Multi activities & cultural tour (11 Nights/ 12 Days)
Bhutan is a diverse country, with varying landscapes, stunning natural beauty and breath taking views. But if you are thinking about visiting this remote but majestic land, it can be a little confusing where to start. It all depends on the type of activity you have in mind.
If you are one for adventure and want to get the most out of your Bhutan trip you should definitely consider this Druk Executive Travel package. In this tour, we have handpicked all the fun and must see places in the most striking destinations around Bhutan. You start your journey from picturesque Paro through Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and finally travel to Bumthang. From ancient monasteries and fortresses across sprawling green countryside to the dance of the heavenly black-necked cranes, you can see it all.
Please remember, you will be travelling up to Bumthang by car but will return back to Paro by air.
Day 01: Arrive in Paro
Paro valley, at an altitude of 2280m, will surely touch your senses and leave you wanting for more. For there is so much to see and do in this scenic valley steeped in history. Once you check in to your hotel, it will be almost lunch time.
After lunch, our guide will take you for a leisurely walk to acclimatize yourself with the altitude.
Below is the list of hotels you can pick from in Paro:
- Aman Kora Resort (5 Star) amankora.com
- Uma Paro Resort (5 Star) comohotels.com/umaparo
- Hotel Zhiwa Ling (5 Star) zhiwaling.com
- Nak Sel Boutique (4 Star) naksel.com
Day 02: Paro
In the morning, after breakfast in the hotel, you will visit the National Museum and the Rinpung Dzong.
The National Museum or Ta Dzong stands atop the hill above Paro town. The unusual building in the shape of a conch shell served as a watchtower back in the day. With 2.5m-thick walls, the monument was constructed in 1656. But, it wasn’t until 1967 that the structure was renovated to house the National Museum.
The Rinchen Pung Dzong or Rinpung Dzong translates to ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’ and is the finest illustration of Bhutanese architecture and craftsmanship you’ll see. So impressive it is that even Bernardo Bertolucci filmed scenes of his 1995 film Little Buddha here.
After sightseeing, you will lunch in Paro town and then bike up to Chelela Pass (altitude 3980m) and back. In the evening, you will be treated to a complimentary spa by Druk Executive Travel Package.
Day 03: Paro – Thimphu
No trip to Paro, or even Bhutan for that matter, is complete without a visit to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery or Taktsang. So, after breakfast, you hike up to the legendary Monastery.
The Tiger’s Nest is undoubtedly the most visited and the most photographed of all the monuments in Bhutan. Standing on the edge of a 3,120m-tall cliff, above a beautiful forest of blue pine and rhododendrons overlooking the Paro valley, the monastery is of tremendous religious significance to the Bhutanese. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to this site on the back of a tigress to subdue a local demon. The monastery was built in 1692 to honor and worship the Guru. The hike up to the Tiger’s Nest is give-or-take a two-hour ascent and, the view from the top, is well worth the climb.
Lunch will be catered at the base camp by the hotel.
After lunch, you will be driven to Drugyal dzong.
Drugyel dzong or The Fortress of the Victorious Bhutanese is a short drive from the Taktsang base. This fortress-monastery, which was partly destroyed by fire in 1951, was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to commemorate his victory over raiding and pillaging Tibetan armies. Although in ruins today, the fortress remains an impressive and imposing sight still.
From there you will visit the Kichu Lhakhang and in the evening, drive to Thimphu. The drive will take approximately an hour.
Below is the list of hotels you can pick from in Thimphu:
- Le Meridien (5 Star) lemeridienthimphu.com
- Taj Tashi (5 Star) tajhotels.com
- Aman Kora Resort (5 Star) www.amankora.com
- Namgay Heritage (4 star) nhh.bt
- Hotel Druk (4 star) drukhotels.com
Day 04: Thimphu
You will spend the morning sightseeing in and around Thimphu. The main highlights will be the Memorial Chorten, Folk Heritage Museum, the Textile Museum and the Traditional Painting School (Zorig Chusum).
While chortens are the most visible religious monuments found in and around Bhutan, the memorial chorten is special to the locals because it is, like the name suggests, built in memory of the father of Bhutan – His Majesty the Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
In the National Textile Museum you will learn firsthand about this tiny Himalayan Kingdom’s art of weaving. A visit will introduce you to the major weaving techniques, styles and the type of textiles made by both women and men. If you are lucky, you may even come across a group of weavers operating their looms inside the museum.
The Folk Heritage Museum is housed inside a restored building that actually replicates a Bhutanese farmhouse from about a century ago. This life-like museum provides a glimpse into rural Bhutanese life.
Imparting courses in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts, Zorig Chusum also known as the painting school is a photographers’ dream and for a layman it’s hard not to be impressed with the skill and discipline that goes into various forms of paintings, woodcarving, embroidery and statue-making.
Nearby, in the vicinity are several handicraft shops.
Lunch in the afternoon will be served in the hotel and you can either choose to bike up to Buddha Point thereafter or witness an archery match. Buddha Point gets its name because of the 169 feet Buddha Dordenma statue. It is the tallest Dordena statue in the world.
The evening, you can spend at your leisure.
Day 05: Thimphu
After breakfast, you will go on a hike to Cheri Monastery (a 20-minute drive from Thimphu to the base). By lunch time, you will be back in Thimphu.
In the evening, you can attend a talk on Gross National Happiness – Bhutan’s developmental philosophy. A Q&A session will follow after the talk.
Day 06: Thimphu – Punakha (Altitude: 1310 m)
Punakha is at a lower altitude (1310m) than Paro and Thimphu. And the three-hour drive will take you across a high mountain pass (Dochula) with breathtaking stupas standing tall across the magnificent Himalayan ranges.
There, you will visit the Chimi Lhakhang. Chimi Lhakhang is the repository of the original wooden phallus that maverick saint Drukpa Kunley or The Divine Madman brought from Tibet. It is used to bless people who visit the temple on pilgrimage, particularly women seeking blessing to beget children.
From there on, you will be driven to your campsite at Zomlinthang to a hot welcoming lunch. After lunch, the car will drop you till the starting point of the Khamsum Yule Lhakhang hike.
In the evening, dinner will be around the bonfire as our support staff will entertain you with local dance and music.
Day 07: Punkaha
After breakfast, you will visit the Punakha dzong and the Talo Goenpa (Monastery).
The Punakha dzong is the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the monastic body of Bhutan. Constructed in 1637-38, it is the second oldest dzong in the Kingdom and the wedding of the King and Queen of Bhutan was held there.
Lunch will be served at the campsite after which you can raft the white waters of Phochhu and Mochhu.
Dinner will be at the camp around the bonfire.
Day 08: Punakha – Gangtey (Altitude: 3120 m)
The drive to Gangtey is roughly about 3 hours.
The Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery where you will be visiting is bounded on the west side by the Black Mountains (above 5,000 meters). This monastery in Wangdue Phodrang district in central Bhutan is located on a spur amidst the Gangtey village, overlooking the vast Phobjika Valley. The monastery commands striking views of the Valley where the Black Mountain region is inhabited by nomadic shepherds and yak-herders. Gangtey Gonpa is an important monastery of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition.
During the winter months, the Crane Festival marks the arrival of Black-necked Cranes from the Tibetan plateau. The sacred birds that migrate here are held as a religious blessing by the people, and their arrival is a big event not only in the Valley but also in this monastery. The Black-Necked Crane Festival is held on November 12, every year.
After lunch, you can visit the community school there and interact with the children (optional).
Below is the list of hotels you can pick from in Gangtey:
Aman Kora (5 star) www.amankora.com
Hotel Dewachen (4 star) www.dewachenhotel.com
Gangtey Goenpa Lodge (5 star) www.gglbhutan.com
Day 09: Gangtey – Bumthang (Altitude: 2800 m)
After breakfast, a visit to the Black-Necked Crane Center should pep you up for your journey to Bumthang. En route to Bumthang, there will be a halt in Trongsa for you to visit the ancient and historic Trongsa dzong.
Below is the list of hotels you can pick from in Gangtey:
Aman Kora Resort (5 star) www.amankora.com
Jakar Village Lodge (4 Star) www.bhutanlodge.com
Day 10: Bumthang
The day will be spent sightseeing around Bumthang valley. From visiting the Kurje and Jambay Lhakhang, you will also visit the Membartsho or the burning lake. In the evening, you will stopover at the famous Red Panda beer factory along with the Swiss cheese making factory. After all, Bumthang isn’t called the Switzerland of the East for nothing.
Day 11: Bumthang – Paro
After breakfast, drive to the airport and fly to Paro. In Paro, once you’ve had lunch, you can opt to visit a traditional Bhutanese farm house.
Before dinner, you can soak in a complimentary hot stone bath – courtesy Druk Executive Travel.
Day 12: Departure
After breakfast, drive to Paro International Airport.