More than three quarters of a century ago, British Political Officer Derrick Williamson and his young wife Margaret D. Willaimson visiting Bhutan wrote:
“...each house was surrounded by a sizeable tract of land upon which the family could grow enough food to support itself and little over to barter for other goods. The fact that Bhutan had sufficient land for all and consequently suffered no population problem meant, moreover, that the people could enjoy an unusually happy way of life.”
Well, in those days there were no roads to Bhutan and they had to descend from Nathu La pass in Western Bhutan into Paro valley, one of the rice bowls of Bhutan. If the Williamsons made the journey today, they would fly straight into Paro valley, and the other rice bowl valleys are just hours away by car. The rice bowl valleys of Bhutan… Paro, Thimphu and Punakha-Wangdue grow the famed Bhutanese red rice. Be it in during the planting season or harvesting season, you will encounter the farmers in their fields, whistling a song as they go about their business. You will be taken back to the bygone innocence of time when each family grew their own food!!
Rice Bowl Valleys Tour
Arrival at Paro – Thimphu
Arrive at Paro by Druk Air flight. Our guide will receive you upon arrival. After lunch proceed by car to Thimphu. Evening walk through Thimphu Town.
Night halt: Thimphu.
Sightseeing in Thimphu
Thimphu valley sightseeing for full day which includes: Memorial Chorten (Stupa), Bhutan Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, National Library, School of Fine Arts, Institute of Traditional Medicine, Tashicho-dzong (the seat of the Royal Government), Zilukha Nunnery, Traditional Handmade Paper Factory and Handicrafts Emporium.
Night halt: Thimphu.
Thimphu – Punakha
Morning drive to Punakha via Dochu La pass (3,050 m), which offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges. Afternoon visit to Punakha Dzong (previously the winter capital of Bhutan).
Night halt: Punakha.
Punakha – Wangdue – Thimphu
After breakfast drive down the valley to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Back to Thimphu for Lunch. Free time in the afternoon (shopping, meeting locals, going to bars).
Night halt: Thimphu
Thimphu to Paro Valley
Morning drive to Paro (2 hrs). Enroute visits Semtokha Dzong (oldest dzong in Bhutan). After lunch, visit 8th century Kichu Monastery. Drive to Ta-Dzong (National Museum), Rinpung Dzong and Paro’s local market.
Night halt: Paro
After breakfast drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (the Fortress where Drukpas won over joint Tibetan-Mongol Invasions in 1700s). Along the way, one can view the sacred Mount Jhomolhari (7,314m) – The abode of the Goddess Jhomo. Drive back to Satsam Chorten and then hike up to view the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) built on the face of a 1000 m rock cliff. End the day by visiting typical Bhutanese farmhouse to experience the daily life of the local people.
Night Halt: Paro.
Depart Paro (Bhutan)
Transfer to Paro airport for your departure flight from Bhutan.