Tour of Bhutan’s west – 8 Days

Day 1

Arrive at Paro, the historic valley in western Bhutan. You will see and could take pictures (if skies are clear) of some spectacular sights of the Himalayas. Check in to hotel and have lunch.

In the afternoon, we will visit the Drukgyel Dzong, a fortress built to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan forces in the mid-17th century. On the way back to Paro town, we will visit the famous temple at Kyichu.

Day 2

We will drive to the capital Thimphu, an hour’s journey. Check in to hotel or take a short leisurely sightseeing of the city. In the afternoon, we will visit some places of interest like the Craft Bazaar, the Handicraft Emporium, or the Royal Textile Museum.

After an early dinner, we could visit a local entertainment bar.

Night halt in Thimphu.

Day 3

Sightseeing in Thimphu. Visit several historical and religious sites around Thimphu including the Tashichodzong (the seat of the Royal Government of Bhutan), National Memorial Chorten (Stupa), and the Buddha Dordenma—the biggest sitting statue of Lord Buddha in the world.

In the afternoon, we will visit the School of 12 Traditional Arts and Crafts and the Institute of Traditional Medicine. In the evening, travel to Punakha district, some 75 kilometers from Thimphu.

Day 4

Punakha was the capital of medieval Bhutan. Today, it is the winter residence of Bhutan’s central monk body. In the morning, we will visit the magnificent Punakha Dzong, a 17th century fortress built in the image of the heavenly palace of Guru Rinpoche.

Depending on the season, we could plan a short white water rafting trip or a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility founded by Bhutan’s maverick monk Drukpa Kinley.

Night halt in Punakha.

Day 5

In the morning, we will visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, an hour’s hike from the hotel. We will then visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong, a 17th century fortress built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.

After lunch, we will drive to Paro. On the way, we will stop at Dochula to see the 108 Druk Wangyal stupas. If the skies are clear, we will be able to see some of the highest Himalayan peaks.

Day 6

Hike to Paro Taktshang or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, located on a sheer rock face. The hike takes about three hours and is a steep, uphill climb. Wear smart casual or formal dress to enter the monastery.

Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, is said to have meditated at Taktshang in the 8th century.

In the evening, we will try out a hot stone bath in a homestay and sample some local brew.

Day 7

Sightseeing in Paro town. In the morning, we will visit Bhutan’s National Museum and the Paro Dzong. In the afternoon, we will go to Dumsibu to sample an assortment of Bhutanese beer at Namgay Artisanal Brewery. You could also visit several handicraft shops located in the town.

Day 8

Leave Bhutan.