Arrive in Bangkok. You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel to relax and adjust to the time change. Tomorrow, you’ll head to Bhutan, a tiny kingdom sandwiched between India and China, which began welcoming outsiders less than 50 years ago. Bhutan became a parliamentary democracy in 2008.
Early this morning, fly to Paro in the Kingdom of Bhutan, where you might get your first glimpse of the mighty Himalayas, if the weather is clear. Take a scenic drive of the winding valley and unique farmhouses along the way to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan and its largest city, about 8,000 feet above sea level. En route, visit Simtokha Dzong (Dzong means “fortress”), one of the oldest in Bhutan, built in 1629 A.D. by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan.
In Thimphu, nestled in a deep valley, visit the National Memorial Chorten, a monument of world peace and prosperity built in 1974 and dedicated to the memory of Bhutan’s popular third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. One of the most visible structures in Thimphu, its elaborate carvings and gold-and-white exterior give no hint of the rather naughty depiction of deities in various poses. Unlike similar stupas, or memorial structures, this contains no human remains, but is still a site of daily prayers. Later, attend a lecture about Bhutan’s history, politics and society led by a local expert.