This nine-day tour offers a glimpse of Bhutan’s rich cultural and traditional heritage and spectacular mountainous landscape. You will see the beautiful valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Phobjikha and in the capital city of Thimphu, you will have the opportunity to learn more about Bhutanese life and see one of the largest statues of Buddha.
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Day 1: Arrive in Bhutan
Buddha point at Kuensel Phodrang in Thimpu – Image by Tatree Saengmeeanuphab
The flight into Bhutan will give you a spectacular view of the Himalayan mountain ranges. On a clear day, you can see Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
Your tour representative will receive you upon arrival. The drive from Paro to Thimphu (capital city) will take you through beautiful rice terraced fields and alongside the gushing Pho Chu and Wang Chu rivers.
Afternoon visit Kuensel Phodrang where the biggest statue of Lord Buddha (169 ft) has been built overlooking the Thimphu valley. In the evening, visit the Memorial Chorten built in memory of the third King of Bhutan.
Day 2: Thimpu
Cheri Monastery – Image by Kateryna Mashkevych
In the morning, drive to Dodena. Hike about one hour to Tango Monastery, a Buddhist University, which was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhingpo in the 14th century, and built in its present form in the 17th century. Alternatively, you can hike to Cheri Monastery, the first Buddhist monastic school established in 1627. It is now a meditation centre for higher level Buddhist studies.
Day 3: Thimphu to Phobjikha
Family of Takin – Image by David Jallaud
In the morning, visit the Motithang Takin Preserve and see the Takin (Bhutan’s National Animal). Drive to Sangaygang and get a view of the Thimphu valley.
Then drive to Phobjikha over Dochula Pass. On a clear day, one can get a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain ranges and see Gasa Dzong at a distance. One can also visit the Druk Wangyel Chortens (108 stupas) on the Pass and the 60th Anniversary Park.
In the afternoon, relax and enjoy the warmth of the bhukhari (iron wood burning stove) in your hotel.
Day 4: Phobjikha to Punakha
View of Punakha Valley – Image by Chandy Benjamin
In the morning, explore the beautiful valley of Phobjikha. The valley is the home of the Black Necked Cranes, an endangered species. In winter they fly south from Central Asia to Bhutan & make Phobjikha their winter home. One can see their roosting place in the marshy land. From Nov to Feb one can see the Black Necked Cranes feeding and roosting in the beautiful valley.
In the afternoon, drive to Punakha and relax in the warm, green and fertile valley. Evening at leisure.
Day 5: Punakha
Punakha Dzong – Image by Kai19
Punakha is the old capital of Bhutan. After breakfast, drive up the valley to Chazam. Walk through the beautiful rice fields & hike up the hillock to Khamsum Yulley Lhakhang. Visit the monastery & have a picnic lunch.
In the afternoon, return to Punakha. Visit the Punakha Dzong and also longest suspension bridge over the Phochu river, which is one of the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. Spanning 350 metres, this bridge goes over the gushing Pho Chu river and is used by the locals as a shortcut from the villages across the river to Punakha Dzong.
Day 6: Punakha to Paro
Iron Chain Bridge of Tamchog Lhakhang Monastery – Image by Sabine Hortebusch
After breakfast, visit Chimi Lhakhang, a 15th century fertility temple which has built on a hillock overlooking rice fields, villages and the Punatsangchu river.
Enroute to Paro visit Tamchog Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo who is known for having introduced the construction of suspension bridges into Bhutan and Tibet (many of the bridges are still in use today).
Day 7: Paro
Steps up to Kichu Lhakhang – Image by Ipek Morel
After a morning of rest, visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum housed in an ancient watchtower, which has a fine collection of ancient Thangka paintings, textiles, weapons, and artefacts. Visit also Paro Rimpung Dzong and a traditional wooden cantilever bridge.
Sightseeing includes also visit Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century AD and Drugyel Dzong, a ruined fortress from whose ramparts the Bhutanese once repelled Tibetan invaders. In the evening, a stroll through Paro town.
Day 8: Day Excursion to Taktsang
Taktsang Monastery – Image by Phuong D. Nguyen
After breakfast, drive to Ramthongkha. Hike uphill for about 3 hours to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley floor. It is a very sacred Monastery for the Bhutanese people who believe that it must be visited at least once in their lifetime.
In the evening, experience a unique hot stone bath which will relieve all aches & pains followed by a typical Bhutanese dinner in an old traditional Bhutanese house.
Day 9: Departure
Paro Airport – Image by Moroz Nataliya
In the morning drive to the airport for departure. Your tour representative will see you off.
We also have example itineraries for a variety of other countries HERE.