We are pleased to suggest some sample ideas for itineraries depending on how long you want to spend in Bhutan. As well as a general description of the trip we provide a link to a brief day to day description of each tour. We have lots more information about what you can see and do and plenty of ideas about how to tailor these tours to meet your interests, so do contact us for more details.
Bhutan at a glance (6 nights)
An excellent introduction to western Bhutan, this trip combines fabulous scenery with plenty of fascinating religious and historic sites. You arrive by Druk Air at Paro, located in one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. Paro is a good example of a typical district town in Bhutan. A one-hour drive along the scenic Paro and Thimphu rivers takes you to Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu. As you might expect, there’s plenty to see and do here, including visiting the Memorial Chorten and Changangkha temple, seeing live traditional crafts such as thangkha painting at the National Institute of Arts and Crafts, learning about Bhutanese textiles at the National Textile Museum and the opportunity to shop for souvenirs in local handicraft shops or markets. A morning’s drive takes you to the Punakha and Wangdi valleys via the Dochu La Pass, from which you’ll enjoy spectacular Himalayan views on a fine day. Highlights in this area are the Punakha Dzong and the 15th-century ‘Temple of Fertility’ (Chimi Lhakhang). Return to Paro for a day of sightseeing in the valley, including a day hike to the famous ‘Tiger’s Nest’ monastery which clings to the edge of a sheer cliff.
The best of west and central Bhutan (11 nights)
This 12-day tour offers you the highlights of Bhutan’s rich cultural, religious and historical background in the western and central regions, as well as driving through stunning landscapes and venturing into remote valleys with centuries-old villages. In the west you’ll be able to explore an array of ancient fortresses (dzongs), monasteries and temples, including the dramatic ‘Tiger’s Nest’ or Taktshang monastery near Paro. (Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, known in Bhutan as the second Buddha, arrived here on the back of a flying tigress and meditated on the spot where the monastery now stands.) Paro and the capital, Thimphu, are home to an impressive number of fascinating museums and other places of interest, such as the Institute of Traditional Medicine. Travelling eastwards through pine-scented forests towards Punakha you climb the first major pass, the Dochu La. The journey continues through magnificent territory to historic Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan, and then onto Bumthang, an ideal base for exploring the beautiful surrounding valleys as well as key historic and spiritual landmarks. The beautiful, high-altitude village of Gangtey, home to the black-necked crane in winter, is your easternmost destination before returning to Paro.
Bhutan from west to east (16 nights)
As the title suggests, the ultimate in tours that takes you from Paro in the west through central Bhutan all the way to eastern Tashi Yangtse, allowing you to get a taste of the varying cultures and landscapes of Bhutan’s three distinct regions. You’ll travel through breathtakingly varied scenery along the west–east highway, with pine forests, impressive waterfalls, fertile valleys, vistas of the Himalayas and high passes. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the best of Bhutan’s ancient temples and monasteries, historic fortresses (dzongs), national museums and a host of other sites of interest. We visit remote villages and farmhouses, and arrange to see the practice of traditional crafts like textile production and wood-carving; not to mention some of Bhutan’s more up-to-date ventures such as its very own Swiss cheese factory. We spend six days in the west including sightseeing in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Gangtey then continue east with some time in the Bumthang valleys, ending the tour with six days in the remote east, visiting Tashi Yangtse and Tashigang. The tour ends by exiting the country overland in the south east corner at the border with India from where it is a three hour drive to Guwahati which offers regular flights back to Calcutta and Delhi. For those who prefer we can easily adapt the tour to drive back to Paro to fly out.