Simply Bhutan, 5 days

Gigantic Buddha statue in Thimphu
Cultural sightseeing
  • All important sights of Paro and Thimphu
  • Pristine Haa valley rarely visited by tourists
  • Option to stay in local farmhouse as guest of Bhutanese family
  • Option to enjoy traditional hot stone bath
  • Going over Chele-la, the highest motorable pass in Bhutan (3850 m) with great views
US$ 800 / person ?
# Itinerary Program
1 Arrival, drive to Thimphu Arrival by plane to Paro airport and 1½ hour drive to Thimphu or full day drive from Phuntsholing in case of arrival by land. Program depending on the arrival time. Evening visit of Tashicho dzong, the castle, which serves as seat of the king and government.
2 Thimphu – Haa 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 signalling in junctions. Thimphu is only capital in the world without the traffic lights. Finish walk in main postal office with shop where beautiful and valuable Bhutanese stamps can be bought. Visit school of traditional arts, where the young men and women learns the arts and craft of their forefathers. Excursion to Takin enclosure, where the national animal, the mysterious takin, is kept. After that Changankha lhakhang, the oldest place of worship in the valley. Late afternoon drive to Haa valley, taking scenic road from Chuzom. 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 if simple facilities are not your cup of tea. Evening option to try hot stone bath, traditional Bhutanese treat.
3 Haa – Paro In the morning visit to main village temple, Lhakhang Karpo (white temple) dedicated to local deity. Then drive to Katsho gompa with nice views of the Haa valley and visit the main temple. If you're fit and confident walker, you might like to take small trail ascending to the hill above the monastery and then steeply descending to Juneydrak hermitage. This small temple perched to the rock cliff is considered to be “second Tiger’s Nest”. The last section of climb to this temple is very steep and you might need a support of rope which is fixed here. Place is inhabited by two welcoming hermits who will take you around. From here descend to Katsho village where the car will be waiting. If you're less confident to walk in difficult terrain, you better drive back to Katsho village and hike to temple from there or omit Juneydrak gompa at all. Then drive to Chele-la pass and picnic lunch there. In clear weather you might see Kanchenjunga mountain to the west and holy Jomolhari peak to the north. Hike through the ancient forest to Kila gompa, the 14th century nunnery with scenic view of Paro valley. Descend by car to Paro. If time permits, visit also Dzongdrakha lhakhang, the temple built below the rock cliffs with great view of rice fields of Bondey village. The beauty of this temple, rarely visited by travelers, is only matched by the Tiger's Nest.
4 Paro Visit of the National Museum and Paro dzong (Rinpung dzong), the castle-monastery where Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha film was shot. The pristine Kyichu lhakhang is one of the two oldest temples built in Bhutan. Climb to Taktsang gomba (Tiger’s Nest), is the highlight of the tour. While the hike seems to be hard, it’s very rewarding. If you don’t feel so strong, you can climb just halfway to cafeteria with nice view of the place. You can consider to climb in the morning or early afternoon depending on weather, your fitness and preferences.
5 Departure If time permits, early morning drive to Drukyel dzong, the castle ruins from where you can see the summit of holy Jomolhari mountain in clear weather. Depart from Paro by flight or drive to Phuntsholing in case of departure by land.