Distinctive and remote, discover the mystery of the last great Himalayan Kingdom.

Bhutan is Asia’s best kept secret. 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.


Start
Thimphu, Bhutan
Finish
Paro, Bhutan
Destination
Bhutan
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
HJKB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • A magical kingdom in the Himalayas nestled between two spiritual hubs, Tibet and India, it would be hard not to feel closer to enlightenment in this hidden paradise.

  • Bhutan is quite possibly the most environmentally friendly country in the world; by law 60% of the country must remain protected national forest and the country actually absorbs more carbon than it uses.

  • Journey to Taktsang, commonly known as the Tiger's Nest, the small monastery clinging to a rocky cliff 900 metres above the valley floor, and soak in its magnificence.

  • While it’s legal to consume imported meat, the slaughtering animals for consumption within Bhutan is outright banned therefore delicious veggie dishes are varied and bountiful at every meal.

  • Hike to the top of Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a monastery built to bring peace to the world, and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding rice terraces.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Despite Bhutan being a small country, you'll experience long travel days as most roads are single lane. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

  • The trek to Tiger's Nest is quite vigorous but well worth the climb. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of this hike, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness.

  • Bhutan is a high-altitude destination, so taking it easy for a day or two makes for a much more comfortable trip. Drinking tea and water and avoiding strenuous exercise will help you acclimatise after arriving.

  • Please be aware that hot water is limited in some places. Speaking of all things heated, the Bhutanese love chilli and the food can be a touch spicy.

  • All meals are included due to the nature of travelling in Bhutan. This means there may be limited choices on some days.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
After arrival at Paro Airport and making your way through immigration and custom formalities, you will be greeted by your guide and driver and warmly welcomed to the enchanting Land of the Thunder Dragon. Drive for approximately 2 hours alongside mountains, rivers, and fields of red rice to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city. After lunch you may visit Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory, Bhutan’s famous traditional incense maker, as well as the colourful Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre. Once everyone has arrived, you’ll have a joining meeting and dinner before wandering and exploring the fascinating streets of Thimphu, the world’s only capital city without a traffic light!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Thimphu - Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre
  • Thimphu - Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Travel in Bhutan is strictly controlled and to do any independent travel outside of a group tour is extremely difficult and expensive to arrange. We provide a group visa for travellers on our tours in Bhutan, which stipulates that all travellers must arrive and depart on the same days that our tour program starts and finishes. For this reason, we are generally not able to provide additional accommodation outside of our tour dates and advise all travellers to book flights in and out of Bhutan that correspond with the start and finish day of the tour. In the rare case that no flights are available and you need to arrive earlier or depart later we are only able to book additional accommodation for you in conjunction with a special individual visa which can add around AUD 1000 to the cost of your tour, to be paid at the time of booking.
Today begins with a pleasant walk that meanders gently up the valley through paddy fields, pristine woodlands and a Tibetan village, a trail that continues uphill (1 hour) to the Cheri Dorji Dhen monastery – built in 1620 by Shabdrung, the first ruler of Bhutan. Enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to Thimpu for an afternoon of sightseeing. Begin by visiting the National Memorial Chorten – many Thimphu residents consider this to be the heart and soul of Thimphu and gather here every day to pray and walk clockwise around the chorten. Afterwards, visit Drubthob Nunnery, the Choki Traditional Art School and the incredible National Textile Museum. If you’re in the mood for a spot of shopping, the National Handicrafts Emporium offers high quality traditional goods, and a small family-run enterprise which manufactures paper and paper products using traditional methods.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Thimphu - National Memorial Chorten
  • Thimphu - Village walk & picnic lunch
  • Thimphu - Choki Traditional Art School
  • Thimphu - Drubthob Nunnery
  • Thimphu - National Textile Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, drive to Punakha – the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. Stop at Dochu-La pass for a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, the majestic Gangkhar Puensum. Continue the journey before taking another break. Enjoy a short walk to visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple built in 1499 by lama Drukpa Kunley. With its three towers, and wonderful location at the confluence of two rivers, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful of Bhutan’s 21 Dzongs. Arrive in Punakha for a good night’s rest before another day of exploration tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Punakha Valley - Chimi Lhakhang
  • Punakha - Punakha Dzong
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Head down to the convergence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers, two of the main rivers of Bhutan, and admire breathtaking views of the majestic Punakha Dzong, the second oldest and second largest Dzong in the country, as well as the cantilever bridge that spans across the river. Afterwards, you might like to join your leader for an optional hike to Khamsum Yulley Monastery – an elaborately decorated chorten, built to ward off evil spirits and bring peace and harmony to all living things. As with many monasteries in Bhutan, your leader will need to hunt around for the caretaker with the keys to have a look inside!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning head back over the Dochu-La and continue to Thimphu (approximately 4 hours) The roads in Bhutan are narrow, and while the distances don’t appear to be very far, due to the nature of the roads and the many valleys they pass through, travelling can take some time – so this is a good chance to relax and refresh. After lunch in Thimpu, continue by vehicle into the Paro Valley. This evening, experience Bhutanese hospitality and a taste of tradition with a home-cooked meal at the rustic Tshering Farm House. Soak up the friendly atmosphere and try your hand at Bhutan's national sport, archery, with an introductory lesson.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Paro - Home cooked dinner & family visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After an early breakfast followed by a short drive, prepare for your hike to the legendary Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) – a magnificent monastery, clinging on a rock cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. After approximately 1 hour ascending the mountainside, reach a small teahouse that has a wonderful panoramic view of the temple and the ideal place to enjoy lunch. For those interested, it’s possible to get a closer view by hiking another 45 minutes to 1 hour (each direction) to reach the small chorten directly across from the temple. Anyone not interested in hiking any further can relax at the teahouse and enjoy the view.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Paro - Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s hike is quite challenging and good quality, comfortable shoes are required. Please remember to drink lots of water and wear layers as it gets quite cold as you ascend. Don't forget a sunhat! You will also be at 3120 metres above sea level so remember to take your time as altitude can have an impact.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before a departure transfer to Paro airport for your flight out of Bhutan.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Due to group visa requirements, all travellers are required to leave Bhutan on the same day.

Meals

6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights)

Included activities

  • Thimphu - Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre
  • Thimphu - Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory
  • Thimphu - National Memorial Chorten
  • Thimphu - Village walk & picnic lunch
  • Thimphu - Choki Traditional Art School
  • Thimphu - Drubthob Nunnery
  • Thimphu - National Textile Museum
  • Punakha Valley - Chimi Lhakhang
  • Punakha - Punakha Dzong
  • Paro - Home cooked dinner & family visit
  • Paro - Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery hike

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Entry to Bhutan is very strict and travellers can only enter Bhutan as part of a group visa on a tour. Please provide Intrepid or your booking agent with a clear uncut scanned colour copy of the two flip pages of the personal details portion of your passport at time of booking. Bhutan Immigration is extremely strict. If one passport scan fails to meet their requirements the whole groups visa will be rejected, thus delaying the process significantly.
2. An airport arrival and departure transfer is included in Bhutan.
3. Please advise all international flight details at least 60 days prior to departure.
4. Please be aware that Bhutan's airlines are renowned for last minute changes to flight timetables into and out of Bhutan. Please allow a minimum of 24 hours transit time before and after your flights into and out of Bhutan. Timetables are available on the Druk Airlines and Air Bhutan websites.
5. All travellers must arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 7 to be eligible for a group visa.
6. A single supplement is available on this trip and is applicable for all nights on tour.
7. All meals are included during your time in Bhutan.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

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