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Nestled in the magnificent Himalayas, between India and Tibet, Bhutan is praised as the land of the thunder dragon or the happiest country on earth. This Bhutan tour package will allow you to experience Bhutanese wonderful cultural and visit impressive palaces and monasteries in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Gangtey. There is also a chance to stay at the beautiful Phobjikha Valley, home of the Black-necked Cranes. If your Bhutan travel coincides winter time, you are provided with an opportunity to observe over 250 species including native Himalayan birds and the rare birds that are in danger of extinction: white-bellied heron, black-necked crane and more.
Itinerary Idea in Detail
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Day 1: Paro Arrival
The flight to the Bhutan is one of the most breathtaking, spectacular and magnificent flights with the views of snowcapped peaks of Himalayas. Upon arrival in Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed by our Asia Senses tour guide in a Bhutanese style with Tashi Khada (white scarf).
Have lunch then take a visit to Paro's Ta Dzong which was converted into the National Museum in 1968. This museum houses many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past.
Afterwards, continually ride to Rinpung Dzong which is located near to the museum. It was consecrated in 1645 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal on the site of smaller fort. Today, this massive fortress is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. From the dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, the beautiful cantilever wooden bridge which provides good view for whole Rinpung Dzong.
Drive to Thimphu where we have dinner then overnight in one of the carefully-selected hotels in Thimphu.
The capital of Bhutan boasts some of the best places to visit in bhutan. After breakfast, start our today’s sightseeing tour with a visit to Tashichho Dzong, or popularly known as Thimphu Dzong. It has been the seat of the government since 1952 and presently houses the throne room and offices of the king, the secretariat and the ministries of home affairs and finance.
After that, our driver will transfer you to Chagri Dorjeden Monastery, a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan established in 1620 by Ngawang Namgyal, the first Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the founder of the Bhutanese state. It was built on the riverside with the river flowing with crystal clear water. After that we drive back to Thimphu for the lunch.
After lunch, we will visit Thimphu Institute of Zorig Chusum where you can catch a glimpse of apprentices honing their skills and knowledge in 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan, Folk Heritage Museum Kawajangsa which is providing a detailed insight of the entire folk history and heritage of Bhutan. Continue on to Royal Textile Academy to witness the traditional art of weaving.
Afterwards, we visit Motithang Takin Preserve to see takins, the national animal of Bhutan. In the late afternoon, we take visit to Buddha Dordenma statue to enjoy the beautiful view of Thimphu valley. No tours of Thimphu or Bhutan holidays are complete without a visit to the incredible Textile Museum. Evening is free at leisure and you can stroll in the town, visit local handicraft shops, do shopping as you like.
***Note: If your Bhutan tour coincides with Thursday - Sunday, we head to Thimphu weekend market which is the main source of fresh produce for Thimphu city. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products (vegetables from farms and wild ones collected from forests, fruits, etc) and livestock products (mainly cheese and butter).
Overnight in one of the carefully-selected hotels in Thimphu.
Today, we will take a visit to National Memorial Chorten, one of Thimphu's most iconic monuments. It was built in 1974 as a memorial to the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who reigned from 1952-1972.
After that, have a quick look at the Simtokha Dzong which was built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan. The legend said that this dzong was built in order to subdue a demon which used to scare villagers and harass travelers.
Drive to Punakha over Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3150m dotted with colorful prayer flags and 108 stupas. If the weather is good enough, you could watch the breathtaking views of the eastern Himalayan ranges. From the pass, we walk along the traditional route down to the mixed forests of hemlock, fir, oaks and rhododendron. Here, you would have an excellent opportunity to observe many kinds of birds include rufous-breasted bush robin, fire-tailed myzornis, yellow-billed blue magpie.
After lunch, we will stop at Sopsokha village roadside and take a stroll (about 20 minutes) through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a pilgrimage site for childless couples. It is believed that childless couples will have children if they get blessing from the lhakhang's wooden phallus. Our trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. There are few young monks at the temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings.
Visit Punakha Dzong which is arguably the most beautiful dzong in the country and one of the must-visit places in all Bhutan tour packages. This dzong has a special significance in Bhutan history as is the place where Ugyen Wangchuck (first king of Wangchuck House) was crowned in 1907.
After breakfast, we will drive to Gangtey (Phobjikha) valley, pass through beautiful and tranquil roads surrounded by lush forests of bamboo and oak. On the way, we will make a series of brief stops to watch yellow-rumped, laughingthrushes, ward’s trogon, bush warblers and other kinds of species.
Just before reaching the Pele La Pass, a small side road splinters off to the hidden Phobjikha Valley. Upon arrival, take a visit to Gangtey Goemba, an important monastery of Nyingma school of Buddhism. From this monastery, enjoy the valley's prime real estate, on a forested hill overlooking the green expanse of the entire Phobjikha valley.
After that, we will hike through the beautiful nature trail which goes through lush forest of blue pine, oaks and rhododendron. On the hike, we may spot long-tailed minivet, streak-breasted scimitar-babbler, yellow-bellied bush-warbler, great barbet… And of course we will spend time to observe the rare black-necked cranes which migrates from the high plains of the Tibetan plateau in winter to the milder climate of Phobjikha valley. In the late afternoon, if your energy allows, we pay a visit to the Black Neck Crane Information Centre which has informative displays about the black-necked cranes and the valley environment.
In this morning, spend time to visit the rural villages surrounding your hotel then immerse into their daily lives and activities. After that, drive via the Pele La then Dochu La Passes to Thimphu. After lunch we may visit Nado, Bhutan’s famous traditional incense maker and the colorful Gagyel Lhendup weaving center.
Upon arrival Paro, check in your hotel. Dinner then spend the remainder of the evening free at leisure.
Overnight in Paro.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Metta Resort & Spa
Day 6: Hiking to Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest)
After an early breakfast we drive up to the starting point and prepare for our Bhutan trekking to the legendary Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) - a magnificent monastery, clinging on a rock cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. It was constructed in 1692, around the cave where Guru Rinpoche first meditated, the event that introduced Buddhism into Bhutan. Legend has it that in 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew to this exact spot from Tibet on a back of a tigress, thus giving it the name “Tiger’s Nest”. All Bhutanese Buddhist desire to come this monastery at least once in their lives. The hiking trails pass through the meadow of pines, rhododendrons and oaks.
***Note: Horse ride to the cafeteria is available and can be arranged at additional cost.
On the way back, stop then have lunch at the cafeteria. After that, if your energy allows, we drive to the ruins of the 17th-century Drukgyel Dzong which was a fortress and Buddhist monastery, now in ruins, located in the upper part of the Paro District. In good weather conditions, the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop.
Following the Drukgyel Dzong visit, it is worth stopping at the 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Buthan's oldest and most beautiful temples. The temple is popularly believed of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Metta Resort & Spa
Day 7: Paro Departure
The Bhutan Tour: Follow the Cranes wraps up today. After breakfast at the hotel, free at leisure until our guide and driver transfer you to Paro airport to catch your departure flight. End of our service. Tashi Delek!
Private Tour Price (2 Pax Up)
Tour Price Includes
06 hotel night accommodation.
Local English speaking guides.
Meals as mentioned.
All sightseeing as specified and entrance fees included.
Bottled drinking water per touring days.
Tour Price Excludes
Surcharge of 70 USD per person per night (if there is person in the group)
Surcharge of 30 USD per person per night (if there are 2 persons in the group)
Horse ride up to the Tiger's Nest
Other meals not mentioned in the program
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, etc...
Tips for your guide and driver (discretionary)
Any camera or video fees at any sites
When to Go
See estimated monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary