Bhutan Heritage Trail

11 Nights / 12 days

Overview

Bhutan tour unravel the wonders for yourself of this last Shangri-La – a land of snow-capped mountains, emerald green landscape, sturdy fortresses, and gentle people. In Bhutan, tradition is real: The visitors can see it, feel it. In a world where a thick cloak of globalization has all but smothered distinctive heritages, this self-reliant kingdom proudly stands alone. This trip will help you to experience and understand the authentic Bhutanese way of life. Drive from one valley town to another visiting temples, monasteries, dzongs, isolated villages, and the people. The trip is a wonderful immersion into Bhutanese culture, where daily life is itself a form of art. An ultimate vacation in this mythical Himalayan Kingdom.

Highlights

  • Hike to Taktshang Lakhang
  • Indulge in the organic Hot Stone Bath
  • Hoisting of Prayer flags
  • Trip to Haa – one of the least populated Valleys
  • Meditation at Buddha Point (largest Buddha Statue in Bhutan)
  • Dinner with local Bhutanese family to get a taste of the local food
  • Spiritual walk to the 16th century of Khumbu Monastery
  • Cooking session of authentic Bhutanese cuisine
  • Imposing Punakha Dzong
  • Visit of typical Bhutanese Farm House
  • Local Dress wearing Session
  • Traditional Cultural Program with Mask Dance

Paro

Haa Valley

Thimphu

Gangtey

Punakha

Tour Route

2 Nights

Paro

2 Nights

2 Nights

Haa Valley

2 Nights

2 Nights

Thimphu

2 Nights

2 Nights

Gangtey

2 Nights

2 Nights

Punakha

2 Nights

1 Night

Paro

1 Night

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
  • Day 12

Arrive Paro

Upon arrival in Paro airport you are met and transferred to your pre booked Hotel.
Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Mount Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the steep descent into the Paro Valley is awe-inspiring. On arrival, you will be met by your Bhutanese Guide and driven to your hotel.

Afternoon – depending on flight timing, sightseeing of the following:

Ta Dzong: An ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan.

Paro Rinpung Dzong: Literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646. Some of the scenes in the film Little Buddha (1993) were filmed in this Dzong.

In the evening walk around Paro town and valley at your own pace.

Overnight stay at Hotel in Paro.

Paro

Breakfast in the Hotel

Later proceed for an excursion to Taktshang Monastery - The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rimpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padma sambhava flew here on the back of a tigress. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill. however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.

Afternoon sightseeing includes Ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong- It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. Peak of Jumolhari ‘Mountain of the Goddess’ can be seen on a clear day from here (7,329 mts/24,029 ft.).

Later, you shall have following option:
Go for a typical Bhutanese hot stone bath at a farmhouse.
Hot stone bath - The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

Overnight stay at Hotel Paro

Paro – Haa Valley (BY Private Vehicle 70 Kms 3 Hrs Drive)

Breakfast in the Hotel and Check Out

Later drive to the Haa Valley via Chelela Pass.

Prayer flag hoisting at Chelela pass:
Prayer flags are an integral part of Bhutanese landscape and also the cultural and religious heritage of the country especially the textile and weaving craft. They are ubiquitous in Bhutan; in and around monasteries, chortens or stupas, dzongs, lhakhangs, homes, on the railing of bridges and mountain roads, and invariably on or near the summit of the mighty peaks that preside over the country. Red, blue, green, yellow and white, they add a splash of rainbow colours to the rugged landscape. Deeply religious, the people of Bhutan believe that with each flutter, a flag releases the prayer printed on it into the air which in turn carries it to the heavens. The more the flag flaps, the greater is its divine value. It is for this reason that prayer flags are positioned that catch the wind – high up on the forested slopes of mountains, across bridges, nearby rivers and streams that tumble down the valleys and anywhere where there is wind and tunnel effect.

A short walk to Kila Gompa, a nunnery perched on a steep cliff face at 3500m. This staggering site manages to house 7 small temples and about 70 nuns. Views are magnificent and it is well worth the hour’s hike to get there. Luunch at Kila Gompa then descend back to the road head and drive over the prayer flag strewn pass at almost 4000m and down into the Haa Valley.

Upon arrival in haa Valley check in at your pre booked Hotel.
Haa Valley - The Valley of Haa lies on the western most edge of Bhutan, its northern boundaries with the Chumbi Valley of Tibet, dividing it from the Indian province of Sikkim. Haa is one of the 20 districts or dzongkhags of Bhutan and one of the least populated. Opened to tourism in 2002, its tourism resources remain largely undeveloped. Most of its landmass is covered by dense forest and the remainder under fields of wheat and barley, with a little rice towards its lower reaches and the accessible side valleys. Meadows support the raising of yak, cattle, chicken, pig’s and horses.

Overnight stay at Hotel in Haa Valley

Haa Valley

Breakfast in the Hotel

Later drive to Yotong (2955m), a group of village homes clustered together in the valley by the Haa Chhu River. An old trail leads 150m uphill to the Gompa, dedicated to the Guru Rimpoche and his 8 manifestations. Standing among a few farmhouses, this 300-year structure was built by the 16th Je Khempo (Head Abbot of Bhutan).

A rough road by the monastery will take us back by vehicle to Yotong. There after picnic lunch, a gentle walk along the riverside brings us into Haa town in about 2 hours. Explore the towns Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo.

Overnight stay at hotel in Haa Valley

Haa Valley – Thimphu (By Private Vehicle 115 Kms , 4 Hrs Drive)

Breakfast in the Hotel and Check Out

Later hike towards the lower road along first the Haa Chhu and after the confluence with the Wang Chhu, along the latter towards the capital at Thimphu. En route stop at Dogar Dobji Dzong, a 16th century structure, built by the brother of the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kinley. This dzong became Bhutan’s first jail in 1976 but has since returned to its monastic origins.

Upon arrival in Thimphu check in at your pre booked Hotel.

Afternoon, in Thimphu, visit- Textile & Simply Bhutan Museums: It provides insight into Bhutanese distinct art form.
Trashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion): A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanampa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Trashi Chhoe Dzong. The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the central Monastic Body including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present.

Overnight stay at Hotel in Thimphu

Thimphu

Breakfast in the Hotel

After breakfast, visit to Buddha Point, (Here at the Buddha point you have an option to perform meditation at a designated area for a short while) followed by the following hike
Sangaygang - Wangditse loop
Drive to Sangaygang viewpoint, situated at an elevation of 2685m and presenting wonderful view of Thimphu valley from the hillside below the telecommunications tower. From here commences approx two hours walk to Sangayang – Wangditse loop. The trail leads through ubiquitous prayer flags amidst beautiful view of Thimphu valley. After a short and abrupt hike, take the side footpath to right and thereon the trail gets gentler and easier. Above the trail, you will also find apple orchard and few farmhouses. There after the trail drops down gently through oak, blue pine, and rhododendron until you reach to Wangditse monastery. This monastery was founded in 1750 and later totally rebuilt in 2016. The inner chapel houses a two-storey statue of Sakyamuni Buddha en route, there are excellent views north towards the Samteling Palace, home to the fourth King. The walking tail ends back at Sangaygang viewpoint.

In the evening visit King's Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.
Dinner with a local family which offers an insight into local culture, traditions, and way of life.

Overnight at the Hotel in Thimphu.

Thimphu – Gangtey (By Private Vehicle 150 Kms, 5 Hrs Drive)

Breakfast in the Hotel

Later drive on to Gangtey. On the way, visit
Dochula pass - The most known pass in Bhutan, about 24 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu. It is at around 3080 mts height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place. Continue passing through dense forests of oak and rhododendron tress.

The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space and is an extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valleys are tightly enclosed. A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lies the village of Phobjikha.

Upon arrival in Gangtey check in at your pre booked Hotel.

Evening take a stroll in fascinating Phobjikha valley and visit Gangtey Monastery.

Overnight at the hotel in Gangtey

Gangtey

Breakfast in the Hotel.

Later embark on a spiritual walk to 16th century monastery in Khumbu village near Gangtey, awesome spot nicely tucked into a remote corner of Bhutanese farmland (with picnic lunch).

Kumbu Temple offers several interesting statues, and many historical artifacts and scriptures. On the main floor you may visit the statue of “Sangay Menla” the Medicine Buddha. The Bhutanese people believe that when they suffer from an illness, they will pray to the Medicine Buddha and chant his mantra prior to taking traditional medicine. They believe the Medicine Buddha will bless them and they will recover from their illness. Climbing up the traditional Bhutanese staircase (steep wooden ladder) to the second floor, you may visit statues of “Duesum Sangay” and the temple of “Goenkhang.” “Duesum Sangay” represents the Buddha of the past (Amitabha), the Buddha of the present (Sakyamuni) and the Buddha of the future (Maitreya).“Goenkhang is the temple of the protective female deity called Sipey Gyelmo. The deity is a friendly spirit, looking after the
local people. Females are not allowed to enter the “Goenkhang” temple. On the 29th day of the eight month of the Bhutanese calendar, Kumbu Lhakang performs a special ritual known a Kumbu Tsham Choe,” to commemorate the death of Lama Tsenden Dawa who built Kumbu Temple.

Overnight at the Hotel in Gangtey.

Gangtey – Punakha (BY Private Vehicle 70 Kms 3 Hrs Drive)

Breakfast in the Hotel

Later drive to Punakha Enroute take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang: This temple is located on the way to Punakha. It is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 Century. Lama drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Divine adman.
After Lunch, explore.

Punakha Dzong - This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers.

In the evening free time to walk around Punakha town and valley.

Overnight stay at Hotel in Punakha

Punakha

Breakfast in the Hotel

Later excursion to Talo village. The village of Talo (alt 2800m) which is scattered along the hill slopes, known for its cleanliness and hygiene among Punakha village. Talo Sangnacholing is built on a plateau and has majestic views of surrounding villages. The beautiful farmhouses of the village have its own flower gardens and, on the hill, corns and sweet peas are grown in abundance. The women of Talo are particularly known for their beauty.

After lunch, excursion to Khamsum Yulley Monastery:

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten: This chorten is built on a ridge above the Punakha valley. It took around nine years to build the chorten. over a period of 9 years. It is said that the Bhutanese craftsmen consulted Holy Scriptures to construct this 4 storey temple. The temple was built by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.

Cooking session at a hotel / restaurant, followed by dinner
This is a special cooking session where a team of chef instruct/demonstrate how local Bhutanese delicacies are prepared – guests can also try their culinary skill. Bhutanese food is heavily seasoned with red chilies and can be quite hot. Tasty and fiery ‘Emma Datshi’ made with chilies and local Bhutanese cheese is the national dish of Bhutan. Guests can have fun participating in the preparation of local Bhutanese delicacies.

Overnight stay at Hotel in Punakha

Punakha – Paro (By Private Vehicle 125 Kms 4 Hrs Drive

Breakfast in the Hotel

Later continue discovering Rinchengang Village - A small, clustered village in Wangduephodrang, on a hill opposite to where Wangduephodrang Dzong was built before. It is about 20 minutes hike uphill from the nearest road. Drive further ahead and visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country which now houses the School for Buddhist studies. Evening Kyichu Lhakhang. This temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo, to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya, in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples. Kyichu Lhakhang is one of them.
Evening local dress wearing session at the hotel
The National dress of Bhutan is one of the most distinctive and visible aspects of Dragon Kingdom’s unique character. Men wear Gho, a long robe similar to Tibetan Chhuba, that is raised till knee, folded backwards and then tied around the waist by Kera (belt). While women wear, ankle length robe called Kira. The Bhutanese textile is made from fine, hand-woven, or milled fabric, with the colorful distinctive patterns.
Followed by traditional Bhutanese Cultural Program with Mask Dance: All Bhutanese art, dance, drama, and music has its roots in the Buddhist religion. The music of Bhutan is an integral part of its culture and plays a leading role in transmitting social values. Traditional Bhutanese music includes a spectrum of subgenres, ranging from folk to religious song and music. Dances are performed wearing ornate costumes and masks and each aspect of dance has a symbolic meaning. There will be approximately 10-12 people performing this show.

Overnight stay at Hotel in Paro

Leave Paro

Breakfast in the Hotel and Checkout

Our guest relation executive will assist and transfer you to Paro International Airport to board Flight for Onward Journey

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Pricing*

– £3245 / $4485 per person for a minimum of 2 travellers on a twin or double sharing basis.
– £690 / $950 for single room supplement.

Price valid till 30th April 2023 & based in Standard Hotels.

Included

  • Accommodation on Twin/Double Sharing basis
  • Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Private Transfers
  • City Sightseeing
  • Private Car with Driver
  • Accompanying English Speaking Guide
  • Entrances to Monuments
  • Bhutan Development Fees
  • Bhutan Visa Fee

Not Included

  • International Flight
  • Insurance
  • Expenses of Personal nature
  • Camera and Video charges
  • Tips

* Terms and Conditions Apply

  1. Prices applicable for standard hotels, luxury accommodations available on request.
  2. Prices valid upto 30th April 2023.
  3. Christmas and New Year supplement applicable extra.
  4. Local taxes apply.

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Tour interested in: Bhutan Heritage Trail

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