If you are seeking peace and have a keen desire to experience spirituality, then go for this 9-day customized Bhutan monastery trail through the silent valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Trongsa, Bumthang and Punakha.
Besides visiting the monasteries, you can capture the scenic views of the highest glacial peaks of the world. The hills with lush greenery and a silvery river Pa Chu will add charm to your tailor-made tour of Bhutan.
Arrive Paro by Druk Air
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some world's highest glacial peaks. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport, and after completion of arrival formalities you will be transferred to Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, an exciting blend of tradition and modernity. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast visit the Memorial Chorten built in the memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Drive to Motithang for a bird’s eye view of the capital city. Visit the mini zoo to get up close with ‘Takin,’ the national animal of Bhutan. Takins are a unique looking animal and are the only occupants of the mini zoo. There is an interesting story to their existence, which you will hear from your guide. Drive to Drubthop Lhakhang, the nunnery temple. Return to town for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch visit the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital, Traditional Painting School, National Library and continue your drive south to Lungtenzampa, visit the Royal silversmith at work and then stop by at the Bhutanese Paper factory. Time permitting we will visit Simtokha Dzong (fortress), the first Dzong in Bhutan built in 1624; it currently houses the Institute of Learning for Culture and Buddhist Studies. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Thimphu / Trongsa (200 Km, 6 Hours)
After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,080m) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the Himalaya peaks can be seen from this pass.
Then continue onwards, reaching Wangduephodrang town in time for lunch. From Dochu-la pass, it is a long, winding descent into the Wangduephodrang valley, which is about 1,700m below the pass. Take lunch at Wangduephodrang town, then continue on to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830 ft), the traditional boundary between east and west. The pass is marked by a large white chorten prayer flags.
Stop en route at Chendbji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu's Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes panted at four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. Arrive at Trongsa late afternoon and check into the lodge for the night.
Trongsa / Bumthang (68 Km, 3 Hours)
After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong, built in 1648 it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second Kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All five Kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop ('governer') prior to ascending the throne. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built.
Then drive to Bumthang, 68 km from Trongsa, a journey of about 3 hours, over the Yutong-la pass (3,400m/ 11,155 ft). The road winds steeply up to the pass, 28 km from Trongsa, then runs down through coniferous forest into a wide, open cultivated valley known as the Chumey valley. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys - Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Visit Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock., the Jambay Lhakhang (7th century temple), Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan) and Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region). Stroll in the village, visit the little handicrafts shop at the entrance to the town, and perhaps take refreshments at a local restaurant. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Bumthang / Punakha (205 Km, 7 Hours)
After breakfast, explore further the fascinating valley of Bumthang. Then proceed to Punakha, stopping along the way at Trongsa for lunch, which would be served in local restaurant, famous for its cuisine. Visit Wangduephodrang Dzong. Stretched along the hilltop above the confluence of Punakha Chu and Tang Chu rivers, the imposing Wangduephodrang Dzong is the town's most visible features. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Punakha / Paro (125 Km, 4 Hours)
Morning visit Punakha Dzong situated between the two rivers Pho Chu and Mochu (Male and Female Rivers). This fortress is now used as the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (the Spiritual head of Bhutan). This Dzong had served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than three hundred years.
Then drive to Paro en route visit Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stands on a low ridge 8 km down the valley from Thimphu. The Institute for Language and Cultural Studies is located here. The most noteworthy artistic feature of this dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheel in courtyard.
Afternoon visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning ("fortress of the heap of jewels"), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Today, we hike up to the famous cliff-hermitage called Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Nest”. This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend has it that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.
After lunch, we drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1647 by the Shabdrung to commemorate the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetans in war of 1644. though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, the towering outer walls and central keep remains an imposing sight. On a clear day, there is a splendid view of mt. Chomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong.
Evening, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the country, built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.
DetailsEnquire about this itinerary
Number of Traveller(s) High Season Tour Price (8 nights) per person
3 or above HK$16,310
• All Accommodation in standard hotels (Double/twin sharing)
• All porters, camping equipment ( if on trek)
• All meals (but not beverages). Bottled water is complimentary in the car/coach
• All transfers (SUV/mini bus) and sightseeing within Bhutan
• Services of an accompanying English speaking local tour leader/ guide
• Fees for museums and permits to enter temples & monuments
• 35% government welfare levy (used for developmental projects) & tourism development fee
• Roundtrip Air tickets between Hong Kong and Bangkok (or other transit hub); and between Bangkok (or other transit hub) and Paro. Please contact our travel consultants for flight arrangements.
• Bangkok (or other transit hub) Hotel for transit
• Accommodations in upscale properties
• Single supplement for hotel rooms
• Visa and processing fee
• Travel insurance (recommended, mandatory if on trek)
• Personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, shopping, etc.
• Beverages (juice and alcohol)
• Tips and gratuities for staff (optional)
*Charlotte Travel reserves the right to amend above prices and service without prior notice. All arrangements are subject to confirmation form our travel consultants.