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Eastern Bhutan Tour

The Eastern Bhutan trip can offer you austere and often difficult conditions but it is worth every pain. Discover a very unique Bhutan from the west and the central regions. Easterners or Sharchops in our local language are very friendly, inviting and will entice you to come again and again. Unlike in the western and central Bhutan, you will find very few open valleys, most of the valleys here are perched along steep, deforested slopes. However, the sudden plunge in altitude and vegetation as you go from central to eastern Bhutan is simply incredible.

Detailed Itinerary

Day One (Paro): You are expected to arrive at Paro through the only flight to Bhutan, Druk Air. We assure you a unique travelling experience across Himalayan Mountains, including the sacred Jhumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan.

On arrival you will be greeted by a tour executive from Bhutan Vajra Adventures and will check you into your Hotel.

In the afternoon visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum of Bhutan which is one of the best natural history museums in Asia. Ta Dzong offers a unique and varied collections ranging from ancient armor to textiles, Thangkha paintings and natural life. A visit takes a good hour or more.

After the museum, unless you are tired, walk straight down the trail to visit Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) as there are good views over the Dzong and you can clearly see its structures and layout. In the evening, unless unfit or it is raining, take a stroll around Paro town which is unique in its own way.

Day Two (Paro): In the morning drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, the Dzong of the Victorious Drukpas built in 1650s to commemorate a victory over the Tibetan armies and to guard the Paro valley against further aggressions.

After that we will hike to the Tigers Nest (Taktshang) with lunch at the Taktshang Cafeteria. It is one of the most sacred places in Bhutan perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley. On the way back to Paro town visit Kyichu Lhakhang, built by Songstengampo, the first Buddhist King of Tibet who according to legend have established the temple on the left knee of an ogress in order to subdue her.

Day Three (Thimphu): After breakfast drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan. It is an interesting 45 minutes drive with interesting sites on the way. En route visit the splendid Simtokha Dzong which is the oldest dzong of Bhutan. You can spend the rest of the day buying stamps in the Post office (if it is a weekday), visiting Indigenous Hospital, National Library, Painting School, and Textile Museum followed by an evening stroll around Thimphu town to see perfect blend of modernization with age old tradition.

Day Four (Thimphu): Today you will drive to Dodena and hike to Tango Monastery, the university for Buddhist studies. This monastery is the first of its kind in Bhutan to offer master level Buddhist studies for the monks. Depending on the day either visit the farmers market towards the afternoon or continue with other sightseeing as per your interest.

Day Five (Punakha): Morning after your final shopping, if any from Thimphu proceed to Punakha across Dochula pass which on a clear day offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas. Arrive Punakha and check into the hotel. Visit to Punakha Dzong, built by Shabdrung Ngawang, Namgyal in 17th century and have served as the capital of Bhutan until 1961. It is a beautiful valley located between the Pho-chu and Mo-Chu river. It is exactly where the First king of Bhutan was crowned in 1907 and the Royal Wedding of the 5th King of Bhutan celebrated in 2011.

In the afternoon visit Chhime Lhakhang popularly known as the fertility monastery.

Day Six (Trongsa): Morning, explore the valley of Black Neck Cranes and later drive to Trongsa across Pelela pass (3,300m). This pass is traditionally considered as the boundary between western and central Bhutan. Further ahead stop at Chendbji Chorten, built in 18th century in Nepalese style. The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and for miles on end the dzong seems to tease you with “so near yet so far”.

Day Seven (Bumthang): Morning visit to Trongsa Dzong, situated at the altitude of 2,200m and built in 1647 by the Shabdrung, it is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Then visit the Ta Dzong, standing which was built to guard Trongsa valley. After lunch proceed to Bumthang, the most flat and beautiful valley in the region. It is the heartland of Buddhism because it is believed that Buddhism first came to Bhutan through here. The sudden variation in ecological, bio-diversity, and landscape from Trongsa to Bumthang is simply surreal.

Day Eight (Bumthang): Bumthang is often referred to as mini Switzerland of Bhutan owing to its flat pine valleys. Visit to Kurje Lhakhang, which is one of the most sacred places in Bhutan as Guru Rinpoche meditated here. From Kurje monastery; a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to the Jambey Lhakhang. Like Kyichu Lhakhang in the Paro valley, this temple is said to be the first that King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet constructed in 7th century. Afternoon visit to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist paintings. Later visit Mebartsho (burning lake) where Terton Pema Lingpa discovered treasurers hidden by Guru Rinpoche. In the evening take a stroll through Bumthang market area.

Day Nine (Mongar): The journey with spectacular views will take about 7 hours. Pass through Ura village in Bumthang before climbing sharply to the highest motorable pass in the Kingdom, the Thrumshingla pass — 4000m. Gradually drop down to Sengor, watching cascading waterfalls on the way. The descent stops at 700m on a bridge over the Kurichu. Ascent again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets to Mongar town. Visit Mongar Dzong; built albeit quite recently, the dzong still maintains the architectural traditions of old dzongs.

Day Ten (Trashigang): This trip of about 96 kms takes 3 hours passing through Kori la pass (2,450m), the place marked by a pretty chorten and a stonewall. The first part of journey is through leafy forest filled with ferns. Later road descends rapidly through cornfields and banana groves arriving the famous zigzags of Yadi, which is a recent settlement. After that follows the Gamri River until the bifurcation to Dametsi, this temple perched on top of steep hill was founded by Choeten Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. This is the place from where the famous Dramitse Nga Chham, masks dance with drums originated. About 30km onwards lays Tashigang at 1000m. Trashigang is the centre of the biggest and most populated district in the country. Visit Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of the spur, overhanging the Gamri River.

Day Eleven (Trashiyangtse): From Trashigang drive around 24 kms and visit the temple of Gomphu Kora, set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river. Gom Kora is a famous place where Guru Rinpoche subdued a demon. Further ahead reach to Doksum village where you can see women busy in weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric and a chain bridge dating of the 15th century. 

Visit to Trashiyangtse Dzong, situated at the alt. of 1,850 m. In former times Trashiyangtse was important centre because it lies on one of the caraven routes leading from western and central Bhutan.The dzong is new and nearby the Art school and the famous chorten Kora. In the evening return to Trashigang.

Day Twelve (Samdrup Jongkhar): Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar journey takes about 6 hours. Along the way, pass by Sherubtse College, the only college in country founded in 1978. 
Also visit the Zangtho Pelri temple built in 1978 by the late Minister of Home Affairs. It represents Guru Rinpoche’s paradise. Driving ahead, reach Khaling to visit the Blind School and Weaving Centre. Deothang, 80 kms from Khaling is the centre of Technical training college and road maintenance head quarters for the east. From here the road descends fairly rapidly to the plain through a dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns.

Day Thirteen: Depart from Samdrup Jongkhar.

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