Consider packing your bag with daily essentials.
Bhutan in Style
Unknown to most visitors, Bhutan’s Phobjika Valley, a less visited place, dazzles with its vast tranquil scenery, lively little hamlets, and houses decorated with traditional motifs.
Reviews 5 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Adult Group
Activity Level Easy Leisure
Group Size Minimum
Unknown to most visitors, Bhutan’s Phobjika Valley, a less visited place, dazzles with its vast tranquil scenery, lively little hamlets, and houses decorated with traditional motifs. On this inspired, beautiful leisurely journey, there are excursion options for all levels.
Driving into the Phobjika Valley and Bumthang, we discover its serene open lands and see both native and migratory birds and stay at some of the best hotels in Bhutan, where you can spend your mornings and evenings in careless abandon.
- Bhutan visa
- All transfers including airport collections in Paro
- Twin share or double rooms at all places on the itinerary
- All meals and mineral water included while in Bhutan
- All tour arrangements including Bhutanese guide (English speaking trained and licensed by the Department of Tourism).
- Private vehicle and driver
- All entry fees to museums and sites where applicable
- Financial protection insurance with International Passenger Protection
- Pre departure support and advice from Bhutan Dragon Adventure by email, phone or face to face meetings in Paro. After booking with us we will send our comprehensive “Bhutan Pre Trip Information” notes
- International flight to/from Paro.
- Travel insurance
- Use of bar and beverages in hotel, laundry, telephone calls or internet and personal shopping
- Tips to your guide and driver
- Other items not listed in “What is included”.
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our representative from Bhutan Dragon Adventures will meet you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities. After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan's historical, cultural, and religious past.
Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong's are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours) following the Pachu River. Before dinner at the hotel there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide. Overnight at Le Meridien Hotel or Hotel Taj Tashi.
Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation's bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, completed by the Royal Queen Mother as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and the Zilukha Nunnery.
If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market (Open only from Friday until mid Sunday). Overnight at Le Meridien Hotel or Hotel Taj Tashi.
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour. Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan.
On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the "Palace of Great Happiness" built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the 'Unifier of Bhutan'. It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan's first king was crowned. We spend the night at Uma by Como.
Today, visit Chimi Lhakhang, temple of Drukpa Kuenly. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it's not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility. Overnight at Uma by Como.
In the morning we will drive to the beautiful Phobjikha valley. Phobjika is famous as the land of the Blacknecked cranes that migrate every year to this valley in winter. We drive through the Lawala Pass at 3,360m to descend to the valley.
Phojikha is often called Gangtey after the name of the monastery in this valley. Overnight Gangtey Goenpa Lodge.
We will spend an entire day walking around the valley and enjoying the scenary. Or just relax in the stunning hotel located with a wonderful view of the valley. Overnight Gangtey Goenpa Lodge
After breakfast proceed towards Bumthang (7 hrs), the spiritual heart of the kingdom. Enroute, we will visit the Trongsa Dzong. Bumthang is home to some of Bhutan's oldest Palaces, Buddhist temples and monasteries. On arrival, visit Jakar Dzong (Dzong of the White Bird) and 16th century Tamshing Lhakhang containing ancient Buddhist wall paintings.
After lunch visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom and 7th Century Jambay Lhakhang. Overnight at Amankora Bumthang.
Enjoy a day exploring some of the many sites around Bumthang, including the 16th century Tang Ugyen Chholing Palace museum containing an overview of traditional rural life in Bhutan and the pool of Mebartso (The Lake of Fire) where Pemalingpa (founder of the Nyingmapa sect) is said to have found treasure hidden by Guru Rinpoche. Overnight at Amankora Bumthang.
Take a 45 minute flight to Paro from Bumthang. Overnight stay at Zhiwa Ling Hotel, Paro.
After breakfast make day hike to Famous Tiger's Nest "TAKTSANG" Monastery and hike up which would take Two Hours up and approximately One Hour down. Stop at Taktsang Tea House "Cafeteria" for refreshment of Tea & Coffee and on your return back from monastery.
Taktsang is at 2900mts. Hike for another half an hour and you reach the Great and Magnificent Taktsang where you will be greets by the monks who live there and Special Bhutanese Butter Visit the most important monastery were the Guru Rimpoche was flying on a Flaming Tigress from Singye Dzong in Eastern Bhutan to here and meditated for Three Months and flourishment of Buddhism in Paro started from 8th Century. Walk down to the Tea House for Vegetarian Lunch.
After Lunch walk down hill and drive to Drukgyel Dzong and on the way enjoys the view of the Taktsang Monastery, also known as "Tiger's Nest temple". Near the Drukgyel Dzong, if the sky is clear we can see the Mt. Chomolhari on the background. Overnight at Zhiwa Ling.
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek!
Consider packing your bag with daily essentials.
Le Méridien Thimphuinvites the discerning guest to engage and discover the legendary 'Land of the Thunder Dragon', Bhutan. Their 78 spaciously appointed guest rooms & suites are culturally inspired, yet decidedly chic and contemporary. With cosmopolitan surroundings amidst the bustling commercial streets of the city-centre, and a convenient location to many of the city's myriad attractions, the Le Méridien Thimphu is a compelling choice for hosting business meetings, and the perfect jumpstart to that long awaited leisurely holiday.
Taj Tashipart of Taj group of hotels, was built in 2008 and designed to blend Bhutan’s traditional Dzong with modern architecture. This hotel is located in the centre of Thimphu and allows guests to explore the capital city of Bhutan on foot. Their 66 rooms and suites are spacious and decorated in traditional Bhutan style with Buddhist murals. The hotel has four restaurants that combine Bhutanese with Tibetan and European cuisines. There is a spa featuring a ‘Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath’ and also sauna, Jacuzzi, indoor heated swimming pool and fitness centre.
Uma by COMOPunakha offers guests exceptional access to some of Bhutan’s most celebrated landscapes and historic sites, including the famous Temple of the Divine Madman and the imposing Punakha Dzong. With nine hillside Valley View rooms, and two free-standing luxury private villas (one One-Bedroom Villa and one two-bedroom COMO Villa), Uma Punakha provides luxury in the wilderness in signature COMO style. The Bukhari restaurant serves both local and international cuisine, while the standalone COMO Shambhala Retreat offers traditional holistic therapies.
Gangtey Goenpa Lodgewill offer a luxurious and interactive experience in the Gangtey Valley. The Lodge draws upon the inspiration of the unique and beautiful Bhutanese rural architecture down to the very last detail. Designed by Mary Lou Thomson, who has worked on some of the world's most prestigious resort projects, the interiors and furnishings showcase aspects of the vibrant local culture. The focal point of the lodge is an informal lounge and dining space with wall to ceiling views of the valley below. Plush leather sofas and rich fabrics invite guests to share the day's adventures around two impressive fireplaces encased in local stone. The twelve beautifully appointed guestrooms, each with their own cosy fireplace, reflect the rich cultural heritage with warm fabrics and earthen tones.
Amankora Bumthang (Jakar)is the most easterly and newest Aman properties in Bhutan. Amankora has been named by combining aman, the Sanskrit-derived word for ‘peace’, and kora or ‘circular pilgrimage’ in Dzongkha, the Bhutanese language. Amankora Bumthang has been built using natural materials and there is an impressive dzong-inspired hallway at the entrance that opens onto a Library and a comfortable Living Room appointed with lounge chairs, daybeds and a traditional bukhari. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of a landscaped courtyard adjoining the shared Palace grounds. Adjacent is the Dining Room with its soaring ceiling. Outdoor dining areas under the shade of local fruit trees are also provided in the courtyard. The Spa offers three treatment rooms and a steam room.
Zhiwa Linghotel combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with the best of 21st Century technology. Envisioned and created by a local Bhutanese company, the hotel’s elaborate hand-carved wooden cornices and masterful stonework coexist beautifully with cutting-edge telecommunication systems and Swedish under-floor heating. Set on 10 acres, Zhiwa Ling has many amenities available to guests. The spa offers all the facilities guests could want; a fitness centre, sauna, steam room as well as a traditional Bhutanese outdoor hot-stone bath. There is a business centre, Tea House, two fully equipped conference rooms, a Meditation House and the hotel has its own greenhouse. The two restaurants specialise in contemporary international cuisine and classic Bhutanese dishes.
Comfortable shoes i.e trail shoes or trainers.
Flip flops or sandals.
Travel clothes. You will need clothing as follows:
Lightweight waterproof jacket.
Casual long sleeved shirt with collar (for visits to Dzongs).
Socks and underwear etc.
Please carefully read Ethics and Etiquette paragraph for dress code when visiting Dzongs.
Bandana or face mask
Toiletry bag include toilet paper, soap, towel, toothbrush, etc.
Headtorch. Useful during power cuts.
Backpack for day trips. Recommended size is 15 to 20 litres.
DRESS CODE AND CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR ENTERING DZONGS & MONASTERIES
Depending on whom you talk to the exact dress code for dzongs, monasteries and lhakhangs can differ. Use the details below to assist with your planning and we recommend you discuss each days visits with your guide to reconfirm appropriate attire.
Go for smart casual look such as long sleeved shirt with collar i.e no T shirts or short sleeved shirts.
Full length trousers or long skirts (ankles must be covered) i.e no shorts, ¾ length trousers or short skirts.
Shoes with socks covering ankles i.e no sandals or slippers.
No hats and umbrellas allowed.
Photographs are only allowed to be taken in the courtyard of most monasteries.
Walking around Buddhist temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
Turn off your mobile/ cell phone and talk in a quiet tone.
It is customary to give a small donation when visiting a monastery.
The Royal Government of Bhutan has a strict policy to preserve its cultural and traditional values.
All lakes in Bhutan are believed to be inhabited by spirits therefore no fishing, swimming or throwing stones is permitted.
Do not disturb or feed wildlife or do anything to destroy their natural habitat.
Do not use detergent in or near rivers, for personal washing use biodegradable soap at least 50m from any watercourse.
Do not give sweets, pens or gifts to children or distribute medicine to villagers (there is a network of Basic Health Units operated by Bhutan Government throughout the country).
Do not purchase local household items or religious artefacts from villagers, please note that antiques may not be taken out of the country.
Please respect the culture and traditions of local people (trek crew, villagers or pack animal owners).