Discover the beauty of Bhutan on this 8-day tour. Visit the capital city of Thimphu before being amazed at the jaw-dropping Punakha Valley and Phobjikha Gangtey Gonpa temple. Experience 2 days of the colourful Phobjikha’s Gangtey Tshechu Festival and then reach the oldest Dzong in Bhutan and an 8th century monastery during your drive back to Paro.
- Visit the city of Thimphu and experience its rich culture
- Experience Phobjikha’s Gangtey Tshechu Festival
- Discover Bhutan dzongs, monasteries and temples
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Paro Airport Pick-up – Transfer to Thimphu (L/D)
On arrival in Paro, there will be someone waiting for you at the airport to take you to have lunch and then transfer you to Thimphu in the afternoon. Enjoy the evening at leisure walking around the streets of the town. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 2: Thimphu (B/L/D)
After breakfast go on a sightseeing tour of Thimphu. Visit the Memorial Chorten (Stupa), the Bhutan Textile and the Folk Heritage Museum, the National Library, the School of Fine Arts, and the Zilukha Nunnery. Be amazed at the architecture of the Institute of Traditional Medicine, Tashicho-dzong (the seat of the Royal Government), before discovering the Traditional Handmade Paper Factory and Handicrafts Emporium. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha (B/L/D)
In the morning, drive to Punakha via Dochu La pass (3,050 m), which offers a panoramic view of the spectacular Himalayan mountain range. In the afternoon visit the Punakha Dzong (the ancient winter capital of Bhutan), before arriving to your hotel in Punakha, where you will spend the night.
Day 4: Punakha to Wangdue and Phobjikha/Gangtey (B/L/D)
Have breakfast this morning before setting out on an unforgettable experience to the Gangtey Tshechu festival where locals get dressed up in their finest clothing and gather at the Lhakhang in the valley. Celebrate with them in their sword dancing and ritual ceremonies with masks to cleanse away evil spirits and rejoice in a new harvest. The monks dress up in bright costumes to perform meaningful dances with different purposes. The dancers imitate important deities, demons, animals and heroes as they embody the wrathful, compassionate and comical aspects of them. Onlookers will receive blessings from these traditional dances known as cham and will learn about Buddhist teachings called dharma, which help to protect them from evil and misfortune. Clowns known locally as Atsaras dance comically and wear masks with long red noses as they mimic the dancers. The entire festival takes place at Gangtey Monastery, where rare Black-necked cranes migrate during the winter. Enjoy the day and then take an evening at leisure in the nearby Phobjikha Valley. Overnight in Gantey.
Day 5: Gantey/Phobjikha – Wangdue – Thimphu (B/L/D)
After breakfast visit the Gantey Monastery and the second day of Gangtey Tshe Chu Festival. In the afternoon drive to Thimphu via Wangdue Phodrang, another valley at an altitude of 1,300 metres, situated about a half an hour further south from Punakha. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 6: Thimphu to Paro (B/L/D)
After breakfast, begin your return trip to Paro. Along the way, visit Semtokha Dzong (the oldest dzong in Bhutan), the 8th century Kichu Monastery, the Ta-Dzong National Museum, the Rinpung Dzong fortress and monastery, and Paro’s local market. Overnight in Paro.
Day 7: Paro (B/L/D)
Enjoy breakfast and then drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, the ruins of the fortress and monastery that commemorates the victory over the Tibetan-Mongol Invasions in the 1700’s. Along the way, you can view the sacred Mount Jhomolhari (7,314m), the abode of the Goddess Jhomo. Travel to Satsam Chorten and hike to discover the Taktsang Monastery, the Tiger’s Nest, built on the face of a 1000-metre rock cliff. End the day by visiting a typical Bhutanese farmhouse and experiencing the daily life of the local farmers. Overnight in Paro.
Day 8: Paro Airport Drop-off (B)
After breakfast you will be transferred back to Paro International Airport. An escort will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.