Glimpse of Bhutan Tour
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💎 Why we love it ?
This 4 nights Bhutan Tour will present a true Glimpse of Bhutan. The journey will take you through the hearts of three western districts of Bhutan – Paro, capital city Thimphu, and fertile Punakha valley which all exhibit the strength and tenacity of a nation known for preserving its ancient Buddhist culture and living in harmony with its pristine natural environment. You will visit major historical and religious centers including a 4-5 hour roundtrip hike to the most spectacular tourist attraction, Paro Taktsang which was originally built in 1692 on a sheer 800-meter rock cliff, and a 2-hour hike through the beautiful valley in Punakha.
🏁 Tour Itinerary: Glimpse of Bhutan Tour
Day 1: Arrive Paro International Airport / Transfer to Capital city Thimphu (2334m)
Arrive Paro International airport by either of only two international airlines operating in and out of Bhutan; Drukair, the national flag carrier, or Bhutan Airlines, a private airline started in 2011. Our guide and the driver will receive you on arrival and take you on your first adventure into the ‘Kingdom of Happiness’.
We’ll begin by first visiting the National Museum of Bhutan housed in the 17th-century watchtower and get insights into rich cultural traditions, history, and many artifacts. After that, you’ll be transferred to the capital city Thimphu which is home to more than 115,000 residents. The bustling little city is the main center of commerce, religion, and government in the country.
Distance from Paro – Thimphu 55km, Driving time: 1.5-hours, Thimphu altitude: 2,334m, Paro Altitude: 2,200m
On arrival in Thimphu, you’ll 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-12 pm.
🏚️ Hotel Option: Dinner and overnight at Hotel Amodhara or Kuenphen Rabten Resort.
Day 2: Thimphu / Transfer to Punakha valley (1200m)
Today, you’ll visit one of the largest sitting Buddha statues overlooking Thimphu valley and then transfer to Punakha valley via the sacred mountain pass, Dochula. The magnificent 169 feet tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha is located on a hilltop overlooking the Thimphu valley. It was built to commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of the much-beloved Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. From there we 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 the 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 the subtropical valley at 1,200m.
En route, visit the famous 15th-century Chimi Lhakhang popularly known as the “Temple of Fertility” and explore the nearby village whose houses are adorned with colorful paintings of phalluses. We’ll then drive to Punakha town and visit the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, the 17th century Punakha Dzong, spend some time appreciating the sacred wall paintings and main artifacts inside the dzong, the intricate woodworks and the architectural structure of the dzong displays a fine example of Bhutanese arts and craftsmanship which continues to influence Bhutanese architecture to this day.
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.
Distance from Thimphu – Punakha 74 km, Driving time 2.5-hours, Punakha altitude 1,200m.
🏚️ Hotel Option: Dinner and overnight at Meri Puensum Resort or Hotel Lobesa.
You can also opt to stay at a farmhouse with the local family to understand the daily life of a family in rural Bhutan.
Day 3: Hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten / Transfer back to Paro valley (2200m)
Today, before we drive back to Paro, you will do a wonderful hike to a Buddhist temple known as Khamsum Yuellay Namgyel Chorten located on a serene hilltop overlooking the Punakha valley.
Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten: 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, monasteries, and Zangdogpelri (Copper Coloured Mountain). It was built over a period of almost 10 years under the command of Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, one of the Grand Queen Mothers of Bhutan, and was consecrated in 1999.
It takes only about 20 minutes to drive from the main town of Punakha to the nearest road point. From there you cross a suspension bridge over the Punakha Mochu (female) River and the trail takes you through paddy fields. The round-trip hike usually takes less than 3-hours hours.
A picnic lunch can be arranged by the bank of the Mochu river on the way back. After lunch, drive back to Paro.
On arriving back in Paro, visit the 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang which is believed to have been built in 659 A.D. by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to subdue the spirit of a giant demoness causing harm to the propagation of Buddhism in the Himalayan region. In order to subdue this demoness, King Songtsen Gampo was required to build 108 temples across the affected region. Bhutan is blessed with two of these 108 temples, the other one is Jampa Lhakhang located in the district of Bumthang in central Bhutan. Both the temples were believed to have been built overnight.
Leisure time to explore Paro town.
Distance 115 km | Time 3 hours |Thimphu Altitude 2,195mm/7,200ft
🏚️ Hotel Option: Dinner and overnight at Khangkhu Resort to Bhutan Mandala Resort.
Day 4: Hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery, Tiger’s Nest (3120m)
After an early breakfast at the hotel, you will hike to the famous Paro Taktsang Monastery popularly known as Tiger’s Nest, and later in the afternoon, visit a beautiful farmhouse to enjoy a savory home-cooked local cuisine.
Hike to Taktsang Monastery at 3,120m/10,235ft feet above sea level: The round-trip hike to Taktsang normally takes about 4-5 hours. Taktsang Monastery is built precariously on the rock cliff some 800m above the valley floor. The history of Taktsang is associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava (known as Guru Rinpoche), the Indian saint who came to Bhutan and introduced Tantric Buddhism in the 8th century AD. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew into the cave from Kurtoe Khenpajong in eastern Bhutan, riding on a tigress. It is not only considered as one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Bhutan but also “a must-visit” place for tourists.
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.
Towards the late afternoon, visit a beautiful farmhouse and experience the traditional Bhutanese way of life. If you are interested, you can soak in a therapeutic and revitalizing traditional hot stone bath for an additional fee of about US$15 per person. Specially selected river stones believed to contain minerals are heated in a wood-fired fireplace and dropped into a chamber of wooden tub releasing minerals. Delicious home-cooked local cuisine will be served.
🏚️ Hotel Option: Overnight at Khangkhu Resort of Bhutan Mandala Resort.
Day 5 – Transfer to Paro International Airport for Departure
After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to Paro Int’l 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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