Destination Himalaya offers Tours Treks Safaris Photo Tours to Bhutan Paro Thimphu

Essential Bhutan A 16 day cultural tour

Tucked away in the Himalaya, bordering Tibet and the Northeastern Frontier provinces of India, and with a population of less than 800,000, Bhutan is a place of peace and natural beauty. Despite recent nods to modernity, Bhutan remains an immensely beautiful and serene land, and is a place where the Buddhist faith of its people remains the nation’s most vital cultural force.

Indeed, Bhutan’s greatest attractions are undoubtedly its vibrant and active Buddhist culture and its glorious Himalayan and pastoral landscapes. Buddhism plays a major role in the life of the Bhutanese people, and informs the highest levels of political activity. Bhutan is closely linked culturally and historically with Tibet, the name Bhutan implying Tibetan connotations. The Bhutanese have a very strong sense of independent identity, however, and quite often refer to their country as Druk Yul, or “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” and identify themselves as Drukpa. Since the Chinese incursion into Tibet in the 1950s, however, Bhutan has forged closer political and economic ties with India. Through it all, Bhutan has managed to maintain its identity and remains to many the embodiment of the legendary Shangri La.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Bhutan / Thimphu
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of the world’s highest peaks. You will be met on arrival at Paro, and will be transferred to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital and an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.

Day 2: Exploring Thimphu
We will continue exploring Thimphu, visiting the Zorig Chusum (commonly known as Painting School), the Textile and Folk Heritage Museums, and the National Memorial Chorten, a monument to world peace and prosperity.

Day 3: To Punakha
Driving over Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130 ft), with impressive views of Himalayan giants, we descend into Punakha Valley.

Day 4: Exploring Punakha Valley
We take an excursion to to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility and the Namgel Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world.

Day 5: To Tsonga
This morning we begin our drive to Trongsa via Wangduephodrang. Driving over another high pass, Pele-la pass (3,300 m/10,800 ft) we reach Trongsa.

Day 6: Arrive Bumthang
Today we visit Trongsa Dzong. Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan before driving to Bumthang Valleys. Bumthang is the general name given to a combination of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura - with altitudes varying from 2,600m to 4,000m.

Days 7 & 8: Exploring Bumthang
We have two days to explore the many prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries, including Kurje Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang and Tamshing Lhakhang.

Day 9: To Gantey
Today we head to Gangtey. The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan.

Day 10: To Paro
Explore Phobjikha, the winter home of the migratory black-necked cranes. We will then continue on to our next destination, the “idyllic” Paro Valley.

Day 11: Exploring Paro Valley
While in Paro, we will visit historic sites such as Drukgyel Dzong, Ta Dzong, Rinpung Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang, as well as the most famous of Bhutanese monasteries, Taktsang, Guru Rinpoche’s “Tiger’s Nest.”

Day 12: Depart Bhutan
Today we leave Bhutan, taking the return flight from Paro to Bangkok. Overnight in Bangkok for our return flight to the USA the next day.


Suggested Extensions:
  • QuickEscapes – North India
    Explore the Imperial Cities of India – Delhi, Agra & Jaipur.  These were the capitals of the Rajput, the Mughal and the British, the three major influences on India in the last 500 years.

  • QuickEscapes – Mountains
    Visit the Hill Stations of Kalimpong and Darjeeling offering fabulous views of the high Himalaya. Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu can all be viewed from Tiger Hill, above Darjeeling.

Other itineraries featuring Bhutan:

Call us toll free at 1-800 MY INDIA (1-800-694-6342) or email us to request a detailed day-to-day itinerary.

Thimphu Valley
Thimphu, Punakha
Trongsa, Bumthang
Paro Valley, Taktsang

It's Included:
Medical & evacuation insurance
All hotels, meals, ground transportation, local guides and entrance fees
Fully escorted trip

Private Departures:
On Demand - March, April, May, September, October & November

Land Cost:
From: $4585 per person
(minimum two travelers)

Royal Troupe dancer

Leh monastery
Hiking in Paro Valley

At the Sunday bazaar
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