Highlights of Bhutan Group Tour

9 Day – Group tour with air-conditioned vehicle and guide
Price Guide: £2895 per person
ABTA and ATOL protected holidays

This highlights of Bhutan group tour captures the magic and mystery of Bhutan, visiting the rich sights of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha.

Thimphu, Bhutan’s religious, cultural and administrative centre, has some grand monuments and museums showcasing the country’s rich heritage. Punakha, a former capital of Bhutan, has an impressive dzong and ancient temples set in a pristine countryside. Paro, an eclectic mix of age old traditions and modern life, is home to Bhutan’s most famous symbol, Tiger’s Nest Monastery. This is a fantastic introduction to Bhutan, ‘The Land of the Thunder Dragon’.

Highlights of Bhutan Group Tour

Dzong Monastery in Punakha, Bhutan
  • Tour of Thimphu and visit to Buddha Dordenma
  • Visits to various museums and Centenary Farmers Market
  • Crossing Dochu La Pass at 3088m
  • Village walks and meeting a local family
  • Yuelley Namgel Chorten
  • Simtokha Dzong which was built in 1629 as well as numerous monuments, stupas and temples of significance
  • Excursion to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest

Highlights of Bhutan Group 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 Hotel
Melas Included: Breakfast

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 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. Several of these bridges are still in use today. The present bridge to Tamchog Lhakhang was restored in 2005 in the design of a 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 photo in ceremonial dress. Later enjoy a stroll around Thimphu city centre.

Accommodation: Lemon Tree Hotel, Thimphu
Meals Included: Full Board

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: Full Board

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

In the afternoon visit 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.

In the evening take a walk through newly developed Wangdue town and its colourful market.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3 hours, 75 kms
Accommodation: Meri Puensum Resort, Punakha
Meals Included: Full Board

If you’re feeling active you take a morning hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten will take about an hour each way. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu River and the mountainous peaks of Gasa.

After lunch, you can visit Talo village and see Talo Sangnacholing Dzong which is built on a plateau offering majestic views of surrounding villages. There will be time to explore the beautiful village farmhouses with their flower gardens, see the fields of colourful crops and meet a local family to learn more about rural life.

This is followed by a stop at Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery, perched on a ridge amid pine trees overlooking Punakha and Wangdue valleys. The nunnery is fascinating with a 14-foot bronze statue and a temple complex housing a higher learning and meditation centre for nuns as well as a skills training centre.

Accommodation: Meri Puensum Resort, Punakha
Meals Included: Full Board

This morning’s drive to Paro is along scenic highway (125 Km, 4 hours). On the way 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 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, 125 kms
Accommodation: Paro Eco Lodge*, Paro
Meals Included: Full Board

The day begins with a fascinating excursion to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest. It is an uphill walk to the monastery and the complete round trip takes about 5 hours. Even if for those who don’t make the whole trip there are still good views to enjoy. This is one of Bhutan’s most famous monasteries, perched on the cliff 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, it’s a visit to 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: Full Board

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

Accommodation: Pride Hotel*, Kolkata
Meals Included: Breakfast

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

Meals Included: Breakfast

On day 8, fly from Paro to Kathmandu and transfer to Kantipur Temple House for a three night stay. Over the two days, visit Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, Boudhnath, Pashupatinath and the historic royal cities of Patan and Bhaktapur. Fly back from Kathmandu on day 11.

Sights to enjoy on the Highlights of Bhutan Group Tour

Iron Chain Bridge, Tamchog Lhakhang Monastery, Paro River, Bhutan
Novices Monk Vipassana Meditation at Front of Buddha Statue, Bhutan
Mountain Valley Landscape, Thimphu, Bhutan
National Memorial Chhorten, Thimphu Bhutan
Buddha Dordenma Statue, Thimphu, Bhutan.jpg
Giant Buddha, Thimphu, Bhutan
Lighting of Praying Candles in Zangdopelri Monastery, Thimphu, Bhutan
Fresh Food Market in Thimphu, Bhutan
Hands of a Woman Weaving, Bhutan
Dzong Monastery in Punakha, Bhutan
Mo Chhu River, Punakha, Bhutan
Bhutan Style Door, Bhutan
Dochula Pass, Bhutan
Monument with 108 Choten, Dochula Pass, Bhutan
Khamsum Monastry, Bhutan
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choeten, Thimphu, Bhutan
Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan
Chimi Lakhang Temple, Buddhist monastery, Punakha District, Bhutan
Buddhism Prayer Wheels at Chimi Lhakang Monastery Punakha, Bhutan
Kyichu Lhakhang Temple, Paro, Bhutan
Traditional Monastery Festival, Wangdue, Bhutan
Paro Dzong, Buddhist Monastery and Fortress, Bhutan
Tiger's Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang), Bhutan

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

Novices Monk Vipassana Meditation at Front of Buddha Statue, Bhutan

Mountain Valley Landscape, Thimphu, Bhutan

National Memorial Chhorten, Thimphu Bhutan

Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu, Bhutan

Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu, Bhutan

Lighting of Praying Candles in Zangdopelri Monastery, Thimphu, Bhutan

Fresh Food Market, Thimphu, Bhutan

Hands of a Woman Weaving, Bhutan

Punakha Dzong, Punakha, Bhutan

Mo Chhu River, Punakha, Bhutan

Bhutan Style Door, Bhutan

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

Monument with 108 Choten, Dochula Pass, Bhutan

Khamsum Monastry, Bhutan

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choeten, Bhutan

Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan

Chimi Lakhang Temple, Buddhist monastery, Punakha District, Bhutan

Buddhism Prayer Wheels at Chimi Lhakang Monastery Punakha, Bhutan

Kyichu Lhakhang Temple, Paro, Bhutan

Traditional Monastery Festival, Wangdue, Bhutan

Paro Dzong, Buddhist Monastery and Fortress, Bhutan

Tiger's Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

Places on the Highlights of Bhutan Group Tour

Highlights of Bhutan Group Tour

Below are the hotels we plan to use on the tour but they are subject to availability. If they are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be chosen.

Pricing and Inclusions

The price guide for this Bhutan tour is

Tour starts Tour ends Price Single Room
19 November 2022 Sat Kolkata 27 November 2022 Sun Kolkata £2,975 £345
18 February 2023 Sat Kolkata 26 February 2023 Sun Kolkata £2,895 £325
11 March 2023 Sat Kolkata 19 March 2023 Sun Kolkata £2,975 £345
1 April 2023 Sat Kolkata 9 April 2023 Sun Kolkata £2,975 £345
29 July 2023 Sat Kolkata 6 August 2023 Sun Kolkata £2,895 £325
19 August 2023 Sat Kolkata 27 August 2023 Sun Kolkata £2,895 £325
21 October 2023 Sat Kolkata 29 October 2023 Sun Kolkata £2,975 £345
18 November 2023 Sat Kolkata 26 November 2023 Sun Kolkata £2,975 £345
Private Travel Supplement: £145 (minimum 2 persons traveling together)

 

Suggested Extensions Per person twin-share Single Room Supplement
Taste of Nepal (2 days) £325 £95

 

Meal Plan: Full Board (Kolkata on Bed & Breakfast)

Best Season: March-May, October-November

Clothes: Woollens.

Included in price:

  • Accommodation for 8 nights
  • Flights between India and Bhutan in economy class
  • All internal road travel by a private vehicle (AC in India, Non-AC in Bhutan)
  • Accompanying English speaking guide throughout in Bhutan
  • Assisted airport transfers

Not included in price:

  • International flights
  • India visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals not included in meal plan
  • Expenses of personal nature (like room service, laundry, drinks, phone calls etc)
  • Camera fees
  • Tips

* Alternative accommodation of a similar standard may be offered to the hotels listed.

This tour can also be taken privately on a date of your choice. Please contact us for more details.

This tour can also be taken privately as a tailor made tour on the date of your choice.

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.