Bhutan Shangri-la Dreams Short Stay - 5 Days

F12 Shangri-La Dochula Stupas Image

This short itinerary explores the “must-see” sights and takes in the very best of western Bhutan. Start off in Thimphu (the capital of Bhutan), still without traffic lights even in this 21st century! From Thimpu you will drive to Punakha (the old winter capital of Bhutan), and end your tour with a hike to Bhutan’s most iconic Monastery, Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest), perched on the edge of a steep cliff, 900m above the Paro valley floor.

Day 1: Arrive Paro
Day 2: Thimphu – Punakha
Day 3: Punakha – Paro
Day 4: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Day 5: End of Tour

Day 1
Arrival Paro

Flying into Bhutan offers the most spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges, including Mt. Everest (8,848m/29,028ft), Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586m/28,169ft) and Mt. Gangkar Puensum (7,564m/24,836ft). On arrival we meet you at Paro International Airport after clearing your immigration and customs formalities. Today we travel to Thimphu (54-km) for an hour, the capital of Bhutan and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Stop off at the 13th century Tachog Lhakhang (temple) en route, built by Saint Dupthop Thangtong Gyalpo (the iron bridge builder). Continue travelling via Chhuzom (24-km) where the Pachhu and Wangchhu Rivers join. Chhuzom (confluence) is a major road junction connecting Thimphu (30-km) to the northeast, Haa (82-km) to the southwest and Phuentsholing (141-km) to the south. Enjoy a welcome drink and dinner with authentic traditional Bhutanese meals in the evening. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2
Thimphu – Punakha

Today we explore the best attractions of Thimphu city (2,300m), home to approximately 138,736 inhabitants. Thimphu is a small city but has many attractive places. Morning begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (stupa), built in 1974 in honour of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (1928-1972). This stupa is a prominent monument for Bhutanese daily worship in the city with its golden spires and bells. Another must see place to tick off on your list is Kuenselphodrang (the largest 169ft Buddha Dordenma statue in the world), built in 2006 and sits atop a hill, overlooking the southern entrance to Thimphu city. Our next stop is at the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, established in 1971 where students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Leaving Thimphu behind after lunch, we drive (71-km) about 3 hours to Punakha, once the winter capital of Bhutan until 1955. Stop off at Druk Wangyal Chortens (108 Stupas) before crossing over Dochula Pass (3,050m). On a clear day, you can enjoy panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, including Bhutan’s highest mountain (Mt. Gangkar Puensum at 7,564m). Continue our scenic journey (52-km) to Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang Valley. The evening is at leisure to relax – so why not take a walk (approximately 10-minutes) to Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge (160m) built over the Phochhu River? Overnight in Punakha.

Day 3
Punakha – Paro

Punakha (1,350m) is situated in western Bhutan with a warm and temperate climate, bordered by Gasa to the north, Thimphu to the west and Wangdue Phodrang to the east and south. It was once the winter capital of Bhutan until 1955 and also a popular tourist destination. This morning, visit the Punakha Dzong, strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) Rivers. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (founder of Bhutan) built the dzong in 1637, which is the second oldest and second largest fortress in Bhutan. Jacaranda trees beautifully cover the dzong with the purple bloom of flowers in the spring. Before returning to Paro, continue to the fertility Chimi Lhakhang (temple) en route, nestled on a round hillock near a village called Sopsokha, built in 1499 by Saint Drukpa Kunley (known as the Divine Madman). The temple is about 10-km from Punakha and takes 20-minutes walk through agriculture fields. Legend has it that the childless couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting this mysterious temple. After lunch, our return journey (122-km) about 4 hours takes us to Paro, pausing en route at Dochula Pass (3,050m). Paro is home to the famous Taktshang Monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest), National Museum, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Overnight in Paro.

Day 4
Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Bhutan’s famous Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) is an unforgettable sight. No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Paro Taktshang (3,120m). It is stunning in its beauty and location. Today is a real highlight as you take a short hike to the Taktshang Monastery, clinging on a rock cliff at 900m above the Paro Valley floor. The monastery is one of the most revered pilgrimage places in Bhutan because Guru Rinpoche (one the founding fathers of Tibetan Buddhism) is believed to have flown to the site on the back of a flying tigress in the 8th century. An 11-km (round-trip) hike starts from the base of the mountain from the road point (Ramthangkha), which is 2-km drive from Paro town. Enjoy your rewarding hike about 4 hours (round-trip) with extra one hour to tour the monastery at a leisurely pace. There is a small teahouse halfway through from where a view of the spectacular monastery to enjoy! Gentle horse/pony rides are permitted till the viewpoint. Afterwards, there will be time to visit the Kyichu Lhakhang en route, one of the oldest and 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century (so full of history and mythology). Overnight in Paro.

Day 5
End of Tour

Your tour ends this morning after breakfast. We transfer you to Paro International Airport for your onward journey. Our guide and driver from Bhutan Green Travel will see you off. Tashi Delek (Goodbye and Good Luck!)

Peak Season – Land Only (Prices in USD Per Person)

Start Date Tuesdays1 person2 people3-10 people11-15 people16-20 people
08 Sep 2020$1290$1210 $1080 $1020$1000
15 Sep 2020$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
06 Oct 2020$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
20 Oct 2020$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
03 Nov 2020$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
17 Nov 2020$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
02 Mar 2021$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
16 Mar 2021$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
06 Apr 2021$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
20 Apr 2021$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
04 May 2021$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000
18 May 2021$1290 $1210 $1080 $1020$1000

Regular Season – Land Only (Prices in USD Per Person)

Start Date Tuesdays1 person 2 people3-10 people11-15 people16-20 people
08 Dec 2020$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
15 Dec 2020$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
12 Jan 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
19 Jan 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
02 Feb 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
16 Feb 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
01 Jun 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
15 Jun 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
06 Jul 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
20 Jul 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
03 Aug 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810
17 Aug 2021$1090 $1010 $875 $830$810

Our Pricing Policy

Prices are quoted and payable only in (US dollars). All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. The guide prices may vary at any time subject to government actions, changes in exchange rates, increase in transportation costs or fuel prices before we have accepted your booking. However, we guarantee our prices who have already signed up for your tour.

Price includes

  • Pickups and drops from airports and hotels
  • Comfortable transport (private vehicle) throughout your trip
  • Licensed English-speaking guide & driver
  • Best accommodation in 3 star hotels with private bathrooms based on 2 adults sharing a twin/double bed (single supplements apply))
  • Comfortable farmhouse/home stay/heritage house can also be arranged
  • Camping facilities and haulage for trekking tours
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and bottled water daily
  • All sightseeing & hiking (entrance fees to museums and other attractions)
  • Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
  • All applicable internal taxes and service fees
  • Bhutan visa fees

Price Excludes

  • International and domestic flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Other personal expenses such as alcoholic drinks & beverages, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
  • Discretionary tips to guides and drivers (see FAQs)
  • Upgrade to 4 star and 5 star luxury hotels
  • Single room supplement from $50 per night
  • Optional activities & additional services