The traditional architectural buildings are national heritages sites for the country, and are significant to the country’s history. The Royal Heritage Tour offers the visitors a unique look at some of Bhutan’s Royal Family palaces. The driving tour takes place in major heritage sites across the country from the scenic mountains of the Paro Valley to the distant village of Lhuntse. Apart from the royal palaces there are other heritage sites such as giant fortresses and other significant architectural monuments in relation to the history of the monarchy. Hundreds of Buddhist temples, monasteries and chortens are found scattered a top rocky cliffs, on remote hillsides, on uneven enclosures and on every possible regions in that in Bhutan, Buddhism is flourishing in its ever youthful state.
Day 02: Thimphu – Punakha
Day 03: Punakha – Tongsa
Day 04: Tongsa Sightseeing (Includes Heritage Tours)
Day 05: Tongsa – Bumthang
Day 06: Bumthang – Thimphu
Day 07: Thimphu – Paro
Day 08: Departure
Your morning flight brings you to Bhutan’s emerald-green Paro Valley at 7,500 feet, where shrines dot the landscape and graceful willow trees grow along the edge of the Paro River as it winds through fields and farmlands. After landing in Paro Valley Airport, you will be welcomed by the representatives of Excursion to Himalayas. Drive to the hotel, get relaxed and ready for your next journey. After lunch, drive to Thimphu and visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. And then excursions to Cheri Monastery.
Overnight in Terma Linca Resort.
Day 2: Thimphu – Punakha
After breakfast drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. The day begins with the visits of Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952.
Overnight in Aman Kora Resort.
Day 3: Punakha – Tongsa
Trongsa-Kuenga Rabten Palace
After breakfast drive early to Tongsa and visit Kuenga Rabten Palace. The Kuenga Rabten Palace under the Trongsa District formerly served as the winter residence for the second king, Jigme Wangchuck and his junior consort, Ashi Pem Dechen. Constructed in 1928, it has been well preserved on account of its royal connections.
After lunch, visit Choekhortse Dzong.The Dzong holds a special place in history of Bhutanas it was from there that the tradition of placing the Crown Prince as the Penlop before being enthroned as the King started. The title Chhoeste Penlop was derived from the Dzong. The first King’s father Jigme Namgyal was the Trongsa Penlop and he was the one who paved the way for manarchy in Bhutan. Then Ugyen Wangchuck became the Trongsa Penlop and unified the country. He was the most powerful Penlop. With the birth of Bhutanese monarchy in 1907, the position of the Trongsa Penlop assumed a special signifaicance. The institution of the Trongsa Penlop, therefore, came to signify the true heritage to the Bhutanese Throne and the investiture ceremony of the Trongsa Penlop became the formal declaration of the statue of the Crown Prince.
Day 4: Tongsa Sightseeing
After breakfast, visit Threupang palace. It was built by the second king Jigme Wangchuck as his Palace most likely in 1930’s. The palace was occupied by the senior queen Ashi Phuntsho Chhoden. The third king was born in Thruepang Palace and he spent most of his childhood travelling between the Thruepang, Kuenga Rabten and Wangdichholing Palaces. Then visit Samchholing Palace (Drakten Geog), built by the second king, it was later handed over to Ashi Pem Dechen, his junior consort and mother of HRH Prince Namgyal Wangchuck. About 15 minuted walk away from the road head below; the Palace is located on a strategic point. From there, the vista of the conventional hamlets strewn over the region as very breathtaking. The Palace has beautiful architectural designs and presently it is undergoing renovation.
After lunch, the heritage sightseeing tour continues with the visit of Yurungchholing Palace. The palace was built by the first king’s grand father-in-law Trongsa Penlop Ugyen Phuntsho. Presently the palace is used as a residence by the Penlop’s great great granddaughter, Ahi Kelsang. It also houses about 150 monks who are sponsored by them.
Overnight in hotel.
Day 5: Tongsa – Bumthang
Early morning after breakfast, drive to Bumthang and continue with the heritage visit which includes Wangdichholing Palace. The Wangdichholing Palace was built in 1857 by Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal and was later restored by his son, the first king Ugyen Wangchuck. It was the first palace to be built in Bhutan.
Also visit Domkar Tashichholing Palace, now used by the fifth king, it was formerly the residence of the second king Jigme Wangchuck, besides the Wangdichholing Palace. It was constructed in 1937 by the second king.
Bumthang-Tang Ogyen Chholing
After lunch, visit Tang Ogyen Palace. The 16th century Tang Ogyen Chholing Palace stands ceremoniously on the commanding spur of the remote Tang Valley. It was built by the Trongsa PenlopTshokey Dorji, a descendant of Dorji Lingpa. The palace was once destroyed by an earthquake in 1987, and the present structure constitutes a smudge of more recent features of the reconstruction. The palace is now turned into a museum with an entry fee of Nu. 100, which goes to the Ogyen Chholing Trust that supports the complex.
Day 6: Bumthang – Thimphu
Folk Heritage Museum
Early morning, drive to Thimphu and visit Folk Heritage Museum, Textile Museum, Changangkha Lhakhang and Philatelic office. After lunch, visit Silver smith at work and Hand made paper factory.
Overnight in Hotel.
Day 7: Thimphu – Paro
After breakfast, drive to Paro via Chelela pass and and enjoy the scenery. After lunch, visit to Bhutanese farm houses. Drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo.
Overnight in hotel.
Day 8: Departure
Early morning drive to airport and farewell.