Bhutan Tour with Homestay - 7 days

Bhutan Tour with Homestay - 7 days

Bhutan Tour with Homestay allows you to immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of Bhutan. Wedged like a small coin between China and India, this tiny Himalayan nation has preserved its ancient culture and traditions. With seventy percent of the country’s total landmass covered by forests, Bhutan is one of the greenest destinations in the world. Here, you will be able to exist in the lap of nature, breathing in clean, pure air.

Buddhism is a way of life here, and the Gross Happiness Index, rather than the Gross Domestic Product, is used to measure the prosperity of the country. Wouldn’t you love to holiday in a country where human happiness and contentment are considered more valuable than material wealth?

Your Bhutan Tour with Homestay begins in Paro with a short drive to the country’s capital, Thimphu. In Thimphu, you will spend a day visiting the popular tourist attractions: Buddha Dordenma, Tashichho Dzong, Royal Takin Preserve, and Memorial Chorten. You will also get to visit a monastic school (Dechen Phodrang Monastery) and interact with the little monks. A visit to a traditional paper-making factory will give you an idea of how Deh-Soh or Bhutanese traditional paper is processed.

The next city on your itinerary is Punakha, the former capital of the country. Savor the incredible beauty of traditional Bhutanese art and architecture as you explore the ancient Punakha Dzong, Buddhist shrines, and stay at a traditional farm. From Punakha, you will head to the glacial valley of Gangtey, or Phobjika, the winter nesting site of the endangered black-necked cranes. Later, you will be driven to Paro via the Dochu La Pass, where your trip will end. Before leaving Bhutan, hike to the Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery, enjoy a game of archery or Dha, and take a relaxing soak in a hot stone bath.

This trip can be done by people of all ages. Bhutan Tour with Homestay is specially recommended for travelers who wish to connect with nature order-stress and disconnect from the chaos of modern life. People who are interested in Himalayan cultures, Buddhist art, and philosophy will also find this trip enjoyable and satisfying. Overnight stays at local homestays will provide you with the opportunity to interact with local families and learn more about their culture.

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 major cultural hubs of Bhutan-Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Gangtey
  • Walk through majestic traditional fortresses built without using a single nail
  • Visit ancient shrines and Buddhist chortens
  • Experience local culture while staying at homestays with local families
  • Participate in a traditional archery competition
  • Hike to Tiger’s Nest, a sacred Buddhist monastery hanging on a cliff
  • Relaxing soak in a hot stone bath, where water is heated with roasted river stones

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Arrival in Paro and drive to Thimphu - 1:30 hour (55 km) drive
Day 2 Sightseeing in Thimphu (2,350 m/7,710 ft)
Day 3 Drive to Punakha (1,310 m/4,300 ft) and Punakha Sightseeing - 2 to 3 hours (80 km) drive
Day 4 Drive from Punakha to Gangtey (2,900 m/9,500 ft) - 3 to 4 hours (80 km) drive
Day 5 Drive from Gangtey to Paro (2,200 m/7,218 ft) - 4 to 5 hours (165 km) drive
Day 6 Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (3,120 m/10,531 ft) - 3 to 4 hours (5 km) hike
Day 7 Final Departure from Paro

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Paro and drive to Thimphu - 1:30 hour (55 km) drive

National Memorial Chorten - the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan, built in 1974 to honor of Third Druk Gyalpo National Memorial Chorten - the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan, built in 1974 to honor of Third Druk Gyalpo

It’s a one-of-a-kind experience to fly into Paro, the only Bhutanese city with an international airport. You will be able to see some of the world’s highest mountains during the flight. As the whole of Bhutan lies in mountainous terrain, the pilots flying an airplane in Bhutanese air space are specially trained. Only Bhutanese airlines are allowed to operate in Bhutan. At present, there are only two airlines operating flights in Bhutan: Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines, and you can fly into Bhutan via any of these airlines.

On reaching Paro, you will be met by your guide and driver at the airport’s terminal. After giving you a warm welcome, they will drive you to Thimphu. The one-and-a-half-hour drive from Paro to Thimphu is filled with breathtaking views of forests, rivers, and farmlands. You can breathe in the clean, pure air and relax in the peaceful ambiance.

There’s no activity planned for today. If you wish, you can explore the city’s market area by yourself after rest and refreshment.

Overnight in Thimphu Hotel.

Day 2
Sightseeing in Thimphu (2,350 m/7,710 ft)

Tashichho Dzong - where the Thimphu Tshechu is the biggest festival held Tashichho Dzong - where the Thimphu Tshechu is the biggest festival held

After an early breakfast, you will start your sightseeing tour. Your Bhutanese guide will take you to the most popular attractions in Thimphu.

You will start your tour with a visit to the Memorial Chorten, located right in the middle of the city. The Memorial Chorten is a massive white stupa built in memory of the third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Surrounded by a grassy lawn and beautiful garden, the Memorial Chorten is a great place to observe people, as locals love to meditate or while away their time sitting with their friends or family. Inside the stupa are beautiful Buddhist paintings, sculptures, and photographs of the third king of Bhutan.

Later, you will head to the Tashichho Dzong, an impressive traditional fortress and castle that now houses the royal palace, throne room, the government secretariat, and a monastery. Next, drive to Kuensel Phodrang Hill and visit the Buddha Dordenma Statue. The massive bronze statue rises to a height of 51 meters and is one of the tallest statues of Buddha in a sitting posture in the world. There are 125,000 smaller statues of Lord Buddha kept inside the massive statue. After walking around the shrine and enjoying the view of the city, you will move towards your next destination, the Royal Takin Preserve in Motithang. The Takin Preserve is a nature preserve where the national animal of Bhutan, the Takins, is protected. Takins are unique animals and look like a mix of goats and moose.

Spend some time at the takin preserve and later head down to the Dechen Phodrang Monastery, a monastic school where more than 400 young monks receive education. The monastery holds ancient paintings and murals dating back to the twelfth century.

You will end your tour with a visit to the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, where you will get to see the traditional paper-making process from the barks of Daphne and Dekap trees. Known as Deh-sho, Bhutanese traditional paper is mainly used to write religious scriptures by monks. Now various items (notebooks, greeting cards, gift-wrapping sheets, lampshades, etc.) are made using this paper.

Later, you will return to your hotel and have a good night’s rest

Overnight in Thimphu Hotel.

Day 3
Drive to Punakha (1,310 m/4,300 ft) and Punakha Sightseeing - 2 to 3 hours (80 km) drive

View of the Punakha Valley farmlands in Bhutan View of the Punakha Valley farmlands in Bhutan

From Thimphu, you will be transferred to Punakha by private vehicle. The ride is short and filledwith heartwarming views of emerald hills and pine forests. The road winds up to the Dochula Pass and again descends to the valley floor. The route is curvy, and there are a lot of twists and turns. On reaching Punakha, you will visit the well-known tourist sites: Punakha Dzong, Chimi Lakhang Temple, the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, and Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten.

At one time, Punakha used to be the capital of Bhutan, and Punakha Dzong was the most important castle fortress. After the capital was shifted to Thimphu in 1955, Punakha came to serve as the winter capital for the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the monastic body.

The Punakha Dzong is one of the most stunning traditional fortresses in Bhutan. Located at the confluence of the Po Chuu (Father River) and Mo Chhu (Mother River), the fortress can be accessed by crossing a wooden cantilever bridge. Dating back to the seventeenth century, the dzong houses government offices, Buddhist shrines, and monasteries. The courtyards of this magnificent dzong offer views of intricately carved and painted wooden pillars and windows. The ‘One Hundred Pillar Hall’ showcases beautiful Buddhist murals and paintings.

After exploring the Punakha Dzong, take a walk on the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan that spans the Po Chhu River. Later, walk to the Chimi Lakhang Temple, dedicated to the patron saint of Bhutan, Drukpa Kuenley. Chimmi Lakhang, also known as the Fertility Temple, dates back to the fifteenth century. It is believed that childless couples who visit this shrine are blessed with a child. As per the local custom, women hoping to conceive should walk around the temple three times carrying a wooden phallus.

The ‘phallus’ symbol is considered holy by the Bhutanese people. Locals paint the walls of their houses with phallus symbols and keep wooden phalluses as charms to protect their space and ward off the evil eye. Outside the temple, you will find shops selling brightly painted wooden phalluses in different sizes.

The last place you will visit is the Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The chorten lies on a hill overlooking Punakha, and one has to take a brisk hike of about an hour over paddy fields to reach the site. The three-tiered chorten of Khansum Yulley was built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan to ward off evil energies from the country and the world and usher in everlasting peace and harmony. The Chorten is decorated with Bhutanese traditional designs and statues of Buddhist deities. It is a beautiful example of Bhutanese architecture and Buddhist iconography. You can climb to the top of the chorten and savor grandiose views of Punakha Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Later, walk down to the highway and make your way to a local homestay, where you can enjoy the hospitality of your local host family.

Overnight in Punakha at Homestay.

Day 4
Drive from Punakha to Gangtey (2,900 m/9,500 ft) - 3 to 4 hours (80 km) drive

Phobjika or gangtey Valley is the favorite destination of bird watchers and nature lovers. Phobjika or gangtey Valley is the favorite destination of bird watchers and nature lovers.

Today you will leave the city of Punakha and proceed towards another beautiful destination, Gangtey. Gangtey, also known as Phobjika Valley, is a wide glacial valley where the endangered black-necked cranes come to roost from Tibet in winter. These magnificent birds migrate in November and stay in Gangtey the whole winter. To mark their arrival in Gangtey, the Black-Necked Crane Festival is held at Gangtey Monastery every November. Cultural dances, songs, and skits are performed by locals and monks during the festival. The black-necked crane is a sacred bird for the Bhutanese, and their arrival in Bhutan is seen as an auspicious occasion. According to the locals, the cranes fly around the Gangtey Monastery and circle it three times upon their arrival at the valley as well as on their departure.

During the drive to Gangtey Valley, you can enjoy the beautiful Himalayan landscape filled with green hills, forests, and pristine rivers. On reaching Gangtey, you can explore the Gangtey Gompa, a 17th-century Buddhist monastery that is the main seat of the Pema Linpa tradition of the Nyingma Buddhist school.

You can also walk along part of the picturesque Gangtey Nature Trail if you are not too tired. Another attraction in Gangtey is the Black-Necked Crane Information Center, where you can learn more about these amazing birds.

Overnight in Gangteyat Hotel.

Day 5
Drive from Gangtey to Paro (2,200 m/7,218 ft) - 4 to 5 hours (165 km) drive

Paro Dzong (also called Rinpung Dzong) where Paro Festival held Paro Dzong (also called Rinpung Dzong) where Paro Festival held

Today you will leave Gangtey and head towards Paro. After a last glimpse of the idyllic Phobjika Valley, you will take the road to Paro. The drive takes you on a smooth asphalt road with scenic views of the Bhutanese countryside. En route, you will stop briefly at the Dochula Pass to savor the panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains. The Dochula Pass is decorated with 108 chortens, or memorials, built in memory of slain Bhutanese soldiers who lost their lives serving the nation.

On reaching Paro, you can explore some of the city’s attractions before heading to a local farm, where you will spend the night. You can visit Paro Dzong, a majestic traditional fortress that once protected the locals from marauding Tibetan forces. No metal nails were used to build this massive structure. Now the fortress houses a monastery and government offices. Ta Dzong, which lies just above Paro Dzong, is a circular watch tower built in the shape of a conch. The Ta Dzong houses the National Museum, where more than three thousand ancient artifacts are showcased.

Overnight in Paro at Homestay.

Day 6
Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (3,120 m/10,531 ft) - 3 to 4 hours (5 km) hike

Tiger's Nest Monastery, Bhutan Tiger's Nest Monastery, Bhutan

You will accompany your guide to the most famous tourist attraction in Paro, the Tiger’s Nest, or the Taktsang Monastery. The monastery lies perched on a steep cliff about 900 meters above the valley floor. It is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in Bhutan and a man-made wonder.

After an early breakfast, you will be driven to the base of a hill. After purchasing the entrance tickets, you will follow your guide and start your trek.

The trail winds up through a beautiful forest filled with tall cypress and fir trees. After a gentle ascent, the path gets steeper as you move towards your destination. Benches have been placed en route to rest, and wooden signposts with motivational quotes written on them keep you positive and motivated. Colorful prayer flags strung along the route brighten the trail.

If you find the hike tedious, you can hire a pony (at extra cost) and ride till the hallway point, and from there you can continue on foot. While the ascent is steep, the foot trail is well-maintained and easy to walk on. After walking for about an hour or two, you will reach the Taktsang Café, where you will have your lunch. You will get outstanding views of the monastery as well as Paro Valley from the café. The most iconic shots of the Taktsang Monastery are taken from this point. People who are too tired to carry on usually stop at this point, take pictures, and turn back. But having walked this far, we suggest our clients to make it to their destination for the day, i.e., Taktsang Monastery.

After a brief rest, you will continue with your hike and make your way towards the monastery. The path climbs steeply and evens out. On the way, you will come across mountain springs blessed by Guru Padmasambhava and the meditation huts of monks. The final steps to the monastery lead you up a hill and on the side of it till you come to a stone staircase that goes down then up to the monastery. The views are spectacular at this point, and you can stop to take pictures. Walk down the steep staircase and cross a waterfall before climbing up to the Tiger’s Nest. You will have to climb more than 700 steps to reach the monastery.

At the entrance of the monastery, your tickets will be checked, and you will have to deposit your camera and phone in a locker. No cameras are allowed inside the monastery. Inside the monastery are a chapel, the living quarters of the monks, and the meditation cave of Guru Rimpoche, or Padmasambhava. It is believed that he arrived in Bhutan on the back of a flying tigress. He meditated at this spot for three years, three months, and three days. Guru Padmasambhava, also known as the Second Buddha, is credited with spreading Buddhism in the high Himalayan regions, including Tibet and Bhutan.

After spending some quiet time praying and meditating, you will exit the monastery, get your belongings from the locker, and retrace your steps back to the base of the hill.

Later, you will be driven to your homestay. On the way, you can enjoy a game of archery with the locals. Known as Dha, archery is the national sport of Bhutan. Bhutanese are good archers, as the sport is used as a medium of entertainment in villages and towns.

Bhutanese traditional archery events are different from Western archery events. The archery range in Bhutan is quite long, about 145 meters. Archers use bows made of bamboo and arrows made of reeds to hit the target. Competitions are held between teams, and there’s a lot of revelry and merriment during a match, with opposing teams dancing, cheering, and singing whenever their team wins a point or the opposing team misses their mark. A game of archery is a social event where the young and the old take part and have a good time.

After enjoying the game, you will head to your homestay, where you can enjoy a relaxing traditional hot stone bath. In a hot stone bath, the bath water is heated in a wooden tub using roasted river stones and medicinal herbs. The bath is therapeutic and relaxing. Later, enjoy a sumptuous Bhutanese meal and retire for the night.

Overnight in Paro at Homestay

Day 7
Final Departure from Paro

Your Bhutan Tour with Homestay draws to an end. It’s finally time to bid goodbye to Bhutan, your local host, and maybe some good people whom you have befriended during your short stay in Bhutan. After breakfast served by your host family, you will be driven to the airport, where you will board a flight bound for your onward destination. If you wish to continue your travels and explore Nepal and Bhutan, please let us know. We have a range of interesting itineraries that may be just perfect for you.

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