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Essence of Bhutan - 6 days/ 5 nights

Paro - Thimphu - Haa Valley - Paro

Explore the colorful and historical culture of this exotic Himalayan nation with a series of short day hikes around the valleys. Enjoy stunning mountain views of the Himalayas, interact with interesting local people as you learn about their daily lives as well as religious practices.

Privately-Guided! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own guide and driver for all airport pickups, dropoffs, and daily excursions. 
Choose Your Own Dates! This is not a fixed departure date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you and we will arrange everything.
Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't included? Just let us know, and we will arrange it for you and let you know the change in costs.

Click here to read what our clients have told us after they return.

Trip Highlights

  • Hike to Kila Gompa Nunnery at 11,480 ft.
  • Scenic mountain views from Chele La pass at 13,120 ft.
  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery at 10,240 ft.
  • Traditional hot stone herbal bath


Day 1:  Paro to Thimphu (7,700 ft.)
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be welcomed by our representative and drive an hour to your hotel in Thimphu.  After settling in, you will visit the major historical sights of Thimphu, including the National Memorial Chorten, Textile Museum and Buddha Point for good views of Thimphu valley. Return back to your hotel for a brief rest or stroll around the city center on your own. Later this evening, meet a local expert over a casual dinner and learn about Bhutan's “Gross National Happiness Index”. 
Overnight in Thimphu. (Lunch, Dinner)

Day 2:  Easy Hike around Kabesa (7,700 ft.)
After breakfast, drive about 30 minutes to Tango Monastery, a monastic school and retreat built in the 15th century. The inner courtyard is beautifully painted in bright colors, alongside with lovely views across Thimphu Valley. Tango is also the highest Buddhist learning center in Bhutan. After, you will drive to Bagana bridge for an hour hike on a fairly level trail through beautiful riverside village of Kabesa. En route you will stop to visit the Choki Traditional Art School, the only charitable art school in the country that helps economically disadvantaged students from all over Bhutan. If the school is opened, you can meet their principal and interact with the students. From here, you’ll continue hiking about an hour through the valley, eventually walking close to the Royal Palace before reaching Jushina, close to Indian Embassy in the city.
Overnight in Thimphu. (All Meals)

Day 3:  Thimphu to Haa Valley (9,670 ft.)
This morning, drive about 4 hours along scenic roads towards Haa Valley, the 2nd least populated district in Bhutan. It lies on the western most edge of Bhutan, bordering with the Chumbi Valley of Tibet and Sikkim in India. Enroute stop at Dogar Dobji Dzong, a 16th century structure. At Haa, visit two monasteries built in the 7th century, Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). Take a short walk around the local village and experience typical rural life. Spend the night in a small guesthouse converted from a typical farmhouse.
Overnight in Haa Valley (All meals)

Day 4:  Hike to Kila Gompa (11,480 ft.) and Drive to Paro (7,780 ft.)
After breakfast, drive about an hour to Chele La pass (13,120ft.), one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. Weather permitting, you will enjoy good views of Mt. Chomolhari (23,000 ft.) and the Himalayan range. Then hike about an hour through forests and steep slopes to Kila Gompa, a nunnery perched on a steep cliff face at 11,480 ft. There are seven small temples and several retreat huts built into a dizzying cliff side, where some 30 to 70 nuns live in self-imposed isolation. If opportunity permits, you’ll have tea with some nuns at the nunnery and learn about their daily life. After, continue by car for about an hour to Paro. Afternoon, visit Kichu Lhakhang, a 7th century temple. Hike 15 minutes up to Drukgyal Dzong, a defense fortress built in 1647 and now in ruins.
Overnight in Paro. (All Meals)

Day 5:  Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (10,240 ft.)
Today hike about 4-5 hours to the famous Tigers Nest (Taktsang) Monastery, an incredible monastery built in 1692 on the side of a 3,000 foot cliff. The trail goes through blue pines and switchbacks uphill to the ridge. First built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup, a cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for 3 months in the 8th century. After the hike, enjoy a traditional hot stone herbal bath. If time permits, visit the Paro Dzong and stroll around “downtown” Paro, a series of small lanes with a handful of local shops.
Overnight in Paro. (All meals)

Day 6: Depart Paro
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (Breakfast)

Inclusions and Exclusions

Our Package Rate Include

  • Flights in/out of Paro from India, Nepal or Bangkok
  • Private airport transfers
  • Daily accommodation with breakfast
  • Daily lunch and dinner at local restaurants
  • Private vehicle transportation for all excursions per itinerary
  • Services of a local, English-speaking guide for all visits and excursions
  • All tours and activities mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees
  • Bhutan tourism development fee
  • Bhutan visa application fee

Rate Do Not Include

  • International airfare
  • Supplements for stays and meals at upgraded hotels such as the Uma Paro, Uma Punakha, Taj Tashi, Haven Resort, or Zhiwaling
  • Beverage during included meals
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for guides and drivers
  • Expenses of a personal nature 

To Book This Tour

Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you are interested in this tour. To prepare a proposal, we'll ask questions about how many people are traveling, your preferred travel dates, standard and types of accommodation, and any special interests that we may be able to accommodate.

Once we have finalized a customized price quote for you, your agent will inform you a per-person non-refundable deposit to initiate reservations (typically 20% of tour cost). Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.

Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
Please review our complete terms and conditions:
Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellation/Refund Policies

- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.
- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.
- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.
- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.
- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.

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