Duration: 12 Days
The 12-day cultural tour of Bhutan is a perfect combination of the highlights and regional features of Bhutan offering a unique way to explore everything the country has to offer. Visit the traditional cultural sites in Thimphu and Paro while incorporating more in depth trips to Trongsa, Gangtey, Phobjikha and the important cultural center of Punakha to create a complete trip offering greater understanding of the local culture and way of life. Spend extra time to exploring the scenic Bumthang Valley and additional excursion to the Haa Valley and its surroundings to experience local hill life first hand. We will spend our time visiting all the highlights of these charming cities combining aspects of traditional culture, spirituality and history making for a once in a lifetime Bhutan Experience.
- Destination: Bhutan
- Activities: Tours
- Duration: 7 - 14 Days
- Region: Bhutan
- Best Season: Spring / Summer / Autumn
- Group Size: 02+ Pax
Day 1 Arrival in Paro
After arriving from your scenic mountain flight to Para, you will be greeted by a friendly representative of Good Karma Trekking who will take you to the capital city of Thimphu. During the evening, we will organize a welcome diner and drinks and you will have plenty of time to enjoy the bustling night streets and get a first look at the traditional architecture of the quaint capital city.
Day 2 Paro
We will visit the Ta Dzong, which serves as the National Museum to observe a wonderful collection of local art, paintings, artifacts and the famous Bhutanese stamps. We then take a short wall to the hillside Rinpung Dzong that serves as the spiritual and administrative capital of Paro. We will then spend a relaxing evening exploring the streets of Paro while enjoying a traditional Bhutanese dinner. We will continue to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong in the Paro valley before stopping to visit several traditional Bhutanese farmhouses to learn more about the life of the valley people firsthand before returning to the hotel for the night.
Day 3 Paro to Thimphu
After breakfast we will drive to explore the capital city starting with a visit to the well-preserved medieval fort of Trashichhoedzong, which serves as the home to the royal family and government, as well as the spiritual leaders of the country in the monastery complex. We then visit the arts and crafts school to learn about the traditional preparation of clothing, thangka paintings and handicrafts that have been passed down for generations. We then continue to the Textile and Folk Heritage Museum to learn about the preservation of local culture and custom in Bhutan. After lunch, we move to the handicrafts emporium to explore the bustling market and admire the local craftsmanship going to the Memorial Chorten erected to promote peace and harmony in the region. We will also take more time to view the wide range of traditional paintings and statues in the monument to learn more about the Bhutanese Buddhist art form.
Day 4 Thimphu to Punakha
After a morning explring the National Library and Traditional Medicine Institute, we will travel to the ancient capital of Punakha. We begin by visiting the historical Punakha Dzong situated on two peaceful rivers, which has protected the area from invaders since the 17th century. Serving as the regional capital and a monastery, this fort has a long history and has been frequently restored due to its strategic importance. After lunch, we will visit the newest stupa in the region known as Khamsum Yulley Namgyal to compare the current and traditional architectural structures and techniques.
Day 5 Punakha to Wangduephodrang and Gangtey
We will travel to Gangtey taking time to admire the bustling market and traditional spiritual Dzong in Wangduephodrang. We continue to the Phobjikha Valley to visit the pilgrimage site of Gangtey. This 17th century monastery is known for its secluded beauty situated at the base of the valley and serves not only as a spiritual center but also a nesting place for the endangered black-necked cranes. We will spend the day exploring the temple and scenic valley stopping to visit local and learn more about their customs and beliefs before stopping at the hotel for the night.
Day 6 Gangtey to Trongsa
After taking the morning to enjoy the Gangtey sunrise, we will continue to Trongsa passing along the Pelela Pass. We will stop to admire the scenic view of the valley, mountains and dense forests before continuing for an evening of exploring the Trongsa market.
Day 7 Trongsa to Bumthang
We will make a morning visit the Trongsa Dzong known for its traditional 17th century architecture. The fort serves as the governing capital of the eastern and central regions of Bhutan and was home to the first and second Bhutanese kings. We then continue toward Bumthang passing along a scenic valley featuring charming traditional villages and timeless green scenery. We will stop at the Yutong-La Pass to enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and dense forests before exploring the town of Bumthang and returning to the hotel for the night.
Day 8 Bumthang
After breakfast, we take a full day to explore Bumthang, which is home to a combination of the Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura Valleys. We start with a visit Kurje Lhakhang, the 7th century temple of Jambey Lhakhang and the oldest monastic school in the country at Tamshing to learn more about traditional Buddhist practices in Bhutan. Finally, we will visit a traditional farmhouse to learn firsthand how the local people live and practice religion in a peaceful valley before returning to the hotel in Bumthang.
Day 9 Bumthang to Wangduephodrang
We will take a morning trip to the bustling Bumthang market before continuing to Thimphu. We will stop for a traditional Bhutanese lunch in Trongsa before arriving in Wangduephodrang to wander the charming streets and learn more about the local markets and culture.
Day 10 Wangduephodrang to Paro
We will take a morning trip to Chimi Lhakhang known as the temple of the divine madman, which is a popular local pilgrimage site for those looking to enhance their fertility. We then continue back to town on a scenic trail through agricultural fields and terraced rice plantations before following a stream back to Chimi Lhakhang. We then return to Paro for an evening of relaxation and a night at the hotel.
Day 11 Paro and the Haa Valley
We take an early drive to Haa along the scenic Chelela Pass stopping to admire the tremendous valley views and indigenous plant life nestled below the towering Himalayan peaks. We then stop to visit the traditional military base at Haa Dzong before taking a picnic lunch the white Lhakhang Karpo Monastery. We then visit the black Ghakhang Nagpo temple known for its Tibetan structure. We will take a walk while your guide provides historic insight into the origins of the valley before returning back to Paro to celebrate the completion of the trip with farewell dinner and drinks.
Day 12 Departure
Depending on your flight time you may be able to see a few more attractions before departing approximately 3 hours before the scheduled flight time. You will be escorted to the airport with a representative from Good Karma trekking staff. After our farewells, you will have plenty of time to plan your next adventure with Good Karma, as one time is never enough.
- Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up & drop by private car / van / bus (all airport transfers).
- Standard government approved accommodation (in twin share rooms) for the duration of tour.
- licensed English speaking Bhutanese Tour Guides.
- All Monument /Museum sightseeing tours, entrance Fees as per itinerary.
- All meals fixed breakfast, lunch & dinner with Tea and Coffee while remaining in Bhutan
- Government Royalty (which is 35% of $250) this goes to the country's health & education projects.
- Private Transport & Driver within Bhutan. (Imported Prado's, Micro Buses & Toyota Coaster Buses)
- Toyota 4 X 4 luggage vans & light trucks for group travel
- All our government taxes.
- Tourist service charge, vat.
- Official expense
- Bhutan Visa Fees and Visa Processing assistance
- Bottled/alcoholic/cold drinks, room service and al a cart meals.
- Your travel insurance (compulsory).
- International airfares and airport departure tax.
- Photography charges (if and when applicable).
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry.
- Personal Equipment.
- Tips to guides, restaurants, hotel lobby. (Tipping is expected.)
- Any others expenses which are not mentioned on Price Includes section.
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