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Plan a mind-purifying tour to the Kingdom of Bhutan Plan a mind-purifying tour to the Kingdom of Bhutan

How to Plan a Bhutan Trip, Recommended Bhutan Itinerary 2020/2021

19 June 2020 Last updated at 10:34

Why travel to Bhutan? Bet you have many thoughts about “the Land of Thunder Dragon”.

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.

Bhutan has a great variety of attractions to discover. But how to plan a Bhutan trip to catch the best essence? What is the best month to get to Bhutan? What’s the most popular way to travel to Bhutan? What’s the top places to visit? Here we give you the most comprehensive and detailed guide for planing your Bhutan tour.

Top 3 Bhutan Tour Packages for 2020

Located in eastern Himalayan mountains between China and India, Bhutan is most famous for its Buddhist culture, unique architectures of dzongs, diverse landscape and pristine local life. Paro, Thimphu and Punakha are the top three destinations for a classic Bhutan tour. Below are best 3 Bhutan tours we selected covering major highlights taking you to enjoy nature sightseeing, hiking, Buddhism feeling and in-depth exploration.

The Best Time to Visit Bhutan

Affected by altitude and elevation of terrain, 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 year round. And the best time is spring (March to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is most mild and pleasant, scenery is the most beautiful, some big festival are held during the period. Going to Bhutan in a right perfect time, like spring, your eyes will feast on lots of colorful flowers, in cool autumn, more chance to have a good possibility to enjoy the amazing Himalayan views. Summer may brings lots of rainfalls with the hot temperature, while winter can be a little cold at high altitude mountain regions.

☞ Bhutan Weather & Climate - Choose the Best Time to Bhutan

How to Plan A Bhutan Trip and TourBhutan Festival Held in Autmn

How to Get to Bhutan

So far, you can only take flights and overland driving to get to Bhutan while trains are not available. Bhutan Airlines and Drukair are the best choice for booking flight ticket to Bhutan.

Travel to Bhutan from Nepal

By Flight - Nepal and Bhutan don’t border each other, and Nepal is in the west of Bhutan across India. Among all air connected countries, Nepal is the most popular gateway country to Bhutan for Kathmandu offers most frequent international flights to Paro, Bhutan. (daily flight, within 1.5 hours.)

Travel to Bhutan from India

By Air - India is also a good choice because more cities (including Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati, Siliguri, Mumbai, Gaya , Bagdogra, and Bangalore) provide direct flights to Bhutan. (air journey is about 1 ~2.5 hours.)

By Road - It is also available to have an overland driving from India to Bhutan via Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu border ports.

Travel to Bhutan from Other Countries

Until now, Bhutan also has direct air connection with a few Southeast Asian countries and else, including Dhaka (Bangladesh), Singapore and Bangkok (Thailand). So you can get to one of these countries and make a transfer to Bhutan.

☞ How to Get to Bhutan

Bhutan Trip | Nepal Tibet Bhutan Location MapNepal Tibet Bhutan Location Map
Bhutan Trip | Paro AirportFirst Station - Paro Airport

How to Design Bhutan Tour Itinerary

Bhutan is divided into 4 districts and 20 Dzongs (administrative districts similar to county). You can make your own Bhutan tour according to your taste, length of vacation time, budget, etc.

● Classic Bhutan Trip in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha (within one week)

【5 Days' Classic Itineary】

This 5 days compressed tour is most recommended for travelers who want to see the best essence of Bhutan in a limited time. Three most popular destinations are ideally included. You will enjoy the cultural architectural landmarks, peaceful rural scenery and amazing Himalayan Ranges.

Day 1: Your special Bhutan trip starts from Paro, and you will firstly visit Bhutan National Museum to see religious statues, exquisite thangkas and stone carvings and learn knowledge of Bhutan’s history and culture. Then, walk to Paro Dzong to witness the finest example of Bhutanese architecture. End Paro tour, you will transfer to Thimphu, the capital.

Day 2: In Thimphu, morning tour begins from National Memorial Chorten, a monument dedicated to the third king of Bhutan and the most important religious site for pilgrimages. Then drive to Bhutan’s Traditional Painting School where the students learn the traditional painting, embroidery, carving, and to National Textile Museum to see different style of local dresses. Lastly, turn to Motithang Takin Preserve  to see the national animal - Takin, a unique looking animal, and drive to Punakha via Dochula Pass.

Day 3: Sightseeing in Punkaha, to Punakha Dzong, Bhutan’s most beautiful Dzong, where held many national events, like the current king’s wedding. In April, you can enjoy the lovely Blue Jacaranda flowers. Next 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: 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: Drive to Paro International Airport to catch your international flight to leave.

★ 5 Days Classic Bhutan Tour

Bhutan Trip | Paro DzongParo Dzong
Bhutan Trip | Traditional Painting SchoolBhutanese are Doing Embroidery in Painting School
Bhutan Trip | Punakha DzongBeautiful Punakha Dzong in Spring

【6 Days' Highlighted Itinerary】

Day 1: Paro Trip and Driving to Thimphu. Visit Bhutan Memorial Chorten, and go to Buddha View Point, a religous site to see giant Buddha statue and massive Buddhist sculptures. After that, go to the Weekend Market see local farmers selling fresh vegetable and farm products.

Day 2: Thimphu Trip. A whole day tour in Thimphu, to the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan, to the Folk Heritage Museum and the Traditional Painting School, to catch a glimpse of living art among Bhutanese. Last you will see the Takin in preserve.

Day 3: Drive from Thimphu to Punakha & Punakha Tour. Be transferred from Thimphu to Punkha, visit Chimi Lhakhang and Punakha Dzong after arrival.

Day 4: Drive from Punakha to Paro & Paro Sightseeing. Enjoy sightseeing trip on the road, first visit Bhutan National Museum, then to Rinpung Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest monastery in Bhutan.

Day 5: Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Trekking. Take a few hours to hike to the most famous landmark of Bhutan - Tiger’s Nest. Ready to sweat and harvest nice sights and unforgettable experience.

Day 6: Paro Departure. Be sent to Paro Airport to take your flight to leave.

★ 6 Days Last Shangri-La Highlights Tour

Bhutan Trip | Thimphu Weekend MarketLocal Women in Thimphu Weekend Market
Bhutan Trip | Taktsang MonasteryTaktsang Monastery Hanging on Cliff

● 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.

★ 9 Days Bhutan In-depth Tour

Bhutan Trip | National Memorial ChortenHoly National Memorial Chorten
Bhutan Trip | Gangtey Goempa ChortenBeautiful Gangtey Goempa
Bhutan Trip | Trongsa DzongLocal People in Trongsa Dzong
Bhutan Trip | Wangdu Phodrang DzongWangdu Phodrang Dzong

● An Adventure Journey in Eastern Bhutan

Adventures always love something more new, exciting and challenging. When time permits, you can just travel to little-visited eastern Bhutan, which needs at least takes two weeks. 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.

Bhutan Trip | Lhuentse DzongHighly-soaring Lhuentse Dzong
Bhutan Trip | TrashigangLuxurious Valley in Trashigang

We also offer 【 7 Days Bhutan Discovery Tour with Haa Valley】leading you travel in the western Bhutan in a leisure pace and unique area.

Your Bhutan Itinerary can be tailor-made as you requested. Just contact us to get start!

Travel Bhutan with Nepal and Tibet

Under the imposing Himalaya mountains, Nepal and Tibet are two other perfect options to tour with Bhutan, not only for the short distance, but also for they share similar thick Buddhist atmosphere but different local culture and history, natural beauty. Transportation links makes its quite convenient to travel Bhutan with Nepal, Nepal with Tibet. The overland driving tour from Nepal to Tibet via Mount Everest is highly recommended.

Tour Nepal and Bhutan

It’s fairly convenient to travel from Nepal to Bhutan or from Bhutan to Nepal. Meanwhile, March to June in spring and September to November in autumn are best time to visit both countries. A classic Nepal Bhutan tour usually takes more than 9 days, at least 4 days touring Nepal and 5 days or more visiting Bhutan.

In Nepal, you’re suggested to spend 4 ~ 6 days on sightseeing major attractions and featured activities. The must-be-visited destination is the Kathmandu Valley, namely Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, where you will be awed by the medieval architectural wonders, such as the Durbar Squares, Swayambhnath, Boudhanath etc. With more days, don’t miss Pokhara, a riverside town reflecting the glamour of Himalayan Ranges and an interesting jungle safari in Chitwan National Park and the holy Buddhist pilgrimage site - Lumbini.

Recommended Nepal Bhutan Tours:

>> 9 Days Nepal Bhutan Highlights Tour

>> 12 Days Nepal Bhutan Leisure Vacation Tour Package

Bhutan Trip | Nepal Durbar SquareDurbar Square in Nepal

Tour Nepal Tibet with Bhutan

A combined trip to Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan requires at least two-week long holiday. Nepal and Tibet are connected both by air and road, you’re advised to travel them together and fly to Bhutan from Nepal.

Tour start from Tibet: You can either fly from Lhasa (Tibet) to Kathmandu or try a overland driving tour via Gyirong Port. The long overland driving tour from Lhasa to Nepal via Mount Everest costs about 7 ~ 8 days. You won’t be boring, because you will visit world famous Potala Palace and more landmarks in Lhasa, view gem-like beautiful Yamdrok Lake, and breathtaking Everest, Panchen Lama’s residence (Tashilhunpo Mounastery), stunning glacier (Karola Glacier) en route. Tibet tour can be extended to Mount Kailash in Ngari, Nyingchi in Eastern Tibet as you like. Then continue your trip in Nepal and Bhutan for another week.

>> 15 Days Tibet Nepal Bhutan Himalayan Exploration In-depth Tour

>> 20 Days Himalaya Photography Tour from Tibet to Nepal & Bhutan

Tour Start from Nepal: You have two options: visiting Nepal and Tibet first, and then travel from Nepal to Bhutan, or tour Nepal with Bhutan, and go to Tibet later, visit popular destinations in China by the way.

A: take a 4-day essential trip in Kathmandu, then have a cross-border driving travel from Kathmandu to Everest, the highest peak in the world. Afterwards, return to Kathmandu to fly to Bhutan and use some days to know the “World’s Happiest Country”.

>> 16 Days Nepal Tibet Bhutan Classic Tour

B: First have a classic Nepal tour in Kathmandu, next, fly to Bhutan and visit the top destinations during 5-day trip. Back to Nepal to take flight to Lhasa to enjoy great attractions there. The biggest different is you can take a direct flight or a train from Lhasa to mainland China, to see the cute giant pandas in Chengdu, admire the man-made wonder Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xian, hike the great wall in Beijing, or take a cruise on Yangtze River etc.

>> 20 Days Nepal Bhutan Tibet China Essence Tour

Tour Start from Bhutan: First take a typical tour in Bhutan for 5 days, see the top cultural sites in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. Nepal tour will be followed, another 5 days is needed to cover most-famous scenic spots. Finally go on with your holy land adventure to Tibet, make a the sacred Mount Kailash Yatra with Manasarovar, definitely a spiritual rebirth. Mount Everest and Lhasa tour still the main courses on the table. Finish trip in Lhasa, you may keep traveling in China or transfer to Beijing, Shanghai for going back home. Get inspired from more Nepal Tibet Bhutan Tours >>

>> 24 Days Bhutan Nepal Tibet Pilgrimage Tour

Bhutan Trip | Tibet Mount EverestMount Everest in Tibet
Bhutan Trip | Kathmandu AirportKathmandu Airport in Nepal
Bhutan Trip | Xian Terracotta ArmyXian Terracotta Army
Bhutan Trip | Tibet Potala PalacePotala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet

4 Useful Tips for Planing Your Bhutan Trip

1. 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>

2. Places to Visit in Bhutan

Since Paro has the only international airport in Bhutan, Paro is undoubtedly the gateway and distribution center. Lots of attractions also turn it a hot destination. In Western Bhutan, Thimphu and Punakha are two famous places to visit, the former is the capital, the later is ancient capital with the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. In central and eastern area, there are Trongsa, Bumthang and more remote destinations. Read more>

3. 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>

4. Eating in Bhutan

Traditional Bhutanese cuisine is the most common food offered for tourists. They use self-planted fresh vegetable and spicy pepper as daily meals. Most hotels offer buffet. When in Rome, Do as Romans Do. Meanwhile, in major tourist destinations, like Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, they developed simple Western food, Indian meals and some Asian dishes.

Recommended Bhutan Tour Packages

Following 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 Tours, or contact us to customize a trip if you want.

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