Himalayas - Bhutan Culture Tour
Tour Code: BWC
The kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked state in South Asia located at the eastern end of the Himalayas. Bhutan's capital and largest city is Thimphu. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world. Bhutan has a rich and unique cultural heritage that has largely remained intact because of its isolation from the rest of the world until the early 1960s. The government is increasingly making efforts to preserve and sustain the current culture and traditions of the country. Because of its largely unspoiled natural environment and cultural heritage, Bhutan has been referred to as The Last Shangri-La.
Features of this tour:
Moderate hiking and walking. Stay in local people's house. Taste Bhutan cuisine.
Day 1 - Flight to Paro Bhutan
Day 2 - Paro Sightseeing
Day 3 - Drive to Thimphu
Day 4 - Thimphu
Day 5 - Drive to Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang
Day 6 - Drive to Bumthang
Day 7 - Full day in Bumthang Valley
Day 8 - Ura Valley Excursion & attend festival
Day 9 - Return drive to Bumthang
Day 10 - Drive to Trongsa
Day 11 - Drive to Paro
Day 12 - Departure
Altitude: 7,656 feet
Day 1: Flight to Paro Bhutan (D)
You can choose to fly from Bangkok or Delhi or Kolkatta or Kathmandu to Paro, Bhutan. Upon arrival at Paro Airport immigration, present your visa approval letter provided by us and get your passport stamped with actual visa. Claim your baggage and walk through the customs. Our guide will greet you and transfer you to your hotel. This afternoon, we will visit the National Museum. The museum's collection range is from books, paintings, textiles, and many more. Overnight in Paro.
Day 2: Paro Sightseeing (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will visit Rinpung Dzong, Kichu Temple, ruins of Drugyel Dzong, and a typical farm house. In the afternoon, we hike the legendary Taktstang Monatery, famed as Tiger's Nest. Tiger's Nest Monastery is perched some 2,000ft(600m) up on a sheer cliff overlooking the valley. The hike is about 2 hours to the teahouse, which can also be done on a pony. After tea and snacks you may either opt to hike further uphill or just remain at the Tea house to enjoy the views. Later trek down the hill and return to Paro.
Day 3: Drive to Thimphu (B, L)
Today, we drive to Thimphu (2hours), the capital city of Bhutan. After some rest, take self- guided tour to King's Memorial Chorten and visit other sights if time permits.
Day 4: Thimphu (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will visit the colorful weekend market, where people sell and buy fresh products. Village folks jostle with the well-heeled residents of Thimphu for the best and cheapest vegetables and other food stuffs. On the weekend, you can see the traditional game of archery played in the nearby grounds. While we are stay in the capital, we will also visit the school of traditional arts and painting, the heritage museum, and some other places depends on your interests and available time.
Day 5: Drive to Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang (B, L, D)
Today we will drive about 3 hours towards Wangdiphodrang and Punakha. As you leave Thimphu, the road climbs up to Dochula pass (3010m), where we will stop to get a spectacular panoramic views of the snowcapped mountain range of Bhutan. Near the pass, there are many chortens' (pagoda or stupas) and hundreds of pray flags fluttering about in the wind. After the pass the road drops through changing vegetation into semitropical lowland Punakha - Wangdi valley(1400m)
Day 6: Drive to Bumthang (Jakar) (B, L, D)
After early breakfast, we will drive to Jakar through the black mountains at Pele la pass (3420m). From here, on a clear day, you can see the Mt. Jumolhari(Everest), and other mountains across the valley. After the pass, we arrive in Mangde region. Continue drive to Trongsa. Lunch at Trongsa and take a peek at the Dzong, which is considered one of the largest and the most impressive of all Dzongs in Bhutan. After the pass, descend into Chume, the first of the four Bumthang valleys. Overnight and dinner at Mountain Lodge or similar.
Day 7: Full day in Bumthang Valley (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will drive to Jambay Ihakang, visit Chakar temple (iron castle), and continue to Kurjey monastery complex. After visiting Kurjey, we will walk across the suspension bridge over the Chamkhar Chu River to Tamshing Lhakang. Walk through the village to a smaller Kunchok sum temple and then continue the walk through the farmland to Swiss farm area. At this point, your vehicle will meet you and transfer you to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the new monastery of Namhai Nyingpo, Jakar Dzong, Lamay Gompa and other sights as per available time. Overnight at Mountain Lodge or similar at Jakar.
Day 8: Ura Valley Excursion and attend the festival (B, L, D)
From Tang it is 50 kms (32 miles) across a pass to the Ura valley, the last and highest of the Bumthang valleys. Villages in the region of Ura characteristically have very closely clustered houses, which is unusual in Bhutan. Come together and join the "Tshechu" social gathering. Here we can truly appreciate the essence of Bhutanese people and a preserved steadfast culture. It is a rare privilege bestowed to only a limited number of visitors each year. Camp at the Ura Village or possibly a farm house stay in one of the houses at Ura.
Day 9: Return drive to Bumthang (B, L, D)
Return to the festival ground. Watch the festival all day and drive back to Bumthang late afternoon.
Day 10: Drive to Trongsa (B, L, D)
Retrace your drive back across Yotongla pass and descend into Trongsa, which takes about 3 hours. In the afternoon visit historical Trongsa Dzong (fortress), site of emergence of present Royal family of Bhutan. Also visit Ta Dzong (watch tower) which now houses the temple dedicated to Jigme Namgyel, father of the first King of Bhutan.
Day 11: Drive to Paro (B, L, D)
Leaving Trongsa, we return west, stopping to visit the Chendebji Chorten. Continuing across the spectacular Pelela pass (3,300m), we descend into the valleys of Punakha and Wangdi. Further drive through blossoming hills and pine forests, we arrive at Dochula pass (3,100m) for another opportunity to get the panoramic views of the eastern Himalayan range. Further continue drive towards Paro via Thimphu.
Day 12: Departure (B)
Transfer to the airport in time for flight to your next destination.
B: Breakfast, L: lunch, D: Dinner, SD: Specialty Dinner.
The itinerary is subject to change due to certain circumstances such as flight or train schedule, weather, and unforeseeable events.
Bhutan: Paro Hotel
Thimphu: Hotel Riverview
Bumthang: Mountain Lodge
Ura Valley Houses
Dates and Prices
Single Supplement: $680
- Full-board on room sharing basis
- Meals listed in the itinerary
- All land transportation
- Sightseeing with guide
- Bhutan Visa fee, entrance fees to the monasteries and other places
- International Air fare, airport tax
- Beverages and personal expenses
- Travel insurance
- Expenses due to landslide and other circumstances. In such cases extra cost will be collected from guest directly
- Gratuity for tour guide and driver