Wonders of Bhutan

  • Trip Type: Journeys
  • 10 Days | Round-trip Paro
  • Group Size: Max 15

Trip Details

 

Find out what lights up the faces of the residents of Bhutan, the only country in the world that measures its well-being in GNH—Gross National Happiness. On a 10-day adventure across this bastion of Buddhist culture, explore remote mountain villages and shrines and climb magnificent heights to the cliff-side Taktsang Monastery, 900 meters (2,953 feet) above the valley floor. Amid the soaring peaks and cultural delights of this ancient place, discover your own capacity for happiness.

Trip Highlights

    • Explore Bhutan’s capital city as well as remote shrines and temples nestled in the countryside.
    • Talk with a Buddhist monk, visit an arts-and-crafts school, and enjoy a home-cooked meal at a family farmhouse.
    • Hike to the legendary Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest Temple).

Itinerary - 10 Days

Day 1 — Paro

Arrive at any time and transfer to our hotel. Visit Rinpung Dzong, a school for monks, and take an orientation walk in town before dinner. (1D)

Days 2 & 3 — Punakha

Drive to Punakha, Bhutan’s ancient capital, crossing the Dochu La pass (10,000 feet) and enjoying stunning views of the Himalaya through flickering prayer flags. The next day, visit the Punakha Dzong, an elaborate fortress guarding the southern end of the valley at the confluence of the Pho (male) and Mo (female) Rivers. Hike to the Chime Lhakhang temple and continue on to the town of Wangdue Phodrang. In the afternoon, hike through rice terraces and forests to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a spectacularly situated temple, and take in sweeping views of the valley below. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Days 4 & 5 — Gangtey Valley

Travel to the village of Khewa before continuing on to the Gangtey Valley to get a taste of Bhutanese life. Visit the farm of a local family and enjoy a home-cooked dinner. The next day, walk to Gangtey Goemba, one of the oldest Nyingmapa monasteries in Bhutan, perched atop a hill amid a cluster of cottages. Explore the restored temple complex and examine some of the finest craftsmanship in Bhutan. Visit a community school, followed by a spectacular walk through the valley to visit an age-old temple and make an offering. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Day 6 — Thimphu

Drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan and home to the royal family. Visit the National Library and observe pilgrims circling the beautiful National Memorial Chorten, a whitewashed stuppa stopped by a golden spire. Then head to the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, an arts-and-crafts school where we can watch students practicing traditional arts such as woodworking, painting, and ceramics. Meet with a Buddhist monk and scholar to discuss Buddhist beliefs and traditions. (1B, 1L, 1D)

Day 7 — Haa Valley

Drive to the Haa Valley, one of the most remote and sacred valleys in Bhutan, via the Cheli La pass (12,500 feet). En route, hike to the Kila Goemba nunnery and take in spectacular views from the temple complex, which was built on a steep cliff face. Drive to the valley and visit the Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) and Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple). (1B, 1L, 1D)

Days 8 & 9 — Paro

Return to Paro and explore the ruins of the Drukgyel Dzong fortress, which once defended this valley from invasions. Embark on a vigorous hike to the famed pilgrimage site of Taktsang Lhakhang or the Tiger’s Nest Temple, which clings to a vertical granite cliff nearly 3,000 feet above the valley floor. Take in some of the best views in the region. Later, visit the seventh-century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest temples, and walk the local archery grounds. (2B, 2L, 2D)

Day 10 — Paro

Depart at any time. Airport transfer is included. (1B)

Related Trips

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.

Dates

This expedition is not currently being offered.

Activity Level

Light/Moderate

Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

Contact Us: 1-800-281-2354

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Cost Details

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

My Own Room

During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.

My Own Room Option: From $1,509

What's Included

Arrival and departure transfers, transport between destinations and to/from included activities, and activities as listed in the itinerary.

Accommodations
Comfortable, mid-range hotels and lodges that reflect the local character (9 nights)

Meals Included
9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners

Transportation
Private vehicle, hiking

Optional Experience

You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.