Experience Bhutan tour: For much of the 20th century, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan was all but forgotten by the world; indeed, in a country where television has only been allowed since 1999, the modern age passed much of Bhutan by. A land of deep valleys and dzong (fortresses) perched on precarious peaks, it is one of the most isolated and least developed nations in the world. Its continued isolation is no longer an accident: Bhutan’s traditional culture is strictly protected and visitors carefully regulated. In the only country in the world where tobacco sales are banned and the capital has no traffic lights, the opportunity to experience a place time forgot isn’t a vacation, it’s a privilege. This classic tour is perfect for those who want to experience Bhutan in all its majesty rather than see it.
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 1: Arrival: Transfer to Thimphu (Driving time – 1.5 hours)
As your Druk Air flight weaves through the valley, arrival in Bhutan is like no other. As you touch down, keep your camera at the ready, as we have noticed how passengers slowly disembark and then stand on the tarmac totally bewildered. Then move through to immigration where you will present your Visa Approval letter and Passport for the official stamp. As you clear the Immigration check, please make your way to the baggage delivery area and here you will meet your Guide for the first time. The transfer to Thimphu is approximately 1 ½ hours and upon arrival and settling in at the hotel, you will drive to Kuensel Phodrang, (Buddha Point) a place from where one can get a complete view of the town of Thimphu. The point has the largest statue of the Buddha. Later, you will have the choice of the National Memorial Chorten and perhaps time to stroll the Main Street for some interesting Himalayan artifacts or textiles. (Overnight at Thimphu)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 2: Visit to Cheri Monastery – Hiking
A 40-minute drive from the town, takes you to the starting point for the walk to Cheri Monastery which is believed to have been visited by Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century. After crossing a bridge, the main trail to Cheri zigzags upwards to a Chorten. Remember to pass this in clock-wise direction as a sign of respect. Shortly after passing a few buildings, you will see the temple on your left. Sometimes you might spot goral (wild goat) jumping around the cliffs nearby.
Cheri is considered very sacred as it contains the remains of Tempi Nima, the father of the first Zhabdrung of Bhutan, and beautiful frescoes of Buddhist saints. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built it in 1620 in memory of his father. Parts were later converted to a nunnery and a few nuns still live here today.
After the hike from Cheri monastery, go downhill past Zilukha Nunnery, a private Goemba housing 55 – 200 nuns. As you cross the valley floor, you will pass the Indian Embassy before turning right on the old road to Lhazophakha. You will pass Trashi Chhoe Dzong on your right before continuing towards town.
Trashi Chhoe Dzong is popularly known as Thimphu Dzong, and is the seat of the government and the centre of all religious affairs of the Kingdom. It houses the office of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck.
Later in the afternoon, you will have the choice of National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum and National Library to visit. (Overnight at Thimphu)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 3: From Thimphu to Gangtey.
An early departure for a dramatic drive over the high mountain passes of Dochu La and on to the Phobjika Valley. Sights on the way include one of Bhutan’s first fortress monasteries, the 17th century Simtokha Dzong, and ancient wall paintings at the Hongtsho Goemba monastery. The journey continues over the 3,050m mountain pass where on a clear day, towering Himalayan peaks are clearly visible. The descent down thru the Punakha Valley along the Kingdom’s only east-west highway continues on through the scenic village of Wangdi. Carrying on the highway follows the scenic Dang Chhu before climbing thru forests of bamboo and oak, and just before crossing the Pele La pass, a small side road splinters off to the hidden Phobjika Valley. On arrival you will have time to visit the striking Gangtey Goemba, sitting at the head of the valley, and perhaps strolling thru the quaint Gangtey village or hike amongst the blooming rhododendrons. (Overnight at Gangtey – hotel or farmhouse)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 4: Exploring Phobjika Valley.
Various walks or a mountain bike ride thru this magnificent valley can be arranged. However, today you will visit the only monastery in western Bhutan of Buddhism’s Nyingmapa sect, the oldest school of Himalayan Buddhism. Leaving the monastery en route to the hotel, walk along a nature trail and visit a local farmhouse amid the stunning valley landscape. (Overnight at Gangtey – hotel or farmhouse)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 5: Phobjika to Bumthang.
Today’s journey onward to Jakar (Bumthang) is perhaps long, but certainly memorable with dramatic landscapes of terraced farmland, deep river valleys and precariously perched farmhouses viewed from the only east west highway that has been ingeniously carved out of the mountain faces. Following a brief stop at Chendebji Chorten, which according to belief was built to cover the remains of a demon spirit, you will carry on to what was the original home of the royal family. Upon reaching Trongsa you may take time to stroll this quaint village and official business permitting, perhaps visit the Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home to Bhutan’s monarch where you will often find novice monks reciting mantras or practicing on sacred horns, flutes or drums. The drive onward to Bumthang takes you over the picturesque Yotong La and down into the Chhume Valley, home of Bhutan’s famous Yatra weaving. Here you will have a chance to browse the traditional textiles and perhaps see the weavers create their intricate handiwork. (Overnight at Bumthang)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 6: Explore Bumthang Valley.
This morning you will explore the grand Kurjey Lhakhang, considered one of Bhutan’s most auspicious monuments, that was once the resting place of Guru Rimpoche, and Jambay Lhakhang, home to the early winter festivals that draw thousands of Bhutanese for their annual blessings. Heading back into town and across the Bumthang Chhu, you will enjoy a visit to the sin alleviating Tamshing Monastery followed by quick visits to the valleys unique cottage industries – Red Panda Brewery, Bumthang Cheese/Dairy Facility and the Bumthang Distillery, home to numerous distinctive spirits. (Overnight at Bumthang)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 7: Explore Tang Valley – Bumthang District.
Today you will explore further in Bumthang district with an excursion the stunningly beautiful Tang Valley. This seldom visited valley offers a treat in revealing some off the beaten track lhakhangs and monasteries, and the amazing museum at Ugen Chhoeling Palace. A short hike takes you up to this well maintained Palace and it cultural treasures inside. Along way you will stop for a traditional picnic with breathtaking views of the pristine surroundings. (Overnight at Bumthang)
Experience Bhutan tour Day 8: Bumthang to Punakha.
Today you will start with an early departure for the lengthy drive to Punakha. Upon entering the Punakha Valley you may stop to stretch your legs for a short walk thru the valley floor to the Chimi Lhakhang, the auspicious fertility monastery built by the “Divine Madman in 1499. (Overnight at Punakha)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 9: Explore Punakha Valley.
Your day in Punakha Valley begins with a hike up thru fields of chillies, cabbages and rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the upper end of the valley to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the Queens and consecrated in 1999. Returning down thru the valley you will have plenty of time to take in the impressive Punakha Dzong, home to the remains of Bhutan’s first ruler, Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal, and the winter residence of the monastic order’s leader and his entourage of monks. Later a you will drive to hotel or local restaurant for lunch and following lunch a quick drive will take you to the village of Talo where you will stop to walk the stunning, quiet grounds of the village temple and perhaps visit the home village of the Kingdom’s four Queens. Further hikes or valley excursions can be organized. (Overnight at Punakha)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 10: Transfer to Paro Valley
Today, you will drive back to Paro en route visiting a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse, to gain an insight into the lifestyle and culture of the local people. This beautiful valley encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, the country’s only airport, and the National Museum. Mt. Jomolhari (7,300m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley, its glacial waters plunging through deep gorges to form the Pa Chu (Paro River). The Paro valley is one of the kingdom’s most fertile, producing the bulk of Bhutan’s famous red rice from its terraced fields.
In the evening, take a stroll along the main street for a few handicrafts shops. (Overnight at Paro)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 11: Paro Valley Exploration
The day starts with a visit to the National Museum where an intriguing collection of artefacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom. Just a short walk downhill lays the dominating Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. From the Dzong, the tour crosses Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge, and guests are then driven to the town temple, built in 1525, to view ancient wall paintings. This afternoon there will be choice of excursions with those wanting a further immersion into the culture and religion, visits to the Kyichu Lhakhang, Dumtse Lhakhang and the Drukgyel Dzong alter room can be organized. For the hikers, a beautiful trail can be taken up behind the lodge carrying on past Drukgyel Dzong, along the Paro Chhu, then across a suspension bridge and up thru terraced farmland and forests before looping back down the river to a second bridge and across the river, returning to the hotel. (Overnight at Paro)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 12: Paro Valley Exploration and Tiger’s Nest Hike.
In the morning, take an excursion to Takstang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest. “Tiger’s Nest” monastery, most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, is spectacularly located on the side of a cliff 900m above the valley floor. It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for 3 months, hence its name, “Tiger’s Nest”. There have been shrines at this sacred place for many centuries. The principal lhakhang of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. The main structure was severely damaged by fire in 1998, but after many years of painstaking restoration work, the complex has now been fully restored to its former glory. Takstang is a place of pilgrimage which Bhutanese try to visit at least once in a lifetime. Balance of the day at leisure. (Overnight at Paro)
Experience Bhutan tour: Day 13: Departure Day.
Early morning transfer to airport.
Please note that some of the sights/itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the rights to alter the itinerary since tours are made in advance and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve your overall travel experience in Bhutan
The driving and hiking times mentioned are approximate times and do not include breaks in the journey for sightseeing, photo/tea/meal/rest stops. There may be delays in transfer time due road conditions, road repair/widening works, inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. During the treks/hikes, there may be delays or diversion of hiking trails due to trail conditions, inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. Please note that at the moment there are numerous areas where road conditions are not very good due to road widening/repair works and you may experience rough and bumpy drives.
Experience Bhutan tour: Pricing due to currency fluctuations and seasonal changes please inquire for the best possible price.
Departs daily on request, this is a private tour and represents excellent value for money.
Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs, private basis not join in, please inquire for pricing which varies depending on accommodation standards.
Experience Bhutan tour: Suggested hotels used are:
Thimphu Hotel Phuntsho Pelri or Similar Hotel Standard Room
Gangtey Hotel Dewachen or Similar Hotel Standard Room
Bumthang Hotel Mt. Lodge or Similar Hotel Standard Room
Punakha Hotel Zangtopelri or Similar Hotel Standard Room
Paro Hotel Udumwara or Similar Hotel Standard Room
Experience Bhutan tour: What’s Included:
Assistance on arrival & departure at airport/hotel by a representative
Transport using A/C Transport as detailed in the program.
Accommodation on Single/Twin sharing basis for a total of 12 nights.
All Meals included in the program.
English speaking Accompanying guide for sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary.
Entrance fees at the monuments and places of visit. (Only one visit to all the monuments).
Bhutan Visa Fee
Tourism Development fee. (Bhutan)
Govt royalty and taxes. (Bhutan)
Experience Bhutan tour: What’s NOT Included:
Visa fees airport tax
Meals not specified.
Personal expenses like telephone bills/laundry charges/table drinks/tips of any nature to driver/guide/restaurant boys etc
Christmas and New Year Dinner.
Experience Bhutan tour: Creating Unique Touring Experiences
All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. We can tailor or custom design a Bhutan tour to your individual specifications, contact us now.