Western & Central Bhutan
Paro • Thimphu • Punakha • Trongsa • Bumthang • Ura
This 10-day journey crosses over the high passes of Dochula, Pelela and Yotongla before descending the broad valleys of Bumthang. Central Bumthang is known for its buckwheat and apple products with various significant monasteries. It is also known for various pilgrimage sites for the locals and ideal to explore Buddhism.
Western and Central Bhutan
10-day, 9-night trips can depart Bangkok for Paro daily, or from Singapore for Paro every Thursday (returning the next Saturday).
The flight to Paro must one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth.
Our representative will meet you at Paro airport exit gate following customs formalities.
Sightseeing around Paro includes a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum and the Rimpong (Paro) Dzong.
In the afternoon we drive to Thimphu, the country’s capital, following the Po Chu River (1½ hours).
Overnight in Thimphu.
Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation's bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernisation, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery.
Other sites to visit include the School for Arts and Crafts where students are taught the 13 types of Bhutanese art, the National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the traditional Paper Factory displaying the Bhutanese paper making process, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum. Time permitting, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, and Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some of the ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.
If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the varieties of Bhutanese food including baskets of fiery chillies, cheese and a variety of greens. (This market is open only from Friday-Sunday).
Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast, start your journey east towards Central Bhutan with lots of nature sightseeing en-route.
Overnight in Trongsa (2,316m).
Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan's Royal Family. Trongsa Dzong, one of the largest in the country was first built is 1648 and later enlarged many times. Visit the ancient watch tower (Ta Dzong), which is situated just above the town.
After lunch, drive to Bumthang which takes 2-3 hours. Tales of the great Guru Padmasambhava dominates this holy valley. View the Jakar Dzong 'The Castle of White Bird'. A stop will be made on the way in the Chumey Valley where one can see girls weaving Yatha the traditional woollen material used.
Overnight in Bumthang.
Different from all the other valleys in Bhutan, Bumthang is very spacious and open ranging in altitude from 2,600m to 4,000m. Bumthang is a heaven for hikers and trekkers, not to mention the numerous beautiful and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites, making it the Cultural and Historic center of Bhutan.
One could spend months exploring this fascinating valley. Almost every little valley or hill has a background of interesting myths and legends about Kings, Buddhist masters and Serpents. Bumthang consists of four main valleys, Chumey, Tang, Ura and Choskhor (Jakar). Commonly known as Jakar valley where you can see a little bit of modern touch with Swiss Influences.
Overnight in Bumthang.
Full day sightseeing drive further east towards Ura Valley, famous as one of the most unique and earliest settlements in Bhutan.
Visit Ura village and the monastery. Mingle around with local people and kids and take beautiful pictures. Return to Jakar, Bumthang.
Overnight in Bumthang.
Full day drive to Punakha with sightseeing en-route.
Overnight in Punakha.
Punakha was the winter capital for over 300 years until the time of second King. Punakha Dzong, which dominates the whole area, was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel, and established the central monastic body with 600 monks.
Today, Punakha is still the home for Je Khempo (Chief Abbot) and the central monastic body. Punakha Dzong is one of the most impressive Dzongs in the Kingdom.
In the afternoon drive to Paro for Overnight.
Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast hike up to Taktsang Monastery commonly known as 'The Tiger’s Nest'. The trail is broad and the ascent of approximately 2 hours takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrimage site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7,314m) appears as a stunning backdrop.
On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa. Inside there is a great golden image of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast transfer to Paro International Airport for your departure flight.
We can also organise a similar 10-day itinerary replacing the Ura valley touring on Day 06 with a visit to Gangtey/Phobjikha valley. The rest of the itinerary remains the same.
The sketch outline as follows …
- Day 01 / Arrive Paro - Thimphu
- Day 02 / Sightseeing around Thimphu
- Day 03 / Thimphu - Trongsa
- Day 04 / Trongsa - Bumthang
- Day 05 / Bumthang
- Day 06 / Bumthang - Gangtey - Phobjikha
- Day 07 / Gangtey - Punakha/Wangdi
- Day 08 / Punakha/Wangdi - Paro
- Day 09 / Sightseeing around Paro
- Day 10 / Depart Paro
|Price per person in USD|
10D Western & Central Bhutan
|Valid from Sep 01, 2017 to Aug 31, 2018.|
|03 or More|
|Sep, Oct and Nov 2017||2650||2560||2290||270|
|Dec 2017, and Jan to Feb 2018||2200||2110||1840||270|
|Mar, Apr and May 2018||3702||2560||2290||270|
|Jun, Jul and Aug 2018||2200||2110||1840||270|
|Tour prices include all airport and related taxes. These taxes are subject to change by Drukair with little or no notice until the air tickets have been issued.|
- Bhutan Visa & application fee
- All royalties, government taxes, and small group surcharge, if any is payable
- All transfers and ground transportation in a private vehicle with an experienced driver
- 09 nights in standard government-approved accommodation (in twin sharing rooms)
- All meals, excluding beverages at meals
- Breakfasts in hotels
- Other meals in local restaurants
- Drinking water for the duration of the tour (not during meal times)
- Services of licensed English-speaking Bhutanese guide
- Guided touring with entrance fees to sights & monuments
- Air passage to/from Paro, Bhutan; kindly check with us for our attractive Drukair airfares
- Travel insurance covering trip curtailment, emergency rescue and medical evacuation, etc. (please check with us for attractive travel insurance plans)
- Personal expenditure such as phone calls, internet access, all soft/hard beverages, laundry services, etc.
- Other options or expenses not mentioned in the Inclusions above
- Tips and gratuities for guide and driver
Drukair flight schedules
Singapore (SIN) to Paro (PBH)
TUE KB501 SIN/PBH 06:00/10:15 (Sep to May)
THU KB501 SIN/PBH 06:00/10:15
SUN KB501 SIN/PBH 06:30/10:45
Paro (PBH) to Singapore (SIN)
MON KB500 PBH/SIN 07:20 15:35 (Sep to May)
WED/SAT KB500 PBH/SIN 07:20 15:35