The Pride of Bhutan’s Unspoilt Wilderness - 15 Days

3-Link Image of Wilderness

Bhutan is a flora and fauna lover’s paradise with rich biological diversity. About 72% of the country’s total land area is under forest cover. It is home to more than 60% of the common plant species found in the eastern Himalayas and also approximately 46 species of Rhododendrons and over 300 types of medicinal plants. Come in May in spring bloom and discover the wealth of Bhutan’s natural and cultural beauty in this Himalayan paradise!

Day 1: Arrive Paro
Day 2: Thimphu
Day 3: Moving to Punakha
Day 4: Punakha – Tashithang
Day 5: Gangtey Nature Trail Walking
Day 6: Phobjikha – Bumthang
Day 7: Thrumshingla National Park
Day 8: Back to Trongsa
Day 9: Trongsa – Panbang
Day 10: Royal Manas National Park
Day 11: Back to Trongsa
Day 12: Trongsa – Thimphu
Day 13: Hike to Chelela Pass
Day 14: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Day 15: End of Tour

Day 1
Arrive 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.Afterwards, explore the Centenary Farmers Market (Thimphu’s weekend market), a platform for Bhutanese farmers to sell farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc. Enjoy a welcome drink and dinner with authentic traditional Bhutanese meals in the evening. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2
Thimphu

Thimphu is a small city, home to approximately 138,736 inhabitants. After breakfast leave the hustle and bustle of Thimpu city behind, and take a short drive 14-km (35-minutes) north of Thimphu Valley. An hour of hike takes you uphill through a well-laid path to Tango Monastery and Tango Buddhist College on the outskirts of north Thimphu Valley. The Buddhist College is a learning centre for Buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, poetry and mathematics. The monastery was built in 1689 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa and later renovated in 1977 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck. Enjoy the spectacular views of the valleys and mountains. Break for a hot picnic lunch by the riverside. In the afternoon, explore the Institute of Traditional Medicine Services supplies the traditional Bhutanese medicines and conduct scientific research on medicinal plants. Traditional medicine was introduced as a part of the national healthcare system in 1968. Today the traditional medicine services are integrated with modern medicine and available in all hospitals and Basic Health Units in the country. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3
Moving to Punakha

After breakfast, we travel (71-km) about 3 hours to Punakha, once the winter capital of Bhutan until 1955. It 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, and also a popular tourist destination. 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). Here admire at the beautiful forest of rhododendrons, birch, maple and magnolia. Many of the rhododendrons should be in bloom from mid March till early August. A few kilometres drives down the road takes you to the Royal Botanical Park in Lampelri, the country’s first nature recreational park, established in 2004. It features a variety of forest types: alpine, cool temperate broadleaf forest, old growth of broadleaf and conifer forests, etc. Of the 46 rhododendron species recorded in the country, 29 are found here. Some of the rare species found in the park are the Bengal tiger, the elusive red panda, leopard, leopard cat, musk deer, sambar deer, Himalayan black bear, Monal pheasant and Satyr tragopan. It is also a haven for bird watching with more than 220 species recorded. Continue our scenic journey (52-km) to Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang Valley. Arriving in Punakha (1,350m), 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. Jacaranda trees beautifully cover the dzong with the purple bloom of flowers in the spring. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 4
Punakha – Tashithang

This morning we explore Tashithang (1,600m) in search of wild orchids in the warm semi-subtropical forest of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park. It is about 27-km drive for an hour up the Mochhu River on the Punakha–Gasa road. Flower lovers will find abundant of wild orchids such as epiphytic orchids and ground orchids, and also the opportunity to spot some birds (Crested laughing thrush, pure blue flycathcers and sunbirds). Afterwards, we drive back about 19-km to Yambesa village in the north of Punakha. We visit the majestic Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk built this 100ft tall temple in 1994, located on a strategic ridge overlooking terraced fields and countryside of Punakha Valley. From the parking, cross a suspension bridge over the Mochhu River and walk up through paddy fields to the base of the hill before climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. It takes about 45-minutes to hike up to the top. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 5
Gangtey Nature Trail Walking

This morning, our journey covers (78-km) over 2 hours of driving into the countryside of Phobjikha (2,900m), and takes us past the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong overlooking the convergence of the Dangchhu and Punatsangchhu Rivers. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (founder of Bhutan) constructed the dzong in 1638, resembling that of a sleeping elephant. The fortress was gutted by fire in 2012 and is under reconstruction. Phobjikha Valley is a must visit for nature enthusiasts and is also well-known for the winter home to the rare Black-Necked Cranes that migrate from the Tibetan plateau from late October to mid-March. Take the opportunity to visit the 17th century picturesque Gangtey Gonpa (monastery) on the hillock with amazing views of the valley. The monastery is the only Nyingmapa School of Buddhism taught here in western Bhutan. Afternoon is set aside for a short and gentle nature hike (4-km) about 2 hours. The best way to soak up this magnificent valley is to head downhill from the start point (nearby the monastery) to Semchubara village. This trail takes you through beautiful forests, flower meadows and into vast plains of Phobjikha Valley, ideal for spotting some birds, grazing cows, farmhouses, people and the local life. After passing a chorten and Khewa Lhakhang through gentle grassy slopes carpeted with purple primluas, your hike ends at the local community school. Overnight in Phobjikha.

Day 6
Phobjikha – Bumthang

Today we drive to Bumthang, the furthest you’ll go on this trip. You’ll at first travel to Trongsa (120-km) about 3 hours via Chelela Pass (3,390m). It is not uncommon to encounter grazing yaks by the roadside along the East–West highway. On the way take a stroll along the Chendebji Chorten below the road. A nice stop to stretch your legs and walk around the stupa! This 18th century monument resembles the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. Enjoy a scenic journey, changing landscapes from the awe-inspiring mountains to lush vegetation. From the viewpoint (Thumangdra) opposite to the Trongsa Dzong, you can take photos of the beautiful landscapes and dzong. Lunchtime is at Trongsa, the ancestral home to the present Royal Family of Bhutan (where the Institutional Monarchy of Bhutan was born). Continue your journey to Bumthang (68-km) about 2.5 hours via Yotongla Pass (3,425m). You have an option to explore the Yathra Weaving Centre in Chumig village en route, where the Bumthap women weave yak and sheep wools into the beautifully patterned fabric called “Yathra” including woollen mattresses (Drumzeedhen). Evening is at leisure where you’ll have some time to stroll along the streets of a small Jakar (Bumthang) town. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 7
Thrumshingla National Park

We rise early this morning and make our way (49-km) about 1.5 hours to the quaint and beautiful Ura Valley (3,100m). It is home to Bhutan’s largest clustered settlement near the Ura Lhakhang (temple). The journey leads into the easternmost of Bhutan, passing through incredible mountain landscapes and several small villages en route. Stop off at Ura Shelthangla, where you’re rewarded with a magnificent view of Mt Gangkar Puensum (7,564m), Bhutan’s highest unclimbed peak. Enjoy a scenic journey with a variety of rhododendron species, ranunculus, and primula orchids and conifers en route. Head further (35-km) to Thumshingla Pass (3,880m), the highest point on the journey. Explore the Thrumshingla National Park, which was established in 1998, with an area of 905 km2 and with huge expanses of some of the last remaining stands of cool temperate broadleaved forests and old fir growth in the entire Himalayas. The best season is from March to May. More than 622 plants species occur in the park, comprising of 152 medicinal plants and 21 species endemic to Bhutan, home of many endemic species including Daphne ludlowii, Lobelia nubigena, and Vanda graffiti. Rhododendrons flowers add beauty to pristine fir forests at higher elevations. Besides, the park is ideal for the bird watching and other wildlife, including Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Tiger, Deopard and Deer. In the evening, we drive back to Ura for overnight.

Tonight you’ll spend a night in local homes. A farmhouse in Bhutan is very colourful, decorative and traditionally built having a 2-storey with decent toilets, shower, hot stone bath, etc. Such service providers are trained in basic housekeeping, cleanliness and hygiene for tourist purposes. It gives you a total new experience living in a village house where food and drinks are served by the housemother like she does for her family members, intermingle with the locals and participate in the local daily activities (including how to prepare a Bhutanese meal) if you so wish, etc. You won’t regret for adventuring into this bit of lifetime fun!

Day 8
Ura – Trongsa

After breakfast, our journey (81-km) about 2-3 hours takes us to Trongsa (2,200m) via the Ura–Nangar Yotongla bypass and Yotongla Pass (3,425m). Historically, Trongsa is one of the important districts of Bhutan. Trongsa was once the headquarters for the central and eastern regions and has been the seat of Trongsa Penlop (Governor). All the Kings of Bhutan first invest as the Trongsa Penlop before ascending to the throne. Visit the massive and majestic architectural masterpiece of the Trongsa Dzong with a distinctive yellow roof. It is the largest fortress in Bhutan, built in 1648, overlooking the gorge of the Mangdichhu River. There will be time to explore the Tower of Trongsa (known as Ta Dzong), an ancient watchtower rising five storeys above Trongsa town. It was built in 1652 and has four observation points resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda and Dragon. Today the tower houses a state-of-the-art National Museum with insights into the significance of Trongsa Dzong and the Wangchuck dynasty (Kings) of Bhutan’s history. Overnight in Trongsa.

Day 9
Trongsa – Panbang

We set our early leaving Trongsa behind as we continue to a region with incredibly rich biodiversity in the south central part of Bhutan, the furthest you’ll go on this trip. Today our journey covers about 190-km for 6 hours to a remote Panbang town, the biodiversity hub of the country where the Royal Manas National Park (1,057m) is nearby. It shares border with Indian state of Assam to the south, and can also be accessed from Indian side to the park. Besides the stunning views of the lush forests and villages, one of the highlights on this route is the impressive Golden Langur Monkeys, a rare monkey endemic to Bhutan. Panbang is known for white water rafting, birding and Golden Mahseer Angling or fly-fishing in the Drangemchhu River. There are eco-camps and eco-trails run by the communities Use your free time to relax or explore a rural Panbang town in the evening. Tonight you’ll spend your night in eco-lodge hut. Overnight in Panbang.

Day 10
Royal Manas National Park

Head to the Royal Manas National Park nearby, arguably an oasis filled with the greatest populace of wildlife diversity, home to 558 species of flora, 65 species of mammals, 489 species of birds (paradise for birdlife), 60 species of fishes and more than 180 species of butterfly species recorded till date, many of which are globally endangered. Its climate and vegetation is moist subtropical to cool temperate with annual temperature ranging from 20–40 (summer) and 5–20 (winter) degrees Celsius. The Manas River is one of the largest Himalayan tributaries of the mighty Brahmaputra River. Venture into the park, home to two endenmic and globally threatened species, namely Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog. It also provides a safe refuge for charismatic species such as the endangered Royal Bengal tiger and many large mamals such as Asian Elephant, Asiatic Water Buffalo, Asiatic Gaur, Clouded Leopard, Dhole, Sambar and different species of deer. A globally rare and endangered floral species like Dalbergia oleveri, Aquilaria malaccensis and Taxus baccata, and Podocarpus neriifolia are found here, including the survival of only conifer broadleaved tree rarely distributed in the park area. A wide variety of birds including the critically endangered species, White-bellied Heron, White-rumped Vulture, Red-headed Vulture and Satyr Tragopan, and also the Assamese day gecko (Cnemaspsis assamnesis) are sighted. Other commonly sighted birds are Wreathed Hornbill, White-throated Kingfisher, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Greater Yellow-nape, Lesser Yellow-nape, Red-breasted Parakeet to name a few. Overnight in Panbang.

Day 11
Back to Trongsa

This morning, our return journey takes us to Trongsa via the same route. Look out for flora and fauna on the way that you might have missed earlier. After a fairly long drive, we reach Trongsa (the ancestral home of the present Royal Family of Bhutan. The evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the idyllic Trongsa town and its surroundings at 2,200m. Overnight in Trongsa.

Day 12
Trongsa – Thimphu

We rise early this morning, as it is a long but rewarding day driving (approximately 200-km) over 7 hours back to Thimphu (capital of Bhutan) via Chelela Pass (3,390m) and Nobding, a small town and Wangdue Phodrang, pausing en route at Dochula Pass (3,050m). Perhaps why not take a chance to meditate awhile in the 11 man-made hidden “Igloos – Caves” with 11 different paintings of gods and goddesses? People seeking inner peace from modern day stress come to Dochula Pass for meditation. Buddhists pursue meditation as a path towards enlightenment and nirvana. Today you’ll have the photography opportunities again of the fascinating sites you missed or didn’t get time earlier. Bhutan’s capital is not a concrete jungle that you see in other parts of the world. Thimphu is set in a lovely rural valley with beautiful natural scenery on all sides and buildings built in the traditional Bhutanese style. No traffic lights in Bhutan yet! Marvel at the police directing traffic with an intricate ballet of hand signals at the main intersections. If you are feeling energetic, you may have time to relax or explore the streets of Thimphu city in the evening. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 13
Hike to Chelela Pass

Today our activity includes a scenic hike to Chelela along the Paro–Haa road. You’ll at first drive 90-km about 2 hours uphill to Chelela Pass (3,988m), the highest motorable pass in Bhutan. Soak up the most spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari (7,314m) and Jichu Drake (6,989m). From here, enjoy a short hike to the Kila Gonpa Nunnery (also known as Chelela Gonpa) en route, straddled on the cliff-side facing Paro. This beautilful hike takes you passes through a mixed forest and scour for aromatic herbs, Meconopsis species and Primula. Some rare species found are Meconopsis grandis, Aconitum spp, Rhododendron anthopogon Rhododendron rivale, and Rhododendron setosum. Chelela is especially spectacular in the summer, when all the wildflowers are in full bloom. In the evening, we travel back to Paro where you may time to relax and explore a small Paro town. Overnight in Paro.

Day 14
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 15
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 Sundays1 person 2 people3-10 people11-15 people16-20 people
06 Sep 2020$3790 $3600 $3190 $3055 $3000
13 Sep 2020$3790 $3600 $3190 $3055 $3000
04 Apr 2021$3790 $3600 $3190 $3055 $3000
11 Apr 2021$3790 $3600 $3190 $3055 $3000
02 May 2021$3790 $3600 $3190 $3055 $3000
09 May 2021$3790 $3600 $3190 $3055 $3000
16 May 2021$3790 $3600 $3190 $3055 $3000

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

Start Date Sundays1 person 2 people3-10 people11-15 people16-20 people
06 Jun 2021$3130 $2950 $2540 $2420 $2375
13 Jun 2021$3130 $2950 $2540 $2420 $2375

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 for guides and drivers (see FAQs)
  • Upgrade to luxury properties (4 star and 5 star hotels)
  • Single room supplement from $50 per night
  • Optional activities & additional services
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