Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of Bhutan with this captivating itinerary. From the historic landmarks of Paro and Thimphu to the picturesque valleys of Punakha and Phobjikha, each day offers a unique blend of cultural immersion and outdoor adventure. Explore ancient monasteries, stroll through traditional villages, hike scenic trails, and marvel at the untouched landscapes. If your journey falls between October and mid-February, you may even encounter the majestic black-necked cranes during their winter migration. Witness the breathtaking Tiger’s Nest monastery, a true architectural marvel, and experience the warm hospitality of the Bhutanese people. Discover Bhutan, the living museum where traditions come alive and nature embraces you at every turn.
Outline of the Itinerary:
Day 01: Bangkok-Paro-Thimphu (Seven Suite or similar) Day 02: Thimphu(Seven Suites or similar)
Day 03: Thimphu-Punakha (Zhingkham Resort or similar)
Day 04: Punakha – Phobjikha ( Hotel Dwachen or similar)
Day 05: Phobjikha ( Hotel Dwachen or similar)
Day 06: Phobjikha to Paro (Tenzinling Luxury Camp or Resort)
Day 07: Paro (Tenzinling Luxury Camp Or Resort)
Day 08: Departure
Note: Please note that this is just a sample itinerary, and you can customize it further based on your interests, preferences, and the duration of your stay in Bhutan. Your guide will be able to assist you in planning and arranging activities according to your specific requirements.
Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, our representative will welcome you and take you to your hotel. After an early lunch, visit the National Museum, Ta-dzong, originally a watchtower from 1616 A.D. to 1907, now converted into the National Museum in 1968. It offers a commanding view of the picturesque Paro valley.
Next, explore Paro Rinpung Dzong, the Fortress of the Heap of Jewels, serving as the administrative center and home of a monastic school. The central tower (utse) showcases exquisite woodwork, constructed in 1645 A.D. by Shebdrung Nawang Namgyel, the revered spiritual and political leader of Bhutan.
Conclude the day by walking across the Nemi Zam, a traditional covered bridge, adding to the area’s charm and providing a delightful pathway to immerse yourself in the local ambiance.
After the cultural tour of Paro valley, transfer to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu blends traditional Bhutanese culture with modern developments and remains one of the few capital cities without traffic lights, preserving its cultural heritage and maintaining a peaceful environment. Later on, take an evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few
Handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar.
Begin your day at Kuensel Phodrang, also called Buddha Point, where you can capture stunning photographs and savor the peaceful ambiance of this iconic landmark. The magnificent Buddha Dordenma statue, standing at an impressive height of 169 feet (51 meters), provides breathtaking panoramic views. Take in the intricate details of the statue and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings.
Next, visit the National Post Office along Chang Lam, famous for its diverse and quality stamps. You can even create your own personal stamp with your photo and send it to your loved ones.
Explore the Jungshi handmade paper factory, where the art of papermaking has been preserved since the 8th century. Witness the papermaking process and purchase unique paper products from their shop.
Visit Pangrizampa College of Astrology in Dechencholing, where you can learn about the rich history and significance of astrology in Bhutanese culture. (Note: Astrology readings require advance appointments.)
Continue to the Motithang Takin Preserve, a wildlife reserve for the takin, Bhutan’s national animal. Learn about its cultural significance and the legend of its creation.
End the day by visiting the Centenary Farmers Market, Thimphu’s largest domestic market, where farmers from all over the country sell fresh and organic produce. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and browse stalls selling clothing, textiles, and handicrafts.
After breakfast, depart for Punakha valley. On the way, make a stop at Dochula pass, a popular tourist spot that offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Himalayan mountain range. Admire the snowcapped mountains against the backdrop of the serene 108 chortens, known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens. These chortens were commissioned by Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk and hold significant spiritual importance.
Continue your drive to Punakha, enjoying the scenic landscapes along the way. Upon arrival, take a leisurely stroll to Chimi Lhakhang, also called the ‘Monastery of the Mad Monk.’ Built in 1499, this fertility monastery has a colorful history that your guide will share. It remains a culturally significant place where women seek blessings for fertility.
Next, visit Punakha Dzong, a majestic fortress that holds great historical significance. It served as the country’s capital from 1637 to 1907 and hosted the first national assembly in 1953. As the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan, it stands as a remarkable architectural masterpiece. Inside the dzong, you will find numerous monasteries.
Don’t miss the Punakha Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, spanning the Po Chu river. It connects the village and offers stunning views of the surroundings.
Situated at a relatively low altitude of 1,300 meters (4,265 feet), Punakha Valley enjoys a warmer climate compared to other regions in Bhutan.
Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of Punakha as you explore its cultural landmarks and appreciate its scenic landscapes.
Begin the day with an early hike, crossing the Mochu River and ascending switchbacks to reach Namgyel Khamsum Yuely Chorten. Enjoy panoramic views of the Mochu River Valley before descending through rice fields and villages, immersing yourself in the picturesque scenery.
After lunch, depart Punakha for Phobjikha, a breathtaking valley renowned for its natural beauty and the winter migration of black-necked cranes. The journey takes around 2- 3 hours.
Upon arrival, explore the Phobjikha Valley, a designated conservation area teeming with diverse flora and fauna. Marvel at the enchanting landscapes, verdant meadows, and traditional Bhutanese farmhouses. Take a leisurely walk, immersing yourself in the untouched beauty of the valley, and keep an eye out for the elegant black-necked cranes if they are present during the season.
After breakfast, continue your exploration of the captivating Gangtey/Phobjikha Valley, combining cultural immersion and outdoor adventure.
Start your day with a visit to Gangtey Monastery, perched on a hilltop with breathtaking valley views. Admire the magnificent architecture and explore the adorned halls, gaining insights into Bhutanese Buddhism.
Embark on a picturesque hike along the Gangtey Nature Trail, surrounded by serene pine forests, meadows, and charming villages. Connect with nature, savor the fresh mountain air, and appreciate the untouched tranquility. Along the trail, visit Khewang Lhakhang, a captivating temple adorned with vibrant wall paintings and ornate statues, offering a glimpse into Bhutanese religious practices.
Enjoy a delightful picnic lunch in front of Khewang Lhakhang, immersed in idyllic scenery.
Continue your journey to the hidden valley south of Phobjikha and explore the Longchenpa Temple. Dedicated to the revered Tibetan Buddhist scholar and saint, Longchen Rabjam, this temple showcases beautiful architecture, intricate paintings, and serene prayer halls, providing a window into spiritual practices. Conclude your day by visiting Taphu Village, where you can experience traditional Bhutanese life and interact with friendly locals. Take a leisurely stroll through the village, observing charming houses, farmlands, and daily activities. Don’t miss the opportunity to encounter the unique sheep and shepherds of the Phobjikha Valley. Relish the tranquility of your surroundings before returning to your hotel.
Begin your day with a delightful breakfast before embarking on a picturesque 5-hour drive from Phobjikha to Paro. En route, make a stop at Wangdue to visit the historic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Founded by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1638, this hilltop dzong resembles a ‘sleeping elephant’ and offers stunning views of the Dangchhu and Punatsangchhu rivers. Marvel at its traditional Bhutanese architecture, including an underground passage and fourteen chapels and shrines.
Continue your journey to Rinchengang village, known as the “grateful village.” This ancient cluster village houses the masonry experts who contributed to the construction of Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Witness the village’s architectural heritage and admire the skillful craftsmanship displayed in the houses while enjoying a panoramic view of the dzong.
As evening approaches, take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Paro, adorned with traditional Bhutanese houses and handicraft shops. Immerse yourself in the local culture, browse for souvenirs, and consider dining at a local café or restaurant to indulge in authentic Bhutanese cuisine.
Embark on a memorable hike to the legendary Taktsang, or “Tiger’s Nest,” cliff-hermitage. The scenic trail takes around an hour to reach the cafeteria, offering breathtaking views of the monastery perched on the cliff. Another hour will take you to the main temple, with its deep spiritual significance as Guru Rimpoche’s meditation site. Legend tells of Guru Rimpoche flying on a tigress to subdue demons. This heritage site is a must-visit in Bhutan.
In the evening, visit Drugyel Dzong, a fortress built in 1646 to commemorate a victory over Tibetan invaders. Though partially damaged by fire, its towering walls and central keep still command admiration. On clear days, the approach road offers a splendid view of Mt. Chomolhari, the second-highest mountain. After the hike, explore Paro Town’s handicraft shops or enjoy a leisurely walk. Take a moment to reflect on this incredible journey before continuing your exploration of Bhutan.
After breakfast in the hotel, our team from Charlotte Travel will accompany you to the airport for your onward flight. As you bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom, it disappears once again behind its guardian mountains. Wishing you the traditional Bhutanese blessing of Tashi Delek (Good Luck) on your journey ahead.