Trip Facts

  • Trip Duration : 9 Days
  • Start - End : Kathmandu - Kathmandu
  • Highest Altitude : 3180 m
  • Difficulty : Easy
  • Season : Jan-Dec
  • Activity : sightseeing- hiking
  • Trip Grade : 5

Explore Bhutan

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Exploring this beautiful country is a life time opportunity. We explore most of the major places of Bhutan and drive up to Bhumthang district in Central Bhutan which is famous for black necked crane in winter and its beautiful fields.

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The Tour take you as far as Bumthang in Central Bhutan which is also the cultural hub of Bhutan. You will visit  Paro valley at 2183 meters above the sea level which boasts of the only International airport in the country. The visit to Taktsang monastery is spectacular and 56 kms away from Paro is Thimphu, the Capital city of Bhutan with no traffic light but host the tallest statue of sitting Buddha in the world. As you drive to Punakha, you pass through Dochula pass which has 108 small chortens and spectacular view of Himalaya could be seen. Punakha is an old capital of Bhutan and Punakha Dzong is still the winter residence of his Holiness, the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). You also get an opportunity to visit Gangtey valley which is the most beautiful glacial valley and a place of Rare Black necked Cranes in the winter. As you travel towards Bumthang, you can visit Trongsa Dzong from where the 2nd King of Bhutan His Majesty Jigme Wangchuck ruled Bhutan.

Day 01 : Arrive Paro 
Day 02 : Paro - Excursion to Taktsang Monastery 
Day 03 : Paro – Thimphu Sightseeing (2320m)
Day 04 : Thimphu – Punakha (1310m)
Day 05 : Punakha – Gangtey (3120m)
Day 06 : Gangtey - Trongsa – Bumthang (2800m)
Day 07 : Bumthang Sightseeing (2800m)
Day 08 : Bumthang – Thimphu (2320m)
Day 09 : Thimphu – Paro (Departure) (2280m)

Day 01: Arrive Paro
The flight into Paro, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of the country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world's highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your guide will greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the hotel.


After Lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Dinner and overnight.


Day 02: Paro - Excursion to Taktsang Monastery

After EARLY breakfast, a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche's meditation cave in the 1684by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria.
Dinner and overnight


Day 03: Paro – Thimphu Sightseeing: (Altitude 2320 m, Distance 58 kms, Drive Time 1 hour)

After breakfast, visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After lunch we drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices, and to Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.


Day 04: Thimphu – Punakha (Altitude 1310 m) (76 Kms, 3 hours drive)

After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in 15th century. He subdued the demons with his "Magical Thunder bolt". The Temple is also known as "the Temple of Fertility".


Lunch at Punakha. After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, "a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant". There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.


Day 05: Punakha – Gangtey (Altitude 3120 m)

After breakfast drive to the beautiful valley of Gangtey. Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang includes: visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong, four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Drive further to Gangtey. Visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery from outside. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang. Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Dinner and overnight in Guest House.


Day 06: Gangtey - Trongsa – Bumthang: (Altitude 2800 m, Distance 188 kms, Drive Time 6 hour drives)

After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong of Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Then Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. After Lunch, drive to Bumthang. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.


Day 07: Bumthang Sightseeing: (Altitude 2800 m.)

After breakfast, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means "The Castle of White Bird". The current structure was built in 1667. Visit Jambay Lhakhang, built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. The temple was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. Under the temple is said to be a lake in which Guru Rimpoche hid several Terma. In October one of the most spectacular festival, "Jambay Lhakhang Drup" is staged here. After lunch, we then visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. In the evening, visit Membarstho which literally means, "The burning Lake". Dinner and overnight in Hotel.


Day 08: Bumthang – Thimphu (256 km): (Altitude 2320 m)

Early breakfast and drive to Thimphu. Lunch will be served on the way. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.


Day 09: Thimphu – Paro (Departure) (Altitude 2280 m)

Early morning, drive to Airport and Farewell.

Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary, but as this is Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region, we cannot guarantee it. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of fellow travelers can all contribute to changes. We will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but an easy going nature will be an asset.

Bhutan Visa formalities/Visa for Travel to Bhutan

Except for Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian nationals, all visitors to Bhutan require a visa.

We will arrange the visa for you to travel to Bhutan and are issued from Thimpu. To enable us to process your visa on time, your passport copy and visa application must reach us at least 60 days before the date of travel. We apply for visa on your behalf and get the visa clearance for you which take minimum 10 days. We will send you the visa approval letter which you need to present it to board the flight to Bhutan and also need to present it upon your arrival in paro airport and actual visa will be issued and stamped in your passport when you arrive at paro airport.


Climate 
Bhutan experiences four distinct seasons, similar in their divisions to those of Western Europe: spring, monsoon, autumn, and winter. Most tourist visit Bhutan in spring and autumn.

Spring is the time when Bhutan’s rich flora is at its best as hundreds of varieties of flowers bloom. And during this time around, the skies are clear and you can see towering snow-covered mountains of the Himalayas.

Even in spring Bhutan’s fierce winter, especially in high altitudes, isn’t over. Tourists who intend to visit during this time are advised to bring along some winter clothes. Spring season starts from March and ends roughly in June.
Another good time of the year ‘autumn’ begins from September and lasts till the end of November.
Monsoon brings heavy downpours and occurs between June and August when the temperature is normally between 8° and 21°C (46°-70°F).

Winter in Bhutan is cold and dry with most high lying places snow-covered. Winter lasts from December to February.
Summer is humid and the country experiences heavy rains and frequent road blocks.
However, Bhutan’s climatic conditions are different at different places and locations because of country’s geographyCheck list:

Please check the checklist carefully for details of what you need to bring on the tour and please arrange it according season wise.


BODY WEAR

  • Loose comfortable T-Shirts
  • Long sleeved shirts for sun protection
  • Trousers
  • A warm jacket and a fleece pullover
  • A thermal layer (shirt and pants)
  • Water and wind proof jacket
  • Water and wind proof trousers
  • Woolen or thermal gloves
  • Sun hat and sun glasses
  • Woolen or fleece hat
  • Scarf     


FOOT WEAR

  • Normal/warm woolen socks
  • Comfortable shoes
  • flip-flop


ACCESSORIES

  • A comfortable day pack with adjustable waist and shoulder straps
  • Personal toiletries - shampoo, soap, shavers, moisturizer, and travel towel etc
  • Sun block and lip balm
  • Personal first aid kit and any personal medications you need to take
  • Camera, music and books
  • Rucksack for your cloths and other accessories
  • An airtight ‘dry bag’ is great for storing your dirty laundry!
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping bag liner – either silk, cotton or fleece
  • HEAD TORCH!
  • Batteries for camera, torch etc..
  • A big smile for all and your sense of humor and adventure!


THINGS TO BRING FOR A TREKKING IN BHUTAN:

  • Personal clothing: strong normal clothing (according to season). Preferably cotton, even for summer, woolen clothing for the evening and winter.
  • For Trekking, one must bring:
  •  Strong comfortable trekking boots, water-resistant for the rainy period: June-August.
  • Sunscreen
  • Flash light
  • Rain coat (especially for rainy period –June-August)
  • Head gear/hat/cap; sun and rain protection
  •  Water pills – for extra caution in purifying stream; (boiled water is provided at all times during the trek)
  •  Aspirin – incase of altitude sickness
  • Lots of socks
  •  Warm clothes


OPTIONAL ITEMS TO BRING FOR TREKKING IN BHUTAN:

  • Sunglasses
  • Head gear
  • Folding umbrella (only for wet months — July and August)
  • One towel
  • Pillow case
  •  Wet-packed tissue paper.
  • Pillow.


INSURANCE
All tour participants should obtain their own personal insurance which covers medical and emergency evacuation at a minimum. Helicopter evacuation is provided in emergency cases but please make sure that you insurance cover the cost of the evacuation. You will of course also want cover for loss or damage to personal effects, flight or trip cancellation etc.


Tipping and cash requirement
Bhutan’s currency is the ngultrum (Nu.) and is on par with the Indian Rupee, also an accepted legal tender in the country. The approximate exchange rate is Nu 45 for 1 US$. It is however recommended that you carry travelers’ checks or cash, preferably American Express and US dollar instead, as the ATM facilities for foreign currency is limited to just few towns including the capital city Thimphu. Visa and American Express credit cards are also widely accepted. You may change dollars, Euros, traveler’s checks, and a few other convertible currencies at banks and bigger hotels in all major towns. A Forex is also located in the heart of Thimphu.

Tipping is now common in Bhutan but there is no strict rules about how much the tip should be. You could tip if you are satisfied with the service.


ALTITUDE AND PREVENTING ALTITUDE SICKNESS WHILE TREKKING IN BHUTAN
Being in a hurry in the mountains can be deadly. Acclimatization is the word used to describe the adjustments your body makes as it ascends to higher altitudes.

Ascending slowly, with appropriate rest days and drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways not to get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).

You should not plan to go to high altitude if you have heart disease, difficulty breathing at sea level or are pregnant. You should consult your doctor about any known medical conditions if you are considering trekking in high altitude (over 2500m).

Avoid sleeping pills, alcohol and smoking while at altitude as they tend to decrease breathing and lead to AMS. Data indicates that drinking 3-4 liters of fluids (water, soup etc) per day to avoid dehydration helps in the acclimatization process. Never try to attempt to go higher up if you have altitude sickness, stay either in the same elevation or if got worse trek to the lower elevation.

The first aid kit carried by your guide includes Diamox and he/she is trained in the identification of AMS symptoms and their treatment. You MUST take their advice.

You will be given a comprehensive briefing about what to expect and what to do to avoid AMS before embarking on your trek.