If you are interested in tracing the origins of Bhutanese history and culture, you shouldn't miss visiting the valleys in the middle of Bhutan. This area played an important role in the early history of the kingdoms of Bhutan and the development of Buddhism. It is also the best place for you to experience authentic Bhutanese lifestyles and to meet the friendly and happy locals.
On this 12-day Bhutan tour, you would journey to the center from the popular west of Bhutan. Explore Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and also Bumthang Valley to have a fuller understanding and authentic experiences of the history, culture, religious beliefs, lifestyle, and wildlife.
Unlock the splendid history and culture of Bhutan in its beautiful fortresses.
Discover the holy remains of the masters of Tibetan Buddhism in old temples hidden in the valleys.
Hike to 'Tiger Temple', one of the top 10 monasteries in the world.
Visit the Swiss Farm in the valley. Step into local people's lives deep in the Himalayas.
Discover sacred 'Burning Lake' where a well-known Bhutanese legend adds a sense of mystery.
Enjoy a hike in the Phobjikha Valley. Go pass the peaceful village, forests, and meadows
Encounter the wildlife living in the paradise of the Himalayas.
Witness unique Bhutanese craftsmanship in traditional workshops.
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Suggested Itinerary for Inspiration
Your preferences design the real journey. We're ready to create a wonderful Bhutan tour for you.
Meet your private Bhutanese guide at the airport in Paro. Then get you will drive to Thimphu. On the way, you will stop at Ta Chog Lhakhang. It is a private monastery owned by the descendant of a famous Tibetan bridge engineer. you will see a typical iron chain bridge here.
Visit Buddha Dordenma. It is a massive golden statue of Shakyamuni on top of a hill and 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within it. Afterward, visit a landmark of Thimphu, the Memorial Chorten. For many Bhutanese, this large Tibetan-style chorten (a stupa preserving Buddhist relics) is a place where they perform their daily worship.
Visit the most important political dzong, Tashichho Dzong, in the afternoon. It is the headquarters of the central government, just like the White House in America, Downing Street in Britain, and Zhongnanhai in China.
Finally, you will visit Bhutan Post Office Headquarters, where you can make stamps with your own photos and put them on postcards for your family and friends.
Drive from Thimphu to Punakha in the morning. Enjoy a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayans at Dochula Pass. The 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass are very impressive.
In the afternoon, explore the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan — Punakha Dzong. It is also the most important dzong in Bhutanese history and is known as 'palace of great 'happiness' or 'palace of bliss'.
Stop at a suspension bridge viewpoint, and walk across the bridge to enjoy the scenery before driving back to your hotel.
Continue driving toward the east to Trongsa in the morning. Visit Trongsa Dzong after arriving. It is an important Bhutan fortress. The first and the second king of Bhutan were enthroned there. It also played an important role in trade between east and west Bhutan. There are 23 buildings in this fortress. You would be able to study their exquisite decoration.
Visit the Royal Heritage Museum to appreciate its collections of Buddhist artwork and the personal effects of kings, such as a coat of the first king's and a pair of the fourth king's football shoes.
Drive from Trongsa to Jakar, the central town of Bumthang. You would visit Jakar Dzong after arriving. It is a beautiful fortress on a hill's slopes. Enjoy the great view of the valley from the fortress.
Then, visit Wangdichholing Palace. Listen to stories of the first king of Bhutan, who was born there. It is the first palace in Bhutan that was not built in its fortress style.
Have a day tour to Tang Valley. On the way, you would visit the mysterious Mebar Tsho ('Burning Lake'). The stories about this place include Bhutan's top sage Pema Lingpa's revelations and his miraculous lamp that stayed alight in its waters. Many prayer flags and prayer stones testify to this place's sacred celebrity status.
Continue our drive along country roads, and enjoy idyllic scenery on the way to Ogyen Choling Palace. In the museum in this palace, you will get to know about the lifestyle of the nobility of Bhutan from the exhibits. It also evidences historical trade activities between Bhutan and Tibet.
On day 7, you would explore another peaceful valley — Ura. On a 1½-hour drive, see the stunning scenery of Chokhor Valley and Chhume Valley with a snow-capped mountain backdrop.
Walk around Ura village. Visit the old temple and the Swiss Farm in the village. Enjoy a talk with the local people to get some insights about how they make their living there.
Say goodbye to Bumthang and drive west. On the way, you would visit a traditional workshop for weaving yathra (a kind of blanket with Bhutanese patterns) in Chumey Valley.
Start your exploration with a visit to Black-Necked Crane Information Center. Learn something about the cranes and the environment of the valley. You can use a telescope to observe the birds.
Then visit Gangtey Goemba. Appreciate this great monastery on the top of a hill and enjoy a beautiful view of the valley. Listen to the stories about the famous terton ('Buddhist scripture discoverer') Pema Lingpa and the living Buddha of this monastery.
Enjoy a short hike (about 1½ hours) on Gangtey Nature Trail with forest and valley views along the way.
Drive from Gangtey to Paro in the morning. Visit the National Museum (Ta Dzong Fortress) after arriving. Enjoy a fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangka paintings, household items, arms, handicrafts, stuffed animals, and Bhutan's famous stamps.
Then visit beautiful Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) located on the slopes of a mountain.
Take an excursion to the unbelievable Taktsang Goemba — 'Tiger's Lair Monastery' (this takes approximately 5 hours with a round-trip walk). Located on the side of a cliff above Paro Valley, Taktsang is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan. It is famous for its 13 taktsang or 'tiger lairs' — caves in which Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche, a tantric Buddhist master) meditated. It is worth hiking all the way there to explore one of the top 10 monasteries in the world.
We'd transfer you to Paro Airport for your flight back home or to your next destination.
Ideas for Making This Trip Uniquely Yours
Special experiences can be added to brighten a honeymoon trip, a family vacation, a birthday, or satisfy personal interests.
Traditional Bhutanese Archery
White Water Rafting in Punakha
We select hotels with style and local features. Let us know your preferences and we'll find your ideal hotel.
Hotel with Bhutanese style
Hotel surrounded by the forest
Hotel with Bhutanese style
Hotel with traditional decorations
Our Service Includes:
- Private transfers and English-speaking tour guides.
- Attractions tickets as detailed in the itinerary
- Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- Governmental taxes
Tour code: ah-bt-3
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Get Inspired with Our Sample Itineraries
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