Amankora Thimphu External
Paro Drugyel Dzong
View of Paro Valley
Amankora Paro Bon Fire
There are five Amankora Lodges in Bhutan. The lodges are in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang. Recently domestic flight service has been started in Bhutan. This itinerary is designed taking the advantage of both the Amankora Lodges and the domestic flight service Bhutan. The itinerary covers the beautiful western Bhutan to the historical central Bhutan. This is an eleven days Bhutan tour itinerary enabling travelers to get pampered in all the Luxury Amankora lodges available in Bhutan. Besides the stays in Amankora, travelers traveling to Bhutan can also experience the domestic flight and different mystic aspects of our beautiful country.
Guests may also choose to accommodate themselves in other hotels or resorts as per their choice. The other options for Accommodations in 5* and 4* Luxury categories are as below:
Paro: Uma Resort/ Hotel Zhiwaling/ Le Meridien Paro, River Front/Naksel Boutique
Thimphu: Taj Tashi/ Le Meridien/ Termalinca Resort and spa
Punakha: Uma Resort/ Dhensa Boutique Resort/ RKPO Resort
Gangtey: Gangtey Lodge
DAY 1 – Arrive Paro
DAY 2 – Paro – Bumthang (by Flight)
DAY 3 – Bumthang
DAY 4 – Bumthang – Gangtey
DAY 5 – Gangtey
DAY 6 – Gangtey – Punakha
DAY 7 – Punakha – Thimphu
DAY 8 – Thimphu
DAY 9 – Thimphu – Paro
DAY 10 – Paro
DAY 11 – Departure
Altitude of Paro – 2280 m.
On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan.
On arrival, you will be received by your Bhutan tour guide from Find Bhutan with “Tashi khadar”, then drive to Amankora Paro and check in hotel.
After sometime, drive to Paro town for the sightseeing of the town. Also visit a temple in the town. This could be a good way to acclimatize yourself with Bhutan and its environment.
Dinner and overnight: Amankora Resort – Paro.
Altitude of Bumthang: 2650 m
After breakfast, take your morning flight to Bumthang. Enjoy the views during take-off and landing of the flight.
Check in Amankora – Bumthang. In the afternoon take a walk around the Wangdichholing Palace, built in 1857 by Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel. You can choose to walk through the suspension bridge joining Wangdichholing and Bathpalathang. The river, the farm, the Cheese and fruit processing factory and the settlement could be an interesting sight.
The Cheese and fruit processing factory in Bathpalathang, Bumthang was founded by Swiss and produces a variety of Cheese, butter, apple wine, Red panda beer, honey, etc. In the evening, explore the Chamkhar town.
Dinner and Overnight: Amankora Resort – Bumthang
Altitude of Bumthang: 2650 m.
After breakfast, drive through Bathpalathang and Tamshing Village to visit Tamshing Lhakhang, one of the oldest Monasteries in Bhutan.
Tamshing Lhakhang: Tamshing literally means the Temple of the good message. It was established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan.
After the visit to Lhakhang, take a short hike through villages crossing the Chamkhar Chhu (River) to visit the Kurjey, Jambay and Chakar Lhakhang on the other side of the river.
Kurjey Lhakhang: This temple was named after body print of Guru Rimpoche and is one of the most oldest and important temples in Bhutan.
Jambay Lhakhang: This Lhakhang was built by King Srongsen Gompo of Tibet. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here.
Chakar Lhakhang: Literally meaning the Iron Castle, the original palace was made of Iron and hence the name “Chakar”.
After lunch, visit the Jakar Dzong, literally meaning the Castle of White Bird. The current structure was built in 1667.
Then drive towards Membarstho, Literally meaning, “The burning Lake”. Drive back to Bumthang. In the evening, if time permits visit the Kharchu Dratshang.
Dinner and overnight: Amankora – Bumthang.
Driving Distance – 160 Km approx. | Driving time – 7 Hr. approx. | Altitude of Gangtey – 2900 m.
After breakfast, drive to Phobjikha/Gangtey. While in Chummey valley stop to visit the Yathra Factory. Interact with the weavers and you may opt to buy the most famous textile of Bumthang.
Yathra: It is the most famous textile product of Bumthang. The Chhumey Valley is known for the beautiful Yathra woven by the locals. Yathra is a hand woven fabric made from the wool of sheep or Yak. The Yathra cloth is made into scarves, jackets, table cloths, bags, etc. Most of the women in this valley, especially in Zungye village earn their lively hood by weaving Yathra.
Drive further to Gangtey. On the way you shall come across the beautiful villages and monuments including the Chendebji Chorten. Lunch on the way.
After reaching Pelela Pass, drive for some time and the take the turn towards Lawala Pass (3360 m), where you may encounter yaks in colder months. The slopes are covered with dwarf bamboo and looks beautiful when green. The road further descends to Gangtey village and Gangtey Goemba and towards the Phobjikha valley.
In the evening, explore the Phobjikha Valley. which is of immense beauty. It is one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the Himalayas and the winter roosting place of the endangered black necked crane.
Dinner and overnight: Amankora – Gangtey.
Altitude of Gangtey/Phobjikha: 2900 m.
You could opt to take a private walk in the morning before breakfast. It could be beautiful to see the mists hanging low and the waking up of the valley.
After breakfast, visit the Gangtey Goemba. This Monastery overlooks the large green expanse of the Phobjikha Valley. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation.
You may choose to do any of the following for the rest of the day:
- Visiting villages and interacting with People
- Hikes in the valley
- Photography, etc.
Dinner and overnight: Amankora – Gangtey.
Driving Distance – 78 Km approx. | Driving time – 3 Hr. approx. | Altitude of Punakha/Wangdue – 1310 m
After a leisure breakfast, drive to Punakha/Wangdue valley. On the way you shall come across different villages and monuments. Stop at places for photography and sightseeing.
Check in Amankora – Punakha.
After lunch take a short and easy hike through paddy fields and villages to visit the Chhimi Lhakhang. This temple is located on the way to Punakha. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Divine Madman.
Then, visit the impressive Punakha Dzong. This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu Rivers. The annual Punakha Tshechu (Festival) is held here. The monk body resides in this Dzong in winter.
In the evening, explore the Punakha and Wangdue town and valley.
Dinner and overnight: Amankora – Punakha.
Driving Distance – 76 km approx. |Driving time – 3 hr. | Altitude of Thimphu – 2350 m
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. After driving for some time, stop at Lamperi to visit the Royal Botanical Park.
Royal Botanical Park – The Park covers an area of 47 square kilometers and contains a rich biodiversity of flora & fauna. It features a huge species of plants and animals including endangered species such as Himalayan yew, native Rhododendron, Royal Bengal Tiger, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Blood pheasants and Himalayan Monal. You can also find Tetracentron (an ancient relict angiosperm with no vessel in its trunk) in the park. The park has 14.5 km of trails for eco trek for cycling and walking and one of the main attractions is the rhododendron garden including a picnic spot with children’s playground.
Drive further towards Thimphu till you reach Dochula Pass. The most known pass in Bhutan, about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang/Punakha. It is at around 3150 m height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. It has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed to bring multi fold merit to all sentient beings, which make the pass a must visit place.
After a good time in Dochula Pass, follow the road downhill till you see the Simtokha Dzong and then the Thimphu Valley.
Check in Amankora – Thimphu. Relax in the resort, enjoying it natural surroundings. In the evening explore the Thimphu town.
Dinner and overnight: Amankora – Thimphu.
Altitude of Thimphu – 2350 m.
After a leisure breakfast, your sightseeing for the day includes;
Sangaygang view point (2685 meters): You can have a very good view of whole Thimphu valley from this place. Walking through the hundreds of colorful prayer flags that dot the hill could be another good experience.
Takin Preserve Centre: Takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region.
Changangkha Monastery: This monastery is built on a hill overlooking the Thimphu valley. It was built in 15th Century by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo. Many parents of Thimphu take their new born babies to this monastery to be blessed by a high lama.
Folk Heritage Museum: Founded by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck the museum is one of a kind that portrays the lifestyle of a family in the Thimphu valley in the olden days. This is a three storied, 19th century traditional house giving an insight to the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. The museum contains typical Bhutanese household objects, tools and equipments.
After lunch sightseeing includes;
The Institute for Zorig Chusum: Zorig Chusum means the thirteen traditional arts and crafts. Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute.
The Institute of Traditional medicine: Medicines are prepared according to the Tradition practices in this institute. People are also treated here in traditional ways.
Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu Valley from the west. The place also consists for biking trail and has a picnic spot.
National Memorial Chhorten: This Chhorten was built in the honor of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chhorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style. This Chhorten is also a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu and contains many religious paintings and tantric statues. Lighting Butter lamps and circumambulating the chhorten can be a great experience and a good way to earn merits as per Buddhist beliefs.
A private traditional cultural show over the dinner.
Overnight: Amankora – Thimphu.
Driving Distance – 65 km approx. |Driving time – 1.5 to 2 hr. | Altitude of Paro – 2280 m.
After a leisure breakfast, drive to Paro. The drive on the well maintained roads take you through the villages of Namseling and Kasadrapchhu until you reach Chuzomsa, where the Paro River (Pa Chhu) meets the Thimphu River (Wangchhu). You shall see the three stupas built in Nepalese, Tibetan and Bhutanese styles. They were placed here for good luck and safe passage. Drive a little further and visit the Tamchog Lhakhang.
Tamchog Lhakhang; built in the 13th century by Thangthong Gyalpo also known as the Iron bridge builder. Situated on a hill top, we have to cross an ancient style bridge to reach the temple. It is owned by the descendants of Thangthong Gyalpo.
Drive further to Paro and Check in Amankora – Paro.
After lunch, visit the following;
Rinpung Dzong: Meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. The Dzong now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for around 200 monks of Paro and was built at the same time of Drukgyel Dzong. The famous Paro Tshechu (festival) is held here in spring.
Ta Dzong: It overlooks the Rinpung Dzong and was built in 1951 as a watch tower. This Dzong is Round, more like parts of a European castle. The Dzong was established as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967 and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangka, etc.
In the evening, witness an Archery Match (if going on) or experience a private Khuru (Traditional Bhutanese sport) or archery. And also, explore the Paro town for shopping souvenirs.
Dinner and overnight: Amankora – Paro.
Altitude of Paro – 2280 m.
After breakfast, start your day with a hike to the abode of gods and monks, the Taktshang Monastery. It shall be taken care of that the time shall be yours for the hike, no hurries and no worries. Reaching the top shall be worth the climb; the touch of the Himalayan breeze, the views of the valley below and temple on the rocky cliff shall be fascinating and shall let you feel the real freedom of mind and happiness.
Taktshang Monastery: The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rinpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer Rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress which gives its name “Taktshang” meaning Tiger’s nest. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.
Picnic Lunch among the woods shall be another great experience. After lunch, visit the Kyichhu Lhakhang.
Kyichhu Lhakhang: This temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo miraculously built 108 temples to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya in the 7th century. Kyichhu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.
Then we have a special program for you to feel the pure Bhutanese hospitality. Drive to a village house. You shall be served with the local Bhutanese alcohol (Arra) and shall have the opportunity to understand and experience the life in a village in Bhutan. Right from the daily household chores to other works in the field. Also relax in traditional hot stone bath (optional)
Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.
You may choose to have your dinner with the family.
Overnight: Amankora – Paro
After breakfast, a small Bhutanese ritual shall be held by a monk for a safe journey home wards.
Drive to airport and farewell.