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This 14 night journey explores Bhutan from west to east, traversing the entire kingdom and exiting by land to India, where the trip ends at the Guwahati airport. The recently opened (to tourists) and little visited eastern part of Bhutan holds many pleasant surprises, its varied cultures, terrain, and sights providing contrast to what most visitors experience. Bhutanese textiles are world renowned, and most all of them are woven in eastern Bhutan, we pass many villages where every house has a loom and we’ll meet many of the weavers and have the opportunity to purchase their wares. If getting off the beaten path in a country already off the beaten path appeals to you, consider joining this journey to Bhutan.

Arrive Paro and check into Paro Hotel. Enjoy your first Bhutanese meal in restaurant in downtown Paro. Afternoon visit to the Paro Museum and Paro Dzong, the fortress and monastery built in the mid 17th century. Kichu temple, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples. Overnight at Paro hotel.

After we drive for half an hour we take a morning hike up to the Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger Nest’. The most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries is perched on the side of a cliff (900m) above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress, and meditated at this place, hence the monastery is called ‘Tiger nest’. This site, which has long be recognized as a most sacred place, was visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646.It is a place of pilgrimage which Bhutanese try to visit at last once in a lifetime. The Journey is most worthwhile on account of the superb views en route and especially from the cafeteria view point itself. Afternoon exploration of the beautiful Paro Valley. Overnight at Paro Hotel.

After breakfast we depart for Thimpu, capital of Bhutan. In the afternoon we’ll visit the School of Traditional Arts and paper making factory. Overnight at Thimphu Hotel.

Day 4
Two hour morning hike to Wangdi-tshe monastery. Built in 1750, it has an impressive altar room, with enormous gold covered sculptures of Buddha. Afternoon visit to the National Textile Museum and National Memorial Chorten. Overnight at Thimphu Hotel.

Depart Thimpu and drive east, over
Wangdi-tshe monastery

We spend the morning exploring the Punakha Dzong, considered to be the most beautiful of all Bhutan’s dzongs. Afternoon hike to Chimi Lhakhang monastery, built in 1499 to commemorate Lama Drukpa Kinley’s subjugation of the demoness. It is also revered as a temple of fertility and a blessing ceremony with a giant phallus is performed for those who request this. Overnight at Punakha Hotel.

After breakfast we visit the nearby Wangdue Dzong, then drive east, through the densely forested and mostly uninhabited Black Mountains. We cross Pele La Pass, at 10,830 feet, considered the traditional boundary between eastern and western Bhutan. At this altitude the scenery is dwarf bamboo, herds of yak, and snow covered peaks. We continue to Trongsa, where we spend the night at the Trongsa hotel.

A morning hike takes us from lookout point to valley bottom through dense forest, and then uphill and into the dzong. This centuries old footpath is how people traveled across Bhutan before the construction of roads in the 1960’s. Afternoon to relax or explore Trongsa town, small yet interesting and very friendly. Overnight at Trongsa.

In the morning we visit the Trongsa museum, recently built in the old watch tower overlooking the Dzong, and acknowledged to be Bhutan’s finest museum. Then we make the beautiful drive to the town of Jakar in the Bumthang valley. This area in considered the cultural heartland of Bhutan, and has many historical sights. Overnight at Bumthang.

DAY 10
Today’s drive is one of the most beautiful and impressive in all Bhutan through mountains and valleys. Departing Jakar we ascend to Bhutan’s highest pass, Thrumshing La at 11,250’ and then begin out descent. Along the way we pass through numerous climate zones, as we transition from pine tree forests to tropical forests with the vegetation changing every few minutes. Late afternoon arrival in the town of Mongar, where we overnight in the Mongar Hotel.

DAY 11
Early departure from Mongar for day visit to Lhuentse, site of the most picturesque of all the dzongs. En route we pass tiny scenic villages where weaving is the main occupation of all women, and impressive forest and mountains. In Lhuentse we will have picnic lunch, then return to Mongar. Overnight at Mongar Hotel.

DAY 12
We continue to travel east from Mongar, to arrive in Trashigang, the principal town in eastern Bhutan, seldom visited by foreigners. A 30 minute drive from Trashigang is the very picturesque village of Rangung, known for textiles and the new Rangung Choeling Monastery. Overnight in Trashigang..

DAY 13
Morning excursion to Trashi Yangste, en route we visit the very picturesque Gom Kora monastery. While still in mountainous terrain, the lower altitude nourishes a lush subtropical forest. Overnight in Trashigang.

DAY 14
A 6 hour drive to the southeast carries us out of the mountains and onto the plains. More dramatic changes in scenery occur along this route. We spend the night at the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar for overnight stay.

DAY 15
Morning departure, pass through Bhutanese and Indian immigration, followed by 3 hour drive to airport in Guwahati, India and to onward destinations.

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