Bhutan Highlights Tour - 14 days

Bhutan Highlights Tour - 14 days

Bhutan Highlights tour is a grand escapade around the most significant cities, towns, and valleys of the country of Thunder dragon. The 14 days tour spans Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Phobjikha, Gangkey, Bumthang, Trongsa, Tang, and Haa to witness the rich heritage and nature. The major highlights of Bhutan can be witnessed, including the different ancient fortresses, museums, religiously significant temples, and nature trails while driving and hiking across the highroads.

Each day of the tour bombards you with the most beautiful man-made landmarks to worship the Buddhist gods and goddesses. The tour starts from Paro before progressing to the capital land, Thimphu, where you'll be exploring a handful of fortresses and temples. After passing the highroads, the next stop is Punakha Valley, filled with the oldest and largest monasteries. Moving on to Gangtey and Phobjikha valley lets you experience the greenery of the Black Mountain National Park.

One cannot experience Bhutan without visiting the Largest fortress in Trongsa and the heritage site in the religious heart, Bumthang. After exploring the countryside in Bumthang, you progress to the Tang Valley to explore the natural beauty views, lakes, and high mountains. Haa valley is next on tour after crossing Chele La pass. After a refreshing hike to Juneydrak Hermitage, the tour returns to Paro to explore the iconic Tiger's Nest Monastery sitting on a cliff before concluding the tour.

This tour is best for those individuals, groups, and families looking to explore the major attractions of Bhutan with an overland drive. It is a great way to explore the architectural beauty of the religious sites, get a sense of spiritualism and peace, and immerse in the traditions and cultures preserved by the warm and welcoming locals. It is indeed one of the best Bhutan tours that offer a taste of everything.

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

  • Explore the majestic cities and towns of Bhutan - Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Phobjikha, Bumthang, Trongsa, Tang, and Haa
  • Visit the Memorial Chorten, Giant Buddha, Folk Heritage Museum, Royal Textile Museum National Memorial Chorten (temple) in Thimphu
  • Tour around the Tashichho Dzong, one of the best landmarks in Bhutan
  • Explore the ancient and archaic Chimi Lhakhang- Fertility temple and Lungchutse Lhakhang on the way to Punakha
  • Hike to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and visit Punakha Dzong; the second largest and oldest monastery in Bhutan
  • Drive to the glacial Phobjikha valley and Gangtey Monastery in the Black Mountains region
  • Marvel at the Tibetan architecture in Trongsa Dzong, the largest fortress in Bhutan
  • Explore the holy Jakar Dzong, Kurjey Lhakhang, and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang
  • Relish at the mystic folklore surrounding Mebar tsho Burning Lake in Tang valley
  • Witness the traditional lifestyle of the villagers and visit the Juneydrak Hermitage, Lhakhang Karpo in Haa Valley
  • Visit the most iconic heritage site in Bhutan; the Paro Taktsang/Tiger's Nest Monastery straddled in a cliff
  • Immerse into the Bhutanese heritage, one of the oldest and well-preserved cultures in the world

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Arrive in Paro & Drive to Thimphu (55km, 1 hour drive)
Day 2 Sightseeing in the heritage sites of Thimphu
Day 3 Drive from Thimphu to Punakha via DochuLa Pass (76 Km/2-3 hours drive)
Day 4 Explore the Punakha Valley
Day 5 Drive from Punakha to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang (85 Km/2-3 hours drive)
Day 6 Drive from Gangtey to Trongsa and explore the largest fortress of Bhutan (84 Km/2-3 hours drive)
Day 7 Drive from Trongsa to Bumthang - the religious heart of Bhutan (68 Km/2 hours drive)
Day 8 Explore the Bhutanese countryside
Day 9 Go on an Excursion to the Tang Valley
Day 10 Flight to Paro, then drive to Haa via Chele La pass (60 Km/2 hours drive)
Day 11 Hike to Juneydrak Hermitage in Haa Valley
Day 12 Drive from Haa to Paro (60 Km/2 hours drive)
Day 13 Visit the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Paro
Day 14 Final departure from Paro

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Paro & Drive to Thimphu (55km, 1 hour drive)

Your arrival in the land of Thunder Dragon, Bhutan, is an amazing one! You will land at the only international airport in the country, in Paro. With the views of the high hills and the mountain in the backdrop, you will meet your Bhutanese tour guide in the terminal. From there, we will drive to the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu. As you pass by the streets, you will witness people wearing traditional dresses, chilies being dried out in the open, and architectural marvels.

Upon reaching Thimphu, you will be transferred to your hotel, where you can relax for a while before heading out. As this marks your first day in Thimphu, you can take a light stroll around the streets. Witness the stone-paved streets and the monasteries and temples located around the area. If time permits, you can explore the Memorial Chorten, which was constructed to remember the third king of Bhutan. From there, you can also explore the Kuensel Phodrang, also called the Giant Buddha, which is a huge 169-foot bronze statue of Lord Buddha that overlooks the Thimphu Valley. After your excursion, head back to your hotel for a nice Bhutanese dinner.

Overnight stay in Thimphu.

Day 2
Sightseeing in the heritage sites of Thimphu

It is a day full of excitement as you will be touring in and around Thimphu with your guide. After having breakfast, you can start your tour to the Royal Textile Museum, a boon for Bhutanese people. You can learn about textile making and artistic weaving techniques. You can also walk around the Folk Heritage Museum, which has artifacts signifying the traditional and ancient Bhutanese lifestyle. This museum has it all, from ordinary household tools and objects to extraordinary musical instruments.

After some break between lunch, you can proceed with your tour to one of the most significant and architecturally beautiful fortresses, Tashichho Dzong. The iconic building with mesmerizing views is of prominence as it is the government seat and hosts the throne room and office of the Bhutanese King.

After your exploration, you will head back to your hotel for a rest and can opt to interact with the locals in the street.

Overnight stay in Thimphu.

Day 3
Drive from Thimphu to Punakha via DochuLa Pass (76 Km/2-3 hours drive)

Dochula Pass Dochula Pass- Bhutan–High on top of a mountain pass on the road from Thimphu to Punaka

After having breakfast in Thimphu, you will drive off to your next adventure city, Punakha. The drive is even more beautiful, with the views of mountains on the horizon as you climb to a higher altitude. You can make a brief stop at the Dochula pass, decorated with colorful prayer flags and a view worth enjoying. If you wish to enjoy an even finer view, you can head up to the Lungchutse Lhakhang temple on a hilltop.

The drive continues to the Metshina village, where your eyes will sparkle as you see the green rice fields. Crossing the terraced fields, you can reach the 14th-century monastery called Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple. It was constructed by the 14th Drukpa, a Divine Madman, who promoted phallus symbols representing fertility in the temple.

From there, you will drive off to Punakha and be transferred to your hotel. As the day has been long and tiring, you can relax at your hotel or can take a light stroll around the streets.

Overnight stay in Punakha.

Day 4
Explore the Punakha Valley

Punakha Dzong Punakha Dzong - Second oldest and second biggest dzong of Bhutan

After breakfast in the morning, drive off to the northern outskirts of the valley for a short hike near the Punakha river bed. You will walk along the lush green forest with views of the valley for about two to three hours. You will reach the Yepaisa village, from where you will cross a suspension bridge and hike further 30 minutes to reach the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The religious site was built in 2004 by the Queen Mother.

After exploring the Chorten and enjoying the majestic natural views, you will hike down to the suspension bridge and take a drive to the Punakha Dzong. Situated in the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu rivers, it is the second-largest and second oldest Dzong in Bhutan. Witness the amazing architecture and the religious significance behind the statues and paintings.

After a long and tiring day, you will drive back to your hotel to enjoy a warm meal and some rest.

Overnights stay in Punakha.

Day 5
Drive from Punakha to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang (85 Km/2-3 hours drive)

Gangtey Monastery is next up on the Bhutan highlights tour. For that, you will drive off from Punakha early in the morning and stop at Wangduephodrang on the way for breakfast. Wangdue is known best for its stone carvings and fine bamboo artwork. You will then continue your drive through rhododendron and oak forests via the Lawal pass.

You can explore the glacial Phobjikha valley in the Black Mountains National Park. The Gangtey Monastery, founded in the 16th Century, is the only Nyingmapa sect monastery in Bhutan. It holds religious significance and hosts an annual festival. You can explore the architecture and history of the monastery as you explore the Gangtey Nature Trail. If you are traveling in the winter season and are lucky, then you might get a chance to witness the rare Black Necked Cranes circling the Gangtey Monastery three times before migrating back. 

You can interact with the locals via your guide and understand more about their traditions and cultures in the valley.

Overnight stay in Gangtey Valley.

Day 6
Drive from Gangtey to Trongsa and explore the largest fortress of Bhutan (84 Km/2-3 hours drive)

A winding road will take you to Trongsa on this day. On the way, you can stop and explore the Tashiling Lhakhang temple. Trongsa, meaning 'new village,' is located in the center of Bhutan, so it is prone to many commercial activities.

Upon reaching the town, you can explore the Tibetan-influenced houses and monasteries. You can visit the Trongsa Dzong, which is the largest fortress of Bhutan. The fortress sits on top of a cliff overlooking the deep river gorge and the valley. You can explore the interiors filled with wood carvings, courtyards, and paintings signifying ancient gods.

Overnight stay in Trongsa.

Day 7
Drive from Trongsa to Bumthang - the religious heart of Bhutan (68 Km/2 hours drive)

Bumthang, Bhutan Jakar Dzong (Bumthang) - Constructed in 1549, by the Tibetan Lam Nagi Wangchuk, It also became the seat of the first king of Bhutan.

After an amazing day in Trongsa, it is time to head to the religiously significant Bumthang town. Following the winding road down to Bumthang, you will make a brief stop for breakfast then begin your day with a tour to the Jakar Dzong. Built on a ridge above the town in the 15th Century, the monastery translates to 'a castle of the white bird'. It is known to be one of the largest fortresses in Bhutan and is architecturally decorated.

From Jakar, you will drive to the Kurjey Lhakhang, another religious temple with the folk stories of how Guru Rimpoche left his body imprint during his meditative stance in the cave. It is the final resting place of Bhutan's first three kings.

After visiting Kurjey, you will proceed to the Temple of Maitreya, also called Jambay Lhakhang. It was built during the 8th Century by a Tibetan King as part of the 108 temples built during his reign. Following Jambay, you can explore the Tamshing Lhakhang, a Buddhist Saint built in the 15th Century. The temple also houses 95 practicing Buddhist monks. From there, you can head to Dorjibari village, where you can stay overnight. If you want to experience some unique delicacies, try local meals with chilies, buckwheat noodles, and cheese.

Overnight stay in Bumthang.

Day 8
Explore the Bhutanese countryside

To explore the major highlights of Bhutan, it is important to witness the true countryside. For that, you will be heading to the Wangdicholing Palace after having breakfast. Built during the 18th Century, it has been a summer home of many reigning kings. It was built on the battleground of Penlop. It was used as a monastic school and had been undergoing repair. There are five huge water-powered prayer wheels inside the soiree, a majestic sight.

You can interact with the monks living in and around the area and visit the small Swiss cheese-making factory. You can find freshly made honey, apple wine, and local beer as well. After an interesting day, you can head back to your stay in Bumthang.

Overnight stay in Bumthang.

Day 9
Go on an Excursion to the Tang Valley

One of the unique experiences you can have in this highlights tour is visiting the Tang Valley. It is a short drive passing by the Chamkhar town towards Tang. After reaching the valley, you can visit one of the most sacred places, Mebar tsho Burning Lake. As per Bhutanese mythology, Pema Lingpa, the famous religious treasurer, searched for the treasure chest set by Guru Rimpoche inside the lake. It is believed that the lake was given its name when Lingpa jumped into the lake with a burning butter lamp and emerged with the chest. Although small, the lake is mystical and beautiful.

From there, you will hike up to a gompa located atop a cliff. After having lunch, you will head to the Ogyen Choling Palace, which has been turned into a museum. It was the former residence of the ruling class and is currently a testament to the architectural beauty of Bhutan.

You will return to the valley and enjoy your time with some local families living there following your escape.

Overnight stay in Tang valley.

Day 10
Flight to Paro, then drive to Haa via Chele La pass (60 Km/2 hours drive)

Early in the morning, you will take a short flight from Bumthang to Paro as the overland distance is very long. After reaching Paro, we will transfer you to Haa valley. You will make a brief stop at the Chele La Pass and viewpoint spot following the zigzag road. It is the highest road in Bhutan that is accessible by vehicles. The Haa Valley and Paro can be seen from a high viewpoint.

Upon reaching Haa, you can opt for a visit to the nearby Lhakhang Karpo. It is situated in the foothills of the three mountains. From there, a short 10 minutes walk will lead you to Lhakhang Nagpo, one of the oldest temples in the valley. You will find the mesmerizing status of lord Jowo Shakyamuni within the premises. After exploring, you can return to Haa and relax.

Overnight stay in Haa.

Day 11
Hike to Juneydrak Hermitage in Haa Valley

It is an additional day to explore the Haa Valley, so you will be heading to the northern end. You will make a stop at the Katsho village then begin your 1-hour hike to Juneydrak Hermitage. It is located on the cliffside and gains its significance for having the footprint of a female Tibetan tantric who came here to meditate. The tantric is said to have perfected the 'chod' ritual in 'ego annihilation.'

Further, you can make a stop at the Chorten Dangrim on the way to witness the mani wall. The hike is refreshing and offers a closer connection with nature and spirituality.

Return to Haa valley after your hike.

Overnight stay at Haa Valley.

Day 12
Drive from Haa to Paro (60 Km/2 hours drive)

On this day, you will be leaving the beautiful Haa valley and heading back to Paro. You will be taking the high road via the Chele La pass. On the way, you can also make a stop at the Dzongdrakha Cliff Temple, which, as per the name, is a cliffside temple that witnesses an annual festival. From thereon, head to Paro via a road passing apple orchards, temples, whitewashed houses, and terrace fields.

Upon reaching aro, you can take some rest during your stay and then head out in the streets to explore the afternoon and evening activities of the locals. You can visit the Paro Dzong/ Fortress of Heaps of Jewels if time permits. You can also explore the Kyichu monastery further below, built in the 7th Century by a Tibetan king.

Overnight stay in Paro.

Day 13
Visit the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Paro

Taksang monastery, Bhutan Taksang Monastery Bhutan - Sacred Buddhist site located in Paro and constructed in 1692

A tour to Bhutan cannot be complete without visiting the world-famous Tiger's Nest Monastery, also known as Paro Taktsang. To begin with one of the best highlights of Bhutan, you will be driven to the foothills of the monastery, from where you will begin your hike. The moderately easy hike starts on a dirt trail leading to a forest the entire way uphill.

Upon reaching the monastery, you will hear the sounds of Buddhist hymns, prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and the chimes of rings. Regarded as one of the top 20 must-visit places globally, the Tiger's Nest monastery has a remarkable myth surrounding its establishment. It is believed that the revered Guru rinpoche landed on a Tiger's back and meditated in the Pel Phuk and Thulo Phuk caves located in the site.

The monastery contains a large prayer wheel in its vicinity, numerous Thangka paintings depicting Buddhist gods, and an awe-inspiring structure.

After exploring, you can head back to your hotel and take some rest. In the late evening, you can head out to buy some souvenirs from the local shops in the streets.

Overnight stay in Paro.

Day 14
Final departure from Paro

After the amazing tour in the most significant places in Bhutan, it is finally time to bid farewell. You will be transferred to the airport by our guide from where you can catch your respective flight. You will reminisce about the wonderful time you had exploring the different religious sites in and around Paro and Bumthang, the Gangtey trail, and interacting with locals in Tang.

If you want to extend your tour to other eastern parts of Bhutan, feel free to contact our representatives to know more about your different tour options.

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

Gael Morin
flagsUnited States of America
Oct 11, 2022

Bhutan Highlights tour

We set out on an adventuer to Bhutan for 14 days and it was hosted by Third Rock Adventuers. We contacted Naba after seeing his website and the trip, inquired about the price and he immediately offered me the best price, We said yes and booked instantly. The booking process was easy and as for the trust, we read many of his clients review and checked with some other companies as well,. Naba's company stand out in many ways and we did it. Back to my country now and I am still reminiscing my adventure to Bhutan.
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