Cultural Heartlands of Bhutan - 10 Days

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Appreciate Bhutan's enticing culture with tours of Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and especially Bumthang and Wangdue
Destination: Bhutan Trip Cost: $3240 USD
Group size: 1-12 people Max-Altitude: 3,180m/10,430 ft
Arrival on: Paro, Bhutan Departure from: Paro, Bhutan
Meals: All meals
Accommodation: A and B category hotels

Trip Introduction

Our tour in the Cultural Heartlands of Bhutan begins in Thimphu where we enjoy the capital city’s many cultural wonders like the Tashichhodzong, mini zoo, Memorial Chorten and others. Next, we visit Punakha and tour the beautiful Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and Ritsha village. Our next stop will be Bumthang, also believed to be the religious heartland of Bhutan and home to some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. One of the must-see landmarks of the region is the Jambey Lhakhang, a temple built in 659 A.D. by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. In Wangdue we appreciate the beauty of Phobjikha Valley and the beautiful slate and stone carvings of the area. We drive via Dochu La pass to Paro and end our Cultural Heartlands of Bhutan tour with a hike to the much revered Tiger’s Nest Monastery the next day.

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.
Included meals:D
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.
Included meals:BLD
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.
Included meals:BLD
Day 04: Sightseeing in Punakha
Today we visit the attractive Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten which is perched on the top of a foothill and provides outstanding views of the Punakha Valley. Blessed with temperate climate and natural drainage, Punakha valley is the primary crops and fruits producing region in Bhutan. Today, we also visit Ritsha village which is considered as a model rice growing village in western Bhutan and enjoy the local farmers lifestyle and the amazing landscape of rice fields. Overnight in Punakha.
Included meals:BLD
Day 05: 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, we proceed to Bumthang through lush valleys and hilly 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.
Included meals:BLD
Day 06: Sightseeing in Bumthang
Bumthang is a deeply spiritual region of Bhutan and is shrouded in religious legends. Today we visit several temples (Lhakhangs) like Jambay, Kurje and Tamshing. While here we also visit Jakar Dzong which was built in the 15th century as a monastery and the very famous Wangdichholing Dzong which was constructed as a private residence in 1857 for Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel, a legendary Bhutanese warrior. The dzong (then a palace) was also the birthplace of the first King of Bhutan. Overnight in Bumthang.
Included meals:BLD
Day 07: Bumthang to Wangdue (1,240m/4,068ft): 197 km, 6 hours
We begin the day by touring Bumthang market then drive to Wangdue.  With its diverse climate and rich natural resources Wangdue is home to many rare and exotic animals like Red Panda, Tiger and Leopard. There are also a large numbers of rare birds such as the Black Necked Crane, White-Bellied Heron and the Spotted Eagle. One of the most notable sites in the district is Phobjikha Valley. This valley is the habitat of rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes that roost there during their annual migrations. Villages in Wangdue are also known for their slate and stone carvings which we get to admire during our visit. Overnight in Wangdue.
Included meals:BLD
Day 08: Wangdue to Paro: 124 km, 3 - 4 hours
This morning we return to Paro via Dochula Pass. On the way, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. We stop for lunch at Dochula pass. Here, we visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the one of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. We continue our drive to Paro. The evening will be free for us to explore the town. Overnight in Paro.
Included meals:BLD
Day 09: Hike to Tiger Nest Monastery (3180m/10,430 ft)
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 back to Paro for an overnight stay.
Included meals:BLD
Day 10: Final Departure
Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after having breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport depending on the flight schedule.
Included meals:B

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

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 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 the rest of the places we stay. We use Hotel Migmar in Thimphu, Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha, Hotel Peling in Bumthang, Dragon’s Nest Resort in Wangdue and Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. Single supplement will cost USD 630.


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 be suitable for everyone.

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 by email. If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us at: 00977-98510-55684