens (Photo Courtesy: Nvvchar)
Dachula Pass with 108 Stupas (Photo Courtesy: Nvvchar)

Bhutan is a mix of cultural heritage along with western influences. Paro offers a riverside destination, Thimphu being a capital and heritage area and further interiors offer ultimate cultural and remote Himalaya experience

Route

Phuntsholing(1) - Thimphu(1) - Punakha(1) - Bumthang(2) - Punakha(1) - Paro(2) - Phuntsholing(1)

Summarised Itinerary
  • Day-1 Arrive at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport and Transfer to Phuntsholing
  • Day-2 Phuntsholing – Thimphu
  • Day-3 Thimphu Sightseeing – Punakha / Wangdue
  • Day-4 Punakha – Bumthang
  • Day-5 Bumthang Sightseeing
  • Day-6 Bumthang – Punakha / Wangdue
  • Day-7 Punakha / Wangdue Sightseeing – Paro
  • Day-8 Paro Sightseeing
  • Day-9 Paro – Phuntsholing
  • Day-10 Departure
Sightseeing Summary

Bumthang - Jakar Dzong (1.00 kms), Kurje Lhakhang (1.50 kms), Tamshing Lhakhang (1.50 kms), Jambey Lhakhang (2.00 kms), Chankhar Lhakhang in Bumthang (10.00 kms), Trongsa (70.00 kms)

Paro - Ta Dzong - National Museum (1.00 kms), Rinpung Dzong (1.60 kms), Kyichu Temple (5.00 kms), Drugyel Dzong (17.00 kms), The National Memorial Chorten (50.00 kms), Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu (55.00 kms)

Punakha - Punakha Dzong (1.00 kms), Chimi Lhakhang in Punakha (30.00 kms)

Thimphu - National Folk Heritage Museum (0.50 kms), Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu (4.50 kms), The National Memorial Chorten (5.00 kms), Dochu La Pass Thimphu (23.00 kms), Chimi Lhakhang in Punakha (65.00 kms), Punakha Dzong (73.00 kms)

Preferred Arrival /Departure Destination
Arrival - Bagdogra Departure - Bagdogra
Best Season to Travel
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Distances
  • Bagdogra to Phuntsholing -156 kms (4 hrs)
  • Phuntsholing to Thimphu -150 kms (3 hrs)
  • Thimphu to Punakha -80 kms (3 hrs)
  • Punakha to Bumthang -223 kms (7 hrs)
  • Bumthang to Punakha -223 kms (7 hrs)
  • Punakha to Paro -145 kms (4 hrs)
  • Paro to Phuntsholing -150 kms (3 hrs)
  • Phuntsholing to Bagdogra -156 kms (4 hrs)
Route

Bagdogra - Phuntsholing(1) - Thimphu(1) - Punakha(1) - Bumthang(2) - Punakha(1) - Paro(2) - Phuntsholing(1) - Bagdogra

Detailed Itinerary

Day-1 Arrive at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport and Transfer to Phuntsholing Arrive at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport and Transfer to Phuntsholing - usually a transit point to clear immigration and obtaining permits.

Day-2 Phuntsholing – Thimphu  Leave for Thimphu (7,710 ft.) the capital city of Bhutan after completion of formalities. In the evening, visit the Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion).

Day-3 Thimphu Sightseeing – Punakha / Wangdue  Visit Kuensel Phodrang (Gigantic Buddha Statue) - visitors get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point, King's Memorial Chorten (Monument) & Folk Heritage Museum. Transfer to Punakha / Wangdue Phodrang (4,300 ft.), via Dochu-La-Pass (10,170 ft.)

Day-4 Punakha – Bumthang  Drive to Trongsa across Pele-La-Pass (11.120 ft.) traditional boundary between east & west Bhutan. Stop Enroute Chendbji Chorten - built in the style of the great Bodhanath Choten of Nepal. Further ahead visit Trongsa Dzong – It was the seat of power over central & eastern Bhutan and Ta Dzong - An ancient watch tower. Then drive further to Bumthang over the Yutong-La-Pass (11,155 ft.). While in Chumey valley in Bumthang, visit the Yathra Weaving Factory - It is the most famous textile product of Bumthang.

Day-5 Bumthang Sightseeing  Visit Jakar Dzong: Literally meaning the Castle of White Bird. The current structure was built in 1667. Lamey Goemba: A large palace and monastery built in 18th century by Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi Jambay Lhakhang: built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. Chakhar Lhakhang: Literally meaning the Iron Castle, the original palace was made of Iron and hence the name “Chakhar”. Kurjey Lhakhang: Named after body print of Guru Rimpoche. In afternoon, visit Tamshing Lhakhang: Literally meaning the Temple of the good message. Membarstho: Literally meaning, “The burning Lake”. The evening ends visit a local handloom weaving house and Interact with the weavers.

Day-6 Bumthang – Punakha / Wangdue  After breakfast drive to Punakha and reach by late afternoon.

Day-7 Punakha / Wangdue Sightseeing – Paro  Visit the Punakha Dzong – for many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. Visit the Chhimi Lhakhang - The Temple, also known as “The Temple of Fertility” was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Later drive to Paro.

Day-8 Paro Sightseeing Full day sightseeing covering Ta Dzong - National Museum with an excellent collection of Bhutanese antiquities and Rinpung Dzong - the administrative seat of the district of Paro. Visit Drukgyel Dzong & Kyichu Lhakhang - one of the oldest Buddist temples in Bhutan.

Day-9 Paro – Phuntsholing  Check out from hotel and transfer to Phuntsholing.

Day-10 Departure Take the departure transfer to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport for your onward journey.

Detailed Sightseeing

Bumthang :

  • Jakar Dzong - Founded by great grand-father of the first Shabdrung, the Dzong was initially built as a monastery in 1549. It was upgraded after the Shabdrung had firmly established his power in 1646. The Dzong is now used as administrative centre for Bumthang valley, and houses the regional monk body.

  • Kurje Lhakhang - Situated before Jambey Lhakhang, Kurje Lhakhang consists of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 on the rack face where Guru meditated in the 8th century. Second temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of Guru's body and is therefore considered the most holy. The third temple was built in 1990s by Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother. These three temples are surrounded by a 108 chorten wall.

  • Tamshing Lhakhang - Monastery located opposite Kurje Lhakhang on the other side of the river, this temple was founded in 1501

  • Jambey Lhakhang - A monastery that was built in the 7th century by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. It is one of the 108 monasteries built by him to subdue evil spirits n the Himalayan region. Its present architectural appearance dates from the early 20th century

  • Chankhar Lhakhang in Bumthang - Chankhar Lhakhang is the site of the palace of the Indian King Sindhu Raja. The name Chankhar meant iron castle as it was originally built from iron.

  • Trongsa - Trongsa visited enroute travelling to Bumthang. Places to visit here include Chendbji Chorten (patterned on Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu), Trongsa Dzong and Ta Dzong (watch tower)

Paro :

  • Ta Dzong - National Museum - Ta Dzong is a circular fortress that once protected this valley from the Tibetan invasion. It is now the National Museum with an excellent collection of Bhutanese antiquities.

  • Rinpung Dzong - Rinpung Dzong is a impressive structure built in 1646 and is the administrative seat containing a monastic community of about 200 members.

  • Kyichu Temple - Kyichu temple, ten minutes drive from Paro and is one of the oldest temples in the country dating as far back as the 7th century. H

  • Drugyel Dzong - Drugyel Dzong was built in 1647 and offers stunning views of the Mount Jumolhari (7314 meters or 24000 ft) on a clear day.

  • The National Memorial Chorten - The National Memorial Chorten is a stupa where locals do their evening prayers. The stupa was built in 1974 in memory of the third king.

  • Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu - Tashichho Dzong also known as the 'Fortress of the religious' is a Buddhist monastery and fortress on the edge of the city of Thimphu and lies on the western bank of Wang Chu River. Tashichho Dzong has traditionally been the seat of the Dharma Raja and now houses the government since 1952 and the central monk body.

Punakha :

  • Punakha Dzong - Punakha Dzong is a prominent landmark of Punakha and offers views of the riverside. The Dzong houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Kagyu school including the Rangjung Kasarpani, and the sacred remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Terton Padma Lingpa.

  • Chimi Lhakhang in Punakha - Chimi Lhakhang is a Buddhist monastery in Punakha built in 1499 by the 14th Drupka hierarch, after being blessed by “Divine Madman” saint Drupka Kunley.

Thimphu :

  • National Folk Heritage Museum - The National Folk Heritage Museum showcases rural life. Exhibits and cultural shows are held in the museum compound. Open: Mon-Fri 10:30 AM to 4:30PM Sat 10:30 AM to 1 PM Sun 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM

  • Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu - Tashichho Dzong also known as the 'Fortress of the religious' is a Buddhist monastery and fortress on the edge of the city of Thimphu and lies on the western bank of Wang Chu River. Tashichho Dzong has traditionally been the seat of the Dharma Raja and now houses the government since 1952 and the central monk body.

  • The National Memorial Chorten - The National Memorial Chorten is a stupa where locals do their evening prayers. The stupa was built in 1974 in memory of the third king.

  • Dochu La Pass Thimphu - Dochu La Pass is at an elevation of 10334 ft and is located on the way to Punakha from Thimpu with an overlooking view of the snow covered Himalayas. Over here, 108 memorial chortens / stupas known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” have been built in memory of the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed in 2003 war. On a clear day, one can see the Eastern Himalayas with 7 mountain peaks including Gangkar Punsum (Bhutan's highest peak).

  • Chimi Lhakhang in Punakha - Chimi Lhakhang is a Buddhist monastery in Punakha built in 1499 by the 14th Drupka hierarch, after being blessed by “Divine Madman” saint Drupka Kunley.

  • Punakha Dzong - Punakha Dzong is a prominent landmark of Punakha and offers views of the riverside. The Dzong houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Kagyu school including the Rangjung Kasarpani, and the sacred remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Terton Padma Lingpa.

Destination Overview

Bagdogra - Bagdogra is visited for being a base point near Siliguri having an Airport from where guests access West Bengal Hills (Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Chalsa, Dooars etc.) and Sikkim (Gangtok, Pelling, North Sikkim etc).

Phuntsholing - Phuntsholing is the border town while entering Bhutan from India. It is about 180 km from Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan

Thimphu - Thimphu is capital city of Bhutan and one of the most visited destinations of Bhutan. Thimphu is a city offering an old world charm of a Himalayan Kingdom alongwith Monasteries, museums and a distinct heritage character.

Punakha - Punakha Valley is a riverside town and rice bowl of Bhutan and is renowned for the countryside character it offers.

Bumthang - Bumthang is a remote area in Bhutan consists of the four mountain valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor ("Bumthang") and visited for off-beat character and known for its rural countryside experience.

Paro - The beautiful Paro valley provides a visitor with all the essential elements of Bhutan in general. Ancient temples, massive forts, monasteries, picturesque villages, scenic hikes, and drives. Zhiwa Ling is in close proximity to the many attractions the Paro valley has to offer

Access
Prefered Arrival : No ImageBagdogra
Prefered Departure : No ImageBagdograNo ImageSiliguri(14kms), Kurseong(38kms), Darjeeling(66kms)
Distances
  • Bagdogra to Phuntsholing -156 kms (4 hrs)
  • Phuntsholing to Thimphu -150 kms (3 hrs)
  • Thimphu to Punakha -80 kms (3 hrs)
  • Punakha to Bumthang -223 kms (7 hrs)
  • Bumthang to Punakha -223 kms (7 hrs)
  • Punakha to Paro -145 kms (4 hrs)
  • Paro to Phuntsholing -150 kms (3 hrs)
  • Phuntsholing to Bagdogra -156 kms (4 hrs)

Ready Cost estimate for this itinerary is not available.

However Nivalink would be able to readily offer a cost estimate or customise the itinerary as per specific requirements.

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Travel Ideas incorporated in the itinerary

Lines indicate the best available driving routes.
Arrows indicate connectivity other than Road (e.g. Waterways or Air).
Please click on the markers for more detailed Information.

Distances
  • Bagdogra to Phuntsholing -156 kms (4 hrs)
  • Phuntsholing to Thimphu -150 kms (3 hrs)
  • Thimphu to Punakha -80 kms (3 hrs)
  • Punakha to Bumthang -223 kms (7 hrs)
  • Bumthang to Punakha -223 kms (7 hrs)
  • Punakha to Paro -145 kms (4 hrs)
  • Paro to Phuntsholing -150 kms (3 hrs)
  • Phuntsholing to Bagdogra -156 kms (4 hrs)

Expert Connect

Nivalink has taken over 300 trips across India and select destinations overseas over last 10 years to verify hotels, evaluate destinations and understand its suitability with different profiles of customers across different seasons.

At Nivalink you are able to connect directly with experts who have travelled to these destinations and are able to offer novel ideas, honest perspectives and help you narrow down choices.

Email to expert@nivalink.co.in to connect with sector expert for specific ideas and recommendations.

All Holidays /West Bengal - Bhutan/ Holidays for West Bengal - Bhutan/Bhutan – The Kingdom of Happiness