Trip facts

Activity General Tour

Embark on a captivating eight-day journey through Western Bhutan’s majestic landscape, where emerald valleys and sacred mountains unfold their timeless beauty. This tour offers a deep dive into Bhutan’s rich historical tapestry, showcasing its iconic monasteries, imposing fortresses, and vibrant cultural traditions. As you traverse this mystical land, experience mild countryside hikes, intimate encounters with local traditions, and an immersive exploration into the heart of Bhutanese heritage.

Day 01: Arrival in Paro and Transfer to Thimphu (55km, approx. 1.5-hour drive)

Upon arrival, after clearing immigration formalities, you will be greeted by our representative at the airport and begin your journey to Thimphu. Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is a unique blend of modern development and ancient traditions, and interestingly, it’s probably the world’s only capital without traffic lights. In the evening, take a leisurely exploratory walk around Thimphu’s main streets and market area, absorbing the vibrant atmosphere.

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

Day 02: Exploring Thimphu

Your day in Thimphu begins with a visit to significant sites, including:

King’s Memorial Chorten: This landmark serves as a memorial to the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and symbolizes peace and prosperity.
Buddha Dordenma: Situated atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang, this majestic bronze and gold-gilded statue of Buddha (Shakyamuni) stands at 51.5 meters, making it one of Bhutan’s largest statues. Inside, 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed. The statue sits on a large meditation hall.
Trashichhoe Dzong: A historic fortress that houses the king’s throne room and offices, the cabinet secretariat, and the ministries of home affairs and finance. Originally built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s without nails or architectural plans.
Afternoon visits include:

National Library: Home to an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts.
Institute for Zorig Chusum: Also known as the Painting School, where students receive six years of training in traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts.
Folk Heritage Museum: Showcasing Bhutanese material culture and living traditions.
Textile Museum: Exhibits both traditional and modern weaving patterns, textiles made from indigenous fibers.
Art and Craft Market: A place to buy hand-woven textiles, Thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, and other items made from local materials.
Changlimithang Stadium: The national stadium where you can watch archery matches and football tournaments.
Zilukha Nunnery: Thangthong Dewachen Nunnery, one of Bhutan’s largest nunneries, built by Thangtong Gyelpo, known for constructing chain bridges across Bhutan and Tibet.
Takin Preserve: Home to the Takin, Bhutan’s national animal, a unique creature believed to be created by the legendary Drukpa Kinley.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu (Altitude: 2,320 m).

Day 3: Thimphu – Gangtey (150km, approx. 5-hour drive)

After breakfast, start your day with a visit to the vibrant Centenary Market in Thimphu, located beside the Wang Chu River. This market commemorates the coronation of the fifth King and is the largest weekend market in Bhutan, bustling with vendors selling vegetables, fruits, meats, and farm products from various parts of the country. Cross the traditional wooden cantilever bridge to explore stalls offering textiles, handicrafts, and clothing.

Next, journey towards Dochula Pass, a favorite spot for both tourists and locals. The pass is adorned with 108 stupas, constructed by the eldest Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. The three layers of stupas – 27 on top, 36 in the middle, and 45 at the bottom – form the majestic Druk Wangyel Chorten. On clear days, the pass offers breathtaking views of the northern Himalayas, including peaks like Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), and Gangkar Puensum (7,570m), Bhutan’s highest mountain. Visit the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple), built to honor His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The temple intricately blends the past and future in its architecture, portraying the story of a supreme warrior figure.

Drive through Rinchengang Village, located near Wangdue Phodrang, known for its cluster of traditional Bhutanese houses. The village has a rich history tied to the construction of the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Although the Dzong was nearly destroyed by fire in 2012, its reconstruction, initiated by the King’s command, began in January 2014 to restore it to its original grandeur.

Continue your journey to Phobjikha, a stunning glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, also known as the Gangtey Valley. This area is famous for the Gangtey Monastery and the black-necked cranes that migrate here from Tibet during the winter. These elegant birds are known to circle the monastery three times upon arrival and repeat this ritual when returning to Tibet.

Overnight at a hotel in Gangtey (Altitude: 3,000m).

Day 04: Gangtey – Punakha & Wangdue (85km, approx. 3-hour drive)

Start your day with a visit to the Black Necked Crane Center in Phobjikha Valley, a conservation and observation center dedicated to the black-necked cranes that migrate here from the Tibetan Plateau each winter. The center features an observation room for a closer look at these elegant birds. Next, visit the Gangtey Monastery, perched on a small hill overlooking the valley. As the largest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan, it boasts a direct lineage to the revered Nyingmpa saint, Pema Lingpa. Explore the surrounding village where the annual Black Neck Crane Festival is held to celebrate the arrival of the cranes from Tibet.

Continue your journey to Punakha, stopping to visit the Chimi Lhakhang, located in Lobesa on a unique round hill. This temple, blessed by the ‘Divine Madman’ Lama Drukpa Kinley, is renowned for its fertility blessings. Women seeking children often visit this temple to receive a blessing with a symbolic wooden phallus.

Upon arrival in Punakha, visit the majestic Punakha Dzong, also known as the ‘Palace of Happiness’. Situated at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, it was built by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel between 1637 and 1638. As one of the most revered pieces of Bhutanese architecture and the second-largest Dzong in the country, it holds immense historical significance. Nearby, cross the Suspension Bridge, Bhutan’s longest, which offers stunning views of the Punakha Dzong and the sparkling Pho Chu River below.

Finish your day with a visit to the Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery, located above Wolakha. This center serves as both a Buddhist college (Shedra) and meditation center for a community of nuns. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the spiritual practices and meditative atmosphere of the nunnery.

Overnight at a hotel in Punakha (Altitude: 1300m).

Day 05: Exploring Punakha & Wangdue.

Begin your day with a scenic drive to the northern end of Punakha Valley to explore the Khamsum Yulley Chorten. Nestled in the valley’s northern reaches, a 45-minute hike from the road leads you to this chorten. Constructed under the auspices of the Queen Mother of Bhutan, its purpose is to dispel negative forces and foster peace, stability, and harmony. The site offers a stunning panoramic view of the upper Punakha Valley.

Later, retrace your drive back to Punakha for a visit to the Talo Monastery, perched above Punakha at an elevation of 2800 meters near Nalanda Buddhist Institute. Renowned for the three-day Talo Festival (Tshechu) featuring mask and Atsara dances, the monastery is also linked to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the revered unifier of Bhutan.

Next, visit the Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery in Wolakha, which functions as both a Buddhist college (Shedra) and meditation center for a community of nuns. This serene location offers a unique insight into the spiritual practices of Bhutanese Buddhism.

Explore Nalanda University, established by the 9th Chief Abbot Khenpo Shakya Rinchen. Located near Talo Monastery, it’s a center for young monks to study and practice Buddhism.

Conclude your day with a visit to the picturesque Limbukha Village, known for its red rice. Surrounded by lush paddy fields, Limbukha has a history of its villagers serving as peace negotiators during medieval times. This tradition of peace is still evident during the Punakha festival where villagers carry peace flags instead of swords.

Overnight stay at a hotel in Punakha (Altitude 1,300m).

Day 06: Journey from Punakha & Wangdue – Paro (125 km, approx. 4.1/2-hour drive)

Begin your day with a satisfying breakfast before embarking on a scenic drive back to Paro. Take a brief pause at the majestic Dochu La Pass, offering panoramic views of the Himalayas. As you descend from the pass, visit Simtokha Dzong, built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel. Known as “Atop a Demon,” this dzong is considered the first built in Bhutan and serves as a vital historical monument.

Continue your journey through the stunning landscapes along the Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys. Before reaching Paro, make a stop at Tachogang Lhakhang, renowned for its 600-year-old iron bridge. This temple, dedicated to the 13th-century saint Thangthong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder, offers a glimpse into Bhutanese spiritual and engineering ingenuity.

In Paro, explore Dungtse Lhakhang, a unique chorten across Paro chu, built by Thangtong Gyelpo in 1421. Its vibrant murals depict the progressive stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy and significant deities of the Drukpa Kagyugpa School.

Visit Rimpung Dzong, constructed in 1644 and known as the “fortress of the heap of jewels.” This dzong is an exquisite example of Bhutanese architecture, with its courtyard featuring detailed paintings illustrating Buddha’s life and cosmic mandalas.

Discover Ta Dzong, originally a watchtower and now converted into a museum since 1968. It houses a rich collection of fine arts, textiles, jewelry, handicrafts, and a variety of Bhutanese cultural artifacts. The museum’s top floor contains a chapel with a “tree” symbolizing the main figures of the four religious schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Conclude your day with a visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most revered temples, constructed in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo. Housing the original 7th-century Jowo Jamba Statue, this temple is a treasure trove of spiritual heritage.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro (Altitude: 2,280 meters)

Day 07: In Paro

Start your day with a fulfilling breakfast before heading out for an adventurous hike to the renowned Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest. Perched precariously on a cliff 900 meters above the Paro valley floor, this monastery offers a breathtaking view and an insight into Bhutan’s spiritual essence. The hike, approximately a 5-hour round trip, takes you to one of Bhutan’s most venerated and iconic monasteries. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on a tigress’s back and meditated, thus giving it its name. This sacred site, visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime, was also visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646.

For those opting out of the hike, an alternative tour is available. After breakfast, embark on a scenic drive to Chele La Pass, one of Bhutan’s highest motorable roads, connecting Paro to the Haa valley. On clear days, this pass offers panoramic views of Mt. Jumolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake, with prayer flags adding vibrant colors to the landscape. Retrace your drive to visit Dzongdrakha, often referred to as a replica of the Taktsang Monastery. It’s believed to be the first place Guru Rimpoche landed upon arriving in Bhutan. During its annual festival, the chorten of the past Buddha is opened for blessings. Additionally, take a 40-minute hike to Kila Goemba Nunnery, located near Chelela Pass. Home to about 100 nuns, this serene setting offers stunning views of Paro valley and the majestic mountains to the north.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro (Altitude: 2,280 meters)

Day 08: Departure from Paro

After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to Paro Airport for your onward journey. As you depart, carry with you the memories of a land rich in culture, spirituality, and natural beauty.


• Accommodation in the above-listed hotels or similar hotels.

• Breakfast and dinner at the staying hotel.

• All land transfers by good quality vehicle.

• English-speaking local guide during the tour.

• Sightseeing to all as mention in the itinerary.

• Bottled mineral water in the drive.

• All service tax and government fees.

Not included

• International flight to and from Kathmandu.

• Entrance fees to monuments.

• SDF Quoted separately on per day (Adults Rs.1200)(Child Above Rs 600 per day) (Child Below 5 Year FOC).

• Travel & Medical insurance.

• All Bar/Beverages, drinks, laundry, telephone, tips, and other personal expenses.

• Any extra expenses incurred as a result of your health, or due to weather, political situation, and other unforeseen events..