At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.
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Our Essential Bhutan Tour: Bhutan At A Glance tour combines the best of what Bhutan offers with a good mix of both cultural and active pursuits! Our journey begins in Thimphu which combines a natural small-town feel with a new commercial exuberance. Then we take a three hour winding scenic mountain to Punakha to visit the beautiful Punakha Dzong. Then we return to Paro and explore picturesque Paro valley, visit to Taktsang Lhakhang, Bhutan's most iconic landmark and religious site.
Itinerary Idea in Detail
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Day 01: Paro Arrival – Thimphu
Upon arrival in Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed by our Asia Senses guide and driver then transferred to Thimphu, the capital, most modern city and the main center of commerce, religion and government of Bhutan. We then start this Essential Bhutan Tour: Bhutan At A Glance with a 1.5-hour drive to Thimphu, on route, enjoying the beautiful views of Thimphu valley along the way.
Upon arrival, we will drive to the Buddha Dordenma statue to have an outlook of the city and for a stunning view of the valley. This gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue measures in at a height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. Then 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.
Next, we take a visit to Motithang Takin Preserve to see takins, the national animal of Bhutan, a strange looking beast with horns like a wildebeest, a nose like a moose, a tail like a bear, and a body like a bison!
Afterwards, we take a view of the majestic Tashichho Dzong which is located close to Thimphu town, next to the banks of the Wangchhu River. Today, Tashichho Dzong houses the secretariat, throne room, and offices of the King of Bhutan.
Continue on to Royal Textile Academy to witness the traditional art of weaving and Folk Heritage Museum Kawajangsa which is providing a detailed insight of the entire folk history and heritage of Bhutan. Overnight in one of the carefully-selected hotels in Thimphu.
Start our sightseeing day with a visit to Simtokha Dzong, one of oldest Dzong in Thimphu that was built in the year 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan.
After that, we will drive to Punakha which takes approximately two and half hour. On the way, we will stop to visit Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3150m dotted with colorful prayer flags and 108 Stupa. If the weather is good enough, you could see the most wonderful panorama over the high peaks of the Eastern Himalaya while enjoying a hot cup of coffee/tea at the Dochula café. From the pass, we continue driving through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha.
Just before reaching Punakha, we will stop at Sopsokha village roadside and take a stroll (about 20 minutes) through beautiful rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kunley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become 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.
After lunch, 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. 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. Later in the afternoon, we drive back to Thimphu.
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Namgay Heritage Hotel
Day 03: Thimphu – Paro – Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger Nest)
After an early breakfast, we will head back to Paro then drive to Tiger’s Nest parking area where you begin your hike to the Taktsang monastery. It is 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 in one of the carefully-selected hotels in Paro.
The Essential Bhutan Tour: Bhutan At A Glance wraps up toady. In the morning, check out then have a quick visit to Rinpung Dzong which was consecrated in 1645 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal on the site of smaller fort. Its name means “the fortress of the heap of jewels”.
Then head to the National Museum which is located on the hill behind the Rinpung Dzong. In this museum, there are over 3000 artworks and masterpieces that display more than 1500 years of cultural heritage of Bhutan. Our guide and driver after that will transfer you to Paro airport for your onward destination.
Private Tour Price (2 Pax Up)
Tour Price Includes
03 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