Western and Central Bhutan Tour - 9 days

Western and Central Bhutan Tour - 9 days

The Western and Central Bhutan Tour takes you to the cultural heartland and major tourist hubs of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Take this journey beyond the classical travel route to Bhutan's beautiful landlocked country, with incredible natural vistas and iconic landmarks.

The Western and Central Bhutan tour is well designed to offer you the perfect chance to explore the famous cultural hotspots, historical heritages, astounding natural canopies, and rich traditions of the Western and Central part of Bhutan all at the same time.

The Western and Central Bhutan Tour covers fascinating sightseeing in the enthralling cities of Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Phobjikha, and Bumthang. This 9 days Bhutan tour package includes a visit to some otherworldly religious attractions of Bhutan, namely King’s Memorial Chorten, Buddha Point, Tashi Chhoedzong, Chimi Lhakhang, Gangtey Goenpa, Jakar Dzong, Trongsa Dzong, and Taktsang Monastery.

The Western and Central Bhutan Tour begins from the captivating Paro valley and takes you through the exotic vicinity located in Central and Western Bhutan. Moreover, the tour allows you to witness the scenic views of some magnificent peaks of South Asia and discover the cultural richness of Bhutan.

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

  • Fly to Paro International Airport and enjoy the most dramatic views of the Bride of Kanchenjunga, Mt. Jumolhari, and its companion peak Mt. Jichu Drake
  • Visit the capital of Bhutan, the captivating Thimphu Valley
  • Immerse in the soulful and vibrant Bhutanese culture
  • Learn about the simple yet happy lifestyle of the people of the happiest country, Bhutan
  • Discover the real reason why Bhutan is enlisted as the country with the highest ‘National Gross Happiness Index’
  • Visit the famous King’s Memorial Chorten built as a memorial to Bhutan’s third king
  • Explore the traditional medicinal herbs and plants in National Institute of Medicine
  • Go through the remarkable arts and crafts of the Bhutanese artists at the School of Arts, popular as the ‘Painting school.’
  • Visit the famous Buddha Point and overlook the largest city of Bhutan, Thimphu.
  • Observe the national animal of Bhutan, Takin, at the Motithang Takin Preserve
  • Visit the stunning Tashi Chhoedzong that houses the throne room and office of the King of Bhutan constructed on the bank of Wang Chhu River.
  • Enjoy breathtaking mountain views from one of the most beautiful passes of the world,  Dochula Mountain Pass.
  • Visit the ancient capital of Bhutan, Punakha.
  • Walk through the rampant rice fields to the acclaimed Divine Madman’s Temple famous as ‘Temple of Fertility.
  • Explore the distinctive Bhutanese bamboo works and stone carvings in Wangdue Phodrang
  • Enjoy panoramic views of some ageless Himalayan ranges of South Asia from the Lawala Pass.
  • Relish the mesmerizing surrounding of the beautiful Gangtey Goenpa and Phobjikha Valley
  • Hike in the U-shaped valley in Central Bhutan, Phobjikha and discover the rare species of Black Necked Cranes
  • Witness the notable Bhutanese architecture at Trongsa Dzong
  • Visit the spiritual heartland of Bhutan, Bumthang
  • Discover the historic folklores of Jakar Dzong, Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, and Tamshing Lhakhang
  • Observe the national sports of Bhutan, archery in a local archery ground
  • Walk up to the renowned Taktsang Monastery popular as ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery’ and overlook the tranquil Paro Valley

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Arrive in Paro and Drive to Thimphu - 1:30 hours (55km) drive
Day 2 Sightseeing in Thimphu
Day 3 Thimphu to Punakha Stop at Dochula Pass (3,100m/10,200ft) and Sightseeing in Punakha - 2 to 3 hours (85km) drive
Day 4 Punakha to Gangtey/ Phobjikha - 2 to 3 hours (85km) drive
Day 5 Gangtey/Phobjikha to Bumthang - 5 to 6 hours (163km) drive
Day 6 Sightseeing in Bumthang
Day 7 Fly from Bumthang to Paro - 35 minutes flight
Day 8 Hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) (3180m/1043ft) - 5 to 6 hours hike
Day 9 Final Departure from Paro

Trip Overview

The Western and Central Bhutan Tour provides a rare opportunity to visit the dozens of ancient Dzongs, fortresses, and temples of the country and explore the innumerable types of flora and fauna of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. The 9 days itinerary is perfect for nature admirers and deep-rooted culture lovers.

Famous as ‘Land of Thunder Dragons,’ Bhutan is a small landlocked nation tucked between some majestic Himalayas of South Asia. The rich culture, tradition, and notable religious heritages make Bhutan a unique tourist destination in the world. Bhutan is the world’s only carbon-negative country with a pristine landscape and rich biodiversity. The generous Bhutanese people bear a unique national identity and impart happy vibes making Bhutan the happiest kingdom in the world. Moreover, Bhutan is home to some most beautiful peaks of the world and welcomes trekkers and climbing enthusiasts all year round.

The 9 days Western and Central Bhutan tour starts and ends in Bhutan's charming and most tranquil valley, Paro. Enjoy the short drive from Paro to the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu. Known for its jaw-dropping natural beauty and distinct cultural identity, Thimphu is the administrative capital of Bhutan and encompasses the King of Bhutan's royal residence. Take a walk through the city and enjoy the beauty of Thimphu's pristine landscape and serene atmosphere.

The witness is a splendid example of medieval Bhutanese architecture at the King’s Memorial Chorten, also known as the National Memorial Chorten. The alluring white stupa with a glowing golden shrine was built in memory of Third Druk Gyalpo of Bhutan. The Chorten is a symbol of world peace and offers some antique sculptures and paintings to explore. The National Memorial Chorten is Bhutan's most iconic monument that never fails to captivate you in its peaceful aura.

Go through the artistic paintings, and crafts work weaving and sculptures of the striving artists at the School of Arts. Popular as ‘The Painting School,’ the school is the best place for acquiring vivid knowledge about the thirteen distinct forms of Bhutanese art. Discover wide varieties of medicinal herbs and plants collected from remote corners of the lofty Himalayas at the Institute of Traditional Medicine.

Visit one of Bhutan's must-visit places, the Buddha Point, and view the exquisite Buddha Dordenma statue. The golden 169-foot Buddha Dordenma is one of the biggest Buddha statues ever built in the world. Immerse in the holy vibes of the place and, at the same time, enjoy a spectacular view of the Thimphu valley. Explore the rich biodiversity of the green jungle spread on 8.4 acres of land at the Motithang Taking Preserve. Observe flocks of takin roaming freely in the widespread forest of the preserve.

Stop at the Dochula mountain pass (3150 meters) on the main road from Thimphu to Punakha. You can enjoy a complete 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges from the pass on a clear day. Moreover, you can view the 108 memorial stupas residing on top of the Dochula pass. Commonly known as ‘Druk Wangyal Chortens,’ the stupas were constructed as a memorial to the brave 108 soldiers of the Bhutan Army who were killed in the 2003 battle. You can also visit the memorial temple opposite the stupas, an emblem of 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan.

Walk through the bright green rice fields in Metshina village. Visit the extraordinary Divine Madman’s Temple, also known as the ‘Temple of Fertility. Built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley, the temple holds great religious significance in Bhutan. Learn about the tale of the temple passed on for centuries.

Visit the classical 17th-century fortress, Punakha Dzong, located in mesmerizing Punakha. Regarding the most beautiful dzong of the country, the picturesque white Tibetan-style dzong is nestled at the junction of two major rivers of Bhutan, Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and the second largest dzong of Bhutan, with a history that dates back to 300 years earlier. Also, famous as ‘winter residence of the Central monastic body of Bhutan,’ Punakha Dzong surrounded by blossoming purple jacarandas is indeed a treat to the eyes.

Explore the creative bamboo works and stone carvings at Wangdue Phodrang. Cross the second highest mountain pass in Bhutan, Lawala pass, and enjoy some glorious Himalayas' panoramic views. Enter Phobjikha Valley, which is regarded as the ’Happiest Place in Bhutan.’ A stunning bowl-shaped glacial valley with the backdrop of Bhutan's gigantic black mountains, the Phobjikha valley is pure bliss.

Hike in the beautiful Phobjikha valley also shelters the rare species of Black Necked Cranes that migrate from the Tibetan plateau. Visit the stunning Gangtey Goenpa located atop a hill amidst the serene Gangtey village. The Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery present in Western Bhutan and offers a spectacular view of the Phobjikha valley below.

Experience the real form of Bhutanese architecture at the Trongsa Dzong located in Trongsa. The Trongsa dzong rests above a gorge with a great view of the Black mountains on the Southwestern side. Visit Bumthang that is home to four charming valleys with legendary religious values. Discover the different varieties of Yathras at the Yathra (textile weaving) factory.

Explore the antique treasures of some historic Lhakhang and dzong of Bumthang, namely Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, and Jakar Dzong. Fly back to Paro and enjoy incredible views of some colossal Himalayan ranges of Bhutan. Visit a local archery ground at Paro. Archery is the national sport of the beautiful Himalayan country, Bhutan. Observe the locals playing archery with great zeal and enthusiasm.

Walk through the dense pine forests and climb up to the holy Taktsang Monastery. Commonly known as ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery, the monastery is one of Bhutan's major tourist attractions and stands tall at 3000 meters above the alluring Paro valley. The Taktsang Monastery is an exemplary landmark of iconic Bhutanese architecture. Moreover, the Monastery imparts a holy vibe in the air and offers a spectacular view of the Paro valley. Visit Paro Taktsang Monastery is the part of the trip you cannot afford to miss.

The tour finally ends as you head back to your destination from Paro International Airport on the ninth day.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Paro and Drive to Thimphu - 1:30 hours (55km) drive

Arrive at Paro International Airport, where our Bhutanese guide will welcome you and transfer you to the restaurant for lunch. After lunch, drive to Thimphu, the capital and the largest city of Bhutan. Upon arrival at the hotel, you will be greeted by the welcoming hotel staff. Check in to the hotel and take a short walk around the streets of Thimphu.

Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2
Sightseeing in Thimphu

Tashichho Dzong Thimphu Tashichho Dzong - one of the prime places to visit in Thimphu

Wake up early in the morning and set off for an exhilarating full day of sightseeing in Thimphu with a side visit to the famous King’s Memorial Chorten and the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. Explore the traditional arts and crafts unique to Bhutan at the School of Arts. Step into the peaceful world of Buddha point while relishing the stunning view of the Southern entrance of Thimphu.

Observe the national animal of Bhutan and explore flora and fauna at the Motithang Takin Preserve. Visit Tashichho dzong in the evening. Famous as the ‘Fortress of Glorious region,’ the fortress is a noteworthy masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture.

Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3
Thimphu to Punakha Stop at Dochula Pass (3,100m/10,200ft) and Sightseeing in Punakha - 2 to 3 hours (85km) drive

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

Enjoy a scenic drive from Thimphu to Punakha. While driving to Punakha, stop at Dochula mountain pass. Overlook the pristine Himalayas. Visit the 108 memorial Chortens and the popular Druk Wangyal Lhakhang to increase the beauty of the pass. Arrive at Metshina Village and take a short 20 minutes to walk through the rampant rice and mustard fields to Chimi Lhakhang. Famous as ‘Divine Madman’s Temple,’ the Chimi Lhakhang is regarded as the temple of fertility in Bhutanese society.

After lunch, continue your drive to Punakha. Upon arrival at Punakha, visit one of the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries of Bhutan, Punakha Dzong.

Overnight in Punakha.

Day 4
Punakha to Gangtey/ Phobjikha - 2 to 3 hours (85km) drive

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

Take a short 30 minutes to drive to Wangdue Phodrang, the district acclaimed for its fine bamboo works and stone carvings. Further, take the road through the dense forest blanketed with red rhododendrons and oak trees. Visit the stunning Lawala pass decorated by dwarf green bamboos. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of some majestic Himalayan peaks of Bhutan.

Drive downhill to the spellbinding Phobjikha Valley and visit the iconic Gangtey Goenpa, a venerable Nyingmapa monastery in Western Bhutan. Gangtey Goenpa also offers an incredible view of the Phobjikha valley. In the afternoon, stroll through the streets of serene Phobjikha valley, the winter home to the Black Necked Cranes. Interact with the courteous locals and find out why the valley is regarded as the happiest place in Bhutan.

Overnight in Phobjikha.

Day 5
Gangtey/Phobjikha to Bumthang - 5 to 6 hours (163km) drive

Drive from Phobjikha to Trongsa, the most central district of Bhutan. The route follows an eye-catching winding road where the popular Bhutanese movie ‘Travellers and Magicians’ was shot.  Trongsa is the lineal home of the royal family of Bhutan. After lunch, visit Trongsa Dzong, an exemplary showpiece of Bhutanese architecture.

Visit Bumthang, one of the nine historical provinces of Bhutan enriched with religious legends of the Himalayan Kingdom. Explore the exquisite Yarthas weaving patterns at the Yartha (Textile) weaving factory.

Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 6
Sightseeing in Bumthang

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

Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in the spiritual heartland of Bhutan, Bumthang. Visit some ancient sacred sites of Bhutan, namely Jakar Dzong, Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, and Tamshing Lhakhang. Later in the afternoon, stroll through the streets of Bumthang and grab some authentic Bhutanese souvenirs.

Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 7
Fly from Bumthang to Paro - 35 minutes flight

Take a domestic flight to the pleasant valley of Paro. Relish the natural beauty and witness the traditionally styled houses in Paro. Visit a local archery ground. Archery is also known as ‘Da’ in Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan is in fact, the national sport of Bhutan. The Bhutanese people have great enthusiasm and inclination towards the royal sport of archery. Enjoy few matches of archery along with hundreds of locals who gather to watch the games.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 8
Hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) (3180m/1043ft) - 5 to 6 hours hike

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

Hike to the Taktsang Monastery in Paro is the most thrilling part of the trip. Famous as the ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery, the monastery rests on the side of a rocky cliff and overlooks the entire Paro valley. The Taktsang monastery is a fine example of remarkable Bhutanese architecture and holds great legendary significance.

Enjoy mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountains and the captivating Paro valley. Explore the artistic Bhutanese paintings and the ancient tales of the formation of Tiger’s Nest Monastery by Guru Rinpoche.

The hike to the monastery starts from the foot of a mountain and follows uphill. Anyone who is physically fit in good health can easily complete the hike. Taktsang Monastery is one of the must-visit places of Bhutan that perfectly winds up your stay in the fascinating kingdom of Bhutan.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 9
Final Departure from Paro

Our Bhutanese guide will transfer you to Paro International Airport on the ninth day and bid you farewell. Return to your destination with amazing memories and a lifetime experience that will remain in your heart forever.

If required, Third Rock Adventures is always prepared to extend the tour to Bhutan and other neighboring countries, namely Tibet, India, and Nepal.

Moreover, if the present itinerary does not suit you, you can go through our other Bhutan packages, such as Glimpse of Bhutan Tour - 4 days and Bhutan Heritage Tour – 8 days.  

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Based on 3 reviews

Latest Trip Reviews

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

Amirul Amirul
Nov 06, 2019

Bhutan tour was wonderful experience

Everything from pick up to the final drop off was organized carefully by Third Rock Adventures. Loved the pace of the tour. Not too hectic and plenty of time to chill, relax and just get to know the country and its people more. The walking/hiking was planned out nicely with short ones in the first few days to prepare you for the highlight which was a 3 hours hike up Tiger's Nest. We enjoyed touring around Thimpu, Punakha, Phobjikha, Bumthang. Amazing experience and thanks to both my guide and driver for their care and sharing. A beautiful country with friendly people and always willing to tell you their ways of life. Highly recommended.
Romana Bruno
Nov 06, 2019

Bhutan is the best place to travel

Our recent visit to Bhutan was total worth it with Third Rock Adventures. We were total of 14 people and our trip was for 8N/9D. The professional team of this company did a great job in organizing our tour. We were provided a private vehicle which was super comfortable and were assigned a personal guide who took us around various places and helped us understand the Bhutanese culture. Our guide always did a great job in making sure we were comfortable and went out of his way to help us out even when we did not ask for it. From the moment we landed in Paro until our return we had someone helping us out. We did not have to wait or have to ask for anything. Highly recommended. Thank you for amazing experience.
Gilford Barton
flagsUnited Kingdom
Oct 06, 2019

Bhutan tour was an amazing experience

Amazing 9 days in beautiful Bhutan, what an experience with Third Rock Adventures !!! Thank you for an amazing 9 days in Bhutan. The itinerary was perfect and so was the pre tour organisation of the tour. My guide was professional, friendly and a wealth of local information. Guide and my driver was accommodating and helpful during the tour. The 4 star/5 star hotels were luxurious and the food there was exceptionally good. The hike to Tiger's Nest was the highlight of my trip, the hike was challenging but it was worth it. Similarly the visit to Bumthang, Phobjikha, Punakha, Paro and Thimpu were also admiring. The monastery at the top was breathtaking and the views phenomenal. The food everywhere was delicious, a combination of Indian, Chinese and Western cuisine. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone and i will definitely come back for other trips with this company. Thank you.

Based on 3 reviews
Very good

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