Traditional culture thrives in Bhutan and on this relaxed small group tour you will have a whole week to explore the most secretive.
Visual richness is plentiful - in everything from the art, craft and architecture to the panoramic mountain views and colourful rhodendron valleys. On this Bhutan cultural tour we have combined a carefully balanced mix of hikes, mountain drives and pristine landscapes with visits to cities, monasteries, dzhongs, craft workshops and even a local farmhouse.
You’ll start your tour in the capital Thimpu where you’ll see the traditional, the religious and the modern are learning co-exist. There may now be cars on the roads but it still retains its relaxed, small town feel. You’ll get a real understanding of how beauty has motivated creativity here as a local guide takes you to visit paper factories, the folk museum, gold and silver workshops, textile centres and Zo Rig Chusum - where young students study 'the thirteen crafts'.
You’ll then head onward to Punakha, Bhutan’s former capital and home to one of its most beautiful Dzongs before setting off into its vast protected natural areas in search of glacial valleys, hill top monasteries, black necked crane gatherings and Bhutanese national treasures housed in a former watch factory.
No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a hike up to its most iconic monastery, the Taktsang or ‘Tiger’s nest’. Perched 900 meters above the beautiful Paro valley, it is more than worth the uphill climb into the clouds as the spectacular views will attest.
Day 01: Arrival Paro International airport / transfer to Thimpu (2300m) – 2 hrs. drive
During the flight, on a clear day, you can see breathtaking views of the Himalaya Mountains, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake Peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
If time permit in the afternoon you can visit the following places:
In the evening you can drive to the capital town of Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimpu sightseeing
There are a good many things to see in the capital which has a very relaxed, laid-back feel about it. Thimphu is relatively small having a population of approximately 45,000 people and the streets are wide and tree lined. You will almost certainly visit the Late King's Memorial Chorten, the National Library, Drubthob Nunnery, Folk Heritage Museum, the handmade paper factory, the school of arts and crafts where young students learn the traditional arts and crafts (Zo Rig Chusum – the thirteen crafts), Gold and the Silver Smiths workshop, Zangtopelri Lhakhang, and the Handicraft Emporium and the local handicraft centers to see the weavers at work and also varieties of textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, jewellery etc
Day 03: Thimpu / Punakha (1250m.) 3-4 hrs. drive
After breakfast you will drive to Punakha, with a stop en route for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. After lunch at Wangduephodrong continue to drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, and visit Punakha Dzong, which is noteworthy both for being one of the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan and also for having been built by the first Shabdrung in 1636.
Day 04: Excursion to Gangtey (2890m.) / Wangdiphodrang (1460m.) – 5-6 hrs. drive
Visit Gangety (Phobjikha) Is one of the few flacial valleys in Bhutan and chosen home for Black Neck Cranes Which migrate from the central Asiatic Plateau to escape its harsh winters. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit to Gangtey Monastery the only Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. Evening you will return to Wangdiphodrang for overnight stay.
Day 05: Wangdiphodrang / Paro (2260m.) – 3-4 hrs. drive
Today we drive along the winding mountain road to Paro. Afternoon, tour of Bhutan's national museum, a fascinating place housed in an old watchtower above the huge Paro Dzong (monastery/fortress). The museum holds a fantastic collection of Bhutanese national treasures ranging from ancient armour to textiles and thangkha paintings. Then, we drive to the head of the valley and visit Drukgyel Dzong built in a location that was chosen for its control over the route to Tibet. A spectacular view of Mount. Jumolhari (23,996ft /7314m) can be seen from here. Also visit Rinpung Dzong and a typical Bhutanese farm house.
Day 06: Paro - hike to Taksang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery)
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to reach the viewpoint to the monestery makes for a nice half-day excursion. After lunch you can visit other important site which you could not complete previous days.
Day 07: Departure
After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport to connect flight for onward destination.
From the time I emailed them until we left they were always good about communicating. They tailored a trip to exactly what we wanted. They even contacted us after the trip to make sure that we were happy with how everything went.
The only hiccup was we went specifically during Holi week because we wanted the full immersion of the culture and on Holi day everything was closed so we paid for a day but did not really get to do much. But our driver/guide was Buddhist instead of Hindu so he took us around for a few hours and then we were on our own the rest of that day.
But otherwise Nepal was the most amazing experience ever and this tour company helped make it that way.
We asked friendship tour to organise a trip to Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet Tour. The trip was perfect, guides and drivers punctual knowledgeable and very plesant! Everything was spot on! Thank you for a great tour and a fantastic experience! Highly recommended!
This was one of our best trips ever! The guides and drivers were exceptional. Our interests are plants and animals. Our guide and driver customized our trip and went far out of their way to be helpful. The Eco Hotel in Kathmandu upgraded us to a suite when we came back before our departure home. The hotel staff in Kathmandu went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The view from our hotel in Bandipur, Nepal was breathtaking and world class.
When you see the Himalayas reflected in Fewa Lake in Pokara, you have seen one of the most beautiful sights in the world. The monasteries in Bhutan were stunning, especially Tiger's Nest. The guide and driver in Bhutan were very well educated and knowledgeable. The guide in Chitwan took us to see baby elephants, on an elephant ride and a boat trip with numerous bird sightings. There were excellent vegetarian choices in the hotel in Chitwan. Thank you to Friendship Tours for a GREAT TRIP!
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