Best of Bhutan

Best of Bhutan

Embark on a memorable journey through Western and Central Bhutan to see the best this unique country has to offer.

The scenic beauty of its mountainous terrain, the serene and verdant rural vistas, the smiles of the welcoming locals, the spiritual energy of its monasteries will all leave lasting impressions.

This tour is ideally suited to those who want to spend more time in Bhutan, capturing the very best of Bhutan at an easy pace that allows time to relax and unwind.

15 DAYS
FROM £3475
Idea
Themes:
Activity Levels
Leisurely Active
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • Entrance fees/tickets for the above
  • In-destination transfers & transport
  • Accommodation & Meals as specified
  • English speaking guides
  • 24/7 support while you travel

Explore this itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Paro - Thimpu

On your fight into Bhutan you will have breath-taking views of the High Himalayan peaks. At Paro airport you will be welcomed by our representative.

Drive east into Thimphu (2 hrs) on well maintained roads, through the beautiful Paro valley.

Visit the Tachog Lakhang en-route to your hotel in Thimphu. Later in the day, visit Thimpu’s Weekend market, a colourful and interesting place where you will find many photographic opportunities.

As time permits, visit some of Thimphu’s many cultural sights: choose from the Textile Museum, the Institute of Traditional Medicine, Folk Heritage museum, the School of Fine Arts; the National library; the Post Office; and the National Memorial Chorten.On our way back to the hotel, stop by Changlimithang Stadium, the national archery ground to see the Bhutanese practicing their archery skills!

Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Thimpu

Today, you’ll explore Thumphu’s cultutal delights, starting with Cheri Goemba where there are great photography opportunities. Returning to Thimphu city, visit Motithang Takin Reserve to meet one of Bhutan’s most enigmatic mammals, the Takin. If the Rhododenrons are in bloom, you’ll visit to the Royal Botanical Park.

Later, you’ll visit the Trashi Chho Dzong, and Kuensal Phodrang for the giant Buddha statue.

Your guide will be able to tailor your day based on your interests, and plan visits to the museums and places of interest you may not have had time to visit the previous day.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Thimphu - Punakha over Dochu La

An early morning drive (3hrs) east to the milder and warmer climate of Punakha climbs through apple orchards and forests of blue pine before entering pristine mixed forests. The pass at Dochu La (3,116m), is an awe-inspiring sight; with prayer flags strewn across its width. Sip warm tea until dawn breaks over the snow-capped Himalayan peaks.

Proceed down to the green terraced fields, famous for growing red rice around Punakha. A gentle walk to the temple of Chemmi Lhakhang; perhaps in time to hear the monks at prayer in this tranquil rural landscape. In the afternoon walk around Punakha Dzong (1637).

This pristine environment is also a nature-lovers paradise where we may catch sight of the rare and endangered White-bellied Heron. Punakha Dzong is considered to be one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Bhutan. Inside the dzong is the Kuenrey, a beautiful temple housing the ‘hundred-pillar’ assembly hall with exceptional murals, enormous 18th century golden statues, and most surprising of all is the high ceiling, exquisitely painted with hundreds of dragons.

We have chosen the afternoon when the light is perfect to bring the richness of the paintings and a quieter time to enjoy the ambience of this remarkable dzong.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: River Rafting

Today, hike up to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, which sits amongst the beautiful landscapes of the upper Punakha Valley. The hike takes you through fields of chillies, cabbages and rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu river and has some truly unforgettable views. At the chorten, take the time to enjoy the artistic and architectural beauty in a magnificent setting, while having a picnic lunch.

Drive further east to Gangtey and relax at your hotel for the rest of the evening.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day5: Gangtey & Phobjika

This morning, visit the Gangtey Goempa, one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan in time for the mornng prayers. It has recently been renovated using traditional skills enabling Gangtey to become the centre for wood-working skills, with many little shops now centred on sales of this intricate craft. The monastery is an inspiring building with many intricate paintings and carvings.

Later, embark on a half-day easy hike in the Phobjika valley in time to see the famed Black necked Cranes before they return to roosting sites.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Phobjika - Bumthang

This morning, follow one of the trails through the wetlands where the black-necked Cranes forage. If interested, visit the RSPN centre.

Proceed to the Bumthang Valley where cultural sites, and opportunities for mountain biking, hiking and relaxing abound.

Check into your hotel, where the rest of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Bumthang Valley

Visit Jampa and Kuejey Lhakhangs and continue to Shugdra Goenba (3 hour return drive and a short hike) and returning to Bumthang visit the famous beer and cheese factory.

Spend some leisure time walking the streets of Jakar.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Birds of Bhutan

Early morning drive to Tharpaling monastery to see the Himalayan Monal, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful birds. Visit the monastery.

Continue to Trongsa making further stops along Yotong la to look for iconic birds of Bhutan.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Trongsa
Drive to Kuenga Rubten village, looking for birds and the elusive Golden Langurs en-route. Explore the village and return to Trongsa after lunch to visit the Ta Dzong Museum.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Trongsa - Thimphu
Visit Trongsa Dzong and other cultural sites in the area before embarking on the drive back westwards to Thimphu, stopping at various places of interest along the way.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Haa Valley

Today, explore the wonderful, off-the -beaten-track, isolated Haa Valley, just southwest of the Paro valley, hidden behind the high ridge of the Cheli La.After breakfast, drive to Cheli La Pass, from where a short hike along the ridge takes in the stunning vistas of Bhutan’s sacred mountains - Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake.

An hour’s hiking down the gentle slope brings you to Kila Nunnery where you may be able to meet resident Buddhist nuns. It is reputedly the oldest nunnery in Bhutan.

Descend further down into the Haa Valley using your vehicle or hiking the walking trails as you wish.

Relax at your hotel, or enjoy short local walks in the vicinity.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12: Haa Valley - Paro
Today, you’ll visit Haa Dzong and explore the Haa valley. There are around a dozen monasteries in the valley, and hiking trails of various lengths. Your guide will able to help plan your day based on your preferences.Later, return to Paro and check into your hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13: Paro

Your day is spent exploring the delights of Paro, beginning with the National Museum and the Rinpung Dzong. Walk around the city streets and markets.

Next, there is a special immersive treat in store at a local farmhouse, where you will have hands-on experience of traditional Bhutanese cooking in a cooking lesson. Try your hand at archery, Bhutan’s national sport. Your hosts will help you try putting on the traditional Bhutanese dress, and give you a tour of the farm, sharing vignettes about Bhutanese life. Before you leave the farm, there is one last indulgent treat – a traditional hot stone bath to soak away any tiredness and refresh your senses.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14: Tiger's Nest & Kyichu Lakhang

After breakfast, put on your hiking boots and prepare to hike up Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Walk up to the cafeteria and have refreshments before continuing to the top. Should you not wish to continue to the top, you will be able to wait in this area. There are mules available if you wish to ride to the top, but you’ll have to walk down on foot.After the spectacular hike, drive to Drukgyel Dzong, commemorate a victory over the Tibetan invasion of 1644. This picturesque ruin standing on a hillside above the lovely village of Drukgyel with imposing views of Jhomolhari from the approach roads is a photographer’s dream.

Finally, we hope to have time to visit one of the most important and oldest (659) religious sites: Kyichu Lhakhang. Over the years it has been added to and contains some impressive statues.Return to your hotel and enjoy your last evening in Bhutan at leisure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15: Departure
Today we will say goodbye hoping you have had a wonderful stay in this magical kingdom and that one day you will visit Bhutan again.
Breakfast
Day 1: Arrival in Paro - Thimpu

On your fight into Bhutan you will have breath-taking views of the High Himalayan peaks. At Paro airport you will be welcomed by our representative.

Drive east into Thimphu (2 hrs) on well maintained roads, through the beautiful Paro valley.

Visit the Tachog Lakhang en-route to your hotel in Thimphu. Later in the day, visit Thimpu’s Weekend market, a colourful and interesting place where you will find many photographic opportunities.

As time permits, visit some of Thimphu’s many cultural sights: choose from the Textile Museum, the Institute of Traditional Medicine, Folk Heritage museum, the School of Fine Arts; the National library; the Post Office; and the National Memorial Chorten.On our way back to the hotel, stop by Changlimithang Stadium, the national archery ground to see the Bhutanese practicing their archery skills!

Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Thimpu

Today, you’ll explore Thumphu’s cultutal delights, starting with Cheri Goemba where there are great photography opportunities. Returning to Thimphu city, visit Motithang Takin Reserve to meet one of Bhutan’s most enigmatic mammals, the Takin. If the Rhododenrons are in bloom, you’ll visit to the Royal Botanical Park.

Later, you’ll visit the Trashi Chho Dzong, and Kuensal Phodrang for the giant Buddha statue.

Your guide will be able to tailor your day based on your interests, and plan visits to the museums and places of interest you may not have had time to visit the previous day.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Thimphu - Punakha over Dochu La

An early morning drive (3hrs) east to the milder and warmer climate of Punakha climbs through apple orchards and forests of blue pine before entering pristine mixed forests. The pass at Dochu La (3,116m), is an awe-inspiring sight; with prayer flags strewn across its width. Sip warm tea until dawn breaks over the snow-capped Himalayan peaks.

Proceed down to the green terraced fields, famous for growing red rice around Punakha. A gentle walk to the temple of Chemmi Lhakhang; perhaps in time to hear the monks at prayer in this tranquil rural landscape. In the afternoon walk around Punakha Dzong (1637).

This pristine environment is also a nature-lovers paradise where we may catch sight of the rare and endangered White-bellied Heron. Punakha Dzong is considered to be one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Bhutan. Inside the dzong is the Kuenrey, a beautiful temple housing the ‘hundred-pillar’ assembly hall with exceptional murals, enormous 18th century golden statues, and most surprising of all is the high ceiling, exquisitely painted with hundreds of dragons.

We have chosen the afternoon when the light is perfect to bring the richness of the paintings and a quieter time to enjoy the ambience of this remarkable dzong.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: River Rafting

Today, hike up to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, which sits amongst the beautiful landscapes of the upper Punakha Valley. The hike takes you through fields of chillies, cabbages and rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu river and has some truly unforgettable views. At the chorten, take the time to enjoy the artistic and architectural beauty in a magnificent setting, while having a picnic lunch.

Drive further east to Gangtey and relax at your hotel for the rest of the evening.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day5: Gangtey & Phobjika

This morning, visit the Gangtey Goempa, one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan in time for the mornng prayers. It has recently been renovated using traditional skills enabling Gangtey to become the centre for wood-working skills, with many little shops now centred on sales of this intricate craft. The monastery is an inspiring building with many intricate paintings and carvings.

Later, embark on a half-day easy hike in the Phobjika valley in time to see the famed Black necked Cranes before they return to roosting sites.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Phobjika - Bumthang

This morning, follow one of the trails through the wetlands where the black-necked Cranes forage. If interested, visit the RSPN centre.

Proceed to the Bumthang Valley where cultural sites, and opportunities for mountain biking, hiking and relaxing abound.

Check into your hotel, where the rest of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Bumthang Valley

Visit Jampa and Kuejey Lhakhangs and continue to Shugdra Goenba (3 hour return drive and a short hike) and returning to Bumthang visit the famous beer and cheese factory.

Spend some leisure time walking the streets of Jakar.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Birds of Bhutan

Early morning drive to Tharpaling monastery to see the Himalayan Monal, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful birds. Visit the monastery.

Continue to Trongsa making further stops along Yotong la to look for iconic birds of Bhutan.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Trongsa
Drive to Kuenga Rubten village, looking for birds and the elusive Golden Langurs en-route. Explore the village and return to Trongsa after lunch to visit the Ta Dzong Museum.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Trongsa - Thimphu
Visit Trongsa Dzong and other cultural sites in the area before embarking on the drive back westwards to Thimphu, stopping at various places of interest along the way.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Haa Valley

Today, explore the wonderful, off-the -beaten-track, isolated Haa Valley, just southwest of the Paro valley, hidden behind the high ridge of the Cheli La.After breakfast, drive to Cheli La Pass, from where a short hike along the ridge takes in the stunning vistas of Bhutan’s sacred mountains - Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake.

An hour’s hiking down the gentle slope brings you to Kila Nunnery where you may be able to meet resident Buddhist nuns. It is reputedly the oldest nunnery in Bhutan.

Descend further down into the Haa Valley using your vehicle or hiking the walking trails as you wish.

Relax at your hotel, or enjoy short local walks in the vicinity.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12: Haa Valley - Paro
Today, you’ll visit Haa Dzong and explore the Haa valley. There are around a dozen monasteries in the valley, and hiking trails of various lengths. Your guide will able to help plan your day based on your preferences.Later, return to Paro and check into your hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13: Paro

Your day is spent exploring the delights of Paro, beginning with the National Museum and the Rinpung Dzong. Walk around the city streets and markets.

Next, there is a special immersive treat in store at a local farmhouse, where you will have hands-on experience of traditional Bhutanese cooking in a cooking lesson. Try your hand at archery, Bhutan’s national sport. Your hosts will help you try putting on the traditional Bhutanese dress, and give you a tour of the farm, sharing vignettes about Bhutanese life. Before you leave the farm, there is one last indulgent treat – a traditional hot stone bath to soak away any tiredness and refresh your senses.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14: Tiger's Nest & Kyichu Lakhang

After breakfast, put on your hiking boots and prepare to hike up Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Walk up to the cafeteria and have refreshments before continuing to the top. Should you not wish to continue to the top, you will be able to wait in this area. There are mules available if you wish to ride to the top, but you’ll have to walk down on foot.After the spectacular hike, drive to Drukgyel Dzong, commemorate a victory over the Tibetan invasion of 1644. This picturesque ruin standing on a hillside above the lovely village of Drukgyel with imposing views of Jhomolhari from the approach roads is a photographer’s dream.

Finally, we hope to have time to visit one of the most important and oldest (659) religious sites: Kyichu Lhakhang. Over the years it has been added to and contains some impressive statues.Return to your hotel and enjoy your last evening in Bhutan at leisure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15: Departure
Today we will say goodbye hoping you have had a wonderful stay in this magical kingdom and that one day you will visit Bhutan again.
Breakfast

Interested in this itinerary? It's great as is, but we'll be happy to tailor it for you.

INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS

Price Includes

  • Visa, SDF and all other government taxes
  • Experienced, English speaking Tour Guide
  • All activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All accommodation (3* standard hotels approved by Tourism Council)
  • All meals
  • Tea/coffee and snacks
  • Bottled water throughout the trip
  • Ground transportation
  • All necessary camping equipment’s if tour involves camping
  • All entrance fees for national parks
  • Religious Monument Entry Fee

Price Excludes

  • Travel insurance (Mandatory)
  • Laundry, phone calls and alcoholic drinks
  • Any other personal expenses
  • Charges incurred as a result of circumstances beyond our control
  • Flights
  • Gratuity/Tips

Our prices do not include international flights unless explicitly stated.

The price shown is per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room, outside peak periods. Prices may vary depending on the time of travel, and single supplements may apply.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)