Become familiar with Bhutan's enticing culture with visits to Thimphu, Punakha, Paro and an excursion to Gangtey
Bhutan The Last Shangri-La Tour is our effort to introduce you to the rich cultural heritage of this tiny Himalayan kingdom also known as the last Shangri-La. Our week-long tour in Bhutan begins with sightseeing in the country’s capital, Thimphu, where we visit the Memorial Chhorten, mini- zoo, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, folk heritage museum and the majestic Tashichho Dzong (fortress). Next, we travel to Punakha via Dochu La pass (3,100m) and tour the Chimi Lhakhang temple on the way. We also visit the Punakha Dzong and explore the amazing Gangtey village before heading to Paro. In the beautiful Paro valley, we visit Rinpung Dzong and Kichu Lhakhang temple. Our tour ends with a hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery which is a perfect way to end one's journey in the last Shangri-La.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 01: Arrival in Paro then transfer to Thimphu (2,320m/7,610ft): 54 km, 1 hour
As your flight nears Bhutan, you can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Chomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, you will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take you to your hotel in Thimphu for a good night's sleep. However, if your flight arrives early and you want to visit a few places in Thimphu then it can be arranged too. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 02: 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 03: Thimphu to Punakha (1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours
After breakfast, we drive to Punakha via Dochu La Pass (3,100m), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. Next, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. On the way, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to the Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. After reaching Punakha, we also visit Punakha Dzong which was built between 1637-1638 and is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 04: Excursion to Gangtey: 164 Km, 5-6 hours
In the morning, we explore Wangduephodrang. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings. We then drive through dense oak and rhododendron forests to Gangtey, a beautiful village surrounded by amazing snow-capped mountains. From here, we enjoy views of the picturesque Black Mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. Gangtey Monastery is perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. We explore Phobjikha villages before driving back to Punakha for an overnight stay.
Day 05: Punakha to Paro (2,250m/7,382ft): 130 km, 4 hours
After breakfast, we begin our drive to the Paro valley. In Paro, we visit Rinpung Dzong which means “fortress made from a heap of jewels."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 06: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
After breakfast, we hike for 4 to 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 the 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. Overnight in Paro.
Day 07: 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.
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
It is a condition upon joining any of Himalayan Glacier's trips that all clients be insured for comprehensive expenses that might incur due to medical issues or accidents (this includes air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please note that we don't arrange or sell insurance.
Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of booking, we will be accommodated in A- grade hotels in Paro and Thimphu and a B- grade hotel in Punakha. We use Hotel Migmar in Thimphu, Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha and Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost USD 420.
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
Packing List for Cultural /City Tours
- 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)
- 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).
- Warm jackets (if trip falls in Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan & Feb)
- 1 sweater or light weight jacket
- 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes
- 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)
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 by email
. If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us at: 00977-98510-55684