Trip facts

Activity General Tour

This tour covers the in-depth cultural highlights of Central Bhutan. Travel into the heart of the picturesque Bumthang valley to the vibrant streets of Thimphu. Hike to breathtaking sights in the cliff to Taktsang(Tigers nest) and see the Iconography of the Buddhist art and culture. Delve into beautiful subtropical valley of Punakha with the sunrise view of the Bhutan’s highest peak Mt.Gangkar Puensum from Dochula pass in western frontier of Bhutan.

Day 01: Arrive Paro by Flight & transfer to Thimphu (55km, approx. 1.-hour drive)

Upon arrival in Paro clear your immigration formalities meet our representative outside the terminal drive to capital city Thimphu. The drive takes you along Paro chu till the confluence Chuzom from there we drive to Thimphu is the modern capital of Bhutan the only capital city without traffic light maneuver by policemen. This bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country. Depending on your arrival time you may visit Memorial Chorten it was constructed to dedicate world peace and in loving memory of third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck “father of the modern Bhutan”. The land mark is and iconic monument where you can see huge crowd of people circumambulating and chanting mantra. Other highlights are – Buddha Dodenrna is one of the largest statues of Sukyumuni at the height of 51.5 m. It is casted in bronze and gilded with gold. It overlooks the southern gate of the valley.125,000 miniature statues are placed within the statue. It has a large prayer hall on which Buddha is sitting on it. Evening take a leisurely walk around Thimphu’s main Street.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu (Altitude 2,320 m).

Day 02: In Thimphu.

After breakfast, Today begin your tour with short drive to visit Tashichoe Dzong This towering fortress is embedded beside Thimphu chu a magnificent Bhutanese architecture houses  the seat of chief Abbot and the throne room and offices of the king, the cabinet secretariat, ministries of home affairs and finance. First in Build in 1216 in 1641 it was rebuilt by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.  Thimphu festival is held in the courtyard of the fortress. The National Institute of art and craft or ZorigChusum and Choki art institute is the training center for cultural and traditional art and craft .Here the student are trained in 13 types of different techniques for six year in traditional painting, woodcarving and statue making. Later visit ThangthongDewachen Nunnery locally known as Zilukha Nunnery is one of the largest nunnery in Bhutan. It was built by ThangtongGyelpo, builder of iron chain bridges across Bhutan and Tibet, there’s an interesting enclosed chorten in the main courtyard. Takin Sanctuary: Takinis the national animal of Bhutan which has a distinct appearance of a Goat and Yak found in high mountainous terrain. Legend has it that Tibetan saint, Drukpa Kunley well-known as “Divide Madam” created this unique animal.Later in the afternoon Textile Museum is located in Chubachu it houses the culture and heritage collection of antique textile artifact. Different pattern is exhibited from authentic Bhutanese weaver from different parts of the country.Centenary Market in Thimphu is beside Wangchu it marks the coronation of the fifth King. It is also the largest domestic weekend market for the sale of vegetable, fruits, meat, farm products farmer from different part of the country comes here to sell their product. There is a wooden cantilever bridge which takes you to the stalls selling collection of textile, handicraft product and clothing. Jungshi Paper Factory: is a small setting of manufacturing traditional Bhutanese handmade paper made from Daphne bark known as Deh-sho you can see the entire process from the dying and sorting out of pulps. You can buy greetings card and other product as a souvenir. Simply Bhutan was established in 2010 to support youth development fund in order to promote cultural and preserve traditional lives of Bhutanese. You can enjoy dressed up in Bhutanese costume with an archery session. There is a restaurant serving Bhutanese cuisine and buy souvenir from a craft shop. Changlimthang Stadium: This is the national stadium of Bhutan where you can have a glimpse of archery match and National football tournament is held here. National Folk Heritage Museum it gives you an insight of an impressive collection of artifact from rural house hold items and traditional Bhutanese living way of life.Evening take a leisurely walk in Craft Market Is built with bamboo to preserve the eco friendly environment. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, Thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelleries, interesting items made from local materials.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu (Altitude 2,320 m).

Day 03: Drive to Gangtey.

After breakfast,  we drive to Gangtey via Dochula Pass is a popular destination for tourist as well as for local’s 108 stupas was constructed by eldest queen mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. It has three layers the top layers has twenty seven stuppa, the middle one has thirty six stupas and the lower one has forty five stupas known as Druk wangyel Chorten. On a clear day you can get a clear view of the northern Himalayas from the pass :Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m) finally Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,570m.. Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple), built in honour of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The past and future appears to merge in the details of the temple and its structure tells the story of a supreme warrior figure, whose vision pierces the distant future in a fine blend of history and mythology. Rinchengang Village is near Wangdi Phodrang opposite to Wangdi Phodrang Dzong the village is clustered with traditional Bhutanese houses legends has it was constructed for the artesian when Wangdi Phodrang Dzong was under construction. Wangdue Dzong was founded by the Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel in 1638 on a high ridge between the Punakha and Trongsa. The dzong caught fire on 24 June 2012 and was virtually destroyed saved for the lower walls. On the command of His Majesty The King, the dzong was reconstruction started in January 2014 now it has been replaced to its original form. Phobjikhais a glacial valley which lies on the western ridge of Black mountain popularly known as Gangtey Valley due to the enchanting monastery bestowed on a hilltop bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park. Large flock of black necked cranes migrates here during winters from Tibet circiling 3 times around the Monastery and repeats the same while returning to Tibet.

Overnight at the hotel in Gangtey. (Altitude 3,200m)

Day 04: Drive to Chumey.

Today after breakfast we drive to Chumey crossing Pelela pass along the way visit Chendeb ji Chorten is a distinct chorten along the way to Trongsa a replica of Swayambhunath stupa in Kathmandu with eyes paired in all four cardinal directions. Built in 18th century by Lama Zhida. Legend says that the evil spirit manifested as a giant snake was subdued on this spot. Yutong La Pass divides Bumthang district with Trongsa it is one of the most remarkable passed in Bhutan at the height of 3460 meters. Covered with prayers flags, mist with a picturesque view of lower Chumey valley.Chumey valley is located on a hillside in the pristine Bumthang valley, dotted with villages and ancient temples spread out against a stunning backdrop of mountains. Enjoy pleasant walks among the lichen-hung trees, the undisturbed song of myriad birds at break of day, the silence of night but for the sighing of the wind through the pines, the serenity of a traditional hot stone bath.

Overnight at the hotel in Chumey (Altitude 3,100 m).

Day 05: Drive to Bumthang.

After breakfast we drive to Bumthang valley along the way visit Yatra weaving centre near Chumey continue our drive to Bumthang where we visit  Jakar Dzong in Chamkhar valley is the main attraction it overlooks the valley and Jakar town. First king of Bhutan was crowned starting the legacy of Wangchuk dynasties also renowned as  “castle of the white bird” the unique features of the Dzong is the Utse or central tower 50 m high which is distinct from most other Dzongs. Constructed in 1549, by the Tibetan lama Ngagi Wangchuk, who came to Bhutan to spread the Drukpa Kagyu teaching, the dzong played an important role as the fortress of defence for the entire eastern dzongkhags.Jambay Lhakhang is one of the most distinct Temple in Bumthang valley built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo in 7th century on the same day Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro was built. It is believed this temple was built in one day to subdue a demoness in the valley. Most famous Jambay Lhakhang drup(Festival) is held here with several mask dance including Sacred Tercham(Naked dance).Kurjey Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in Bumthang valley it housed the body (Kur) and print (Jey) of Guru Rinpoche preserved inside the cave of the oldest building. Guru Lhakhang the oldest was built by Mingyur Tenpa in 1652, Second temple was built by First king Of Bhutan Sir Ugyen Wangchuck, third temple was built by Ashi Kesang Wangchuck. KurjeyTshechu(Festival) is held in the courtyard of the temple. A large Thankha is unfurled depicting the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche during the festival. It has spring water near the temple known as KurjeyDrupchu (Holy water).Domkhar Lhakhang lies in Chumey valley it is famous for black hat dance performed every year during DomkerTshechu(Festival)this three days’ festival also coincides with the death anniversary of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. A small Thongdrol representing the future Buddha Maitreya (jampa) is unfurled for the public to receive blessing and it is the highlights if the festivals. Kenchosum Lhakhang is one of the most prominent monasteries in Bumthang valley. It was founded by Pema Lingpa. The statues depict the (mind, body and sprits) reincarnations of Pema Lingpa. The monastery is decorated with brightly painted columns; Mandela painted on the ceiling’s with monk’s quarters on the either side of the temple. Karchu Monastery this imposing Monastery has several buildings located on the opposite side of Jakar Dzong established by Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche. It is also considered as a Drashang (Monastic school)with several monks attending higher education. Evening there is a debating session in the courtyard a unique experience to speculate by the monks for a theological argument. Tamshing Lhakhang is located on the opposite side of Kurjey Lhakhang founded by Pema Lingpa between(1450-1521) it now housed a monastic body of 100 monks it was listed as World heritage site in 2012.The monastery has a beautiful painting of 1000 Buddha and 21 Taras(Buddhist form of Bodhisattva).

Overnight at the hotel in Bumthang (Altitude 2,800 m).

Day 06: Excursion to Ura & Tang valley.

We drive to Ura after breakfast along the way visit  Meber Tsho The burning Lake (Fresh Water Lake) is along the way to Tang valley. As per the prophecies Saint Terton Pema Lingpa dreamed of a hidden treasure inside the lake by Guru Rinpoche. He jumped into the lake with a butter lamp re-immerged with a chest and a scroll of paper with the butter lamp still burning. Since then it was named as the burning lake even nowadays when you take a glance in the lake there is a flake of light formed deep inside the lake. Ura Valley is one of the significant valleys in eastern Bhutan 48 km from Bumthang Valley. The village is sparsely populated with 70 or so clustered houses which give a prehistoric look of the village. The village has a small Monastery dedicated to Guru Rimphoche. Ura Serzhong or ‘Ura renowned as the golden bowl’ because Ura sits in a bowl-shaped valley in which all kind of cereals grow. Most of the villagers are Yak headers and sheep herders. Upon return visit Ogyencholing palace it dates back to the 14th century saint Dorji Lingpa founded as a meditation centre built as a manor. It is still a private property owned by the same families has a museum on the centre tower depicting the history of the palace. Tang valley is at an elevation of 3,100 meters it has an area of about 511 square kilometres. It is bordered by Lhuentse to the north and east, Ura to the south, and Chhoekhor to the west. It is said to be the birth place of the famous saint Pema Lingpa who found several of the treasures hidden by Guru Rinpoche in Membartsho. The villagers mostly depend on the cash crop Potato, Apple, Wheat, Barley & Bucket Wheat.

Overnight at the hotel in Bumthang (Altitude 2,800 m).

Day 07: Drive to Trongsa.

We retrace our drive to Trongsa a historical town visit  Trongsa Dzong most statically built it was the seat of the first King and the second king to take control over eastern and western Bhutan. It was built on a ridge the dzong is a massive structure with many levels sloping down the contours. All five king of Bhutan was places as Trongsa Penlop before being crowned. Ta Dzong(Trongsa) now converted as a museum houses some of the artifact of Wangchuck Dynasty, it has four observation towers dissembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda and Dragon it was built by first Governor of Bhutan Minjur Tempa to safe guard the Trongsa Dzong in 1652.The shrine inside the tower is dedicated to the fearless lord of the legendary kingdom of Ling.

Overnight at the hotel in Trongsa (Altitude 2,200 m).

Day 08: Drive to Punakha.

After breakfast we drive to Punakha via Pelela pass and Wangdu town. In the evening we visit Punakha Dzong so called “palace of the happiness” is located at the confluence of Pho chu and Mo chu. It was built by Sabdrung Nawang Namgyel in 1637 to 1638.It is one of the most revered Bhutanese architectures and the most magnificent Dzong of Bhutan second largest in the country. The chief Abbot and the monastic body migrate during the winter season from Thimphu. Suspension Bridge Bhutan longest bridge was built to connect the nearby village it is 25m long with prayer flag fluttering and glistening Phochu river beneath it gives a breathtaking view of Punakha Dzong.

 Chimi Lhakhang is located in Lobesa on a round hill blessed by Lama Drukpa Kinley also known as divine madman renowned for his crazy wisdom and for his outrageous behaviour and unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism. A short hike from the main highway about half an hour childless women visit the temple for fertility and gets blessed with wooden symbol of phallus.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha (Altitude 1300 m).

 Day 09: Drive to Paro.

Morning after breakfast we drive north end of the valley to visit Khamsum Yulley chorten lies in the northern end of the valley. The hike takes about 45 min from the road to the chorten. It was constructed to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony by Queen Mother of Bhutan. It has a picturesque view of Punakha valley from the third floor. Continue our drive to Paro one of the pristine valley in Bhutan .Later half of the day visit DungtseLhakhangis a small chorten beside Paro Town across Paro chu built by Thangtong Gyelpo in 1421 to subdue an ogress. The uniqueness of this temple is the paintings depicting the progressive stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy as well as the most significant deities and figures of the Drukpa Kagyugpa School. Rimpung Dzong constructed in 1644 it is known as the “fortress of the heap of jewels” the courtyard is painted with fine Bhutanese painting depicting the Buddha life, cosmic Mandela and narration of Milerapa. Most famous Paro festival is held in the courtyard unfurling a giant Thankha on the last day. Ta Dzong originally built as Watchtower, now converted to Museum in 1968, its collection of fine arts, paintings, textiles, jewellery, handicrafts, stamps and galleries of stuffed animals and butterflies from Bhutan. The top floor of the Museum has a chapel containing a “tree” depicting the main figures of the four religious’ schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Drukgyel Dzong lays north end of the Paro valley it was in ruins until 2000 now it has been reconstructed to its original form. Zabdrung Nawang Namgyel built it in 1964 to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro (Altitude 2200 m).

Day 10: In Paro.

We drive to the trail head to hike up to the most iconic monastery of BhutanTaktshang Monastery (approx. 5 hours round trip walk).  It is one of the most iconic monasteries of Bhutan, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. KyichuLhakhangis one of the oldest temples constructed by King Songtsen Gambo of Tibet in 7th century. From 108 temple built during his period Kyichu is among the 12 main temple. It is 5 Km from Paro town. It houses the original 7th-century Jowo Jamba Statue, along with eight standing bodhisattvas and statues of Zhabdrung, Guru Rinpoche, and Chenrizig with 11 heads and 1000 arms.

Optional tour :

Excursion to Chele La Pass is one of highest motorable road in Bhutan which connects Paro to Haa valley. From the pass on a clear day you can get panoramic view of Mt.Jumolari and Mt.Jichu Drake. The pass is covered with exploding colours of prayers flags fluttering with the wind. Dzongdrakha is mostly renowned as the replica of Taktsang Monastery. It is believed that Guru Rimphoche first landed here when he first came to Bhutan. During the annual festival of Dzongdrakha, the main center of gathering blessings becomes the chorten of the past Buddha which gets opened so that visitors are blessed by the relic kept there.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro (Altitude 2200 m).

Day 11: Departure

Transfer to the airport on time for your onwards journey.