9D 8N | Black-Necked Cranes in Phobjikha

Paro, Thimphu, Punakha & Phobjikha

Explore popular tourist attractions of western and central Bhutan in a journey peppered with beautiful hikes for the active traveller. Visit ancient monuments and sacred temples, witness myriad art and architecture, enjoy local delicacies and culture, learn Bhutanese history, lifestyles and folklore, stay in high quality hotels and enjoy stunning scenic valleys – including the stunning Phobjikha Valley, visit the spectacular Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s nest), interact with locals, visit local markets, schools, farm houses, etc.

Day 1: Fly to Paro; drive to Thimphu
Day 2: Explore Thimphu
Day 3: Drive to Punakha
Day 4: Punakha to Phobjikha
Day 5: Black Necked Cranes
Day 6: Drive from Punakha to Thimphu
Day 7: Explore Paro Valley
Day 8: Hike to Tiger's Nest
Day 9: Depart from Paro
Day 1: Fly to Paro; drive to Thimphu
Your journey into Bhutan starts with your Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines flight into Paro International airport. As the flight approaches Bhutan, enjoy spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges, including the Jhomolhari (7314m) and Jichu Drake (6794m) the loftiest peaks of Bhutan. On arrival, you will be received by your Mezmer Journeys guide who will be with you throughout the rest of your stay in Bhutan.

You will then drive to Thimphu; your first stop will be at picturesque Tachog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan's Iron Bridge Builder. You will then drive to Chuzom and witness the confluence of Paro Chu or Paro river and the Wang Chu or Wang river, marked by 3 chortens or stupas of different styles, built to serve as protectors of evil.

The evening is kept for you to take in the local culture and flavours, giving you time to acclimatise. You may stroll through the market and mingle with the local people and visit shops.

You will stay overnight in a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 2: Explore Thimphu
Start your day with a visit to National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to world peace and prosperity in 1974 in memory of the Third King of Bhutan; the National Institute of Zorig Chusum where students undergo training course in Bhutan's 13 traditional arts and crafts; Folk Heritage Museum which will provide an insight into traditional Bhutanese farm house and rural past through exhibits and documentation of rural life.

In the afternoon visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress likes temple, which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu followed by the Takin Preserve to see the rare, national animal of Bhutan. The takin is a goat-animal, unique to Bhutan one with a great deal of symbolism and association with the country's religious history and mythology.

Then visit to Buddha point for breathtaking views of the Thimphu valley as well as of the Buddha Dordenma, a 138.6-foot-tall Shakyamuni Buddha statue seated on a 62-foot-tall throne. It symbolizes peerless virility to bestow blessings, peace, and happiness on the whole world. You can choose to hike through the biking trail of Buddha point will give you the whole Thimphu city and valley view.

Follow this up with a visit to Tashichho Dzong or the fortress of the glorious religion, which is home to Bhutan's administration, religious centre, throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and other Government offices. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot.

You will stay overnight in a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 3: Drive to Punakha
At Dochula pass and enjoy the view of eastern Himalayan ranges stretching for about 25km. The beauty of the pass is further enhanced by Druk Wangyal Chorten, 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen Mother. You will continue bike to the park, winding down through the lush forest of oak, fir, spurs, and rhododendrons. Have a short walk up to Chimi Lhakhang, the auspicious fertility monastery dedicated to the Divine Madman. Then, visit the Punakha Dzong, which stands majestically at the junction of the two rivers Pho Chu and Mo Chu. The Dzong is said to be the most beautiful of the dzongs in Bhutan; it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork and it serves as the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot). Also this is the second dzong built in Bhutan by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the year 1637.

Continue to Nyezergang towards the north for white water rafing on the beautiful Mo Chu. Float along the villages under the bridge and near the fields, passing by the Dzong and end just below the Dozing. You will stay overnight in a hotel, Punakha.

Day 4: Punakha to Phobjikha
Drive to Phobjikha through Pelela Pass. Explore the serene valley in the afternoon.

You will stay overnight in a hotel, Phobjikha.

Day 5: Black Necked Cranes
Whole day sightseeing and hike in Phobjikha around the periphery of the roosting area of the Black necked cranes and visit the famous Gangtey Gompa. Also visit the Birds Reservatory and observe the cranes through a telescope if they are there (Late Fall and winter).

You will stay overnight in a hotel, Phobjikha.

Day 6: Drive from Punakha to Thimphu
Drive back to Thimphu and stop again at Dochu La for lunch, this time, enjoy the sunset view of Himalayan ranges and snow peaks. Then hike to Lungchutse for 3-4 hours uphill one-way and return to pass.

You will also visit Druk Wangyel Lhakhang built by the eldest Queen mother; the past and future appear to merge in the details of the Lhakhang that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distant future. Continue to Thimphu by biking On the way visit Semtokha dzong built in 1629, one of the oldest fortress in Bhutan.

You will stay overnight in a hotel in Paro.

Day 7: Explore Paro Valley & Hike to Tiger's Nest

A morning drive to Paro and visit the auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang, a scared monument pinning down the left foot of a treacherous ogress, which was built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

Drive north to visit Drugyel Dzong, the imposing fortress which was the strategic vantage point that resulted in the defeat of numerous invading Tibetan armies. In clear weather, one can view the spectacular view of mount Jhomolhari (7314m). In the afternoon, drive to watchtower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. The third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, converted it into the National museum in the 1960s. The seven-floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. Take a short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong, which serves as the administrative center and school for monks, and walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. You will stay overnight in a hotel in Paro.

Day 8: Hike to Tiger's Nest
Hike about 2 hours uphill to the Taktsang monastery on foot. The monastery, which clings to a huge granite cliff 900 meters, is a very popular and must-do part of most itineraries in Bhutan and a site of pilgrimage for most Bhutanese. It is believed that in the 7th century, the great saint Padmasambhava flew in riding a tigress and meditated here a cave for 3 months.

Your evening plan involves a visit to a farm house and you can try the traditional Bhutanese hot-stone bath, believed to have a healing purpose.

You will stay overnight in a hotel in Paro.

Day 9: Depart from Paro
Drive to the Paro International Airport to depart from Bhutan.

MonthValues (Celsius)ParoThimpuPunakhaTrongsaBhumthangMongarTrashigang
JanuaryMax
Min
9.4
-5.8
12.3
-2.6
17.0
4.3
13.0
-0.2
10.8
-5.1
15.5
8.2
20.4
10.5
FebruaryMax
Min
13.0
1.5
14.4
0.6
19.0
7.8
13.9
0.4
10.0
-1.4
15.9
8.3
21.7
11.5
MarchMax
Min
14.5
0.6
16.4
3.9
22.8
10.4
16.7
4.4
16.2
3.5
20.0
11.6
24.8
14.4
AprilMax
Min
17.6
4.6
20.0
7.1
26.2
12.9
20.1
6.6
18.7
3.9
22.8
14.0
28.3
17.0
MayMax
Min
23.5
10.6
22.5
13.1
29.1
17.7
21
11.6
21.3
9.5
25.1
17.4
30
22.6
JuneMax
Min
25.4
14.1
24.4
15.2
29.2
20.1
22.2
13.6
22.5
13.5
26.1
19.5
30.7
22.6
JulyMax
Min
26.8
14.9
25.9
15.6
30.4
20.5
25.3
15.3
24.1
13.6
27.1
19.8
31.5
23.1
AugustMax
Min
25.3
14.7
25.0
15.8
29.1
20
23.8
15
23.0
13.7
25.4
19.6
30.2
22.7
SeptemberMax
Min
23.4
11.7
23.1
15
27.5
19.1
22.6
14.2
21.6
12.1
24.7
19.4
30.0
21.9
OctoberMax
Min
18.7
7.4
21.9
10.4
26.1
14.7
21.8
11.7
19.5
5.9
22.7
15.8
29.1
17.7
NovemberMax
Min
13.9
1.4
17.9
5.0
22.6
9.6
19.8
6.4
16.1
-0.5
19.9
11.2
26.1
13.6
DecemberMax
Min
11.2
-1.7
14.5
-1.1
19.1
6.3
18.2
2.5
12.3
-2.3
17.7
9.5
23.0
11.6
Your guide will be equipped with a basic first aid kit but please do remember to bring the following with you:
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun Hat
  • Walking Stick
Email or chat with your Journey Planner for a quote.

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