Why travel to Bhutan? Maybe you have many answers to this question in your own mind. It is a small country with incredibly well-preserved traditions and customs. It is a picturesque Himalayan kingdom with unbelievable views of snow-peaks. It is a land with a strong belief of nature and Buddhism – forest coverage reaches to 80%. It is the only country using GNP (Gross National Happiness) to measure the standard of living instead of GDP. Of course, it is the last Shangri-La and the happiest kingdom in the world. But how to plan a Bhutan trip? Usually you can spend about 5 ~ 10 days touring in Bhutan. What you can’t miss includes Taktsang Monastery – the landmark of Bhutan, Paro Dzong – Bhutan’s most classic architecture, Dochula Pass – Bhutan’s best viewing deck of Himalaya, Punakha – Bhutan’s most beautiful dzong and some others. Of course, you can also have some special theme tours if you want, like photography, trekking, festivals, adventure etc. The travel plan and itinerary can be made according to your own tasty and travel length.
How to Plan a Bhutan Trip, Recommended Bhutan Itinerary 2020/2021
Classical Bhutan Trip in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha
Located in western Bhutan and owning Bhutan’s only international airport, Paro is mostly regarded the first destination in Bhutan. The attractive town of Paro is on the two banks of Paro Chhu (River), with a short distance of 3km to grand Paro Dzong. In Paro, you can visit many historical and Buddhist sites. A Bhutan classic tour takes about 5 or 6 days usually.
Day 1 Paro Trip & Driving to Thimphu
Your classical Bhutan trip starts from Paro, and you are suggested to firstly visit Bhutan National Museum where religious statues, exquisite thangkas and stone carvings are displayed. From the museum, you can learn quite knowledges of Bhutan’s history and culture. After the sightseeing in the museum, walk about several minutes to Paro Dzong which is honored as the finest example of Bhutanese architecture. Leaving Paro Dzong, turn to Motithang Takin Preserve to see the national animal – Takin, a unique looking animal with the head of sheep and body of cattle. As Paro tour ends, drive about 1.5 hours to Thimphu.
Day 2 Thimphu Trip & Driving to Punakha
After breakfast in Thimphu, visit National Memorial Chorten, a monument dedicated to the third king of Bhutan. It is also the most important religious site for pilgrimages. Then drive to Bhutan’s Traditional Painting School where the students learn the traditional painting, embroidery, carving etc. After that, drive to Punakha via Dochula Pass from which you can admire a breathtaking view of Himalayan Ranges if the weather is clear. If you happen to visit Thimphu on weekends, don’t forget to take a leisure walk in the Weekend Market in Thimphu.If you are intereted in the local culture and arts, you could stay another day in Thimphu.
Day 3 Punakha Trip & Driving Back to Paro
On this day, you will go to the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong, located in the junction the Mother River and Father River. Visiting Punakha in April, you can enjoy the lovely Blue Jacaranda flowers. Punakha Dzong also features in its three dochey while other dzongs have only two. After that drive to Chimi Lhkhang, a temple 7km away from Punakha Dzong, It is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some beautiful slate carvings. Drive back to Paro.
Day 4 Trip to Taktsang Monastery
You will have a full day to have a journey to Taktsang Monastery – the most brilliant monastery in Bhutan. It is also called Tiger’s Nest Monastery, because it is said that Guru Rinpoche once flew to the cave on a tiger and mediated there. To get to this amazing monastery, you need to trek or ride a horse.
Day 5 Paro Departure
Drive to Paro International Airport to catch your international flight to leave.
In-depth Exploration to Central Bhutan (Trongsa & Bumthang)
If you want to have an in-depth trip to Central Bhutan, you can spend 5 more days visiting more beautiful valleys and attractions.
Day 1 ~ 2 Paro Thimphu Trip
Enjoy a Paro Thimphu tour by visitng Paro Dzong, National Museum, National Memorial Chorten etc.
Day 3 Punakha Trip & Driving to Fhubjikha
After visiting splendid Punakha Dzong, drive to Phojikha Valley. In this bow-shaped glacial valley, you get an opportunity to see many highland animals. Pay a visit to Gangtey Goempa on a forested hill, and you will get an overlooking view of the whole valley.
Day 4 Phobjikha to Trongsa
You destination of this day is Trongsa, the historical and geographical hear of the kingdom of Bhutan.
Day 5 Trongsa to Bumthang
Your journey starts with a visit to Trongsa Dong, with an important strategic location and a long history of over 500 years. In the 23 Lhakhangs of Trongsa Dzong, you can appreciate the delicate designs and fine decorations. Then walk to Royal Heritage Museum which once was the watchtower of Trongsa Dzong. Here you can enjoy many collections related with the royal families. After the sightseeing, continue your driving to Bumthang. On the road, you will pass through Yotong La Pass with a Buddhist stupa and many prayer flags.
Day 6 Bumthang to Wangdu Phodrang
Firstly, go to Jampery Lhakhang, an old monastery built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659. There are many statues of Buddhas and elegant murals in the monastery. Next, drive to Wangdu Phodrang.
Day 7 Wangdu Phodrang to Paro
Get up early to visit Wangdu Phodrang Dzong and get a commanding view of the valleys. After that, drive back to Paro via Dochula Pass again.
Day 8 ~ 9 Trip to Taktsang Monastery & Departure
Spend a full day touring famous Taktsang Monastery on Day 8 and Day 9 is free until you catch your international flight to leave.
An Adventure Journey in Eastern Bhutan
For an adventurer, a classic Bhutan trip cannot satisfy your ambition. If you want something more exciting and unforgettable, just travel to little-visited eastern Bhutan. It at least takes two weeks to have an adventure tour to eastern Bhutan but you are also suggested to take more days for rest and recuperation. A lot of driving will be involved and the road is not in good condition. The accommodation is also basic. If you don’t want to spend several day traveling back to Paro in the same way, you can take an overland driving to India.
Day 1 ~ 6 Classic Tour in Central Bhutan
The first six days is for a classic tour from western to central Bhutan. Spend one more day visiting Taktsang Monastery.
Day 7 ~ 9 Mongar Tour
Make a wonderful day trip to Lhuentse Dzong and the nearby scenic village of Khoma. You can also spend one day on hiking.
Day 10 ~ 12 Trashigang Tour
Drive from Mongar to Trashigang from Mongar on Day 10, and visit Bhutan’s most important Nyingma Monastery – Drametse Goemba on Day 11. On the next day, you could have an excursion to Trashi Yangtse and make a kora en route.
Day 12 ~ 14 Bhutan Departure
Drive to steamy Samdrup Jongkhar, and cross the border to India. You can easily get to Guwahati where flights are available to Kolkata, New Delhi or Bangkok.
Overlanding Trip with Nepal and Tibet
As other Himalayan kingdoms with thick Buddhist atmosphere, Nepal and Tibet are always two perfect options for tourists before or after their Bhutan tours. With daily flights between Paro and Kathmandu, you can travel to Nepal from Bhutan fast and conveniently. Besides, an overland driving tour from Nepal to Tibet via Mount Everest is highly recommended.
Spend 4 ~ 10 Days Touring Nepal
Nepal enjoys lots of attractions for sightseeing, which can take you two full weeks to explore. If you want to see the highlights in limited time, 4 ~ 6 days are recommended. The must-be-visited destination is Kathmandu Valley, namely Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Visiting these three cities, you will be awed by the medieval architectural wonders, including Durbar Square, Swayambhnath, Boudhanath etc. If you have two more days, don’t miss Pokhara, a riverside town reflecting the glamour of Himalayan Ranges. If your time permits, take a deeper discovery to Chitwan National Park and Lumbini.
Spend 4 ~ 13 Days Touring Tibet
Nepal provides two transportation means to Tibet, convenient daily nonstop flights and sightseeing overland driving. Planning a trip to Tibet, the landmarks of Lhasa is a must. It usually takes four days to see the landmarks of Lhasa, including majestic Potala Palace, holy Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street and some other sacred monasteries. If you choose to fly to Lhasa from Kathmandu, four days are enough. However, it must be a pity when you visit Tibet but skip Mount Everest. It is advised to take an overland trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa with visiting Mount Everest, Shigatse and Gyantse. This overland driving journey provides too many to see, the highest peak in the world (Mount Everest), one of Tibet’s three sacred lakes (Yamdrok lake), Panchen Lama’s residence (Tashilhunpo Mounastery), stunning glacier (Karola Glacier) etc. For those who are keen on wild nature or who want a holy pilgrimage, Ngari is good choice. In addition, you can take a direct flight or a train from Lhasa to mainland China, and then you are able to see the cute giant pandas in Chengdu, admire the manmade wonder Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xian, hike the great wall in Beijing, or take a cruise on Yangtze River etc. Read more about Nepal Tibet Bhutan Tours.
5 Tips for Planing a Bhutan Trip
How to Apply Bhutan Visa
Bhutan Visa is a compulsory travel permit to Bhutan, which can only be applied by travel agency like Tibet Discovery. You need to send us a clear scanned photocopy of your valid passport. We will complete your Bhutan Visa application online for you. After the Tourism Council of Bhutan processes your visa application, if approved, we will receive a visa clearance letter. Then, we will send you the scanned photocopy of visa clearance letter and give you the original one when you reach Bhutan. Read more>
How to Get to Bhutan
Bhutan is connected with Nepal, India, Singapore, Thailand and Bangladesh directly by flights, so you can get to these countries and make a transfer to Bhutan. Among these countries, Nepal is the most popular gateway country to Bhutan for Kathmandu offers most frequent flights. Then India is also a good choice because more cities (including Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati, Siliguri, Mumbai and Bangalore) provide flight to Paro. It is also available to have an overland driving from India to Bhutan. Read more>
Best Time to Visit Bhutan
Bhutan enjoys a mixed climate of cold alpine climate, temperate climate and subtropical climate from north to south. The major tourist destinations are located in lower area, including Paro, Thimphu and Punakha which are suitable to travel all the year around. But the best time is spring (March to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is most mild and pleasant. In the spring, your eyes will feast on lots of colorful flowers. When the autumn comes, you get a good possibility to enjoy the amazing Himalayan views. Read more>
Where to Accommodate in Bhutan
There are a large variety of hotels for international tourists in Bhutan, ranging from 5 star luxury hotels to budget ones. The luxury hotels not only provide well-equipped facilities and superb service, but also offer you a great view of surrounding scenery. Especially in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, you really get a lot of choices. But in some areas in central and eastern Bhutan, the accommodation might be rather simple and basic. If you have trekking tour, you can only accommodate in lodge or guesthouses. Read more>
Bhutan Travel Guide
Recommended Nepal Tibet Bhutan Tour PackagesFollowing are some of our most recommended Nepal Tibet Bhutan tour packages that you may be interested in. All of our tour packages are classic itineraries, and can be tailor-made to meet your personal requirements. You can get more Bhutan Nepal Tours, or contact us to customize a trip if you want.
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