10-Day Heart of Bhutan
10-Day Heart of Bhutan tour encompasses the western and central region of Bhutan and you will experience differences in landscape, architecture, people and culture as you traverse through Bhutan. Explore further into interior of Bhutanese land from Trongsa to the enticing valley of Bumthang popularly known as the spiritual heart of the Kingdom.
- Accommodation (twin sharing basis) in Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) certified 3 star hotels
- All meals
- All internal transport in a SUV or Mini Bus
- A licensed tour guide and a driver during the tour
- Entrance fees and activities as per itinerary
- All taxes and charges
- Government Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of US $ 65 per night
- One time visa processing fee of US $ 40
- All drinks, laundry and items of a personal nature
- Tips and gratuities
- Flight tickets
Upon cancelation of the tour after booking, the following charges apply:
- Cancelled 40+ days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – Full Refund
- Cancelled 35-39 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – 50% Refund
- Cancelled 30-34 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – 25% Refund
- Cancelled within 30 days prior to arrival date in Bhutan – No Refund
Day 1: Arrive in Paro
You will be received by our guide at the airport.
First visit to Paro Rinpung Dzong, a fortress consecrated in 1646 as the administrative and monastic center of the western Bhutan. Enjoy the grandeur of this fortress gazing at the the paintings, enormous walls, stunning architecture and the courtyard. Next, drive uphill to Ta Dzong (National Museum) and get oriented with Buddhist relics, art and handicrafts that will throw some lights in understanding Bhutan’s culture and history. Then drive to the 7th century temple, Kyichu Lhakang, one of 108 temples constructed by Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. Next, drive to the capital city of Thimphu (approx. 1 hr 20 mins). If you wish, you may stroll around the town in the evening after checking into your room(s). Night halt in Thimphu.
Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing
Next morning, we will drive up the hill to see the 169 feet (51.4 meters) tall statue of Shakyamuni Buddha called the Dordenma. Then visit the school for Bhutanese traditional arts and crafts the Institute of Zorig Chusum (the 13 crafts). Next visit Zilukha Nunnery to meet Bhutanese nuns.
Visit Mothithang Takin Preserve to see the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin which is supposed to be found only in the eastern Himalayas. Next, stop at a 12th century monastery called Changangkha Lhakhang, almost all new born babies in Thimphu get their names here. Then visit National Memorial Chorten (stupa) built in memory of our third king of Bhutan who passed away in 1972. In the evening, visit Tashichhodzong, the administrative and monastic body residence. Night halt in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha (Approx 2 hr 30 mins)
After 45 minutes’ drive uphill, stop at Dochula, a mountain pass at 3100 meters, on a clear day you can capture incredible view of distant Himalayan mountain ranges and walk through the 108 Druk Wangyal Chorten (Stupa). Before reaching Punakha, stop at Chhimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility situated on a spherical hillock built in 1499. Walk about 15 minutes through a village and paddy fields. There is an interesting history behind this sacred place about Drukpa Kuenley whose crazy wisdom of teaching Buddhism through sexual references using wooden Phallus, because of which he is commonly referred as ‘The Divine Madman’.
Hike up to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel chorten built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. It is about 30 minutes hike from a bridge, through rice fields. You will enjoy the scenic green valley downhill reverberating peace and tranquility surrounding you.
Night halt in Punakha.
Day 4: Punakha to Trongsa
In the morning, visit Punakha Dzong across a cantilever bridge built by Zhabdrung in 1637 at the confluence of two big rivers – Pho chu (male) and Mo chu (female). This Dzong holds a great significance in history of Bhutan. It was here that the first king was crowned in 1907, it is also the winter resident of Je Khenpo (the Chief Abbot).
Trongsa is a district in central Bhutan which has a great political importance. On the way we pass through Pele La, a mountain pass at 3,390 meters from where we descend down the mountains and enjoy the sights of rural settlements through richness.
Stop for a while over an 18th century Chendebji Chorten (2430 m) which bears some resemblance to Bodhanath temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. After about one hour drive from here, we can view the most imposing Trongsa Dzong across a deep canyon majestically elevated on a hill. Halt in Trongsa.
Day 5: Trongsa to Bumthang
Bumthang is Bhutan’s spiritual center and has some of the oldest religious sites with mesmerizing landscapes and breathtaking scenery. Drive to Bumthang from Trongsa is approximately about 3 hours, crossing over the highest mountain pass of the region, Yotongla pass at 3,425 meter. Descend down to Chumey valley through evergreen thick forests, meadows, barley fields, apple orchards, and dots of traditional houses. Stop at Yathra weaving center at Chumey to see the weavers with their yarns busy weaving the most popular textile of the region, Yathra.
Once we reach Bumthang, visit Jakar Dzong built in 1549 on a hill top believed to be the site chosen after an omen indicated by nestling of a ‘white bird’ which is the translation of Jakar. Later, stroll around shops of handicrafts and dairy products in Jakar town.
Night halt in Bumthang.
Day 6: Bumthang Sightseeing
Next, visit some of the most venerated temples in the valley like, Kurje Lhakhang where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated in the 8th century and Tamshing Monastery built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa considered as being a great treasure revealer. Visit Mebar Tsho (the Burning Lake), one of the most sacred sites of the region located about 30 minutes’ drive.
In late 15th century, it is believed that Pema Lingpa (the treasure discoverer) jumped into this lake and emerged with a treasure box, a paper scroll and a butter lamp still alight proving his claims to be true about hidden treasures by Guru Padmasambhava centuries ago. Night halt in Bumthang.
Day 7: Bumthang to Phobjikha
One of the most stunning sites is Phobjikha valley, and during the winter (November -March) is the habitat of endangered migratory bird Black Necked Cranes that fly from the Tibetan plateau. Visit Gangtey Goempa founded in 1613, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Overnight at Phobjikha valley.
Day 8: Phobjikha to Paro
Journey from Gangtey to Paro is approximately 7 hrs. From Gangtey the road gradually descends into the gentle valleys of Wangdue and Punakha and further climb up through Dochula Pass and again down to Thimphu valley.
Onward to Paro. Overnight in Paro.
Day 9: Tiger’s Nest Hike
People often say that your visit to Bhutan is incomplete without a trip to Taktsang. Built in 1692, Taktsang literally means ‘Tiger’s Nest’ in Paro, is perched amazingly on a rocky cliff believed to be the cave where Guru Rinpoche is believed to have flown on a tigress’s back and meditated for years to subdue evil demons.
We hike uphill for 2 to 3 hours to reach the monastery. The experience of walking through the forest of pine trees is off course exhausting but is fanned away by refreshing air which is irresistibly gratifying. The view of incredible grandeur of the structure clinging on a cliff and literally entering the cave will leave a lasting impression of your journey to Bhutan.
Lunch at Cafeteria on the way return. After lunch, visit the historic site of a ruined Drugyel Dzong towards north built in 1647 to commemorate victory over the Tibetan invasion. Experience the last serve of farmhouse dinner in Bhutanese style.
Day 10: Depart from Paro
After breakfast, your guide will see you off in the airport for your onward destination.