Perfect for those who manage a much-deserved break from their hectic work schedule. You can easily do a month-long tour of Bhutan, but this express tour also gets you to some of the must-see highlights of Western Bhutan.
Arrive in Paro
Flying in to the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression. On arrival at Paro airport, after immigration and custom formalities, your guide will receive you and transfer you to Thimphu.
Highlights: The National Memorial Chorten; The school of 13 traditional arts and crafts (zorig chusum); and Folk Heritage Museum. (Overnight in Thimphu)
Excursion to Punakha Valley
Leaving Thimphu the road gradually climbs through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m/10,000 ft.). This pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After a brief stop to catch the breathtaking views, we will descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha (1,350 meters/ 4,430 feet). Before proceeding further to Punakha town we will hike through rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang temple located on a small hilltop. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in 14th century. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. After Lunch, continue our drive towards Punakha Dzong (Fortress) situated between the two rivers Pho Chu and Mochu (Male and Female Rivers). This Dzong had served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than three hundred years. (Overnight in Thimphu)
Excursion to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery
After breakfast, your car will drop you at the starting point of the excursion to view the spectacular and famous Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue the hike (if not tired) for short while until you see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the imposing Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is supposed to have meditated here for three months and it is considered like a Mecca for Buddhists.
Drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong (the fortress of the victorious Drukpas) built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to celebrate victory over Tibetan invading forces and also to curtail further invasions from the enemy. The route is picturesque, and the site of dzong magnificent (from here, only two-day hike to the border with Tibet,dominated by Mt Jhomalhari). Not far from here also marks the trailhead for the popular and scenic Jumolhari Trek. After returning to town, you can visit the town temple, built in 1525 to check out ancient wall paintings. Spend the rest of the evening in town. (Overnight in Paro)
Excursion to Paro Valley
This afternoon we will visit the National Museum, housed in a unique, semi-circular shaped Ta Dzong, built in 1775. The Ta Dzong with its six floors was once the watchtower for the massive Paro Dzong, built in the 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The museum has the most extensive collection Bhutanese artifacts and history, which include, ancient crafts, wares, weapons, a collection of antique thangkha (painted or embroidered religious pictures), textiles, and stamps. The museum provides a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom.
We walk downhill from the museum to the Paro Rinchen Pung Dzong (meaning ‘fortress on a heap of jewels’), the religious and secular center of Paro, and certainly the most dominant feature in the valley. The dzong was first conceived in the 15th-century, and finally consecrated in 1646. From the Dzong, we will hike to the river and cross Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge. Paro options include a visit to a traditional farmhouse to lunch with the family. After spending some village time, we will visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest monastery in the country. (Overnight in Paro)
Early morning transfer to airport.
DetailsEnquire about this itinerary
Basic tour included
- All Accommodation in standard hotels- clean & attached bath (government approved and monitored) - Double/twin sharing
- All porters, camping equipments ( if on trek)
- All transfers (SUV/mini bus) and sightseeing within Bhutan
- Visa and processing fee
- Services of an accompanying English speaking local tour leader/ guide
- All meals (but not beverages). Bottled water is complimentary in the car/coach. We recycle the used bottles.
- 35% government welfare levy (The Royalty is used for developmental projects)
- Tourism development fee to the government
- Fees for museums and permits to enter temples & monuments
- Travel insurance (Recommended: Mandatory, if on trek)
- Personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, shopping, etc.
- Beverages (juice and alcohol)
- Accommodations in upscale properties
- Tips and gratuities for staff (optional)
- Bangkok Hotel for transit