Village Walking Tour in Bhutan follows trails to age-old villages inhabited by Bhutan's warm and welcoming people. The 8 days tour provides an authentic Bhutan experience in the trail stretching across Paro valley, Haa valley, Thimphu, Punakha, and Wangdue.
The tour will take you to villages with their distinct significance. The village of Metshina on the way to Punakha is known for the green rice fields. Talo village is known for its cleanliness and hygiene, while Nobgang is known to be the ‘gem hill,’ the ancestral home of the four Queen mothers. Also situated in Wangdue, the Rinchegang village is known for the artistic stonework by the locals. All of the villages that you cross along the way have a lot to offer. Their economic status, day-to-day activities, religious and traditional practices are all experienced through deep interactions with them. It is perhaps the best way to experience the people and their lifestyle in front of your eyes. You utilize each day on tour by visiting some cultural sites surrounded by villages.
From the spectacular Himalayan sceneries to the pristine valley with small scattered villages of ethnic Bhutanese tribes, the village walking tour has it all.
|Day 1||Arrival in Paro then sightseeing|
|Day 2||Drive from Paro to Haa Valley via Chele La Pass (60 km, 2 hours)|
|Day 3||Drive from Haa to Thimphu (115 km, 3 to 4 hours) and sightseeing tour|
|Day 4||Drive from Thimphu to Punakha (74 km, 3 hours) and Sightseeing tour|
|Day 5||Drive from Punakha to Paro (116 km, 3 to 4 hours)|
|Day 6||Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery for sightseeing|
|Day 7||Final Departure to Paro|
Village Walking Tour in Bhutan takes you to the rustic sceneries in the villages of Bhutan predominantly occupied by farming and cattle rearing practices. The tour introduces you to the traditions and cultures of the people living in the villages. You get to taste the food that the locals prepare from their local produce. You will also understand the importance of agriculture for the Bhutanese farmers who are seen plowing their fields for a fresh batch of rice.
The tour mostly follows the same route as the Culture Tour with Village Homestay in Bhutan. The major comparison is that you will get the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the villages of Wangdue and Punakha in the village walking tour. You will witness a distinct union between nature, culture, and livelihood.
The tour begins with your arrival at the Paro International Airport following a scenic flight. From there on, you will head on to excurse the local heritage sites of Rimpung Dzong, Ta Dzong, and Kichu Lhakhang. While Rinpung is known to be one of the largest monasteries, Ta Dzong is the National Museum of Bhutan. The Jowo temple in Kichu, on the other hand, is known to be one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
The next day’s trip takes you towards the Haa Valley known best for its high rice production. You will spot many rice fields as you enter the valley. On the way through the Bondey-Haa Highway, you will make a stop at Chele La pass to appreciate the views of Mt. Jumolhari. Upon reaching Haa Valley, you can visit the Karpo and Nagpo Lkhakhang, known for their religious significance. The Miri Puensum mountain is acclaimed for blessing the valley as it represents three Bodhisattvas. You can socialize with the people living in the valley villages and take part in their day-to-day activities.
From Haa valley, you will be driving to Thimphu. You will make a stop at the Dokar Fortress/Dobji Dzong to observes the relic statues inside the building. Crossing the Chhuzom, you will spot the villagers selling their local produce on the side of the road. You can plunge into some sightseeing activity in Thimphu in the afternoon. Some places worth visiting are the throne room and office of the King of Bhutan, Tashichho Dzong, Jungshi Paper Making Factory, National Textile Museum, National Folk Heritage Museum exhibiting ancient equipment and tools Bhutanese, and finally, the tall Buddha Dordenma statue.
The next day, you will understand the true bond of culture and lifestyle as you head to Punakha. Crossing the Dochula pass, you will walk through the Metshina Village. You will traverse to the Chimi Lhakhang from the rice fields, known as ‘The Fertility Temple.’ Bhutanese pilgrims come to visit this temple to enhance their fertility. The temple was built by the Divine Madman, promoting phallus objects and paintings in the temple. You can visit the second largest and second oldest, Punakha Dzong, upon reaching there.
The next day’s short drive takes you to the Wangdue town. On this day, you will be visiting the two major villages of Talo and Nobgang, known to be the home of four Queen mothers. These villages sit on hilltops with scattered traditional houses known for their clean setting.
On the next day, you will head back to Paro, taking the Phutsholing-Thimphu Highway. In the evening you can stroll around the streets to buy some souvenirs and local products as well. The next day, you will experience the best hiking in Bhutan as you head above to the Paro Taktsang/ Tiger’s Nest monastery. You can visit the two caves of Thulo Phuk and Pel Phuk, where Guru Rimpoche is known to have flown on a Tiger’s back and landed on the cave to meditate. You will visit the four main temples, a prayer wheel, and other landmarks in the vicinity. After an amazing tour in the remote areas of Bhutan, you will head back home on a flight from Paro International airport on the last day.
You will touch down at the Paro International Airport, the only international airport in Bhutan, after a scenic flight. Even as you walk out of your plane, you will see the high hills on the side with views of mountains on the far horizon. You will be welcomed by our Bhutanese guide from Third Rock Adventures as you complete all the formalities at the airport. Eventually, you will be transferred to your hotel, where you will be briefed about the Village Walking Tour in Bhutan.
You begin your sightseeing tour by visiting the Rinpung Dzong in the afternoon. You will only have to walk a few minutes and cross a wooden bridge to reach Rinpung Dzong. The monastery was built in the 15th century originally as a fortress. It is translated to ‘Fortress of the Heaps of Jewels.’ The monastery is decorated in white and red and has meticulous wood carvings on the door and windows.
Next on the sightseeing tour, you can visit the National Museum of Bhutan- Ta Dzong. It is the cultural museum in Paro established in 1968 on a hilltop above Rinpung Dzong. You can find ancient articles of bronze, paintings, and statues.
After that, you can head to one of the oldest temples of Bhutan in Kichu Lhakhang, located in Lango Gewong. It was built in the 7th century and gained its spiritual significance from the myth that Guru Rimpoche visited this ancient monastery for meditation and left some secret spiritual treasures.
You will head back to your hotel in Paro for the night and, on the way, stroll around the silent streets of Paro, admiring the architectural buildings.
Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
On the second day of your stay in Bhutan, you will travel to the picturesque Haa Valley. The Bondey-Haa Highway is surrounded by pine forests and high rocky cliffs on the side. On the way, you will stop by the highest motorable pass in Bhutan at Chele La pass, sitting at an elevation of 3,988m/13,083ft. The views of Mt. Jumolhari are even clearer from the viewpoint at Chele la. The pass is decorated with colorful prayer flags. During the winter season, this pass is covered with snow. Views of Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drake can be seen on the way to Haa.
Upon reaching Haa Valley, you will check in to your hotel. Haa Valley is known as the ‘Hidden Land of Rice Valley’ due to its high Rice production. You can head out to visit Lhakhang Karpo, known as the White Temple, and Lhakhang Nagpo, known as the Black temple. Haa valley offers the Miri Puensum mountain views known to represent the three Bodhisattvas-Manjushree, Avalokiteshvara, and Vajrapani, which is known to bless the Haa valley per myth.
In the evening, after you visit the temples, you can engage in some socialization with the locals living nearby.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Haa Valley.
After your interesting visit and stay at Haa Valley, you will take a long drive today towards Thimphu. The road towards Thimphu is blanketed by pine forest on the sides. On the way, you can make a stop at the Dobji Dzong, which is also referred to as the Dokar Fortress. The monastery is the first known model monastery in Bhutan built in the 15th century. You can find the statues of relics like Ngawang Chogyal, Jetsun Milarepa, Guru Langdarchen, and Dungsy Dewa Zangpo.
On the way, you will reach a confluence of the Pa Chhu river and Thimp Chhu river flowing from Paro and Thimphu, respectively. The junction point on the road is called Chhuzom, translated as ‘where the rivers meet.’ Along the way, the locals are seen selling their local produce like apples, vegetables, and cheese. You will then head to your hotel for refreshment.
In the afternoon, you can engage in some sightseeing activities. Some of the places you can visit are:
Tashichho Dzong is situated on the northern edge of the city. It was built in 1641 and rebuilt by the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. It is currently the secretariat building and the throne room of the office of the King of Bhutan.
After visiting the monastery, you can head on to the National Folk Heritage Museum that exhibits the ancient equipment and tools along with artifacts. It gives an insight into the rural lifestyle.
National Textile Museum is another museum that you can visit in Thimphu. It introduces you to the well-preserved textile weaving equipment and the local products made.
The Jungshi Paper Making Factory offers an insight into the economic status of Bhutan. It was built in the 1990s and produced traditional Bhutanese paper made with hands from the bark of Daphe Bush.
You can tour the Buddha Dordenma, a 54m/177ft tall statue of Shakyamuni Buddha before you head back to your hotel in Thimphu.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Thimphu.
On this day, you will be driving to the former capital of Bhutan, Punakha. The drive is short but will keep you engaged with the views of high mountains, hills, and villages. Dochula Pass, at the elevation of 3,150m/10,334ft, is where you will stop to view the majestic mountains vividly.
From there on, you will visit the green village of Metshina, which is filled with rice fields. Crossing the rice fields will take you to Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built in 1499 by Ngawang Choegyel, dubbed the ‘Divine Madman.’ Choegyel had a distinct way of spreading Buddhism and spirituality in Bhutan. He particularly instilled the use of Phallus paintings and objects in the Chimi Lhakhang, depicting fertility. This is the reason Chimi Lhakhang is known as ‘The Fertility Temple.’
From here on, you will head on to Punakha, which is the winter residence of the central monk body in Bhutan. Punakha is also dubbed as ‘the place of great happiness.’ You will be extremely happy to stroll through the streets of Punakha. You can visit the second oldest and second-largest monastery in Bhutan, the Punakha Dzong. It is situated in between the banks of rivers Mo Chhu and Po Chhu. After the visit, you can head back to your hotel.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Punakha.
After having breakfast, today’s drive will take you back to Paro. You will be heading from Khuruthang to Pajo and then towards Dochula pass. In a while, you will reach Semtokha, which branches out to Thimphu. You will head on to the Phuntsholing-Thimphu Highway and pass Chuzom, from where the road takes a sharp U-turn. After continuing for a while on the straight road, you will reach Paro.
After the drive, you will be transferred to your hotel in Paro. You can go for a walk in the streets of Paro to buy some souvenirs that you can take back home to remind the moments spent in Bhutan.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Paro.
Today, you will take a short drive to Satsam Chorten and begin your hike towards the cultural icon of Bhutan, Paro Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery). The hike to Taktshang takes about 4 hours through a steep ascend of 900m from the Paro valley floor, in a path surrounded by pine trees and a high cliff.
The monastery is one of the thirteen Taktshang caves visited by the spiritual leader Guru Rimpoche in the 8th century. Bhutanese pilgrims revere Padmasambhava/Guru Rimpoche for introducing Buddhism to Bhutan. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche landed on his Tiger’s back in the cave of Thulo Phuk and meditated for months in Pel Phuk cave. You can visit these caves and the four main temples in the area. You can stroll around the vicinity to check out the old prayers and Urgyan Tsemo.
You can see the paintings of relics on the walls of the caves in the monastery. You can head back to your hotel after the tiring tour.
Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
On this day, you will be heading to the Paro International Airport for your final departure from Bhutan. The best memories will flood your mind as you head back home. You will remember your visit to the cultural landmarks of Paro Valley, Haa Valley, Thimphu, Punakha, and Wangue. More importantly, you will remember the traditions and lifestyle in the rural setting of Metshina village, Talo, Nobgang, and Rinchegang village.
You will be transferred to the airport by our Bhutanese guide from Third Rock Adventures, who will bid you farewell for your homeward departure. You can contact us anytime for a similar tour in the village settings of Nepal and India's geographically and culturally beautiful country.