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BhutanMonasteries, rice fields and festival Thimphu

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  • Highlights
Tour itinerary includes
  • City
  • Local culture
    Local culture
  • Nature observation
    Nature observation
  • Sightseeing
  • Meet locals
    Meet locals

Your group tour

Day 1: Welcome to Kingdom of Bhutan

During the flight over to Paro, you'll be able to see some of the highest peaks such as the legendary Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and Macula. Upon arrival, you'll be met by our representative who will accompany you.

Later visit National Museum which was built in 1649 and initially it was used as a Ta- Dzong or watchtower, but now houses a wide range of religious artifacts, rare stamps, information of flora and fauna of Bhutan. The visit to the museum is to familiarize you with the Bhutanese culture and traditions.

After visiting the museum you can hike to Zuri temple, the beautiful hike takes around an hour or more which starts from Ta Dzong and stop at Hotel Uma. You can see spectacles view of Paro valley along the bank of Paro River, Paro Dzong, Paro city and Paro international airport.

Free time in the city!

Gangtey Palace (Paro)

Day 2: Paro to Thimphu 

After breakfast drive to Thimphu, following the Paro and Thimphu River for one hour or more. You can make numerous stops on the way to enjoy the beautiful rice fields; forest and hills dotted with stupas and prayer flags.

Upon reaching Thimphu, visit Memorial Chorten in the heart of the town, followed by the Buddha stupa overlooking the Thimphu valley which is the largest sitting Buddha in the world.   

Visits centenary farmer’s market a two-story building about 400 stall that provides farmers from around the country the opportunity to display their products and people a chance to support the local agriculture. Vendors from throughout the religion start arriving from Wednesday and remain till Sunday night. The best time to explore the markets within these four days when the rush of trade is going on. It is also a great way to get acquainted with the locals and learn about the ingredients of a Bhutanese diet. Also watch the resident’s horde the market, choosing the best of the season’s produce.

Night at the hotel Osel (Thimphu)

Day 3: Thimphu festival

Thimphu Tshechu (festival) is the most popular in Bhutan with its unique happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in honor of Guru Rinpoche or Guru Padmasambhava, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. Tshechu (festival) are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar and lasts up to four days in which a series of highly stylized masked dance rituals are performed. The festival is held at Thimphu Dzong. The festival commemorates the deeds of the great saint Guru Rinpoche which are performed in the form of masked dances. The local people attend festivals to gain merit. It is also a time whereby people come dressed up in their finest colorful costumes to socialize and make merry. It is an event that has been happening for centuries. “You may get the attention of the Acharya (clown), but people won’t stare at you like elsewhere.”

In the evening visit Trashichhodzong, Built in the 17th century, this Dzong is the summer residence of the central monastic body headed by the Je Khenpo (chief spiritual leader).  The king’s office is also located inside this Dzong. The woodwork and the paintings are among the finest in the country. You may take pictures in the courtyard and visit the assembly hall of the monk.

Night at the hotel Osel (Thimphu)

Day 4: Second Day in Thimphu: visit to Chari mediation center

Drive 16 km from Thimphu and hike to the monastery presently acts as a significant retreat and teaching center for the southern Tibetan Buddhism school. People from all walks of life come to tour the historic scenery while still taking some time to learn its history and the religious doctrines. The site is also known to have about 30 monks who ensure safety and are also in charge of the religious activities in the monastery.  These monks are also entrusted with taking care and maintaining the monastery.

Due to its rich history, Pictorial view and impressive hiking adventure, the Cheri Goemba monastery has become a favored tourist destination especially for learners who are interested in learning the Buddhist philosophy. The place is also an essential venue for meditation, hikes retreats and studies.

Free time in the town and dinner in local restaurant.

Gyelsa Boutique Inn (Thimphu)

Day 5: Over the Dochula pass and to the rice fields of Punakha 77kms, 3 hours

After breakfast drive to Punakha, on the way Stop at Dochula pass (3150m), enjoy the panorama of the Bhutan Himalayas. Here you can spend some time walking around and photographing the 108 Druk Wangyel Chorten, Built in 2004 to “celebrate the stability and progress that His Majesty has brought to the nation,” this hill of 108 religious monuments in the middle of the pass reflects Bhutan’s spiritual and artistic traditions.

Visit Punakha Dzong. Built in 1637 between the confluence of the Po chu (male river) and Mo chu (female river), this fortress monastery is the winter residence of Bhutan’s spiritual leader, the Je Khenpo or Head Abbot, and the central Monk Body comprising of over 350 monks. In the afternoon take your family for white water rafting in Mo Chu River in Punakha.

Night at Hotel Vara (Punakha)

Day 6: Punakha to Phobjikha valley, 68 km, 2 hours

In the morning take a short hike to Chhi- med (means no dogs) Lhakhang in the picturesque valley, to visit the temple of Bhutan’s foremost saint, the Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popular known as the Divine Madman.

Visit Punakha Dzong. Built in 1637 between the confluence of the Po chu (male river) and Mo chu (female river), this fortress monastery is the winter residence of Bhutan’s spiritual leader, the Je Khenpo or Head Abbot, and the central Monk Body comprising of over 350 monks. In the afternoon take your family for white water rafting in Mo Chu River in Punakha. 

Later in the afternoon drive to Phobjikha around 2 hours. This part of drive is one of the most scenic, you will be crossing streams, waterfalls, prayer wheels turned by water, yaks with their herders, remote and picturesque villages and lots of birds.

As we approach Lawala pass (3320m/10624ft), you will get the first glimpse of Black mountain ranges. Before reaching the pass, we will take right towards the valley of rare and famous Black Necked Cranes.  First stop is at the village of and Gangtey (30000m), followed by Gangtey Gompa. 

The villagers are said to be descendants of about 50 Gomchen or lay monks who settled there long time ago. Visit Gangtey monastery and hike to the glacial valley of Phobjikha (2900m/10440ft). This is one of the most beautiful valley in Bhutan. It is the nesting ground of the rare Black necked Cranes in winter.  

Dewachen (Gangtey)

Day 7: Phobjikha valley to Paro via Punakha and Thimphu

From the hotel drive back to back to Lawa la pass, from where you will be taken for a breathtaking hike called the Gangtey 360° or you can start from Gangtey lodge but is more challenging. You will set off on a 45-minute hike up towards the meditation cliff at 3,400m. The hike takes you up a sloping lined pathway, through towering bushes of jade-hued bamboo. During the spring months, the woodlands on either side of the valley look particularly stunning, with an array of coloured rhododendrons. In the winter months, the views from the top offer up the snow-capped Himalayas to the north.

When you reach the top you are rewarded with unobstructed 360° views on all sides; Gangtey Valley as far as the eye can see and the Himalayas. Afterwards head down the ridge towards the Shedra (Monk College) and return to the lodge.

Later continue to drive to paro and on the way stop to visit, Simtokha Dzong was the oldest Dzong built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal the founder of Bhutan.

The name Simtokha literally means “A top a Demon” and the legend associated with the dzong’s construction tells us that it was built in order to subdue an evil spirit that was harassing travelers in the region. The dzong was modeled after the Gyal Gyad Tshel Institute of Ralung (Tibet) and is quite distinctive as its Utse or central tower has 12 sides.  The site was also a vitally strategic location from which to protect the Thimphu valley and the passage east to the Dochu La and eastern Bhutan.

Phobjikha, ParoPunakhaThimphu
Gangtey Palace (Paro)

Day 8: Excursion to Takshang

After breakfast, drive 15 minutes to the starting point in order to hike to Takshang Monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”).  Visited and sanctified by Guru Rinpoche, this place is one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the Himalayan world.  Over the years, many great Buddhist masters have visited and mediated here.  Later, in the year 1692 AD, the fourth temporal ruler of Bhutan built the monastery over the cave where Guru.

Rinpoche and his consort Khandro Yeshi Tshogyal mediated.  The monastic complex clings to the rock towering 800 meters above the valley (2950 meters above sea level).

Free time in the town.

Gangtey Palace (Paro)

Day 9: Departure

Drive to the airport for departure.



Price and dates for group departures

Details of the group

Minimum group size: 3 people
Maximum group size: 15 people

Price and departure dates

Price per person, based on occupancy of one double room. Excluding international flights.

Departure date of group tourFrom
From 09/25/2020 to 10/03/2020$2,130

Included in the price:

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • In-trip ground transportation
  • Activities according to the trip itinerary
  • Airport transfers
  • 24/7 local agency support
  • Full time trip guide

Not included in the price:

  • Arrival and departure flights
  • Meals and beverages not indicated
  • Personal expenses
  • Service gratuities
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance
Book your flights to Bhutan
International flights are not included in this trip. Thanks to our partnership with Option Way, you can take advantage of booking your flights directly with your local agent.
Check out the many benefits:
  • Competitive rates
  • All-inclusive prices with no hidden fees
  • Your local agent Lobzang, in Bhutan, will inform you of any changes to your flights
For more information or to book your flights directly, head to our partner site.

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