Day 1

Arrival at Paro – Thimphu Sightseeing

Upon arrival drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.

En route visit Tachhogang Lhakhang, the Temple of the hill of Excellent Horses. This temple was built in 15th century as a result of visitation from Balaha, the Excellent Horse.

There, visit the National Memorial Chorten, a huge stupa built in memory of the 3rd King (reigned from 1952-72); affectionately known as the father of modern Bhutan.

Then visit one of the oldest temples of Thimphu valley, the 15th century Changangkha Lhakhang.

Visit the Great Buddha Dordema popularly known as Buddha Point. At 169 feet (52 m), it is one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world. Sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of 13th Druk Desi (Temporal Ruler of Bhutan), it overlooks the Thimphu valley.

Overnight in Thimphu (1 Night)

Day 2

Thimphu – Punakha Sightseeing

After breakfast, proceed to Punakha valley, the ancient capital of Bhutan.

En-route; enjoy the scenic beauty of the pass with the majestic Druk Wangyal Lhakhang and 108 stupas on the crest of Dochu La. If the sky is clear one will also be able to enjoy the panoramic view of beautiful mountain ranges and peaks of the Greater Himalaya.

Once there, visit Ritsha, the village famous for red and white rice farming grown along the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. Houses of this village are built of pounded mud with stone foundations.

In the evening, take a leisurely stroll in Khuruthang town.

Overnight in Punakha (2 Nights)

Day 3

Punakha Sightseeing

After breakfast, visit the Grand Fortress of Punakha Dzong. The Dzong also houses the winter residence of the Central Monastic Body and its Chief Abbot. This massive fortress, built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, is situated between two rivers known as Pho Chu (male river) and Mo Chu (female river).

Then drive 7 km upstream Puna-Tshang Chu and hike up to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, perched high on the strategic ridge above Punakha valley. En-route, visit the Dho Jhaga Lama Lhakhang.

Day 4

Punakha – Trongsa Sightseeing

After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. En route you will be able to see the ruins of the 17th century Wangdue Phodrang Dzong being rebuilt; left in ruins by the devastating fire on June 24, 2012. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel built the Dzong in 1639.

Continuing on is Pele La pass (3,300m) which has been the traditional boundary between Eastern and Western Bhutan. From here on you should be able to enjoy seeing yaks and their herders, alpine flower, lovely picturesque villages and other panoramic view.

Descending from the pass you will reach Chendebji village. This was a night halt for mule caravans travelling from Trongsa during the reign of the 2nd King of Bhutan. Just below the village is Chendebji Chorten. Stop to marvel this large white structure beside the stream. The structure is modeled after the Swayambhunath in Kathmandu, Nepal, and was built in the 18th century.

An hour away from Trongsa, you get the first sighting of the crimson-roofed Trongsa Dzong.

Visit the most impressive fortress of Bhutan, Trongsa Dzong, built in 1644 AD. It is the ancestral home of the Royal Family and the first two kings ruled Bhutan from this fortress. Then, we will visit Ta Dzong, the ancient watchtower that safeguarded Trongsa Dzong. It is now renovated as a museum.

Overnight in Trongsa (1 Night)

Day 5

Trongsa – Bumthang Sightseeing

Early morning, drive to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation. This journey will take approximately 3 hours.

En route, it is worth stopping at Zugney village to have a look at some traditional sheep-wool weaves in Bumthang called Yathra. The distinctive patterns and bright earthy colors enliven the fabric which is used for a wide variety of purpose.

After lunch, visit Kurjey Lhakhang. The complex is a set of three magnificent temples built at various periods.

Next, visit the 7th century Jampa Lhakhang, built in 659 AD by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo. Legend has it that the temple is one of 108 such monasteries built by the king in various places to spread Buddhism. The other one in Bhutan is Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. Jampa Lhakhang is considered one of the holiest places in Bhutan as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country.

In the evening take a leisurely stroll in Chamkhar town.

Overnight in Bumthang (2 Nights)

Day 6

Bumthang Sightseeing

After breakfast, visit Bumthang brewery that produces tourist-popular Red Panda beer.

Then take an hour drive to Tang. Enroute, visit the sacred Maebar Tsho or the Burning Lake (literal translation). Legend has it that in 15th Century, Terton Pema Lingpa, the incarnated disciple of Padmasambava, jumped into the lake holding a butter lamp and came out with a treasure chest after some time, with the lamp still lit.

At Tang, you will visit privately owned Ogyen Choling Museum. It provides an excellent insight into the lifestyles and living conditions of a typical landed family over the last century. The history of Ogyen Choling begins with a visit of the Great Tibetan Buddhist Master Longchen Rabjam (1308-63).

Day 7

Bumthang – Gangtey

After breakfast, drive to Gangtey.

There, we will visit Gangtey Gompa (monastery) built in 1613 AD.

A Hot Stone Bath will be arranged at the end of the day.

Overnight at Gangtey (2 Nights)

Day 8

Gangtey Sightseeing

After breakfast, explore Phobjikha valley, which is famous for being the winter home of endangered Black Necked Cranes. There, visit the crane centre.

Lunch will be arranged at a Farm House

Take a two hour-long pleasurable walk along the Nature Trail.

Day 9

Gangtey – Thimphu Sightseeing

Enroute; after an hour’s drive, you will be able to see the ruins of Wangdi Phodrang Dzong, built in 1639 AD.

En route; visit Chimi Lhakhang, a temple built on a round hillock in 1499. The 14th Drukpa hierarch Lama Ngawang Chogyel built this temple, also known as The Temple of Fertility. Lama Ngawang Chogyel’s cousin, Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the divine madman, formerly blessed the site. It is believed that Drukpa Kuenley subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunderbolt”. The Chimi Lhakhang is worshipped as the Temple of Fertility

In Thimphu, visit Tashichho Dzong, the massive structure that houses the office of the King, the Throne Room and part of Government Ministries. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the senior monks and the Chief Abbot (the Je Khenpo). It is the main Secretariat building. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1961 in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.

In the late afternoon visit the Handicrafts Emporium and the Craft Bazaar if you like to browse through examples of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy textiles, thangka paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelries; interesting items made from local materials, and all manner of unique objects; and visit to the colorful Centenary Farmers’ Market. You may also like to check out the archery field for competition and practice and one or two good book stores for books on Bhutan.

Optional

Visit Motithang Takin Preserve. Originally a small zoo, it was later converted to a preserve when it was observed that these animals refrained from inhabiting in the surrounding forest, even when they were set free following the Royal Decree that mandated animals should not be captivated.

The animal owes a special place in the culture of Bhutan and hence is the national animal.

Overnight at Thimphu (1 Night)

Day 10

Thimphu – Paro Sightseeing

After breakfast, drive to Paro.

Upon arrival, visit Dungtse Lhakhang, which was built in 1421 by Dupthop Thangthong Gyalpo. It was later restored in 1841 and the names of donors can still be seen written on the wooden pillars of the ground floor.

Then, visit the National Museum, which once served as a watchtower to protect the Paro Rinpung Dzong below from invasions from all directions. A visit through the galleries shows the country’s transition from the Stone Age to a modern Mahayanist Buddhist and multicultural kingdom with its cultural heritage intact.

Visit the Rinpung Dzong. Fortress built in 1644 now houses the government administration offices of the district and district monastic body.

Then visit Kichu Lhakhang. This temple was originally built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo.

Optional

Drive to Chele La pass (3810m), the highest motor able pass in Bhutan. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of Haa and Paro valley.

Stroll around in Paro town.

Overnight in Paro (2 Nights)

Day 11

Taktshang Excursion

After an early breakfast, drive to Satsham Chorten in Paro for a 4 hour excursion to Taktshang (Tiger's Lair). Perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of 4000ft, Taktshang gets it's name from its foundation. It is one of the most venerated pilgrimme sites in the Himalayan world. Despite the fact that it has 13 holy places, most people can only visit the main site called Taktshang Pelphug.

Picnic lunch will be arranged at the Taktshang Cafeteria.

After the hike, you can enjoy Hot Stone Bath at a Farm House.

Day 12

Depart Bhutan

After breakfast, drive to the airport for your onward flight.

Service INCLUDED on Package Rate:

The Package Tariff Rate covers the following land costs for a Standard Package:

  • Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis (Single room supplementary charge is US$ 50 per night during festival season and US$ 35 per night during other times) in best available tourist Standard hotels
  • All meals
  • Transportation
  • Trained English speaking guide and driver
  • Museum fees and other fees associated with the programme listed in the itinerary
  • 35% Tax to the Government

Service NOT INCLUDED on Package Rate:

  • Air Fares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Internet / Telephone
  • Laundry
  • Expenses of Personal Nature /tips

Optional Add-ons:

Standard Package upgrades can be made for the following at additional costs:

  • Standard Hotels : Deluxe Rooms/ Suite Rooms
  • Vehicle : 4-wheel drive SUVs
  • Guides : Other than English Speaking guides
  • Extra Activities : Cultural shows, guest speakers on specific topics, personalized religious ceremonies for well-being, traditional Bhutanese/Buddhist weddings, etc.

Visa Information

All foreign nationalities (except for Indian Passport holders) require a visa for Bhutan. Visa must be obtained before departing for Bhutan.

As Mandated by the government, your Bhutan Visa can be processed only upon receipt of the tour payment by the designated bank (Bhutan National Bank as of now) in Bhutan. The payment has to be made at least SIX WEEKS prior to the commencement of the tour. In order to process for our Bhutan Visa we will require the following information of yours:

  • Full name as it appears in your passport
  • Date and place of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Occupation
  • Adresses: Both permanent and present
  • Passport Number
  • Type of Passport
  • Place of Issue
  • Date of Issue
  • Date of Expiration

Further, you will need to send us scanned copies of your passport and a passport size photograph.

Based on the information provided, Phuentshok Tours & Treks will process your Bhutan Visa and email you the same upon receiving the clearance as issued by the Department of Immigration.

Tourism Mandate

Tourism has been strictly limited in Bhutan so that traditional culture can be preserved and nurtured. The tourism industry in Bhutan is founded on the principle of sustainability, that is to say that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. For these reasons, tourism is carefully monitored and the number of tourists visiting Bhutan is kept to an environmentally manageable level.

All tourists are required to make their travel arrangements for both tours and treks through an authorised tour operator on pre-planned, pre-paid and guided package. Independent travel in not permitted in Bhutan. The tour operator is responsible for all land arrangements during your stay in Bhutan including in-country travel and various permits (including route, heritage visits and special permits). Undoubtedly visitors can experience Bhutan in its true nature only on all-inclusive standard packages.

Insurance

There is no personal insurance of any kind included in the tour price. Therefore it is advised that your travel insurance be obtained from places of residence before the commencement of your trip. Phuentshok Tours & Treks will not accept liability for any illness, injury or death sustained during a tour/trek. However, all possible logistic support will be provided by the company.

Remittance of Tour Payment

Entire tour payment must be settled SIX WEEKS prior to date of arrival in Bhutan and Visa is cleared by the Government subject to advance payment only.

Delayed Arrival/Departure

There shall be no charges for the number of days of delays in arrival of the visitors due to weather conditions, airline problem or road blocks. And accordingly there shall be no charge for the number of days of delay in departure of visitors due to the same reasons as mentioned earlier.

However, visitors will be charged only the actual expenses on accommodation, food, transportation and any other services required.

Cancellation Policy

The tour programmes booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follows:

  • 30 days before date of arrival in Bhutan : Free
  • Before 21 days : 10% of tariff
  • Before 14 days : 15% of tariff
  • Before 7 days : 30% of tariff
  • 7 days or less : 50% of tariff
  • After arrival in Bhutan : 100% of tariff

The flights booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges. Similarly, charges apply on any changes required for flight dates and names. Charges levied are as follows:

a. Cancellation of Tour:

  • Before 30 days of Date of Travel : 100% Refund
  • Between 10 – 30 days : 50% refund
  • Within last 10 days : No refund/ Ticket valid for 1 year
  • Administrative fee : US$ 25 per cancellation

b. Changes in flight dates : US$ 10 or equivalent local currency

c. Name corrections after obtaining PNR : US$ 25 or equivalent of local currency