Bhutan

7-Day Kingdom in the Sky Journey

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Tour type

Tour Level: High Level

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 7 Days

Tour Highlight

  • Experience Bhutan’s unique culture through farmhouse visits and village excursions
  • Visit many cultural attractions including religious fortresses, markets and museums
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900 metres above the valley floor
  • Gaze upon one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture, the Ugyen Pelri Palace
  • Tour the Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan's national animal, the takin

tour details

Western Bhutan has some of the most stunning views in the country and this 7-day escape will take you to the best of the best. Get your camera ready to visit the most incredible viewpoints in Thimpu, Pato and Punakha, which grant visitors sights of majestic valleys, colourful forests and snowcapped mountains. Explore centuries-old dzongs and temples that tell a tale of the rise of Buddhism, marvel at ancient scripts, artwork and culturally significant artefacts that offer a glimpse into Bhutan’s past, and more.

After arriving at the Paro International Airport, a representative of Diethelm Travel Bhutan will welcome you in a traditional Bhutanese manner by offering you a 'khadar' or greeting scarf.

After that, drive towards Thimphu, the only capital in the world without traffic lights. Take in the city’s traditional Bhutanese architecture, which seamlessly blends into the idyllic countryside. Along the way, see the Tachogang Temple or the 'Temple of the Hill of Excellent Horse' which is a few kilometres before the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu Rivers.

On arrival, check into the hotel and then begin a local sightseeing tour. First, visit the 15th-century Changangkha Temple, which contains ancient scriptures and thankas. This fortress-like temple is perched on a ridge above central Thimphu and regularly hums with pilgrim activity. Then, walk around the Memorial Chorten, one of the tallest structures in the town and a centre of worship for religious people. Continue to Kuensel Phodrang, which has the world's tallest Buddha statue. From the viewpoint, enjoy a beautiful view of the capital city of Thimphu. Then, visit the Takin Preserve to see Bhutan's national animal, a rare bovid mammal that only lives in Bhutan, followed by a drive up to the BBS Tower for a magnificent aerial view of Thimphu Valley.

In the early evening, experience the buzz of Centenary Farmer's Market, one of the largest structures in Bhutan. Built in 2008, the 2-storey building has more than 450 stalls selling vegetables, fruits, meats and other farm products. Vendors from all over the country come here to sell their produce. The market is open six days a week except for Wednesday. Across the Wangchu, over a traditional ‘Bazam’ cantilever bridge, vendors also sell handicraft items. In the evening, visit the 13th-century Tashichho Dzong, which houses His Majesty’s Throne Room and is the summer home to the Monastic Body. Then enjoy free time to visit Thimphu before settling down for the rest of the night.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Thimphu.
Enjoy an early morning breakfast and then take a 7-mile hike from Thimpu to Tango Monastery. The monastery dates back to the 13th century and was rebuilt in the 15th century by the 'Divine Madman', Lama Drukpa Kuenley. It is a lovely place for an excursion with beautiful views along the route featuring the countryside and the Thimphu Valley. After lunch, visit the Bhutan Post, which is known for its world-famous stamps. It's home to an extensive collection of exotic stamps made from metal and silk. Next, gaze upon priceless Buddhist manuscripts at the National Library of Bhutan. The NLB also accommodates a large and steadily growing collection of manuscripts, books, scriptures and written documents as well as numerous hand-carved wooden blocks for printing traditional religious books. Afterwards, peek into the way of life of Bhutanese villages and rural households by exploring the National Folk Heritage Museum. The building is a restored three-storey traditional rammed mud and timber house that resembles the average rural household in the Wang area during the mid-19th century. It contains typical household objects, domestic tools and equipment that were used by rural families of that period. Lastly, visit the Institute for Zorig Chusum or 'Painting School', where you can often see students learning various art skills.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast, travel through the spiralling mountain road via the Dochula mountain pass toward Punakha Valley. On a clear day, Dochula offers stunning views of the snowcapped Himalayan range. With powerful binoculars, you can view Jejekangphu Gang, Zongophu Gang (Table Mountain) and Gangkhar Puensum. Afterwards, visit Druk Wangyel Chorten, a new landmark for travellers. Then take a 20-minute walk through the village of Sopsokha to the 'Fertility Temple' known locally as Chimi Lhakhang, which is believed to bless childless couples.

Continue with a drive to the impressive Punakha Dzong, which was built in 1637 and is said to be one of the most beautiful dzongs of Bhutan. Inside, there is a set of the 108 volumes of Kanjur, a holy book of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage written in gold. The dzong also safeguards Bhutan’s most treasured possession, the sacred Rangjung Kharsapani relic.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Punakha.
The day in Punakha Valley begins with a drive through the town of Khuruthang and continues along the banks of the Mo Chu River, passing the Phuntsho Pelri Palace and several other winter homes of the Royal Family. At the upper end of the valley, hike across a footbridge through terraces of rice, chillies and cabbage.

Then take a 50-minute walk to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a 3-storey chorten that stands on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang roughly six miles from Punakha. It presents incredibly complex images and symbols that belong to the Nyingmapa tradition.

Continue to Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup Nunnery in Punakha, which is located on top of a hill with views of Punakha and Wangdue Dzongkhag. The nunnery maintains the nuns' tradition in Bhutan and the continuation of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The evening has been kept free to relax.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast, drive back to Paro, check in to your hotel and then visit the National Museum. Rated as one of the finest natural history museums in South Asia, you'll find collections of precious works of art, costumes, amour and other handcrafted objects of daily life that provide a snapshot of the rich cultural traditions in Bhutan. Its thangkas depicting Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first Je Khempo and first Druk desi, are particularly significant.

Later, see Rinpung Dzong, which was built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. Today, this dzong is used as an administration centre and school for monks. Continue to the magnificent Ugyen Pelri Palace, which is situated in a secluded wooden compound south of the river and one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture.

The evening is free for a leisurely visit to the town of Paro.

Dinner and accommodations at a hotel in Paro.
Enjoy an early breakfast and then take a brief drive back to Paro to begin the hike to the Taktsang Monastery, which is also known as ‘Tiger's Nest’. It is famous for clinging precariously to a cliff 900 metres (2,600 feet) above the Paro Valley and is one of the holiest sites in the country. The climb will take approximately three hours to complete.

In the afternoon, visit Drukgyal Dzong. Now in ruins, it was once strategically built over the only passage into Paro Valley. It helped to prevent numerous invasions throughout the course of Bhutanese history, beginning in 1646. In clear weather, the towering peak of Mount Jumolhari that marks the frontier with Tibet appears as a backdrop to Drukgyal Dzong.

In the evening, visit a local farmhouse to see firsthand how rural Bhutanese live. The farmhouses are very decorative and are built and painted in a classical three-story style. The ground floor houses the cattle, the top floor is reserved for drying hay, and the family lives in the middle floor. While you’re there, try a hot stone bath known as ‘dotsho’. This hydrotherapy has been an essential part of Bhutanese family life and has been used to treat various diseases for centuries. Its healing properties for the body, mind and soul are highly valued by the Bhutanese people.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Paro.
Enjoy your last breakfast with your guide and then ride back to the Paro International Airport and board your onward flight. Tashi delek!

Includes

  • All private transfers, Hotel accomodation and transportation inclusive of taxes during the entire tour
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= Breakfast, L= Lunch & D= Dinner
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking guides in private air conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Mineral water available in the vehicles
  • Visa fees at US$40 per person

Excludes

  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare to / from Lao (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Optional tours
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for Lao Pimai (New Year)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditures, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities, etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking or when available
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme
Tour code: KSJ07

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