based on 11 nights & selected experiences
* 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.
Half Board Basis in Bhutan
Daily Breakfast in Thailand
per person based on two sharing.
A varied private tour of Bhutan blending equally trekking, culture and authentic experiences seeing the local life - not over-doing any element
Fantastic itinerary for those that like to keep active, exploring a new country with various means including cycling and trekking
Have an exclusive private guide and driver throughout giving you complete flexibility
Spend a day trekking to a remote camp in the Himalayas
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.
This active and varied itinerary is perfect for guests that want a blend of experiences, from delving into its history and culture, to a night trekking in rural Bhutan and a chance to see local Bhutanese life in all its color and authenticity. Through this itinerary you’ll be able to delve a little deeper into seeing local life in action and enjoy a more authentic experience, actively exploring Bhutan.
Your itinerary starts in Bangkok where you will have two nights to enjoy the city. As a sprawling metropolis there is so much to do and see here but we would highly recommend going on a behind the scenes tour of the city by bicycle, providing a unique insight into the culture here.
From Bangkok, you'll take a short internal flight to Paro where on arrival you will be met by your permanent private expert guide who will be with you throughout your trip in Bhutan. From Paro airport you will be driven an hour to Thimphu. There are some superb light day-walks to do around Thimphu, and we suggest trying to be here at the weekend when the local market is on. The Folk Museum is worth visiting, giving an insight into how Himalayan subsistence living developed over the ages, and we have included this for you in the itinerary.
Continue to Gangtey, possibly the best place to get out and about in the countryside on day hikes. We have included a four hour walk into Gangtey through Yak Herder villages and farms rather than driving all the way there. Whilst in Gangtey, over your two nights here, we have also included a visit to the Monastery for evening prayers, seeing maroon-clad Monks chant in unison. We can arrange for you to meet the monks and have a chat about their daily routines, which is fascinating to hear. The gentle nature trail walk is well worth doing the following day, and we can extend this into the more remote village of Tokha. We also think the experience of visiting a local home in Gangtey is something that will appeal, and if you want, try traditional butter tea.
Drive back to Punakha and have two days exploring the valley. We have included a visit to the Dzong (fortified monastery) as it is a best in Bhutan but have also included some more authentic experiences such as taking the Butterfly Trail to Khansum Yelley seeing local farmers at work on the paddy fields. Also included is a cycling tour along the Pho Chhu River and if you are lucky you may even see one of the world's rarest birds, the white-bellied heron, en route.
From Punakha you will drive back to Paro where you will have one night. As you will have already seen the Dzong in Punakha, the Paro Dzong can be a little repetitive, so instead we have included a day trip into Haa Valley going over the Chele Pass from where you get the best snow-capped vista in the region. By visiting Haa, you really feel like you are getting off-the-beaten track into a more remote side to Bhutan.
The following morning, you’ll set off for your on a short one-night trek into the mountains to the remote Bumdra High Camp. This is a fantastic way to get away from the main roads and into the real Bhutan and this experience is a real highlight. The trek takes about four hours each day, so can be done by anyone of reasonable fitness. The experience is naturally glamped-up, so expect a carpeted tent, with comfortable bedding, lights and towels. There is also a shower/toilet tent offering hot water and a dining tent where you will served tasty local dishes. Added to this there will be a toasty camp fire to sit around at night (maybe try the local rice wine, Ara, if you want) and a team of staff looking after you. The camp is located just under the beautiful Bumdra Monastery and the views throughout the trek are stunning.
The following day, on leaving Bumdra you will walk down to Paro accessing Tiger's Nest Monastery from above, not from the valley floor where all the tourists walk up together. Feeling a little smug about the exclusivity of all of this, visit the monastery and walk down to Paro where your driver will be waiting to take you back into Paro for your final night in Bhutan.
For your final night on the itinerary you’ll take a short flight back to Bangkok from Paro, in order to easily connect to your onward international flight home.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Evening prayers at a Buddhist Monastery is something you should do at least once on a tour of Bhutan. You will witness monks chanting traditional prayers, helping them prepare for meditation.
The Gangtey Goenpa monastery, or Gangteng Monastery is the main seat of the Pema Linpa tradition of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism. Dating from the 17th century, it has superb views and guests usually visit before taking the Gangtey Nature 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.
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.
The Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, dating from the 7th century and constructed by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsan Gampo.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Take a day walk around the Phobjikha valley, an ideal hike to see the black-neck cranes from November to late March, or simply to experience the villages and farms along the way. See the Crane Information center at the end.
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.
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.
Visiting a local home in Bhutan is an exceptionally interesting experience given the lovely hospitable nature of its people. Try traditional butter tea, or even some locally made rice wine 'Ara'.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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