Bhutan Cultural Tour lets you discover the cultural highlights of Bhutan, a mountain kingdom where modernity has failed to erase its unique traditions. If you are interested in Bhutanese culture and traditions, then this trip is for you. Here life moves at a slow pace, and you will feel the comforting rhythm as you go about visiting places and meeting people. Visit traditional forts and palaces and monasteries said to be built by Buddhist monks with supernatural powers. Experience nature in abundance and interact with the Bhutanese for whom happiness matters more than material wealth.
Bhutan Cultural Tour takes you to the fascinating cultural hubs in the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon.’ Explore one of the greenest nations in the world. Journey across a mountain kingdom where ‘Gross National Happiness’ is used to measure prosperity. You will be one of the chosen few visitors to step on this mountain kingdom that has remained hidden from foreign eyes for centuries. The five days of your Bhutan Cultural Tour will be spent immersing yourself in Bhutan’s unique Himalayan culture.
Your journey begins from the city of Paro and covers the cultural hubs of Thimpu and Punakha. Enjoy cultural immersion with a traditional homestay and a hot-stone bath. Step into ancient fortresses and palaces built by Bhutanese royals. Set your eyes on ancient Buddhist relics and murals. Drive past a high mountain pass Dochula Pass (3100m). Visit local homes and sacred monasteries and interact with monks and locals.
Your itinerary includes a homestay in a traditional Bhutanese house. Amble down busy local markets and paddy fields. Learn how to wear a traditional Bhutanese dress. Enjoy a relaxing soak at the traditional Hot Stone Bath. The finale and highlight of your short Bhutan Cultural Tour is the incredible hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), nestled on a cliffside, high above the Paro Valley. .
|Day 1||Arrive in Paro, sightseeing in Paro and drive to Thimphu|
|Day 2||Sightseeing in Thimphu and drive to Punakha|
|Day 3||Drive to Paro|
|Day 4||Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)|
|Day 5||Depart Paro|
Enjoy phenomenal views of sacred Bhutanese peaks - the snowcapped Jumolhari and Jichu Drake- while flying into Paro. Bhutan has only one international airport located in Paro. Your guide will meet you at the airport terminal. Have lunch or some refreshments at a restaurant before heading to Ta Dzong, and an ancient watchtower now converted into the National Museum. The museum houses armors used by Bhutanese warriors in the bygone days, ancient thangkas (scroll paintings), old stamps, festival masks, manuscripts, etc.
Afterward, head down to Rinpung Dzong, also known as Paro Dzong or the ‘Heap of Jewels Fort.’ The exhibits at this ancient fort include exquisite paintings depicting the life of Lord Buddha. ‘Little Buddha,’ a movie by Bernardo Bertolucci was filmed here. Later take a scenic drive to Thimphu, the country’s capital.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Head to one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the valley Changkha Lakhang. The temple is about eight hundred years old and sits high above the city of Thimphu. Parents of newborn babies bring their infants to this temple with the hope that they could get an auspicious name from one of the resident monks.
Later head down to the main city and try dressing up like the locals. Your guide will take you to a shop where you can rent a traditional dress. The male’s traditional attire is known as ‘Gho’ while the female's is known as ‘Kira.’ The shop’s attendant will help you get dressed. Take pictures and commit this moment to memory. Later visit the local market or the school of traditional arts.
Late afternoon, bid goodbye to Thimphu and drive to Punakha, the winter residence of Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and his council. En route, stop briefly at Dochula Pass and enjoy mesmerizing views of Himalayan peaks. The pass is dotted with 108 memorial chortens built by the Queen Mother. After a brief stopover, continue driving towards Punakha. Head to a traditional local home where you will spend the night.
Overnight in Punakha.
Enjoy a traditional Hot Stone Bath before heading to Punakha Dzong. The Hot Stone Bath is taken in a traditional wooden or stone tub where hot stone slabs are immersed in the bathwater to heat it. After the traditional bath, head to Punakha Dzong, a traditional fortress dating back to the 17th century. This grand whitewashed monument lies at the Mo Chhu (silent mother) confluence and Pho Chhu( noisy father) rivers. Cross a wooden cantilever bridge to enter the dzong. One of the most beautiful and ancient dzongs in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong, now houses a monastery and a government office.
Later drive to Paro. On the way, stop at Lobesa and walk past traditional farms and mustard and paddy fields to Chimi Lakhang Temple. The temple is dedicated to a Buddhist ascetic named Drukpa Kuenley, or the ‘Divine Madman,’ who lived during the 14th century. He is known as the ‘Mad Saint’ or ‘Divine Madman’ for his unconventional methods of preaching Buddhism. After visiting the temple, you continue driving towards Paro. Cross the picturesque Dochula Pass and the capital Thimphu before finally arriving in Paro. Upon reaching Paro, head to a hotel and take a well-deserved rest.
Overnight in Paro.
This day is packed with adventure. Have an early start and drive to the starting point of Taktsang Monastery Hike. The monastery hangs precariously on a rocky cliff 3000 feet above Paro valley, and It is a steep ascent right up to the monastery. Pony rides are available till the halfway point. Though the hike up to the monastery may be tough, you are rewarded with astounding 360-degree views of the Paro valley and the surrounding peaks once you reach the top.
Visit the monastery and pay obeisance to the guardian deities. It is said that Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche have blessed this place. The monastery is also known as Tiger’s Nest because, according to legend, Padmasambhava flew to this cliff on a tiger and meditated here.
Overnight in Paro
After a delightful stay, it’s time to bid farewell to Bhutan. Your guide will drive you to the airport on time to catch your international flight.
If you want to add extra activities and sites to your itinerary it can be done. Our Travel Consultant will help you customize your trip. Just let us know which places you want to visit and what you want to do and we will add these in your itinerary.
We usually provide private comfortable vehicles to individual tourists. For groups we provide comfortable luxury buses for pick up and drop-offs.
While tipping is not mandatory it is a nice way of showing your appreciation to the people who have helped you enrich your holiday experience. It all depends on how far you are pleased and satisfied with their services. There is no fixed amount, but many of our clients offer 8-10 percent of the total tour price as tips.
No, this is not possible. The government of Bhutan has made it mandatory for tourists (except Indian nationals) to book a tour with a registered travel agency. In order to get a tourist visa in Bhutan, you need to book a tour with an agency. Your guide is selected by the agency with whom you book your tour.
Most of our tour guides speak English, which is a common communication medium. They are also trained, experienced and know the areas very well.