• Private Tour Private Tour
9 Days

Spectacular Bhutan Tour

USD $ 2,300
per person

Activities in this trip includes

Trip Code

TMG-BT001

Trip Grade

Easy

Our "Easy" trips are perfect for beginners and those looking for a relaxed and culturally enriching experience. These journeys typically involve shorter hikes on well-marked trails or city tours with minimal physical exertion. They are designed to focus on cultural immersion and are accessible to most travelers.

Group Size

12 max

Accommodation
& Meal Info

Comfort

Comfort (3-star): Mid-range accommodations with extra comforts. Ideal for trekkers at lodges/teahouses. Includes daily breakfast in Kathmandu. (AP= Accommodation with all three meals at trekking destination).

Highlights

  • Ancient Temples, Monasteries, and Dzongs: Immerse yourself in Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage by exploring ancient temples, serene monasteries, and majestic Dzongs (fortresses). These sacred sites offer profound insights into Bhutanese spirituality and history.
  • Scenic Landscapes: Witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Bhutan’s natural landscapes. From the lush valleys of Bumthang to the towering Himalayan peaks, every turn of your journey unveils breathtaking scenery that will leave you in awe.
  • Archery Matches: Delve into the heart of Bhutanese culture by experiencing the national sport of archery. Witness archery matches that blend tradition and competition, offering a unique glimpse into the local way of life.
  • Meet Local People: Engage with the warm and friendly locals of Bhutan. Interact with them, learn about their customs and traditions, and gain a deeper appreciation for the Bhutanese way of life.
  • Pristine Bhutanese Villages and Farmhouse Visit: Discover the charm of Bhutan’s pristine villages as you explore their picturesque settings. Visit traditional farmhouses to gain a firsthand understanding of Bhutanese rural life, agriculture, and hospitality.
  • Scenic Mountain Flight: Soar above the clouds on a scenic mountain flight that offers unparalleled vistas of the Himalayan peaks. This breathtaking experience provides a bird’s-eye view of the majestic mountains that define Bhutan’s landscape.

Trip overview

Embarking on a 9-day Bhutan tour is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of this enchanting Himalayan kingdom. The journey begins by venturing through the western and central districts of Trongsa and Bumthang. Bumthang, often referred to as the spiritual heartland of Bhutan, consists of four serene valleys: Tang, Ura, Chumey, and Choekhor. It’s here that you’ll feel the palpable spirituality of Bhutan, as it’s the birthplace of the revered saint, Pema Lingpa.

During your Bhutan exploration, you’ll have the privilege of visiting majestic Dzongs, or Forts, which are not only architectural marvels but also serve as centers of both administration and spirituality. These structures are steeped in history and tradition and often host vibrant festivals and cultural events.

One of the most iconic experiences in Bhutan is the hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, or Paro Taktsang. This awe-inspiring cliffside sanctuary offers breathtaking views and an unforgettable adventure as you follow the trail to its dramatic location. The spiritual significance of this place is profound, and the natural beauty is unparalleled.

Another fascinating stop is the Divine Madman’s Temple, or Chimi Lhakhang, located in Punakha. Dedicated to Drukpa Kunley, a unique and humorous Tibetan Buddhist saint known as the “Divine Madman,” the temple is famous for its phallus symbols and quirky murals. It’s a captivating cultural experience that showcases Bhutan’s distinct sense of humor.

Throughout the tour, you’ll discover a myriad of pilgrimage sites and sacred spots, each offering insights into Bhutanese Buddhism and culture. These experiences will not only deepen your understanding of the country’s rich heritage but also provide you with a sense of inner peace and spiritual connection.

As you travel through the picturesque valleys of Bumthang, you’ll have the chance to soak in the natural beauty and explore local temples and landmarks that are scattered throughout the region. The serene ambiance of these valleys and their spiritual significance create an unforgettable journey.

In summary, this 9-day Bhutan tour itinerary is tailor-made for travelers seeking a perfect blend of history, culture, spirituality, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring the towering Dzongs, embarking on a soul-stirring pilgrimage, or hiking to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery, every moment in Bhutan is an opportunity to be enchanted by the unique charm of this Himalayan kingdom.

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Detail Itinerary

01

DAY

Arrival in Paro - Thimphu Exploration (54km, 1hr)

Upon your arrival at Paro International Airport, you’ll be greeted and then driven to Thimphu, the capital city. En route, a brief stop at Tamchog Monastery, a 15th-century marvel built by Thang Tong Gyalpo, sets the tone for your cultural journey. In the afternoon, you’ll explore Thimphu’s cultural landmarks, including the Memorial Chorten, the towering Buddha statue, Changangkha Lhakhang, the Takin Preserve Center, and the panoramic Sangaygang viewpoint. Your day concludes with a visit to Dupthop Nunnery, followed by free time to explore the town for shopping and photography. Dinner and overnight stay in a comfortable hotel.

Destination:

Thimphu

Accommodation:

Hotel

02

DAY

Thimphu Cultural Delights

Your morning adventure unfolds with visits to the National Postal Museum, the Craft Bazaar, the Textile Museum, and the School of 13 Arts and Crafts, commonly known as the Painting School. A delightful lunch awaits you at the Simply Bhutan Museum restaurant. In the afternoon, you’ll witness the art of archery with an archery match at Changlimithang Stadium. The evening introduces you to the grandeur of Tashichho Dzong, the royal secretariat. Your day culminates with dinner and a relaxing overnight stay in Thimphu’s inviting accommodations.

03

DAY

Thimphu to Punakha (74km, 3hrs)

Today, your journey takes you to Punakha. En route, you’ll experience the scenic beauty of Dochu La Pass at 3,140 meters, followed by a visit to Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the “Temple of Fertility,” which was built in 1499 to honor the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kuenley. In the afternoon, you’ll explore Punakha Dzong, constructed in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck convened the first national assembly here in 1952. Later, you’ll embark on a hike to the exquisite Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery. As the day winds down, you’ll traverse the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, spanning 160 meters. Your day concludes with dinner and an overnight stay in Punakha.

04

DAY

Punakha to Gangtey (75km, 2hrs)

This morning, your journey leads you to Gangtey. A brief stop on the way provides you with a view of Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Your afternoon begins with a visit to Gangtey Monastery, founded in 1613 by Gyaltse Pema Thinley. Then, you’ll explore the Crane Information Center before venturing into the glacial valley of Phobjikha at an altitude of 3,000 meters, renowned as the winter roosting ground for rare black-necked cranes. You’ll indulge in dinner and a restful overnight stay in Gangtey.

05

DAY

Gangtey to Bumthang (156km, 5hrs)

In the morning, your journey takes you to Bumthang, where you’ll have a chance to visit Trongsa Dzong, built in 1648 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa. In late autumn, the splendid Trongsa Festival takes place here. Next, explore Ta Dzong, also constructed in 1652 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, which has now been transformed into the Royal Heritage Museum. In the afternoon, drive further to Bumthang, where you’ll enjoy dinner and a restful night’s stay.

06

DAY

Bumthang Cultural Exploration

Bumthang, a land of breathtaking beauty and spiritual significance, serves as your destination today. In the morning, visit Jakar Dzong, known as the “Castle of White Bird,” Jambay Lhakhang, Chakhar Lhakhang, and Kenchosum Monastery. In the afternoon, your journey continues with visits to Mebar Tsho, also known as “The Burning Lake,” Tamshing Lhakhang, and Kurjey Lhakhang. You’ll have the evening to explore the town at your own pace before a delectable dinner and a comfortable overnight stay.

07

DAY

Bumthang to Paro - Cultural Treasures (Flight or Drive)

This morning, you’ll head to the airport for a flight to Paro or a drive to your destination. In Paro, your guide will welcome you and lead you to your hotel. The afternoon unveils the treasures of Paro, including a visit to Ta Dzong, the National Museum of Bhutan, and Rinpung Dzong, an architectural masterpiece. Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, showcases Bhutanese craftsmanship and served as the filming location for scenes from the 1995 film, “Little Buddha.” The evening grants you free time for shopping and photography. Dinner and an overnight stay in a comfortable hotel complete your day.

08

DAY

Tiger's Nest Hike - A Spiritual Climb

An early morning drive takes you to Satsam Chorten, where your memorable two-hour hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, or Paro Taktsang, begins. In the afternoon, explore Drugyal Dzong, constructed by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to commemorate his victory over Tibetan armies. The dzong, though partially in ruins since a fire in 1951, remains an imposing sight and is currently under repair. Your journey continues with a visit to Kichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries, built in 659 AD by Tibetan King Srongtsen Gampo. The evening offers an intimate visit to a Bhutanese farmhouse, and you’ll have some free time for shopping and photography. Dinner and an overnight stay in your hotel conclude your day.

09

DAY

Departure from Paro

After a hearty breakfast, your journey comes to an end as you are transferred to Paro Airport for your departure, marking the conclusion of your 9-day Bhutan tour itinerary.

 

Trip Includes

Includes

  • All Meals [Breakfast /Lunch/Dinner and Evening Tea].
  • Accommodation [twin / double sharing basis]. Single room supplement is extra.
  • All transportation within the country including airport transfers.
  • Sustainable Development fee & govt. taxes.
  • Bhutan Visa Fee.
  • English speaking local guide.
  • Travel insurance premiums.
  • Farm house tour and Traditional dress wear.
  • Bottled water on tour.
  • SIM card.

Excludes

  • Drukair / Bhutan Airlines fares.
  • Entrance fees for museums and monuments.
  • Payments for service provided on a personal basis.
  • Cost for any services not mentioned in the “Cost Include head”.
  • Cost incurred due to mishaps, strikes, political unrest etc.
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, soft drinks, camera charges, incidentals, portage, Bellboy charges tips or any other services.

Making a difference

Leading the way in responsible tourism. We protect the environment, support local communities, and ensure a sustainable Himalayan future.

Planet

Travel Max Guide prioritizes environmental protection through eco-conscious practices to ensure the preservation of the Himalayas for future generations, drawing inspiration from the environmental commitment demonstrated by Western travelers during your trips.

Read More

People

Travel Max Guide combines trekking and community support in the Himalayas. Join our mission, including orphan sponsorships and homestay/volunteer treks, and consider our CHILD SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM for underprivileged children.

Read More

Frequently asked questions.

When is the best time to visit Bhutan? Weather & Festival Guide.

Bhutan is a year-round destination. There are four seasons: summer (June to August), autumn (September to November), winter (December to February) and spring (March to May). But because of the range of altitudes in the country, and the influence of the north Indian monsoons, the climate is incredibly varied.

In the south, the humid, subtropical climate is fairly consistent year-round, with temperatures between 15oC and 30oC. Central Bhutan, with its temperate forests, has a more seasonal climate, with warm summers and cool, dry winters. The northern regions are much colder during winter. Because of the high altitude, mountain peaks are snowy year-round and the lower reaches remain cool in summer.

In summer, the Indian monsoon season runs from late June or July to late September, mostly affecting the southern regions. Most farming activities take place in the summer, when crops thrive in verdant landscapes.

Autumn, from late September or early October to late November, follows the rainy season. It is characterised by bright, sunny days and some early snowfall at higher elevations. It’s the season of feasts and festivals as farmers reap the fruits of their work.

From late November until March, the crisp, clear and sunny winter sets in, with frost throughout much of the country and snowfall common above elevations of 3,000 metres. The winter northeast monsoon brings gale-force winds at the highest altitudes through high mountain passes, giving Bhutan the name Drukyul, which means Land of the Thunder Dragon in Dzongkha (Bhutan’s national language).

Bhutan’s generally dry spring starts in early March and lasts until mid-April. It is a botanist’s delight, with nature in full bloom. Summer weather commences in mid-April with occasional showers and continues to late June.

Which power plug is standard in Bhutan?

Three different electrical plugs are used throughout Bhutan: the British plug (three square pins, compatible with type G sockets), the European plug (two round pins, compatible with type C socket) and the Indian plug (three thick round pins, compatible with type D sockets). It’s a good idea to bring adaptors for all three.

Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan?

Visitors of all nationalities, except those from India, require a visa before entering Bhutan. For all visitors, except those from Bangladesh and the Maldives, this visa must be applied for and approved in advance of travel. Visitors from Bangladesh and the Maldives also require a visa, but this can be applied for and approved either in advance of travel or upon arrival in Bhutan.

Visitors from India are able to apply for a permit but are required to hold an Indian passport or an Indian voter ID card. For Indian nationals under the age of 18, a passport or a birth certificate can be used to enter and they must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

Nationals from Switzerland and Thailand holding diplomatic or government-official passports are eligible for a visa at their port of entry.

How do I apply for a visa?

You can apply online for a visa by completing this application form, or if you’re travelling with a tour operator, they may apply on your behalf. Read more about the visa here.

Visitors from Bangladesh and the Maldives requiring a visa can apply either online before travelling or in person upon arrival in Bhutan.

How long does it take to issue my visa?

A correctly input visa application can take up to five days to process.

How much does the visa cost?

There is a one-off fee of US$40 for the processing of your application. This is payable at the same time as your Sustainable Development Fee (SDF), as part of the process of submitting your visa application.

Can I extend my visa while I’m in Bhutan?

Yes, provided the extension is applied for before the original visa or permit expires.

Visitors can extend their stay via the online visa application portal, using the same log-in details that were used to process their original visa.

The fees for processing your extension application, and daily SDF for the duration of your extended stay, will be payable via the same portal.

Is travel insurance mandatory?

Yes. All visitors must have full, valid travel insurance for the duration of their visit. For all visitors except those from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, it is required to be in place when you make your visa application.

Visitors from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives have the option to purchase domestic travel insurance at their port of entry.

If I want to drive my own car into Bhutan, how much does it cost?

There is a charge of Nu. 4,500 per car, per day. A guide is also mandatory and will be at an additional charge.

If guests want to bring their own car, the cars must meet the requirements of Bhutan’s Roads Safety and Transport Authority, and must also have a valid driver’s license, insurance documentation, pollution control documentation, an entry permit, and a vehicle in reasonable condition. A valid Indian driver’s license is accepted for self-driving within Bhutan. The same fees and rules apply for motorbikes.

In case the vehicle is not owned by the guests travelling to Bhutan, an authorisation letter is required. For more information on this subject please contact our Hosts team.

How do I get to Bhutan?

The country has one international airport located in Paro. Flights operated by Drukair and Bhutan Airlines arrive and depart from destinations including Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodhgaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati and Singapore. Private jets or charters can fly into Bhutan after obtaining the relevant approvals.

There are also domestic airports in Yonphula in eastern Bhutan, Bumthang in central Bhutan, and Gelephu in south-central Bhutan.

What are the current covid-19 regulations in Bhutan?

Although we recommend all visitors stay up to date with vaccinations against covid-19 to help stop the spread of the disease, there are now no covid-19 vaccination requirements for adults or children to enter Bhutan from September 23rd 2022. There is no quarantine requirement either.

No random covid-19 testing will be undertaken at any port of entry into Bhutan, however this may be done if a guest is showing symptoms or asks for a test.

If a guest tests positive for covid-19 during their stay in Bhutan, they will be admitted entry into the country without any quarantine period, however will be required to wear a face mask at all times and maintain other precautionary measures until they test negative again.

There will be no covid-19 protocols to leave Bhutan, unless the country the guest is travelling to requires them.

Can I go hiking or trekking independently, without a tour operator?

All treks must be undertaken with an accredited tour operator or guide. Your tour operator will assist you with all the necessary logistics and safety precautions.

Is it safe to travel in Bhutan?

Bhutan is a very safe place to visit, even if you’re travelling alone. There is very little crime experienced by locals or visitors, although we advise you to take care of yourself and your belongings. In some areas you may encounter stray dogs – please be cautious around them as they are not domesticated. They normally keep their distance, but please stay away from them as much as possible, especially if travelling with children. Please don’t feed or pat these or any other wild animals.

Bhutan’s physical environment presents occasional safety hazards, including flooding and landslides. From June to September the monsoons can affect transport and services. Check with your hotel or tour operator for possible disruptions.

What is the SDF and how is it used?

The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) is a daily levy paid by visitors to support Bhutan’s development. Since the kingdom first opened its doors in 1974, guests have played a critical role in our country’s growth.

The SDF is collected by the national exchequer and funds are allocated to various projects that create long-term, sustainable opportunities for the Bhutanese people, through free healthcare, education and training, upskilling the tourism and hospitality industry, improved infrastructure, environmental preservation and conservation, cultural preservation programmes and initiatives that support local businesses and economies. The SDF is also a vital means of maintaining the exceptional forest cover and carbon-neutrality for which our small nation is world-renowned and globally critical. The SDF also helps us to ensure that we can continue to offer guests tranquillity and an intimate experience.

How much is the SDF?

The SDF is USD 100 per night for adults from all countries except for India. Children aged between 6 years and who have not yet turned 12 are eligible to pay USD 50 per night. Children who have not yet turned 6 years old do not have to pay any SDF.

The SDF for Indian nationals (showing a valid Indian passport or Voter ID card) is Nu. 1,200 (or the equivalent amount in Indian rupees) per person, per night. Children aged between 6 years and who have not yet turned 12 are eligible to pay Nu./INR 600 per night. Children who have not yet turned 6 years old do not have to pay any SDF.

If I cancel my trip will my SDF be refunded?

Yes, the SDF will be refunded by the Department of Immigration for any cancelled or shortened trips; any bank charges will be deducted from the total refunded. Requests for SDF refunds should be submitted online using the visa portal. The refund will be processed after visitors leave Bhutan.

Where can I exchange currency?

You can change your local currency for ngultrum upon arrival at Paro International Airport or at banks, larger hotels and authorised currency exchange businesses in Thimphu.

How much cash can I bring into Bhutan?

You may bring cash equivalent to US$10,000 into the country.

Can I use my credit card and ATM card in Bhutan?

ATM and banks accept Visa and Mastercard. International credit cards are widely used in urban areas of Bhutan. However this service may not be available in other parts of the country. Visitors can download the digital wallet app goBoB launched by the Bank of Bhutan, which can be used with a local SIM card and is widely accepted throughout the country.  Another option is the MyPay digtal wallet app launched by Bhutan National Bank. Both apps can be connected to international credit cards and used widely.

Cash in US dollars and Indian rupees is also widely accepted. We advise bringing some cash in either of these currencies, or in Bhutanese ngultrum.

Is there good internet connection and Wi-Fi in Bhutan?

Most hotels have Wi-Fi in Bhutan, but we recommend obtaining a guest SIM card for more convenient access to data and a more reliable internet connection. Mobile data in Bhutan can also be expensive. You can find the B Mobile SIM in mobile stores in larger cities, which you can easily top up using the Bank of Bhutan app goBoB. This app also facilitates other payments within the country.

Where can I get a visitor SIM card?

SIM cards can be purchased from the Paro International Airport’s visitor information centre on arrival, or from branch offices of Bhutan Telecom and TashiCell, or from authorised agents in towns.

Are there any restrictions on dress?

There are no rules about what visitors should wear. However if you are planning to visit places of religious significance, respectful smart-casual clothing that covers your body from shoulders to knees is appropriate and appreciated.

Do I need a guide to enter monuments and Dzongs in Bhutan, and are they chargeable?

Yes, a guide is required to enter monuments and Dzongs in Bhutan. While some of the monuments and Dzongs have no entry fee, others have a fee on arrival, which can be paid in cash or via the GoBob app.

Are there certain things I can’t take out of Bhutan when I leave?

Keeping important antiques and artefacts in Bhutan is a key part of how we preserve our heritage for future generations. We have a law that sets out which artistic, historic, cultural, religious, social, archaeological and technical objects you may not take with you when you leave. To ensure any items you acquire comply with the law, you will need an Export Permit for Non-Antique Artefacts. Find out more about the permit and how to apply for one here.

Who should I contact in an emergency?

If it is related to your tourism experience, you can phone the Department of Tourism directly on +975 1712 2257 (or 2300 within Bhutan). If you require one of the emergency services, please telephone 110 for fire, 112 for an ambulance or 113 for police.

Can I use a drone for photography while in Bhutan?

A permit, which must be applied for in advance, is required to fly a drone either recreationally or commercially in Bhutan. Please email media@tcb.gov.bt to find out more about the regulations.

If I drive my own car into Bhutan, do I still need a guide?

Yes. A guide is required at all times for all guests who drive their own cars to Bhutan. It is highly recommended to pre-book guides before arriving at the borders. If you need help with arranging a guide, please contact our host services team here.

Are Route Permits required for guests to move around between areas in Bhutan?

Route Permits are no longer required to move around Bhutan. However, anyone on a business visa or for an official purpose is required to have a Route Permit.

Are permits required to enter National Parks in Bhutan?

Yes, permits are required to enter National Parks in Bhutan. However the process can be done online and the permit should be issued quickly. Please visit this link for more information: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScM4k5SPaGI_GnV6NJuQHstp

Are there any fees to enter monuments or other sites in Bhutan?

While most monuments in Bhutan are free, some are chargeable. For the full list of monument fees, please click here for more information. Children below 18 years will have a 50% concession and children aged five years and below will be exempted. Most monuments are open from 9am – 5pm each day. In June 2023 it was announced that foreign visitors can now visit monuments whenever they are open to the general public, without any restrictions.

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