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Highlights of Bhutan

Thimphu, Punakha & Paro

From $4300 per person in low season
From $4700 per person in high season

based on 8 nights & daily experiences

Price Guide:

  1. Jan
    Mid
  2. Feb
    Mid
  3. Mar
    High
  4. Apr
    High
  5. May
    High
  6. Jun
    Mid
  7. Jul
    Mid
  8. Aug
    High
  9. Sep
    High
  10. Oct
    High
  11. Nov
    High
  12. Dec
    High

* Pricing is a guideline only and excludes special offers. Travel over peak periods (e.g. Christmas, New Year and other public vacations) can affect prices considerably, as can exchange rates, flight class and room type.

Price includes:

  • Accommodation

  • Private transfers

  • Daily experiences

  • Half Board

per person based on two sharing.

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At a Glance

  • Perfect introduction to Bhutan seeing all the major highlights on a private tour with your own driver and personal expert guide

  • Combine the capital Thimphu, with the fertile valley of Punakha and Paro with the amazing walk to Tiger's Nest Monastery

  • Choose whether you want a more cultural experience, or focus on getting into the countryside on day-walks and seeing local life in action

  • Stay in comfortable boutique accommodation throughout your journey

  • Combine with India, Nepal, Thailand or Singapore for the ultimate itinerary to the region

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

In the western, central and eastern Bhutan you will mostly experience cold European-like weather. Winter lasts here from November to March. The Monsoon occurs between June and August when the temperature is normally between 8° and 21°C. October and November are arguably the best months, when the monsoon has passed and the skies are clear. The spring months of March, April and May are best for the flora, but it can be stormy as the monsoon builds up for July-September.

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We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on 020 3993 8476 to start planning your vacation.

Itinerary

This itinerary is ideal for a first-time visitor to Bhutan, experiencing all the must-see highlights of Bhutan with your own exclusive driver and guide. Through this eight night itinerary we have included stops for you in Thimphu, Punakha and Paro for a great first taste of this incredible country.

  1. Days 1-3: Thimphu

    On arrival in Paro you’ll be met by your own team of a hand-picked expert guide and also your own private driver and vehicle, and they will be with you throughout your tour, showcasing the wonderful destination that is Bhutan. We suggest heading straight to Thimphu, a drive of just over an hour and it is Bhutan's capital city. With two nights here, you can explore the major sights of city, including the Folk Museum, Buddha Point and the Simtokha Dzong. If you want, you can do a light day trek into the rural villages around the capital. The Thimphu festival occurs in September, and if you are here at the weekend, there is a fantastic market to visit.

    Accommodation: Druk Hotel (2 nights)

  2. Days 3-6: Punakha

    Next, head to Punakha which is about a three-hour drive from Thimphu and takes you over the Dochula Pass from where you should see some dramatic views of the high snow-capped Himalayan peaks in the distance. Punakha is home to Bhutan's best Dzong (or fortified monastery) and it is worth seeing it when the maroon-clad Buddhist monks are chanting in unison. The Temple of Fertility is also exceptional and involves an easy one hour walk past rice paddies and local villages. We also will take you on a short walk along the Butterfly Trail to the Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and having the option of visiting a local home for tea. There is also a Saturday market in Khuruthang (the village next to the main Dzong) or Sunday in nearby Wangdue. There are festivals in February and April in Punakha and September in nearby Wangdue, and these can be incorporated into an itinerary should you travel during these times.

    Accommodation: Dhensa Punakha (3 nights)

  3. Days 6-9: Paro

    Next, drive back to Paro, which takes around five hours or so, with opportunities to stop at various points of interest en route. Paro contains a wealth of things to see and do, and of course the fabulous Tigers Nest Monastery which you can walk to the following day. It involves a steep 800-meter ascent, but there are numerous rest-stops on the way and your reward is absolutely amazing when you see the monastery at close range. Other highlights in Paro include the main Dzong, the National Museum and the Drukgyel Dzong. We can of course tailor your itinerary to include a little more walking, or more of a focus on the history and culture. Should you travel in March, then you can incorporate the Paro Festival.

    Accommodation: Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa (3 nights)

Experiences

  • A visit to Chimmi Lhakhang

    The Chimmi Lhakhang Temple is a temple of fertility dedicated to the Buddhist saint known as the Divine Madman. A short walk through paddy fields takes you to the temple and is popular with Bhutanese families wanting to start a family.

  • Cycling up the Pho Chhu River

    Take a morning cycling up the beautiful Pho Chhu River, famous for the White-Bellied Heron and dramatic scenery. Take a walk into the local village for a spot of tea before having a lovely picnic lunch overlooking the river before returning to Punakha.

  • Day in Thimphu

    You can easily fill an afternoon or day exploring Thimphu. It is worth visiting the Tashiccho Dzong, where essentially Bhutan is governed from. Also of interest is the Simtokha Dzong, Memorial Chorten, Changagkka Temple & Folk Museum.

  • Dressing up in traditional Bhutanese dress

    Anyone who works in Bhutan must wear traditional national dress, and you can have the chance to dress up for a few hours to see how it feels. The Bhutanese absolute love visitors doing it!

  • Drukgyel Dzong

    The Drukgyal Dzong is located further up the Paro Valley from the Tiger's Nest Monastery and was built in 1649 by Tenzin Drukdra to celebrate victory over an invading army from Tibet.

  • Giligang Trail

    Giligang has a 300-year old temple and a wonderful way to escape other tourists and see an authentic side to Bhutan, and can be added on to a visit to the Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and Butterfly Trail.

  • Khansum Yulley & the Butterfly Trail

    Take the short hike up to the Khansam Yulley Temple where you can sit back in awe at the wonderful views down the Mo Chhu Valley before heading off on the one-hour Butterfly Trail, stopping off for tea in the local home.

  • Kyichu Lhakhang

    The Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, dating from the 7th century and constructed by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsan Gampo.

  • Meet a Monk Your Own Age

    Your children can have the opportunity to meet a monk their own age. 10% of Bhutan's population are monks and they can hear stories of getting up each day before first-light for prayers and their daily routines.

  • Nalanda Buddhist College and Nobgang Walk

    This fantastic experience combines the Sangchen Nunnery, the Nalanda Buddhist College and the Nobgang Village walk which takes you from the high hills above Punakha and winds gently down to the Punakha Dzong - you approach it almost vertically!

  • Paro Dzong & National Museum

    The Paro Dzong, or Rinpung Dzong as it is otherwise called, looms above the town of Paro. On the hill above the Dzong in the former watchtower you can visit the National Museum.

  • Paro Sunday Market

    If you are in Paro on a Sunday then absolutely visit the local market. See a variety of vegetables on offer from 0630 until about 1000, and you can then see the archery ground following your visit.

  • Punakha Dzong

    Punakha Dzong, otherwise known as the Pungtang Dechen Photrang literally means the palace of great happiness or bliss, and is the finest of its kind in Bhutan, dating from the 17th century and located on the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu Rivers.

  • Punakha Weekend Markets

    Khuruthang Saturday Vegetable Market is located in the small town next to the Punakha Dzong. On Sundays, you can visit the Wangdue Market, about a 30-minute drive away. Wander around the stalls, selling local fruit and vegetables.

  • The Butterfly Trail & Rafting in Punakha

    Take the Butterfly Trail which is a one hour trek through local villages and paddy fields, stopping for tea in a local home before hiking to the Khamsum Yulley Chorten and then rafting back to the main Dzong of Punakha.

  • The Haa Valley

    The unspoiled Haa Valley is located close to Paro and offers a fantastic day out. Drive over the Chele Pass, Bhutan's highest road, and choose to free-wheel on bikes into the Haa Valley. Explore the local monastery, have a picnic and return to Paro.

  • Thimphu Weekend Market

    You shouldn’t miss the weekend market in Thimphu. People from nearby valleys arrive on Thursday afternoon and stay to sell their goods – vegetables, other foodstuffs and handicrafts – until Sunday evening.

  • Tiger's Nest Monastery

    The Tiger's Nest Monastery is spectacular; legend has it that this cliffside was where Guru Rinpoche landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. Set off for the 2-hour walk to the viewpoint before continuing onto the Monastery.

  • Try your hand at Archery

    Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and can be seen played throughout the Kingdom. Traditional bows are made from bamboo and witnessing an archery competition is an absolute highlight. We can easily arrange for you to have a go should you wish.

Location

Thimphu, Punakha & Paro

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We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on 020 3993 8476 to start planning your vacation.

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