Tucked away in the calming silence of the high Himalayan Mountains and forest, Bhutan is an intriguing kingdom frozen in time with far-flung villages. In this journey you will discover sacred Dzongs and Lhakhangs on mountains with gorgeous views and profound histories; get a deep insight of the rich cultural heritage by exploring remote villages of Bhutan and experience the relaxed pace of Bhutanese life. Travel through altitudes ranging from 1,200 meters to 3,900 meters by exploring the valleys of Thimphu, Phobjikha, Punakha, Haa, and Paro.
Duration : 9 Nights/10 Days .
Destination Covered : Thimphu-Dochu La- Phobjikha-Punakha-Haa- Chele La- Paro .
Fly into the captivating view of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. On landing at the Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed by your private guide with a customary Tashi Khaddar, a white scarf of auspiciousness and transferred to Thimphu.
On your way to Thimphu, stop at invigorating Tachog Lhakhang located across Paro River in a medieval set up.
On arriving to Thimphu, visit the vibrant Buddha Dordenma statue at Kuenselphodrang and get an aerial view of the largest town of Bhutan. Discover the historic Tashichho Dzong and explore its exquisite architecture. Later explore the only city in the world without a single traffic light before returning to your hotel.
Duration of Drive: 1.5 hours (54Km)
Overnight: Hotel, Thimphu
Drive to the Northern end of Thimphu valley passing through the countryside of Begana village before reaching the traditional bridge at Dodena. After crossing the crystalline river on the oldest wooden cantilever bridge of Bhutan, enjoy your hike through the off-beaten tracks leading to the tranquil surrounding of the hilltop Chari monastery where you can often see mountain goats mingling freely with monks.
Later on the way back to Thimphu visit the Buddhist college of astrology at Pangrizampa where you can read your birth chart on request before visiting the temple of the 21 Tara Devi in a serene setting next to it.
Duration of Drive: 30 minutes (17Km)
Overnight: Hotel, Thimphu
Start your journey to the secluded and beautiful glacial valley of Phobjikha by making stops at the Dochu La Mountain Pass marked by 108 Buddhist shrines from where you can also see the snowcapped mountains peaks on a clear day.
Continuing the journey:
Walk through the rice paddy fields of traditional Sopsokha village leading to Chimi Lhakhang located on a hillock. Discover paintings of phallus on the walls of the houses and discover interesting stories and legends of the Crazy wisdom of the divine mad monk before continuing to Phobjikha.
Upon arriving Phobjikha valley take in the tranquil atmosphere of one of the most beautiful valleys of Bhutan and winter place for the majestic Black necked cranes.
Later soak yourself in the traditional hot stone bath which has healing properties.
Drive Duration: 5-6 hours (130Km)
Overnight: Hotel in Phobjikha
Visit Gangtey monastery in the morning light before venturing into one of the most beautiful nature trail hikes of Bhutan from where you can get impressive view of the Phobjikha valley.
Journey to the golden Punakha valley: A short drive through the valley floor past the local market at Minsena will lead you to the Palace of Great Bliss or Punakha Dzong. Feast your eyes to the intricate carvings and sculptors of the Dzong; capture the impressive architecture of this historic Dzong strategically located between two rivers; Pho Chhu (Male River) & Mo Chhu (Female River).
Wind your way up to Laptsakha village before reaching Leki Wangmo Homestay, one of the best traditional farm-stays offering grand view of Punakha valley. Experience the rural life of Bhutanese villages by engaging in their daily activities like cooking Bhutanese dish or learning the art of preparing butter tea; or you can relax by trying out their hot stone bath.
Today you have the option to try traditional Bhutanese home stay and experience the village life first hand or you can choose to stay in the comforts of a hotel.
Drive Duration: 3-4 hours (75Km)
Overnight: Homestay or Hotel Punakha
After having an organic breakfast at your Homestay head out to explore the thriving Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery and participate in an intense butter lamp offering ceremony before visiting Talo, home to the local deity of the Queen Mothers.
Later stroll around quaint Nobgang village and interact with the locals and experience village life first hand.
Overnight: Homestay or Hotel Punakha
After bidding farewell to your hosts, start your journey towards Paro by stopping at Dochu La (Pass) for another chance to catch the Snowcapped Mountain peaks before starting your hike to the mountaintop Lungchutse Temple. The Lungchutse hike takes you through enchanting forest of Rhododendron and Hemlock; and in spring season hikers will have the opportunity to witness gorgeous rhododendron flowers of red, pink, white and yellow color blooming on the trail. From Lungchutse temple you will be able to get panoramic view of the entire mountain range beautifully. From there descend to Tashigang Goemba at Hongtsho through the forest of cypress and pine. Your vehicle will pick you up from there and head to Thimphu after a hot tea.
If you are not interested in hiking we can skip the Lungchutse hike and include some other cultural sightseeing in Paro.
At Paro try your taste pallets to the different flavors of Bhutanese beer at Namgay Artisinal Brewery.
Hike Duration: 4 hours
Overnight: Hotel in Paro
Start for Haa after breakfast. After about 5 kilometers from Paro, explore the stream of monasteries on cliff edge of Dzongdrakha and discover legends and stories connected to the existence of this sacred place. Gradually drive up to the highest motorable pass at Chele La (3,988 meters) marked by numerous prayer flags, you will also observe the change in the vegetation as you climb up. On a clear day you can see the Mt. Jomolhari and JichuDrakye.
Continue to the pristine forests and tranquil mountains of Haa valley located at 3,000 meters. Much of Haa is untouched by modernization thus offering our explorers the chance to experience authentic Bhutanese villages in its raw and rugged natural beauty.
On arriving Haa valley- walk through a medieval village before climbing up to the secluded Jungney Dra where you can see foot print of Machig Labdron on a rock before hiking further to Kathso Gompa.
Today you have the option of staying in a traditional Bhutanese home stay with local family where you can engage in their activities like cooking Bhutanese dish, preparing butter tea, milking cow or relax by taking a traditional herbal hot stone bath or stay in a hotel to relax on your own.
Drive Duration: 2 hours (65Km)
Overnight: Homestay or hotel in Haa
Take a pleasurable ride from Haa to Paro by making optional stops on the way before reaching the perfect picture Dobji Dzong. Continue to Paro en route Chuzom river confluence.
On reaching Paro you can choose from the two options below:
Traverse the traditional wooden cantilever bridge to reach Paro Rinpung Dzong or the fortress on Heap of Jewels and explore the astonishing architecture and paintings before visiting the National museum to discover the artifacts dating back to 4000 BCE. The National Museum or the Ta Dzong served as a watch tower to protect the Paro Dzong in the olden days.
Take a leisure hike to the ancient Zuri Dzong, the trail offers enchanting view of the verdant Paro valley including Paro Dzong and the Ta Dzong. It is an amazing spot to be and take pictures.
Overnight: Hotel in Paro
We have saved the best for last. Get your energy up at breakfast today as we will be hiking to the famous Tiger’s Nest monastery resting at the sheer edge of the cliff, 900 meters above the valley floor. The monastery is at an elevation of 3,120 meters above the sea level and is an overwhelming sight to capture.
Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest acquires its name from the legend of its foundation, when in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche, widely revered as the second Buddha in Bhutan, arrived from Tibet flying across the mountains on the back of a tigress and meditated here for three months and blessed and preached tantric Buddhism.
Visit the ancient Kichu temple and discover the stories connected to its construction in the 7th century before calling of the day.
Hike Duration: 4-6 Hours
Overnight: Hotel in Paro
Our team will drop you to the airport and bid you farewell.
5.0 / 2 Reviews
Never had a greater experience as much as we did with this tour company. Proprietor Thinley was always quick to respond to any changes in our plans or inquiries. ALWAYS accommodating with our needs.
There were 3 of us women travelling and we took a 7 night package. My 2 important things that had to be on our itin were to witness a festival and to climb the Tiger's Nest.....and we got MORE than what we bargained for; add the culture, the teachings of Buddhism, sharing of our personal views on family, politics, religion, culture, traditions and more from our guide Dorji and chauffeur Jigme was an eye opener. They provided us with such insights on Bhutan and its GNH, Gross National Happiness.
We started in Thimpu, then to Gangtey, then witnessed 2 days' worth of the Punakha festival, and finally Paro for THE climb!
But before I go into details, let me first tell you about Dorji and Jigme. They were very courteous, professional, accommodating and assisted in every way. We played our favorite tunes (they were well versed in western music!) and we sang along on every ride! I had to ask Jigme to stop the van once Bruce Sprinsteen's song "Dancing in the Dark" came along so we could all dance...and danced we did right on the shoulder side of the road between Punakha to Paro! What a riot!
As for Thinley and Jaya, they're most gracious in making the time to meet with us over tea/coffee. They gave us souvenirs of Bhutan and lent us costumes to boot, which we wore the first day of the festival.
As for the country and its people, need I say more, except that it's beautiful and so its people! The trip to Gangtey on zigzag road that just kept going higher and higher to see mountain after mountain, visiting temples which each had a character of its own, a Bhutanese meal at a family's farmhouse, a sip of their local wine, a bite of their dried yak cheese, seeing Nomads tending to their yaks, loud barking dogs into the night, the obvious equality between men and women (women as bellhops, lugging our heavy suitcases from the car to our rooms), crossing suspension bridges, hanging a set of prayer flags midway to Tiger's Nest, seeing men, women and children in their festival's best attires, being at the bottom of the biggest sitting Buddha and feeling small, having a candlelight dinner because our lodging had a blackout and it was at the coldest place but warmed in thick blankets, seeing black-neck cranes fly over us, eating mostly vegetable dishes due to their no-meat month, but some lodgings offered chicken dishes, seeing the King and Queen and their son's photos all over the country, spinning prayer wheels small and gigantic, dipping ourselves in a hot stone bath (not massage, but BATH), and being seniors, Dorji and Jigme helped us on our climb to the Tiger's Nest with bottles of water and a helping hand here and there up and down the path.....I can go on and on, but this was Bhutan we learned to love, live with and live in.
7 nights enough? Yes, to get a feel of the country and its people. Can you see more? Yes, indeed. Our trip was concentrated in the western part of Bhutan and from reading the DrukAir magazine articles, there's plenty more to see/do/experience in the country!
The country has zero carbon and seems to be progressive in sustaining its environment to continue to be healthy. Although its people (at least in the bigger towns/cities), one can see the westernization. I hope with that, their GNH will not be compromised.
Kudos to Bhutan Best Inbound for a memory of a lifetime, my sincere thanks and love (yes, you will love them by the end of the tour) to Thinley, Jaya, Dorji and Jigme!! We miss you and hope our paths will cross sometime, somewhere! God bless you!
Words cannot express the hospitality we received throughout our tour of Bhutan. Our driver Jigme (I call him Jimmy 😊) and tour guide Dorji were the most wonderful guides I have ever encountered in all my travels! They were so kind, accommodating, generous, helpful, knowledgeable and a lot of FUN to be with!!!
They basically spoiled us and made us feel very SPECIAL. They made sure we were always comfortable and enjoying ourselves. While driving thru Bhutan, we would sing along with the music in the van as well as stop the van to dance on the side of the road. We had so much fun with them!!!
Thinley and Jaya who operate this tour are very warm, friendly and welcoming!!! They did a fantastic job with our itinerary.
They gave us traditional Bhutanese dresses to wear to the huge cultural festival in Punakha. What a unique experience to walk around in these native dresses and witness this beautiful colorful festival. I can’t thank you enough for the most unforgettable adventure in Bhutan.
We love the people, the breathtaking landscapes, the hike to Tiger’s Nest, hot stone bath, charming hotels and so much more!!!
Dorji and Jimmy, a very special thank you to both of you!!! You’re one in a million! You gave us your FIVE-STAR SERVICE by going ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY!! I miss you Both already ... may our paths cross in the future. My sincere gratitude!!!