- Explore Bhutan
- Buddhist culture
- Taktsang Monastery- Tiger's Nest
- Memorial Chorten
Below is an existing itinerary; this is a standard itinerary of ours, but you can customize the itinerary to meet your specific needs. You can prepare the itinerary that is going to work best for you. Your itinerary should be based on your interest. You can make your itinerary unique by adding fun to it. Travel Max Guide gives the topmost value to your customized itinerary because it has experienced trekking guides to make your itinerary better as well as make it easier for you to travel and have a good time in Nepal.
On arrival, guests will be received at the airport by tour guide and companion for the whole duration of your tour in Bhutan. Drive to your hotel in Thimphu. After refreshing yourselves and having lunch, visit the following places; Kuenselphodrang. The Kuensel Phodrang or the Buddha point is the world‟s largest sitting Buddha statue, the statue is 167 feet high. The statue is situated on top of a hill overlooking the city of Thimphu, it can be accessed by road and is about 15 minutes away from the city‟s center. The word Kuensel means everything is clear and from this place, you will surely enjoy a great view of the Thimphu Valley on both sides. The statute will house a temple inside it, the statue and its adjoining car park and recreational center. The statue is constructed out of bronze and is studded with many semi-precious stones. Since they are no factories in a country that can make such a large bronze cast structure, the statute is being manufactured in China and the pieces are brought to Bhutan and are assembled here. On the drive to the statue, the steep winding hill road offers an unparalleled view of the city of Thimphu and is an excellent place to capture a view of the city especially after dark. A journalist once described the view as “seeing an oasis of light in the desert of darkness “as the city light of Thimphu shine very bright in an otherwise dark Thimphu valley.
Later in the evening, you can visit TashichhoDzong: The TashichhoDzong is a Buddhist monastery cum fortress at the northern edge of Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan. The Dzong was built on the western bank of the river Wang Chu and has historically served at the seat of the Druk Desi or the Dharma Raja of Bhutan‟s government. After the kings assumed power in 1907 this post was combined with that of the king and Thimphu severed as the summer capital of the kingdom before becoming the full-time capital of Bhutan. The original Thimphu Dzong (the Dho-NgyenDzong) is said to have been constructed in 1216 by Lama GyalwaLhanangpa. And was later taken over by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo before the Dzong was conquered by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who found the Dzong to be too small and expanded it to what is now known as the Tashichhodzong is also called the “fortress of the glorious religion.” It was erected in 1641 and was subsequently rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. The Dzong has been the seat of the Royal government since 1952 and presently houses the Throne room and the King’s secretariat. The Tashichhodzong is also home to several ministries of the Bhutanese government, and the Central Monk Body which is the apex organization of the country’s main spiritual order. The monument welcomes visitors during the ThimphuTsechu festival which is held in autumn each year.
After breakfast visit the following;
Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory: This is a private factory and they manufacture a special watermark paper as well as products such as lampshades, envelopes and other objects made of traditional Bhutanese paper. They make great gifts to take home with you and are genuinely unique. It is not just the texture of these handmade paper products that will intrigue you, but also their unique earth tones and natural hews. This factory manufactures a special watermark paper as well as products such as lampshades, envelopes and other objects made of traditional Bhutanese paper. Bhutan protects its environment through long-term sustainability, and they follow it because they do not destroy the plant when they extract the raw material required. Paper products are manufactured from “daphnepapyracea”.
Folk Heritage Museum: The folk heritage museum was open to the general public in 2001 upon completion. It treasures troves of culture and rich Bhutanese heritage provides rich insights into the Bhutanese ethos. Try to schedule your visit during the morning hours since the museum is less crowded at that time and there is plenty of sunlight to go around. The folk heritage museum is housed in a replica traditional Bhutanese house learns first-hand about Bhutan‟s rich cultural traditions, it’s the deeply rooted heritage which spans thousands of years and the Bhutanese way of life. The tour of this almost living museum will also give you a glimpse into how many rural folks of the country live today following the ancient Bhutanese ways.
Memorial Chorten: Referred to as the Memorial Chorten, it’s actual name is GongzoChorten or GyaldrenChorten. The Chorten (stupa) is a chief landmark in the capital city and is also the most sacred place of worship for local people. The idea of the Chorten was conceptualized by the Third King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to ward-off negative energies. After His Majesty’s demise, the Chorten was built in his memory by the 4th King and the then Queen Mother in 1972. Many old people come here early in the morning to circumambulate and say their prayers in the hopes of garnering enough good karma for their afterlife; they are joined by the middle and the younger generation in the evenings who also come to do either the same thing or to just relax their mind. The doors of this stupa remain mostly closed except on holy days. Inside, there are three stories and on each floor are statues of protective deities.
Changangkha Lhakhang: It is a 12th-century temple sitting on top of a hill overlooking Thimphu valley with the main statue of Chenrizig (The Buddha of Compassion). This temple is often mistaken for a dzong by visitors because it looks like one, and apart from the temple it also houses a monastic school. Most of the couples go to this temple soon after birth to get blessings for their children.
Motithang Takin preserve: The Motithang Takin Preserve also known as the Thimphu Zoo by many is a small natural preserve for the Takin Bhutan‟s national animal. It was originally a mini zoo, but it was converted in a preserve later on as the Takin. The mini zoo contained a small number of Takin but the King of Bhutan later decreed that it was improper for a Buddhist nation to keep an animal in captivity. The animals were set free and the zoo was shut down, but for some reason, the Takin refused to leave the area for the forests nearby. Instead, the animals were frequently found roaming around the streets of the capital city in search of food. As a result, the government decided to demarcate an 8-acre fenced location as the Motithang Takin Preserve. The preserve is a forested preserve that mimics the Takin‟s natural habitat, in addition to the Takin there are a few musk deer and barking deer that live inside the preserve. There are plans to expand the preserves collection to include other rarely seen animals that live in Bhutan, currently, the preserve plans to add the Red Panda and the Himalayan Serow to the preserve.
Post breakfast, drive toward Punakha, stop at Dochula Pass (3,100 m), where on a sunny day, you can get stunning views of the Himalayan ranges. The Dochu La Pass is probably the best-known mountain pass in Bhutan. Located at an altitude of 3150 meters above sea level, the Dochu La Pass is about 30 kilometers away from the capital city Thimphu and the road to Punakha. On a clear day, the pass offers visitors a spectacular view of the majestic eastern Himalayan Ranges. A cup of hot coffee or tea at the pass has almost become part of the tradition for people traveling to and fro from Punakha to the capital city.
There is a small cafeteria at the pass that offers a chance for travelers to enjoy a hot beverage or a snack, it is located just off the road and overlooks the pass and is an ideal place to sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Another striking feature at the pass is the 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens, that were built for the well-being of all sentient beings on earth. The 108 Chorten were built as a tribute to the Kings of Bhutan for their selfless service and leadership they offer to the people of Bhutan. These Stupas or Chortens also represent the peoples’ love, appreciation, and loyalty towards the country’s King. Continue drive towards Punakha and stop at Lobesa village and have lunch before going for a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility), it is dedicated to Lam Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Mad Man) and is the place from where Phallusesoriginated as the symbol of fertility and protection and can be seen everywhere in Bhutan, on house walls and roofs and altars. Childless couples usually go to this temple to get blessings so that they conceive and are blessed with a child.
(NOTE: The temple and has some sexual depictions. You may want to reconsider visiting this place if you are not comfortable with children seeing these)
Then drive to Punakha Dzong: The Punakha Dzong or the Pungtang Dechen Phortang Dzong is located at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu River, combine to form the Puna Tsang Chu which in turn is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Dzong was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1638 on the exact spot as prophesized by the Guru Rinpoche some 800 years ago. According to the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche, “a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. Another legend associated with the Dzong is that of Zowe Palep, the architect of the Dzong received the vision of the Dzong in his sleep. This vision got imprinted in the architect’s mind and enabled him to construct the Dzong without putting his plans to paper.
It is the second-largest and the second oldest Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong is home to some of the most sacred relics of the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism; it is also home to the sacred mortal remains of ZhabdrungNgawangNamgyal and Terton Pema Lingpa the great treasure discoverer of Bhutan. The Dzong has also served as the capital Bhutan till 1955 before the capital was moved to Thimphu. The Dzong is still the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) and the central monastic body and plays host to the annual Punakha Tshechu Festival which is very popular with the locals and tourists alike.
After breakfast, drive back towards Dochula and then to Thimphu where you can have lunch or you can have it in Thimphu.
Post lunch drive to Paro, on the way, visit Tamchog Lhakhang: Tachoglhakhang is a temple that is dedicated to the 13th-century saint ThangthongGyalpo, the iron bridge builder. This temple is located across the river about 15kms from the Paro towards Thimphu. To get to the temple one must cross an iron chain bridge, one of the few remaining of the many that ThangthongGyalpo built. This is a private temple however tourists are allowed to visit if they are given permission. Crossing this very old bridge with its swaying and undulating movements can be quite an experience. The temple’s location on the ridge and the high rocky barren hills which serve as its backdrop makes this a good location to take pictures.
Kyichu Lhakhang: Considered the oldest temple along with Jampa and Kenchosum Lhakhang in Bumthang, it dates back to the 7th century when a Tibetan King ordered 108 temples to be built in a single night to subdue a huge ogress. It was later renovated in the mid 19th century and the late 1960s by the Grand Queen Mother. It is also considered by many to be one of the holiest places in the country. Inside the compound is an orange tree that always has oranges no matter what the season.
Ta Dzong (National Museum): The name Ta Dzong translates to ‘watchtower’ and it served the function of watchtower for the Paro RinpungDzong. Back in the day, similar look-out points were built for other dzongs (fortresses) to counter any approaching hostilities, for those were the days of frequent strife. These towers were specifically built high atop hills and other vantage points during the old days. Presently serving as the national museum (since late 60’s), it houses an array of antiquities such as ancient thangka (exquisite scroll painting), mural paintings and other forms of art done by great personalities of those days, original textiles of the kingdom which represent the culture that still flourishes, weapons & armor used back in the day, household objects typical to the Bhutanese people’s way of life back then and even now, and other natural and historical artifacts.
Have early breakfast and drive up to the base of Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest).The most famous and sacred site among all the places in Bhutan. Guru Padmasambhava is said to have come riding on a flying tigress to this place and meditated in a cave for 3 months, it wasn’t until ZhabdrungNgawangNamgyal came to this place and meditated that it gained the popularity that it has now. The present structure is said to be built in the 15th century but was destroyed by fire in 1998 and has been restored.
The walk is about 2 hours until the top through wide pathways that were built during the restoration works. One hour into the climb there is a tea point from where you get a very good view of the monastery, they also serve lunch here. From there it’s about another 45 minutes climb to the 2nd viewpoint and the highest point in the hike.
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TMG Adventure is not just a tour operator in Nepal but also a contributor for a good cause to our communities and the Himalayas people especially working on behalf of children where are abundant from education. Company work through FAN (First Act Nepal) It's a team that works purely for our children. Support for their well being through education providing child sponsorship programs. Assisting them in school uniforms, stationery, and school fees. TMG Adventure donates a certain amount of its income to FAN annually, and the amount that it donates varies from year to year because the income that it earns also varies from year to year. Sometimes the income of TMG Adventure is high, and sometimes, it is low. Accordingly, the donation is made. TMG Adventure also has a volunteering program, and if you are interested, then you can help these children through this program. For more, you can contact us via email, make a call or visit our office. You can also be a part of encouragement by engaging and sharing your ideas in our project.
I was in Nepal for the Everest Base Camp Trek. Outstanding sceneries and good hospitality. On the way to the base camp, I got an opportunity to visit the Buddhist monastery as well as got some information about Buddhism. That was great. Our guide and porter were awesome. Very kind and helpful. Thank you, TMG.
Trekking with Travel Max Guide was an amazing experience. My selection of trip and the company were excellent and of the right decision. In each moment of my walk, I came across adventure and discovered something new. I remember my first step on the Everest Base Camp. The view was spectacular. Passing through the Sherpa communities and staying in Namche Bazaar is unforgettable. I miss the trip very much. Anyway, thank you so much for your service while I was in Nepal. See you next time for the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Originally from the United State of America from the city of Los Angeles where life is busy and rush. I made a trip with TMG. It’s a new experience than I excepted. I found Nepalese people really welcoming. They really love tourists. While trekking in the Everest region, I got time to spend with nature, gained plenty of ideas of culture and tradition from the Himalayas. The trip was totally mind-blowing. TMG has a good team spirit and is dedicated to serving guest and trekkers.
Hi! it’s me, Anna from Central London, I am a landscape photographer, love to take pictures of landscapes and portraits all around the world. My trip to Nepal was awesome with the TMG guys. TMG managed well during my trip. Plus point is TMG members are also photographers. I worked with the team for 5 weeks on video and photography projects. I highly recommend the TMG team if you want to know beautiful Nepal.
Last year in 2018, I was in Nepal for 14 days for the Everest Base Camp Trek. It was mind-blowing. I loved the trek and the time spend with TMG. The team is great, really caring and have great knowledge about the trip. Guys, keep ongoing.
There is a story behind to start Travel Max Guide Adventure Private Limited (TMG Adventure). We do have a team called First Act Nepal (FAN) that works for the well being of the children in need. We run the child sponsorship program to them. Later on, we start a travel company to live our passion and for the sustainability of our project. Let's walk some miles together to be a contributor to our communities. In conclusion, love your neighbor as yourself. Sharing is caring. Stay blessed.
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