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Western Bhutan Tour 7 days will take you to the major places of western Bhutan. Visit Bhutan also known as ‘The Last Shangri-La,’ where Buddhism is a more way of life than a religion. If the country makes you think about Buddhist monasteries, monks, and intricate thangka painting, you will see all. You will get to witness unspoiled nature and rich culture and traditions here.

Visit Bhutan where Gross National Happiness ranks before the Gross Domestic Product. It is the country that introduced the concept of the Happiness index as well. Pay a visit to Tiger’s Nest which has become Bhutan’s identity. The monastery perched on a cliff is one of the holy places of Bhutan. Immerge in the spiritual vibe of Bhutan and experience the warm local hospitality. It is also an opportunity to get closer to nature. Create memories for a lifetime with Third Rock Adventure’s Marvelous Western Bhutan Tour!

Highlights

  • Take a scenic flight to Paro and enjoy the aerial view of mountains like the second highest peak of Bhutan Mount Jomolhari.
  • Visit ancient fortresses of Bhutan, including Rinpung Dzong, Tashichho Dzong, and Punakha Dzong, which are Bhutan's pride.
  • Learn about Bhutanese medicine with a visit to the National Institute of Medicine.
  • A visit to Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory will give you a broader idea about papermaking's ancient art and the factory outlet is the perfect place to see different paper products.
  • See the national animal of Bhutan Takin up close in Motithang Takin Preserve.
  • Dochula Pass, one of the most beautiful mountain pass overlooks the astounding view of the Himalayas.
  • Visit the sacred Chimi Lhakhang also known as Temple of Fertility. Especially couples who wish to have children pay a visit to the temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley.
  • One of the biggest statues of Buddha in the world, Buddha Dordema overwhelms you.
  • Pay a visit to Gangtey Monastery the oldest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan.
  • Visit the nesting site of rare Black-necked cranes that migrate to Bhutan from Tibet during winter.
  • Hike up to the iconic Tiger’s Nest which is dramatically perched on a cliff.

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Arrival in Paro, explore Paro and drive to Thimphu (1hour 30 minutes/55km)
Day 2 Thimphu Tour
Day 3 Drive from Thimphu to Punakha (2-3 hours/85km) and Punakha Sightseeing
Day 4 Drive from Punakha to Phobjikha (2-3hours/81km) and explore Phobjikha village
Day 5 Drive from Phobjikha to Paro (5 hours/176km) and Paro Tour
Day 6 Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (around 5 to 6 hours)
Day 7 Departure from Paro

Trip Overview

Your Marvelous Western Bhutan Tour starts with a scenic flight to Paro, Bhutan. The trip begins and ends in Paro. In this trip, you will be exploring the iconic places of Bhutan which will amaze you. The centuries-old dzongs, temples, and chortens of Bhutan are an architectural delight as well as the pride of Bhutan. While traveling between cities in Bhutan you will be mostly driving and you will notice greenery everywhere. Moreover, Bhutan's constitution requires it to maintain at least 60% of forest cover at all times.

The beautiful journey in Bhutan starts with a Paro tour and you will be visiting Paro Dzong which is the highpoint of Bhutanese skilled craftsmanship. The 7th-century temple Kichu Lhakhang attracts art connoisseurs and historians alike. You will be driving to Bhutan, Thimphu's capital city and will be visiting a number of significant places in the capital. Bhutan takes pride in its ancient art and crafts and a visit to the School of Arts and Crafts will give you a better understanding. Moreover, the capital also has Junghi Handmade Paper Factory to promote its ancient way of making paper. Also, you can buy paper items from its factory outlet as well. Your Thimphu tour ends with a tour of Tashichho Dzong also called the Fortress of Glorious Religion.

Your next destination is Punakha and on the way, you will be stopping by one of the most beautiful mountain pass Dochula Pass. You can enjoy the astounding panoramic view of the Himalayas from the mountain pass. Temple of Fertility is one of Bhutan's sacred places where couples wishing for a child visit for the blessing. Continue your drive to the 17th Punakha Dzong which is known for its architectural beauty. The next location will be Gangtey Goenpa where rare Black-necked cranes migrate from Tibet during winters. Hike up on a trail lined with pine trees to the iconic Tiger’s Nest which is perched on a cliff. According to legends, Guru Rimpoche flew on the back of a Tigress to meditate here from Tibet. It will be a demanding hike but rewarding at the same time.

In a week-long trip, you will get an insight into Bhutan's rich local culture and tradition. The trip will give you an opportunity to try local Bhutanese dishes and don’t miss out on the famous ema datshi - a chili and cheese dish.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Paro, explore Paro and drive to Thimphu (1hour 30 minutes/55km)

Activities: Visit Paro or Rinpung Dzong, Kichu Lhakhang
Rinpung Dzong Paro Rinpung Dzong - Also known as Paro Dzong means 'Fortress on a Heap of Jewels'

Your trip starts with a flight to Paro and a representative from Third Rock Adventures will receive you at the airport. After having lunch you will be visiting Rinpung Dzong also known as Paro Dzong. You will be crossing a wooden bridge to Paro Dzong which is a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship. It is built in a traditional Bhutanese style with courtyards and temples enclosed with high walls. The dzong also serves as the administrative, religious, military and social center of the district. Further, you will be visiting the oldest and one of the most sacred shrines of Bhutan, Kichu Lhakhang. The 7th-century temple features a 5-meter high statue of Guru Rinpoche and other Kurukulla or Red Tara. After sightseeing Paro you will be driving to the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu in the evening. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2: Thimphu Tour

Activities: Visit King’s Memorial Chorten, School of Arts and Crafts, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, Buddha Point, Motithang Takin Preserve, Tashichho Dzong known as the ‘Fortress of Glorious Religion.’
Tashichho Dzong Tashichho Dzong - one of the prime places to visit in Thimphu

Today you will be touring Thimphu and visiting different noteworthy places in the capital city of Bhutan. You will be visiting King’s Memorial Chorten built in the memory of the late king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. It also stands as a symbol of world peace. Next, you will be visiting the School of Arts and Crafts where you can see traditional Bhutanese paintings. Your next stop is the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. The institute collects medicinal plants from the Himalayas of Bhutan and distributes medicines to regional healthcare all over Bhutan. It also has a small museum with over 300 herbs, minerals and animal parts used in medicines.

Pay a visit to Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory which is known for its traditional handmade paper from the bark of the daphne bush. You will see the entire process of papermaking from soaking and boiling the bark to pressing and drying to paper. You can purchase the items like greeting cards, paper bags, lampshades, and others from the factory outlet. Visit Buddha Dordenma Statue which is popularly called Buddha Point. The massive statue of Buddha dominates Thimphu’s skyline. 51.5 meters or 169 foot tall Buddha is one of the biggest statues of Buddha in the world.

Get a close-up view of the national animal of Bhutan, Takin with a visit to Motithang Takin Preserve. Highly esteemed Takin is a rare king of goat-antelope found in the Eastern Himalayas. Early mornings are the best time to see Takin when they gather near the fence to feed. Your next destination is an impressive Tashichho Dzong situated on the bank of Wang Chuu River. It houses the throne room of Bhutan’s King along with offices of the king, ministries of home affairs and finance and other government offices. The dzong has been the center of the Bhutan government since 1952. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3: Drive from Thimphu to Punakha (2-3 hours/85km) and Punakha Sightseeing

Activities: Visit Dochula Pass, Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong Bhutan Punakha Dzong - Second oldest and second biggest dzong of Bhutan

The day starts with a scenic drive to Punakha and en route, you will be stopping at Dochula Pass located at 3150 meters. On a clear day, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the majestic Himalayas from the mountain pass. The pass features 108 stupas built in the memory of soldiers of the Royal Bhutan Army martyred in a 2003 battle against Indian rebels. Continue the drive to Metshina village followed by a short hike through rice fields to the Temple of Fertility, Chimi Lhakhang. The revered temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley also known as Diver Madman is mostly visited by childless couples. A woman who desires to conceive is made to carry a wooden phallus in her hands and walk around the temple three times.

Further, you will be visiting Punakha Dzong which lies at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu River. The way to one of the most beautiful and grand dzongs of Bhutan is over a wooden cantilever bridge on the Mo Chhu River. Significant occasions in Bhutanese history happened in the 17th century, Punakha Dzong including the wedding of the 5th king of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in 2011. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 4: Drive from Punakha to Phobjikha (2-3hours/81km) and explore Phobjikha village

Activities: Visit Gangtey Goenpa (Gangteng Monastery) and Black Necked Cranes

Today you will be heading to Phojikha after your breakfast. There will be a brief stopover to see Wangdue Phodrang Dzong which is dramatically sitting on a ridge. Further, you will be continuing your journey on meandering roads through dense forest with rhododendron and oak trees till Lawala Pass. After which you will come across dwarf bamboos. The pass overlooks the astounding view of the Himalayas and after a while, you will reach Gangtey or Phobjikha Valley.

Phobjikha is an amazing bowl-shaped glacial valley situated against the backdrop of the Black Mountains and lies on the edge of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. The region is known as Gangtey after a monastery sitting on a ridge above the valley called Gangtey Goenpa. 17th-century Gangtey Goenpa is the largest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. During winter rare Black-necked cranes migrate here from the high Tibetan plateau. The cranes are said to circle three times during their arrival and departure. The monastery also celebrates Black-Necked Crane Festival grandly each year. Overnight in Phobjikha.

Day 5: Drive from Phobjikha to Paro (5 hours/176km) and Paro Tour

Activities: Visit Royal Botanical Garden and Druk Wangyal Monastery and explore Paro Town

Today you will be driving back to Paro and en route, you will be visiting the Royal Botanical Garden and Druk Wangyal Monastery. Royal Botanical Garden lies adjacent to Dochula Pass while Druk Wangyal monastery is inside the pass.

Visit the Royal Botanic Garden which happens to be the first botanical park of Bhutan. The botanical garden is spread in an area of around 125 acres or 51 ha. It also features 46 species of rhododendrons are the main highlight of the park which bloom from mid-March to early August.

Moreover, you will be visiting Druk Wangyal Monastery which was built in the honor of the 4th king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. It is built in traditional Bhutanese architecture and mesmerizes its visitors. Continue your drive to Paro and you can explore the town of Paro in the evening. Overnight in Paro.

Day 6: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (around 5 to 6 hours)

Taktsang Monastery Bhutan Bhutan's cliff-top Tiger's Nest monastery- Located in upper Paro valley in Bhutan and also called Taktsang Palphug Monastery

Tiger’s Nest or Paro Taktsang is a must-visit place in Bhutan. The monastery located on a small cliff is one of the sacred places of Bhutan. Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava is believed to have meditated here in the 18th century. He is said to have flown in a tigress from Tibet and meditated inside a cave.

Enjoy a wonderful hike to the monastery perched on a hill which is around 3000 feet above Paro Valley. The trail is lined with pine trees and during the hike, the monastery appears and disappears out of the trees and mists. The monastery is an architectural delight and the natural vista is pleasing. There are around 8 caves but only 4 are easily accessible. Overnight in Paro.

Day 7: Departure from Paro

After a wonderful western Bhutan tour, you will be bidding farewell to Bhutan. A representative from Third Rock Adventures will drop you at the international airport in Paro. You will be flying back with loads of memories to cherish for a lifetime.  

If you want to extend your trip to other countries Nepal, Tibet, and India besides Bhutan we can arrange it for you.


Other Important Note on This Trip

  • Bhutan Visa is possible only through an authorized travel agent. You need to book a travel package with a licensed tour company to get the visa.
  • Your travel company will process your visa after you send the digital copy of your passport. Further, you need to make a payment of USD 40 plus the price of the tour package for the visa processing. Before booking the air tickets, the Tourism Council of Bhutan needs to approve the visa, and the ministry of Bhutan needs to send a notification to Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines.
  • Make sure your passport has a validity of 6 months or more from the time you reach Bhutan.
  • Tourists in Bhutan need to pay daily tariffs but the citizens from India, Maldives and Bangladesh do not need to pay the daily tariff.
  • Tiger’s Nest Hike will be the most physically demanding aspect of the Marvelous Western Bhutan Tour. One can complete the hike in around 5 to 6 hours to do the trek. Also, you have an option to hire ponies halfway at an additional cost. You do not need any technical skills for this hike.



Trip Reviews

Travel experiences of our clients who recently returned from their trips.
100%

Based on 3 reviews

Ryan Evans
flagsUnited States of America
Nov 13, 2019
Enjoyed the trip to Bhutan
I planned my tour to Bhutan just for 7 days with Third Rock Adventures and the team of this company did a great job of scheduling and advising thru out the planning including our Bhutan visa, airlines ticket, and detail itinerary for every day during our visit. During our trip, we had two great people with us as a guide and driver and they were really outstanding throughout the trip. They have excellent knowledge of the country and the history/background and were very informative. They were also very friendly, flexible, and helpful thru out the trip. We really enjoyed their company and our stay in beautiful Bhutan. Thank you everyone who helped making this holiday a lifetime memory.
Highly recommended.
Samuel Kelly
flagsAustralia
Nov 04, 2019
Beautiful Bhutan Tour
Me and my mother travelled through Bhutan with the knowledgeable guide provided by Third Rock Adventures and our great driver, both warm and friendly from the moment we met them. As well as being fantastic at their jobs, they went over and above in helping us while we were in Bhutan. If you book with Third Rock Adventures, you won't be disappointed. We enjoyed visiting the touristic highlights of Paro, Punakha, Thimpu and Phobjikha. It was a very easy company to work with, they responded quickly to emails and were courteous and helpful when adjusting plans. The entire tour ran smoothly and was extremely enjoyable. The accommodation that had been organised was great and all the people we met were amazing. We certainly saw some of Bhutan's highlights and felt that the tour was good value overall, considering it was all-inclusive.
Mathieu Drapeau
flagsCanada
Sep 05, 2019
A short trip to Bhutan
This was honestly the best trip I had in my life. The trip to Bhutan with Third Rock Adventures was an amazing experience indeed - what a great experience! Bhutan is a beautiful, soul-refreshing, fascinating country and my guide. The staff in Bhutan were welcoming, professional and knowledgeable. As a single female traveler, it was so lovely to have female guides and I really enjoyed spending time with both ladies. During my short stay in Bhutan, I felt that I really got to know a wonderful culture and experienced many different aspects of life there. I will be recommending this tour company to everyone I know! Thank you.
Recommendation

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