Adventurous Bhutan, 8 days

Tour highlights

  • Diverse and reasonable visit of Bhutan
  • Number of moderately difficult hikes
  • Rafting in Punakha valley
  • Biking in pristine Haa valley
  • Homestay experience in old farmhouse
  • Trying traditional dart and archery games
# Itinerary Program
1 Arrival, drive to Thimphu Arrival by plane to Paro airport and drive to Thimphu or in case of arrival by land, crossing border from India in Phuntsholing/Jaigon and full day drive to Thimphu. Visit of Tashicho dzong, the castle, which serves as seat of the king and government. If time permits, visit of the other sights. Overnight in hotel.
2 Thimphu – Wangdue Early morning drive to Buddha Dordenma, the gigantic statue of Buddha overlooking the valley and walk to striking city viewpoint. See Memorial Chorten, always busy with devotees. Walk in Norzin lam street and see the traffic police signaling in junctions. Thimphu is only capital in the world without the traffic lights. Finish walk at handicraft market where many interesting Bhutanese souvenirs can be seen and bought for reasonable price. Drive to Changlimithang stadium to see archery match, traditional sport of Bhutan (depends on luck if the game is going on). From Friday to Sunday you can also visit to Centenary market where local people go to shop for food supplies. Market also has interesting handicraft section. Otherwise, you can enjoy some free time in the town, exploring it on your own. Afternoon transfer to Wangdue or Punakha over Dochu-la pass (3010 m) and stop to enjoy mountain scenery (weather permitting) and admire unique 108 chorten stupa.
3 Wangdue Early morning hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten with wonderful view of the valley and it‘s terraced paddy fields. While we descend back to river, there will be rafts ready for us. We will do rafting all the way down to Punakha dzong (about 10 km). After landing, we will visit this castle which counts as the most intricately decorated in Bhutan. Hike to Chhimmy lhakhang temple, devoted to 15th century saint Drukpa Kunley, know as “Divine madman”, who did taught Buddhism by singing, drinking and rampant sexual behavior. We can also drive (or hike) to nunnery overlooking Wangdue valley. Overnight in hotel.
4 Wangdue – Paro Early morning drive to Dochu-la pass with beautiful 108 stupas. In the morning, we have good chance to glimpse some snowy peaks to the north, including Gangkhar Punesum (7540m), highest mountain of Bhutan and highest peak never summited by man. Visit to royal chapel Druk Wangyel lhakhang with depictions of 4th king. Form pass we will start 4-5 hours round hike to the Lungchusey gompa with 360° mountains panorama viewpoint. Descend to Tashigang gompa and reaching back to road in Hontsho. After lunch drive to Paro. Overnight in hotel.
5 Paro Morning visit of Kyichu lhakhang, the temple built in 8th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Climb to Taktsang gompa (Tiger's Nest), most venerated and holy place in Bhutan overlooking valley from the steep cliff. Afternoon visit of National Museum and Paro dzong, castle where Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha film was shot. Overnight in hotel.
6 Paro – Haa Drive over the Chele-la pass (3890 m) to rarely visited Haa valley. On the way we will do hike to Kila gompa, the oldest nunnery in Bhutan from 14th century. From there we continue through the ancient forest up to the summit of Chele-la pass in which we can even reach the 4000 meters high summit. Panoramic view in clear weather are outstanding. From the pass, we will take a ride on the bicycle. Long descend to Haa will be great fun. We will also ride bicycle to reach Haa's temples and monasteries. Overnight will be spent in local farmhouse as a guest of local family, with trying local delicacies like salty butter tea, and ara spirit. Accommodation facilities are rudimentary, but experience is worth of it. Optionally you can spend night in hotel.  Evening option to try hot stone bath, traditional Bhutanese treat.
7 Haa – Paro At the morning we will play traditional game of khuru (darts) and archery. Then we will say goodbye to our hosts and will ride by bikes through the scenic road in direction to Chuzom. Whenever you got enough of ride, you can continue by car. On the way you will be passing around Dobji Dzong, one of the first castle like structures built in Bhutan in 14th century. It also served as political prison for, and today it hosts monastery. Continue riding down. From Chuzom you will probably like to go by vehicle, since the main road to Paro has a lot of traffic. Finally, we reach Paro in the evening. Overnight in hotel.
8 Departure If time permits, you can make visit to Drukyel dzong, the castle ruins from where you can see the summit of holy Jomolhari mountain in clear weather. After that, you depart from Paro by flight or take ~5 hours drive to land border in Phuntsholing.
Tour variants, extensions and combinations: 
  • Combine with trekking: This tour can be quiet nicely extended by moderate high altitude treks, making this tour even more exciting. See our trekking itineraries.
  • Gasa Hot springs (+1 or 2 days): Gasa is highland region north of Punakha, just recently connected by road. Apart from beautiful dzong and vistas of nearby high peaks, you can enjoy the natural hot springs, so called "tsachu". There is number of pools with different temperatures. Water is sulfurous and it's believed it's beneficial for number of skin ailments. It's great relax in luxurious pools anyway. Additional experience can be spending overnight here in local farmhouse to try authentic Bhutanese hospitality.
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