Essence of Western Bhutan 10 Days
Trip Code: HAT97
Bhutan Walking Tours
Hotels and guesthouses
March to May, September through November
Best Time For Travel:
Trip Over View
The real journey of Bhutan begins here – the Essence of Western Bhutan! This is truly a magical tour touching you to the depth. Our long experience of organizing tours in Bhutan have made us an ideal choice among many travelers for organizing any kinds of tours to Bhutan and this “The Essence of Western Bhutan” tour is planned perfectly to introduce you to some of main tourist attractions and also some of the finest hikes and walking tours near Paro, Thimpu and Punakha - the major towns in Western Bhutan are included to make your vacation a memory for a lifetime.
The western circuit consists of the six western Districts in the country that includes Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha and Gasa. Regarded as the heartland of the Drukpa people, Western Bhutan is home to some of the most magnificent dzongs. Bhutan as a country has always remained secluded but now that the country is unlocked, people should see its beautiful side that remained unharmed and untouched for years - the nature, the people and their culture and lifestyle, the temples and monasteries. Those who have visited the country know that Bhutan is one of the world’s most beautiful travel destinations mesmerizing any travelers by its absolute beauty - the pleasant trials, paddy fields, villages, and forests of blue pine, spruce and rhododendrons, remarkable Himalayan landscape etc. Included in this trip are some of the finest hikes and walking tours near Paro, Thimpu and Punakha - the major towns in Western Bhutan. Our well planned itinerary below exactly gives the details of places and activities until departure. All mentioned places give you different flavor and different experience.
Day 01: Flight to Paro.
Day 02: Hike Taktsang Monastery and tour Paro Valley.
Day 03: Chele La Hike.
Day 04: Drive to Thimphu.
Day 05: Tour Thimphu Valley and hike Cheri Gompa.
Day 06: Hike to Chokortse Monastery.
Day 07: Drive to Punakha.
Day 08: Chimi Lakhang hike and explorations of Wangdue Phodrang town and Dzong.
Day 09: Retrace drive to Paro.
Day 10: Depart Paro.
Day 01: Flight to Paro
Flight to Paro. We are met and greeted at the airport and transferred to hotel. After some rest, in the evening our guide will take us to Paro for orientation of the place and its people.
Day 02: Hike Taktsang Monastery and Tour the Paro Valley
The legendary Taktsang Monastery, which is also called Tiger's nest, perched some 2,000ft/600m up on a sheer cliff overlooking the valley, is a popular hiking destination. The Monastery was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three months in the 8th century. The return trek to the road head is downhill and takes a little more than half the time it was taken to come up. On the way back, we visit a typical Bhutanese village home to gain insights to the lifestyle of Bhutanese villagers. We drive back to our hotel in the evening.
Day 03: Chele La Hike
Today we take a scenic drive of about one and half hours to Chele La pass. At an altitude of approximately 3900m/13000ft, it is the highest point on the national highway. From here, we enjoy spectacular views of Paro Valley on one side and Haa Valley on the other. We hike up to a cluster of shelters built on sheer cliffs, toa rock cave and then to a temple that house some 50 or so nuns.
We walk back to take our transport and drive back to Paro. In Paro, we visit Bhutan's national museum, a fascinating place housed in an old watchtower above the huge Paro Dzong. We also visit the Rinphung Dzong, a large Drukpa Kagyu Buddhist monastery and fortress. It houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag.
Day 04: Drive to Thimphu
After breakfast, we drive for two and half hours to Thimphu; it is the least visited of all the Himalayan capitals. Check in hotel and after some rest, we embark to our tour toThimpu, beginning from a Nunnery on the outskirts of town. We then visit the School of Arts and Crafts, Textile Museum and Heritage Museum, Changgangkha Lhakhang (temple), National Library, Traditional Hospital and a traditional paper factory. At the end of the day, we may also pay a visit to the great Tashichho Dzong, seat of Bhutan's administrative and religious center.
Day 05: Tour the Thimphu Valley and hike to Cheri Gompa
Early in the morning, we visit the Memorial Chorten - a shrine built in the memory of the late king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk where people gather to pray and pay homage.
Today, we also hike to Cheri Gompa Monastery built in 1620 and now is a major teaching and retreat center of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu order. It sits on a hill above the end of the road at Dodeyna and it takes about an hour’s walk.
This is a pleasant rural walk, gently up a valley through paddy fields and woodland via Tibetan village. We can enter the courtyard of the Gompa but entrance to the main shrine is not permitted for Non-Buddhists. We descend to the bottom of the hill, take our transport and drive back to Thimpu.
Day 06: Hike to Chokortse Monastery
This morning, we hike to Chokortse monastery which is situated on a saddle. The walk is uphill for 40-50 minutes and passes through forests of blue pine, spruce and rhododendrons. From here, the view of Thimphu valley below is breathtaking. It takes about 2 hours for the round trip. In the afternoon, we browse the markets at Thimphu and later drive to Paro for overnight.
Day 07: Drive to Punakha
After breakfast, we drive to Punakha, the old winter capital of Bhutan with a stop at Dhochu La Pass (10,000ft/3,048m) to appreciate the spectacular views of eastern Himalayas. Check in hotel and in the afternoon, we take a short trek to visit the crown prince's chorten and nearby villages. While returning back, we take a different route which is through the village of Sonagasa (the King’s winter residence) and through Punakha following the Mo Chu river. We take our vehicle and visit the huge and impressive Punakha Dzong which is also known as “the palace of great happiness or bliss” is the administrative center of Punakha District. Constructed in1638, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures. Punakha Dzong was the administrative center and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu.
Day 08: Chimi Lakhang Hike and explorations of Wangdue phodrang Town and Dzong
After breakfast, we hike to the legendary Chimi Lakhang also known as the ‘temple of fertility’. It’s a 20-minute walk leading across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. There are very few monks at the temple and it is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings.
We then drive 13 km to the town of Wangdue Phodrang. Here, we walk through the clean streets with its slate roofed houses and visit the local Dzong, the district headquarter. We return to Punakha for overnight.
Day 09: Retrace drive to Paro
After breakfast, we retrace our drive via Dhochu La where we will stop for a while for the views and refreshments. We have lunch in Thimphu and drive 2 hours further to Paro.
Day 10: Depart Paro
Transfer to airport for your flight to next destination.
- Accommodation on twin sharing.
- All transfers and sightseeing as on itinerary.
- Three meals a day.
- English speaking local Tour Guide.
- Sightseeing admission fee.
- Bhutan visa fee.
- Airfare to and out of Bhutan.
- Expenses of personal nature such as drinks, tip, laundry, phone etc.
- Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
- Travel Insurance.