Tour overview

Punakha Dromche is a unique festival that hosts a dramatic recreation of the 17th century battle with the Tibetan army. The Pazaps or the local militia are dressed in the traditional battle gear and reenacts the time when, in the absence of a standing army, men from 8 great villages of Thimphu came forward and managed to expel the invading force.

Itinerary Outline:
Day 1: Arrival at Paro – Thimphu Sightseeing
Day 2: Thimphu – Punakha Sightseeing
Day 3: Punakha Dromche (Festival)
Day 4: Punakha – Trongsa Sightseeing
Day 5: Trongsa – Bumthang Sightseeing
Day 6: Bumthang Sightseeing
Day 7: Bumthang – Gangtey
Day 8: Gangtey Sightseeing
Day 9: Thimphu – Paro Sightseeing
Day 10: Taktshang Excursion
Day 11: Depart Paro


  • Accommodation in 3-Star Hotels
  • Three meals a day
  • SUV or bus based on group size
  • Museum fees
  • English speaking professional tour guide licensed by Tourism Council of Bhutan
  • 2 litres of water per day per person
  • Sustainable Development Fee

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Surcharges for less than 3 persons

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.

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.

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

Overnight in Punakha (2 Nights)

Day 3: Punakha Dromche (Festival)

After breakfast, visit the Grand Fortress of Punakha Dzong to experience the Punakha Dromche. The festival is unique and hosts a dramatic recreation of the 17th century battle with the Tibetan army. The Pazaps or the local militia are dressed in the traditional battle gear and reenacts the time when, in the absence of a standing army, men from 8 great villages of Thimphu came forward and managed to expel the invading force.

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)

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

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.

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 9: 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.

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 10: 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 11: Depart Paro

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