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Bhutan Tour 11 days

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  • Jyatha, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal

Overview

On this tour, you will explore the beautiful mountain kingdom Bhutan that has remained unchanged over centuries. Bhutan once the forgotten land has recently been rediscovered. Central Bhutan tour offers numerous sacred sites, dzongs, temples, landmarks, monasteries, markets, farm houses, schools and museums etc.

Ta Dzong at Paro, had been used as a watch tower in 17th century. This has been changed into the National Museum since 1967 where there is a collection of relics and arts. Rinpung Dzong is known as ‘the heap of jewels’, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang. It has noteworthy architectural designs. Drukgyel Dzong was built in 1647 by the same first spiritual king Shabdrung to protect from the Tibetan invasion. The commanding view of Mt. Chomolhari can be seen from here. The 7th century built Kyichu Lhakhang by Srongtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King, is one of the oldest and holy shrine having 108 temples in the Himalayas. Takstang Lhakhang.900 m high above the Paro Valley is a highly esteemed monastery in Bhutan.

The way from Paro to Thimpu passes through a romantic villages, paddy fields and reaches to Simtokha.Simtokha is an incisive tantric teaching place. This is now for Dzongkha language study. Changangkha Lhakhang was built in 12th century and it is one of the celebrated places where parents come to get the auspicious names for their newborns and blessing for their young children from the Tamdrin deity. Memorial Chorten was built in the memory of third king of Bhutan. Tashichhodzong is a medieval fortress/ monastery where there are king’s throne and government offices. This is the Chief Abbot’s summer residence. The Handicraft Emporium has profuse of beautifully woven and crafted products. National Library has an illustrious collection of antique Buddhist manuscripts and texts. This is the place to excavate the historical knowledge of Bhutan. Traditional Medicine Institute prepares the herbal medicines and dispensed from here. It is not allowed to enter inside but one can view it from outside.

After crossing Dochula Pass, at an elevation of 3,050 m, one can be at Punakha. The pass is marked by a Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flags. It is the vantage point to view eastern Himalayas of Bhutan. Punakha Dzong has different identity; a fortress built where there is two rivers’ confluence. The first King of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuk was being crowned in 1907 here.

Phobjikha is a glacial valley, wide and flat land, situated in the boundary of the Black, National Park.The black necked cranes in Phobjikha valley is an extra-ordinary. Gangtey Monastery of Nyingmapa sect is an exquisite in Bhutan. Then Trngsa can be reached after crossing the Pelela Pass (3,300 m). We can see the Chendbji chorten nuilt in 18th century by a Lama named Shida in Nepalese architecture, eyes painted at four cardinal points. Yutong La Pass (3,400 m) is 29 km far from Trongsa.

Bumthang is the place where there are four valleys: Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura ranging from 2,600 m to 4,000 m from the sea level. The more significant places to visit in Bumthang are Kurje Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong and Membartsho. Kurje Lhakhang has three temples surrounded by 108 chortens. Jambey Lhakhang was built in 7th century by the Tibetan King Shrongtsen GAmpo. Jakar Dzong was built in 1549 but this has been the administrative center after Shabdrung took over it in 1646. Membartsho is regarded as the burning lake in the Tang valley, a greatest pilgrimage sites, decorated with prayer flags and small clay offerings called ‘Tse Tsa’ in rock niches.


Trip highlights

  • Scenic flight from Kathmandu to Paro, which offers an aerial view of Mt. Everest & Kanchenjunga
  • Explore the typical lifestyle of local people from Bhutan
  • Sightseeing in and around Paro and Thimphu
  • Panoramic views of the Himalayan mountains
  • Excursion in Bumthang village
  • Visit Trongsa Dzong fortress
  • Taktsang Monastery (The Tiger's Nest)

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Paro – Thimpu, Overnight in hotel

As your flight lands in Paro, our experienced guide will greet you outside the customs of the airport. Then, we will transfer you to the capital city, Thimphu, which is about 1.5-hour drive. On the way, we will pass by the Tamchog Lhakang Iron Bridge. Upon arrival in Thimphu, we visit its landmark building, National Memorial Chorten, which also serves as a Buddhist tower for locals to worship. Then, we pay a visit to the Buddha Dordenma Statue, one of the largest Buddha figures all over the world. Next is the Motithang Takin Preserve with Bhutan national treasure animal - Takin, which has the body of a cow and the head of a sheep. Then, we move our steps to the Zikukha Nunnery. The last stop of today’s Bhutan holiday packages ends at Tashichho Dzong, which is a prestigious Buddhist Monastery. Moreover, it is a political center where the king and other politicians deal with national affairs.

Day 02: Thimpu, Overnight in hotel

Today's best Bhutan tours in Thimphu will start with the Tango Monastery, a Buddhist monastery built in the 13th century. Later, we visit the Thirteen Traditional Arts and Crafts School, whose courses cover painting, carpentry, stone carving, sculpture, paper-making, embroidery and so on. Then, we proceed to Folk Heritage Museum, where you can learn more about daily life of Bhutanese people. After that, we will make a short stop at the National Library to appreciate its splendid appearance. The National Museum has a large collection of classical documents on religion, culture, legendary and history. Later, we will conclude today's trip at a traditional paper making factory.

Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha, Overnight in hotel

In this morning, we drive to Punakha. Along the way, we will pass by the Dochula Pass, where we can have a view of the eastern part of the Himalayas, and explore the nearby 108 Grand Stupas built in 2005 to pray for world peace if it is a clear day. Each of the 108 Buddhist towers is different in style and exquisite in shape. Upon arrival, we approach the Chimmi Lhakhang, where people pray for kids. Thereafter, we will come to the most beautiful holy place in Bhutan - Punakha Dzong, which is characterized by white buildings and red windows. Finally, we will visit the Suspension Bridge to round off today’s Bhutan holiday packages.

Day 04: Trongsa – Bumthang, Overnight in hotel

After breakfast you will visit the beautiful Trongsa Dzong and Ta Dzong. You will also visit the Kuenga Rabten Palace located 22 kms from Trongsa. This ancient palace is the palace of the second king of Bhutan. Further continue the drive over Yuto La Pass (3400m) to reach the most beautiful valley in Bhutan, Bumthang. We will stop briefly at the line of shops selling Bhutanese handicrafts before entering Bumthang. Upon arrival, you check in at the hotel. Later on you will visit the Jakar Dzong in the late afternoon. After breakfast visit Ugyencholing Dzong which has been converted into a museum now.

Day 05: Bumthang, Overnight in hotel

After breakfast you visit Jampey Lhakhang, Kuje Lhakhang, and Tamsing Monastery. Jampey Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. Built in the 7thcentury, Kuje Lhakhang is where Guru Rinpoche left the imprint of his body in the cave he was meditating. Tamsing Monastery is the private monastery where we can wash our sins if we carry the coat made of nails thrice around the shrines. This coat of nails was made by Pemalingpa himself. If time permits we will take an excursion to Thangbi Lhakhang, where we will visit a very old Lhakhang.

Day 06: Bumthang, Overnight in hotel

Today after breakfast, you take a full day excursion to Ura Valley. Just before reaching the Sheltang Pass, we will have a beautiful view of the highest peak in Bhutan, Gangkar Punsum (7541m). Explore this prosperous village including the village temple with the beautiful paintings. On the way back we will visit the Shingkhar Monastery and Shingkhar village.

Day 07: Bumthang – Gangtey, Overnight in hotel

After breakfast depart for Gangtey. Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Gangtey is a beautiful place of rolling hills and green meadows surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is at an altitude of 3000m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque Black Mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley. Gangtey Gompa is perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. The monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens (Lay Monks). The Gangtey Gompa is the only Nyingmapa Monastery on the western side of the Black mountains and is also the biggest of its kind. Gangtey is also the winter home for the famous Black Necked Cranes who migrate here from Tibet during the winter months. While the cranes reside in the valley for 4/5 months the village folks are not allowed to make loud noises or fish in the river that runs through the valley. At Gagtey, you get to visit the Gangtey Monastery and the Black Necked Crane centre.

Day 08: Gangtey – Paro, Overnight in hotel

After breakfast, depart for Paro. Paro is a picturesque valley with quaint clusters of hamlets amid terraced paddy fields. Although the site of the nation's first airport, Paro still retains its traditional charm in its traditional buildings and the simple way of life lead by the locals. Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Rest of the time explore the town on your own.

Day 09: Paro, Overnight in hotel

Today after breakfast you visit Rinpung Dzong, the administrative headquarters and the monastic unit of Paro district. Along the wooden galleries, lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong, 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 mandalas. Also visit the ancient and holy Kyichu Temple (built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century).At the National Museum antique thangkhas, textiles, weapons and armours, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifact is exhibited.

Day 10: Hike to Taktsang Monastery, Overnight in hotel

After breakfast take a drive up the valley to Drukgyal Dzong or the fort of Drukpa victory. The dzong, although gutted by fire and in ruins now, still attracts visitors. It was used to repel Tibetan invasions throughout the course of early Bhutanese history. Looming above the smouldered ruins is the snow-capped peak of the Chomolhari. We will stop at the view point of Taktsang (hike uphill for about two to three hours for a close up of the Taktsang or Tiger's nest). This is the famed site where Guru Padmasambhava alighted upon the back of a tigress.

Day 11: Depart Paro

After leisurely breakfast transfer to the airport for flight to onward destination.

  • Trip facts

  • Trip duration : 11 days
  • Grade : Easy
  • Activity : Sightseeing Tour
  • Starts in : Paro
  • End in : Paro
  • Max Altitude : 2900 m
  • Location Covered: Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang & Gangtey
  • Best Season: Spring / Autumn

Extension Tours

Paragliding
Jungle Safari
Pokhara Tour
Rafting

Necessary Information

1. Visa to Bhutan

To travel to Bhutan, first of all, you have to obtain a passport with the valid for 6 months. Then, if you are not an Indian, Bangladesh, or Maldivian, you must have a visa and get permission via your travel agency to enter Bhutan. Also, you cannot purchase air tickets unless you can show your visa clearance.

2. Meals on Bhutan Trip

We offer 3 tasty meals while on our trips in Bhutan (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

3. Accommodation on Bhutan Trip

All the hotels we use are comfortable, clean and offer all the amenities required. We have carefully selected the best hotel in Paro, Tiumphu and major cities of Bhutan for you and your group. If you would like to select your hotel, please let us know and we'll book everything for you.

4. Transportation

We use comfortable and well-maintained 4WD Toyota land cruiser. We ensure before leaving on a trip that our vehicule are double-checked properly. Your security is our main concern and you can be sure to have a safe trip with us.

5. Climate

You can travel in Bhutan at any time of the year except during the winter which starts in December and ends in early March. During the summer, you should expect some light rainfall especially in the south of Bhutan. In the winter time, the temperature can drop down to -6 degrees Celsius while in the summer time the temperatures reach an overage of 25 degrees Celsius.

The best time to travel in Bhutan is during the Spring (March, April and May) as days are warm and clear.

6. Vaccinations

As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the commencement of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.

7. Insurance

Before joining the tour we recommend you take out travel insurance. This should include adequate cover for baggage, medical expenses, cancellation, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation. If you do not have travel insurance you must have a credit card with at least a US$5000 limit.

8. Personal Expenses

We don’t pay for your personal expenses and recommend you to bring extra money to cover meals not included in the tour, extra activities, souvenirs, tips etc. Bhutan currency: Ngultrum (Nu) There is no ATM machines in Bhutan and credit cards are usually not accepted.

9. Safety in Bhutan

It is no doubt to say that Bhutan is the safest country in the world as there is no terrorism, riots, and political turmoil. Due to the fact that most Bhutanese people are Buddhist; hence, they believe in karma and always try to do good things in life. For this reason, your Bhutan tour itineraries will be so much perfect without worrying about anything dangerous.

10. SIM card & Internet Service in Bhutan

To keep in touch with your beloved ones, or your local guide who comes along with you on your Bhutan tour itinerary, you have to own a Bhutanese SIM card. The Internet is limited in Bhutan as it just can be found in very few hotels in big towns like Thimphu and Paro; however, you still can use the internet via data servicing packages including 2G, 3G, or even 4G by the two network providers in Bhutan: Bmobile and TashiCell.

Additional Information

Travel With Rajbala

Since we began in the early 90s we have always strived to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible and to give back to the many villages we pass through on our trekking itineraries. Today we still embrace this responsible travel approach when devising and operating our small group travel holiday experiences in Nepal. We invite you to trek in Nepal with the Himalayan trekking specialists Raj Bala Treks and Expeditions.