Day 1 Paro (1D)
Arrive by Druk Air. After you clear customs, meet your CEO and take your included transfer to the hotel. At approx 16:00 pm we will have a group meeting where you will meet your fellow group members and go over the details of your trip with your CEO. Later, go for a short orientation walk of the town and enjoy a local dinner with your group. Altitude: 2280m/7480ft HEALTH NOTE: When you arrive in Paro, the altitude and resulting lack of oxygen may affect you. It may take a little time to acclimatize to this, but before long you probably won't even notice it. Just take it easy and cut back on alcohol and cigarette consumption to minimize the effects. You may also find that your appetite is reduced. This is no cause for alarm, but simply a reaction to the altitude. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
Day 2 Paro (1B,1L,1D)
After breakfast drive about 30 mins to the base of the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest). The hike is gradual and uphill and takes about 2 hrs to reach the first stop at the cafeteria where you can enjoy stunning views of the monastery. From here, it's another 45 mins or so to reach the monastery itself, at an altitude of 3070m (~10,000ft). After lunch at the cafeteria, head back down to the road and drive to Kyichu Lhakang Temple, one of the oldest in Bhutan. In the evening, you'll have free time to explore Paro. Due to the altitude this climb can be tough. Be prepared to spend about 5 1/2 hours to get up and down with stops, including lunch. Remember to stay hydrated and take your time. Paro is a beautiful valley named after the river flowing through on the banks of which the town is located. Nearby is the famous Tiger's Nest. Built in the 16th century, this monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock that goes down 900m into the valley. Legend says that Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, came here on an flying tiger.
Day 3 Jele Dzong/Camp (1B,1L,1D)
Start today with a short drive to the national museum. The trek will start just above and includes gradual climbing uphill to reach the campsite near the old Jele Dzong. The altitude will increase substantially from 2280m in Paro to 3350m (~11,000ft) at Jele Dzong. The total distance covered is about 10km (~6.2 miles) and it will take about 5-6 hours due to the elevation. Again, drink plenty of water and be prepared for a slow and steady hike.
Day 4 Tshanula/Thimphu (1B,1L,1D)
For today's trek, you'll need to carry only what you need on the hike- water, camera, raingear, etc. Bags will be available for whatever the horses will carry and the bus will transfer the rest of your belongings to the next hotel. After breakfast, pack up the horses and set out to descend through forests of rhododendrons and conifers, then beautiful meadows and finally into Tshanula Village. Meet some ethnic Bhutanese in the local communities we pass through. At the end of the trek, travel by private van to Thimphu for your first night in the capital city. Thimphu's population is about 100,000 people with only 3 lines of shops and no traffic lights (the only capital in the world that can claim this!). It contrasts sharply with most cities you have visited throughout the world. It is a capital city where no cars existed until 1962 and where all stores are closed on Tuesday on the upper lane and Wednesday on the lower lane. This is to give business people a rest from their capitalist pursuits and allow time with families. Although people lived and farmed the valley and hills bordering the Thimphu Chhu for many years, the town did not really develop until it became the capital city in 1961. Total distance is about 10km and the hike will take about 5-6 hrs. Altitude is 2680m (8800ft).
Day 5 Thimphu (1B,1L,1D)
After breakfast, enjoy some sightseeing in Thimphu. Visit the National Memorial Chorten, the Buddha Point and Motithang mini-zoo. In the evening, visit the Tashi Chhoedzong, known as the "Fortress of Glorious Religion", initially built in 1702. Today, it houses the main secretariat building, the central monk body and it has the office of the king.
Day 6 Gangtey (1B,1L,1D)
Drive to Lobeysa and take a short hike (20-25 mins) to Chime Lhakhang, temple of the "Divine Madman", built in 1499. Today it's known as the temple of fertility. Walk back to the road and continue on to Gangtey. Gangtey is east of Punakha and Wangdue, on the flanks of the Black Mountains. Visit the Gangtey Goempa, built in the 16th century and renovated in 2008. The monastery holds the most sacred relics of all monasteries in Bhutan and boasts a stunning architectural design. Opt to visit the Blacknecked Crane Centre before dinner and an overnight in a farmhouse.
Day 7 Gangtey/Punakha (1B,1L,1D)
After breakfast, enjoy the sights of Gangtey before driving to Punakha, an ancient capital of Bhutan. The road climbs steeply through forests, with hanging lichen up near the Dochula Pass (3050m). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountains. Stop for tea and to check out the view, before descending through hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Punakha before visiting Punakha Dzong. This is the winter capital of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot).
Day 8 Punakha/Haa (1B,1L,1D)
Explore Punakha then drive to the Haa Valley confluence, where the road splits. We'll continue on to Haa which will offer the scenic beauty of the Himalayas, winds through deep gorges and blue pine forests before reaching the valley. Here, we'll visit the Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and walk around Haa town in the evening. Estimated travel time : 4 hrs
Day 9 Paro (1B,1L,1D)
Drive to the Chelela Pass (3988m) and soak in the Himalayan views. Hike about 2-2.5 hrs downhill to Kila Goempa (nunnery). After visiting the nunnery, we'll follow the trail down through the forest to the road, where we meet our van. Drive back to Paro with time in the evening to wander the streets and pick up some souvenirs. Enjoy a final dinner with the group on your last night in Bhutan.
Day 10 Paro (1B)
Depart at any time. Your CEO will help arrange your transfer to the airport and all exit formalities before your journey home.