6 Day/5 Night Sample Itinerary

Itinerary Highlights

  • Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
  • Temple of Fertility
  • Royal Botanical Garden
  • Historic monasteries & dzongs
  • Takin Preserve center
  • Great Buddha Dordenma statue
  • Enjoy delicious Bhutanese food
  • Exploration of Bhutan’s culture and arts



Cost [based on standard three-star hotel]: $1499

Cost [based on four-star hotel]: $1799

Cost [based on five-star accommodation]: Please contact us for details

These per-person costs are based on private groups of 3 people are more; single or couple travelers will incur a small added fee. Please see Pricing page for details. 

The Tour Cost Includes…

  • All Meals [Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner], tea, and coffee
  • Accommodation [twin/double share]
  • Airport transfers
  • All private transportation, with personal driver, within the country
  • Royalty & Government taxes
  • Entrance fees for Museums and Monuments
  • English speaking Local guide
  • Sightseeing

The Tour Cost Does Not Include…

  • Flights to to and from Bhutan
  • Visa fee ($40 USD)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Payments for service provided on a personal basis
  • Personal expense items (laundry, bottled water and soft drinks, camera charges at sites, etc)
  • Incidentals, tips to hotel staff, driver, & guide [see FAQ for suggested amounts]
  • Bank transfer fee from USA to Bhutan ($45 USD)





Day 1: Arrive at Paro*

Welcome to Paro! You will be received by the Representative at the airport and drive to Thimphu (~1 hour drive, 7610 feet/2320m). On the way, view Tamchog Monastery built by Thangthong Gyalpo in the 15th century. He built 108 bridges across Tibet and Bhutan, out of which 8 were built in Bhutan. His only surviving bridge is in Duksum (Tashi Yangtse in Eastern Bhutan).

After lunch, visit Memorial Chorten, a monument dedicated to the Third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The paintings and statues here provide a very rare insight into Buddhist Philosophy. Other highlights include the Changangkha Monastery, Takin Preserve, Sangay Gang viewpoint, and Tashichho Dzong. You’ll also visit one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, the Buddha Dordenma, an impressive 169 feet (52 meters), perched high on a hill over Thimpu.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel Namgay Heritage or similar.

*Activities on this day are dependent on an on-time morning arrival to Paro airport.


Day 2. Thimphu – Punakha (1310 meters)

After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass (~3 hour drive). If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas, and then drive further down and visit the Royal Botanical Garden at Lamperi.

The Royal Botanical park, also known as the Rhododendron Garden at Lamperi is about half and hour drive towards Punakha/Wangdue. With your spirits still high from the visit to the awesome sites of Dochula Pass with its 108 stupas and the beautifully arranged Himalayan mountain ranges, you will descend down to Rhododendron Botanical Garden, a nature reserve rich in flora (46 species of plants!) and fauna. The recorded species are the monal pheasants, blood pheasants, musk deer, tiger, leopard, red panda and the leopard cat. Located 30 Kms from the capital, the park has numerous viewpoints, a lake, and a canteen.

While you are in Punakha, you will visit Punakha Dzong. Built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant.”

After Lunch, excursion to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery.

Dinner and overnight in RKPO Green Resort or similar.


Day 3. Punakha – Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu

After breakfast, you’ll drive to Wangdiphodrang. Enroute stop a while to view the “Temple of Fertility” built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley also popularly known as “Divine Madman” in 15th century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of the Bhutan’s favorite saints; he travelled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) using songs, humor and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings of “salvation through sex.”
After lunch, you’ll drive to Thimphu. Free for shopping in the evening.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel Namgay Heritage or similar.


Day 4: Thimphu to Paro

After breakfast, visit the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts followed by a visit to a painting school & folk heritage museum, famous for carving and free-hand art. After lunch, you’ll visit a Handicrafts Emporium to see the exquisite artistry of traditional crafts and textiles. In the evening, drive to Paro (~1 hour, 7480 feet/2280 meters).

Dinner and overnight in Khangkhu Resort or similar.


Day 5. Paro sightseeing

After an early breakfast, you’ll explore one of the most iconic sites in all of Bhutan: Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery. A short drive from town takes us to the trail to Tiger’s Nest, which climbs through a beautiful pine forest. We’ll stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger. Unfortunately, we don’t have any flying tigers for rent today!

After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower and the national museum of Bhutan. We’ll then explore Rimpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong presently houses administrative offices.

In the evening, visit the Drukgyel Dzong, now in ruins. This dzong was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in 1644; the dzong name’s means indeed “ victorious Druk.” Afterward, we’ll discover Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred monasteries dating from the introduction of Buddhism in the 8th century. This monastery is said to hold the left knee of an Ogress down to the earth, pinned in by a total of 108 temples (6 of which are in Bhutan).

Dinner and overnight in Khangkhu Resort or similar.


Day 5. Departure

Bid farewell to Bhutan and start recounting your fond memories of this magical country! Today you’ll get an early start and take a short drive to the Paro Airport. We’ll see you next time!



Traditional Dress

One of the most distinctive features of the Bhutanese is their traditional dress. Men wear the Gho, a knee-length robe somewhat resembling a kimono that is tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as Kera. The pouch which forms at the front traditionally was used for carrying food bowls and a small dagger. The modern Bhutanese man tends to use it these days for his cell phone and wallet!

Women wear the Kira, a long, ankle-length dress accompanied by a light outer jacket known as a Tego, with an inner layer known as a Wonju. Both styles are modeled above by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.

(photo courtesy of the Queen's Facebook page)

What is a Takin?

The takin is the national animal of Bhutan. Although more closely related to the goat, it is more similar physically to the muskox. On this tour you'll visit the Motithang Takin Preserve in Thimpu to see these gorgeous beasts in person!

The takin has a rich Bhutanese mythology dating to the 15th century.  A Tibetan saint by the name Drukpa Kunley (aka, “The Divine Madman”) is credited with creating the takin with unique features.  The people of Bhutan requested that Drukpa Kunley perform a miracle before them. The saint agreed to do so provided he was fed for lunch: a whole cow and a whole goat. Once served, he devoured the food of both animals and left out the bones. He then took out the head of the goat and fixed it to the skeleton of the cow—with a snap, he created a live animal!