£1,395 per person ( Jan, Feb, Jul, Aug, Dec )
£1,595 per person ( Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Sep, Oct, Nov )
PARO - THIMPHU - PUNAKHA - BUMTHANG - GANGTEY -
TRONGSA - WANGDUE
This 11-day fully inclusive tour gives you an insight into the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, which nestles in the heart of some of the world’s highest peaks. Travel through the beautiful valleys of Paro, the capital Thimphu, the picturesque and sub tropical Punakha, Bumthang valley, Gangtey, Trongsa and Wangdue. Experience the magic of the Bhutanese way of life, meet monks in monasteries during their chant or other monastic activities.
Programme extendible to Sikkim, the least visited North-Eastern Himalayan state of India.
Departure on the 1st Thursday of each month
A minimum of 3 people is required to run this tour. This tour can also be arranged as a private tour for 2 persons travelling together at a surcharge of £250 per person.
Price includes : Private minibus, English speaking local guides, hotels with daily breakfast, main meals as stated, visits & excursions as per programme, admission fees, visa for Bhutan.
Price excludes : International flights to/from Paro *, insurance, local airport tax, tipping and any service not specified. Single room supplement is £395 per person.
We reserve the right to amend tours in case of unexpected problems caused by weather, airlines, transport companies and local organisations.
* To make your holidays even more hassle free, we can purchase international flights on your behalf at competitive prices. Call us for more information
DAY 01 DEPARTURE
Fly to Paro on scheduled airlines ( e.g Qatar Airways & Druk Air ) via Kathmandu. Stopover in Kathmandu may be necessary in which case departure will be on Wednesday.
DAY 02 PARO (-/-/D)
Land in Paro international airport situated in a beautiful valley of Paro. Meeting with local guide in Bhutanese national costume before driving to Paro town, 20 minutes away from the airport. Check into your hotel. Later in the evening enjoy a stroll along small urban streets of Paro where houses are designed and constructed in typical Bhutanese architecture. Welcome dinner in town. Overnight at Gangtey Palace or Janka Resort
DAY 03 PARO – THIMPHU (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel. Depart by road to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan. Thimphu (2,280 m altitude) is a small, bustling city set in the heart of the Himalayas. Thimphu charm comes not only from its wealth of museums or places of historic interest, but also from the strong national character of its architectural style. Check into Migmar Hotel or Peaceful Resort. After lunch embark on an exciting Thimphu tour visiting :
The National Memorial Chorten, Thimphu’s proud landmark representing Peace and Prosperity, built by Bhutan third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.
The National Library, which holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion. The Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly Known as the Painting School) where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.
The National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where the medicinal herbs are compounded and dispensed by traditional pharmacist and medical practitioners. This indigenous healing method is popular amongst all Bhutanese people, and runs in parallel to modern medicine all over the country. Here you will have exclusive privilege of talking to a renowned traditional healer.
Finally visit Trashicho Dzong and a mini Zoo where the national animal, Takin is housed.
Dinner and overnight in Thimphu.
DAY 04 THIMPHU –PUNAKHA (B/L/D)
After breakfast enjoy a stroll in Thimphu lively and colourful weekend market before visiting the world largest Buddha image. Drive to Punakha across Dochu-la pass (3,088m altitude ). En route visit Simtokha Dzong, built in 1627 and the oldest fortress of the kingdom. It now houses the Institute of Language and Cultural Studies. Drive on, passing by farmers’ fruit & veg stalls along the road. Stop at Hongtso to fill in immigration forms required to all tourists entering this area. A few minutes later we reach Dochula pass at 3050 m altitude, from where one can have a fantastic view of the highest peaks of Bhutan, such as Gangkar, Puensum, table Mountain, Masakhang etc. Lunch break before driving further down to a village house in Metsina. Hike up to the 16th century temple, dedicated to the Lord of Fertility. Arrive in Punakha, the capital of Bhutan until 1955. In evening visit Punakha Dzong built in the 17th century at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Damaged by fires, floods and earthquake over the centuries, the Dzong has recently been fully restored to its original glory. Dinner and overnight at your beautiful hotel in Punakha, Damchen Resort or Punatsangcu Cottages.
DAY 05 PUNAKHA – BUMTHANG (B/L/D)
Early morning drive to Bumthang, across Pelela pass (3300 m altitude ), the traditional boundary between East and West Bhutan. The passes are marked by a large number of prayer flags and covered with high altitude dwarf bamboo and rhododendron shrubs. Stop en route at Chenbji Chotern, built in 18th century by a Lama named Shida. Drive further towards Trongsa Dzong, the largest and most impressive in Bhutan. Time to explore this magnificent architecture work before lunch break. Continue to Bumthang, across Yotong-La Pass at an altitude of 3404 m. Enroute visit the Chume valley, where local women weave the famous "Bumthang Yathra", pure woolen cloth. By now we arrive in Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. Here the great teachers meditated and left in their walk many sacred grounds. The Guru and his lineage of Tertons, treasure finders, have led to the sprouting of many temples in the valley. Visit the famous Kurjey, Jamby, Tamshing Lkhakhngs and the Jakar Dzong, equivalent with a town hall. Dinner and overnight at Yugarling Resort in Bumthang.
DAY 06 BUMTHANG EXCURSION (B/L/D)
Today time to take in Bumthang overwhelming beauty. Visit Wangdicholing former Royal palace followed by Jambay, Kurjey and Tamshing Monasterires. Stop for refreshment at the Swiss Farm House, Cheese and Beer Factory and village handicraft shops. Dinner & overnight in Bumthang.
DAY 07 BUMTHANG – WANGDUE (B/L/D)
Morning scenic drive through dense forests of oak trees to Wangdue via Gantey Valley and Trongsa. Gangtey is situated in Phubjikha valley, the winter home of endangered Black-Necked Cranes that migrate to this valley from Central Asia. Stop in Gangtey to visit Gangtey Goenpa, and Gangtey Tulku Which among among the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan, the Centre for the Black-Necked Cranes, maintained by a N.G.O Royal Society for the Protection of Nature. The Black Neck Crane roost in the swampy marshland during winter. There is annual festival to celebrate and create awareness about importance of this protected bird species. Drive down to Wangduephodrang. Lunch before visiting Wangdue dzong and spending some leisure time in local market. Dinner and overnight at Kichu resort or Dragon Nest in Wangdue
DAY 08 WANGDUE – PARO VIA THIMPHU (B/L/D)
After a late breakfast depart leisurely by road to Paro. Stop in Thimphu for lunch. Arrive in Paro. Sightseeings around the Paro valley include Ta Dzong ( Dzong means Fortress ) which houses the National Museum, the ruins of Drugyel Dzong and the courtyard of Kichu Lhakhang one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan - dated 7th century AD. Then walk down to Rinpung Dzong ( Fortress of the heap of jewels ) learning the fascinating history behind the Dzongs from your guide. Dinner and overnight in Paro.
DAY 09 PARO (TAKTSANG EXCURSION) (B/L/D)
After breakfast drive to Drukgyel Dzong before driving to Ramthongkha. Hike to the viewpoint of Taktshang, the Tiger's Nest (1.5 hours walk). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 1,250 m above the valley floor. The trail is broad and the walk uphill takes you to a little more than a 500 m above the Paro valley. Taktsang is one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayan world and a pilgrimage destination for devout Buddhists. For a close look at the cliff-hanging monastery, keep hiking uphill for about 2 hours before reaching a viewpoint filled with prayers’ flags. From here Taktsang is clearly seen, clinging to a sheer rock wall at an altitude of 4000 m. Beyond the viewpoint, the path is narrow and steep as it climbs to a point above the temple, from where walkers descend to the building itself. The main deity of Taktsang is Dorje Drolo, the wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche, the precious Teacher, also known as Padmasambhava. The great tantric mystic is said to have flown here on the back of a tiger, a manifestation of his consort, Yeshi Tsogyal, when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th century. There are 13 sacred sites at Taktsang, and several meditation caves in the cliffs above. Begin the descent and stop at the nearby tea house for lunch. Evening farm house visit in Paro. Farewell dinner and overnight at hotel in Paro.
DAY 10 DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
All departure formalities will be made available in advance, and assisted by your guide. Early breakfast at the hotel and drive to the Paro Airport for flight home via Kathmandu or drive westbound for the extension to the Garden state of Sikkim in India.
DAY 11 ARRIVE HOME