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Bhutan Cultural Tour – 8 Nights / 9 Days

This fascinating tour will give you the opportunity to uncover the pristine beauty of the kingdom and experience the Himalayan urban & rural life. You will be travelling to major districts of the country like Thimphu, Paro, Punakha & Wangdue Phodrang including Phobjikha village, the valley of the rare Blacked- Necked cranes and Haa valley, which is the happiest district of the country according to GNH survey, 2011.

Tour Details

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The ‘Glimpse of Bhutan’ cultural tour explores all of the highlights of Bhutan’s western valleys, and is ideal for those with a limited time frame.

  • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
  • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
  • Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
  • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests.
  • Incorporate a Value-Added Option such as a cooking lesson or meditation session with a monk.

Day 1 : Arrival – Paro International Airport by Drukair

Welcome to Bhutan “the Land of the Thunder Dragon.” As you touch down, you will be received by your guide and driver at the airport and driven to hotel for a refreshment & briefing on your tour program. (Please note; your itinerary shall be flexible and your guide shall give you options based on your interest)

Paro Sights & Acclimatization Day!

  • Visit Paro Ta Dzong, one of the best museums of Asia
  • Rinpung Dzong “fortress of the heap of jewels.”
  • After lunch, take a leisurely drive to Drugyel dzong (a ruined victory fortress located 16km from Paro town. Walk in the ruins and feel the ancient Bhutan.
  • On the way back, visit Kichu lhakhang, built in 629 AD by a Tibetan king. Overnight Paro. (Alt; 2280m)

Day 2 : Kila Gomba & Escape to Haa (65km/ 2.5hr)

  • Drive to Chelela pass (3,810m) & enjoy the bird’s eye view of Mt. Chomolhari (7134m).
  • Walk on the ancient trail amidst tall Alpine trees to the solitary Kila Gomba. The hike to this oldest nunnery takes about 2hrs round trip.
  • After picnic lunch, drive to the pristine Haa valley which was closed to the outsider till 2001.
  • Visit the remote monasteries below mountain peaks like the temple of Black Dove & White Dove.
  • In evening, walk in the local town and talk to villagers.

Overnight Haa. (Alt; 2670m)

Day 3 : Haa – Thimphu (106km/ 3-4hr)

  • Drive to Thimphu, stopping to look at the 3 holy mountains as you leave Haa valley. Thimphu is a vibrant capital city which imbibes the perfect blend of the ancient tradition & modern lifestyle.
  • En route visit the Simtokha dzong; the first fortress to be built in Bhutan.
  • Drive to Buddha Gang, which offers the best city-view of Thimphu. This giant Buddha-statue overlooking Thimphu is one of the biggest in the world.
  • Circumambulate around Memorial chorten (huge stupa). This is the favorite spot for the locals of all age to chant mantras, prostrate, pray and practice their devotion.
  • Witness/ participate in an archery match played by the locals with lots of hue & cry.
  • In evening, explore the bustling city on foot; Hongkong market, Norzin lam, Main traffic area, Wogzin lam, Clock tower etc. Overnight Thimphu (Alt; 2320m)

Day 4 : Thimphu Cultural Sightseeing

  • Drive to Sangay-gang where the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin, is found in captivity. This hill is also called the “romantic point” as lovers often come here to enjoy the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley.
  • Interact with the nuns at Zilukha Nunnery
  • National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. They also have on display the largest Picture Book on Bhutan in the world.
  • Folk Heritage Museum to embrace the cultural lifestyle of the ancient Bhutan.
  • Traditional Medicine Centre which includes indigenous hospital and herbal medicine manufacturing unit.
  • Zorig Chusum “School for Thirteen Traditional Arts and Crafts”  followed by a visit to Textile Museum & Handicraft Emporium.
  • Traditional Paper Factory; these handmade papers are widely used around the country.
  • The Tashichhoe Dzong, the main secretariat building, the office of the King and Throne room and also the house of the State Monastic Body.
  • After dinner, Night club and Drayang (traditional Bhutanese pub with live singers), Optional. Overnight Thimphu.

Day 5 : Phobjikha Rural Expedition (142km/ 5hr)

  • En route stop by Dochula pass ( 3150m) to enjoy spectacular views of the eastern Himalayan mountain range.
  • Stroll around 108 stupas and enter Drukwangyel (Royal temple).
  • After lunch in Nobding village, head on to the glacial valley of Phobjikha which is situated at the north western tip of the Black Mountain. This beautiful village is one of the roosting grounds of the Black-necked cranes that migrate each year in winter from its northern habitats in Tibet and Siberia.
  • On arrival, visit the Gangtey gomba. This is the largest Nyingma monastery in the country.
  • Hike on the nature trail that leads you through the refreshing Blue-pine forest to a small village. Try village tea & snacks.
  • Visit the Crane Info Centre. Here on free to walk around the village or drive to your hotel for rest. Overnight Phobjikha (2900m)

Day 6 : Gangtey – Wangdue Phodrang & Punakha (65km/ 3hr)

  • At dawn walk into the serene Gangtey valley and enjoy the sunrise. After breakfast, drive to Pelela pass (3300m) to capture the majestic snowcapped mountain-view.
  •  Drive to Wangdue and hike to Chimi lhakhang, Childless couple who come and pray in this fertility temple is usually blessed with a child
  • After lunch, visit Punakha dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. This beautiful fortress lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female river.
  • In evening, drive on the Gasa road and hike to Khamsum Yuelling chorten, a lovely stupa built for world peace. The hike takes about 2hrs round-trip. Overnight Wangdue & Punakha. (Alt; 1240m)

Day 7 : Tango & Chari Excursion (78km/ 3hr)

  • Drive to Thimphu stopping at Dochula resort for hot coffee and Himalayan-view.
  • After lunch & refreshment in Thimphu, drive to the picturesque Tango monastery situated in the solitary hill covered by forest. (1.5hr walk round-trip)
  • Hike to Chari goemba; glued to the rocky cliff 300m above the river valley. This 12th century site is the most sought-after meditational retreat centre for monks. (1.5hr walk round-trip)
  • After visiting the holy shrines, spend some time meditating in the temple and the surrounding campus. It is believed, meditation happens on its own.
  • On the way back, walk over the wooden bridge to the Craft Bazaar, a perfect weekend market to shop for souvenir and interact with the local traders. Overnight Thimphu.

Day 8 : Quest for Taktsang

  • After a wholesome breakfast, drive to Paro (53km/ 1.5hr). Check-in resort and prepare for the excursion.
  • Hike up the forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous and scenic icon. Tiger’s Nest clings to sheer cliffs of 900m above Paro valley. The climb is steep and takes about 4-5hrs round trip. (Ponies & horses optional; fees not included)
  • Picnic lunch at the hillside cafe with close Tiger’s Nest view.
  • In evening, Bhutanese style farewell dinner at a typical village home with local liquor called “Ara.” Hot stone bath, optional. River rocks are heated and dunked into a large wooden tub with herbs. This type of bath is considered to have medicinal properties of healing. Overnight Paro.

Day 9 : Departure

Our representative will bid you farewell at the Airport. Tashi Delek!

  • Bhutan Tourist Tariff Royalty & Visa fees.
  • All private excursions and transfers in superior air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Local English speaking guide/tour leader.
  • Experienced driver.
  • Accommodation in carefully selected, highest standard goverment approved hotels & guesthouses.
  • All meals in Bhutan.
  • All entrance fees and permits.
  • All personal expenses such as bars, beverages, laundry, telephone and tips.
  • Medical / Travel Insurance.