Bhutan hides itself between the mountains of Himalayas. The strong storms which often appear on the Himalayas is the reason for the other name of the country – ‘The Land of The Thunder Dragon’. Bhutan culture is the great combination of Buddhism and the Himalayan heritage. It has a uniqueness that tourists can only experience here. That is why tourists visit Bhutan every year because they are curious and attracted by the culture. Bhutan cultural tours are the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to come in contact with the cultural heritage of the country.
Coming to Bhutan, you will be able to visit Dzongs (fortresses), monasteries, chortens, old temples. These are the religious destinations, which embrace the Buddhism in their architecture. Some of the famous Dzongs like Thimphu Dzong, Ta Dzong, Punakha Dzong and Trongsa Dzong are hundreds years old, becoming the iconic image of Bhutan culture.
Bhutanese are proud of the diversity and the richness of their culture. People here can be seen practicing Buddhism, twirling praying wheels and fingering praying beads in many places and even at home. They have Tshechus (festivals) during certain time of the year. These festivals are simply charming and fun-filled. And rarely in any nation’s cuisine will you find chilies as the main ingredient of the dish, but that is the distinctive characteristics of Bhutanese food. Keep this in mind when you try some Bhutanese dishes like the traditional dish ema datshi (chili with cheese).
Tour duration – 6 days/ 5 nights
Tour destination – Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha.
Tour overview – You will go and see Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, Punakha – the old capital and Paro valley with its spectacular nature. You will be visiting Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness” and Paro Rinpung Dzong, “Fortress of The Heap of Jewels” to see one of the finest examples of Bhutan’s unique architecture. Before discovering the beautiful Paro valley, enjoy the hike to the Tiger’s Nest which is one of the most places of Bhutan. Legend says that Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), who introduced Buddhism into the Kingdom, had arrived at the nest on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Thimphu town and Paro town are where you can explore the life of Bhutanese and the vibrant atmosphere of crowded shops and people on the streets. Bhutanese culture is the unique combination of Himalayan heritage with Buddhism inspiration, which you will not find in any other Asian countries. The splendid views of Himalayan range, snowy peaks and lush forests during this trip are the perfect gift of Bhutan to visitors. This is one of our most popular packages with tourists
Day 01: Arrival in Paro and move to Thimphu
- Altitude in Paro: 2280m
- Distance: 55km
- Estimated time: 1.30hr
The flight to Bhutan provides the most spectacular view of The Himalayas. As the plane approaches Paro, you will see the beautiful snow peaks of Himalaya range. The first gift from Bhutan will be cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. Our representative will meet you and drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan at 2320m, also the only capital in the world that does not use traffic lights.
On arrival in Thimphu, check in the hotel. After a brief rest we will head to the Jungshi Handmade Paper factory. This small factory produces traditional Bhutanese paper from the bark of two tree species, the Daphne and Dhekap tree. You can observe the entire process of producing handmade paper. It is named Deh sho paper, was originally used by monasteries for woodblock and manuscript books and also for writing prayer books.
Next we will visit the National Memorial Chorten, which was the idea of Bhutan’s Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk who had wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his Majesty’s untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace. You will see a lot of Bhutanese people circumambulating, reading mantras in murmuring and spinning their prayer wheels the chorten throughout the day.
Then we take a walk around to explore Thimphu town and soak in the atmosphere of this charming capital with crowded shops, bazaars and hospitality local in national dress.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02:Thimphu sightseeing
We will begin our day‘s sightseeing of the following sites:
The National Library of Bhutan, was established in 1967 to preserve the rich cultural and religious heritage of Bhutan and The Himalayas. It holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and historic manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.
The Folk Heritage Museum, restored three-storey, rammed mud and timber house replicates a rural household and is furnished as it would have been in the mid-19th century to provide an interesting glimpse into rural Bhutanese life.
The National Textile Museum, is the place to learn about Bhutan’s living national art of thagzo (weaving). Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan. It displays Royal Ghos and Kiras and introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and type of textiles made by women and men.
If your trip happens to fall on a weekend, we will take a quick visit to the farmer’s market. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market, so we will see all kinds of vegetables, fruits dried stuff, cereal, rice, poultry, meat and even incense.
In the afternoon we visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, commonly known as the Arts And Crafts School or the Painting School, operates four to six- year courses on the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. You will be able to see students doing painting (thangkas- painted religious pictures, walls, and statues to the decorations on furniture and window-frames), embroidery (hangings, boots, clothes) or clay arts (religious statues, pottery), wood carving (masks, statues).
In the late afternoon we head to the Tashichho Dzong, fortress of The Glorious Religion. It has been the seat of the government since 1952, after the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorje Wangchuck made this dzong to be a symbol of the new capital of Bhutan. It 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 at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu to Punakha
- Altitude in Paro: 1300m
- Distance: 75km
- Estimated time: 3hrs
In the morning we drive to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan. On the way we will stop for a hot drink and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges at Dochula pass, high on top of a mountain (3050 metres), overlooking the Himalayas with 108 chortens (stupas) known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, built in memory of Bhutanese soldiers killed in the 2003 battle against Assamese insurgents from India. The Queen Mother, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, commissioned the monument after the Fourth King, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was victorious in the struggle to dislodge the rebels who were using Bhutan as a base to raid India.
Along the way, we will take a pleasant hike to across hillock fields to the Chimi Lhakhang, the Temple of Fertility and built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley –“Divine Madman”.
Then we will visit Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. It is an imposing structure and was built in 1637 at the confluence of two rivers, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. It served as the capital and seat of government until the early 1950s. The dzong is still the winter residence of the monk body.
Overnight at hotel in Punakha.
Day 04: Punakha to Paro
Today we drive back to Paro. On the way we will visit the Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The dzong houses statues and paintings of various Buddhas, deities and religious figures including The Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, Jampelyang the Bodhisattava of Wisdom, Shakya Gyalpo the Buddha of Compassion and others.
In the afternoon you can start your culture tour of Paro valley by visiting the National Museum of Bhutan (Ta Dzong), originally built as watchtower around 1649. It is on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Paro Rinpung Dzong and Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell. This dzong was converted into the National museum of Bhutan in 1968. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Afterwards we visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, meaning the fortress of The Heap of Jewels, is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. It was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal between 1642 and 1646. This dzong now houses monk body and administrative offices of Paro and is symbolic as the religious and secular center of all affairs of the valley. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Then we head to the Sangay Handmade Bowl and Cup Factory. You will see demonstration of traditional wood turning skills by local artisans who make traditional wooden bowls and cups. It calls Shagzo – the art of wood turning, one of thirteen traditional Bhutanese arts. You can try your hand as well if you wish.
In the evening we take an explorative walk around main streets and market at Paro town.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 05: Paro sightseeing
In the morning we take a hike to the Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest. It is one of the most holy sites in Bhutan, clings to a cliff more than 3000 metres above sea level and 900 metres above The Paro valley floor. The legend says that Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) arrived here on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Subsequently, he meditated here for three months. Every Bhutanese person is expected to complete the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. You will have lunch at Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery.
On the way, we will visit the Drukgyel Dzong, was a fortress and monastery, built in 1647 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal(Zhabdrung Rinpoche), to commemorate his victory over an invasion from Tibet in 1644. In the early 1950s, Drukgyal Dzong was almost completely destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and reinstated in 2016. From here you also see snowy peak of sacred Mount Jomolhari. It is second highest mountain (7,134metres) above sea level in Bhutan. This mountain marks the frontier with Tibet.
Next we will visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in The Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. This temples marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. In the 8th century the temple was visited by Guru Padmasambhava.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 06: Depart Paro
After early breakfast at the hotel, your guide will accompany you to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck) and hope to see you again.
- Single traveler: US$ 1,490 per person
- Group of 2 people: US$ 1,440 per person
- Group of 3 people: US$ 1,290 per person
OFF PEAK SEASON
- Single traveler: US$ 1,240 per person
- Group of 2 people: US$ 1,190 per person
- Group of 3 people: US$ 1,040 per person
- If you are planning to travel Bhutan with a group of 4 people and more, please feel free to contact us to get the cost for your group.
|The cost includes||The cost excludes|
|Bhutan visa fee.||Laundry/beverages/telephone calls and any personal expenses.|
|3 star categories hotel/resort twin sharing room||Travel insurance.|
|Accommodation in the best 3 star hotels/resorts in Bhutan.||Airfares.|
|All meals in day.||Airport taxes if any.|
|Bottled water on the trip.||Excess baggage charge.|
|A sustainable development fee.||Tips to guides and drivers.|
|Museum fees and other special entry fees.||Services not mentioned.|
|Internal transportation with experienced driver throughout the trip.|
|Sightseeing as per itinerary with English speaking guide.|