Hiking or TrekkingTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
Climbing or Peak TrekkingTours in Nepal
Cycling or Mountain BikingTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
Sightseeing or FestivalTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
This tour through the land of the Thunder Dragon takes us into Paro, situated in a picturesque valley in Bhutan. Paro is home to numerous monasteries, of which the most photographed in the world, is undoubtedly Taktsang Monastery, meaning 'Tiger's Nest'. The Monastery literally clings to a vertical granite cliff drop of nearly 4000 ft. and overlooks the Paro valley and the river.
Heading across Bhutan, we visit several monasteries, deep river valleys and ascend over mountain passes. One of the other highlights on this tour is a visit to the subtropical area of Wangdue Phodrang with an ascent up to the Pelela Pass at 3340m where you can see wonderful view of Himalayan Mountains. We head via the Gangtey valley which in winter is home to the endangered bird, the Black Naked Crane.
This tour is designed to start either in Kathmandu or in Bhutan Click here to see the Nepal extension
Day-1: Paro The flight into Paro is spectacular on a clear day as magnificent views of the world's highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. After clearing customs and visa control you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day-2: Paro Morning visit Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress), 16 kilometers away from Paro town. Although it has been in ruin this Dzong has its great historical importance for the people of Bhutan. It was a place where the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetan invasion and drove them back. On a clear Day one can view the sacred Mt. Jhomalhari (Mountain of Goddess). Visit Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means temple) which was built in 659 AD by the King Songtsen Gompo of Tibet as one of the 108 such monasteries he built in various places to spread Buddhism.
After Lunch visit National Museum which used to be a watch tower for Paro Rimpong Dzong (Fortress). It was converted into Museum in 1968. Visit Paro Rimpong Dzong, the Dzong was built in 1646 AD, and walk down to town one the way you can see the traditional wood bridge of ancient style. Visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse and sightseeing trip to the Paro town.
Day-3: Paro, Takshang Drive up to Satsam Chorten (10 km from Paro town) and from there walk up to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means 'Tiger's Nest'. The Monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff drop of nearly 4000 ft. and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan meditated on this spot where the Monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round hike takes about 4 hr.
Day-4: Paro Haa Valley and across Chellela Pass Drive to Haa valley, Visit the small town in Haa which was recently open for tourism. It is located to the extreme western part of the kingdom and drive back from Chellela Pass where you can see beautiful snow capped mountains ranges and rhododendron flowers in bloom. A picnic lunch at Chellela passes. Visit Chellela Nunnery on the way back to Paro.
Day-5: Paro - Thimpu Visit Simtokha Dzong on the way. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 AD. It houses the largest monastic schools in the country. Visit Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the Central Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks. Lunch in Thimphu. Afternoon: Visit the Memorial Chorten (a great stupa) built in memory of the Third King of Bhutan who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the mini Zoo where the national animals were kept and drive to Sangeygang where you can have a spectacular view of Thimphu valley. Visit nunnery in Zulikha. Visit the Wood Craft and Painting school where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive through the instructions of painting and curving. Visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved.
Day-6: Thimphu - Trongsa Drive to Trongsa (200km) - the journey takes about 6 hours through Dochula Pass (3150m). On the way stop for a photo stop at Dochula Pass which is 26km away from Thimphu valley, and for Tea and snacks and to enjoy the most spectacular view of eastern Himalayan snow capped Mountains and also the great view of Gasa Dzong at a distance (If weather is clear) and descends down to subtropical area Wangdue Phodrang and again it ascends up to the Pelela Pass which is 3340m where you can see wonderful view of Himalayan Mountains and this Pass separates the western from the other regions of the country. Lunch in Chendebji.
Day-7: Trongsa - Gangtey - Wangdue Drive to Wangdue Phodrang via Gangtey valley which takes about 5 hours journey and it is a beautiful valley situated at an altitude of 3000m, this valley was open its route very recently. During winter one can see the endangered species of bird (Black Naked Crane). Lunch in Phubjikha and drive to Wangdue Phodrang.
Day-8: Wangdue - Punakhe - Paro Drive to Punakha town and Punakha Dzong. Punakha Dzong lies between two great rivers with the wonderful view of Punakha Dzong. The names of the rivers are Phochu (Male River) and Mochu (Female River). This Dzong serves as the winter residence for the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body and also the office of the district Administration. Early lunch in Punakha. Afternoon drive to Paro.
Day-9: Final Departure. Drive to airport for the final departure.
End of services
Spring (March to May) is considered to be the most beautiful time of the year, as it is then that all of the local flowers come into bloom turning the low lying valleys into a wash of colour. It is also the time of the Paro tsechu festival so if you are planning on catching this festival, then Spring is the time to come.
Autumn (September to November) brings crisp clear blue skies, allowing for stunning uninterrupted mountain views. It is also popular trekking season and thus brings more tourists into Bhutan.
June to August (Summer) is monsoon season. Bhutan, however, does not receive the high level of rainfall that other countries in the region do, and when it does rain, it is generally confined to the afternoons.
Winter (December to February) is cool and sunny and a great time to visit the area. However, many of the areas are snowbound, particularly in the east. If you are planning to see the Black Necked Crane, then winter is the time to come.
Hotels in Bhutan are rated according to a National 5 star rating system. This does not mean all hotels are 5 star, but rather that every classification of accommodation from home stays to guesthouses, have to adhere to a set of government standards. As such, the standard hotels, lodges and guesthouses are usually good, often small and with a great ambiance.
All tour operators are required to provide their guests with a minimum of 3 Star accommodations so you can be assured of your comfort. Most hotels provide their guests with television, room service, fitness centers, spas and wi-fi. However the exact services available will vary from hotel to hotel. The more popular tourist destinations like western and central Bhutan usually have the higher standards of star rated European and Asian properties. There are a few luxury hotels and resorts, but they are rather expensive. Hotels in Bhutan are rated according to a National 5 Star rating System.
If starting in Nepal, we spend two nights in 3-star, Thamel Eco Resort, well situated within the heart of Thamel, or, if it is full, a similar category in Kathmandu.At the end of the tour we return to the same hotel.