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This short tour is perfect for travelers already visiting Thailand or Nepal, but wanting a glimpse of Bhutan. See the most essential highlights of Paro and Thimphu with a unique side trip to the lesser known Haa Valley, the smallest Dzongkhang (district) of Bhutan but one of the most scenic areas. Admire stunning views of snow capped mountains from Chele La, one of the highest pass at about 13,000 feet. Hike to ancient Buddhist temples located in scenic locations, including the most iconic cliff-hanging Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
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.
Upon arrival at Paro airport, you will be welcomed and proceed about an hour’s drive to Thimphu, Capital of Bhutan.
Afternoon, explore the city highlights including the National Memorial Chorten, Textile Museum and drive up to Buddha Point for sweeping views of Thimphu valley. Later this evening, meet a local expert over a casual dinner to learn about fascinating facts on Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness Index”. Enacted on 18 July 2008, this index is instituted in the Constitution of Bhutan.
Overnight at Thimphu
After breakfast, drive about 30 minutes to Tango Monastery, a monastic school and retreat built in the 15th century. Tango is also the highest Buddhist learning center in Bhutan. After, continue to Bagana bridge for an hour hike on a fairly level trail through beautiful riverside village of Kabesa. Along your walk, visit 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 at Thimphu
Today 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. Along the drive, stop at Dogar Dobji Dzong, a 16th century structure.
Afternoon 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. Your overnight accommodation is a small guesthouse converted from a typical farmhouse.
Overnight at Haa Valley
After breakfast, drive about an hour to Chele La pass (13,120ft.), one of the highest 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 driving 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 at Paro
Today you will hike about 4-5 hours to the famous Tiger’s 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. This iconic monastery was 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 relaxing traditional hot stone herbal bath before visiting the Paro Dzong and strolling around “downtown” Paro, a series of small lanes with a handful of local shops.
Overnight at Paro
Transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
Our private tours include the things that make it so you don’t have to worry about logistics for your trip.
Consider a pre- or post-tour extension to this itinerary in either Thailand or Singapore depending on which city your international flight is routed through. It’s quite easy to add a couple of days in Bangkok to indulge in authentic local food at our secret locations or Singapore, the ultra-modern city state rumored to be the cleanest country in the world.
Explore authentic century old neighborhoods including one of the world's largest Chinatown established in 1782 and a Thai-Portuguese Quarter. Discover hidden small eateries known only to local foodies, sample unique snacks and dishes you will never find on your own!
Go behind the glitzy skyscrapers where locals live and learn true facts about the Singapore life. Despite being one of the most modern city states in Asia, this tiny island offers some of the most fascinating multicultural and culinary experiences under one roof.
Here’s an explanation of what to expect and why about the planning and booking process and working with a Red Lantern Journeys travel consultant.
The price for this trip will vary based on many factors including:
Your personal travel consult to work with you to prepare your itinerary, recommend tours and activities and accommodation and explain the reasoning behind every aspect of your tour.
You'll have your own private, chauffeur-driven vehicle for all of your airport transfers and daily excursions. These will also include your personal, English-speaking guide who is licensed and will provide the insights to make each of your tours an exceptional experience.
We've inspected hundreds of hotels and can recommend accommodation that fits your style and budget.
We have access to a wide range of activities to make your trip truly memorable. Activities range from visiting iconic sights to meeting local personalities, adventure sports, and exclusive dining experiences!
The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring months of March to May when the valleys come alive with flowers in bloom. The Himalayan peaks are at their most visible with the clear skies of October and this is the best time for trekking though temperatures will be on the cold side.
April, May, September and October are the best months with optimum weather. Although it is colder, the skies are generally clear and blue, and most importantly, it won’t be muddy.
Winter is a good time to catch the endangered black necked crane in their winter home, the Phobjika valley and summer is a wonderful time for mushroom picking (there’s even a Matsutake Mushroom Festival) and to catch glimpses of (sometimes double) rainbows over the valleys. If you’re there to seek solace or for spirituality reasons, anytime would be a good time to go.
The monsoon season lasts from June through September. During this time, light rain (1-2 hours) in the morning is typical.
Please fill out the form below with as much information as possible about when you want to travel, how many people and anything else you’d like us to know. We’ll get back to you within one business day, if not sooner!
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