The Central Bhutan Tour will take you through the spiritual and cultural extravaganza of the valleys from west to central Bhutan. Savor the spicy Bhutanese cuisine, relieve city stress; be a part of Bhutanese culture and traditions; visit various temples and enjoy the local myths and legends, soak in the spectacular views of the snowcapped Himalayas; mingle with the locals; dip in a traditional wooden tub of hot stones and visit awesome places and enjoy the intricate art and architecture that is evident in almost everything and everywhere.
Enjoy the ride through the mountains as you drive from high mountain passes to lush green valleys and riversides and be prepared for temperate to tropical weather conditions.
Explore the far reaches of Bhutan through this Bhutan Cultural Tour package.
Duration : 11Nights 12Days .
Destination Covered : Thimphu-Punakha-Trongsa-Bumthang-Phobjikha-Paro .
Fly into Paro valley on Bhutan Airlines or Drukair, Bhutan's only two airlines. Paro is situated in a beautiful valley that is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. After your immigration formalities, you will meet your tour guide and before taking an hour's drive to Thimphu.
On the way, we can stop and take a short refreshing walk to the magnificent Tachog Lhakhang. Take in the medieval ambiance place which is the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s iron bridge builder.
Upon arriving in Thimphu we can start our sightseeing with a visit to the busy weekly market and the revered National Memorial Chorten.
In the evening take a walk around Thimphu town and soak in the atmosphere of this magical capital with its busy shops and bazaars and photogenic citizens in their national dress.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Take an early morning hike through the serene forest of pine to the Wangditse Lhakhang.
Drive up to the Radio Tower from where you can take a short forest hike through an ancient trail offering splendid views of the Thimphu city from a hilltop festooned with colorful prayer flags.
After the hike, drive down to the Institute of Traditional Medicine where medicinal plants and herbs are collected from outlying parts of this Himalayan Kingdom and distributed to the public in form of medicinal pills, ointment, teas, etc.
Later visit the School of Traditional Arts or Zorig Chusum before going to Folk Heritage Museum for a grand traditional Bhutanese lunch.
Towards the evening sunset drive up to the gigantic Buddha Dordenma statue and enjoy the view of Thimphu city from the hilltop monument.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu
Take a journey from Thimphu to Punakha via Dochula Pass situated at 3,100 meters above sea level. Make a stop at Dochula Pass to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayan ranges over a cup of hot tea.
Continue towards Punakha
After approximately 3 hours’ drive from Thimphu, you will reach Punakha; the ancient capital of Bhutan until 1955. You will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach low-lying Punakha at 1250 meters above sea level.
Upon arriving Punakha visit the Fertility Temple/Chime Lhakhang which is a short walk through mustard and paddy fields. Idyllically placed on a rotund hill Lhakhang is famous for blessing childless couples with a baby. The walls of the Lhakhang have beautiful frescoes describing the colorful life of Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman.
After lunch, drive up the winding road to Wolakha Nunnery and Talo monastery on hilltop surrounded by hermitage and enjoy the serene and tranquil energy.
Overnight: Hotel in Punakha
Today take a picturesque day hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten high up on a hill. Enjoy walking through the paddy fields and capture the spectacular view of the Golden Punakha valley, river and the surrounding from the stupa.
After the hike, drive along the valley floor to Punakha Dzong, or “Palace of Great Happiness” built strategically at the confluence of two rivers, the Pho Chu and the Mo Chu.
If you are in the mood for adventure you can try out white water rafting from Khamsum Yulley Bridge to Punakha Dzong.
Overnight: Hotel in Punakha
Drive approximately 4.5 hours to Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan at 2180 meters. Set amidst spectacular scenery, Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family, commands the eye from miles away. We can also visit Ta Dzong, the museum in the watchtower dedicated to the Wangchuk dynasty, which tells the stories of the Dzong and the valley it has watched over for centuries and features personal belongings of the Kings and Queens of Bhutan.
Continue a further 2.5 hours to Bumthang, stopping on the way at Zungney village in Chumey, one of Bumthang’s four valleys. Here we can watch women weaving the traditional yathras, hand-woven wool strips with geometric patterns. These are used locally to produce blankets and bedcovers or are made into warm jackets for the cold winters. You might be interested to browse the local shops that sell the yathras directly from the makers. From Zungney continue through some of Bhutan’s most beautiful landscapes to Bumthang, an area of high valleys at 2580 to 3100 meters.
Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang
Bumthang is the spiritual heartland of Bhutan with many legendary monasteries, temples, and palaces. Bumthang is the collective name for an area of 4 valleys - Choekor, Tang, Ura, and Chumey. Your guide will take us on a fascinating walking and/or driving tour of a variety of sacred sites including Jambay Lhakhang of the 7th century and Kurje Lhakhang, followed by a visit to Mebar Tsho ‘the Flaming Lake’, one of Bhutan’s most important pilgrimage sites. We can also visit Bhutan’s largest Dzong (Jakar), with its picturesque location overlooking the Choekor valley.
Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang
Today we will take one and a half-hour drive to Ura valley, covering a distance of about 48 km. On the way to the drive, one can catch a glimpse of the highest mountain peak in Bhutan, Mt. Gangkar Puensum. The route is marked with a marvelous view of the valley, sheep pastures, and occasional forests. The valley itself is different from other regions in the sense that it is home to Ura village which has clustered houses separated by cobblestone alleys, a sight uncommon in the country.
We can also enjoy a short scenic hike to Ura Valley from Shelthang La Pass (3600 meters / 11800 feet), The path meanders slowly down through meadows with a clear view of the village the whole way. Ura has about 50 or so clusters of traditional homes with paved walkways, which gives somewhat a medieval atmosphere. The people are warm and will welcome you wholeheartedly passing through the farmhouse and scattered houses can provide opportunities to interact with people and to explore and learn of its charming village. If you are still energetic after the Ura hike, we can drive further 30 minutes from Ura and you will reach Shingkhar village. Another beautifully set village to feast your eyes. The Ura Lhakhang is a popular spot in the area which plays host to the festival of Ura Tsechu in May.
Return back to Bumthang. In the evening you can visit Bumthang Market, famous for organic honey and cheese.
Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang
Drive approximately 5-6 hours to Gangtey at 2,900 meters. Enjoy the views of the immense and remote Phobjikha valley and the black mountain ranges. In the late afternoon, you may like to take the short Gangtey Nature Trail walk (1.5 hours approximately) from Gangtey Gompa through the outskirts of Phobjikha valley. This is the site where black-necked cranes visit in hundreds in November each year after spending the summer in Tibet.
Overnight: Hotel in Gangtey
Today we return to Paro, a drive of approximately 7 hours, via Wangdue. Wangdue (also known as Wangdue Phodrang) was originally considered Bhutan’s secondary capital and it commands an important central position.
After checking in the hotel in Paro, visit traditional farmhouses surrounded by paddy fields, vegetable gardens, and farm animals will give you an insight into how Bhutanese people live.
Later enjoy a hot stone bath in a wooden tub, get some cooking tips, and help in preparing the dinner which you will get to eat in the traditional Bhutanese style with the whole family.
Later after returning to the hotel we will sort out our luggage for the Bumdra trek. Anything you don’t need will be kept safely in Paro to await your return.
Overnight: Hotel in Paro
BUMDRA MONASTERY TREK
Today we will take a camping trip , high up on the hillside outside Paro.
The trek begins with a 1-hour drive from Paro to Sang Choekor Buddhist College where you start walking at an altitude of about 2800m. We climb gradually upwards through blue pine and juniper forest. After about 3 hours’ walking we will reach Chhoe Chhoe Tse Lhakhang (temple).
Carry on climbing for another 20 minutes or so until we re-enter the forest. After about 40 minutes more we will emerge onto a large meadow where we will find many chortens and prayer flags. Our camp for the night is below the nearby Bumdra Monastery, at about 3800 metres, where there are wonderful views across the Himalayas. Later we can visit the monastery, and if you are feeling strong climb the 4000m peak to admire the views before returning to camp.
Overnight in camp
Today we descend again through the forest. After a couple of hours we will start to see numerous temples - from the gardens of Sangtopelri we will be able to look down and see the roofs of Taktshang monastery far below. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighbouring Buddhist countries. Keep on descending and we can visit the splendid Tiger’s Nest monastery itself. From here it is about an hour down to the bottom where we meet our vehicle to return to Paro. If there is time visit the impressive Paro Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You could also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan.
Overnight at hotel in Paro
Early in the morning our guide will accompany you to the airport to see us off
5.0 / 3 Reviews
I was contact person for organising our trip. The company always gave clear and prompt response to all my ems. Flexible in package options and organised all the necessary documentation and flights, even sent us boarding passes for flights. Our guide Namgay was very informative, knowledgeable and helpful in every possible way. Our driver was very careful and both guide and driver were friendly and accommodating . Hotels were very good.
We visited lots of places and thoroughly enjoyed our trip.
Would recommend this company to anyone.
I've been wanting to visit Bhutan ever since I spied it in my mini atlas when I was at school. It always seemed hard to organise and difficult to get to and for these reasons it was always on the back burner.
Earlier this year I decided it was time to enquire and make the effort to at least try and get to visit this small country tucked away in the Himalayas.
After researching I came across 'Bhutan Best Inbound'. I read great reviews here on 'TripAdvisor' so I made an initial contact to see how best to proceed. Thinley would be my point of contact throughout my preparations and he was fantastic. He helped me with everything I needed to sort. From my visa to the awkward bank transfer which at first I was highly speculative about but rest assured it was all fine and correct in line with how the payment of the tour works with the country of Bhutan.
The great thing about Bhutan Best Inbound was that I could tailor the tour to suit my needs. I still got to see the main attractions but I was also able to factor in a few other things I was interested in. Because me and Thinley spoke regularly he knew what to recommend and he suggested that I go to Phobjikha which, in the end, was the highlight destination. I wish I'd stayed there longer.
After my flight (also organised by Thinley) from Kathmandu touched down in Paro (a landing not for the faint hearted) I was greeted by my guide and driver, Tshendu and Chencho Dorji. It was a warm and honest greeting and I was instantly put at ease. Nothing was too much effort for my guide and driver. They made sure I had everything I needed and I was able to delve deeper into Bhutanese way of life as their English was impeccable. I could easily talk about politics, religion, environmental issues, their english was that good. They made an awesome team too. If it wasnt for them my Bhutan experience would of been good instead of exceptional.
I wasnt expecting to be met by Thinley and his wife Jaya during my stay in Thimpu so this was a pleasant surprise and amazing customer service. The prayer flag they gave me as a gift was eventually hung on my decent from the Tigers Nest on the final full day.
Many people wouldn't like the idea of being guided everywhere and this may put you off. Admittedly I was dubious at first but I now fully endorse this managed way of tourism. The government are trying hard to preserve this country which is undeniably beautiful and it should stay that way. If the doors to this country were suddenly flung open, Bhutan would not be able to cope and the landscape would ultimately pay the price.
Thank you for a great experience.
I'll leave you with some recommendations...
1. Bring earplugs! The dogs in Thimpu sleep all day and howl all night
2. Bring water treatment tablets. Bhutan is no different to any other country that lacks a recycling infrastructure.
3. Make sure you bring long sleeved clothing for entrance to monasterys and other religious buildings
4. Be prepared for the mountain roads. They twist and turn and cant be fun for those that get motion sickness.
Thinley planned a very good itinerary for me which covered all good locations from western to central Bhutan . And my guide Dorji and driver Rinchen were very nice . They took good care of me . I was able to connect with them as friends .
Thank you !!