Bhutan Luxury Travel and Tour

  •   Trip Grade: EASY


A trip to Bhutan can be humbling. About the size of Switzerland, there are other similarities such as green alpine meadows, chalet-style homes and snowy peaks. Then there is the truly exotic: the ancient mystical culture of Himalayan Buddhism practiced daily by monks, nuns and the populace in beautifully preserved ancient temples and monasteries. Incense, butter lamps, chanting and drums heighten the experience. The myth and magic of the great lamas and saints is repeated in song, text and vivid iconography on the walls of temples and homes.

Day 01- Fly to Bhutan Paro from Bangkok or Kathmandu or Delhi

Flight drops us into the remote wilderness of Bhutan.  Your hotel is a short distance away, on the hillside overlooking Paro Dzong.   After lunch, take your first walk up to a little-visited temple above the Paro Valley. Afterwards, relax or work the travel kinks out at the hotel spa, take a traditional hot stone bath or just stroll through the surrounding pine forest.  Dinner features Bhutanese specialties and western foods – largely made from organic food grown in the surrounding valleys.
Meals: B/L/D      Activities: A short introductory hike

HOTEL | Uma Paro
This exclusive 29-suite operation in the Paro Valley embodies those essential Bhutanese qualities that promote Gross National Happiness. Traditional craftsmanship combines with modern amenities, superb cuisine and generous hospitality in a location that not only provides spectacular views but is also within easy access of the famed Tiger’s Nest monastery.

Day 02– we will drive to the capital city of Bhutan, Thimpu, have lunch and check into our hotel.

After a short break we’ll do a great hike above the city, with views onto the various government building, temples and parks.  The walking up here is excellent, with opportunities to visit some of Bhutan’s finest Goempas.  We’ll have dinner in town tonight.
Meals: B/L/D
Activity: A 2- hour easygoing hike in the afternoon.

HOTEL | Taj Tashi
Prepare to be mesmerized by the landscape and completely enchanted by the lodgings at the Taj Tashi, a stately 66-room affair in the Thimpu Valley. Here, guests are encouraged to embrace the traditions of Bhutanese art, culture and cuisine, along with adventures into the pristine countryside, followed by a visit to the Jiva Spa. Simply spectacular.

To Punakha Valley

Day 03- After breakfast at the hotel we’ll drive toward Dochu-La, one of the highest drivable passes in Bhutan.

Just before cresting we’ll stop and walk for about 1.5 hours to Tashigang Hongtso Monastery.  Tucked into a clearing at the edge of a forest and overlooking the town of Hongtso, Tashigang has been one of our favorite visits for well over a decade.  In the surrounding buildings are pilgrims practicing silent meditation, and a peaceful calm pervades the area.  The monastery is also home to about 40 orphans, who receive language, religious and general education from the monks.  B&R has been supporting this monastery for many years in a number of ways, including construction and maintenance projects, art and textile preservation and food and clothing for the novices.  We’ll tour the Goempa, witness a private ceremony with chanting and instruments in the main temple room, and have a Q&A session with the head lama.  On the way back we’ll stop for a picnic beside a water powered prayer wheel.  A stop at the top of Dochu-la is warranted, and (weather permitting), you’ll enjoy the view onto some of the Himalaya’s highest peaks, including what is considered to be the highest unclimbed peak in the world – Gangkhar Puensum, 7570 m (24,836 feet).  Then we’ll descend for almost 2 hours into Punakha Valley, a subtropical Shangri La carved by the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu (Mother and Father River), arriving at our lodge a short time later.  There is also a short 30 minute hike through the Royal Botanical Forest available en route.  Dinner will be at the lodge tonight.  Meals: B/L/D
Activity: A 3- hour moderate hike in the afternoon, and a 30 minute optional walk

HOTEL | Uma Punakha
Overlooking the beautiful Punakha valley, with mountain and river views, is an intimate, luxury lodge located at the far western end of the lush Punakha Valley. From our picturesque base overlooking a snake-like bend in the Mo Chu river, Uma Punakha is ideally located for exploration
and relaxation.


Day 04- This morning we’ll visit the impressive Punakha Dzong – part-admin building, part-monastery, all fortress – which has been battered by earthquakes, floods and fire throughout its history.

The most recent disaster was in 1986, when a fire ravaged the southwest wing. Traditional methods were used in the repairs and the structure remains magnificent. We’ll continue on, stopping for lunch in Wangdi.  A short drive later we will turn into the sha Valley and hike a lovely trail through a series of villages and terraced fields.  This hike is about 2 ½ hours.  Once we return to the valley floor we’ll drive to Phobjika Valley and the town of Gangtey.

Day 05- This valley is a very quiet farming region, and it’s high elevation and cool temperatures make it perfect for growing potatoes.

We’ll walk the valley trail this morning, along which there are some lovely old villages to explore, and we’ll visit a local family in their home, virtually unchanged for a hundred years.  Your hotel tonight is the Dewachen, a simple 16 room lodge tucked into the pine forest, and overlooking the wintering ground of Bhutan’s legendary Black Neck Cranes.
Meals: B/L/D
Activity: – a 2.5 hour hike in the afternoon.  — a 2 hour hike with several longer options

HOTEL | Dewachen
Surrounded with  pine forests in the beautiful valley of Phobjikha, ancient  Gantey Gompa, and major attraction to the rare Black Necked cranes. The Dewachen Hotel Has fifteen double rooms, western bathroom settings and a multi-cuisine restaurant with a panoramic


Day 06- We will depart early today for Bumthang, in central Bhutan.

This morning you have a 2½ hour drive though some of Bhutan’s most dramatic countryside, past several villages and towns.  You will stop at Trongsa for a spectacular hike to one of Bhutan’s most famous buildings – Trongsa Dzong.  One spectacular option takes you down into one of Bhutan’s deepest river gorges, crosses an old cantilevered bridge over the Trongsa River, and then climbs to the Dzong, perched on the hillside.  After a short visit to the Dzong you’ll continue for another 2 hours to Bumthang.  The Bumthang Valley is one of the few regions in Bhutan with flat (ish) farmland, and as a former capital of Bhutan, it holds many important historical sites and buildings.  Your hotel is close to the main Goempa and palace.

Day 07- After a relaxing morning enjoying breakfast on the terrace, your guide will take you on an exploratory tour of the sights around Bumthang.

You will hike to the gorge where legendary saint Pema Lingpa found one of the most important treasures of Bhutan, which helped to link the country.  You’ll continue on to a monastery where dozens of monks and novices practice their chants and songs.  You can finish your day with a hot stone bath and massage in the spa, or perhaps an audience with a local Lama or Member of Parliament.  We can often arrange interesting events or meetings.
Meals: B/L/D
2.5 – 3 hour hike in the afternoon.
2 hour hike with several longer options

HOTEL | Amankora Bumthang
Adjacent to the first and second King of Bhutan’s palace, Wangdichholing, Amankora Bumthang lies within the town of Jakar in the Choekhor Valley in an area commonly known as Bumthang. Access to Amankora Bumthang passes alongside the former royal sports ground of Bhutan’s first two kings, a traditional and much-used archery area, and circles a stately peach tree.

Day 08 – This morning we’ll head to the Bumthang airstrip for our return flight to Paro.

It could be one of the most spectacular flights anywhere.  To the north shining snow-covered peaks loom over 7000 meters above sea level, overseeing expanses of forest and silver riverways flowing to the Indian Ocean.  Behind the mountains you may catch an occasional glimpse of the Tibetan Plateau.  To the south you’ll see the Indian Plain occasionally, and the lower foothills of Bhutan. We’ve been traveling hard, and hiking a lot so perhaps today might be a good rest day.  There is an excellent spa at your hotel, some great reading nooks to enjoy a novel or magazine, and other activities available, such as Bhutan’s national sport – archery, or take a bike into town for a little shopping along Paro’s main street.  Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.

Day 09– Today we’ll embark on the walk to Taktsang monastery, one of the most venerated Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas.

Set into a cliff face 800m (2600 ft.) above the Paro, the Tiger’s Nest, as it’s known, takes its name from a mythical journey made by Lord Padmasambawa (Guru Rinpoche), who flew there on a tigress’ back in order to meditate for three months and convert the valley to Buddhism. Since then, many of Buddhism’s most influential figures have visited. The main building of Taktsang was badly damaged in a fire recently, and a major restoration ended in 2003. The view from the teahouse is well worth the climb, but we recommend continuing another hour to the temple, as it is extraordinary. Towards evening you’ll return to the Uma Paro for dinner, or you can enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in town if you prefer.

Day 10- For our final day in Bhutan we’ll drive up to Cheli La.

This little-travelled road to the Ha Valley switches back and forth through a marvellous forest until it reaches an elevation of 3,810m. From here, walk (slowly) up the ridge to about 4,000m (or higher if you are feeling good) for unparalleled views of Bhutan’s snow-capped holy mountain, Jomolhari, and a host of other Himalayan giants, including the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga, on a clear day. Then we’ll continue (mostly downhill) for a lovely walk to Cheli La convent, a nunnery tucked under the cliffs facing Paro and enjoy a cup of tea with the hardy nuns.  Once we return to the road, you have the option of driving back down in the vehicle, or choosing the more stylish and exhilarating option of climbing on a mountain bike, and coasting all the way back to Paro valley, a downhill distance of about 35 km! Tonight, celebrate with some special events and a final dinner in a beautiful setting at the hotel.
Meals: B/L/D

A relaxing day with minimal exercise planned. – a fairly strenuous 4 hour walk with about 500 meters of elevation gain.  or – a 3 hour walk at fairly high elevations (with longer options) and a 1 hour optional  (downhill) bike ride.

HOTEL | Uma Paro
This exclusive 29-suite operation in the Paro Valley embodies those essential Bhutanese qualities that promote Gross National Happiness. Traditional craftsmanship combines with modern amenities, superb cuisine and generous hospitality in a location that not only provides spectacular views but is also within easy access of the famed Tiger’s Nest monastery.

Day 11- Your Flight Paro to Next destination Kathmandu / Bangkok / Delhi