7 Day Essential Bhutan Travel Plan

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  • Punakha Valley

    Punakha Valley
    Clear Blue Skies complimenting the beauty of Punakha valley

  • 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.

Day 1

     Arrival in Paro, Bhutan

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

When you first arrive at Paro International Airport, you will be met by one of our delightful tour guides just outside the arrival hall. At 7,333 feet above sea level, the first thing you will likely notice is the effect of the high altitudes, so we will give you time to acclimate as we take a short drive to Thimphu and check into your hotel.

 

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan and the perfect location to transition from your familiar lifestyle to our unique country that is like no other place on earth. Here you will begin to appreciate our local customs as you get your first glimpse of monks dressed in traditional red robes, men in striped ghos, and women in brightly colored kiras. Once you settle into your hotel, we will begin to unlock the mysteries of Bhutan by touring Thimphu’s most important sites. The National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 to memorialize Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the third king of Bhutan (1928-1972). A chorten is a stupa, or hemispherical structure, that is used as a place of meditation. The whitewashed building with a golden finial on top is a popular location for prayer as it represents the strength and kindness of our beloved third king.

 

The Thimphu Tashichho Dzong is a fortress and Buddhist monastery with a distinctive Bhutanese architectural design. Sitting aside the Wang Chhu (river), it is the current seat of the Druk Desi, the head of the civil government, and houses the offices of the current king.

 

On the weekends, Centenary Farmers’ Market is where farmers come to sell their vegetables, cheeses, grains, and the occasional yak leg. Across the street is the Kundeyling Baazam where you can bargain for local handicrafts, such as mala beads and prayer wheels. We will then take a scenic drive up to Buddha Point in the Kuenselphodrang Nature Park to see the 169-foot-tall bronze statue of the seated Buddha Dordenma. One of the largest sitting Buddha statues in the world, it sits atop a hill where you will see sweeping views of the valley and surrounding mountains. After returning to town for dinner, you can wander through the shops, bars, and cafes of Thimphu.

Hotels:

Day 2

     Tour of Thimphu

Elevation 2,320 m     Weather in Thimphu

After breakfast, our first stop will be at the National Folk Heritage Museum, dedicated to preserving Bhutanese folk arts. This renovated 19th-century building is laid out like a traditional, rural household with three stories of traditional arts Es, cultural relics, and artifacts. Demonstrations are performed throughout the day to show how the Bhutanese people have lived over the centuries.

 

At the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, you will see the ancient practice of natural papermaking. Using the bark of two local tree species (Daphne and Dhekap), craftsmen demonstrate how to make the traditional paper Deh-sho. You can even try making your own paper for a special souvenir. Handmade papers were used by monks for writing prayers and woodblock printing.

 

Weaving is considered the national art of Bhutan, so at The National Textile Museum, you will learn all about the brightly colored and beautifully designed fabrics that are worn by the Bhutanese people. Thanks in part to our Queen Jetsun Pema, the fabrics of Bhutan are widely considered high fashion around the world. Due to the importance of this living art form, the Royal Government of Bhutan works to preserve and promote these traditional weaving methods.

 

We then take a drive to Motithang Takin Preserve, home to one of the strangest looking creatures on earth. The takin is a gentle moose-like animal that is described as looking like is was stung by a bee. Originally a small zoo, the king decreed that it was not in alignment with Buddhist practices to pen up animals, and they were released into the wild. The takin; however, refused to leave and began wandering the city streets in search of food. The preserve was established, and Bhutan’s national animal is now taken care of by royal decree.

 

We end the day with a visit to Simtokha Dzong. Built in 1629, it was the first fortress of its kind in Bhutan and features beautifully painted Buddhist murals and carvings inside. Simtokha means “demon stone” and legend has it that the fortress was used to contain a demon inside a rock which was terrorizing the region. Today, it is home to one of the premier monk-taught Dzongkha learning centers, the national language of Bhutan.

Hotels:

Day 3

     Thimphu to Punakha

Elevation 1,300 m     Weather in Punakha

Today we travel to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan until 1955, and will stop off at Dochula Pass along the way. This popular tourist spot provides stunning 360-degree views of the Himalayas. It is also home to the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens that were built on a small hill to memorialize the Bhutanese soldiers killed in a 2003 battle with Assamese insurgents from India.

 

The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple was completed in 2008, built to commemorate 100 years of monarchy and His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth king, and leader of the raid that removed the Indian rebels. We will tour what is considered one of the most beautiful site in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong. Sitting at the fork of two rivers, it is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture. Built in 1637, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. Jacaranda trees surround the structure that produce stunning lavender blooms in the spring. The massive structure is six stories with a central utse (tower) that stands 3,900 feet tall. Inside the fortress, there are three large courtyards, one of which houses the well-preserved body of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the 17th-century father of unified Bhutan. It was also the location of the royal wedding of Bhutan’s current king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema in 2011.

 

We will also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, which is a splendid example of Bhutanese art meets architecture, and the only one of its kind. At the direction of the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, the site took nine years to build because architects, painters, sculptors, and carpenters only used holy scriptures rather than engineering manuals to construct this four-story temple. Only reachable on foot, the hour trek includes an exhilarating walk across a colorful prayer flag adorned suspended footbridge that crosses the Mo Chhu. In 1999, the temple was consecrated to remove negative energies and promote peace, harmony, and stability around the world. It is a stunning building with splendid views of the valley that are well worth the walk.

Hotels:

Day 4

     Punakha To Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

The beautiful valley of Paro 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 Jomolhari (7, 300m) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pa Chhu flowing through the valley.

 

Kyichu Lhakhang - Also known as Kyerchu temple or Lho Kyerchu, it is the oldest temple in Bhutan. Just like Jambhay Lhakhang in Bumthang, it is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to subdue and pin down an ogress that was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. According to legend, all 108 temples were built in a single night.

 

Go back in time and history and visit the seventh century Kyichu temple. As the name suggests, the temple is a reservoir of peace, and you will feel at peace here. Next to the temple is a house that was turned into a museum dedicated to the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. One can come across photographs and other artifacts belonging to Rinpoche.

 

Dumtse Lhakhang - Built in 1433 by the iron bridge builder Thangton Gyalpo, the temple was built to subdue a demoness and so was chained firmly to the ground. It's three floors represents hell, earth and heaven. To enter Dumtse Lhakhang, you will require a special permit.    

Hotels:

Day 5

     Paro to Haa

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 head to Katsho village and visiting the Katso Lhakhang. Then you will head back to Paro.

 

Chele La Pass - Start early for the drive to Chele La Pass, which, at 3, 988m is the highest road pass in Bhutan, snaking upwards through blue pine and rhododendron (Etho Metho) forests for 35 km. On a clear day, the view sweeps away to the snow-dome of Bhutan's second highest peak, Mt. Jomolhari (7, 314m), and down to the Haa Valley, which only opened to foreigners in 2002 due to its promixity to the border with Sikkim and Tibet.

 

For those who rather have a leisurely sightseeing day, there is the option to drive from Chele La Pass down the other side to the Haa valley. In case Chele La Pass is not accessible during the winter months due to ice or snow, your guide will propose an alternative for this day excursion.

Picnic at Chele La Pass - Have a picnic at and have a beautiful short hike at the pass while enjoying the beautiful view.

 

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

 

Lhakhang Nagpo, Black Temple - It's a very peaceful and tranquil place, suitable for meditation. The monastery was established in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one day. It is situated towards the north of Lhakhang Karpo. Legend has it that King Songtsen Gampo released a black and white pigeon to select sites to build the temples. 

Hotels:

Day 6

     Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

On our final tour day, we take an exhilarating one-hour hike to Taktsang Monastery (or Tiger’s Nest), one of the most recognizable sites in Bhutan. Built precariously on a hillside cliff, it sits more than 10,000 feet above sea level. Accessible only by foot, we follow a trail decorated with colorful prayer flags along the way to protect travelers from evil spirits. Built over the caves that Guru Padmasambhava meditated in for three years, this eighth-century father of Bhutan Buddhism is said to have been brought there on the back of a tigress. One of the most sacred sites in Bhutan it offers breathtaking views to those energetic enough to make it to the top.

 
 

We then take a short drive north of Paro to visit the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. Built in 1647 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of medieval Bhutan, it was used as a stronghold against invading Tibetan armies. After a fire destroyed it in 1951, it remains a ruin as a symbol of the past military victories. On clear days, you can also see the snowcapped peak of Chomolohari mountain.

 
 

We end the day with a visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, a beautiful seventh-century Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in Bhutan. According to legend, a giant demoness lay her body across the Himalayas to prevent the spread of Buddhism. Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo built 108 temples throughout the region and around her body to pin her down, with Kyichu Lhakhang built to hold down her left foot.

 

Hotels:

Day 7

     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 1,489 for 1 person traveler
  • USD 1,429 per person for 2 person travelers
  • USD 1,249 per person for group with 3 or more


  • For Travel during the months of: Mar-May and Sep-Nov
  • USD 1,789 for 1 person traveler
  • USD 1,729 per person for 2 person travelers
  • USD 1,549 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.

We’re here to help. Our world-class member services team is available by phone or email — there's no automated system or call center; you'll communicate with a real person.

Frequently Asked Questions


I'm planning to travel alone without joining another group, is that possible?
Yes. Most of our guests are traveling in private group of 1 to dozens.

I would like to do an overnight camp or trekking, can that be incorporated?
Yes. We will be able to add a short or longer trek depending on your preference. It may require you to extend your stay or skip certain towns. You can also extend your stay to add a trek without missing any points of interest

I would like to one night of camping and a short hike.
We can arrange that in Paro. You may opt to do an overnight camping before Tiger Nest.

How can I add a festival to the itinerary?
We will have to arrange your arrival to coincide with the festival. That can be arranged.

I'm planning to enter Bhutan next week, how soon can you arrange the Visa?
We have arranged Visa within 3 days notice.

Would you guarantee the Visa approval?
Yes, we have 100% success rate in getting Bhutan Visa in the past 5 years.

Would you be able to arrange for the flight into Bhutan?
Yes, we can. We are the Sales ticketing agent for Royal Bhutan Airline

What's included in the tour package?
All 3 meals per day, all taxes and surcharges, entries into point of interest, daily mineral water, a guide, a driver and a car. Most aspects of your travel have been covered except for shopping and alcoholic drinks.

Is cost of hotel included in the travel package?
Yes, 3 stars hotels are included in the package

Is it safe for female to travel solo?
Yes, it is. As of February 2017, we have arranged for more than 799 travelers who are visited Bhutan on solo trip.

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Recent Customer Reviews 4.8 / 5.0 ( Read Reviews )


96.5 % of Our Travellers Recommend This Travel Plan

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WY
Wai Yee
Singapore, Aug 2017

The trip was memorable and you are spot on ! My eyes welled up as I depart at the airport in Paro. The feeling is unexplainable. It's some sort of attachment but as I was traveling alone I can't explain why it happened this way. It must have been an attachment to Bhutan and the people I met.

Not forgetting the lovely guide Sonam and driver Dodo who accompanied me throughout the 7 days from Como. Very attentive and extremely helpful.

I am already planning my next trip back to Bhutan! If heaven is a place on earth, it has to be Bhutan!

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KS
Kai Soh
Singapore, Jul 2017

We would like to show my great appreciate to Sonam, who did an excellent job in planning the trip and always ready to reply any queries we had. All the bookings went smoothly, and we had excellent seats on the plane. Thank you so much for all your time and effort in organizing our trip.

Our tour guide Pema Wangda was excellent and we could not have asked for anyone better! He took my entire family's needs into consideration and executed the trip accordingly. We all agreed it was one of the best holidays we ever had and we all felt sad to leave! Panda was also an amazing driver and always there to help out anytime we need anything. We had such a great team with us, we could not ask for more!

We are very appreciative to both Pema and Panda (Nidup), and have definitely become friends.

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RT
Ratna Tripathi
Singapore, Feb 2017

Kuzu Zongpola!

Yes I almost did have tears in my eyes when I was leaving. My Bhutan experience was amazing and I would very much love to go back there when the opportunity presents itself.

Would like to take this opportunity to thank you, my guide and driver for making my trip the wonderful experience it was. From complete strangers to leaving as friends. Everyone around me was so kind and considerate, making sure that I had everything I needed; wanted and making sure I was well fed all the times. Hahaha. My favorite place would be the Punakha Dzong, every aspect of it was so surreal. The sense of calm I felt there, don't think I've ever felt anywhere else and it was amazing. Going back there just to experience that calmness is something I would definitely do again. Climbing up

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