Bhutan Cultural Tour
Bhutan Cultural Tour explores around Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Bumthang and is a package of 11 days. The tour takes you to the spectacular Bumthang, the cultural heartland of Bhutan which houses some of the oldest temples and monasteries of Bhutan. The tour explores important cultural landmarks such as Punakha Dzong, Chimmi Lhakhang, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, Jakar Dzong and many others in the cities of Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha. The tour also includes the refreshing hike to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ perched in the vertical cliff and also visits two remarkable valleys Ura and Tang. Bhutan Cultural Tour provides full insight of the cultural, religious and historical aspects of Bhutan.
Trip Name: Bhutan Cultural Tour
Trip Duration: 11 Days
Max. Altitude: 3,120m/10,240 ft (The Tiger Nest Monastery)
Best Season: March to May and September to November
Meal: Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Accommodation: Government approved 3 stars and Above
Transportation: Private car, van or bus (Depends on group size)
Trip Type: Private Tour
• Witness spectacular bird’s eye view of the Himalayas while flying in/out from Paro.
• Explore the tiny town of Paro exploding with colors and tradition.
• Discover the tiny capital Thimphu.
• Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan.
• Visit Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan.
• Witness Membar Tsho “The flaming lake” in Tang Valley
• Explore Bumthang- the religious heartland home to oldest monasteries & temples
• Visit Kurje Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang & Tamshing Lhakhang in Bumthang
• Visit Jakar Dzong – “the castle of the white bird” & Ura Lhakhang
What to Expect?
Explore the natural and cultural aspects of Bhutan accompanying the Bhutan Cultural Tour that takes you to the well famed spots of Bhutan including Punakha Dzong, Taktsang Monastery, Membar Tsho, Kurje Lhakhnag, Trongsa Dzong, Gangtey Gompa. The tour also visits the beautiful Bumthang famously known as the cultural heartland of Bhutan along with the spectacular Phobjikha Valley.
Day 01: Arrive in Paro (2250m) and transfer to Thimphu (2350m)
Your Bhutan Cultural Tour starts with the flight into Paro with a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of the country. The flight offers the magnificent views of the world’s highest peak on the clear weather. The cool and green environment greets you as you land on the airport. After clearing customs and visa control our representative provides you the brief description on your tour and transfers you to Paro for lunch. Afterwards, carry out your sightseeing program visiting the Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The dzong is now used as an administration centre and school for monks. Later depart to Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan. Thimphu is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. Check in at hotel. In the evening visit Handicrafts Emporium, this has all types of Bhutanese handicrafts for sale. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 02: Thimphu – Wangdue (1310m) – Gangtey (2320m)
Early, in the morning, visit the folk Heritage Museum, which is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibition of items and artifacts used in rural households followed by Texile Museum, where the art of tradition weaving is still kept alive and preserved though exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in its colors and design. And then visit to Bhutanese Handmade Paper factory. After lunch, depart for Punakha, where the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m) which often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for a tea and view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan, where we make a short stop to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. From here a gradual climb takes us into the valley of Gangtey (Phobjikha). Gangtey lies towards the East of Punakha and Wangdue on the flanks of the Black Mountain. These is and old monastery of Gangtey Gompa dating back to the 17th century. A few kilometers past the Gompa on the valley floor are the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. The gentle sloping hillsides of Phobjikha are described as “the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas”. This is winter home of black necked cranes that migrates from arid plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate. Overnight at hotel.
Day 03: Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang (2800m)
On the third day of Bhutan Cultural Tour we start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive to Bumthang via Trongsa is about six hours crossing over Pelela Pass (3,300 m) and Yotongla Pass (3,400 m). We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pelela Pass(3,300m) with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between west and east Bhutan. If the weather is clear, the Himalayan range can be seen, particularly the peak of Jhomulhari (7314 m) to the west. En route we cross Chendebji Chorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon. After lunch, we go out to view the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In olden days the Dzong commanded the passage between east and West Bhutan. We then drive to Bumthang valley (described as “one of the most beautiful spot in the Himalayas” across the Yotongla Pass (3,400 m). Overnight at hotel.
Day 04: In Bumthang
Bumthang and Ura Valley Tour offer one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism, Bumthang. The Guru and his lineage of Tertons (treasure finders), have led to the sprouting of many temples in the valley. In the morning we visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temple in Bhutan built in 7th century) and visit Kurjey Lhakhang (where the Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock). Later, we hike to visit the Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Terton Pema Lingpa). After lunch, hike to Thangbi valley across the suspensions bridge and visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century, on the way back visit Jakar Dzong, (seat of the district administration). In the evening stroll in Chamkhar Town. Overnight at hotel.
Day 05: Bumthang – Tang valley (2800m) – Bumthang
On fifth day of Bhutan Cultural Tour, after breakfast, drive from Choekhor valley to Tang Valley (2hrs Approx.) En-route Tang valley carry out a short walk to Membar Tsho “The flaming lake” where Terton Pema Lingpa discover a treasure. After the visit, continue the drive and arrive at Mesethang with a school and few shops. Short distance away from Mesethang is Tang Rimochen Lhakhang, located below an enormous rock, which is a scared place where Guru Rinpoche mediated. A rock in front of the Lhakhang has a body print of Guru and his two consorts. The name Tag Rimoche (an impression of tiger’s stripes) is derived from the tiger stripes that appear on a rock cliff behind the building. Afterwards, continue the drive to reach Kidzom village. From Kidzom, cross the bridge over Tang chuu river and climb up to the hill and finally arrive at Ugyen Choling manor. Ugyen choling palace was originally built by Deb Tsokye Dorji, a descendant of Dorji Lingpa in 16th century. The palace itself has been converted into a museum where they collected all the antique pieces of things posses by their great ancestors. In the museum are kept a lot of old things which provides a better understanding of life in Bhutan during olden days. Back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 06: Bumthang – Ura (2850m) – Bumthang
After breakfast, drive towards the Ura valley which is 42 kilometers from Bumthang. The road reaches the Ura Shelthangla from where a magnificent view of Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkhar Puensum (7,500 m) can be spotted. The road then descends into Ura valley by long loops across fields and pastures. Ura’s main occupation is raising sheeps, yaks and the introduction of potato farming has brought a certain degree of prosperity of people. In Ura, visit Ura Lhakhang and picnic lunch will be served at one of many inviting spots. Afternoon: drive back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 07: Bumthang – Gangtey (2320m)
After breakfast, re-trace the same route back towards Gangtey and the road journey today is bit longer with 8 hours of drive. Upon arrival at Gangtey, check-in hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 08: Gangtey – Punakha (1310m)
Enjoying the Bhutan Cultural Tour, after early breakfast, drive towards Punakha for about 3 hours. En-route take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. And Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 09: Punakha – Paro (2250m)
After breakfast, trace the route back to Paro. In Paro, visit Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan; the Dzong continues its age-old function as the seat of the district administration, district court and the monastic body. The southern approach to the Dzong has a traditional roofed cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 10: Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3120m)
After breakfast drive towards the base camp of Taktsang for the hike up to the Taktsang Monastery-Tiger’s Nest. It’s about two hours hike up the cafeteria. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in 8th century. Then visit the Taktsang Monastery and hike back to the road point then drive to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. Afterwards, back to hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 11: Paro depart
Your Bhutan Cultural Tour terminates today, after breakfast drive towards the international terminal and board the flight for your onward destination.
• 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.)
• 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.