Nature and Cultural Delight
A thirteen Nights cultural tour in Bhutan
A thirteen Nights cultural tour in Bhutan
“Nature and Cultural Delight” is crafted to ensure travelers are completely immersed in what Bhutan is best known for, the nature and culture of Bhutan. This is a 13 nights itinerary that takes you through the Valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Gangtey, Phobjikha, Trongsa, Bumthang and Haa. It is designed to keep you comfortable with shorter travel and greater coverage. The travel through Western and Central Bhutan shall give travelers ample opportunities to experience Bhutan its nature, its culture, and other aspects to the best.
The itinerary includes village visits and hikes, local people interaction, local experiences, sights, and monuments and many more.
Please note that we are flexible when it comes to our travelers’ interests, convenience and requirements and would be happy to customize this tour with and additions, subtractions, or combinations. However, it is to be noted that all the changes are to be done prior to the start of the tour. Certain factors may not become possible to change once the tour is near.
Driving Distance: 55 Km | Driving Time: 1.5 Hr | Altitude of Thimphu: 2300 m
The panoramic Himalayan views shall be mesmerizing as you fly to Bhutan. The Landing is another experience.
On completion of immigration formalities, your guide from Ideal Travel Creations shall welcome you with a “Tashi Khadar” on your exit from the Airport gate. Drive to Thimphu. Discover the barren mountains, Tamchog Lhakhang, the Paro River (Pa Chhu) joining the Thimphu river (Wangchhu) at Chhuzomsa and the three stupas as you drive o the well maintained roasd between Paro and Thimphu.
Lunch at Thimphu. You may choose to relax at hotel or walk around the Thimphu town. In the evening, visit the Tashichhodzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion). A private traditional cultural show before dinner. Overnight in Hotel in Thimphu.
Altitude of Thimphu: 2300 m
A leisure breakfast in the morning. Visit the Takin Preserve Centre. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan. Then visit the Changangkha Monastery built on a hill overlooking the Thimphu valley. Many parents of Thimphu take their new born babies to this monastery to be blessed by a high lama. Spend some time here enjoying the breathtaking view, the soothing Himalayan breeze and ample photo opportunities. Drive down towards Gumji Lam to visit Simply Bhutan, a living museum and a photo studio aimed at preservation and promotion of culture involving Bhutanese youth as the core group.
A typical Bhutanese Lunch at Simply Bhutan. Tasting the local “Arra” (Bhutanese Local alcohol) is a great experience.
After lunch visit the the National Institute for Zorig Chusum. Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute. Then drive towards Kuenselphodrang, where stands the biggest statue of Buddha Drodenma. In addition, a mesmerizing view of Thimphu Valley, biking and hiking trails and a picnic spot makes it worth a visit. Visit the National Memorial Chhorten. This Chhorten was built in the honor of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. It is a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu. Lighting Butter lamps and circumambulating the chhorten can be a great experience and a good way to earn merits as per Buddhist beliefs.
A private interaction session with a Bhutanese Host in the evening. Dinner with your Bhutanese Host as you converse in regards to this new place and its cultures. Overnight in hotel in Thimphu.
Altitude of Thimphu: 2300 m
After a leisure breakfast, drive to upper Thimphu and take a Hike to CheriMonastery. Initially named Chagri Dorjeden Monastery, this monastery was established in 1620, by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the unified Bhutan. After driving for about 20 minutes we have to hike a steep hill approximately for 1.5 hrs. The monastery is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Drukpa Kagyu order. You shall also see Mountain Gorals during the hike.
Packed lunch by the banks of Dodena River. Drive back to Thimphu and relax for some time.
In the afternoon, visit the Government Post office and make personalized stamps. Post a card to your home town. Then, visit the Centenary farmers market and a Painting studio.
In the evening visit a local resident’s house for a relaxing and communicative evening. You could also learn to prepare a Bhutanese dish here. Dinner with the family. Overnight in hotel.
Driving Distance: 140 Km | Driving Time: 4 Hr | Altitude of Phobjikha: 2900 m
As you drive towards Phobjikha, you shall first see the Simtokha Dzong and then the winding roads leads you through blue pine forests and the villages of Hongtsho (2890m) and Yusipang. The local villager sell apples, walnuts, dried cheese in this area. The road climbs through the forest till you reach the Dochula Pass (3150 m), the highest point between Thimphu and Wangdue/Punakha valleys. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the higher Himalayas and the visit the 108 Druk Wangyal Chhortens. Follow the road downhill, vegetation now changes from oak, maple, and blue pine to a forest of Hemlock, fir, Rhododendron, alder cypress, etc. leadingyou to the Royal Botanical Park and then slowly descends towards Thinleygang. The wind gets warmer and the vegetation is mostly of cactus, oranges, bamboo, pine and paddy fields. Drive further to Gangtey Valley via Lobesa, and the Wangduephodrang bridge. Drive along the slopes of bare hills following the river (Drang Chhu) until you reach Chuzomsa, (the confluence of the Dang Chhu and the Pe Chhu). After crossing the bridge the road goes uphill through pine forests often encountering small villages, where women spinning yarns on their porches, older men idling their time and children frolicking around could be the most common sights.
When in Gangtey visit the Gangtey Goemba overlooking the large green expanse of the Phobjikha Valley. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. Dinner and overnight in hotel in Phobjikha.
Altitude of Phobjikha: 2900 m
A private walk in the morning could be a good option to see the mists hanging low and the waking up of the valley. (Subject to weather conditions) After breakfast, explore the Phobjikha Valley, the most beautiful glacial valleys in Bhutan and the winter roosting place for the endangered black necked crane. A must visit place in Bhutan.
Activities for the day (Time is never enough here);
Dinner and overnight in hotel in Phobjikha.
Driving Distance: 80 Km | Driving Time: 3 Hr | Altitude of Trongsa: 2300 m
A leisure breakfast with a view of Phobjikha Valley. Drive to Trongsa. Stop at Pelela Pass (3420 m) with the customary Chorten and long colorful flags covering the hilltops. You shall also find stalls selling local handicraft items including products made from Yaks by the semi Nomadic tribes in the region. Drive downhill as you are greeted by beautiful views of admirable landscape, villages, Yaks (subject to season), until you reach the Chendebji Chhorten. It was built to subdue evil spirits in the style of the great Boudnath Chhorten of Nepal. Visit the Chhorten. After driving for approximately 1 – 2 hours you shall see the view of the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Lunch at Trongsa
After lunch, visit the Trongsa Dzong, one of the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Zhabdrung to unify Eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family. The first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Then visit the Ta dzong, an ancient watch tower which is now converted into a museum. It represents a tasteful blend of tradition and modernity. The Museum has around 224 items on display.
In the evening, walk around the small Trongsa town or simply enjoy the views from you hotel.
Dinner and overnight in hotel in Trongsa.
Driving Distance: 60 Km | Driving Time: 2 Hr | Altitude of Bumthang: 2600 m
After breakfast, drive to Bumthang via Yotong La Pass (3425 m), marked by a Chhorten and prayer flags. Drive down the Pass through Rhodendrons and different types of pine forest until you reach the plains of Chhumey Valley. While in Chummey valley stop to visit the Yathra Weaving Factory. Interact with the weavers. You may opt to buy the most famous textile of Bumthang and try the loom on your hands. Yathra is a hand woven fabric made from the wool of sheep or Yak. It is the most famous textile product of Bumthang. The Yathra cloth is made into scarves, jackets, table cloths, bags, etc. Most of the women in this valley, especially in Zungye village earn their lively hood by weaving Yathra which is supplied to various towns in Bhutan.
Lunch at Bumthang. After lunch, drive through Bathpalathang and Tamshing Villageto visit Tamshing Lhakhang, one of the oldest Monasteries in Bhutan. Take a short hike through villages crossing the Chamkhar Chhu (River) to visit the KurjeyLhakhang and Jambay Lhakhang on the other side of the river.Kurjey Lhakhang was named after body print of Guru Rimpoche and is one of the oldest and important temples in Bhutan. Jambay Lhakhang was built by King Srongsen Gompo of Tibet. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. In the evening, explore the Chamkhar Town. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Altitude of Bumthang: 2600 m
After breakfast, visit the Jakar Dzong (literally meaning the Castle of White Bird). The current structure was built in 1667. Then drive to Tang Valley. Picnic Lunch shall be served for today. While in Tang valley, visit the Ugyenchholing Palace, which now houses the family Museum containing the historic items of Tshokey Dorji (the then Trongsa Penlop) and his household. Visit the Tang Rimochen Lhakhang. In front of the temple is a rock which bears the body print of the Guru Rinpoche and two Khandoms (female celestial being). This site got its name from the tiger stripe markings on the cliff. Finally visit the popular Membarstho (literally meaning, “The burning Lake”). If time permits visit villages and explore the valley. In the evening drive back to Bumthang. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Driving Distance: 195 Km | Driving Time: 6 Hr | Altitude of Punakha/Wangdue: 1310 m
After breakfast, drive to Punakha/Wangdue Valley. You may opt to visit the places you may have missed while going to Bumthang. In the evening free time to relax or walk around the valley. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Altitude of Punakha/Wangdue: 1310 m
After a leisure breakfast, hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chhorten. Take a short drive to the base and then walk through paddy fields before you climb a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. The hike is amazing and the views from the Chhorten are absolutely thrilling.
After Lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637 at the junction the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu Rivers. Then, take a short and easy hike through paddy fields and villages to visit the Chhimi Lhakhang. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Divine Madman. If you are interested in rafting, you could choose to do the same in Punakha at an extra cost. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Driving Distance: 130 Km | Driving Time: 3.5 Hr | Altitude of Paro: 2280 m
After breakfast, drive to Paro. On the way stop to visit the Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi. Further on the way visit the Tamchhog Lhakhang to experience the river, the iron chain bridge and to visit the temple.
Lunch at Paro. After lunch, the following activities awaits you.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Altitude of Paro: 2280 m
After breakfast, Hike to the Taktshang Monastery, the abode of gods and monks and a must visit sight while in Bhutan. Reaching the top shall be worth the climb; the touch of the Himalayan breeze, the views of the valley below and temple on the rocky cliff shall be fascinating. Taktshang Monastery was built surrounding Guru Rinpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer Rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress which gives its name “Taktshang” meaning Tiger’s nest.
While returning you may choose to volunteer to pick up the wastes with your guide (optional). Picnic Lunch among the woods shall be another great experience.
After lunch, visit the Kyichu Lhakhang. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo miraculously built 108 temples to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya in the 7th century. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.Visit a village house. You shall be served with the local Bhutanese alcohol (Arra) and shall have the opportunity to understand and experience the life in a village in Bhutan. Right from the daily household chores to other works in the field. Also relax in traditional hot stone bath known as Dotsho in local language. It has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak. You may choose to have your dinner with the family. You can also have the option to spend overnight in the village house, however this will have to be confirmed during the confirmation of your tour to Bhutan.Overnight in hotel/Village House.
Driving Distance: 65 Km (One way) | Driving Time: 2.5 Hr (One way)
Altitude of Haa: 2670 m | Altitude of Paro: 2280 m
After breakfast, drive to Haa Valley, a culturally rich valley, opened to foreign tourist only in the year 2002. The winding roads climbs up the slopes giving you beautiful views till you reach the Chelela Pass (3810 m). It is the highest point between the Haa and Paro valley offering you good view of the Himalayan Mountains, including the mountain Jumolhari and also Haa Valley. A lots of prayer flags flutter in the place and has breathtaking photo opportunities. After paying your respects here (You could choose to hang your own prayer flags here or burn incense), drive downhill towards Haa valley.
Lunch at Haa. After lunch, visit the 7th century Lhakhang Karpo (White temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black temple) at the foothills of a venerated three brotherly mountains known as Meri Puensum. The grand annual Haa Tshechu is also performed here at Lhakhang Karpo on the 8th-10th day of the 8th Bhutanese month. The view the The Haa Wangchuklo Dzong (From Outside) built in 1915 after the Dumchog Dzong was razed to the ground by fire. Walk around the small town of Haa for a while. Drive back to Paro via same road.
Farewell dinner with your Bhutanese hosts. Overnight in hotel.
After breakfast, Drive to airport and bid farewell to Bhutan.