Consider packing your bag with daily essentials.
Wings of the Dragon
A delectable little-visit piece of Asia, Bhutan entices travellers with its history and culture, and an array of attractive scenery adorned by wonderful flora and fauna.
Reviews 5 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Adult Group
Activity Level Moderate Leisure
Group Size Minimum
A delectable little-visit piece of Asia, Bhutan entices travellers with its history and culture, and an array of attractive scenery adorned by wonderful flora and fauna. It’s a dynamic mix of man and nature, where Buddhist philosophies endure with a sentiment of compassion for all living beings. Bhutan makes an excellent spot for bird watching. In any corner of Bhutan, you can see beautiful birds.
Bhutan is home to over 500 species of Himalayan birds and because Bhutan’s natural scenery is practically unruffled, the birds keep staying or keep returning. We’d be delighted to share with you the many sides of this very rewarding destination and all the sights it has to offer.
- 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 Rinpong 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. Dzongs are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Overnight stay at Paro.
Numerous birds can be seen at Paro itself. You can see the Crested Goshawk, Oriental Turtle-dove, Brown Dipper, Plumbeous Redstart and Blue Whislting Thrush among others.
PARO - THIMPHU
The capital of Bhutan lies about two hours drive from Paro. 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. Halt overnight at Thimphu.
Many birds like House Martin, Crested Pied Kingfisher, Ibisbill, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, White-tailed Nuthatch, Black-capped Sibia and Spotted Nutcracker can be seen 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 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.
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. 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 your hotel in Punakha. We will take an entire day to drive to Punakha because bird watching can be done this entire route.
The Birds that can be viewed are Golden Bush-Robin, Edwards Rosefinch, Hoary Barwing, Plain –backed Thrush and Red Crossbills.
Today we will take the central highway to Phobjika Valley. At the head of the valley is the village of Gangtey. Gangtey is a delight for bird watchers. You can see the White-winged Grosbeak, Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Blood Pheasant, Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler, Spotted Laughingthrush among many others. Halt overnight at Gangtey.
Today we will be driving to Tronga. Here you can visit the Trongsa Dzong. Before you reach Trongsa, the leisurely ride will be across forested areas. The road will take you up to the Pelela pass located at 3400m. On the way you can sport the Black-throated Parrotbills and Spotted Forktail along with Blue Magpies. Halt Overnight at Trongsa.
Morning visit to Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Built in 1647, it is the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan. Also see Ta Dzong, the watchtower built to defend this Dzong. After lunch, proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the lodge in Bumthang. At Bumthang, you can see the , White-browed Bush-Robins, Slaty-Blue Flycatcher, Collared Grosbeak, Gold-naped Finch, Blue-fronted Redstart among a whole range of about 50 different bird species.
Bumthang is the general name given to a group of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000m (8,530-13,125ft). This area is home to many ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries. We will visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa, which contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later on we will visit Jakar Dzong, "the castle of the white bird", the administrative center of the region.
In the afternoon, we will visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in Bhutan as Guru Rinpoche meditated here, and later on Jambey Lhakhang which was erected in the 7th century, when Buddhism was first introduced into Bhutan. Evening visit to local shops. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
After an early morning visit to Bumthang's market, we will set off on the 7 hour drive back to Thimphu, taking lunch en route at a famous restaurant in Trongsa town. We will then drive on through the mountains and down to Wangduephodrang, where we will take a short break for tea/coffee before proceeding on the final stage of our journey to Thimphu. On arrival at Thimphu, check in at the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Free morning in Thimphu for shopping and leisure, then after lunch drive to Paro for an overnight stay.
After breakfast you will be taken to the airport for departure.
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).