Adventure in the Heart of Bhutan

This seven-night Bhutan experience is the ultimate in comfortable adventure travel, allowing Lightfoot guests to experience this Himalayan kingdom’s inimitable Buddhist culture at a deep and comprehensive level. We’ve also included white water rafting and mountain biking, and difficulty levels can be tailored according to your desired intensity.

It journeys deep into the Kingdom’s heartland exploring three distinctly different but important valleys: the bustling capital of Thimpu in a valley dotted with national monuments, museums and markets; the almost tropical Punakha/Wangdue valley with its magnificent dzongs; and the emerald valley of Paro with its rice paddies, ancient temples and the five-star comforts of Uma Paro.

Day 1: Paro International Airport - Thimpu

Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your guide and taken on a 90-minute scenic drive to Thimpu, winding alongside two snaking rivers and passing countless fine examples of the quaint, traditional farmhouse architecture of Bhutan. For the rest of the day, your tour may include: The National Memorial Chorten, Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, the weekend market, and Folk Heritage Museum. Spend the night in the truly Bhutanese hotel of Namgay Heritage Hotel.

Day 2: Thimpu - Dochu La - Punakha

The morning provides more opportunities to look around Thimpu before heading off after lunch. This drive is awe-inspiring as it zigzags up to the 3,140m-high mountain pass of Dochu La with its forests of fluttering prayer flags, maze of memorial chortens and, on a clear day, sweeping views of the main Himalayan range. Stretch your legs with a short walk across rice paddies to Chimmi Lhakhang, a fertility temple atop a picturesque hill surrounded by rice fields. Spend the night at the Damchen Resort with a fantastic view of the valley.

Day 3: Punakha

Take a walk this morning up through whitewashed homesteads and farmland to Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten, a shrine recently built by the royal family with its startlingly ornate and elaborate structure with a rainbow of Guru Rinpoche images and superb views. You will then explore the massive architectural edifice of the 17th-century Punakha Dzong and finish your day with an afternoon stroll through the quaint bazaar at Wangdue Phodrang to visit its dzong.(Optional: Water rafting)

Day 4: Punakha  – Paro

White water rafting for beginners! This good stretch is for those who are apprehensive about going on a whitewater trip. Float down the scenic Mo Chhu past the Punahka Dzong and to the take out at the high school.

Retrace your steps back over the Dochu La for a second chance of the wonderful view of the Himalayan range. Returning to the Chuzum, you’ll catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward of evil spirits near the checkpoint. Time permitting, the journey can be broken with a visit to Tamchog Lhakhang. The final leg the road snakes alongside the Pa Chhu river, through apple orchards and rice paddies, past quaint homesteads to the luxurious Uma Paro, where you will stay for the night.

Day 5: Paro

Start with a drive up the Chele La Pass which, at 3,988m is the highest road pass in Bhutan, snaking upwards through blue pine and rhododendron forests for 35 km. On a clear day the view sweeps away to the snow-dome of Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari (7,314m), and down to the Haa Valley.

Descending for the two-hour hike through dense rhododendron forest, possibly sighting shaggy yaks, to Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery nestled in a craggy patch on the mountainside below. Following the trek, saddle up on a mountain bike and freewheel down to Paro Valley.

Day 6: Paro

Wind through pine forests high above Uma Paro to the pretty grounds of the fortress-like monastery of Zurig Dzong, across to Ta Dzong, housing Bhutan’s National Museum with magnificent views over Paro, and on down to Rinpung Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels). Then, the trail leads across Paro Chhu (river) via a traditional covered bridge (Nyamai Zam) and then past the main archery ground, Ugyen Pelri Palace and into Paro town. Drive a few kilometres north of Paro, where we will pay our respects at Kyichu Lhakhang;  one of the oldest temples in Bhutan with its magic orange tree that bears fruit all year round.

Day 7: Paro

One of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba defies logic, gravity, and reason. Legend has it that this cliffside was where Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet. Descend steeply, then climb up to the monastery, passing a waterfall and entering through the main gates which are filled with murals. Relax for the rest of the day, whether strolling the streets of Paro or indulging in a hot-stone bath. In the evening, you are invited for a fire-lit farewell dinner either in the courtyard at Uma Paro or at our Bukhari restaurant.

Day 8: Paro -  Paro International Airport

Druk Air departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions so after breakfast, your transfer to the airport will be arranged for between 5am and 9am depending on the flight schedule.

* This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant.

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Paro International Airport - Thimpu
Day 2: Thimpu - Dochu La - Punakha
Day 3: Punakha
Day 4: Punakha  – Paro
Day 5: Paro
Day 6: Paro
Day 7: Paro
Day 8: Paro -  Paro International Airport

Inclusions

Included

  • Hotel and luxury camp accommodation and all meals
  • Transfers, sightseeing by an air conditioned vehicle with English speaking tour guide
  • Monument fees
  • Government royalty and tax
  • Visa fee
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (please note that travel insurance is mandatory for al Lightfoot Travel holidays)

Map

1: Namgay Heritage Hotel, Thimpu 2: Damchen Resort, Punakha 3: Uma Paro, Paro

From USD 3,818 per person based on two guests travelling

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant