11 Day Cultural Tour Travel Plan

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  • Paro Valley

    Paro Valley
    The beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan’s old monasteries and temples.

  • Takstang Monastery

    Takstang Monastery
    Often called the Tiger’s Nest, perched on the cliffs, has awestruck many a visitor.

  • Punakha Dzong

    Punakha Dzong
    The ancient capital of Bhutan is also often considered the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. First King of Bhutan was coronate in this Dzong.

  • Phobjikha Valley

    Phobjikha Valley
    The winter home for the Black Neck Cranes

  • Dochula Pass

    Dochula Pass
    Built by the the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate and liberate the souls of the fallen soldiers

  • Paro Valley

    Paro Valley
    Paddy fields before the harvest season

Day 1

     Arrival in Paro, Bhutan

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatise to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and lets have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine.

Sangaygang - Drive about 15 minutes from the main city to a hillock where the Bhutan Broad Casting Tower is stationed. From there you can relish the beautiful scene of the whole of Thimphu City. On the way up or down from the hillock, you can also see Takin the national animal of Bhutan.

Buddha Point at Kuensel Phodrang, will be open to tourists once it is completed in 2012. The 169 feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma , Vajra Throne Buddha symbolising indestructibility will be completed soon. The Buddha statue itself is competed awaiting paintings, but visitors can drive up to the Buddha point and view the tallest statue of Lord Buddha. The view of Thimphu valley from the Buddha point is spectacular and beautiful, especially at night.

Takin enclosure- On the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin; a strange looking beast some say looks like a beestung moose.
 

Hotels:

Day 2

     Tour of Thimphu

Elevation 2,320 m     Weather in Thimphu

Heritage Museum- Dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past though exhibition of artefacts used in rural households.
Textile Museum - Witnesses the art of traditional weaving.
National Memorial Chorten - Which was built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
Papermaking Factory - Witnesses the art of papermaking.
Simtokha Dzong - Five miles from Thimphu, on a lofty ridge, stands Semtokha Dzong the oldest fortress in the Kingdom.

Day Trek to Tango Goemba and picnic/lunch by river In the afternoon. The Tango Goemba site has had religious significance since the 12th century when it was the home of the Lama who brought the Drukpa Kagyupa school of Buddhism to Bhutan. The monastery was built there in the 15th century by Drukpa Kunley ("The Divine Madman"). Tango is the highest center of Buddhist learning in the country; almost every Je Khenpo (religious head of Bhutan) completed the 9-year program there. After completing that program, monks traditionally spend 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in mediation at the nearby Cheri Goemba retreat, built in 1619 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder or first unifier of Bhutan. It is currently the home of an 11-year-old boy believed to be the seventh reincarnation of the fourth desi, or ruler, of Bhutan.

Centenary Farmers’ Market - Every Saturday and Sunday most of the Thimphu population congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. Here villagers from the valley and other nearby places come to sell their agriculture products.
 

Hotels:

Day 3

     Thimphu to Punakha

Elevation 1,300 m     Weather in Punakha

Thimphu Dzong - The largest Dzong, is also the seat of the office of the King of Bhutan.
Dochula Pass - The 108 chortens was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to liberate of the souls lost.

Punakha Dzong - Built in 1637, the dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, headed by the Chief Abbott, the Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship.

Chhimi Lhakhang - A 20 minutes walk across terraced fields through the village of Sopsokha from the roadside to the small temple located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina. Ngawang Chogyel built the temple in 15th century after the ’divine Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. It is a pilgrim site for barren women.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten - Built by the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon wangchuck this Chorten is a slpendid example of of the Bhutanese architecture and art and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been built over eight and a half years and its details have been drawn from religious scripture.
 

Hotels:

Day 4

     Punakha to Bumthang

Elevation 2,600 m - 4,000 m     Weather in Bumthang

In the morning, we would start our drive to Central Bhutan. Before we start we will pay a visit to Chhimi Lhakhang  (left) - A 20 minutes walk across terraced fields through the village of Sopsokha from the roadside to the small temple located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina. Ngawang Chogyel built the temple in 15th century after the ’Divine Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. It is a pilgrim site for barren women.

Passing Wangdue (left), one of the major towns and district capital of Western Bhutan. Located south of Punakha, Wangdue is the last town before central Bhutan. The district is famous for its fine bamboo work and its slate and stone carving.

We will pause to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Built in 1638, Wangdue Dzong is dramatically perched on the spur of a hill and overlooks the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers.
 

Hotels:

Day 5

     Bumthang

Elevation 2,600 m - 4,000 m     Weather in Bumthang

This is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism in Bhutan. It is an area with a wide variety of fauna and flora. The Guru Rinpoche and his lineage of Tertons (treasure finders) making Bumthang his home have led to more than 40 temples being built in this peaceful valley.

In the morning, we will hike to the Tamshing Goemba, built in 1501 by the Buddhist saint Pema Lingpa. We will also visit Kurjey Lhakhang (left-bottom), one of the most sacred monasteries in Bhutan. Built by the Guru Rinpoche in 1652, it houses a rock with his body imprint. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche manifested as a Garuda to defeat the demon Shelging Karpo who had taken the form of a white lion.

We will also visit Jambay Lhakhang, built in 659 by Tibetan King Sontsen Gampo to pin down a demoness who was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Come October, the Jambay Lhakhang Drup is one of the most colourful festivals in Bhutan.

Jakar Dzong - pitched on a high ground overlooking the town junction, it was built as monastery in 1549 by the great grandfather of the Zhabdrung. It is now used as the administrative center for Bumthang district

In the afternoon, we will hike up toThangbi Valley, crossing a suspension bridge to visit theThangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century via an unpaved road.
 

Hotels:

Day 6

     Bumthang

Elevation 2,600 m - 4,000 m     Weather in Bumthang

Me-Bar Tsho (Burning Lake) One of the most sacred sites in Bhutan, the holy lake is said to be one of the holiest lakes in Bhutan. Long time ago, Terton Pema Lingpa (Buddhist saint and treasure discoverer) dived into the lake while holding a burning butter lamp on one hand. Several hours later when he came out of the lake, he was holding some relics one one hand and the butter lamp on his other hand was still burning. Thus the lake was called Me-Bar Tsho (Me-bar=Burning Tsho=Lake)

Ugyen Choling Palace Our journey about 2hours drive, we stop at a roadside temple and a nunnery, ending in the Tang valley and the village of Kesum. From the road head we have a one-hour hike over a suspension footbridge, through farm fields and cluster villages, up a "hill" to the mystical Ugyen Choling Palace where we will spend nights in the owner’s guesthouse or in the Dzong.

Ugyen Choling Palace built 17th century by Deb Tsokey Dorji, a descendant of Buddhist Saint Dorje Lingpa. Ugyen Choling is a national treasure, privately owned by the same family for hundreds of years. Its remote location makes it one of the less frequently visited historical sites in Bhutan, hosting fewer than two hundred guests per year. One of the owners wrote a book on Bhutanese folk tales of the Yeti and her brother is the property’s caretaker.

The best part of the Palace is the quaint museum housing permanent exhibits on three floors in the main building and the Utse, the central tower. Traditional living quarters are recreated to capture the realistic ambiance of the ancient lifestyles and conditions of the households. Everyday kitchen and weaving utensils, war weapons--including petrified yak dung to make gunpowder--tools and farming implements are the main part of the exhibits In the evening, villagers (mostly single ladies looking to meet our guides and drivers) will come to the Palace for an evening of cultural entertainment. You’re invited to join in the singing and dancing.
 

Hotels:

Day 7

     Bumthang to Gangtey

Elevation 3,000 m     Weather in Gangtey

On route to Gangtey is Trongsa, the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty.

Trongsa, literally "New Town" in the Dzongkha language, is where the current monarchy had its origin in Bhutan. Each King in the line of succession has held the post of Trongsa Penlop or Governor before donning the Raven Crown.

Trongsa Dzong - The foundations of Trongsa Dzong were laid in the 16th century by by Pema Lingpa. The Dzong flourished during the 17th century under Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyal. With its massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu Valley, the Dzong commands the east-west road.

Taa Dzong - Built as a watchtower the Taa Dzong has since been turned into a Heritage Museum. A book on this prominent Dzong is written by Christian Schicklgruber entitled The Tower of Trongsa, Religion and Power in Bhutan.
 

Hotels:

Day 8

     Gangtey to Paro

Elevation 3,000 m     Weather in Gangtey

The Valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the Black necked crane (Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black-necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March.

Another significant landmark in Phobjikha is the famous Gangtey Gompa monastery. This is an old monastery that dates back to 17th century.

Paro Valley- The beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan’s old monasteries and temples. The country’s only Airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to mount Chomolhari (7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pachu flowing through the valley. The following are some of the prominent places to visit in Paro.

Paro Dzong - also known as Rinpung Dzong, this 15th century massive fortress/monastery, is also the administrative center of the dzonkhag.

Ta Dzong - Built as a watchtower the Ta Dzong, it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum boasts antique Thangka, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

Drukgyal Dzong - Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan. The Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past.
 

Hotels:

Day 9

     Paro to Haa via Chelela

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Drive to Haa through Chele La (3,988m). From the pass you can see Paro valley on one side and then Haa valley on the other. You can also have a picnic at Chele La if you like to. In Haa, some sightseeing and then going to katsho village and visiting the Katso Lhakhang.

The valley of Haa was only opened to Tourist in 2002 and Haa is the least visited valley in Bhutan due to the lack of Tourist infrastructure. This has helped in keeping Haa the way it has always been, with Bhutanese families living their traditional and simple life. There are no tourist standard hotels in Haa valley so we return back to Paro for the night.
 

Hotels:

Day 10

     Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Taktsang Monastery - A one hour hike to the cafeteria is also a vantage view whereby you can enjoy the stunning view of the monastery. Prayer flags adorn the cliffs and this is also where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.

Kyichu Lhakhang - After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
 

Hotels:

Day 11

     Depart Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country and take an early flight back to Singapore. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments! Tashi Delek!

What's Included

Suitable Months
  • Whole year round
  • High Season: March-May and September-November
  • Low Season: December-February and June-August
Prices
  • For Travel during the months of: Dec-Feb and Jun-Aug
  • USD 2,449 for 1 person traveler
  • USD 2,349 per person for 2 person travelers
  • USD 2,049 per person for group with 3 or more


  • For Travel during the months of: Mar-May and Sep-Nov
  • USD 2,949 for 1 person traveler
  • USD 2,849 per person for 2 person travelers
  • USD 2,549 per person for group of 3 and above
What's Excluded

Our Guarantee

Guaranteed Visa approval. We have yet to disappoint a single of our travellers in term of Visa issuance.

Your choice of hotels will be confirmed for your inspection before your arrival. We only book you on hotels which we love and would love again.

We will be happy to change your guide, driver or vehicle on the first two days of arrival in Thimphu if you are not satisfied with our selection. Drop us a note and our hospitality team be on the spot to assist you.

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From USD 2,049USD
  

Recent Customer Reviews 4.8 / 5.0 ( Read Reviews )


96.2 % of Our Travellers Recommend This Travel Plan

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Guek Heng
Guek Heng
Singapore, Apr 2015

Dear Sonam

Kuzuzangpo La

Firstly, kadin-chhey for calling me in Bhutan to check on us. It’s been a great time in Bhutan and we had taken tons of beautiful pictures, where we have to brainstorming to choose the nicest pictures to post to you. But it is tough, because Bhutan is so picturesque, even though we anyhow or anywhere pose; we still managed to get a nice photo. The nice weather and friendly people, some of them are discussing if they want to retire in Bhutan.

Kudos to both guide Ugyen and driver Gampo; Ugyen help us pull through some of the difficult part during our hiking trip, which is not easy when he had to take care 7 of us. He helps to take many scenic group photos. He is full of tricks and never failed to make us laugh. Gampo - our driver is calm and smiling.

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Colin Nisbet
Colin Nisbet
United States, Oct 2015

Hi Sonam,

As I wrote you before, I am very happy with my decision to travel to Bhutan. It did not disappoint. And I am very happy with my decision to book my tour through your company, Druk Asia.

I have done an extensive amount of traveling; I have spent more than five years abroad working and traveling. I must say that Bhutan is truly at the top in terms of how really amazing of an experience I had there. I cannot say which part was my favorite. Initially, I went to Bhutan because I am an amateur photographer and I wanted to capture scenes from the festivals in Bumthang. However, each place held an incredible enchantment for its own reasons.

The trek with my guide, Pema 'A', up to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) was definitely amazing. We also made a trek to the raise prayer flags at Chele La.

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Jasmine Quek & June
Jasmine Quek & June
Singapore, Oct 2014

Dear Sonam

My apologies for taking so long to answer your email.

We would like to thank you for all your arrangements and the wonderful itinerary. This trip was no doubt one of our most memorable and awesome holiday. From the moment we arrive and till we depart, everything is just perfect! Bhutan is simply amazing! Pictures doesn't do justice to the view.

Here's some shots...

Best Regards

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