Experience complete immersion in Bhutan’s extraordinary landscape and cultural heritage following this specially designed itinerary. The journey will cover Thimphu, Paro & Punakha.
Arrival in Bhutan
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. After lunch, go to Bhutan National Bank for currency exchange and then you can get an opportunity to purchase exquisite collector Bhutanese stamps (Bhutan National Bank is closed after 1:00pm on Saturdays. You can change the currency at the airport).
Then visit the National Memorial Chorten which was built in 1974 in Memory of the third king; visit the Buddha Dordenma sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the 13th Desi Druk, overlooking the southern approach to Thimphu. It is one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world, at a height of 169 feet (51.5 meters). You can also enjoy the view of the Thimphu city clearly from here. In the evening you can walk in the town and then dinner at local Restaurant (e.g. The Bhutanese - Bhutanese cuisine) to taste Bhutanese dishes. Overnight: Thimphu.
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 (will be closed on Sunday) 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.
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 known as Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as the “Divine madman” in the west. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. A popular pilgrimage spot for the Bhutanese, it is frequented by childless couples and parents who have difficulty raising children. After Lunch, continue your drive towards Punakha Dzong (Fortress) 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. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Punakha - Paro Valley
After breakfast and a drive through the Punakha Valley, we begin our hike by crossing the Mochu River and ascending a numerous switchbacks to the Namgyel Khamsum Yuely Chorten. Looking downstream, the viewpoint here affords grand views of the Mochu River Valley below. We descend from the temple and follow a well-worn path down the valley through rice fields and small villages. Along the way we are rewarded with stunning views, the terraced rice paddies providing an exotic backdrop to the river below. After enjoying a picnic lunch alongside the river, we continue our journey to Paro. Upon arrival in Paro, you will have time for walking around the town and for some shopping, if you like. Overnight at hotel.
Paro and Excursion to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery
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 visiting what is known as one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the country, we will go off the beaten track further up to the temples that are on the hill tops above Tiger’s Nest. It’s so peaceful there and you can really communicate with nature as you enjoy the views from the top be it that of mountains or the valley. We follow a different path to go down, that takes us through the pristine thick forest of oaks and rhododendrons festooned with Spanish mosses. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After breakfast drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.
DetailsEnquire about this itinerary
The Basic tour is 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