Bhutan is a small country in the Himalayas between the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and India.
Besides the stunning natural scenery, the enduring image of the country for most visitors is the strong sense of culture and tradition that binds the kingdom and clearly distinguishes it from its larger neighbours. Discover Bhutan in depth as we take you on an exclusive tour to Bhutan, to the unexplored east, which would awaken the explorer in you. Trek your way up through the monasteries and soak in the beauty of its rich heritage and architecture. Experience the hospitality of the natives with our exclusive homestays. Drive your way past the sloppy hills and flowing rivers on our road trip from west to east. Gear up to discover the Columbus in you with Offbeat Tracks.
Day 1: Phuentsholing: Arrive at Bagdogra Airport and drive to Phuentsholing
Day 2: Paro: Drive to Paro after immigration
Day 3:Tiger’s Nest Monastery : Tiger’s Nest Trek
Day 4: Haa Valley: Drive to Haa Valley
Day 5: Thimphu: Drive to Thimphu and sightseeing
Day 6: Thimphu Sightseeing: Thimphu sightseeing
Day 7: Punakha: Drive to Punakha and sightseeing
Day 8: Phobjikha Valley: Drive to Phobjikha via Wangdue Phodrang and sightseeing
Day 9: Trongsa: Drive to Trongsa and sightseeing
Day 10: Bumthang: Drive to Bumthang
Day 11: Ura village visit: Drive to Ura via Bumthang
Day 12: Mongar: Drive to Mongar
Day 13: Trashigang: Mongar sightseeing and evening drive to Trashigang
Day 14: Samdrup Jhongkar: Drive to Samdrup Jongkhar and sightseeing
Day 15: Departure: Depart from Guwahati
- Phuentsholing: 1 night
- Paro: 2 nights
- Haa: 1 night
- Thimphu: 2 nights
- Punakha: 1 night
- Phobjikha: 1 nights
- Trongsa: 1 night
- Bumthang: 2 nights
- Mongar: 1 night
- Trashigang: 1 night
- Samdrup Jongkhar:1 night
- Room with Breakfast, Lunch/ dinner.
- SUV/Tempo Traveler
Day 1: Drive to Phuentsholing
Drive to Phuentsholing today. Arrive at Phuentsholing and rest for the night. You can visit the Zangto Pherli Lakhang if time permits. Try the Traditional Nepali Thali for dinner tonight.
Day 2: Paro
Today we will drive to Paro. It takes about 4 to 5 hours by road. On arrival, we settle at the homestay and enjoy the authentic cuisine of Bhutan, and interact with a traditional Bhutanese family. Later, we go for Paro Sightseeing. We visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, now housing the National Museum with more than 3000 exhibits.
Some of them may date back to the 8th century. We retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. You can also visit Paro Dzong, known as the “Rinpung Dzong”. This is an extravagant monastery and fortress, which is the high point of Bhutanese architecture. Now it is the local administrative centre and the school for monks.
Day 3: Tiger’s Nest Monastery Trek
This is a strenuous day as we will hike up to the holiest Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest). It is located on a cliff about 900 meters (3000 feet) above the Paro Valley. After about 2 hours hiking, we arrive at this spectacular monastery, where you will appreciate the extravagant architecture and take in the beauty of the Paro Valley. The climb up to the viewpoint will take around 1 1⁄2 hours and from there you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Stop for refreshment at the View Point Cafeteria. Then walk further up to the monastery which will take about 1 hour. It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for 3 months.
Please note: The ticket counter opens at 7:30 a.m. Entry fee for the trek is INR 500/head. You are to pay the amount at the location itself.
Day 4: Haa Valley
After breakfast, we drive westward to the remote and pristine Haa Valley via Chele la
pass. It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. The Torse Chu River flows through the densely forested valley, which together with the bright green of the rice terraces and the brilliant white of the temples, gives the Haa Valley a fresh look and a pleasant atmosphere. The Haa Valley is also home to the Dorji Family, to which the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Wangchuck belongs to. The whole day Haa Valley hike includes the Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) in the village of Dumchoe and the central bazaar in Haa Town. Drive to the beautiful Heritage home in Haa, which is about 30 minutes away from the local town. Enjoy your stay at this beautiful place. You can also participate in archery
and dart games held at the Heritage home, or you can take a walk by the beautiful Haa river.
Day 5: Thimphu
Today we drive to Thimphu (4.5 to 5-hour drive), the capital city of Bhutan, the city
that glitters with stars and lights during the night. Enjoy your interaction with the local
family. You can visit the National Museum and the Botanical
Gardens if time permits. You can also visit the local market in Thimphu today.
Day : Thimphu Sightseeing
Today we go for local sightseeing at Thimphu. Here are some places you could visit:
National Memorial Chorten
Visit the National Memorial Chorten which is built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Thimphu Dzong, which is the largest Dzong in Bhutan and is also the office of the King of Bhutan.
Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park
Thereafter, we will drive up to Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park where the 169 feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma, Vajra Throne Buddha is located. It is one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world.
Located 14 kilometres to the North of Thimphu is the Tango Monastery which was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 13th century. The monastery’s excellent architecture has stayed for decades now. It consists of six temples, each with unique architecture. Have lunch at the Traditional arts and crafts museum which serves authentic Bhutanese delicacies. You can also visit the National Library and the Traditional Paper Making Factory if time permits.
Day 7: Punakha
After breakfast, we will drive you to Punakha and halt at the Dochula Pass, where you will have a coffee break, regard the grand 108 stupas (sacred structures) and appreciate the stunning view of the Himalaya’s if it is a clear day. On reaching Punakha we can visit the following places:
Later we hike Chimi Lhakhang, located 10 km from Punakha, which is a temple dedicated to the divine Madman and people come here to pray for children.
Continue to Punakha Dzong, a large and spectacular Bhutanese architecture, located at the confluence of Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. It was the religious and administrative centre of Bhutan until 1950 when the capital moved to Thimphu.
After that, we visit the nearby Suspension Bridge, which is the longest bridge of Bhutan.
Day 8: Phobjikha Valley
Today we drive to Phobjhika Valley via Wandgue Phodrang (2.5 to 3-hour drive).
You can visit the following places:
The monastery sits atop a hillock that overlooks the Phobjikha valley. It is headed by the ninth Gangtey Trulku and is the largest Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan. It was founded in 1613 by Gyalse Pema Thinlay, a grandson and reincarnation of influential treasure finder Pema Lingpa. An incarnate line of Pema Thinley, representing the body aspects of Pema Lingpa, contrasted with mind and speech emanations. The monastery has been recently built and surrounding the monastery are village homes and hermitages.
Wangduephodrang is one of the largest dzongkhags (districts) in the country. As the district covers 4,308 sq km and ranges from 800-5800 metre in altitude it has extremely varied climatic conditions ranging from Sub-Tropical forests in the south to cool and snowy regions in the North.
Black Necked Crane Informational Centre:
Also know as Thrung Trung Karmo’ as this bird is passionately known in Bhutan is subject of many Bhutanese songs and folklore. They are seen along the paintings on the walls of temples and Thankga. These endangered species of cranes migrate from Tibet in late autumn and typically stay till the mid march. The wetland in the center of Phobjikha valley provides the nesting grounds and natural habitat for these black-necked cranes. Black Necked Crane Information Centre is situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also offers display information that outlines the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people, that local people can benefit from ecotourism. You will also hike along the river up to the forest today.
Day 9: Trongsa
Welcome to the unexplored East of Bhutan! Today we drive from Phobjhika Valley to
Trongsa, which is a 4.5 to 5 hour drive. Arrive at Trongsa and settle into the traditional Bhutanese Hotel. You can visit the following places:
The chorten at Chendebji was built in the early 18th century in the style of a Nepalese stupa. A lama named Shida is said to have been behind the construction, which was undertaken to pin down a mischievous local spirit.
Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All four kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (“governor”) prior to ascending the throne. The dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built. Because of the dzong’s highly strategic position, on the only connecting route between east and west, the Trongsa Penlop was able to control effectively the whole of the central and eastern regions of the country from here.
Day 10: Bumathang
Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys namely Tang, Ura, Choekhor and Chumey, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Linga to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its origin.
Yathra Weaving Centre
Experience Bhutan’s unique and colourful history immortalized into vibrant textiles that are still proudly adorned by its people in the forms of Ghos and Kiras. Beside this you will also see Bhutan is producing the Yathra Textile, where the wool of sheep and yaks are dyed in a different colour and produces very beautiful pieces like handbags, wall hangs, tablecentres, purses, warm jackets, and many more.
Jakar Yugyal Dzong, commonly known as Jakar Dzong, is situated on a ridge above the Jakar village in Bumthang. Jakar Dzong literally meaning castle of the white bird is located on a picturesque ridge overlooking the Chokhor valley. The current structure built in 1667 (refurbished in 1683) is said to be one of the largest Dzong in Bhutan, with impressive fortress walls, elegant structure but a rather simple interior.
Jambay Lhakhang is said to be one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Goenpo in 659 AD on a single day to pin down an ogress to earth forever. A supine demon was causing obstruction to the spread of Buddhism, and the temples were constructed on her body parts that spread across Tibet, Bhutan and the borderlands. You can also visit the Burning Lake today
Day 11: Ura village visit
Visit Ura village, lying in the highest of Bumthang’s valleys, at around 3100m. Ura leads
into the easternmost regions of Bhutan and is located immediately below the Thrumshing La (pass) at 3800m. Although it has grown more prosperous since the construction of the main road to the east, the village is almost mediaeval in aspect, with a narrow stone road leading to the temple, and most of the houses have wooden shingles covering the roof. In this area,
very few varieties of foods can be grown and a subsistence diet of potatoes coupled with herding on the pastures is found.
Day 12: Mongar
Today we drive to Mongar from Bumathang .The road approaching Mongar is one of the
most spectacular journeys in the country. It passes over sheer cliffs and through beautiful fir forests and green pastures. Travelers passing this way will have the opportunity to visit the Rhododendron garden. There are countless varieties of rhododendrons here and on clear days you can even catch a glimpse of Gangkhar Puensum (7541 meters), the world’s highest unclimbed mountain. Arrive at Mongar and settle into a traditional guest house of Ringpoche, which is by a beautiful monastery. You will almost feel like you are living in a monastery. You can go for bird watching today.
Day 13: Trashigang
The road will take you across KoriLa pass (2400m), stop offer butter lamps, and for tea and cookies as we have all along most of the passes. Beyond the pass, driving through corn fields and patches of banana trees, we come to the village of Yadi where we will stop at a farmhouse and photograph weavers making natural dyes from native plants. After Yadi the road zigs and zags in what seems like never-ending switchbacks descending to SheriChu village at the Sheri River. After SheriChu we come across roadside sheds where oil is extracted from lemongrass. In the evening, we visit Trashigang Dzong located on a cliff. The entire eastern Bhutan was ruled from this fortress in the early history. Take a walk around Trashigang’s unique town and visit some local shops and some friendly bars. Overnight at Trashigang. You can also explore the local tribes of Khoma and Ranjung.
Day 14: Samdrup Jhongkar
After breakfast, we drive to Kanglung. Walk around Kanglung’s small town and visit the nearby college and interact with the students. This was the only college in the whole of country till 2005 and it was rated as the 7th best college in Asia. Visit the Zangtopelri. Stop in Khaling and visit the post office for stamp collection. Take a short walk in Khaling town. Lunch in Wamrong. After lunch take a walk around Wamrong town. When you reach the Mirror Cliff, your guide will assist you in putting the Windhorse flags on the trees. Windhorse flag brings blessing and protection to sentient beings. Since this is your last day in the country. We believe this will bring you good luck and safety on your return trip to hometown. On arrival, we check into the hotel and shop and walk around the town. Farewell dinner and overnight in Samdrup Jhongkar.
Day 15: Departure
Start early and drive to Guwahati from Samdrup Jhongkar. Fly out with cherishing memories of a lifetime!