Perfect for those looking to experience the best of Bhutan, which measures development, and progress in terms of Gross National Happiness as opposed to the conventional Gross Domestic Product. Enjoy the unspoilt, distinctive culture and tradition among the hospitable people, magnificent Dzongs (fortress-like structures), serene monasteries, charming villages and amazing mountain landscapes in the peaceful Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom.
This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.
On arrival in Paro you will be picked up from Paro International Airport after clearing the immigration and customs formalities and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu for check-in. Flying into Paro is not just to connect Bhutan but also get to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Himalayan ranges, including Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Gangkar Puensum. Travel to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for an hour journey. En route stop off at the 13th century temple of Tachog Lhakhang on the base of a mountain across the Pa Chhu River along the Paro – Thimphu highway, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s great architect and saint Dupthop Thangtong Gyalpo (builder of iron chain bridges). Later, explore the Centenary Farmers Market on the banks of the Wangchhu River selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc. We’ll cross Kuendeyling Bazaam (cantilever footbridge) to the west bank of the river selling clothing, textiles and handicrafts in stalls. Tonight enjoy a welcome drink and dinner with BGT. Overnight in Thimphu.
We explore the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300m (the capital of Bhutan), home to approximately 138,736 inhabitants. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten (Stupa), built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and also dedicated to the World Peace. Join the elderly Bhutanese people or likeminded devotees circumambulating the stupa. Another must see place to tick off on your list, Kuenselphodrang (the largest Buddha Dordenma statue in the world at 51.5m) on a hill offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley. Drive to Motithang Takin Preserve to see the national animal of Bhutan followed by the Institute of Zorig Chusum (Painting School) to discover a glimpse of novices learning the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Continue on to the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory where you will see the entire process of producing handmade paper using the bark of two local tree species (Daphne and Dhekap). Here you can even try your hand at this ancient craft and make your own paper for a special souvenir.
Later, we visit Tashichhodzong that houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King and the Central Monk Body. You’ll also explore the Craft Bazaar (Authentic Bhutanese Craft) showcasing a wide range of authentic Bhutan-made art and craft products with reasonable price range. The products in its 80 stalls cover all aspect of traditional Bhutanese art and craft sourced mostly from rural areas. The evening is at leisure to relax – so why not stroll in the great atmospheric Thimphu town? Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast, travel to Punakha (77-km) for about 3 hours. Punakha, at an altitude of 1,300m, was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. En route stop off at the Druk Wangyal Chortens (108 stupas), constructed on the crest of Dochula Pass at 3,100m (45-minutes from Thimphu). On a clear day, you will enjoy an amazing 360-degree panoramic view of the snow capped mountain peaks of eastern Himalayas including Mt. Masanggang at 7,570m, the highest peak of Bhutan (locally known as Mt. Gangkar Puensum). Continue your journey descending into the sub-tropical valleys of Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang.
Later, discover the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) built by the legendary Lama Drukpa Kinley (known as the Divine Madman). The temple is known to the English-speaking world as ‘The Fertility Temple’, in the Punakha district of Bhutan, idyllically located on a round hill. Hike to the temple for about one hour (round trip), which is also revered as a sanctum of fertility. Legend has it that the childless couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting the temple – several Japanese and American couples visited this temple were believed to have blessed miraculously with children.
You will also visit the Punakha Dzong (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong) built in 1637, which is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) Rivers. The evening is at leisure to relax – so why not take a walk to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan built over the Phochhu River? Overnight in Punakha.
This morning enjoy a short hike to the fascinating temple of Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring the universal peace in this world. It is majestically located on a ridge with stunning views of the countryside. There is no temple in Bhutan built as elaborately as this, which took 9 years to build it. A 30-minute drive from the Punakha Dzong takes us to the base of the hill and then cross a suspension bridge and walk through rice fields before climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees for about 1 hour from the car park. We then drive to Gangtey (78-km) for about 3 hours via Wangdue Phodrang, the last town before entering into the isolated areas of central Bhutan. En route you will see Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. The fortress-like building was gutted by fire in 2012, which is under reconstruction.
Afterwards, explore this remote and beautiful valley; meet the local people and visit the Black-necked Crane Information Centre, which has lots of information on the valley and its famous migrating birds. Bhutan is an important winter roosting place for the rare Black-necked Crane, which breed in Tibet and then migrate over the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter during the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. They can be spotted in Phobjikha in Western Bhutan, Bumthang in Central Bhutan and Bomdeling in Eastern Bhutan. Overnight in Phobjikha.
Morning included visit to the picturesque monastery of Gangtey Gonpa, which is located on a hillock overlooking a beautiful view of the Phobjikha valley. The monastery is an important Nyingmapa School of Buddhism and the main seat of the Pema Lingpa (Pedling) tradition. Our journey then drives back to Paro, home to the famous Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest), National Museum, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. The journey passes through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. If time permits, visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower), which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan, and continue down to the Paro Dzong (also known as the Rinpung Dzong), built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The evening is at leisure to explore the Paro town and may wish to hunt for souvenirs in Handicraft Shops or visit a local farmhouse to drink tea with the farmer and his family, allowing you to experience the traditional Bhutanese village life. Overnight in Paro.
This morning you’ll take a short hike to Paro Taktshang monastery (Tiger’s Nest), located 10 miles north of Paro town (20 minutes drive). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. It is stunning in its beauty and location. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche (Padma Sambhava) flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on the back of a flaming tigress from Tibet to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in the 8th century. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, 900m above the Paro floor valley, and it takes between 4 to 5 hours to do the round trip hike plus an hour to tour the monastery. The trail is a wide, uphill the entire way but not overly steep, on the well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags.
The hike starts at the base of the mountain by the car park. Here the locals sell souvenirs, hiking poles and also a horse/pony hiring is available from this start point. Gentle horse/pony rides are available for transport half-way up the trail, where you will be treated to a stunning viewpoint of the monastery clinging to the cliff wall. There is a small cafeteria located along the trail and stop for a rest, drink or lunch. We continue with the temple of Kyichu Lhakhang. Built by the first King of Tibet Songtsen Gampo, this 7th century monastery is one of the oldest and sacred landmarks that introduced Buddhism into Bhutan, while our country was still influenced by the Bon beliefs. Overnight in Paro.
Your tour ends this morning with a departure transfer to the Paro Airport for your onward journey. Your guide from Bhutan Green Travel will see you off. Tashi Delek (Goodbye and Good Luck)!
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.
|2 Pax||3 to 10 Pax|
|Price per person in Peak Season ( Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct and Nov) - 3 Stars Hotel||$1,850||$1,660|
|Price per person in Low Season ( Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug and Dec) - 3 Stars Hotel||$1,530||$1,330|