Bhutan: Discovery in Depth

  • Duration
    13 Days
  • Region
  • Best Time
    • February - April
    • October - November


Trek Grade: Easy

Bhutan, often referred to as the "Land of the Thunder Dragon" or 'Druk Yul', is regarded as one of the last "Shangri-Las" in the Himalayan region given its remoteness, its spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora and fauna, its unique ancient Buddhist monasteries and the peaceful and serene environment.

Explore the country beginning with Thimphu, the capital city which is the most modernity you will experience while in-country. It offers insight to what our country has to offer from picturesque, nature bound hiking trails to unique architecture and history while you climb the Chari and Wangdi Tse trails and visit its beautiful temples. Also engage with textile curators at the textile museum to see the beautiful varieties of textile patterns in the country.

You will be moving further to Punakha & Wangdi Phobjikha where you will walk around the courtyards of the majestic Punakha Dzong which has held many important events in the history of time & take therapeutic forest walks along the trails of the wide Phobjikha valley, treating your eyes with breathtaking views. Drive further towards the central region of Bumthang. Bumthang is referred to as the spiritual heartland of the nation. You will feel the aura, presence of the Buddhist saints and scholars who have lived in those lands when you visit the Kurjey Lhakhang where Guru Padmasambhava meditated and the Tamzhing temple where the saint Pema Lingpa presided. Retrace your journey back to Paro where you will take many walks to sacred monasteries, one of the toughest being the Tiger’s Nest monastery perched on cliff, which to most are a highlight and paying your obeisance to the Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in the country.

Tours Highlights

  • Covering Western & Central Bhutan visiting Thimpu, Gangtey, Bumthang, Punakha, Paro with a deep immersion into the cultures of the land
  • Sightseeing with English-speaking Bhutanese Tour Manager & Entrance fees at the Monuments
  • Assistance at arrivals & departures & transport with SUVs & mini coaches depending on group size
  • Fly in & out of Paro airport
  • Prices on request

Destinations Covered

Detailed Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Arrive Paro By Air & Transfer To Thimphu (55 Kms / 1½ Hrs Drive Approx)


    The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in the entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be the cool, clean, fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative. Then drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan with a stop-off at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Three different styles of stupas: Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese adorn this confluence. Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left the Tschogang Lhakhang, “the temple of the excellent horse”. It is a private temple, built in the 15th century, as a result of the visitation from Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig, the compassionate Buddha.

    On arrival in Thimphu, check-into the hotel.

    Evening visit the Tashichoedzong. This impressive fortress/monastery houses Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body.

    Overnight in Thimphu (L, D))

  2. Day 2 Thimphu


    Half-Day Trek to Cheri Goemba - This half-day trek takes you up to the 17th century Chagri Dorjeden Monastery, founded in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the Bhutanese state. Your trek begins along the banks of the Thimphu Chhu, where you cross a traditional wooden bridge before starting the steep climb to the top. The hike up to the monastery covers some 4.5 kilometers and should take you around an hour, passing a collection of hermitages and temples along the way and providing you with some truly breathtaking views across the Thimpu Valley.

    Afternoon, while returning from hike on the way, visit Pangri Zampa 16th century one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan located just north of Thimphu. Here is a monastic school where Buddhist student’s monks learn Lamaism and astrology based on Buddhist philosophy OR Visit National Library that has vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts. Then visit, the National Textile Museum which houses a series of exhibitions designed to highlight different weaving techniques, textile fabrics, patterns collected from the different parts of the country.

    Overnight in Thimphu (B, L, D)

  3. Day 3 Thimphu


    This morning, hike up a 2 hrs approx. Wangditse trail that leads up through many hanging prayer flags making the place beautiful and if you look back you will find good view of Thimphu city. At first the trail seems to head up into the mountain towards Phajoding. But after 10 minutes of abrupt climbing you will take the side footpath to right and the trail gets gentler and easier. You will find apple orchard and few farm houses above the trail. From here the trail drops down gently through oak, blue pine and rhododendron until you will reach Wangtse monastery. The view of Tashicho Dzong, Thimphu city, and Buddha statue is stunning from here. Lunch at a local restaurant.

    Afternoon, drive to Memorial Chorten, the stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s Third King who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside this monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy.

    Visit to Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). Located at a short drive from Thimphu city center, visitors can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.

    Overnight in Thimphu (B, L, D)

  4. Day 4 Thimphu – Gangtey (150 Kms / 5 Hrs Drive Approx)


    After breakfast at the hotel and check out, drive to Gangtey across the beautiful Dochula pass (3O8Om). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten (stupa) and prayer flags. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view of the towering peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day. The Druk Wangyel Stupas (hundred stupas) are a sight to behold against this backdrop.

    The highway follows the scenic Dang Chhu before climbing through forests of bamboo and oak into Gangtey / Phobjikha valley.

    In the evening, take a stroll around the fascinating Gangtey Village and visit Gangtey Goempa, perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor. The Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountains and also the biggest one in Bhutan. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens (lay monks) who take care of the Monastery.

    Overnight in Gangtey (B, L, D)

  5. Day 5 Gangtey


    After breakfast, explore the wide Phobjikha valley. A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lies the village of Phobjikha. This quiet, remote valley is the winter home of the black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangdue Phodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley boasts two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Chhu Naap-black water) and Gay Chhu (Chhu Karp-white water). According to a local legend, the two rivers actually represent a snake and a boar. The two animals once raced each other with an agreement that if the snake (Nakay Chhu) won, Phobjikha valley would be able to grow rice, but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area. The snake lost since it had to meander all the way during its journey. Rice cannot be cultivated in the valley even today.

    Take the short Nature Trail starting from the Gangtey Monastery down the valley, en route stop by at the Kewa Lhakhang whereby you can interact with the monks. The hike will end next to the local community school, which you can also pay a visit to.

    Also visit the Black Necked Crane Visitor Centre: Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the Centre has an observation room equipped with a high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also displays information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop that sells handicrafts produced by the local people.

    Overnight in Gangtey (B, L, D)

  6. Day 6 Gangtey – Bumthang (140 Kms / 5 Hrs Drive Approx)


    Following breakfast at the hotel, proceed on an exciting drive to Bumthang crossing Pele-la pass (3300m/10830 ft) via Trongsa. The Pela La (pass) is marked by a large white chorten prayer flags. There is an abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forest replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo.

    Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys namely Tang, Ura, Choekhor and Chumey, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Linga to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its origin. En route towards the main town, stop at the Yathra Weaving Center. In the village of Zugney in Chumey, there are ladies weaving yathra patterns, the special textile o the region. The brightly colored wool fabrics are displayed outside the houses. Quality, pattern and color vary widely.

    In the village of Zungney in Chumey, there are ladies weaving yathras, the speciality of the region. The brightly coloured wool fabrics are displayed outside the houses. Quality, patterns and colour vary widely.

    Then,visit the Jakar Dzong, the administrative centre of the valley. The Jakar Dzong, also known as the "castle of the white bird" was initially built as a monastery by the great grandfather of the first Zhabdrung but is now the centre of administration of Bumthang District and also houses the regional monk body. It overlooks the Chokhor Valley, is visible from almost everywhere in Chokhar town and offers a good view of the Bumthang Valley as well. It is the site of the festival of Jakar Tshechu in which sacred masked dances take place. Later visit the small charming town of Chamkhar.

    Overnight in Bumthang (B, L, D)

  7. Day 7 Bumthang


    Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys - Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries.After breakfast, explore for the tour of Bumthang valley:

    Dirve to the Jambey Lhakhang (7th century temple), Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan) and Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region) and visit Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padmasambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock.

    Take a short easy 1.2 hr hike to Thangbi Goemba. Walk through the beautiful upper Chhoekhor valley from where the motor able road ends. It is a nice walk through the pristine and peaceful forest without any steep inclines or declines. Visit some of the farm houses in the area and the temple. It was founded in 1470 by the 4th Shamar Rinpoche, Chokki Drakpa, an important lama of the Karma Kagyudpa sect.

    Overnight in Bumthang (B, L, D)

  8. Day 8 Bumthang – Punakha (105 Kms / 6 Hrs Drive Approx)


    After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan, crossing Pele-la pass (3300m/10830 ft) The Pela La (pass) is marked by large white chorten prayer flags. There is an abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forest replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo. Proceed forward towards Wangdue, Punakha further crossing Dochula pass.

    Overnight in Punakha (B, L, D)

  9. Day 9 Punakha


    After breakfast, take a short walk to Chimi Lhakhang through the village of Mitsena The Chimi Lhakhang situated on a hillock in the center of the valley, also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.

    Then, visit the Punakha Dzong, the 17th century fortress that has played an important role in the building up of modern Bhutan followed by a visit to the local market, introducing you to the colorful hustle and bustle of the locals.

    Overnight in Punakha (B, L, D)

  10. Day 10 Punakha – Paro (125 Kms / 4.5 Hrs Drive Approx)


    After breakfast drive to Paro enroute visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627, it now houses the School for religious studies.

    Afternoon in Paro visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum of the Kingdom. Originally built as Watch Tower since 1967 it is serving as the National Museum of the country and holding fascinating collection of art, artifacts, thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps.

    This is followed by a short walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as the Four Friends, the Old Man of Long Life, the Wheel of Life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.

    Overnight in Paro (B, L, D)

  11. Day 11 Paro


    This morning, take a day easy of hike of about 2hrs to Zuri Goenpa (2800 m). This also serves as an acclimatization hike with a little climb of about 20 minutes above Uma Paro hotel and then levels along the slope above paro valley with spectacular view down below, finally finishing at the National Museum. As you walk along the trail you will have an opportunity to witness the landing and taking off of Druk air which would remind you of the exciting landing you had earlier. It will also be of great opportunity to take pictures of Paro valley including the Rinpong Dzong, Airport, Paro town and the surrounding mountains. You can visit Zuri Goenpa a 17th century monastery built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Zuri dzong also served as watch tower for the Rinpong Dzong down below.

    Lunch at local Restaurant

    Afternoon drive north of Paro valley to ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. From this fort Bhutanese repelled several invasions by Tibetan armies.

    Nearby visit traditional Bhutanese Farm House which offers good insight into lifestyle of local people.

    Overnight in Paro (B, L, D)

  12. Day 12 Paro


    After breakfast, excursion to Taktshang Monastery (approx. 5hrs walk): It is one of the most famous monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rimpochhe arrived on the back of a tigress and meditated here and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site is recognized as one of the most sacred places in Bhutan. It was also visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and is now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of the building. However, this iconic monastery has been restored to its original splendor.

    Lunch at a local restaurant

    While return to the hotel, along the way, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

    Overnight in Paro (B, L, D)

  13. Day 13 Paro


    After breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.


Ask The Expert

Indicates required field

Personal Information

Booking Information