Nepal & Bhutan Expedition 2024

Nepal & Bhutan Expedition 2024

DURATION
15 DAYS
PRICE
$ 11985.00
WHEN
Jan 24, 2024
DESTINATION
Bhutan & Nepal
TYPE
SMALL GROUP

Nepal & Bhutan Expedition 2024

Nepal is home to the tallest mountains in the world and lowland jungle plains. As we start our adventure, Nepal will open to us, revealing its intriguing fauna prowling around its subtropical forests, surrounded by the majestic Himalayas. Sloth bears, leopards, and rhinos call this beautiful land home, and we will share the woods with them in breathtaking encounters. No NPE trip is complete without getting to know the people there and learning about their culture. Bhutan will provide us with incredible encounters with locals while showing us the heritage of the Buddhists and its importance in this tiny nation, known for the happiness of its people and unique temples. We are proud to offer this new expedition to these great countries. Using more than 25 years of experience crafting small group travels, we can ensure that this Nepal-Bhutan expedition is the most complete and unique in the market.

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • Arrive in Kathmandu and visit their most impressive “stupas”
  • Explore the medieval city of Bhaktapur, stopping by the Pottery Square to admire their unique handicrafts and visit the UNESCO Boudhanath Stupa.
  • Take a sightseeing flight over the majestic Himalayas and enjoy their breathtaking views.
  • Enjoy a full day of Safari in Nepal’s most important National Park, Chitwan, in search of the royal Bengal Tiger.
  • Fly to Paro, drive to Thimpu and visit the fascinating Buddha statues around the city.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of the Dochu La pass on your way to the outstanding Phobjikha valley.
  • Hike to the Kumbu village through bamboo forests and get in touch with locals.
  • Visit Tigers Nest, built on a sheer cliff face at 2950 m (9678 ft.). Undoubtedly the most impressive and beautiful Buddhist temple in the world.

“Heaven is a myth, Nepal is real”

Unknown

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive in Kathmandu

Upon arrival in Kathmandu, an NPE representative will pick you up, transfer you to your hotel, and assist you with the check-in. Lunch will be served at the hotel.

In the afternoon, head towards Kathmandu Durbar Square, the heart of Kathmandu’s old city. Explore the historic temples, royal squares, little alleys, and architectural wonders while taking in the locals’ libations and prayers to various gods and goddesses. Take a stroll around Ason’s spice market and historic commercial center.

Afterward, drive to Swayambhunath, one of the world’s most famed Buddhist stupas. The temple, commonly referred to as the monkey temple after the tribe of monkeys inhabiting the highlands, is majestically perched on a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. You can better comprehend why Kathmandu is a meeting place for old religions and cultures by looking at the all-seeing, symbolic eyes of the Buddha depicted in 17th-century murals.

Overnight at Dwarika’s Hotel. (L & D).

Day 2
Drive to medieval Bhaktapur and full exploration of the town

After breakfast, drive to Bhaktapur to learn more about this gorgeous city’s vibrant culture and rich history.

Bhaktapur is an architectural marvel and the most meticulously maintained medieval town in the Kathmandu Valley. As you go past historic homes and courtyards, Hindu and Buddhist idols can be seen everywhere. Before lunch, stop by Pottery Square to see local artists at work and try your hand at making some authentic regional pottery. Stop in Boudhanath or Bhaktapur for lunch.

In the Afternoon, visit Boudhanath Stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the spiritual center for the Tibetan people living in exile in Nepal. Located on the old trade route leading to Lhasa, this enormous, ancient Buddhist stupa is one of the largest in the world. In addition to its religious significance, the area around the stupa is colorful, distinctive, and lively, and it boasts an extensive collection of Tibetan artifacts, brocades, and jewelry.

We will visit the monasteries close to the stupa and the marvelous Pashupatinath, the holiest and oldest Hindu temple in Nepal, the home of Shiva. On the banks of the revered Bagmati River is this beautiful Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva’s worship. The river is vital to Nepalese culture because ceremonies revolve around this sacred river that empties into the Ganges. Tourists can take in the views and sounds of the temple from the eastern bank of the river even though only Hindus are permitted inside the temple and its courtyard.

Observe the magnificent Arati, an elaborate Hindu lighting ceremony done each evening by a Hindu priest. By holding oil lamps and rotating them in a circle while performing the Aarati, the priests honor the Divine. This ceremony fosters the unity of God and the followers by allowing everyone to participate in it.

Overnight at Dwarika’s Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 3
To Pokhara

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Pokhara (25 mins flight).

Upon arrival, start your sightseeing tour of Pokhara Valley, including 1-hour boating on Phewa Lake.

Afterward, drive (45 minutes) to Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge for lunch.

In the afternoon, take an optional short walk to a village next to the lodge or stay in leisure for the rest of the day.

Overnight at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 4 
Through Pokhara communities

On this day, you will walk through communities of varied groups and castes. This walk is known as the Bhimirepani Walk. It takes you to a remote and rustic Sundar Gaun (above Khaste Tal), then through thick local forests to Naraspur and through Bhimirepani before returning to the lodge.

Overnight at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge. (B, L, D)
Day 5
To Chitwan

On this day, you will be transferred to the airport for a domestic flight to the wild and beautiful Chitwan (20-minute flight).

Upon arrival, transfer for approximately an hour to your lodge. Once we arrive at the lodge, we will have a briefing about the activities in Chitwan, followed by lunch.

In the afternoon, participate in the Jungle activities in the lodge’s surroundings.

Overnight at Barahi Jungle Lodge. (B, L, D)
Day 6
Wildlife Viewing & Tharu show

After breakfast, enjoy a full day of Safari in the renowned Chitwan National Park. Safari activities at the park include wildlife viewing with Jeep Safari, Jungle walks, bird watching, river safaris, wildlife viewing, and photographing with highly experienced naturalists. A journey into the habitat of the greater one-horned Rhinoceros spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Sambar deer, and barking deer and an abundance of flora and fauna. Get prepared for the rare sightings of a leopard, sloth bear, or even the Royal Bengal Tiger.

In the evening, enjoy 1 hour of Tharu Local Dance.

(All activities may vary as per season and local conditions).

Overnight at Barahi Jungle Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 7
Back to Kathmandu

Transfer to the domestic airport for your flight back to Kathmandu after breakfast. Transfer to your hotel after arrival.

Drive to Patan in the evening and explore the square’s nooks and crannies, as well as the beautiful Patan museum, which is housed in one of the Malla era’s rebuilt royal palaces. Enjoy Patan’s exquisite array of carved temples, palace courtyards, water spouts, public baths, traditional neighborhoods, and complex wood, stone, and metal carvings.

Afterward, we will have all evening free to rest and recharge or to explore the city if wanted.

Overnight at Dwarika’s Hotel. (B).
Day 8
To Paro and transfer to majestic Thimpu

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Kathmandu’s airport for our scheduled flight to Paro.

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you approach the Paro valley, you will pass forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro River) glistening below and the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower) on a hill above the town.

Upon arrival in Paro, your local guide will meet you and transport you to your hotel in Thimphu (1-hour drive).

Visit the Tamchog Lhakhang en route. It was built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a trailblazing engineer who popularized the building of suspension bridges in Tibet and Bhutan. Only two of the more than 58 bridges erected nationwide are still standing. At the foot of the Tamchog Lhakhang, one of these bridges is still in good condition.

Continue your drive to your hotel in Thimphu to check in and relax.

Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan’s Himalayan kingdom, is a center for traditional Bhutanese art, architecture, and culture. Over 100,000 people live there, including the nation’s royal family, at 2,320 meters (7656 feet). Here you can observe contemporary Bhutan blended with more traditional life features—a crucible for urbanization. Fun fact: The only national capital city in the world without traffic signals is Thimphu!

You will go to the National Memorial Chorten later in the day. This well-known monument in Thimphu was constructed in 1974 in honor of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third King and sometimes referred to as the “Father of Modern Bhutan.” This four-storey structure was built to be seen as the most visible religious landmark in the Dragon Kingdom. Both citizens of Thimphu and followers from other parts of the nation use it as a significant venue of worship. Mandalas, statues, and religious teachings are all carved inside.

After that, continue driving to Buddha Dordenma. Over 100,000 tiny Buddha sculptures, each like the Buddha Dordenma itself, each fashioned of bronze and coated in gold, fill this enormous Shakyamuni Buddha statue. It is one of the highest Buddha statues in the world, with a height of 51.5 m (169 ft). The figure fulfills a prophecy that dates back to the eighth century and was found by Terton Pema Lingpa, who was known as the Discoverer of Religious Treasures at the time.

Next, visit the Royal Takin Preserve, located ten minutes from Thimphu. The Takin is Bhutan’s emblematic animal. According to legend, Drupa Kunley, also known as “the Divine Madman,” was a great Buddhist yogi who created the animal. Only Bhutan and the western section of Arunachal Pradesh are home to this particular takin species. The fourth monarch chose to dissolve the former zoo since it went against Bhutan’s religious and environmental values to keep animals in cages. The animals were released into the wild, but the takins were too domesticated to make it and roamed the streets of Thimphu. As a result, The Royal Takin Preserve was created. The creatures are now housed in a sizable enclosure where guests can watch them.

Overnight at Zhiwaling Ascent, Thimphu. (B, L, D)
Day 9
To Phobjikha (Gangtey)

After an early breakfast this morning, we will be chauffeured to Phobjikha (approx. 4–5 hour drive). The road climbs steeply through a scenic pine forest and cedar trees to Dochu La pass (10,334 feet/3,150 meters). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges.

Stop en route at Dochu La to see the 108 stupas erected in memory of the slain Bhutanese soldiers during military operations for the kingdom.

After passing through Wangdue, the road gradually ascends to Lawa La pass, from which you can see Mount Jhomolhari (24,035 feet/7,326 meters) and Mount Jichu Drake (21,856 feet/6,662 meters) in all their glory. As we travel, the landscape abruptly changes, going from mountain forest to high-altitude dwarf bamboo forest.

Check into the hotel when you get to Phobjikha. Relax while taking in the stunning views of the Gangtey valley.

The Phobjikha valley is a glacial valley with a U-shape. A group of critically endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from the Tibetan plateau each winter use it as their winter home. This crucible of  beauty is on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Some people refer to the entire region as Gangtey, well-known for its magnificent nature trails.

Later in the afternoon, we will be escorted to the Gangtey Goemba (monastery), perched on a forested hill overlooking the green expanse of the whole Phobjikha valley. In 1613, the grandson and reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, Pema Thinley, founded the Nyingma temple here, which has grown into today’s Gangtey Goemba. It serves as the seat of the ninth reincarnation of the body of the Terton (treasure discoverer) Pema Lingpa.

Following that, you’ll stroll along the Gangtey Nature Trail, one of the best hiking trails in Bhutan. Emerging from trees, the path opens up to a fabulous view of the valley and marshy conservation area below. The trail will end in the village of Khewang as you cross the Nake Chu.

Altitude descent: 224 m (734 ft). Distance: 4.6 km (2.9 mi). Hiking time: 2 hours.

Overnight at RKPO, Phobjikha. (B, L, D)
Day 10
Hike to Kumbu Village

The morning begins with a 30-minute drive from Gangtey to your hike’s starting point near Longteng village on the east-west highway. Start by walking downwards, following the path to the right of the road.

The path leads through bush bamboo towards a small cluster of village houses. The last part of the trail through the forest is steeper until you reach the pass at 3,586 meters (11,766 ft) with impressive views of the Gangtey Goemba, the Shedra, and the valley below. After passing the pass, you continue down towards the idyllic Kumbu village.

It is possible to get picked up from here, or you may continue down to the Shedra. The whole hike will take about four hours, and you will be back at your hotel by lunchtime.

Altitude gain: 431 meters (1414 ft). Distance: 7 km (4.4 mi). Hiking time: 4 hours.

Return to the hotel for lunch. The afternoon is at leisure.

Optional – Visit the Black-necked Crane Education Centre. A visit to this center is a great way to learn about the endangered black-necked crane and the folklore surrounding them. These splendid birds occupy an exceptional place in Bhutanese culture. The center is equipped with spotting scopes installed to improve your experience and watch the cranes as they fly around. They are only seen from November to February, but an enclosure is where rescued cranes are rehabilitated.

Overnight at RKPO, Phobjikha. (B,L,D)
Day 11
To Punakha

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Punakha (3 hours drive).

Before reaching Punakha, stop en route and hike to Chimi Lhakhang (a 30-minute hike) Perched on a hill in the valley’s center, Chimi Lhakhang is a temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He was also known as the “Divine Madman.” He used humor, song, and dramatic reenactment to disperse his teachings in the 15th century. Chimi Lhakhang is widely known as the temple of fertility; locals come here to receive blessings from the lama to be blessed with a child. Locals also bring their newborns to be named there.

Afterward, we will be driven to your hotel for check-in and rest.

Later in the afternoon, drive to visit the Punakha Dzong.

Constructed in 1637, this was the second dzong built in Bhutan and served as its seat of government for many years. Widely referred to as the most beautiful dzong in the country, the towering white walls form a lovely contrast to the surrounding greens and blues. It is the central monastic body’s winter residence and holds a very important relic over which many wars were fought with the Tibetans. Bhutan’s kings are crowned here before taking their throne in Thimphu.

Overnight at Dhensa, Punakha. (B, L, D)

Day 12
Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten Hike and full exploration of Punaka
Early this morning, you will begin your hike to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten.

You will be driven to the suspension bridge and hike for about 45 minutes. This three-storey Lhakhang is a recent addition to Bhutan’s string of architecturally splendid buildings. Built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon, it houses representations of the tantric forms of Buddhist deities that subjugate enemies and ward off harmful influences on the people of Bhutan. Built to protect the country and the King, Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten also offers impressive views of the valley below.

Post the hike, drive back to your hotel, and rest of the morning.

Later in the afternoon, you will drive to visit the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery.

Perched on a ridge amongst the pine trees gleams the magnificent structure of the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang. This temple houses a 14 ft (4.2 m) bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara, made by local Bhutanese artisans. Other statutes include The Buddha, Guru Rinpoche, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, and the 21 Taras. The temple complex also houses a permanent school of higher learning and a meditation center for nuns. Apart from religious training, it provides vocational training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making, and thangka painting.

Overnight at Dhensa, Punakha. (B, L, D)
Day 13
Back to Paro
After breakfast, we will be driven to Paro (4 hours drive).
On entering Paro town, drive directly to your hotel for Check-in and a short rest.
Paro is a historic town situated at 2250 m (7382 ft) with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered throughout the area. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, the National Museum, and the country’s only airport.
Mt Jhomolhari (7326 m /24035 ft) reigns in its white glory at the valley’s northern end. Its roaring glacial water plunges through deep gorges to form the Pa Chu (Paro River). Paro is one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom, producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
Post lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, a watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during the inter-valley wars of the 17th century. Since 1967, the Ta Dzong has been serving as the country’s National Museum. It holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangka paintings, natural history, and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The building’s circular shape comes from its defensive origin.
Afterward, visit a Farmhouse. Clusters of old-fashion farmhouses embellish the beauty of Paro valley. Bhutanese farmhouses are very colorful, decorative, and traditionally built without the use of a single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to a traditional farmhouse is educational and offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
Overnight at Le Meridien, Paro. (B, L, D)
Day 14
Discovering historic Paro
Early this morning, take a short drive to Ramthankha and start your hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest).
This four-hour trek offers spectacular views, built on a sheer cliff face at 2950 m (9678 ft.). The trail climbs through a beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan, flew from eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings and meditation here on this cliff. Taktsang is one of the most revered and sacred of all Buddhist sights around the world.
This hike takes about five hours with a 900 m (2952 ft) gain in altitude.
Take the rest of the afternoon to relax or explore Paro town to shop for souvenirs.
Overnight at Le Meridien, Paro. (B, L, D)
Day 15
Fly back home:
This morning, you will be transferred to the Paro airport to board your onward flight.

Lodgings

Dwarika Hotel

Born out of Mr. Dwarika Das Shrestha’s quest to preserve the Kathmandu Valley’s heritage, Dwarika’s Hotel is a sanctuary for the architectural grandeur of the Newari civilization. The intricately carved wooden treasures, with each artifact being an original, are the soul of the Dwarika’s. Titled as an oasis in the middle of a bustling city, the peaceful courtyards display the grand architectural wooden masterpieces while being overlooked by the meticulously decorated spacious rooms, offering a sumptuous lifestyle deep-rooted in Nepalese culture.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge

Perched 1,000 feet above the Pokhara Valley with a spectacular Himalayan backdrop, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge provides a perfect haven, the essence of tranquillity. Ideal for guests pre- and post-trek, or for those wishing to take day walks exploring local communities, bird-watching, gentle exercise, or just to relax in a typical Nepalese rural setting.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge is a member of Secret Retreats, Rare, Earthchangers, and Kiwano, select groups of some of the world’s most special regenerative tourism experiences.

Barahi Jungle Lodge

Barahi Jungle Lodge with its selective location on the banks of Rapti is set in the small village of Tharus. The lodge adjoining the forest from two sides offers a breathtaking view of the National Park from its river-facing stand-alone cottages. The ambiance and the style of the interior of our wildlife resort in Chitwan give a stunning insight into the aboriginal Tharu culture of Nepal interlaced with the wilderness of Chitwan.

Zhiwaling Ascent

While specific elements of Bhutanese dzong and farmhouse architecture have been incorporated into the design, Zhiwa Ling Ascent consciously exemplifies the goals of minimalism.

The result is a contemporary style with simple, minimal overtones.

The hotel is modest in size with an emphasis on a personal connection, created by the many open spaces throughout the building. These spaces provide both spiritual sanctuary and respite for weary travelers.

RKPO

Nestled in the heart of the Punakha Valley, RKPO is the perfect starting point to explore this fantastic valley. This cozy hotel is just a few minutes away from Punakha Dzong, the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery, the Chimi Lhakhang Temple, and the Tachog Lhakhang (Iron Chain) Bridge. It has everything you need to relax, plus a great view of the valley, making it the perfect spot for photographers. This excellent hotel will be perfect for a good night’s rest after a long day exploring the wonders of Bhutan.

Dhensa

Dhensa sits in the heart of the tranquil and lush Punakha Valley. Flanked by thick pine forests, it overlooks the Punakha river and hundreds of paddy fields that stair-step down to the valley floor. We invite you to relax, revive your senses, and experience the simple beauty of our surroundings.

COMO UMA

Located just 10 minutes from Paro’s airport, this small 29-room resort offers Bhutan’s most exclusive private villas. COMO Uma Paro enjoys an outstanding location in the Paro Valley while providing exceptional views of the fantastic Paro Valley. This is, undoubtedly, the best hotel option in Bhutan.

 

Departure Dates & Rates

DEPARTURE
24 Jan 2024
PRICE
$11985
Single Supplement

$3670

STATUS
OPEN
MORE INFO
RESERVATION

Recommended Expeditions

Bhutan Private

Bhutan Private

DURATION

12 DAYS

WHEN

Feb – Mar 

DESTINATION

Bhutan

TYPE

PRIVATE 

Bhutan Expedition

Bhutan is an isolated Buddhist country surrounded by the Himalayan peaks, where age-old customs still sway.

Since time immemorial, it has been one of the few countries in the world that enjoy complete independence and sovereignty. Aside from the fact that this region was occupied as early as 2000 BC, little is known about Bhutan’s history due to its isolation from the rest of the globe. However, this abode of Buddhism and spirituality has a fascinating medieval and modern history. 

Explore Bhutan’s rich culture with an NPE Senior guide amid green valleys lined with old fortresses and shrines, learning how everyday living is linked with Mahayana Buddhism. Meet monks, nuns, farmers, and craftspeople; participate in ancient rites, and witness the careful evolution of this small country firsthand.

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • Arrive in Paro, Bhutan’s second most important city, known for its monasteries, museums, and traditions.
  • Visit the giant Buddha statue in Thimpu and the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan.
  • Stop at Dochu La to visit the 108 stupas built on this 3,150-meter-high pass in honor of the fallen Bhutanese soldiers. 

     

  • Experience the Punakha Drobchen, a colorful and exciting ceremony in close contact with the local people.
  • Explore the majestic Phobjikha valley through forests and ancient villages.
  • Visit the picturesque valley of Bumthang and spend the night with an outstanding view.
  • Visit the Ta Dzong National Museum.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail

-Ralph Waldo Emerson 

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive in Paro:

As you exit from the arrival hall of Paro airport, you will be met by your NPE guide and chauffeured to your hotel in Thimphu (1-hour drive). You will do an en-route stop to visit the Tamchogg Lhakhang and marvel at the iron bridge reconstructed using original chain links from the famous Tibetan bridge-builder Thangtong Gyelpo.

Afternoon, you will begin your sightseeing tour of Thimphu. You will make a visit to the National Memorial Chorten. This landmark of Thimphu was built in 1974 in the memory of third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan. It is a four-storey tall white building, containing statues and iconography of deities from complex tantric teachings.

Afterward, drive to visit the Motithang Takin Preserve on the edge of the city. The Takin, a large shaggy hoofed mammal, is closely related to the musk ox and is the national animal of Bhutan – so designated due to its prominent place in a popular Bhutanese myth from the 15th century. Drive further upwards towards Sangaygang where will have wonderful views of the Thimphu Valley from the hillside elevated 2685m, high above the town.

Overnight at Hotel Druk  (D).

Day 2
Thimpu

This morning, visit the Buddha Dordenma – a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue. The statue is filled with over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself is made of bronze and gilded in gold. 

In the afternoon, drive to visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum. It is also commonly known as Arts and crafts school or painting school. 

Afterward, visit the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan. Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan.

Overnight at Hotel Druk (B, L, D)

Day 3 

Thimpu to Punakha

After an early breakfast this morning, you will be driven to Punakha. The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochu La pass 3,150 m (10,334 ft). The pass offers fantastic panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountain ranges.

Stop on Dochu La to visit the 108 stupas built on this 3,150-metre-high pass in honor of the fallen Bhutanese soldiers.

Before reaching Punakha, stop en route and do a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang (fertility temple) and get transferred to your hotel.

Overnight at Dhensa Boutique Resort (B, L, D).

Day 4

Punakha

Early this morning, drive to visit Punakha Dzong. Constructed in 1637, this was the second of Bhutan’s Dzong and hosted Bhutan’s government for many years. 

Here you will witness Punakha Drubchen. Crowds of people gather in their finest hand woven dress, brightly patterned cloth for which Bhutan is renowned, creating an intensely colorful and exciting atmosphere that had remained unchanged in its traditional purity for centuries. Locals believe that dressing in their finest is another form of offering that could bring them blessings and allow them to please the deities. In return, it will bring them merit, luck, and prosperity.

After this fantastic experience, hike to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten. This three-story Lhakhang was built by Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon for the protection of the country. It has an impressive view of Punakha valley.

Overnight at Dhensa Boutique Resort (B, L, D).

Day 5
Punakha to Phobjikha

After breakfast and a three-hour drive, we will reach the majestic Phobjikha valley.

In the afternoon, you will be escorted to the Gangtey Goemba (monastery), which enjoys the valley’s prime real estate, on a forested hill overlooking the green expanse of the entire Phobjikha valley. Pema Thinley, the grandson, and reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, founded the Nyingma temple here in 1613. The Goemba is the seat of the 9th reincarnation of the body of the Terton (treasure discoverer) Pema Lingpa.

Then walk along the Gangtey Nature Trail, crossing streams and rhododendron gardens to Sumchubara village. Afterward, you enter the Pine covered forest, which opens at a canopy that affords fabulous views of the valley.

Overnight at RKPO (B, L, D).

Day 6
Phobjikha

After breakfast,  we will start by walking downwards, following the path to the right of the road. The trail will lead you through bush bamboo towards a small cluster of village houses. There are beautifully colored rhododendron forests on both sides of the valley, and in the winter months, yaks graze in the area. Continue straight through the village upwards until you reach the start of the mysterious old-growth rhododendron forest.

Overnight at RKPO (B, L, D).

Day 7
Phobjikha to Bumthang

This morning, you will be driven to Bumthang.

Bumthang is one of the most fascinating valleys in Bhutan, encompassing four major valleys. It is the religious heartland of Bhutan and home to many of the oldest and most sacred monasteries. The valley has plenty of opportunities for day hikes, many involving visit to remote Goembas.

On your way to Bumthang, you will stop at the Chendebji Chorten and visit Trongsa Dzong. Like almost all towns in the Kingdom, this Dzong architecture dominates the entire Trongsa horizon dwarfing the surrounding buildings. Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second King ruled the country from this ancient seat. Protected from invaders by an impenetrable valley, Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress.

Overnight at Mt. Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 8
Bumthang

After breakfast, you will do a short walk to Jambay Lhakhang. This site was built in the 7th century to subdue the giant demoness who was preventing the spread of Buddhism in Tibet and the Himalayan region. To overcome her, Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples in one day, which would be placed all over her body to pin the ogress to the earth forever and at the same time, to convert Tibetan people to Buddhism.

In the afternoon, visit the Red Panda brewery and Swiss Cheese factory was started in the 1960s by a young Swiss man called Fritz Maurer. He came to live in Bumthang and established a small cheese production, producing Gouda and Emmenthal cheese.
Right next to it is the brewery, the Red Panda, one can witness the process which results in unfiltered Weiss Beer.
Overnight at Mt. Lodge (B, L, D).
Day 9
Bumthang

After an early breakfast, drive towards Tang Valley. On your way there, stop to visit Mebar Tsho (The Burning Lake).

In this lake, the Terton Pema Lingpa, the reincarnation of Padmasambhava, was supposed to have discovered a religious treasure in the 12th century. Mebartsho is not a lake but a
gorge on one of the rivers that run through the Tang valley. This lake is very sacred, and many Bhutanese visits during the auspicious days to offer butter lamps.

Tang is one of the remotest of Bumthang’s valleys and is a 10.5 km drive on an unpaved road from the main highway. The people of this valley raise sheep and, at higher elevations, yaks.

In addition to its beautiful landscapes, the valley also allows visiting 16th-century Naktshang (country manor)/Tang Ugyencholling Palace. Today, the palace functions as a museum to preserve its legacy and provide a place for religious studies, research, and solitude.

We will make a stop for lunch and, later, drive to the village of Bebzur, from where you will go on a hike known as the Bushman trail. From this picturesque village, you will start hiking up for about 30 – 45 minutes, after which is a pleasant and fairly easy hike to Kharchu Dratshang. The walk is through beautiful pine forests and gives you good views of the Pemacholling nunnery and Zangdopelri (Paradise of Ugyen Guru Rinpoche).

Your car will meet you at Kharchu Dratshang and drive you back to the lodge. The entire hike will take about 3 – 4 hours.

Overnight at Mt. Lodge, Bumthang.

Day 10
Bumthang to Paro

This morning, post breakfast, you will take a domestic flight to Paro.

Paro is a historic town with numerous religious sites, and historical structures are sprinkled throughout. Many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries and the National Museum are located here. Paro is known as one of the most fertile valleys in the kingdom, with terraced fields supplying the majority of the kingdom’s famous red rice.

After lunch, drive to visit the Ta Dzong or the National Museum, where you will find the famous watchtower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during the inter-valley wars of the 17th century. Ta Dzong holds a fascinating art collection, relics, religious paintings, and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps.

Afterward, you will visit a local farmhouse, a traditional village house. A cluster of old-fashioned farmhouses embellishes the Paro valley’s beauty. Bhutanese farmhouses are colorful, decorative, traditionally built without a single nail, and follow the same architectural pattern.

Overnight at Hotel Naksel, Paro.

Day 11
Paro

After breakfast, early this morning, you will take a short drive to the north of Paro Valley to Ramthankha. You will start a hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The trail climbs through a beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss.

Legend says that Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan, flew from Eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings with him, and meditated on this cliff. Taktsang is one of the most revered and sacred of all Buddhist sights worldwide.

This hike takes about 5hrs with a 3,000 feet/900 meters approximate gain in altitude.

Afterward, hike down to meet your driver before returning to the hotel by lunchtime and relax the rest of the day.

Overnight at Hotel Naksel, Paro

Day 12
Fly back home

 

This morning, you will be transferred to the Paro airport to board your onward flight.

Meals: (B)

Lodgings

Hotel Druk

The Druk is centrally located in Thimphu, near the city’s busy business, recreational, and government sites. This unique four-star premium hotel offers a tranquil and stylish retreat. A team dedicated to our visitors’ comfort and satisfaction provides respectful, sincere, and attentive service. The freshly restored rooms at Hotel Druk feature design elements from the Rustic Chic decor, evoking feelings of warmth and repose while still providing guests with modern and innovative amenities.

Dhensa Boutique Resort

In March 2014, Dhensa Resorts opened its first resort in Bhutan’s Punakha valley. This pioneering hotel invites you to retreat and revive your senses in Bhutan’s peaceful and beautiful nature. Dhensa is located in the lush and scenic Punakha Valley, overlooking the Punakha river and hundreds of paddy fields that stair-step down to the valley floor, surrounded by thick pine forests. 

RKPO

RKPO Gangtey Lodge in the Phobjikha Valley offers a pleasant, homey ambiance to experience the surrounding landscape and views, with a magnificent valley overlooking Gangtey Monastery. The secluded RKPO Gangtey Lodge, reached by a long farm road, features only seven deluxe rooms and two suites. Most compact apartments have fantastic views of the Gangtey valley below and are adorned with traditional embellishments.

 Mt. Lodge, Bumthang

Mountain Lodge is located overlooking the majestic Jakar Valley. This family-run resort provides outstanding accommodation to those visiting Bhutan’s depts, and it is the perfect base camp to continue your journey in this beautiful land. Its friendly staff and rooted sense of hospitality will make this resort feel like home throughout your stay.

Hotel Naksel

Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA is located thirty minutes from Paro’s International Airport. It is a luxurious hideaway where man’s conveniences and nature’s presence mix for a calm respite in Bhutan’s hills. Naksel draws its name from the Dzongkha translation of ‘Forest,’ which only fits this Himalayan sanctuary. It is nestled on the edge of the national forest and the tranquil Ngoba Village. Naksel’s main lodge and surrounding cottages are situated on six acres of the apple orchard at about 2700 meters above sea level. Mount Jumolhari, Taktsang Monastery, Sangachoekhor Monastery, and the Paro valley below are visible from every room, cottage, and suite. Bhutan’s character is embodied by intricate hand-carved pillars and magnificent stonework, while tapered mud-brick walls give insulation and quiet.

When to go

Bhutan is best visited between October and December when the weather is sunny, and the air is clear.

Although it gets colder in January and February, the weather is dry and pleasant from then until April. In late spring, the famed rhododendrons blossom gloriously, filling the valleys with color.

Beginning in May, temperatures and humidity rise, and the mountains are submerged in monsoon rains from June through September. We advise visiting the Phobjikha Valley between late October and mid-February if you want to view the endangered black-necked cranes.

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

START YOUR ADVENTURE HERE:

Recommended Expeditions

y2 1

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!