Authentic Bhutan Tour

13 Day – Private tour with air-conditioned car, driver and guide
From £2695 low season & £2995 high season
ABTA and ATOL protected holidays

This Authentic Bhutan tour brings out the real essence of Bhutanese heritage and culture. Thimphu is the centre of Bhutan’s cultural, religious and administrative affairs. Punakha has the most beautiful dzong and amazing natural beauty. Paro is a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity. Going beyond the Golden Triangle of Thimphu-Punakha-Paro, you venture into the countryside visiting scenic valleys and charming villages. Gangtey and Bumthang are regarded by many as the prettiest places in Bhutan. Trongsa has the most impressive dzong of Bhutan. Travelling in a private car with an accompanying guide, you stay in characterful hotels and charming resorts. It is a wonderful holiday offering a fuller experience of this remarkable country.

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this tour is just an example to help inspire you. If you would like we can also arrange your flights for a fully ATOL protected holiday. Contact the team for more information on 01792 315499 or email info@aitholidays.com

Highlights of the Authentic Bhutan Tour

Tiger's Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang), Bhutan
  • Tamchog Lhakhang Monastry and Iron Bridge
  • Sightseeing tour of Thimphu
  • Various museum visits and traditional craft demonstrations
  • Framers market
  • Visits to a number of Bhutan’s most important Temples
  • Excursion to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest
  • Village walk and scenic drives
  • Visit to Bumthang Brewery
  • Private tour with air-conditioned car, driver and guide. Airport transfers
  • Full board in Bhutan

Authentic Bhutan Tour Itinerary

On arrival at Kolkata airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Accommodation: Pride Plaza Hotel, Kolkata

 

This morning, you will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport for a short flight to Paro. The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in the entire Himalayas. Flying along the Himalayan range the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom.

You will be met at Paro airport and driven to Thimphu, which will take about 2 hours.

On the way you can stop at Tamchog Lhakhang, the temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a pioneering engineer who introduced the construction of suspension bridges into Bhutan and Tibet. The present bridge to Tamchog Lhakhang was restored in 2005 in the traditional style with iron chains. Crossing this iron bridge is a wonderful experience.

In the evening visit Memorial Stupa, built in 1974 to honour the Third King, Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The stupa is a prominent landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells. Unlike other stupas, it does not enshrine human remains only Druk Gyalpo’s photograph in ceremonial dress. Later if you wish you enjoy a stroll around Thimphu city centre.

Accommodation: Lemon Tree Hotel, Thimphu
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

The busy day starts with an excursion to Buddha Dordenma, located on a hilltop in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park which is a serene location used for meditation. At over 51 m high the gilded bronze statue of Shakyamuni (Buddha), is one of the largest statues in Bhutan, and it is surrounded by around 125,000 smaller gilded bronze Buddha statues.

This is followed by a number of visits to help you learn more about Bhutan. Firstly, the Postal Museum which houses rare and unique stamps and showcases the progress of postal services in Bhutan. In the neighbouring Post office, you can get your own personalised postal stamps made. Then you will visit the Textile Museum, with its many exhibits including pattern weaves, the role of textiles in religion, textiles from indigenous fibres and the Royal collection.  Followed by the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, (Arts & Crafts School) which preserves and promotes thirteen traditional art and crafts and The Folk Heritage Museum.

You can then explore the bustling, colourful Centenary Farmers Market, where farmers from different parts of the country gather to sell their farm products. For many the wide assortment of products on offer (including handicrafts) and its picturesque setting, makes this one of the highlights of the tour.

The day ends with a visit to Trashichhoedzong, ‘fortress of the glorious religion’. This is the centre of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and the seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.

Accommodation: Lemon Tree Hotel, Thimphu
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning it’s a beautiful drive up to Dochu La pass at 3088m, stopping briefly to admire the views. The highest point of the pass is lined with chortens and decorated with prayer flags. The main chorten is surrounded by 108 smaller chortens built in three layers. On a clear day, you get excellent views of the highest mountain peaks of Bhutan including Gangkar Puensum, which is the highest at 7570m.

A little further from Dochu La pass is the Royal Botanical Garden which displays the rich natural biodiversity of Bhutan. The park houses a wide variety of wild plants, and links the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park with the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park.

Your drive continues to Gangtey, stopping en route for lunch. In the evening, take a stroll through fascinating Phobjikha Valley and visit a traditional farmhouse. Picturesque farmhouses dot the valley amongst fields and hillsides. Bhutanese farmhouses are very colourful, decorative and traditionally built following the same architectural pattern without the use of nails.

Approximate travel time and distance: 5 hours, 150 kms
Accommodation: Dewachen Hotel, Gangtey
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

The day begins with a visit to Gangtey Goempa, perched on a small hill. The Monastery is the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan and is home to Gangtey Tulku, a highly respected reincarnate lama. The monastery complex has a school, meditation facilities and residential quarters for monks and is surrounded by a quaint village mainly inhabited by the families of the 140 Gomchens (caretakers) of the monastery.

Then explore the fascinating U-shaped Phobjikha Valley, formed from glacial action. Now a designated conservation area, the valley is the winter home of the endangered, black-necked crane which migrate from the arid plains in the north during winter months. It lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park and has two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu and Gay Chhu.

You can also visit the Black Necked Crane Information Centre, which houses an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes during season. The centre also offers information on the natural and cultural history of Phobjikha Valley.

Accommodation: Dewachen Hotel, Gangtey
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning’s drive to Trongsa crosses Pele La pass at 3300m. This pass is regarded as the traditional boundary between East and West Bhutan and is marked by a large number of prayer flags.

On the way YOU CAN stop at Chendbji Chorten, a Nepalese style stupa with eyes painted at four cardinal points. This stupa was built in the 18th century by a Lama named Shida

On arrival in Trongsa, visit Ta Dzong, a watchtower built in 1652 standing on a promontory above the town. It has now been converted into a state-of-the-art museum offering an insight into the significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history.

Then visit majestic Trongsa Dzong. Built in 1648, it is the largest fortress in Bhutan which stands on a spur overlooking the gorge of the Mangdi Chhu River. This massive structure has many levels, which slope down the contours of a hill on which it perches. Because of its highly strategic position as the only connecting route between east and west, it used to be the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan and the vanguard of the warriors. Every King of Bhutan has first served as the Trongsa Penlop (Governor) before ascending to the Raven Crown throne. Trongsa Dzong remains one of the most aesthetic and magnificent works of traditional Bhutanese architecture.

After exploring Trongsa, it’s a winding steep road to Yutong La pass at 3400m and then descend through coniferous forest into a wide, open cultivated valley known as the Chumey, a wide fertile valley where wheat, barley, potatoes and buckwheat are cultivated. Chumey is particularly known for its famous wool weaving called ‘Bumthang Yathra’.

Approximate travel time and distance: 6-7 hours with stops, 150 kms
Accommodation: Bhutan Mountain Resort, Bumthang
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

A full day starts with a visit to Jambey Lhakhang, the ancient temple built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659 A.D. as part of a chain of 108 simultaneously constructed temples. Then a short distance away is the sacred site of Kurje Lhakhang, comprising of three big temples surrounded by 108 chorten walls.  The oldest temple is constructed on the rock where Guru Rinpoche meditated, the second temple has a colossal statue of Guru Rinpoche and the third is dedicated to the happiness of all living beings in the kingdom.

Picturesque Jakar Dzong is the next place to visit. Constructed in 1549, the dzong is perched on the hilltop overlooking Choekhor Valley. The dzong played an important role as a fortress in defending the eastern Dzongkhags. It also became the seat of the first king of Bhutan. The dzong has several distinct features including a 50m high watchtower and a sheltered passage with protected water supply in case of siege.

After lunch the day continues with a visit to Drobji Weaving Centre, an initiative of local women supported by WWF-UK, to generate income and achieve self-sufficiency. The weavers here produce exquisite dress materials including the gho (male dress), kira (female dress), and kabney (scarf).

The day ends with a visit to Bumthang Brewery, a state-of-the-art microbrewery producing Swiss style unfiltered Weiss beer, locally known as ‘Red Panda Beer’.  This was the first of its kind in Bhutan, producing draught beer, apple cider, wine, apple brandy. Learn the process of making unfiltered Weiss beer and at the neighbouring Swiss Farm get an insight into the cheese making process.

Accommodation: Bhutan Mountain Resort, Bumthang 
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning’s drive to Punakha takes about 6 hours.

On the way visit there’s a visit to Ta Dzong, a cylindrical stone structure rising five storeys high, which was built in 1652 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, a task entrusted to him by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. After more than 350 years, it has been resurrected into a classy museum, that represents a tasteful blend of tradition and modernity.

Accommodation: Meri Puensum Resort, Punakha
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9 Punakha (1300m)

The day starts with a visit to Punakha Dzong, built at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. Constructed in 1637, this majestic dzong has served as both the religious and administrative centre of Bhutan. The dzong has a six-story, gold-domed tower with courtyards and religious sculptures.

Then take a short excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, located on a hill in the centre of the valley.  Also known as a Temple of Fertility, it is believed that people who would like children, are blessed with a child by praying at this temple. From the temple, there is an interesting trail through rice fields to a charming local village, Pana. A walk through the village gives a glimpse into the lifestyle of rural Bhutan.

If you’re up to it you can visit scenic Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which is about an hour’s hike each way. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu River and the mountainous peaks of Gasa.

Accommodation: Meri Puensum Resort, Punakha
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning’s drive to Paro is along a scenic highway. On the way stop there is a stop at Simtokha Dzong which was built in 1629 and is believed to be the first dzong built in Bhutan. If not the first it is the oldest dzong to have survived as a complete structure.

In the afternoon visit Ta Dzong.  Originally built as a watchtower, Ta Dzong now houses a National Museum. Its extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artefacts.

A short walk down the trail from Ta Dzong is Rinpung Dzong or Paro Dzong.  Meaning Fortress of the Heap of Jewels, this dzong has a long and fascinating history. Explore the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard with fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist tales.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours with stops, 125 kms
Accomodation: Paro Eco Lodge, Paro
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning embark on a fascinating excursion to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest. This starts with an uphill walk and the complete round trip takes about 5 hours. Even if you don’t manage the whole trip, there are still good views of the monastery. This is one of Bhutan’s most famous monasteries, perched on the cliff side 900m above Paro. Legends has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place, visited by every Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.

In the afternoon, visit Drukgyel Dzong. Built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646, this dzong commemorates an early military victory over Tibetan invaders. On a clear day, you can enjoy views of Mount Chomolhari (7,314m) from the village below the Dzong.

On the way back to your hotel, there is a stop at the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Accommodation: Paro Eco Lodge, Paro
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

In the morning, transfer to Paro airport and fly to Kolkata. You will be met and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Accommodation: Pride Plaza Hotel, Kolkata
Meals Included: Breakfast

You will be transferred to the airport for return flight back home.

 

Sights to enjoy on the Authentic Bhutan Tour

Novices Monk Vipassana Meditation at Front of Buddha Statue, Bhutan
Iron Chain Bridge, Tamchog Lhakhang Monastery, Paro River, Bhutan
Mountain Valley Landscape, Thimphu, Bhutan
National Memorial Chhorten, Thimphu Bhutan
Lighting of Praying Candles in Zangdopelri Monastery, Thimphu, Bhutan
Giant Buddha, Thimphu, Bhutan
Buddha Dordenma Statue, Thimphu, Bhutan.jpg
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choeten, Thimphu, Bhutan
Hands of a Woman Weaving, Bhutan
Fresh Food Market in Thimphu, Bhutan
Dochula Pass, Bhutan
Monument with 108 Choten, Dochula Pass, Bhutan 1
Close Up Traditional Dance and Colours in Mongar, Bhutan
Gangtey Monastery, Phobjikha, Bhutan
Bumthang Valley, Bhutan
Trashigang Dzong, Bhutan
Gangtey Village and Goemba Buddhist Monastery, Bhutan
Trongsa Dzong 1, Bumthang, Bhutan
Trongsa Dzong, Bumthang, Bhutan
Jakar Festival, Bumthang, Bhutan
Bbuddhist Monks at Punakha Dzong, Punakha Bhutan
Buddhism Prayer Wheels at Chimi Lhakang Monastery Punakha, Bhutan
Dzong Monastery in Punakha, Bhutan
Tiger's Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang), Bhutan
Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan

Novices Monk Vipassana Meditation at Front of Buddha Statue, Bhutan

Iron Chain Bridge of Tamchog Lhakhang Monastery, Paro River, Bhutan

Mountain Valley Landscape, Thimphu, Bhutan

National Memorial Chhorten, Thimphu Bhutan

Lighting of Praying Candles in Zangdopelri Monastery, Thimphu, Bhutan

Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu, Bhutan

Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu, Bhutan

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choeten, Bhutan

Hands of a Woman Weaving, Bhutan

Fresh Food Market, Thimphu, Bhutan

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

Traditional Dance and Colours, Bhutan

Gangtey Monastery, Phobjikha, Bhutan

Bhutanese Women Turning Prayer Wheels, Trashigang, Bhutan

Bumthang Valley, Bhutan

Trashigang Dzong, Bhutan

Gangtey Village and Goemba Buddhist Monastery, Bhutan

Trongsa Dzong, Bumthang, Bhutan

Trongsa Dzong, Bumthang, Bhutan

Jakar Festival, Bumthang, Bhutan

Bbuddhist Monks at Punakha Dzong, Punakha Bhutan

Buddhism Prayer Wheels at Chimi Lhakang Monastery Punakha, Bhutan

Punakha Dzong, Punakha, Bhutan

Tiger's Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan

Places on the Authentic Bhutan Tour

Pricing and Inclusions

The price guide for this 13 day Authentic Nepal Tour is

  • £2695 in low season
  • £2995 in high season

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.

This is a private tour and can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements. Prices will vary depending on the number of people, length of tour, accommodation & season. Reductions are normally available for groups of three or more. Some hotels operate an additional peak pricing rate during busy times which is normally from mid December to mid January.

Please get in touch with your dates and we will be pleased to provide you with your personal itinerary and accurate quote.

Included in this Bhutan Tour are the following:

  • Accommodation for 12 nights on double occupancy
  • All road travel by a private chauffeur-driven, air-conditioned vehicle and with guide
  • Return flights from Kolkata to Bhutan
  • Full board in Bhutan
  • All scheduled sightseeing with an English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees at the monuments

The price does not include:

  • International flights at the start and end of the tour to get to Kolkata
  • Visas to Bhutan
  • Insurance of any nature
  • Meals not included in the meal plan
  • Expenses of personal nature (like laundry, phone calls, room service, drinks)
  • Tips

The prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call us on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this Authentic Bhutan Tour is just an example to help inspire you.

For more information please email info@aitholidays.com or call our India specialists on 01792 315499.

ABTA and ATOL Protected Tour Package

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.