Get lost in the charm of Bhutan's magical Dragon Kingdom

Bhutan is the little secret of Asia. Overshadowed and nestled between China and India, it is a relatively new travel spot, with many undiscovered secrets in its natural scenery and quiet townships. The land is dotted with red-clothed monks, ancient Buddhist temples and friendly smiles. It is one calm country, where gross national happiness is more important than money, where chillies are used as a vegetable rather than for spice, and the thunder dragon, Druk, is emblazoned on the national flag, symbolising the people of Bhutan: loyal, patriotic and living with a total sense of belonging within the kingdom.

Thimphu, Bhutan
Paro, Bhutan
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16
Carbon offset
227kg pp per trip


  • View ancient Buddhist texts in Thimphu
  • Explore the picturesque Punakha Valley
  • Visit one of Bhutan’s oldest private monasteries, Gangte Goemba
  • Journey to the sacred Jambay Temple
  • Hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery


Embark on a winding trip to the valley of Thimphu. After settling in, take in the sights of the city with an orientation walk along the main street and visit a chorten that was built in 1974, in memory of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Examine an impressively rare collection of Buddhist texts in the National Library and gain some insight into Bhutanese rural life.
Journey back over the Lawa La (pass) and through the scenic Punukha Valley. Visit Punakha Dzong, one of the largest monasteries in Bhutan, to admire the detailed woodcarvings and prayer halls. Add some calm and serenity to the day by checking out the 15th-century Buddhist monastery Chimi Lhakhang before walking to the Khamsum Yueling Temple for a picnic lunch.
Explore the glacial Phobjikha Valley and admire the diversity of its glorious flora and fauna. Later view the Gangte Goemba, where the head lama is the ninth incarnation of the body of Pema Lingpa – the famous 14th-century blacksmith from Bumthang. Pema Lingpa became one of Bhutan's most famous Buddhist saints and teachers. Keep an eye out for rare birdlife, watch locals at work in farms and get in touch with the rural way of life.
Head across Himalayan passes before taking a tea break at Chendebji Chorten. Stop at Trongsa for lunch and to explore the Trongsa Dzong. Drive through the Chumney Valley and the village of Zugney, where yak wool weaving is the local trade. The following day, take a walking tour though the Bumthang Valley; Padmasambhava frequented here when delivering the Buddha’s messages to Bhutan. Explore the Jambay Temple, one of the 108 temples built by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. This is one of Bhutan’s most holy religious sites; the guide will apply for special permission to gain access to this sacred place.
Jump off the plane in Paro and head to Ta Dzong, a 17th-century watchtower, which has been converted into a National Museum. After weaving through the Bhutanese antiquities, spend the afternoon relaxing with a spicy meal of phing (glass noodles and herbed vegetables) or a glass of butter tea (yak butter infused with tea leaves). Drive out of town, then hike up into the clouds to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery for an insight into Bhutan legends and Tantric mythology. Ease up for a quiet tea in the hillside or continue the hike to reach a small chorten. Perhaps sit down with another spicy meal as a group and cheers a glass of ara (rice wine) to the end of a spiritual and tranquil trip in the Dragon Kingdom.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
Hotel (8 nights)
Included activities
  • Bumthang Valley - Kyichu Lhakhang
  • Gangte - Gangtey Goemba Monastery
  • Paro - Tadzong Museum & Trongsa Dzong
  • Paro - Tiger's Nest Monastery
  • Punakha - Punakha Dzong
  • Thimpu - National Library


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Important notes

1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
3. Please provide Intrepid or your booking agent with a scanned copy of the personal details page from your passport at time of booking.
4. Please be aware that Bhutan's national carrier Druk Air is renowned for last minute changes to its flights timetable in and out of Bhutan. Intrepid hold no responsibility for delay, cancellation or unavailability of flight or missed connections. Timetables are available on the Druk Airlines website:
5. All travellers must arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 9 to be eligible for a group visa. See Trip Notes for more details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes


Our Dragon Kingdom trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 8 reviews in the last year.

Dragon Kingdom , May 2015

Dragon Kingdom , May 2015