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: Thimphu sightseeing
You will arrive in Paro (2,280m), one of Bhutan’s biggest cities. Paro airport is surrounded by mountains, and you can have a clear view of their snowy peaks from your plane. As you step out of the plane, you will be welcome with the cool, clean fresh air. From there, we will drive 1.30 hour to reach Thimphu – the capital of Bhutan, which is 55km away. On the way, we can stop at the beautiful Tachogang Lhakhang Temple (Temple of The Hill of The Excellent Horse). The great iron bridge builder Thangtong Gyalpo (1385-1464) had found inspiration for this stunning temple from his vision of the spiritual horse Balaha – an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.
Your first day will be filled with exciting visits to famous landmarks. After check-in at the hotel, we will travel to the National Memorial Chorten, built by Bhutan’s Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928-1972). The great chorten was first built as a monument for world peace and prosperity, and later also serves as a memorial to the Late King.
Later on, you will be able to make your own stamp at the General Post Office as a special gift for your family and friends.
Your next stop will be the famous Buddha Point (Buddha Dordenma Statue), a giant statue of Shakyamuni Buddha sitting on a mediation hall, measured at a height of 51.5m. This is one of the holiest destinations in Bhutan, with 125,000 smaller Buddha statues placed inside.
Next, we will drive up to Motithang – a north-western suburb of Thimphu to conquer the Wangditse hike (2,400m). The trail will take you through the forest of oak, blue pine, and rhododendron. With a total of 2.5km for one way, this is an easy trek and will take about 2 hours to finish. On the way, you may visit Motithang Takin Reserve to see Bhutan’s national animal – Takin, with a body of a cow and the head of a goat. You can enjoy the beautiful picture adorned by colorful prayer flags along the hike and if you look back, you will find an incredible view of Thimphu city. We will stay at a hotel in Thimphu for the first night.
Day 02: Discover Thimphu
After breakfast, it is time to hike to Cheri Goemba – the first monastery of Bhutan (2,800m), established in 1620. The ancient monastery was founded by Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the Bhutanese state. We will ascend about 400m and be able to reach the site after 1 hour of trekking. The hike will lead you through forest of blue pine, fir, and rhododendron trees. Also, you will possibly catch sight of Gorals (wild goat) wandering around the nearby cliffs.
If the trip occurs during a weekend, your guide can take you to visit the farmer’s market. It is quite an interesting sight to see as farmers from different regions of the country come and sell their products here. You can find a variety of vegetables, fruits, rice, meat and even incense in the market.
To get an insight into rural Bhutanese life and art, we will visit Folk Heritage Museum and the National Textile Museum. The heritage museum replicates a rural house in mid-19th century, using rammed mud timber, presenting daily objects like the leopard-skin bags and Brokpa yak-hair ‘spider’ hats. On the other hand, the textile museum will show you the art practicing of thagzo (weaving), with different styles and on a variety of materials.
In the afternoon, we will head to another exciting destination – the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, or commonly called the Arts and Crafts School, or Painting school. The students here are enrolled in different course which teach the 13 traditional arts of Bhutan. You will certainly be fascinated with the incredible craft presentations here, as well as the discipline that the young students follow in the school.
Last stop today is Tashicho Dzong (Fortress of The Glorious Religion). Through its history, this stunningly large dzong has been expanded, destroyed by fire, rebuilt before finally completed in 1902 by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. This massive structure is surrounded with the spectacular scenery of green lawns and exquisite gardens, which will totally amaze you.
In the late afternoon and evening, we can explore the life of Thimphu, enjoying the exciting vibe from shops and bazaars on the streets. Besides, Thimphu is known for its cool nightlife, joyous clubs and events, where you will find good food and good music. You will spend the second night at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu to Punakha
- Altitude in Punakha: 1,300m
- Distance: 75km
- Estimated travel time: 3hrs
We will be travelling to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan. On the way, we will stop for the panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains from Dochula Pass (3,050m). Because of its breathtaking scene from the top of the mountain, the pass becomes popular with travelers to Bhutan.
First visit in the old capital will be Punakha Dzong, or ‘Place of Great Happiness’. Believed as one of the most outstanding dzongs in the country, this landmark has witnessed some of the most important moments in the history of Bhutan. As the dzong is located at the confluence of 2 major rivers, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, visitors are rewarded with magnificent natural view from the dzong.
Arriving at Pho Chhu Suspension Bridge, we can enjoy the spectacular sight of Punakha Dzong and Pho Chhu Valley. With 160m in length, this is Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge.
Later in the day, let’s hike and visit Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (1,500m), which stands proudly on a ridge above the Punakha Valley. From the suspension bridge, we will ascend 200m up the hill. This is an easy hike and only takes approximately 1 hour, though the trail may be a bit muddy. Upon reaching the chorten, we will be at one of Bhutan’s finest architectural examples, also the only one of its kind in the world. Afterwards, we will rest at a hotel in Punakha.
Day 04: Punakha to Paro
- Distance: 125km
- Estimated travel time: 4hrs
From Punakha, we will return to Paro and have an easy hike while we are on the way. Ascending only 20m, which takes about 30 minutes, we will cross hillock fields to visit Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) at an altitude of 1,500m.
In the afternoon, you will get the chance to see another great example of Bhutanese architecture – Paro Rinpung Dzong (Fortress of The Heap of Jewels). The dzong was constructed in 1644 on the foundation of a monastery erected by Guru Rinpoche. Because of its massive buttressed walls, the building is visible throughout the valley.
Then we will visit the extensive collection of the National Museum of Bhutan (Ta Dzong). Exhibited in the conch-shell-like building are a variety of object, from antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armour to household objects and also a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
At the next destination, you can try out Shagzo (Bhutanese wood turning) to create your own wooden bowls and cups at Sangay Handmade Bowl and Cup Factory. Finally, we will wander around Paro’s dynamic streets and market and rest at a hotel in Paro for the night.
Day 05: Paro sightseeing
We will spend more than half of our day to trek to the sacred Taktsang Monastery, which clings to a cliff more than 3,000m above sea level. Thus, the highest altitude of the trek will be at 3,120m, with a 900m of walking height. Due to the level of difficulty, we will be trekking for 5-6 hours to reach our destination. Taktsang Monastery (or ‘Tiger Nest’) is a must-visit when you are in the country. For Bhutanese, at least once in their life, they are expected to complete the pilgrimage to this holy site.
During the long trek, we will have stops to refresh as well as to appreciate the untouched nature of the area. Wonderful scenes of ancient forest and massive mountain ranges along the trail will become the best memories of your Bhutan trip.
We will then stop at Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Guru Padmasambhava also visited this place in the 8th century. It is not only one of the oldest, but also claimed to be one of the most stunning temples of Bhutan.
In the late afternoon, it is a special dinner which we will join in with a local family, in a traditional farm house. You will have an enjoyable time with the warmest people, chatting over authentic Bhutanese dishes. We also recommend trying out archery and darts, which your guide and driver will happily teach you. These are two of the most popular sports in the country, practiced in almost every family.
It may also be nice to check out the bars in Paro, where they have amazing snack and local alcohols for your last night in Bhutan.
Day 06: Depart Paro
After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will take you to the airport for flight to your onward destination. It is time to say ‘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 (US$ 40 per person).||Laundry/beverages/telephone calls and any personal expenses.|
|3 star categories hotel twin sharing room or double sharing room.||Travel insurance.|
|Accommodation in the best 3 star hotels in Bhutan.||Airfares.|
|All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in day.||Airport taxes if any.|
|Bottled water, tea, and coffee on the trip.||Excess baggage charge.|
|A sustainable development fee of $65 per night.||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 qualified and licensed English speaking guide.|
|Gho or Kira (traditional and national dress of Bhutan) for your use during your stay in Bhutan.|
|Bhutanese sim cards.|
|Archery and Darts.|