Consider packing your bag with daily essentials.
Eastern Bhutan Tour
It’s a rare traveller who doesn’t want to visit Bhutan, a deeply fascinating country with tremendous sensational natural beauty—particularly the Eastern part.
Reviews 5 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Adult Group
Activity Level Easy Leisure
Group Size Minimum
It’s a rare traveller who doesn’t want to visit Bhutan, a deeply fascinating country with tremendous sensational natural beauty—particularly the Eastern part. We’ve crafted this trip to reveal its innumerable charms, exploring Bhutan’s eastern corner along with a slight tour of the capital too.
From Paro to the magnificent Punakha valley, we delve into peaceful hidden corners of the country where we meet affable locals as we walk alongside some of the most mystical sights you will ever see in the Himalayas.
Continuing along Bhutan’s silent roads, we reach Phobjikha, and make our way to Trongsa, with places overhung by old forts and monasteries which hold centuries-old Buddhist manuscripts and hundreds of monks engaged in the old world chants or silent meditation.
- 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 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. Dzong's are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Before dinner at the hotel there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is an important pilgrim site for Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Afterwards drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, and 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Enjoy a day trip to the Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass (3900m), Haa Valley is characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain and unique architecture. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
PARO – THIMPHU
Drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours). Once a rustic village sitting in a broad river valley, Thimphu is today the nation's 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. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and the Zilukha Nunnery. If your visit coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
Continue sightseeing in Thimphu. Visit the School for Arts and Crafts, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Traditional Paper Factory and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum. If there is time, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, and Tashichhodzong, 'the fortress of the glorious religion' housing some ministries, His Majesty's secretariat, and the central monk body. Other options for the day include a hike to Tango and Cheri Monasteries (45 mins), two of the most ancient monasteries in the Thimphu region. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into the Punakha valley (3 hrs). 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, built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the 'Unifier of Bhutan'. 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. After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of Drukpa Kuenly. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangdue.
PUNAKHA – PHOBJIKHA VALLEY
Transfer to Phobjikha Valley (3 hrs) via the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang. Drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests, and over a high pass down into the picturesque Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan's few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. After lunch visit the Phobjikha Sanctuary to view the majestic black necked cranes (Nov-Mar only) and Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), dating back to the 16th century. Overnight at your hotel in Phobjikha.
PHOBJIKA VALLEY – TRONGSA
Depart over the Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range towards Trongsa. Enroute visit the beautiful 18th century Chendebji Chorten. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan's ruling dynasty. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest Dzong in Bhutan and the Ta Dzong museum housing a collection of historical artefacts of the Royal Family. Overnight at your hotel in Trongsa.
TRONGSA – BUMTHANG
After breakfast proceed towards Bumthang (2.5 hrs), the spiritual heart of the kingdom. 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 your lodge in Jakar, 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 your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang
BUMTHANG – MONGAR
The journey to Mongar takes about 6 hours with spectacular views en route. Drive through Ura village before climbing sharply to the highest point on Bhutan's road network, Thrumsing-La Pass (4,000m). From here, the road gradually passes through picturesque alpine valleys, pine forests, maize fields and hamlets to reach Mongar town. Visit Mongar Dzong, built in the 1930′s using the traditional process without either plans or the use of nails. Overnight at your lodge in Mongar.
MONGAR – TRASHIGANG
Drive to Trashigang (3 hrs) through leafy forests filled with ferns and over Kori-La Pass (2,450m) before descending through cornfields and banana groves to reach the famous road zigzag just below Yadi. Trashigang is the main township of the largest district in the country. After lunch visit Trashigang Dzong. Overnight at your lodge in Trashigang
TRASHIGANG (Excursion to Tashiyangtse)
Visit the temple of Gom Kora and Doksum Village where you can see women busily weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric before reaching Tashiyangtse, the administrative centre for this district. The area is famous for its unique wooden crafts. Visit the Tashiyangtse Dzong, and the dazzling white stupa of Chorten Kora and the nearby institute for Zorig Chusum, where student are trained in Bhutan's 13 traditional arts and crafts. Overnight at your lodge in Trashigang.
TRASHIGANG – SAMDRUP JONGKHAR
After breakfast drive to Samdrup Jongkhar, the gateway to eastern Bhutan and to Assam, India. It is about 9 hours drive from Trashigang with many beautiful villages and landscapes on the way. Overnight at your hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.
SAMDRUP JONGKHAR – GUWAHATI
After breakfast, your guide will arrange an Indian vehicle your transfer to Guwahati, the capital town of the Indian north-eastern state of Assam, for your onward flight.
Consider packing your bag with daily essentials.
Tourist hotels tend to provide meals buffet-style which gives you the opportunity to try a variety of Bhutanese dishes. In the larger hotels a la carte service is also available, although they do not always have everything on the menu. Thimphu has a pizza restaurant (the Seasons) and there is a good café in the centre of Thimphu (near the Swiss bakery) called the Art Café which serves sandwiches, cake and filter coffee.
Please note that there is currently a shortage of hotel accommodation in Bhutan especially during festivals or the peak trekking season of October. We reserve rooms at all hotels in advance but the bookings are never certain until the group check in on the day. Bearing this in mind we will reserve rooms in the following hotels:
Thimphu: Peaceful Resort, Hotel Pedling or Hotel Wangchuk.
Punakha: Meriphuensum Resort or Damchen Resort
Bumthang: Swiss Guesthouse, Hotel Mipham, Garden Hotel or River Lodge
Phobjikha: Dewachen Hotel.
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).