5 Days Glimpse of Bhutan Private Tour
This five days four nights trip will present a true Glimpse of Bhutan and imbibe in you what it takes for the tiny Buddhist Kingdom to emerge as a unique tourist destination.
The journey will take you through the hearts of two western districts of Bhutan – Paro and Thimphu which both exhibits the strength and tenacity of a nation known for preserving its ancient Buddhist culture and living in harmony with its pristine natural environment. Paro stands as the gateway to Bhutan for visitors by air as the country’s only international airport is located here. Paro is the most visited place in Bhutan.
You will visit major historical and religious centres including a day hike to the most spectacular tourist attraction, Paro Taktsang, which was initially built in 1692.
On Day 4 of the tour, you will have two options for the entire day excursion in Thimphu: Do 2 hour return hiking trip to Cheri Monastery, a 400-year old religious center located on the mountainside north of Thimphu OR drive to Dochula, a mountain pass (3,150m/10,335ft) located approximately 25km away from Thimphu on the highway leading to eastern and central region of Bhutan.
- Travel to ancient capital of Bhutan, visit historic 17th century fortress and appreciate the marvelous wall paintings, exquisite architecture and craftsmanship that still continues to influence the Bhutanese architecture today
- Visit a family farmhouse to learn and experience Bhutanese way of life and delight your taste buds with authentic Bhutanese cuisine
- Visit the capital city of Bhutan and get true glimpse of modern Bhutan with its ancient culture still vibrant
- Hike to 8th century sacred site where Bhutan’s iconic landmark, 17th century Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest is located on the face of the 800m rock cliff
- Scheduling: Private Tour
- Languages offered on the Activity / Tour: English
- Duration: 5 days
- Printed or Mobile Voucher Accepted
- Price depends on the month you travel
- Jun to Aug, Dec, Jan & Feb are Low Season. Jun & July are summer/monsoon, Dec, Jan & Feb are winter
- Mar to May & Sep to Nov are High Season with good weather & clear skies - perfect season to visit Bhutan
- Trip begins and ends at Paro International Airport
- Visa is 100% guaranteed
- Child rate applies only when accompanied by 3 paying adults
- Accommodation will be provided at 3 Star hotels periodically inspected and approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan and those are the hotels we love to stay ourselves
- Pick-up serviceYou will be picked up from the Paro International Airport.
- Easy CancellationThere is no cancellation fee once Customers Cancel at least 7 day(s) prior to the date of the activity or tour.
There is 50% cancellation fee for Customers to Cancel 3 and 6 day(s) prior to the date of the activity or tour.
There is 100% cancellation fee for Customers to Cancel 2 day(s) prior to the date of the activity or tour.
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
Cut-off TimeAvailable to be booked until 2 days before the tour starts. We reserve the option to confirm the tour or not due to availability.
- Round trip airport transfers
- Land transport with driver for the entire duration of your trip within Bhutan
- Tourist SIM card so that you can stay in touch with your loved ones back home
- English speaking licensed private tour guide
- All internal taxes
- Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) to the Royal Government of Bhutan
- Accommodation in a 3 Star hotel on a twin sharing basis (double occupancy)
- Visa Fee
- All meals
- Airfares - We can arrange air tickets to and from Bhutan at no commission. You just have to take care of the connecting flights.
- Travel Insurance
- Alcohol beverages, Laundry services, Telephone call charges
- Any other personal expenses
Paro Altitude 2,195m/7,200ft You will take a flight in the morning by either Drukair or Bhutan Airlines and arrive at Paro International Airport. On the way, if the weather is clear enough you will see the Great Himalayan mountain ranges.
As you enter Bhutanese airspace and soon approach Paro valley, you would already notice the green mountainous landscapes and Paro river snaking down the valley. After arrival, your visa will be stamped on your passport at the immigration counter. You will be received by our guide and driver at the exit gate, and then you will be transferred to the hotel.
After you settle in the hotel and new surroundings, you will be taken on your first adventure in this beautiful Kingdom. Visit 7th century Buddhist monastery – Kyichu Lhakhang As it is considered auspicious, you will first begin by visiting one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, a seventh century Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means “temple”), which is located just a few minutes drive from the main town of Paro, is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is believed to have been built in 659 A.D. by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to subdue the spirit of a giant demoness causing harm to the propagation of Buddhism in the Himalayan region.
To subdue this demoness, King Songtsen Gampo was required to build 108 temples across the affected region. Bhutan is blessed with two of these 108 temples; the other one is Jampa Lhakhang located in the district of Bumthang in central Bhutan. Both the temples were believed to have been built overnight.
Visit National Museum of Bhutan – Ta Dzong The National Museum of Bhutan is located in Paro just above the Rinpung Dzong (administrative headquarter of Paro district). It is housed in an ancient watch tower called Paro Ta Dzong (Ta Dzong means “watch tower fortress”) built in 1649. It displays hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artefacts and artworks including traditional costumes, armour, weaponry and handcrafted implements for daily life. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country.
Visit Paro Rinpung Dzong Paro Rinpung Dzong (Rinpung Dzong means “fortress of the heap of jewels”) was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1646 and established as the administrative and monastic centre of the western region. Today, the Dzong serves as the office of the governor of Paro district and head of the district monk body in Paro.
A great annual festival known as Paro Tsechu is held in Rinpung Dzong from the eleventh to the fifteenth day of the second month of the traditional Bhutanese lunar calendar (usually in March or April of the Gregorian calendar). On this occasion, holy images are taken in a procession followed by a series of traditional mask dances conveying religious stories which are performed by monks for five days. After visiting the Dzong, take a short walk to the traditional wooden cantilever bridge called Nemeyzampa, where your driver will be waiting for you.
The roofed wooden cantilever bridge is built in a traditional style, and this type of bridges are called Bazam. Free time to explore Paro town. Overnight at a hotel in Paro. (Lunch, Dinner)
Taktsang Altitude 3,120m/10,235ft Today, on the 2nd day of your trip, you will be going on an excursion to Paro Taktsang Monastery, visit Fortress of Victory and later in the afternoon visit one of the farm house in Paro (subject to availability) and indulge in a much needed relaxing spa – hot stone bath. Hike to Taktsang Monastery at 3,120m/10,235ft feet above the sea level.
After early breakfast, we will do 4-5 hour return hike to the famed Taktsang or the Tiger’s Nest which is located on the face of a sheer 800-meter rocky cliff in Paro. It normally takes about 2 hours to reach the monastery from the nearest road head. The history of Taktsang is associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava (known as Guru Rinpoche), the Indian saint who came to Bhutan and introduced Tantric Buddhism in the 8th century AD. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew into the cave from Kurtoe Khenpajong in eastern Bhutan, riding on a tigress.
It is not only considered as one of the most sacred pilgrimage site in Bhutan but also “a must visit” place for tourists. After visiting Taktsang monastery and a sumptous lunch at Taktsang cafeteria, hike downhill back to the road head where your driver will be waiting. Visit Drukgyal Dzong – The Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa Located about 14km away from Paro main town is Drukgyal Dzong, the Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa (Drukpa means ‘inhabitants of Land of the Thunder Dragon’). It was was built in 1649 to commemorate victory against the invasion by Tibetan-Mongol forces.
The Dzong was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1951. Some of the main relics including invaluable volumes of sacred Buddhist scriptures were rescued. The dzong used to house one of the largest granaries among all the dzongs in the country. Apart from the sacred Buddhist scriptures, some of the original relics rescued from the fire are an image of Chenrizig, the god of compassion; an image of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Dolma (Tara). The Dzong remained in a ruined state since the devastating fire in 1951.
The reconstruction of the Dzong began in 2016 under the command of His Majesty the King and it is expected to take few years before restoring to its former glory. Visit Farmhouse and relax in the hot stone bath (subject to availability) Towards the evening, visit one of the beautiful farmhouses in Paro and experience the traditional Bhutanese way of life. If you are interested, you can indulge in a traditional hot stone bath for an additional fee. Specially selected stones are heated in a wood-fired fireplace.
The bathtub is made of wood, and a medicinal shrub is added to the hot bath. You can enjoy locally brewed warm liquor known as Ara while soaking in the relaxing bath. Later in the evening, a delicious dinner of authentic Bhutanese cuisine will be served. Overnight at the hotel or a farmhouse (subject to availability). (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Distance : 55 km Time: 2 hours Transportation: Private SUV/Minivan/Bus Thimphu Altitude: 2,334m/7,655ft
After breakfast, we will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. It is a 55km road journey by luxury Van / SUV, and the drive should not take more than 2 hours including stopovers on the way. We will be driving along the Paro River (Pa Chhu) which runs until the confluence (Chhuzom) where it is joined by Thimphu River (Thim Chhu).
The two rivers form Wang Chhu and flow southward and are the major river running two hydroelectric power plants. After Chhuzom the road follows Thim Chhu river upstream and as you pass through some villages, you will already feel immersed in a wonderland surrounded by mountains and beautiful landscapes. Visit Tamchog Lhakhang on the way to Paro If interested; you can stopover on the way to visit Tamchog Lhakhang, a temple that is dedicated to the 15th century Tibetan saint Thangthong Gyalpo popularly know as the iron bridge builder. It is located across the Pachhu river along the Paro – Thimphu highway.
To visit the temple, you will have to cross an iron chain bridge over the Pachu river, one of the very few remaining of the many built by Thangthong Gyalpo. This is a private temple owned by the descendants of Thangtong Gyalpa. However, tourists are allowed to visit if they are given permission. Continue to drive towards Thimphu. Upon arrival, your guide will assist you to check into the hotel so that you can relax for a while and then have lunch in the same hotel. After lunch, we will explore some of the places of interests within the Thimphu city. Visit Bhutan Postal Museum after lunch. We will begin the half day excursion by visiting Bhutan Post Office which is located in the heart of the city in the same building as Bhutan National Bank so you can also exchange your money into local currency if you wish. The Postal Service in Bhutan was first launched in 1962 with the opening of a post office in Phuentsholing, a town in the south bordering with India. The Postal Museum was opened in 2015 to exhibit the story of Bhutan’s progress and development of communications and postal system in the country. If you are interested in philatelic products and stamp collection, they have a good collection of stamps, First Day Covers and stamp albums.
In october 2017, His Majesty the King granted several rare collections philatelic and communications products adding rich collections for the museum. Visit Royal Textile Academy & Museum Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan. With rapid development and exposure to the western culture, the art of weaving and production of its own handwoven textile is declining fast. To preserve and promote this living art, Her Majesty Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wanchuck established the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan in 2005 as a non-profit organization.
The Textile Museum showcases a collection of artefacts to impart an understanding of Bhutan’s rich textile traditions and way of life. Visit Tashichho Dzong – Open to visitors only after 5 PM Tashichho Dzong, which means “Fortress of the Glorious Religion” is opened to visitors only after 5 PM during working days and from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekends. The original Dzong, known as Dho Ngon Dzong was built in 1216 A.D. by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa on a location where Dechen Phodrang monastery stands today. It was acquired by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1641 and renamed it as Tashichho Dzong.
The original Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1771 and then relocated to the present location. The Dzong suffered several earthquakes and fires and was subsequently renovated and new structures added by successive rulers. It was His Late Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who renovated and enlarged the entire Dzong to its present form in 1962 over the period of six years. The magnificent architectural feat was achieved using the traditional method without any blueprint plans or nails. It houses the Secretariat and offices of the King, the Throne Room, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Central Monastic Body. Back to the hotel and gather for dinner.
Today, after early breakfast, we will drive to Punakha Valley via beautiful Dochu La Pass (3,150m/10,335ft). Before we embark on a 74km road journey which takes less than 3 hours under normal road condition, we will pay a short visit to the Buddha Point to pray for our safe journey ahead and enjoy the scenic view of Thimphu valley below.
Visit Buddha Point – Buddha Dordhenma Statue The magnificent 169 feet tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha is located on a hilltop, Kuensel Phodrang, overlooking the Thimphu valley. From here you can see a nice view of Thimphu city. It was built to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck and also for the purpose of bringing peace to the world.
The giant Buddha statue houses more than 100,000 8-inch tall Buddha statues of the same type. The construction began in 2006 and was completed in 2015 after almost ten years. The total cost of the entire project is well over US$100 million. We will then drive to Dochula Pass. We then start our journey toward Punakha. Dochu La Pass – 3,150m/10,335ft above sea level About 45 min drive from Thimphu towards Punakha is a mountain pass at an altitude of 3,150 meters above sea level from where you can see, on a clear day, some of the highest peaks of Bhutan. Before the construction of these beautiful 108 Druk Wangyal Choetens (stupas) in 2004, this mountain pass remained only as a sacred place blessed by a famous Buddhist saint, Lam Drukpa Kuenley in the late 15th century.
From Dochu La Pass, we will continue driving towards Punakha, passing through some villages, the elevation drops gradually and the road winds through the pine trees. As you reach the lower subtropical valley, you will feel the drastic change in altitude from 3,150m just an hour and a half ago to subtropical valley at 1,200m. Just before arriving at the main Punakha town, you will visit 15th-century temple popularly known as the Temple of Fertility located on a hilltop, and then lunch will be served at one of the nearby restaurants. Chhime Lhakhang – The Temple of Fertility Chhime Lhakhang is located on a gentle hilltop near the village of Sopsokha.
To reach the temple, you have to walk 20 – 30 minutes through beautiful terraced paddy fields and traditional farmhouses. The history of Chhime Lhakhang is associated with 16th century Lama Drukpa Kuenley who was affectionately known as “Divine Madman” for his obscene behaviour and outrageous ways of cleansing people from religious dogmatism and egoistic self-possession by exhibiting his strong desire for sex. He would often use phallus as a tool to subdue malevolent spirits.
Using the phallus was also intended to free up the social inhibitions enforced by the socially established values. Today, one of the relics of Chime Lhakhang is a phallus. The blessing of the phallus is considered sacred particularly to women who are unable to conceive a child as it brings fertility to women, giving them the ability to bear offspring.
Because of this belief, people like to call Chhime Lhakhang as “Temple of Fertility”. Lama Drukpa Kuenley built a small black stupa on this hilltop to mark the burial site of demons whom he managed to subdue after chasing all the way from Dochula Pass, where the demons were terrorizing the travellers. This black stupa can be seen even today just outside of the main temple.
It was Lama Ngawang Chogyel, the younger brother of Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who built the present temple in 1499 AD. Visit the historic Punakha Dzong After lunch visits the historic Punakha Dzong originally known as Pungthang Dewa Chenpoi Phodrang, meaning the “Palace of Great Bliss”. It was built in 1637 AD by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (Tibetan Buddhist master who came to Bhutan in 1616 and founded nation-state of Bhutan) on a small stretch of land where the rivers Phochu and Mochu converge.
Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and second largest Dzong in Bhutan. The sacred wall paintings and main artefacts inside the dzong, the intricate woodworks and the architectural structure of the dzong display the fine examples of Bhutanese arts and craftsmanship which continues to influence Bhutanese architecture even today. If time permits, before driving back to Thimphu, you will take a leisure walk to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan which spans over the Pho Chhu River (Male river). The bridge provides a great view of the nearby village and the crystal clear glacial fed river. Drive back to Thimphu.
Distance: 50 km Time: 1 hour Transportation: Private SUV/Minivan/Bus Paro Altitude: 2,195m/7,200ft
After breakfast, drive to Paro and transfer you to Paro International Airport for your onward journey.
Your guide will assist you to complete all exit formalities before you check-in.
- Day 2 includes 4-5 hrs return hike to the famous Paro Taktsang Monastery built on the 800-m rock cliff at 3,120m altitude. Ponies available on the spot but the hike is best enjoyed on foot. So basic level of fitness is desired. Those who are not interested to do the hike, can stay in town.
- Mar to May & Sep to Nov are High Season. If you plan to visit during these months, we strongly advise you to book at least 1 month in advance because there are only two airlines operating in and out of Bhutan and securing seats can be difficult. During these months the flights tend to get fully booked several months in advance.
- Bhutan enjoys 4 seasons - Dec, Jan & Feb are winter; Mar to Apr are Spring; Jun to Aug are Monsoon/Summer; Sept to Nov are Fall/Autumn. So bring appropriate clothings.