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Cultural Tour and Day Hikes in Bhutan - 12 Days

Experience Bhutan's unique culture with sightseeing tours and admire its rich biodiversity with day hikes
All inclusive price
$ 3960 USD
  • bhutan-festival
  • Paro district
  • Punakha Dzong, the ancient capital of Bhutan
  • Wangduephodrang
  • Tiger's Nest Monastery
Group size: 1-12 people Max-Altitude: 3.180m/10,430ft
Destination: Bhutan   
Arrival on: Paro, Bhutan Departure from: Paro, Bhutan
Meals: All meals
Accommodation: Standard hotels

Trip Introduction

Cultural Tour and Day Hikes in Bhutan is a magical trip which is a mix of cultural tours and day hikes. On the trip you experience the country’s unique culture along with its rich biodiversity. The tiny kingdom is home to UNESCO's 10 centers for bio-diversity, all within a distance of 150 kilometers resulting in sub-tropical to Arctic-like climate.

Our 12-day Cultural Tour and Day Hikes in Bhutan begins from the scenic Paro valley and moves along to Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang, and Wangdue, finally ending with a hike to the very famous Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery. Throughout the journey, you embark on a number of amazing hikes; tour the kingdom’s imposing dzongs (fortresses) and countless monasteries while also enjoying the diverse Bhutanese landscape.

Route Map

Route maps are just representation of the trekking routes. This does not represent the exact geographical conditions.Click here for Cultural Tour and day hikes in Bhutan route map

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and sightseeing in Paro (2250m /7382ft)
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Drugyal Dzong, built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in Paro.
Day 2: Excursion to Chele La Pass then drive to Thimphu: 174km, 5 – 6 hours
After breakfast, we begin a scenic drive of 22 miles to Chele La pass (3810m). Walking along the high ridges dotted with colorful Buddhist prayer flags offers us stunning views of Mt. Jumolhari and other mountains, plus incredible vistas into the valleys below the pass. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the pass. After lunch, hike further down the ridges to the Kila Goempa Nunnery, which is nestled in a craggy patch below the pass and perched precariously along a rock face. We walk for a few miles through the coniferous forests to the road head, where a car will be waiting for us to take us to Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Sightseeing in Thimphu
In the morning, we visit Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, mini zoo to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Today, we also visit other landmarks of Thimphu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong and the traditional paper factory. However, some of the landmarks are closed in the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, if we are in Thimphu during the weekends, we explore the Weekend Market instead. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 4: Thimphu to Punakha (1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours
After breakfast, we enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La pass (3,100 m), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. We then pass through rice fields along river banks and reach Punakha. After lunch, we visit Punakha Dzong. Built between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 5: Punakha Village Tour
Drive to the Punakha Dzong and walk across the suspension bridge. Follow the farmhouses and gradually climb towards Dompola Hills. Enjoy excellent view of the Dzong, the Phochu and Mochu Rivers and the surrounding village set amidst chir pine forest. Next, we walk uphill for another two hours to Limbhukha, a village known for its peaceful nature. Legend has it that during the medieval wars the “limpus” or the people of Limbhukha always volunteered as peace negotiators. We can tour the village and learn about their local lifestyle.  We can perhaps enjoy a cup or two of butter tea or an ‘ara’ local wine with the villagers. After the tour, a vehicle will be waiting for us to take us back to our hotel in Punakha. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 6: Punakha to Bumthang (2,850m/9,350ft): 214 km, 7 hours
After an early breakfast, we drive to Bumthang, the cultural heartland of Bhutan. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300-meter-high Pele La Pass. There is even a chance of spotting yaks on the trail at certain times of a year. We stop in Trongsa for lunch. After which we visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture. Then, proceed to Bumthang through lush valleys and forests. Along the way we stop at a yathra (textile weaving) factory, where the yathras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and we can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 7: Sightseeing in Bumthang
Today's sightseeing in Bumthang includes Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Jambey Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating back to the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan; and Kurje Lhakhang, a sacred place where Guru Rinpoche is believed to have left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating.  After the tour, we have lunch then visit Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings. In the evening, we can visit local shops. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 8: Excursion to Tang Valley then back to Bumthang: 84km, 3 hours
Today we explore Tang valley, the most remote valley in Bumthang along with its neighboring villages. From the road head, hike to the 16th century Ugyen Chholing Palace or the country manor, which is now turned into a museum.  The well-captioned exhibits offer insights into lifestyle of a Bhutanese noble family. On the way back to town, we visit Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche's treasures were found by the famous discoverer, Pema Lingpa in the 15th century.Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 9: Bumthang to Wangdue (1,240m/4,068ft): 197 km, 5 - 6 hours
We begin the day by touring Bumthang market then drive to Wangdue. On the way, we stop at Chendebji Chhorten for lunch. The chhorten was built in the 18th century by lama Shida. It is built in the Nepalese style with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. Next, we cross two spectacular high passes before reaching Wangdue. The village is well known for its magnificent bamboo work and slate carvings. Overnight in Wangdue.
Day 10: Wangdue to Paro: 124 km, 4 - 5 hours
On the way to Paro, we stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. After reaching Dochu La pass we also visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery. With elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works, the Druk Wangyal Monastery is the one of its kind in the country. Overnight in Paro.
Day 11: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
After breakfast, we hike for 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor and return to Paro. Overnight in Paro.
Day 12: Final departure
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after breakfast, we will be taken to the airport in the morning for final departure.

Important Note

Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.

Included in the Cost

  • Bhutanese visa fee
  • Pickups and drops from hotels and airports
  • Government approved A and B category hotels on twin- shared basis
  • All meals, tea and snacks
  • Transportation in comfortable private vehicle(s)
  • English speaking, trained and experienced local guide and staff
  • All entrance and permit fees for visits to monuments and museums
  • Company services and all required Bhutanese government taxes/royalties

Not Included in the Cost

  • Airfare for international flights to and from Bhutan
  • Items of a personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet, laundry, etc.)
  • Trip cancellation and medical/evacuation insurance
  • Tips for staff (guide and driver)
  • Travel insurance


Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of booking, we will be accommodated in A grade hotels in Paro and Thimpu and B grade hotel in Punakha, Wangdue and Bumthang. We use Tashi Namgay Resort or similar in Paro, Hotel Migmar in Thimpu, Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha, Dragon’s Nest Resort in Wangdue, and Hotel Peling in Bumthang. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost USD 770.


All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are included during your stay in Bhutan. A variety of meals are available in most hotels the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common continental food. Non-vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan - pork, beef, chicken, and fish. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season.

Best Time to Travel

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September and October) are the best time to visit Bhutan. The months of April and May offer the natural grandeur of rhododendron blooms whereas Bhutan observes its biggest festivals during spring. Bhutan can also be visited during summer and winter if one wishes to avoid crowd. However, the summers are wet and winters are cold which might not sit well with everybody.

Equipments & Packing List

The packing list has been created with the objective of getting maximum comfort with minimum possible weight. Please bring only what is necessary, as this will be helpful to you and the field staff.

Luggage Weight Restrictions>

Druk Air has a 44 pound (20 kg) weight limit for checked luggage and another 11 pound weight limit for carry-on luggage on their flights. Your carry-on bags are restricted to one piece, and the size should not exceed 17" x 13" x 8".

Official Papers
  • Passport with minimum validity of 6 months
  • Copy of the first page of your passport
  • Airline tickets
  • Visa approval for Bhutan (to be brought with you)
Packing List for Cultural /City Tours
  • 2 pairs of lightweight long pants
  • 2 pairs of dress pants / dresses for evening
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 4 short-sleeved shirts/blouses
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt for sun protection (also while visiting dzongs, temples and monasteries).
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sleepers
  • Warm jackets (if trip falls in Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan & Feb)
  • 1 sweater or light weight jacket
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes
Personal toiletries
  • Insect repellent
  • Spare nylon duffel bag for purchase
  • Sunscreen rated 20 SPF or higher
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses, prescription glasses
  • 1 visor/sun hat
  • Daypack/Hip pack for day trips
  • Prescription medications
  • Essential drugs such as diarrhea, headache pills and also pills for cold and cough
  • Anti bacterial wipes or lotion (for face and hands)

Trip Start Dates

We will organize this trip on the dates requested by you. Please contact us for your customized departure date.

Additional Information

Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us.

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