Serene Bhutan - Rukha

Duration: 14 Nights 15 Days
Altitude: 1000m – 4000m
Districts: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha  & Wangduephodrang

Meet the Olep! During this 11-day compact tour to Western and Central Bhutan you will not only experience the beauty of the country, you will also get an insight into the main historical, cultural and religious developments of Bhutan. Even more: a two-day excursion and homestay will take you to Rukha and the land of the Olep people. The Olep are the original settlers of Bhutan and are happy to host you and invite you  into their homes.

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Package Details

Day 1 - Paro - Thimphu

On a clear day, the flight to Paro is breathtaking, with views of major Himalayan peaks such as Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu, and on the final approach Bhutan’s own snowy peaks, the sacred Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. On arrival at Paro airport and after completion of airport formalities, you will
be received by Atlas Tour and Travel’s representative and drive to Thimphu. Thimphu, perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world, is the seat of government. This bustling town is home to Bhutan’s royal family, the civil service, and foreign missions with representation in Bhutan. It is also the headquarters for a number of internationally funded development projects. After Lunch Visit following places

Memorial Chorten: Built in the year 1974 in the memory of our third king of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

Memorial Chorten

Memorial Chorten

Buddha Point / Kuensel Phodang: Is the largest Buddha statue in the country, from there you can get a good view of the Thimphu valley.

Golden Buddha

Golden Buddha

Tashichho Dzong: The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt
by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichho Dzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 2 - Thimphu

Whole day sightseeing: After breakfast visit the following places.

Changangkha Lhakhang – it is right above Thimphu Valley, this temple and a monastic school was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo.

Motithang Takin Preserve: Houses the rare national animal of Bhutan. Takin is listed by international conservation agencies as a vulnerable species and it is a rare animal found only in Bhutan, Nepal and Burma.

Takin Preserve at Motithang

Takin Preserve at Motithang

National Institute for Zorig Chusum: Or the school of Arts and crafts is an institute where student undertake a six year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

Traditional Arts

Traditional Arts

Traditional Medicine Institute: In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants are prepared and dispensed here.

Folk Heritage Museum: The house replicates a traditional farmhouse and is furnished as it would have been about a century ago. Overnight at hotel.

Making mud pot at Fold Heritage Museum

Making mud pot at Fold Heritage Museum

Day 3 - Thimphu- Wangduephodrang

After breakfast drive through picturesque valleys and mountain slopes dotted with typical Bhutanese villages. From the Dochula pass, at over 10,000ft, vast panoramic views of the high snowcapped peaks of the Bhutanese Himalayas can be enjoyed on a clear day. Continue drive down into the Punakha valley. On the way visit Chhimi Lhakhang – This was founded in 15 Century by Lama Dukpa Kinley also known as divine mad man. It is half hour walk across a local village and rice field. After lunch visit Punakha Dzong- built in 1637 by Zhabdrung. It is one of the most beautiful Dzong in the country. Later walk around Punakha and Khuruthang town. Drive to Wangdue. Overnight at hotel.

Day 4 - Wangduephodrang- Rukha

After breakfast drive toward south to Taksha. The trek starts after crossing suspension bridge. There our trekking staff will be waiting. Start hike uphill about half hour. Ride on power tiller about 3 km and again start to walk until lunch stop at Samthang(altitude 860m) with 5 household. Lunch at farm house.

After lunch continue trek for 1 hour to reach Mithana community school (altitude 986m) and is about 1 hour to reach Rukha and there are 22 household (altitude 1391m) . The people are known as Olep and they are the original settlers of center Bhutan. They have their own unique dialect but is it unfortunately dying out as they are now being absorbed into the main stream Bhutanese society. At Rukha the farmers will happily welcome you into their homes. Overnight at farm house.

Day 5 - Rukha- Halt

After breakfast you can take part in game like archery, dart and javelin throw. After lunch explore the local farm houses and visit Penden Lhamo temple. In the evening witness the folk dances with bon fire. Overnight at farm house.

Day 6 - Rukha - Wangduephodrang

After breakfast hike back to Taksha. Our vehicle will be waiting to drive you to Wangdue. Overnight at hotel.

Day 7 - Wangduephodrang - Phobjikha

After breakfast, drive to Phobjikha- is a bowlshape valley on the western slopes of Black Mountain. After lunch visit Gantey Goenpa as it is a major attraction with an old monastery dating back to the 16 century. Later walk around the valley which is also the winter home to the rare blacknecked cranes, which migrate, from remote parts of Tibet, China and Siberia during winter to this valley. Overnight will be at hotel.

Day 8 - Phobjikha - Paro

After breakfast, drive to Paro. Overnight at hotel.

Day 9 - Paro - Excursion to Taktshang

After breakfast, drive for half an hour and start the hike, which is about 5 hours (round trip.) The trail is along an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels.

As you reach Taktshang you will be struck by the architectural wonder of this most pious Buddhist shrine in Bhutan. Perched some 1000m, 3000ft on a cliff overlooking the valley, it would justifiably qualify as one of Bhutan’s wonders. Tragically wrecked in a fire early in 1998. It has been rebuilt to its original glory. It is said that the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D. Hence the name, Taktshang, or the “Tiger’s Lair.”

Descend back to Ramthangka. If the time permits, drive further north to visit another symbolic structure, which is now in ruins. Drugyel Dzong, or “Castle
of the Victorious Drukpa,” which was also built by the Shabdrung to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetans in the 16thcenturies.
From here, the Jomolhari Peak (“Mountain of the Goddess”) can be seen on a clear day (Alt. 7,329m/24,029ft.). Overnight at hotel.

Paro Tatshang

Paro Taktshang, Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Day 10 - Paro

After breakfast visit another symbolic structure, which is now in ruins, the Drugyel Dzong, or “”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa,” which was also built by the Shabdrung to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetans in the 16th and 17th centuries.

From here, the Jomolhari Peak (“Mountain of the Goddess”) can be seen on a clear day (Alt. 7,329m/24,029ft.). Drive back and visit Kichu Lhakhang-one of the oldest and most sacred temple in the kingdom, dating back to the 7th century than visit Rinpung Dzong which houses the monastic school and the office of the civil administration and walk down passing close by crossing the Bhutanese typical wooden roofed bridge to Paro town. Strool around the town. Overnight at hotel.

Day 11 - Departure

After breakfast, drive to Paro international airport for your onward flight. The representative of Atlas Tour and Travel will see off and bid farewell

Paro Internation Airport Paro Internation Airport

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