Best of Bhutan Tour with Paro, Punakha, and Thimphu - 4 days

Best of Bhutan Tour with Paro, Punakha, and Thimphu - 4 days


The Best of Bhutan Tour with Paro Punakha and Thimphu will take you to the major cultural hubs of Bhutan. Learn more about the rich and unique traditions of this small, landlocked nation nestled beneath the snowy Himalayan mountains. During the trip, you can enjoy the verdant scenery and nature that Bhutan has safeguarded. Bhutan is the only country in the world where more than seventy percent of its total landmass is covered by forests. The pure air, tranquil atmosphere, and warm hospitality will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated by the end of your trip.

Your tour will begin with an exciting flight above some of the tallest mountains in the world. If it's a cloudless day, you will be able to spot the five 8000-meter giants: Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Kanchenjunga. After reaching Paro, you will head towards the capital city of Thimphu. Your guide will take you to all the sightseeing spots in the city: Buddha Dordenma, National Memorial Chorten, Tashichho Dzong, Folk Heritage Museum, etc. At the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, you can learn more about the thirteen traditional arts of Bhutan and shop for souvenirs.

The next city you will visit is Punakha, the old capital of the 'Land of the Thunder Dragon'. On the way, you will stop at Dochula Pass and savor the panoramic views of the Himalayan mountains. In Punakha, you will explore the majestic Punakha Dzong, located at the confluence of the male (Po Chhu) and female (Mo Chhu) rivers. You will also get to visit the ancient Fertility Temple or Chimi Lakhang, where devotees are blessed with a wooden phallus.

On the last day of your stay in Bhutan, you will explore the highlights of Paro. A morning hike to Tiger's Nest, or Taktsang Monastery, will take you to an incredible man-made structure in Bhutan. The sacred monastery of Taktsang, also known as Tiger's Nest, is built on a steep rock face. To reach this holy site, you will have to ascend a hill on foot for about two or three hours.

The trail passes through a lush forest that is home to a variety of birds and butterflies. Enjoy your hike while savoring mesmerizing views of the snow-clad mountains and Paro Valley. After your hiking adventure, you can explore the ancient Paro Dzong and Ta Dzong. End your tour with a relaxing soak in a traditional hot stone bath.

The Best of Bhutan Tour with Paro Punakha and Thimphu is short and sweet and is ideal for first-time travelers to Bhutan who wish to know more about the country and its culture. This short 4-day tour is also ideal for people who are on a short break. People of all ages can do this trip. For those who are not used to hiking, the hike to Taktsang Monastery can be grueling. If you don't feel comfortable with the hike, you can skip it and choose an alternate sightseeing spot. While spring, autumn, and early winter are the ideal months to tour Bhutan, you can nevertheless do this trip any time of the year.

How Much Does This Trip Cost?

The trip's price depends on the type of services chosen by our clients and the group size. The cost of each trip we organize is different because we see travelers as individuals having their own particular needs and preferences.

Get ready for an incredible journey tailored to your interests and preferences, whether you're looking for a budget-friendly adventure or a luxurious getaway. Leave the planning to us as we take care of all the details, ensuring your dream trip becomes a reality. You can relax and focus on creating unforgettable memories that will stay with you forever.

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Trip Highlights

  • Visit the three cultural centers of Bhutan: Thimphu, Paro, and Punakha.
  • Hike to Tiger's Nest, one of the best man-made wonders in Bhutan.
  • Road trip with amazing views of the Bhutanese countryside and Himalayan Range.
  • Drive to Dochula Pass, one of the highest motorable mountain passes in Bhutan.
  • Insight into the rich Bhutanese Buddhist culture and traditions while visiting ancient dzongs(fortresses), museums and shrines.
  • Enjoy a traditional hot stone bath.

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Arrive at Paro, drive to Thimphu, and sightseeing - 1 hour drive (55 km)
Day 2 Drive from Thimphu to Punakha via Dochula Pass(3,100 m/10,200 ft), Punakha sightseeing, and drive to Punakha, 195 Km, 4-5 hours drive
Day 3 Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (3,180 m/10,236 ft) and late afternoon Paro Sightseeing – 5 to 6 hours hike
Day 4 Final Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive at Paro, drive to Thimphu, and sightseeing - 1 hour drive (55 km)

buddhist-monastery Paro Dzong Buddhist Monastery in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

As Bhutan lies in a mountainous region, it has only one international airport. Paro International Airports serves as the gateway to this tiny Himalayan nation, and it is from here that you will begin your Best of Bhutan Tour. You will have an early flight as flights to Bhutan are scheduled early in the morning before the wind picks up and the sky turns cloudy. Mountain weather is unpredictable and can change drastically within minutes.

During your flight, you can enjoy aerial views of the Himalayan Range, including five of the highest mountains in the world: Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu.

Once you land in Paro, our representative will welcome you and escort you to the vehicle that will drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. From Paro, it takes only an hour to reach Thimphu. The ride is filled with scenic views of green hills and farms. After reaching Thimphu, you will be driven to your hotel, where you can check in and get refreshed.

After refreshment, your sightseeing tour of Thimphu will begin. Your guide will take you to some of the major attractions in the city: the National Memorial Chorten, the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, the Folk Heritage Museum, Tashichho Dzong, and Buddha Dordenma.

The National Memorial Chorten is a dazzling white stupa located in the center of the city. The chorten was built in memory of the third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is known as the 'Father of modern Bhutan'. The stupa is divided into three floors and is filled with statues of Buddhist deities, scroll paintings, and photographs. It is a great place to learn more about Buddhist philosophy and observe the locals.

The Folk Heritage Museum offers you an insight into the rural and indigenous lifestyle of the Bhutanese. The museum showcases household artifacts and farming tools used by the Bhutanese people. Some of the exhibits are more than three centuries old.

At the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, you will get to learn about the thirteen traditional arts of Bhutan. You can enter workshops where you can observe apprentice artists creating beautiful works of art on wood, stone, metal, fabric, etc. The institute has a shop where you can buy some of the works created by the students.

Later, head to Tashichho Dzong, an ancient fortress that now houses government offices and the palace of the king. Only a few places are accessible to tourists inside the dzong.

You will also get to visit the largest statue of Lord Buddha in Bhutan. The statue of Buddha Dordenma, or the Sitting Buddha, is perched on top of Kuensel Phodrang Hill, overlooking Thimphu Valley. This magnificent statue is made of bronze and rises to a height of above fifty meters. Built in 2015 to usher in world peace and harmony, the Buddha Dordenma has 1,25,000 smaller statues hidden within its massive frame. This is one of the biggest statues of Lord Buddha in a sitting posture in the world. From here, you can enjoy amazing views of the city and the mountains.

After your sightseeing tour, you will be driven to your hotel, where you can enjoy dinner and take a rest.

Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2
Drive from Thimphu to Punakha via Dochula Pass(3,100 m/10,200 ft), Punakha sightseeing, and drive to Punakha, 195 Km, 4-5 hours drive

ancient-architecture-bhutan Ancient, Architecture, Art, Thimphu Bhutan

After breakfast, you will leave Thimphu and head towards Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan. On the way, you will stop at the Dochula Pass, one of the highest motorable mountain passes in the world. The pass is decorated with 108 chortens built in memory of Bhutanese soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty. There's also a Buddhist shrine, Druk Wangyal Lakhang, close to the pass, from where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the Himalayan mountains.

The ride from Thimphu to Punakha is filled with picturesque views of traditional villages, farms, and pine forests. After reaching Punakha, your guide will take you to visit Punakha Dzong. Located at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu, or the Male and Female Rivers, the Punakha Dzong is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Bhutan.

One has to cross a wooden cantilever bridge to enter the dzong. Built in the seventeenth century, the dzong used to be the center of power before the capital was shifted to Thimphu. Inside the dzong are beautiful courtyards surrounded by ornately decorated wooden windows and doors, government offices, monasteries, chapels, and Buddhist shrines. The embalmed body of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan, is kept in the Machey Lakhang. Only the king, Chief Abbot, and some officials are allowed to enter the shrine where his body is kept. The Punakha Dzong is one of the most ancient and beautiful sites where you can fully enjoy the beauty of traditional Bhutanese architecture.

After visiting the Punakha Dzong, you can head to the longest suspension in Bhutan that stretches over the Po Chhu River and take pictures. Later, visit the shrine of the Divine Madman, Chimi Lakhang, or Fertility Temple. Dedicated to the Buddhist saint Drukpa Kuenly, or the Divine Madman, the FertilityTemple dates back to the fifteenth century and is a sacred pilgrimage site for childless couples who wish for a child. The monk at the temple blesses devotees with a wooden phallus with a silver handle. The phallic symbol in Bhutan is used to dispel negative energies and usher in good luck. Old houses in the rural areas as well as the villages surrounding the Fertility Temple are decorated with images ofphalluses. Outside the shrine are souvenir shops where one can purchase a 'phallus'-shaped souvenir item.

After exploring Punakha, you will proceed towards Paro. Enjoy inspiring views of the mountains and pristine forests during the ride. On reaching Paro, you will be driven to your hotel, where you can finally relax after a hectic day.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 3
Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (3,180 m/10,236 ft) and late afternoon Paro Sightseeing – 5 to 6 hours hike

tigers-nest-monastery Tiger's Nest Monastery Bhutan

Wake up early in the morning and take a drive towards the base of the hill where Taktsang Monastery stands. Tiger's Nest, or Taktsang Monastery, is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Bhutan. The monastery sits on a cliff face about nine hundred meters from the valley floor.

A holy pilgrimage site for Buddhists, the Taktsang Monastery is the place where Guru Rinpoche, or Padmasambhava, flew from Tibet to Bhutan on the back of a flying tigress and meditated. A monastery has been built around the cave where he meditated for three years.

The hike to the monastery is pretty grueling, with some steep ascents and descents. The hiking path is well maintained, and rest stops have been constructed en route for tired hikers to rest while hiking. The trail is not technical and involves easy walking (no technical climbing is required).

Leaving the car park, you will make your way across a dense forest and climb up the hill. The trail winds up steadily through a lush forest of pine, fir, and cedar. Ponies are available for hire until the halfway point or at the Taktsang Café. However, the cost of the pony ride is not included in the trip cost, so you will have to pay for the ride by yourself if you want to use this service.

The trail through the forest is decorated with colorful prayer flags, and you can enjoy your walk surrounded by nature. Once you reach the Taktsang Café, you will stop for lunch and a brief rest. From here, you can savor grand views of the Taktsang Monastery. It's a popular photography spot, and you can shoot a few selfies. After enjoying your lunch, you can continue the last leg of your hike. As you approach the monastery, you will be able to enjoy a bird's-eye view of Paro Valley and the Himalayan mountains stretching over the horizon.

A long flight of concrete steps will lead you to the monastery. Once inside Taktsang Monastery, you can visit the chapel and spend some time praying. Later, return via the same route and reach the car park, where our vehicle will be waiting for you.

If time permits, you will visit Paro Dzong and Ta Dzong. Paro Dzong is an ancient fortress that now houses government offices, and the Ta Dzong is a circular watch tower located right above the ParoDzong. The watchtower now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. Inside the museum are ancient artifacts, tools, and weapons used by the Bhutanese warriors. There are also valuable Buddhist manuscripts, paintings, and relics showcased inside the museum.

After visiting the dzong, you will head to a local farm where you can enjoy a traditional hot stone bath. The hot stone bath is taken in a wide tub where water is heated by using hot river stones roasted on a wood fire. The bath water also contains medicinal herbs that are beneficial for the skin and improve blood circulation.

Enjoy a relaxing soak in the traditional bathtub and ease your sore muscles. Later, you will be driven to your hotel.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 4
Final Departure

Your Best of Bhutan Tour with Paro, Punakha, and Thimphu finally comes to an end. It's time to head homeward or to your next destination. Our representative will drive you to the airport on time to catch your flight. If you want to explore the neighboring countries of Nepal and India, please let us know. We have a range of delightful itineraries that might pique your interest. Our travel consultant is always at hand to offer assistance in planning your trip.



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Latest Trip Reviews

Travel experiences of our clients who recently returned from their trips.

Josh Lewis
flagsSaint Barthelemy
May 18, 2024

Superb Trip of Bhutan

I recently took the Best of Bhutan Tour with Paro, Punakha, and Thimphu, and it was absolutely amazing! A friend from America recommended this trip, and it did not disappoint. Punakha was a standout with its rich cultural experiences and incredibly kind locals. The Punakha Dzong and Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten were breathtaking. The food, especially the traditional Ema Datshi and Suja, was delicious and memorable. Special thanks to Naba for organizing everything flawlessly. His exceptional service made our trip smooth and enjoyable. If you're looking to explore Bhutan, I highly recommend this tour!
Good Value,I like itinerary,
Yes
Grace Hamilton
flagsUnited Kingdom
May 18, 2024

Bhutan's an amazing country

This tour offered an incredible glimpse into the heart of Bhutan's culture and natural beauty, expertly organized by Naba and the team at Third Rock Adventures. Punakha was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip. The cultural experience there was unparalleled, with visits to the majestic Punakha Dzong and the serene Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The locals in Punakha were exceptionally kind and welcoming, making us feel at home in their beautiful town. Their warmth and generosity added a deeply personal touch to the trip, enriching our understanding of Bhutanese hospitality. The food throughout the tour was amazing, particularly in Punakha. We savored traditional Bhutanese dishes like Ema Datshi (chili cheese) and Suja (butter tea), which were both delicious and unique. Each meal was a delightful journey into Bhutan's culinary heritage, leaving us eager for more. Thank you, Naba, for organizing everything so smoothly. Your attention to detail and seamless coordination ensured that our trip was hassle-free and thoroughly enjoyable. From the stunning landscapes of Paro to the cultural riches of Thimphu and the heartwarming experiences in Punakha, this tour was a perfect introduction to Bhutan. Highly recommended for anyone looking to explore this enchanting kingdom.
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