Dragon Kingdom Tour 7 (Bhutan 13 Days)
The tour starts from Paro, a picturesque valley dotted with farmhouses and turquoise colored Pachu River meandering through the valley. This trip extends itself from Western Bhutan through to Bumthang in Central Bhutan. To save time backtracking this trip includes an internal flight from Bumthang back to Paro. The tour includes Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan, and Punakha across 3150 meters Dochula pass. While in Punakha, we will visit the Devine Madman Temple and Punakha Dzong, the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. On this tour, we also explore well-preserved Bhutanese cultures, old fortresses, temples and hike to a famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
Like all our Temples of Nirvana Tours and Treks, they start and end in Kathmandu and include a comprehensive itinerary of sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley.
Day 1 – Kathmandu Arrival
On your arrival at Kathmandu, Tribhuvan Airport, you will be met by a representative of Temples of Nirvana and taken to your hotel in the Thamel district of Kathmandu.
Day 2 – Swayambhunath Temple – Kathmandu Durbar Square
This will be the first of your sightseeing days in Kathmandu. In the morning we will head for Swayambhunath (Monkey) Temple. Swayambhunath is a UNESCO, World Heritage and one of the must see sights of the Valley. We will walk the 365 steps up to the Stupa. There is much to see, not least the three large Buddha statues of Shakyamuni Buddha, Chenrezig and Guru Rinpoche. in the park to the rear. In the afternoon we visit the Durbar square in Kathmandu
Day 3 – Kopan Monastery – Bouddhanath Stupa – Pashupatinath Temple
Our second sightseeing day in Kathmandu starts at Kopan Monastery perched majestically overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. Kopan is a little haven of serenity amongst the chaos of the Valley. We will then head for Bouddhanath, the Tibetan area of Kathmandu where the mightily impressive Bouddhanath Stupa is situated. The Stupa is the second largest Stupa in the world. In the afternoon we will make our way to Pashupatinath Hindu Temple.
Day 4 – Kathmandu – Paro (2280m)
You will be taken back to Tribhuvan airport where we will take the flight to Paro. This flight is one of the most spectacular flights you could undertake. The route takes you right by Mount Everest and includes four of the five highest Mountains in the world. After Everest (1) we see next to it Lhotse (4), next is Makalu (5) and to the east of Nepal Kangchenjunga. On arrival you will be greeted by our Bhutanese representatives who will transfer you to the hotel. In the evening, you can stroll freely in Paro town. Walking around the market and meeting with the people will be an enjoyable experience. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 5 – Paro to Punakha
After breakfast, you will enjoy scenic drive to Punakha with a stop en route for tea at Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters). The pass is marked by Bhutanese Chortens and prayer flags. On a clear day, you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. Here, you can also 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. From the pass, drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. Lunch will be served at Lobesa. After lunch, you can hike through rice paddies up to the Chimi Lhakhang Temple. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley, or the “Divine Madman,” who is believed to bless women who seek fertility. You will arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day 6 Punakha
After breakfast, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. You will then hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, a delightful 3-story chorten that looks down on the upper Punakha Valley. The views of the valley and the surrounding snow-capped mountains are stunning. You can linger here for some times relaxing and simply appreciating the harmonious beauty of the location. Hike back till road head and drive back to Punakha. Overnight hotel in Punakha
Day 7 – Punakha-Gangtey/Phobjikha Valley
You will begin the day by driving to Gangtey through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons. From Wangdue, it is a steady ascent to Lawala Pass, 3Km short of Pele La which is the crossover point into central Bhutan. Just after few minutes drive downhill from Lawala Chorten, you will arrive at Gangtey village from where you can see the picturesque Black Mountain range as well as Phobjikha Valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. After lunch, you will hike through Phobjikha valley to explore the nearby villages and crane roosting areas. At this time of the year, you can see the cranes who migrate from Tibetan plateau to escape harsh winter conditions. You can visit few farmhouses to see their way of life. You can also visit Nature Information Center, which has informative displays about the crane and the valley environment. Overnight hotel in Phobjikha.
Day 8 Gangtey-Bumthang
Today you’ll head to Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family. Driving through the central valleys of Bhutan; you’ll see some of the rich flora and fauna. You will pass through semi-tropical vegetation and then up to Pele la Pass (10,989 feet). With an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo, the pass is the boundary between West and East Bhutan. During clear weather, you can view the high, snow-capped peaks. Lunch will be served in Trongsa. After lunch, visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. You’ll then proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, with lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way you will stop at a yathra (textile weaving) factory at Chumey, where the yathra are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Check into hotel on arrival. In the afternoon, you can stroll freely in Bumthang town. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
Day 9 – Bumthang
Today’s sightseeing in Bumthang includes Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Jambey Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan; and Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, because Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. After lunch, you will also have a chance to tour Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings. In the evening you can visit local shops. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
Day 10 – Excursion to Ura Village
After breakfast, you will drive to Ura crossing Ura la pass (3590m). Just before reaching this pass you can get a view of Mount Gangkar Puensum (7541m) to the northeast. Ura is a unique village with clustered of houses giving a medieval look because of the cobblestone streets, and the typical sheepskin shawl that women wear. Spend some time exploring Ura village and then drive back to Bumthang. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
Day 11 Bumthang to Paro Flight
After breakfast, you will drive to airport for your flight to Paro. After lunch, you can visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. You will walk downhill till the road point crossing the wooden bridge. Your vehicle will be waiting here to take you to Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 8th century. From there you will be taken to 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 23,996 feet. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 12 – Morning Zuri Dzong hike, afternoon drive Thimphu
Morning, you will drive to National Museum and hike to Zuri Dzong. After few minutes walk on the level trail you will arrive at Gonsakha Temple. From here, you can get stunning views of Dzong, airport and the entire Paro Valley. Walk little further and arrive at century old Zuri Dzong. You will then descend till Uma Resort, where your car will be waiting for you to transfer you to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Check into your hotel on arrival. Later in the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu city and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 13 – Thimphu
Today’s sightseeing in Thimphu includes memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Nunnery temple, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Folk Heritage Museum, traditional paper factory and giant Buddha statue and the majestic Tashichhodzong, the seat of the national government. In the afternoon, visit the popular Weekend Market where you can 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. This is perhaps a good opportunity for photography and to mingle with locals who come from the nearby villages to sell their farm products. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 14 – Morning hike to Tango monastery, afternoon drive Paro
In the morning, you will drive towards north of Thimphu and then hike to Tango Monastery, which was built by the “Divine Madman” in the 15th century. It’s a center of study for monks, and it affords a great view of the Thimphu Valley. On the grounds of the monastery is a “sin-testing” tunnel–it is said that if you have sinned, you will get stuck in the tunnel, and if you are without sin, you will go through with ease! After having explored the monastery, you will hike back till road head where your car will be waiting for you to transfer to Thimphu. Later in the afternoon, you will drive back to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 15 – Hike to Tigers Nest Monastery
Today you will hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery. It is absolutely breathtaking, situated at 10,400 feet and perched on the edge of a steep cliff about 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuntse to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch is served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, you will hike down to the valley floor. This is a fantastic conclusion to your stay in Bhutan! Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 16 Paro – Kathmandu
After breakfast we will drive you to the airport for your departure, where our Bhutanese representatives will bid you farewell. You will take the spectacular flight back to Kathmandu. The rest of your day can be spent at leisure. In the evening we will take you for a farewell Dinner, to an excellent traditional Nepalese restaurant where we will enjoy a Nepalese cultural program as well as a fine meal.
Day 17 – Depart Kathmandu
Depending on the time of your flight departure, you may have time for a little more sightseeing or shopping in Kathmandu. We will then take you to Tibhuvan airport 3 hours before the departure time of your flight home and see you to your departure terminal where we will say goodbye and hope very much, that you will have enjoyed your time with Temples of Nirvana
Cost of the Trip
The exact price of your trip depends on the date of travel and the number of travellers. The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing a twin/double room at a standard hotel in Kathmandu and 3/4 Star Hotels in Bhutan. If you require a single room or superior or deluxe accommodation please let us know. All prices quotes are starting from and ending in Kathmandu. The cost we quote includes Paro – Kathmandu flight(s) and for your Bhutan Visa. Please see our pages on Visas and Flights. If you travel in a group of less than three people, you are liable for a surcharge – US $40 per night for one traveller, US $30 for 2 travellers. There is no surcharge for three travellers and above.
Airport pick up to hotel, hotel accommodation in Kathmandu, including breakfast, but excluding lunch and dinner, Farewell Dinner and Nepalese cultural program, all entry fees to Kathmandu places of interest, all transportation to places of interest.
The cost include meals, government taxes, hotels, tour or trekking guide, driver, land transport within Bhutan, necessary entrance fees and sightseeing
What’s not Included
does not include your personal expenses such as drinks and beverages, bottled water, phone calls, laundry, tips and insurance of any kind.
Create your own Itinerary
If the trip or itinerary you are looking for is not here, you would like to make modifications, or you have your own itinerary please let us know and we will quote you a price based on your own personalised specifications.