Discover Bhutan Tour Package - 10 Days

Bumthang Cultural Trekking
Discover Bhutan Tour Package

Discover Bhutan tour is all about witnessing the unique culture and traditions of the land of the thunder dragon. At the same time, visiting some of the most beautiful landscapes, valleys, High Mountain passes, ancient monasteries. Discover Bhutan takes you to the colorful city of Paro, the tiny capital – Thimphu, the old capital – Punakha including other popular locations like the Phobijikha Valley in Gangtey-considered one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, Dochula pass en-route Thimphu to Punakha from where spectacular Himalayan panorama of the eastern mountains can be seen. A short hike to Chimi Lhakhang ‘the temple of fertility’ dedicated to Drukpa Kunley is another attraction en-route Thimphu to Punakha. Visit Punakha Dzong, arguably considered one of the most beautiful monasteries in Bhutan, in Punakha. Afterwards, trace the same route back to Paro visiting the Haa Valley. Closer to the tour end go for two days hike to up to Bumdra and the next day hiking down to the much famed Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3120m) and drive back to Paro. It’s believed Guru Padmasambhava came at the Taktsang Monastery in the 8th century on a flying tigress and meditated here thus it’s named ‘Tiger’s Nest’. All in all Discover Bhutan tour features all the prime locations where culture blends with nature and also witnessing the pristine landscapes, ancient monasteries, age-old temples including seeing the day to day lives of the people living high up in the Himalayas.

Trip Highlights:
• Witness spectacular bird’s eye view of the Himalayas while flying in/out from Paro.
• Explore Paro exploding with colors and tradition.
• Guided city tour of the tiny capital Thimphu.
• Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3120 meters).
• Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan.
• Explore the Phobjikha Valley in Gangtey, the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan.
• Hike into the Bumdra region.
• Visit the Haa Valley, a magical place beyond mountains
• Witness unique culture, tradition and lifestyles of Bhutan.

Day to Day Itinerary
Day 01: Arrive Paro (2250) & transfer to Thimphu (2350m)
Day 02: In Thimphu – Sightseeing
Day 03: Thimphu – Gangtey (2320m)
Day 04: Gangtey – Punakha (1310m)
Day 05: In Punakha – Wolakha nunnery visit & Khansum Chorten hike – Gangtey (2320m)
Day 06: Punakha – Haa Valley (2670m)
Day 07: Haa – Paro (2250m)
Day 08: Drive to Sangchen Chokhor from Paro & trek to Bumdra (3,800m)
Day 09: Bumdra – Takstang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest (3120m) – Paro (2250m)
Day 10: Paro – Depart

What to expect:
The typical itinerary for this tour basically visits the following locations/landmarks.

Day 01: Arrival Paro & transfer to Thimphu – Meet at the airport & transfer to Paro town for lunch. Visit Paro Ringpung Dzong then drive to Thimphu for overnight stay.

Day 02: In Thimphu – Sightseeing at Thimphu visiting Buddha Terrance, Takin Preserve to see Takin- Bhutan’s national animal, Tashichoe Dzong, Memorial Chorten, Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Folk Heritage Museum etc.

Day 03: Thimphu to Gangtey – Drive to Gangtey & the Phobijikha Valley – one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. En-route pass over Dochula pass from where spectacular Himalayan views of the eastern mountain can be seen in a clear day. Also take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang ‘the temple of fertility’ dedicated to Drukpa Kunley.

Day 04: Gangtey to Punakha – Visit the Gangtey Monastery & a short nature hike to the Phobijikha Valley starting just below the monastery. Then drive to Punakha for overnight stay.

Day 05: In Punakha – Early in the morning go for Khansum Chorten short hike just above the Punakha Valley. Also visit the Punakha Dzong arguably considered the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan.

Day 06: Punakha to Haa Valley – Drive to Haa Valley passing over the Chelela pass and overnight at the Haa Valley.

Day 07: Haa to Paro – Explore around Haa Valley & drive from Haa to Paro & check-in hotel. PM: At leisure/free to explore.

Day 08: Paro to Bumdra – Drive to Sangchen Chokhor, the trek-start-point, start the hike passing along forests, meditation cave, and meadows with great Himalayan views and finally reach Bumdra. Visit the Bumdra Monastery.

Day 09: Bumdra to Takstang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest (3120m) to Paro – Hike down to the Taktsang Monastery & explore around. Then hike down to the base of Taktsang then drive to Paro.

Day 10: Paro Depart – Transfer to the Paro Airport for your onward flight.

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrive Paro (2250) & transfer to Thimphu (2350m)
Arrive Paro by the Bhutanese National Carrier flying over the world’s highest mountains including Mt. Everest. As you step down from the plane, a cool and clean fresh air greets the visitor, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing customs and visa formalities, meet the representatives and the Bhutanese guide, head out to Paro town for lunch. Visit the Paro Rignpung Dzong in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan. Afterwards, drive to Thimphu (1 hour) & check-in hotel. PM: Free to explore. Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu (Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 02: In Thimphu – Sightseeing
After breakfast, sightseeing round Thimphu visiting many landmarks like Buddha Terrance, Takin Preserve to see Takin – Bhutan’s national animal, Tashichoe Dzong, Memorial Chorten – a monument erected in memory of Bhutan’s third king H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchu, Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Folk Heritage Museum – a 300 year old traditional house converted into a museum. Then back to hotel. Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 03: Thimphu – Gangtey (2320m)
After breakfast, drive to Gangtey from Thimphu for about 4 hours. After steeply climbing through the pine & cedar forests come Dochula pass (3,050 m). The pass commands panoramic Himalayan views of the eastern mountains in a clear day. After stopping here for tea and witnessing spectacular Himalayan panorama, the road descends along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha. En-route Punakha, take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang ‘the fertility temple’ built in 1499 dedicated to Drukpa Kunley. Today mostly visited by the women who couldn’t bear Children, thus also known as the temple of fertility. After crossing Wangdue, the road climbs up and finally reaches Gangtey. Overnight at Hotel in Gangtey (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 04: Gangtey – Punakha (1310m)
After early breakfast, drive towards Punakha for about 2 hours. Crossing over Wangdue and reaching Punakha. In Punakha, visit Punakha Dzong crossing the bridge. It’s the ancient capital of Bhutan connecting the Mo Chu & Pho Chu Rivers. It is also the winter capital for the monks and the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) Overnight at Hotel in Punakha (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 05: In Punakha – Wolakha nunnery visit & Khansum Chorten hike – Gangtey (2320m)
Early in the morning, visit the beautiful Wolakha nunnery built on the hill top of Walakh and join the nuns for Morning Prayer. Later on, drive further north of Punakha to hike up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyel Chorten erected by Royal queen mother for the purpose of present king in 2002. It offers a great view of the lower valley. At the temple one could see three different sect of Mahayana Buddhism. Overnight at Hotel in Punakha (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 06: Punakha – Haa Valley (2670m)
After breakfast, drive to Haa Valley crossing over the Chelela pass (3899 m) for about 5 hours. From the pass, good view of the Himalayan Ranges and the valley beyond can be spotted. Then continue the drive towards Haa. Haa is made up of five counties and was closed to outside world until 2002. There is a military camp by the Indian Army. Overnight at Hotel in Haa (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 07: Haa – Paro (2250m)
Early in the morning, visit Wangchucklo Dzong dating back to 1915 and Lhakhang Nakpo (Black temple) is said to have been built by pigeon emanation of King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and Lhakhang Karpo (white temple). After the drive to Paro for about 2 hours. PM: Free to explore. Overnight at Hotel in Paro (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 08: Drive to Sangchen Chokhor from Paro & trek to Bumdra (3,800m)
After breakfast, a short drive will take you to Sangchen Chokhor which is the most important college in Bhutan and the trek-start-point. You will then climb steadily up the mountainside through thick forests of Himalayan blue pine, oak, rhododendron until reaching ‘Chochong-Tse’, a small 17th century temple and meditation cave. The trail then proceeds with short steep climb to a panoramic viewpoint; walk along the ridgeline trail above the valley floors witnessing great views of surrounding lush valleys and snow-capped peaks. You will then pass through beautiful forests and meadows of wildflowers approaching the tree line and to our campsite which provides panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayas. Overnight Camp in Bumdra. Walking Duration: 4-6 hours (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 09: Bumdra – Takstang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest (3120m) – Paro (2250m)
In the morning, visit the Bumdra Gompa, a small meditation monastery tucked on the side of an immense cliff face which was founded by the Tantric Buddhist Yogini Machig Labdron. Afterwads, begin the hike descending where the landscape transforms from the high country to dwarf rhododendron and beautiful vistas, giving way to the low lands of pine and oak. The hike then approaches the most popular Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’, one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Bhutan which is perched in a vertical cliff defying all engineering logics. It’s believed that Guru Rinpoche arrive here on a back of a tigress in 8th century and meditated for 3 months. Overnight at Hotel in Paro (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 10: Paro – Depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains. (Breakfast only)

Cost Details:

Includes the following service during Bhutan tour:
• Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
• 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
• Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
• Route Permit
• Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
• A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
• All land transportation by private vehicle
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• Sightseeing as per itinerary
• Monuments entrance fees where applicable
• Drinking water
• All internal taxes and charges
• A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

Excludes in the package cost:

• Airfare & Travel Insurance
• Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
• Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Trip Note

Visas to Bhutan
All citizens except India, Bangladesh and Maldives require visa to enter Bhutan. It requires a readable color copy of your passport and the passport should have at least six months of validity from your Bhutan exit date. Visa fee is US$40 per person. Tour’s full payment must be made before your arrival in Bhutan as per the tourism council of Bhutan – TCB.

Visa procedures
To apply for the visa, you need to send a clear copies of your passports to your travel agent in JPEG or PDF formats via mail. Upon full tour payment receipt, the tourism council of Bhutan then issues the visa clearance letter to your travel agent which in turn will send it to you. Please bring this letter and show at the Paro International Airport in order to get your passport stamped with the actual Bhutan visa. Please note that the VISA service is not offered in Bhutan, travelers have to buy full service package from the local tour operator. Printed copy of visa letter also needs to be shown during the check-in at the Druk Air counter. Entering Bhutan overland via Phuentsholing or Samdrup Jokhar, one needs to produce the visa letter at the immigration office.

Accommodation
There’s a wide selection of hotels in Bhutan from 3 star to world-class 5 star hotels at the prominent places like Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey etc. 3-5 star hotel are officially government approved hotels. Besides, there’s hundreds of standard and budget hotel scattered throughout Bhutan including homestays, farm house stays. Travelers daily cost includes stays at the 3 star hotels and using 4 star or 5 star will require additional premium. Top 5 star hotels in Bhutan include Le-meridian, Taj Tashi, Como Uma etc.

Meals
During Bhutan stay all meals are included from breakfast to lunch and dinner. Breakfast and dinners will be at the hotels where travelers are staying and lunch might be at the restaurant during the sightseeing tour. However, on the last day of the tour the travel agent are oblige to provide breakfast only and any lunch/dinner will be traveler’s on own. Meals in Bhutan include mix of Indian, continental including Bhutan special cuisines such as Ema Datshi, Momos etc.

Transportation
Traveling in Bhutan is easy nowadays with Bhutan rapidly developing it’s infrastructures on it’s road-system. Until 1961 traveling in Bhutan was quite difficult with no proper means of transportation in the country. One has to travel either on foot or on mule/horse back. After 1961 modern road construction began with most of the districts and towns getting interconnected via roadways. Nowadays comfortable ground transports and public vehicles are accessible in major cities. Different luxurious cars, SUVs, buses and coaster buses are available for tourists.

Guides
Every guide in Bhutan must complete a training course so that visitors get high quality professional service. Over 1000 licensed active tours guides are working in the country. Guides specialize either in cultural or adventure tours. All Bhutanese guides are helpful and friendly and proficient in English. Many guides have also learnt other languages like German, Japanes, Thai or others for better communication with travelers from these countries. All tour operators must employ only registered and certified guides.

How to get Bhutan
There are two options to get into Bhutan by air or by land. One can fly to Bhutan and land at the only international airport of Bhutan – the Paro International Airport. Alternatively, by land one can enter Bhutan via Phuentsholing from west connecting with Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri-West Bengal or Kakarbhitta-Nepal. Gelephu is the entry point if you are travelling from the central region and Samdrup Jongkhar from the east. Exiting through Samdrup Jongkhar in southeast Bhutan is to connect with Guwahati of India. From Guwahati, you may fly into other Indian cities like Delhi, Bombay or Kolkata. Even though Bhutan shares its border with Tibet, there are not treaties established yet to open the border crossing between these two countries.

Flights to Bhutan
Only two airlines connect Bhutan with the rest of the world, Druk Air (the national flag carrier) & Bhutan Airlines (Privately owned air). These airlines fly into the Paro International Airport in Paro – the only international airport in Bhutan. They too flies from certain cities only like Kathmandu, Delhi, Singapore, Bangkok, Kolkata, Bagdogra. Airlines flight schedules changes by season but there are several flights per week from Kathmandu, New Delhi, Singapore and Bangkok, either direct or via Dhaka, Kolkata or Bagdogra. Flights into Paro are dependent upon the weather conditions due to geographical location of Paro airport, so flight timings are subject to change. Therefore, all passengers are advised to maintain a minimum of 24 hours connection time to avoid disconnection.

Best time to visit Bhutan
Best time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). Weather mostly remains clear during spring during when mystifying beauty of nature can be witnessed and varieties of flowers and plants bloom. June-August is the summer season and monsoon starts from June. Fall (Sep-Nov) is the another high season after spring during when tourist arrives Bhutan for festivals like Thimphu tshechu, Gangtey tshechu, Jambay Lhakhang drup. Winter season (Dec-Feb) isn’t crowded during when temperature level goes down (even below freezing point) and Bhutan may see snow fall. Trekking won’t be possible at high elevations in winter due to snow.

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