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BhutanBest of Bhutan: culture, sites and hikes

  • Highlights
Spirituality, architecture, nature, history, and fascinating locals... All this and more awaits on this twelve-day trip to the heart of Bhutan's cultural heritage. From the legendary Tiger’s Nest, an ancient monastery on a cliff overlooking a valley, to a fortress resembling a ship floating on water from afar. See exotic wildlife and the ever-smiling Bhutanese with their unique preservation policy...

Spirituality, architecture, nature, history, and fascinating locals... All this and more awaits on this twelve-day trip to the heart of Bhutan's cultural heritage. From the legendary Tiger’s Nest, an ancient monastery on a cliff overlooking a valley, to a fortress resembling a ship floating on water from afar. See exotic wildlife and the ever-smiling Bhutanese with their unique preservation policy, with Living Arts and Crafts. You'll get a real insight into this country's history and customs, along with a whole myriad of things waiting to be discovered. 

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Trip highlights
  • Local population
    Local population
  • Walking and trekking
    Walking and trekking
  • Mountain
  • Local culture
    Local culture
  • Sightseeing

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Day 1: Welcome to Paro

The flight Paro is considered to be one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world.

You'll be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel from the airport. 

You will spend your afternoon at the Paro Rimpong Dzong.

Impressively regal, dzongs are arguably one of themost distinct architectural structures in Bhutan, as fascinating as they are beautiful.

Currently the district's headquarters, containing a monastic body of about 200 monks, dzongs are the height of Bhutanese culture.

Hike down to the bridge and wander around Paro town.


Day 2: Explore Thimphu Valley

En route to Thimphu, stop at Tachhogang and hike down to the 14th-Century suspension bridge.

Upon arrival in Thimphu, why not visit the 13th- Century Changangkha Lhakhang, overlooking the valley.

Next, the Chorten Memorial, a picture-perfect spot with many pilgrims walking around it.

You can also explore the beautiful Takin Reserve: the national animal of Bhutan, called the takin, is found only in the Eastern Himalayas. 

In Bhutan, it is found in the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park in the northern part of the country. 


Day 3: To the Tango Buddhist University

After breakfast, drive 45 minutes north of Thimphu where you'll begin your hike to the Tango Buddhist Institute. 

Tango is located in an ancient site considered to be sacred. 

In the afternoon, visit Buddha point, which over- looks Thimphu town.

Or, try your hand at archery, the national sport of Bhutan. 

Hike time: approx. 2 hours


Day 4: The Pass Zith 108 Stupas

Stop off at Dochula Pass, where you'll have time to take lots of photos!

The pass is decorated with Druk Wangyel Chorten, symbolising Bhutanese spirituality and artistry.  

As you descend the Pass, you will observe dramatic changes in vegetation. 

At the lower levels of Punakha and Wangdue, cacti, banana plants, poinsettias, and other semi-tropical plants dominate the exotic landscape.

Continue your drive towards Punakha and head to the majestic Punakha Dzong.

On your way back, stop at Lobesa and hike to Chhi-med Lhakhang, to the Temple of Bhutan’s foremost Saint, the Lama Drukpa Kuenley.

Hike to Rinchengang village for an evening of talks with the locals. 

Day 5: Over the Black Mountain

Begin the day with a five-hour drive from Punakha to Trongsa. 

The route passes through the small, windy town of Wangdue, then cross the Black Mountains via the Pelela Pass (3240m). 

After crossing the Pelela Pass, the road drops down through dwarf bamboo and fir trees you enter the Valley of Three Jis.

Stop off at Chendepji for fresh local tea. Another 2 hours from the tea stop, you will reach Trongsa, or 'New Village.' 

PunakhaPelela, Trongsa

Day 6:  A Royal Residence 

After breakfast, set off for the Tower of Trongsa. This ancient Watch Tower has gone through major restoration and has been converted into the Royal museum, providing a glimpse of Bhutan's history over the last 100 years. 

It contains two galleries showcasing the history of the monarchy in Bhutan.

Next, visit the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home to the Royal family of Bhutan. 

In the afternoon, drive to Bumthang. After crossing the Yotola High Pass, at 3400m, this will bring you to the beautiful Chumey Valley in Bumthang.

Bumthang village is famous for its woollen weaves, known as yathra - some made with yak hair! 

The weavers can be seen working at their looms at the roadside. 

The path continues over the Kikila Pass to the next valley in Bumthang, the district headquarters.  


Day 7: Jakar Dzong, 'Castle of the White Bird'

Jambay lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in the world, was built in Bhutan.

On to the Kurjey Lhakhang, named after the body imprint left on a rock by the Guru Rimpoche who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. 

In the afternoon, you'll visit Tamshing Monastery (aka Tamshing Lhendup Chholing), which literally means 'Temple of Good Message'.

It was established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa, and is an extremely important religious site in Bhutan.

The paintings on the inner wall are believed to be original unrestored works of Pema Lingpa himself. Overnight stay at hotel.


Day 8: Through the Clouds to Phobjikha

Head to Pele La Pass (11,000 ft), via a crossing, over the Black Mountain range.

On the way, feel free to take pictures or pay a visit to the villages.

Continue towards Phobjikha to take a look around Gangtey Gompa Monastery in Gangtey village. 

Chendepji, Phobjikha

Day 9: Art at the Gangtey Goemba Monastery

In the morning, hike in the direction of Gangtey Monastery and village.

located on the western slopes of Black Mountains National Park, it is a designated conservation area, as this valley is the winter roosting ground for the endangered black-necked cranes. 

These beautiful birds have a population of a mere few thousand in the entire world. 

Visit Gangtey Gompa, which, in recent years, has gone through some major renovation. 

Today, you can see some of the finest Bhutanese works of art in this monastery.

In the afternoon, hike towards Kilkhorthang village to explore the local farmhouses. 

Overnight in the farmhouse. 

Phobjikha, Gangtey

Day 10: Meet the Monks in Paro

En route to Paro, stop at Simtokha and take a walk around the oldest dzong in Bhutan.

Then, continue to Paro and visit Dungtse Lhakhang.

Free time in town.

Gangtey, Paro

Day 11: The Tiger’s Nest

Hike up to the Guru's Glory! At 10,000ft, Takshang is considered one of the holiest sites in the entirety Buddhist faith.

Takshang has been an integral place of pilgrimage for more than 1,200 years. The monastery clings to a cliff of 2,000ft, with Paro Valley down below. 

Stop off for lunch at the teahouse on the way back. Takshang is a paradise for photographers, so don't forget your cameras! 

Take snaps of cascading waterfalls, the meditation caves, water prayer wheels, flags and stupas. 

In the evening, visit a farmhouse to take a dip in a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath - the perfect way to relax after a hard day's hike!

Hike time: about 4 hours. 1 hour to reach the teahouse + 1-2 hours to reach the Temple.


Day 12: It's Bye Bye from Bhutan!

Unfortunately, the trip has come an end.

Transfer to the airport for your departure. 



Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. $2,560 / 12 days
Excluding international flights
 2 Pax 4 Pax6 Pax
Prices high season$2,560$2,220$2,170
Prices low season$2,230$1,840$1,750

Included in the price:

  • Accommodations in 3* hotels
  • (BLD) Visa fees
  • English guide
  • Meals
  • Transportation
  • Fees for museum entry
  • Bottled water in the car

Not included in the price:

  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Drinks
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