10 Days cultural sightseeing tour in Bhutan

Highlight of the tour includes visiting to Bumthang district, the cultural heartland of Bhutan. This tour will take you across 6 districts of Bhutan covering all important tourist visiting sites including the famous Taktsang monastery, the beautiful Gangtey valley, the majestic Punakha district and the historical Bumthang valley.

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Duration: 10 days and 9 nights

Nature of tour: Cultural sightseeing tour

Departs: Everyday

Places covered: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa and Bumthang.

Entry: Paro

Exit: Paro

Base Price: $1660

Itineraries

Day 01: Arrival at Paro international Airport – Drive to Thimphu (Capital)

Your flight to Bhutan will be an exhilarating experience with breath taking view of world’s tallest mountains on a clear day. On landing at Paro international airport, representative (guide and driver) from See Bhutan Travels will welcome you at the arrival gate.

After having lunch at some local restaurant, drive towards Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. At Thimphu we will visit to national memorial choeten.

Memorial Chorten: Located in the heart of Thimphu city, it was built in 1974 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden in memory of her son, Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The three-storey choeten houses several relics such as Phurba Lhatshog, Kagay, Khrowo Nampur Gyalwa, Guru Tshengye, and Khenlop Chesum. The choeten is today the spiritual nerve centre of the city.

Overnight: At hotel in Thimphu

Day 02: Thimphu vicinity tour

Today we will be exploring around Thimphu valley and visit to following sites

1. Buddha Statue: Located at Kuenselphodrang, facing Thimphu valley down bellow is the worlds’ largest and tallest Buddha statue standing at the height of 169 feet (52m). The statue houses one hundred thousand of smaller Buddha statues, the exact replica of the outer Buddha statue. From here one can have a 360 degree view of Thimphu valley.

2. Textile museum: Located near National library at Chubachu, it was established in the year 2001. The museum contains Bhutanese textiles, arts, crafts and more importantly the royal collections which includes first version of the Raven crown worn by first and second King of Bhutan, dresses and accessories worn by royal family and the bedding of his holiness Zhabdrung Jigme Dorji.

3. Tashichho Dzong: Located on the bank of the Wangchu River in the Hejo village, Tashicho Dzong was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and enlarged in 1694 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay.  It was entirely rebuilt under the command of Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in 1962. Today, the dzong is the seat of the central government, His Majesty the King’s office, and the summer residence of the Central Monastic Body.

Overnight: At hotel in Thimphu

Day 03: Thimphu to Punakha (77km)

After breakfast, begin your journey towards Punakha, located 77 km east of Thimphu via Dochula pass.

On the way we will visit Temple of Fertility, Khemae Lhakhang.

After arriving at Punakha pay visit to Punakha Dzong and hike to Khamsum Yuley Namgyal Choeten.

Punakha Dzong: The dzong is situated on a stretch of a land where two rivers – Phochu and Mochu – meet. The dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1937 and named it Pungthang Dewa Chenpai Phodrang, the palace of great bliss. Later it became the final retreat palace for him. The first monarch, King Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned there and it served as the capital of the country until 1955. Today it serves as the winter residence of the Central Monastic Body. The sacred relic Rangjung Kharsapani is also kept in the Machen Temple inside the dzong.

Khamsum Yuley Namgyal Choeten: Located in Kabesa Gewog, about 7 km drive from Punakha town, the choeten was built with the sponsorship of her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck between 1992 and 1999 under the guidance of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Lam Sonam Zangpo. The three-storey choeten contains the images of Dorji Phurba on the ground floor, Khrowo Khamsum Namgyal on the first floor, and Khrowo Nampur Gyalwa on the second floor.

Overnight: At hotel in Punakha

Day 04: Punakha to Trongsa (142 km)

Trongsa is located 142 km east of Punakha. Driving from Punakha to Trongsa will lead you across Pelela pass (3351m). This pass served as the traditional boundary between eastern and western Bhutan. At Trongsa pay visit to the historical Trongsa Dzong.

Overnight: At hotel in Trongsa.

Day 05: Trongsa to Bumthang (68 km)

After breakfast from Trongsa, we will continue our journey towards Bumthang (2 hours). After arriving at Bumthang we will pay visit to following places:

1. Kurje Lhakhang: Located in Kurje in the Chokhor valley, around 15 minutes’ drive from Chamkhar town (Bumthang), the site of the three temples has a body impression of Guru Rinpoche left behind after he meditated there and subdued evil spirits the chief of which was Shelging Karpo. Kurje means body impression. Guru Rinpoche visit Bumthang in 746 AD at the invitation of the local king, Chakhar Gyalpo.   The oldest temple was built in 1652 by Chogyal Migyur Tenpa, the first Choetse Chila. The second temple was built in 1900 by the first King Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck on the spot where Guru left his body imprint, and the third temple was built in the 1990s under the commanded of Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck. The first, second, and the third temple contain respectively the three Buddhas (the past, present, future), a 12-metre tall statue of Guru Rinpoche, and Khenlop Chosum (Guru Rinpoche, King Thrisong Duetsen, and Pandit Santarakshita).

2. Jampay Lhakhang: Located in Chokhor Gewog in Bumthang, 10 minutes’ drive from Chamkhar town. Jampay Lhakhang is believed to be one of the two temples (the other is Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro) built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century AD in Bhutan among 108 temples that he built in one day to subdue a demoness that lay supine across the Himalayas. It’s believed to have been built on the left knee of the demoness. Besides the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya) from which the temple derives its name, the temple contains more than 100 statues of the gods of Kalachakra built by the first King of Bhutan in 1887.

3. Jakar Dzong: Located on a ridge above Chamkhar valley, Jakar Dzong, formally called Jakar Yugyal Dzong, was founded by Lam Ngagi Wangchuk (Buddhist priest) in 1549. Lam Ngagi Wangchuk was believed to have seen a white bird land at the spot where he built a small temple and started a monastic body. Later, when Desi Chogyal Migyur Tenpa (secular head of Bhutan, 1667-1680) expanded the temple into a Dzong in 1646, it came to be known as Jakar (Bya dkar) Dzong (White Bird Dzong). The Dzong houses many temples and it is today the seat of district administration and monastic body.

Day 06: Bumthang excursion

Today we will dedicate our whole day to explore around Bumthang valley. In the morning we will drive towards Mebar Tsho located half an hour drive from Bumthang.

Mebar Tsho: Located in a gorge on the way to Tang, some 30 minutes’ drive from Chamkhar town (Bumthang), Mebar Tsho (meaning Burning Lake) is the sacred lake from where renowned Terton Pema Lingpa discovered treasures as directed by Guru Rinpoche.  Terton jumped into the lake with a burning butter lamp in his hand. He miraculously emerged from the lake after some time with a chest and a scroll of paper, the butter lamp still burning. Therefore, the lake came to be known as Mebar Tsho.

From here we will drive back to Bumthang and pay visit to following sites:

Tamzhing Monastery: Located in Tamzhing, some 20 minutes’ drive from Chamkhar town, it was built in 1505 by Terton Pema Lingpa; the temple served as his main seat. The relics contained in the statues in the temple are treasures discovered by the terton (treasure discoverer) himself. The two-storey temple houses the images of Peling Tsokhor Sum (three principal deities of Peling tradition), the three Buddhas (Duesum Sangay), Guru Tshengyed (eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche), and a life-size statue of Terton Pema Lingpa. Among many relics crafted by the founder himself are the hat of Guru Statue and metal chain armour.

Kenchosum Lhakhang: Located in Chokhor valley, 10 minutes’ drive from Chamkhar town, the temple is believed to have been built by Terton Pema Lingpa over a big lake from which he discovered several treasures. The small statues of the three Buddhas (Buddhas of the past, present, and future) are believed to have flown to the site from Khini monastery in Lhuntse. The temple derives its name from the three Buddhas. Among other relics, the temple contains the centre statue of Vairocana, Avalokiteśvara, Jowo Jampa, Terton Pema Lingpa, and Longchen Rabjam.  

Overnight: At hotel in Bumthang

Day 07: Bumthang to Gangtey (188 km)

Gangtey valley, located 188 km west of Bumthang is a beautiful and most scenic glacial valley of Bhutan. This valley serves as roosting spot for Black necked crane, one of the rarest and endangered species of bird which migrates during winter months (November, December, January, February) from Tibetan plateaus and northern region of India.

On arriving Gangtey, we will go around for short hikes enjoying the beautiful sceneries and towards evening we will visit to Gangtey monastery.

Overnight: At hotel in Gangtey

Day 08: Gangtey – Paro (200 km)

After early breakfast we will begin our journey back to Paro. On the way spend some time at Dochula Pass before descending down towards Paro.

At Paro pay visit to following places:

1. Paro Rinpung Dzong: Located on the bank of Pachu River, Paro Dzong, formally known as Rinchen Pung Dzong (shortened to Rinpung Dzong), was built in 1644 under the command of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is one of the most beautiful and historically important dzongs in the country. Today, it houses both district administration and monastic body.

2. Paro Kichu Lhakhang: Located about 10 minutes’ drive from Paro town, the temple is one of the two among 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to subdue a demon that lay supine across Tibet and Bhutan. The temple contains sacred relics dating back to the 7th century like a statue of Lord Buddha and four statues of Chagtong Chentong. It also contains the statues of Guru Nangsi Zilnon, Dolma Kukuli (a manifestation of Tara), Zhabdrung, the bone relic of his Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

Overnight: At hotel in Paro

Day 09: Taktsang monastery hike

After breakfast, drive towards Taktsang base from where the hike begins. Horse riding facilities are available till view point, while hiking up, provided you inform us few days earlier.

Taktsang monastery: Depending on your pace and the time you spent in Monastery, hiking to this monastery will take around 5 to 6 hours (roundtrip).

The monastery is located 900 m above Paro valley on the face of a rocky cliff. Taktshang is perhaps the most famous monastery in the country. The monastery was named Taktshang after Guru Rinpoche flew there from Kurtoe Singay Dzong (Eastern Bhutan) riding on a tigress to subdue a demon. Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the secular head of the country (1680-1694) has begun the construction of the monastery at this site in 1692 and completed in the year 1694. The monastery houses many temples that contain sacred statues of eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, Tshepame Yabyum and Bone relic of Pelgi Singay.

After coming back from Taktsang monastery, we will visit to Drugyal Dzong and Kichu Lhakhang.

Drugyal Dzong: Located in Phongdey village in Paro, the Dzong was built as one of the principal Dra Dzong (defence dzongs). While some attribute the building of the Dzong to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1649 to commemorate a victory over Tibetan invasion, some attribute it to the second Druk Desi Tenzin Drukdra. But as its name suggests (Druk – Drukpa; gyal – victory), the Dzong was built to celebrate the victory over Tibetans. The Dzong was used as the summer residence of Rinpung Rabdey until 1951 when it was completely burnt down. The Dzong is currently being rebuilt to its former glory to celebrate the birth of crown prince Jigme Namgyel.

Paro Kichu Lhakhang: : Located about 10 minutes’ drive from Paro town, the temple is one of the two among 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to subdue a demon that lay supine across Tibet and Bhutan. The temple contains sacred relics dating back to the 7th century like a statue of Lord Buddha and four statues of Chagtong Chentong. It also contains the statues of Guru Nangsi Zilnon, Dolma Kukuli (a manifestation of Tara), Zhabdrung, the bone relic of his Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

Overnight: At hotel in Paro

Day 10: Departure

After breakfast, your guide and driver will see you off at Paro International airport for your onward destinations.

Prices

When visiting Bhutan, one should be aware of Peak and Lean tourist season. March, April, May, September, October and November is considered as peak tourist season and December, January, February, June, July and August is considered as lean tourist season in Bhutan.

There is a difference in cost to visit Bhutan during peak and lean tourist season. The reason behind this is; all the tourists visiting Bhutan have to pay a minimum mandatory fee (daily tariff) of US dollar 250 per person per night stay in Bhutan during Peak tourist season and $200 during Lean tourist season.

Surcharges

On top of minimum daily tariff, by virtue of smaller group; solo travelers have to bear a surcharge of $40 per night stay in Bhutan and Dual travelers (two) have to bear a surcharges of $30 per person per night stay in Bhutan (both peak and lean tourist season).

Surcharges are not applicable if the traveling group consists of 3 or more travelers.

Visa Fee

All the tourists visiting Bhutan have to bear a onetime payment of $40 as Bhutan Visa fee on top of mandatory minimum daily tariff and surcharges.

The total tour cost, inclusive of our company’s promotional rates, minimum daily tariff, surcharges and Bhutan visa fees for booking “10 Days cultural sightseeing tour in Bhutan” are as follows:

Peak Season

(March, April, May, September, October &November)

Single Traveller: USD $ 2425
Dual travelers/2pax: USD $ 2335 per person
3 and Above: USD $ 2065 per person

Lean Season

(December, January, February, June, July & August)

Single Traveller: USD $ 2020
Dual travelers/2pax: USD $ 1930 per person
3 and Above: USD $ 1660 per person

Note: Promotional rates are available for larger groups. Contact us for more detail

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Meals during the tour

Some may find food in Bhutan monotonous with the same menu being offered in every restaurants and hotels but these foods are true to Bhutan, unique in its own way, different from anywhere else in the world.

Bhutanese people are very fond of spicy foods and chili lies in the center of every cuisine as its main ingredient. A proper meal from the Bhutanese point of view is a plate full of rice with curry prepared either of vegetable or meat items.



Different types of curry that one can enjoy along with a plate full of rice (red or white) while in Bhutan are as follows:
  • Jasha Maru (chicken curry)
  • Phaksha (pork curry)
  • Sikam (dried pork)
  • Beef curry
  • Ema Datshi (Hot chili and cheese); refer to as Bhutan’s national dish.
  • Kewa Datshi (Potato and cheese)
  • Fish curry
  • Mix vegetables

Bhutan being cultural destination rather than a culinary, there are not much to choose from but whatever that are offered are authentic and native.

Other than rice and curry, Momo is a popular snack that one will enjoy in Bhutan. Momo is a Tibetan originated dumpling stuffed with cabbages and onions along with beef, pork or cheese.

Other than Bhutanese cuisine, restaurants in Bhutan also serves Chinese and Indian dish such as noodles and Roti. Popular drink one must try while at Bhutan are Suja, the salted butter tea, Ara the locally brewed wine from rice, maize or millet and Bangchang the rice, millet or maize beer. It will be quite a task to get Ara and Bangchang at western parts of Bhutan but are easily available if you are visiting some of the far away villages in eastern parts of Bhutan; they will even offer to you for free as a gesture of hospitability.

Refrain from drinking water directly from tap or streams. Bottled water will be provided everyday by the tour operators.

Tour Vehicle

Tour vehicles are prearranged by your respective tour operators and its costs are covered by the minimum daily packages that are paid prior to your arrival in Bhutan. Depending on the size of travelers tour vehicles are arranged as follows:

  • 1-2 travelers – SUV cars
  • 3-8 travelers – Mini Bus
  • 8 and above – Coaster Bus
Tour Guide

Tourists to Bhutan are not allowed to travel on their own and it is mandatory to use the service of a professional guide trained and certified by Tourism council of Bhutan. Guides in general speak English but language speaking guides are also available for few languages such as French, German, Chinese and Japanese. Your guide and driver along with tour vehicle will be waiting for you at the port of entry.

Send Enquiry

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Talk to us about your needs. We will get back to you within an hour (by email). The more you tell us about your requirement the better we are in position to help you.

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You can also call us at following numbers:

Mobile number: +975 77374799 (24/7)

Office Number: +975 2 339170 (9am – 5 pm Bhutan Standard Time)

We organize Cultural sightseeing tour, Trekking, Mountain biking tour, Festival tour, Luxury tour and White water rafting tour within Bhutan.

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What's Included

All three meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Accommodations in 3 star rated hotels in twin sharing basis. (4 Stars and 5 Star available on paying extra premium)
Licensed English speaking guide
Transportation in a comfortable SUV cars, Mini Bus and Medium size Buses depending on the number of travelers.
Experienced driver.
Government royalty of $65 per person, per night stay in Bhutan, which goes to infrastructure development, free education and free medical services for Bhutanese people.
All government taxes
Bhutan visa fee
Entry fee to all the tourist visiting sites and museums.
Tea and snacks.
Bottled water during the day.

what's Not Included

Flight tickets (both international & domestic)
Beverages & personal shopping
Travel insurances
Laundry
Tips and gratuity for guide and driver.