The Last Shangrila, the only county which follows Buddhism. It has sincerely preserved its culture, heritage. There is almost zero influence of outside world, neighboring countries, western culture so to say. It wouldn’t be wrong to call this country as a Third World.
We celebrated our 7th anniversary in this magnificent country. It was a 4N 5D travel package and after lot of research finalized our itinerary as follows based on the kind of things we wanted to do. We kept our itinerary simple so that we can both relax and do sightseeing, otherwise one ends up getting exhausted after including lot of things
Day 1 – We witnesses Himalayan range as we were about to land Bhutan. The view of Himalayas from the plane is so mesmerizing. Post immigration at Paro airport we proceeded to Thimpu. On the way we took 2 stops to witness Iron Bridge, Chuzom – which is a confluence of Paro and Thimpu river and 3 Stupas – Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese.
Day 2 – We started at around 10.00AM. We first went to Dochu La which is a mountain pass. One can view the eastern Himalaya from this pass. It is a pass to reach Punaka valley. There 108 stupas were built by the queen in the memory of deceased soldiers. It was very beautiful. Post our lunch we went to Kuensel Phodrang, which is Worlds largest sitting Buddha Statue. It is one of the most spectacular place I have ever been to, simply mesmerizing. It is a photographer’s paradise – one could see entire Thimpu valley, a beautiful tall statue. The Buddha temple was equally beautiful from inside as from outside. One cannot miss this spot. I could have spent hours sitting there, this place was that beautiful. But due to short of time had to leave. Then we visited Kings Memorial Chorten/BBS Tower followed by Simply Bhutan – showcases Bhutan culture and Trashichhodzong – fortress.
There are 18 Dzong/fortress. There is one dzong in every district and all the fortress are identical. It was built by the king with the belief that it will unite and bring peace in all 18 district.
All the Dzongs are ancient fortress but now serve as a civil and monastic administration headquarter for each district. One really feel peaceful while visiting these Dzongs.
Day 3 – Taktsang Monastery, popularly known as Tiger Nest. A very beautiful place. It takes 3-4 hours to see this place if one has good stamina and walking pace as it is located at the cliff side of Upper Paro valley. After halfway there are approx. 600 steps to cross. Till halfway phony is available to climb but one has to come back on foots as phonies don’t bring you back. There is café in the mid way where one can have snacks/lunch/tea//coffee..etc. From this point one has to climb/walk on foot. Earlier we were little concerned whether we should go to this place or not as we had a 1 yr old kid with us, but then we decided to go as this place is a must visit place if one is going to Bhutan. The view is very beautiful throughout the climb. There is also a waterfall which one can witness while climbing up. Upon reaching the top we went inside the temple. There is a small cave which is actually known as Tiger next. Many people avoid to go inside the cave as the path is very narrow and steep. But my suggestion is believe in yourself, the only thing one has to do is balance oneself. You will be able to crawl/climb the steps easily. And then there are many other temples to visit around.
Photography is not allowed inside the monastery/temple. One has to keep all their belonging in the locker provided.
We further proceeded to our hotel in Paro.
Day 4 – Sight seeing at Paro. Chele La Pass where saw the spectacular view of Mt Jholmolhari . It was really cold up there, had 2 cups of Tea. Later went to Dzongdrakha Goempa, known as mini taktsang cliff temple, Drukgyel Dzong, local market and then for stone bath.
Bhutan is famous for various trekking expedition but I don’t think I missed the same. Taktsang Monastery gave me a trekking experience. It is also a very safe place to travel even late at night. All tourist spots closes by 5.ooPM in winter and 6:00PM in summers.
Day 5 – Checkout and back to our home.
These days went so fast and became one of our most cherished trip.
Travel Tip – 1. It is advisable to hire a local guide for smooth travel in the country. The guide can take care of pass/permission arrangements, rules, visit timings of various tourists spots, time taken to travel from one spot to another..etc.. Also, it becomes easier to communicate with locals and to negotiate. 2. One should go in Oct to Early Dec as it is less crowded around this time and one can actually enjoy. Avoid going during rainy season as one would miss Taktsang Monastery. It becomes very slippery and muddy in these days and climbing is very difficult in this season.