Explore the Hidden Kingdom of Bhutan
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💎 Why we love it ?
Travel to 4 western districts of Bhutan – Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Wangdue Phodrang (Phobjikha valley) and immerse yourself into the mindful Buddhist way of life, away from the materialistic world, and discover why Bhutan is dubbed as ‘Kingdom of Happiness’. Visit ancient temples and magnificent Dzongs (fortresses) and marvel at the fine wall paintings, exquisite architecture, and craftsmanship that still continues to influence Bhutanese architecture today. Hike to an 8th-century sacred site where Bhutan’s iconic landmark, 17th century Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest is located, perched on the face of a precarious 800m rock cliff. Hike to the 13th-century religious site and visit Tango Monastery built in 1689 on the steep mountainside.
🏁 Tour Itinerary: Explore the Hidden Kingdom of Bhutan
Day 1 – Arrive Paro International Airport / Transfer to Thimphu (2334m)
On your arrival at Paro, the only International Airport in Bhutan, our guide and driver will receive and escort you to visit the National Museum housed in the 17th-century watchtower called Ta Dzong. The Museum displays a snapshot of Bhutan’s history & rich cultural heritage. From there we drive to Thimphu.
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and home to approximately 115,000 residents. This bustling little city is the main center of commerce, religion, and government in the country. It is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights.
Note: The coverage of excursions on the first day depends on your flight arrival time. If you arrive in the morning, you should be able to visit all of the sites listed below. If it is in the afternoon, we might be able to visit one or two only.
On arrival in Thimphu, visit the National Memorial Chorten, the most frequented religious site and obviously an important landmark in Thimphu. The National Memorial Choeten is a Buddhist Stupa built-in 1974 in memory of the Late Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who passed away in 1972. People from all walks of life come here to pray and circumambulate offering you a good opportunity to observe how Bhutanese people devote themselves to daily prayers and take refuge in the teachings of the Lord Buddha.
Buddha Dordhenma Statue – Buddha Point at Kuensel Phodrang: The magnificent 169 feet tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha is located on a hilltop overlooking the Thimphu valley. It was built to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck and also for the purpose of bringing peace in the world. Leisure time in Thimphu town.
Distance: 55km, Time: 1.5-Hours, Thimphu Altitude: 2,334m/7,655ft, Paro Altitude: 2,195m/7,200ft.
🏚️ Hotel Option: Dinner and overnight in Thimphu at Amodhara / City Hotel / Bhutan Suites.
Day 2 – Hike to Tango Monastery / Transfer to Punakha Valley (1200m)
Today, after early breakfast, we will do a 2-3-hour return hike to Tango Monastery and then after lunch transfer to Punakha valley via the sacred mountain pass, Dochula. Located on the mountainside north of Thimphu, Tango Monastery was founded in 1222 by the Tibetan saint Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, who first established the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism in Bhutan and subsequently became the state religion of Bhutan. The round-trip hike through the pristine forests takes about 3-hour.
After the hike, a traditional lunch will be served at the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant. After lunch, visit the National Institute of Zorig Chusum where the 13 traditional arts & crafts of Bhutan are taught. Arts & Crafts are an essential part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage that has been practiced since time immemorial. Just located nearby is the National Library & Archives of Bhutan considered as the national treasure and is the fundamental source of history, medicine, arts & culture. Both Institute of Zorg Chusum and National Library opens during weekdays and on Saturdays from 10 am-12pm.
We then drive to Punakha valley via Dochula, a sacred mountain pass at an altitude of 3150m above sea level. On a clear day, you can see a panoramic view of the eastern Himalayan mountain range including some of Bhutan’s highest peaks. Continue driving to Punakha passing through some villages, the elevation drops gradually, and the road winds through the pine trees. As you reach the lower valley, you will feel the drastic change in altitude from 3,150m just an hour and a half ago to a warm subtropical valley at 1,200m.
At 11km before reaching Punakha town, visit the famous 15th-century Chimi Lhakhang popularly known as the “Temple of Fertility” and explore the nearby village where houses are adorned with colorful paintings of phalluses.
Distance from Thimphu to Punakha 74 km, Time 2.5-hours, Punakha Altitude 1,200m
🏚️ Hotel Option: Overnight at Meri Puensum Resort or Hotel Lobesa.
You can also opt to stay at a farmhouse with the local family to experiences the daily life of an ordinary Bhutanese family in rural Bhutan.
Day 3 – Sightseeing in Punakha / Transfer to Phobjikha Valley (3000m)
Today, before we drive to Phobjjkha valley, you will do a wonderful hike to Khamsum Yuellay Namgyel Chorten, a Buddhist temple located on a serene hilltop overlooking the Punakha valley, and visit the historic Punakha Dzong.
Located on a mountain ridge overlooking the picturesque Punakha valley, this wonderful Buddhist structure is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture used in building temples and monasteries. The round-trip hike takes about 3-hours through the terraced rice fields and a short gentle uphill hike through the pine trees.
If your group size is more than 3 people, a picnic lunch can be arranged by the bank of the Mochu river on the way back to Punakha town. Then visit the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, the 17th century Punakha Dzong. You’ll spend some time appreciating the sacred wall paintings and main artifacts inside the dzong, the intricate woodworks and the architectural structure of the dzong display a fine example of Bhutanese arts and craftsmanship which continues to influence Bhutanese architecture even today.
From there walk to Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge that runs over the glacial-fed Phochu (male) river and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Punakha Dzong is flanked by two glacial-fed rivers – Phochu (male) and Mochu (female) rivers.
After that transfer to Phobjikha valley in Gangtey. Phobjikha is a vast U-shaped glacial valley at an elevation of about 3,000m/9,840ft and it is a winter home for endangered Black Necked Crane from November to March and migrates back to Tibetan Plateau by the beginning of the spring season. As part of the conservation effort, Phobjikha valley has been declared as a protected area and an important biodiversity hotspot.
Distance from Punakha to Phobjikha Valley 80 km, Time 3-hours, Phobjikha Altitude 3,000m
🏚️ Hotel Option: Overnight at Yueloki Guest House or Dewachen Hotel & Spa.
Day 4 – Phobjikha Valley / Transfer back to Paro Valley (2200m)
Today, after an early breakfast, you’ll visit one of the important landmarks in the region, Gangtey Monastery, and do Gangtey Nature Hike before driving back to Paro. Visit one of the largest monasteries in Bhutan, the 17th-century Gangtey Monastery and offer prayers and interact with enthusiastic happy monks studying Buddhist philosophy. From there venture out on an exhilarating nature hike. The trail is about 5km and takes approximately 3 hours through the woods surrounded by splendid nature all around, wonderful meadows, beautiful traditional village houses, farmlands, and crystalline streams. This short nature hike gives you a great feeling of the valley and an understanding of the livelihood of the people living there.
We then drive back to Paro valley. Lunch can be served either in Phobjikha valley or on the way back to Paro.
On arrival in Paro, visit the 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang built in 659 AD by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo to subdue the spirit of giant ogress causing harm to the propagation of Buddhism in the Himalayan region.
Distance from Phpbjikha to Paro 175km, Driving time 5-hours
🏚️ Hotel Option: Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort.
Day 5 – Hike to the famous Paro Taktsang & Visit Traditional Farmhouse for Authentic Homecooked Local Cuisine
Today, on the 6th day of your trip, you will hike to the famous 17th century Paro Taktsang Monastery popular known as the “Tiger’s Nest”. Originally built in 1692, the iconic Taktsang is perched on a rock cliff some 800 meters above the valley floor and is the most visited sacred site in Bhutan. The round-trip hike takes about 4-5 Hours for most visitors. A vegetarian lunch will be served at the Taktsang Cafeteria located midway along the trail. Meat is not served at this restaurant owing to the sacredness of the Taktsang Monastery. Descend back to the base and drive to Paro town where you will spend some leisure time.
Oneway horse riding is available on your way up to the mid-point (Taktsang Viewpoint Cafeteria) for a fee of about USD20 per horse per person. Horse riding is not recommended on your way down and most owners will not allow it.
Later in the evening, visit a beautiful traditional farmhouse for an authentic dinner comprised of homecooked local cuisine. You can also soak up in the therapeutic traditional hot stone bath for an additional fee of about US$15 per person.
🏚️ Hotel Option: Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort.
Day 6 – Departure from Paro International Airport
After breakfast, depending on your flight time you will be transferred to Paro International Airport for your onward journey.
Terms & Conditions
- Free cancellation for up to 30 days prior to departure date
- 20% will be charged if cancelled 16-29 days prior to departure date
- 30% will be charged if cancelled 08-15 days prior to departure date
- 50% will be charged if cancelled 03-07 days prior to departure date
- No refund will be available if No Show or cancelled 0-02 days prior to departure date
The flight tends to get fully booked months ahead especially during the peak season. We highly recommend you book flights a few months ahead of your departure date. We can help with the arrangement of flights to and from Bhutan. There are only two airlines operating in and out of Bhutan:
- Drukair, the national flag carrier of Bhutan (www.drukair.com.bt) operates from and to these cities/International Airports: Bangkok, Bagdogra, Bodhgaya, Dhaka, Delhi, Guwahati, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Singapore.
- Bhutan Airlines, a private airline introduced in 2011 (www.bhutanairlines.bt) operates from and to these cities/International Airport: Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu
Other Important Information
- Airport pick-up and drop-off time will be coordinated depending on your flight timings
- For the purpose of processing a visa, you must send us a clear passport copy of all the participants after you book the tour. A whole biodata page including the machine-readable zone must be seen clearly. It can be either scanned or just a mobile photo shot as long as it is clear and legible. Passports should have a validity of at least SIX MONTHS from the day you depart from Bhutan.
- You’ll receive a copy of your approved e-Visa Clearance letter in PDF format within 3-4 business days from the day the visa application is submitted. You MUST print a copy of this letter and present it at the check-in counter of the airline flying into Bhutan. Without the proof of an e-Visa Clearance letter, you may be denied boarding the flight to Bhutan. The actual visa will be stamped on your passport on arrival at the Paro International Airport.
- Child(ren) below 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult
- All participants between the age of 13 – 18 years old must send us a valid copy of the Student Photo ID Card/document after booking the tour.
- All our tour guides speak very fluent English. Guides speaking other major languages (Chinese, Japanese, French & German) can be arranged at an additional fee of $120 per day.
- You must let us know prior to your arrival if you have any dietary restrictions/preference.
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