Central Bhutan Tour

Bhutan Explorer Experience: 9 Days

Key Information

  • Duration:9 Days
  • Primary Activity:Tour
  • Group Size:1-25 Peoples
  • Country:Bhutan
  • Arrival on:Paro
  • Trip Grade:Easy
  • Meals:Full Board
  • Accomodation:Single/Twin room basis
  • Max-Altitude:3080 m.
  • Transportation:Private vehicle / By Air
  • Departure from:Paro
  • Culture:

Bhutan Explorer Experience: 9 Days

Bhutan is full of mystery, wonder, and beauty. Bhutanese people are kind, gracious, and welcoming. In this explorer excursion, you will get to experience magical places in Bhutan such as Thimphu, Paro, Gangtey, Punakha and Wangdi, Tongsa, Bumthang and Wangdiphodrang

Throughout this tour, you will learn about the Buddhist culture here in Bhutan and the unique lifestyle of the locals. The country is a unique combination of mountains, monasteries, and Buddhism. Bhutan is a perfect country for explorers looking to get away from the chaotic cities and experience calm and peace whilst in pristine nature.

You will encounter a very unique blend of culture and traditions as you get the opportunity to learn about Bhutanese nature and history closely as you taste and savour Bhutanese cuisine and mingle with the locals.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit ancient religious sites and relics
  • Be immersed in Bhutanese myths and legends
  • Learn about Bhutanese life and their Buddhist traditions
  • Mingle with the friendly locals and eat delicious food

1

Day 01: Arrival in Paro 

Arrive in the city of Paro by airplane. The view of the Himalayas can be seen from the plane. Our representative in Bhutan will greet you at the airport and drive you to Olathang Hotel on the hill where you will stay overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 1
2

Day 02: Explore Paro Valley

The people of Paro are known for their hard work, which they like to show in their big and traditional country houses. Morning sightseeing includes The Ta Dzong National Museum, which is considered to be one of the best natural and historic artifact. The majestic Jumolhari or the “Mountain of the Goddess”. A 2-3 hours hike to Taktsang or the famous “Tiger’s Nest” – a memorable spiritual journey where the great tantric master Guru Padmasambhava flew in from Tibet on a tiger to bring Buddhist teachings to Bhutan. Since then, many Buddhists have made this an important retreat in their spiritual quest.

3

Day 03: Explore Thimphu: The Capital of Bhutan

Thimphu is a short hour and half drive from one main valley to the next across paddy fields, apple orchards, farmhouses, cattle and cowboys, pine trees and hamlets that smell of burning wood. Check in at the Etho Metho Cottage, the Jumolhari or Druk Hotels. When in Thimphu, you will see how this unique capital of the Bhutan kingdom has adopted its own version of the British-India colonial times. In the afternoon, sightseeing includes the Tashichhodzong, seat of the Royal Government and central monastic body. It was rebuilt in the early 1960s after a fire destroyed most of the building. The late King’s Memorial Chorten is well visited by the residents of Thimphu during festive and religious occasions. In the late afternoon stroll through town. Not far from the market place is the Changlimithang Grugh where you will always find local games of archery (the national sport of Bhutan) being played: there will be time for shopping and looking around by yourself on the return journey from Bumthang.

Day 3
4

Day 04: Explore Gangtey via Punakha and Wangdi (6hrs Drive)

After breakfast, we will drive east climbing steadily towards the Dochu La pass at 10,000ft. A large chorten and a forest of prayer flags greet you as you face the range of majestic peaks towards the North. Gangar Punsum, among others, is the highest unclimbed peak (over 24,000ft.) in the world. The descent from the pass is through temperate forests colored with rhododendrons and magnolias. Situated near the river on a small plateau is the famous Chime Lhakhang built by famous “divine mad monk” Drukpa Kunley. This is a famous pilgrim site for infertile women who wish to bear children. The Punakha Dzong was built in the 16th Century and was the winter capital of Bhutan for 300 years. Today, it is the winter home of Je Khempo the Chief Abbot and hundreds of monks. It also serves as the administrative headquarters for the Punakha district.

Downstream from the Punakha valley is the Wangdiphodrang Dzong strategically located on a ridge (at 4430ft.) overlooking the old trade routes. The Punakha and Wangdi valley are also winter homes for many of the high altitude farmers who migrate with their cattle to the warm climate in the valley. The numerous paddy fields indicate the ideal conditions for agriculture. We will stop for a picnic lunch at the Wangdi guesthouse.

After lunch, we will drive for 3 hours to one of the most beautiful open valleys in Bhutan – Gantey. It is a winter home to the rare and endangered black-necked cranes which migrate to Bhutan around mid-November from Tibet. Cranes have for centuries captured the human imagination with their intelligence, poise, sociality, beauty, and freedom, and have given rise to several myths, legends, folktales, and songs. The small village is dominated by the yellow roofed Gangtey Monastery, said to be the only Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan headed by the Gantey Tulku (ninth reincarnation to bear the name). Overnight stop at Etho Metho Lodge in Gantey in the vicinity of the monastery.

Day 4
5

Day 05: Explore Tongsa (6 hrs drive)

For the bird enthusiasts, an early morning excursion to see the cranes can be arranged. After breakfast, we will continue our journey towards the Pela La Pass crossing the Black Mountains which divide western and central Bhutan. This takes about 4-5 hours. On clear days the Jumolhari can be seen at 23,685ft, towards the west. After passing through yak pastures and bamboo forest, we pass the Nikkarchu Bridge in the Tongsa district. A great whitewashed stone Chorten, built in the Nepalese style in the 18th century lies on a bend below the road. Legend has it that a Lama called Shida subdued a demon that was a menace to the valley founded the temple.

As you approach Tongsa, you won’t miss the view of the “never reaching” Tongsa Dzong in the distance, visible yet elusive before you actually get near it. Stop for lunch at the Tongsa Lodge or one of the comfortable wayside inns run by Tibetan residents. Commanding the Mangde river valley at an altitude of 2,200m (7220ft), Tongsa Dzong is the most impressive Dzong of Bhutan. It used to be the old gateway between the east and west. The Dzong was built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and is a masterpiece in architecture. It includes countless courtyards, passageways, and corridors, in addition to the 23 temples inside the Dzong. After lunch, it is a short 2-3 hrs drive to Bumthang. Stay overnight at Jakar Lodge.

Day 5
6

Day 06: Explore Bumthang

Different from all the other valleys in Bhutan, Bumthang is a spacious and open valley ranging in altitude from 2600m (8530ft) to 4000m (13,125ft). Bumthang is a heaven for trekkers and hikers, and has numerous beautiful and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites, making it the cultural and historic center of Bhutan. One could spend months exploring this fascinating valley. Almost beautiful and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites, making it the cultural and historic center of Bhutan. One could spend months exploring this fascinating valley. Almost every little valley or a hill has a background of interesting myths and legends about kings, Buddhist masters, and serpents.

Bumthang is especially dotted with religious relics. Membertsho Lake reminds us of the story of The Treasure Finder, Terton Pema Lingpa who is known to have found the scared Buddhist Texts after diving into it with a lighted lamp on his head. Among the many other sightseeing places is the Jakar Dzong. The Jambe and Tamshing Lhakhang where the kings of Bhutan were taken for their cremation; and the religious Bumthang Matha regions (villages) where you can find rich woolen plaid textiles dyed with natural colors, and Yatas, a thin woollen cloth with bright patterns, often made into warm jackets and scarves.

Day 6
7

Day 07: Explore Wangdiphodrang (8 hrs drive)

From Bumthang, we drive for 8 hours to the east. Here lies the Wangdi Valley where terraced fields stretch away in shades of green and yellow. At the confluence of the Mo and Tang Rivers, the Wangdiphodrang Dzong rests on the spur of a hill. Built to resemble a sleeping bull, this large dzong is a striking sight and there are excellent views across the valley. Following the river-bank, there’s the chance to see picture-book villages and craftspeople working with bamboo and slate. Stay overnight in a hotel or lodge.

Day 7
8

Day 08: Wangdiphodrang to Thimphu (3 hrs drive)

This last day of your journey can be spent relaxing in your hotel/lodge, or simply touring the vicinity of Thimphu and shopping in the local markets. In the evening, you have a choice to travel over to Paro for the night or stay back in Thimphu.

Day 8
9

Day 09: Drive from Thimphu or Paro (2 hrs. Drive) | Onward flight. 

Our representative will drive you to the airport for your onward travel. We will send you on your way with good luck and gratitude that you chose us for your adventure of a lifetime.

Day 9

 

PRICE PER PERSON: $2200

(Contact us for Group Discounts!)

Service Included

  • Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up & drop by private car / van / bus (all airport transfers).
  • The government approved accommodation 3-star level lodging (in twin share rooms) for the duration of the tour.
  • Service of licensed English-speaking Bhutanese Tour Guides.
  • All sightseeing tours, Monument /Museum Entrance Fees as per itinerary.
  • All meals: fixed breakfast, lunch & dinner with tea and coffee for the whole duration of your stay in Bhutan.
  • Country Presentation & Tour Briefing on Day 1.
  • Mineral water supply for the trek or tour.
  • Government Royalty which goes directly to the country’s health & education projects.
  • Private Transport & Driver within Bhutan. (Imported Prado’s, Micro Buses & Toyota Coaster Buses)
  • All government and local taxes
  • Official expense.
  • Bhutan Visa Fees and Visa Processing assistance
  • Flight ticket; Kathmandu-Paro- Kathmandu
  • Tourist service charge, vat.

Service Excluded

  • Bottled/alcoholic/cold drinks, room service, and cart meal.
  • Medical / Travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • International airfares and airport departure tax.
  • Photography charges (if and when relevant).
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone call.
  • Tips for guides, restaurants, hotel lobby, porters and tour staff. (Tipping is expected.)
  • Excess baggage charges

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