TRIP OVERVIEW BHUTAN CULTURAL (7 DAYS)
The mountain kingdom of Bhutan is a living masterpiece of ecological conservation in the world today. The Bhutan Cultural Tour is our effort to introduce you to the imposing Dzongs, or temple fortresses, that are intrinsic to Bhutanese Buddhism. You will begin your Bhutan Cultural tour from undoubtedly the most beautiful valley in the country, Paro. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, 8th century Kichu Monastery, and the national museum are some conserved masterpiece in Paro. Following north along the Thimphu river, you will arrive Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan which is a potpuri of traditional and modern culture. After a tour in Thimphu, you will drive to Punakha valley across picturesque Dochula Pass (3150m) offering great views of Himalayan ranges on clear days. Then we tour Punakha valley with walk to the famous fertility temple, the Dzong and the 30 minutes hike to the Chorten on the hillock.
Bhutan Cultural Tour-7 days is suitable for you if you have a week long holiday for Bhutan. If you just have short holiday, Glimpses of Bhutan Tour-4 days would be suitable for you. If you are entering Bhutan overland through Darjeeling/Sikkim (India), Phuentsholing to Paro Tour with Thimphu and Punakha -7 days would be an excellent trip in Bhutan for you with which you will experience little more cultural aspects of Bhutan with visit to more places of it. To enjoy a joint tour in Bhutan and Nepal (Kathmandu), Nepal and Bhutan Tour-9 days would be best for you. If you want to familiarize yourself on trek in Bhutan along with a cultural tour in Bhutan then, Bhutan Cultural Tour with 3 days Bumthang Trek -12 days OR Druk Path Trek with 3 days Cultural Tour-10 days would be suitable for you. But if you are actually looking for just a trek in Bhutan, The Chomolhari Trek-12 days would be a best option.
Day to Day Itinerary:
Day 01: Arrive Paro [2255m]
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, offering spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by the guide and transfer to the hotel. After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower that is now the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. Next visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. From there you will be taken to the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan’s second-highest mountain at 7,314meters. Overnight in Paro.
Day 02: Drive Paro -Thimphu [2350m / 7710ft]: 54 km/ 2hrs
After breakfast, hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most monastery situated at 3180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, you will hike down to the valley floor. This evening you transfer to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 03: Explore Thimphu [2320m/7424 ft]
After breakfast we visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Nunnery Temple, Changgangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley), Majestic Thimphu Dzong, and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan: the takin. Afternoon visit to the famous Weekend Market. Stroll through the market to see the variety of food of the country, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and mangoes. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. It’s fun to wander the aisles, taking in the bustling atmosphere of the market. This is perhaps good opportunity for photography and to mingle with locals who come from the nearby villages to sell their farm products. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 04: Thimphu-Punakha [1250m/4000 ft]: 76 km/ 3 hrs
After breakfast this morning, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. You will arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. If you wish, receive the blessing from the Lama’s wooden phallus! After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 05: Punaka-Gangtey [2900m/9280ft]-Punakha: 85Km/3-4 hrs
In the morning, you will spend some time in exploring the typical Wangduephodrang town. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings. You will then drive to Gangtey through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons. Gangtey is a beautiful place surrounded by snowcapped mountains in the distance with a landscape of rolling hills and green meadows. It is situated at an altitude of 2900m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque Black Mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. Gangtey Monastery is perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. You will explore Phobjikha villages. Later in the evening, you drive back to Punakha. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 06: Punakha-Paro: 130km/4 hrs
After breakfast, you will drive back to Paro via Dochula pass. Here you will visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country, with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. You will stop at Thimphu for lunch. After lunch, continue drive to Paro. In the evening, you can visit a traditional farm house which offers opportunity to mingle with local people and their life style. If you wish, you can experience a local wine produced by a brewery of wheat or rice. Overnight in Paro.
Day 07: Depart Paro
After early breakfast, drive to airport for departure. Today you bid farewell to the Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after taking breakfast, we transfer you to the airport in the morning depending on the flight schedule and your destination. Our representative will bid you farewell.
What Is Included
All meals, tea & snacks
Government approved A and B category hotels on twin sharing basis
All airport pick up and drop
Ground transport in comfortable private vehicle
Experienced English speaking guides and local staff
All city tour with permits, entrance fees for museums and monuments
Bhutan Visa Fee
What Is Not Included
Airfare to/from Paro, Bhutan
Items of personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet , laundry etc.)
Trip cancellation and Medical/Evacuation Insurance
Tips for Staff (guide and driver )
1-2 people = USD 2220 per person
3-12 people = USD 1920 per person
( Note! above price valid until end of 2013 )
Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of your booking, we provide grade A hotels and B category hotels in Bhutan Cultural Tour-7 days. We use A category hotel in Paro and Thimpu. We use Hotel Tashi Namgay Resort or similar in Paro and Hotel Migmar or similar in Thimpu. We use Meri Puensum Resort or similar (B category) in Punaka. Since the Bhutan Cultural Tour is designed on twin sharing basis, you share room with your fellow traveler but in case you prefer single rooms we charge USD 300 as single supplement.
All your meals included during your stay in Bhutan. A variety of meals are available in most hotels – the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common continental food. Non vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan – pork, beef, chicken, and fish. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season.
Equipment and Packing List
While packing for Bhutan Cultural Tour certain equipments are essential. Please Click here for this trip’s comprehensive checklist.
You can join our Bhutan cultural Tour Program as per your convenience. Spring season (March to June) and in the autumn season (September to November) are the best time to visit Bhutan. The months of April and May offer the natural grandeur of rhododendron blooms. The spring season also observes the biggest festivals of Bhutan.