This itinerary combines the must-see sights of the country entering into eastern Bhutan from India and exiting by Paro in western Bhutan. This tour takes in the very best of Bhutan and you’ll experience the culture, tradition and festivals of Trashigang Tshechu and Mongar Tshechu including the breathtaking views of the scenery, spiritual places and charming villages in Bumthang valley, the impressive Trongsa Dzong (a masterpiece of the Bhutanese architecture), the rare Black-necked cranes in Phobijikha valley, the Punakha-Wangdue Phodrang valleys, Thimphu - the young capital city of Bhutan still without traffic light in this 21st century and the Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest).
Day 1: Arrive Samdrup Jongkhar via Guwahati, India
On arrival at the Bhutan-India Gate in Samdrup Jongkhar, you will be received by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar for a night. The rest of the day is free to explore this fantastic town and all of the fun attractions, sightseeing and shopping.
Day 2: Samdrup Jongkhar – Trashigang
After breakfast, today you will travel a distance of 180-km for about 7 hours to Trashigang at an altitude of 1,150 m. Admire the diverse flora and fauna and will photo stops along the highway. Within 30-minutes uphill drive of 18-km will reach Deothang and later encounter a stretch of road called Melong Bra, where the road is cut through sheer cliffs after Narphung. Lunch at Wamrong and then drive 27-km to Khaling via Kharungla Pass at an altitude of 2,350 m. Visit the Khaling Handloom supported by the National Women’s Association of Bhutan, where you will witness the traditional style of weaving and past by the only National Institute for Visually Impaired, located below the road. En route you’ll see the Bhutan’s first and premier Sherubtse College in Kanglung, founded in 1978. Descending down the road will take you to Trashigang, the largest and most populated district in Bhutan. You will spend the overnight in Trashigang.
Day 3: Trashigang Tshechu (Festival)
Attend Trashigang Tshechu festival for a full day inside the Trashigang Dzong, the civil administrative centre and the local monastic body. Tshechu viewers dressed in their finest traditional clothes and jewellery flock to the courtyard of the Dzong to witness the tshechu, mask and historical folk dances in colourful costumes performed by monks and by laymen including the Atsaras (jesters), who amuse the audience with their antics. The tribal community from Merak and Sakten with their unique costumes can be seen during Trashigang Tsechu. Overnight in Trashigang.
Day 4: Mongar Tshechu (Festival)
Today we have included visiting the Mongar Dzong to attend the Mongar Tshechu in the courtyard of the Dzong in the Bhutanese country style. Tshechu viewers dressed in their finest traditional clothes and jewellery flock to the courtyard of the Dzong to witness the tshechu, mask and historical folk dances in colourful costumes performed by monks and by laymen including the Atsaras (jesters), who amuse the audience with their antics. Overnight in Mongar.
Day 5: Mongar – Bumthang
This morning takes you through a scenic journey for a distance of 198-km for about 7-8 hours journey to Bumthang at an altitude of 2,600 m. Descending down the road will reach to Lingmithang at an altitude of 700 m and cross the Kurichhu river, where the largest hydroelectric power in the eastern region is commissioned over the river. Enroute stop off at Namling and Sengor village where you can view the breathtaking landscapes of the cascading waterfalls and admire the diverse flora and fauna in these places before climbing up the highest point on Bhutan’s lateral road via Thrumshingla Pass at an altitude of 3,800 m. From the viewpoint of Ura Shelthangla, you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Bhutan’s highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puensum at an altitude of 7,500 m. You will spend two nights in Bumthang.
Day 6: Bumthang Sightseeing
After breakfast, we set out for a full day sightseeing to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 which is the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 7: Bumthang – Gangtey
This morning we will travel a distance of 188-km for about 5-6 hours to Gangtey via Trongsa passing through Yotongla Pass at an altitude of 3,400 m. En route we will stop for a quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Centre at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang. Upon reaching Trongsa, visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) or the Trongsa Dzong, which is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Continue in to Gangtey via Pelela Pass at an altitude of 3,300m. The evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the delightful surroundings of Gangtey in Phobjikha valley. Your overnight is in Gangtey.
Day 8: Gangtey – Wangue Phodrang – Punakha
After breakfast, our day starts exploring the Phobjikha valley at an altitude of 3,000 m, the breathtaking glacial landscape on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. Phobjikha valley is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrates to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Visit the picturesque Gangtey Gompa (monastery), the only Nyingma monastery on this side of the Black Mountains. Later, we drive a distance of 65-km for about 3 hours to Wangdue Phodrang and photo stops along the highway as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. Continue into Punakha for a distance of further 13-km journey at an altitude of 1,300 m for an overnight stay.
Day 9: Punakha – Thimphu
Punakha, at an altitude of 1,300 m, was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. Today you will visit the Punakha Dzong, (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong), which is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) rivers. Now the dzong serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the central monastic body. Later we drive a distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey to Thimphu. En route visit the Chimmi Lhakhang, located near Lobesa on a round hillock. The temple is popularly known as the “fertility symbol,” built by Lama Drukpa Kinley (the Divine Madman). You will also stop off at Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3,050 m, which is 16-km before reaching Thimphu. On a clear day, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow capped eastern Himalaya ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. The next 30-minutes drive will take you to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights.
Day 10: Thimphu Sightseeing
Today you’ll explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300 m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, drive up to the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view overlooking the Thimphu valley and visit the Mini Zoo for Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. After lunch, visit the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households and the Painting School to discover a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Continue to the Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King and the central monk. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 11: Thimphu – Paro
This morning we drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Paro at an altitude of 2,200 m and take a short hike to the Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. The evening is yours to relax or go for shopping to buy souvenir items for your loved ones back home. Your final overnight in Paro.
Day 12: End of Tour
Early morning transfer to Paro Airport. Your guide from Bhutan Green Travel will accompany you to bid farewell for your onward flight. Goodbye and Good luck!
Please note that one or more extra days during the festival can be arranged upon request. An extra payment of $15 will incur for the extension of visa.
[21st – 24th November 2012: Trashigang Tshechu and 20th – 23rd November 2012: Mongar Tshechu]
[10th – 13th November 2013: Trashigang Tshechu and 9th – 12th November 2013: Mongar Tshechu]
[It’s always advisable to contact us 2 or 3 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
• Transfers to and from the airport
• Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
• Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
• Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
• Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
• All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
• Comfortable transport within Bhutan
• All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
• Mineral water
• Visa fees
Services Not Included
• International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
• Travel insurance
• Gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
• Single room supplement
• Beverages with included meals
• Other personal expenses
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• Solo Traveller: US$ 3148
• Group of two: US$ 3038 per person
• Group of three or more: US$ 2708 per person
Single Room Supplement [Not Included]
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• From US$ 40 – 50 per person per night