This 7-day, 6-night tour is ideal for travellers with a limited time to spend in Bhutan. Explore the country’s highlights - the Paro, Thimphu & Punakha valleys - with a private guide and driver, staying in local hotels and enjoying authentic Bhutanese food.
Highlights include the Ta Dzong Museum, Rimpong (Paro) Dzong with its wooden cantilevered bridge and the infamous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest) in the beautiful Paro Valley; The National Memorial Chorten, 12th century Changangkha Temple and the National Library exhibiting ancient scriptures in Bhutan's capital Thimphu; and after crossing the 3,050m Dochula Pass with spectacular Himalayan views, a journey into the sub-tropical Punakha Valley featuring the incredible the Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakang, temple of the 'Divine Madman'.
We also have a variant of this 6-night trip with an overnight trek to Bumdra Camp.
We also have shorter 4-day Bhutan trip.
Explore Western Bhutan
7-day, 6-night trips can depart Bangkok for Paro daily, or from Singapore for Paro every Thursday and Sunday (returning the following Wednesday and Saturday). An additional Tuesday/Monday flight may be mounted in December 2018.
The flight to Paro must be one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. On this flight the views of the Everest, Kanchen Junga and other Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drakey in Bhutan are simply awesome.
After immigration and customs formalities you will be greeted by your guide and driver and transferred to Paro.
Sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong (Paro) Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzongs are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts.
In the afternoon we drive to Thimphu, the country's capital, (1½ hours) following the Po Chu River.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation's bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernisation, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery.
Other sites to visit include the School for Arts and Crafts where students are taught the 13 types of Bhutanese art, the National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the traditional Paper Factory displaying the Bhutanese paper making process, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum. Time permitting, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, and Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some of the ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.
If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the varieties of Bhutanese food including baskets of fiery chillies, cheese and a variety of greens. (This market is open only from Friday-Sunday).
Overnight in Thimphu.
Drive over the Dochu-La Pass (3,050m) which, on a clear day, offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley. The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the 'Palace of Great Happiness' built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Po Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three-story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan's first king was crowned.
After lunch, take a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing.
Overnight in Punakha/Wangdue.
In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa traditions.
Later in the afternoon, we visit Punakha Dzong. Located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive Dzong in the country.
Overnight in Punakha/Wangdue.
Drive back to Thimphu where we will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. After lunch we proceed to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, a historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7,314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.
Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast hike up to Taktsang Monastery commonly referred to in guide books as "The Tiger's Nest". The trail is broad, and the uphill walk of approximately 2 hours takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor. For those who cannot hike we will arrange a pony for transfer up to the viewing point (your own account).
The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7,314m) appears as a stunning backdrop.
On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa. Inside there is a great golden image of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Overnight in Paro.
Early morning transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
|Price per person in USD|
7D6N Western Bhutan ~ Paro, Thimphu & Punakha
|Valid from JUN 01, 2018 to MAY 31, 2019.|
|03 or More|
|Jun, Jul and Aug, 2018||1480||1420||1240||180|
|Sep, Oct and Nov, 2018||1780||1720||1540||180|
|Dec 2018, and Jan to Feb 2019||1480||1420||1240||180|
|Mar, Apr and May 2019||1780||1720||1540||180|
|Land prices do not include air passage to/from Paro. Kindly check with us for our attractive airfare to/from Paro.|
- Bhutan Visa & application fee
- All royalties & government taxes
- All transfers and ground transportation in a private vehicle with an experienced driver
- 06 nights accommodation in twin-share room in selected local hotels/lodges
- All meals, excluding beverages
- All breakfasts in hotels
- Other meals in local restaurants
- Drinking water for the duration of the tour (not during meal times in restaurants)
- Services of licensed English-speaking Bhutanese guide
- All entrance fees to sights
- Air passage to/from Paro, Bhutan; kindly check with us for our attractive airfares flying on Drukair
- Travel insurance covering trip curtailment, emergency rescue and medical evacuation, travel agency insolvency, etc. (please check with us for our travel insurance plans)
- Personal expenditure such as phone calls, internet access, all soft/hard beverages, laundry services, etc.
- Other options or expenses not mentioned in the Inclusions above
- Tips & gratuities for guide and driver
Drukair flight schedules
Singapore (SIN) to Paro (PBH)
TUE KB501 SIN/PBH 06:30/10:50 (high season from March to May)
THU KB501 SIN/PBH 06:30/10:50
SUN KB501 SIN/PBH 06:30/10:45
Paro (PBH) to Singapore (SIN)
MON KB500 PBH/SIN 08:05 16:25 (high season from March to May)
WED/SAT KB500 PBH/SIN 08:05 16:25