Bhutan Spiritual Tour - 12 Days

Trip Facts:

Trip Name: Bhutan Spiritual Tour
Trip Duration: 12 Days
Max. Altitude: 3,120m/10,240 ft (The Tiger Nest Monastery)
Best Season: March to May and September to November
Meal: Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Accommodation: Government approved 3 stars and Above 
Transportation: Private vehicle

Trip Overview:

Bhutan Spiritual Pilgrimage Tour is a complete package that visits the important and religious landmarks in Bhutan. The history of Bhutan began when in the 7th century AD the Tibetan king Songtsen Gompo build the first two Buddhist temples, one in Paro ‘Kyichu Lhakhang’ and another in Bumthang ‘Jampa Lhakhang’. In the 8th century, a tantric from Swat (now in Pakistan) ‘Padmasambhava’ arrived in Bhutan, now generally known as Guru Rinpoche - the precious master, in Bhutan and Tibet. As in Tibet he introduced Tantric Buddhism in Bhutan and he is considered by the Nyingma-pa religious school (pa means school or sect) to be their founder and the second Buddha. All the places he visited and in which he meditated are places of Pilgrimage locations. The tour circulates all these religious and historical temples, monasteries & shrines, and gives full insight of the cultural and spiritual Dragon Kingdom.

Trip Highlights:

  • Witness spectacular bird’s eye view of the Himalayas while flying in/out from Paro. 
  • Explore Bhutan’s important spiritual & pilgrimage sites. 
  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan.
  • Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan. 
  • Membar Tsho “The flaming lake” in Tang Valley 
  • Bumthang- the religious heartland home to oldest monasteries & temples 
  • Visit Kurje Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang & Tamshing Lhakhang in Bumthang 
  • Jakar Dzong - “the castle of the white bird” & Ura Lhakhang 

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival Paro (2250m) - Thimphu (2350m)
Arrive Paro by the Bhutanese National Carrier flying over the world’s highest mountains and finally landing at the lush green Paro valley. A cool and clean fresh air greets the visitor as stepping down from the plane, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing customs and visa formalities, meet the representatives and the Bhutanese guide, and a short tour brief by the guide then transfer to Paro town for lunch.

Then drive towards Thimphu (the capital of Bhutan) for about 1 & half hours drive. En-route Thimphu, one can do a short hike to Tamchog Monastery, a private temple owned by the descendents of famous Tibetan bridge – builder Thangthong Gaylpo. Later on continue the drive to Thimphu.

In Thimphu, visit Buddha point for a stunning view of Thimphu city and Takin Compound- on the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin. Then continue to Tashi Choe Dzong- the fortress of the glorious religion was initially constructed in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in the 1960s, Folk Heritage Museum – a 300 year old traditional house converted into a museum, Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02: Thimphu - Punakha (1310m)
After breakfast, drive for about 3 hours to Punakha. Climb up the mountain road to Dochula La at 3140m. On clear weather, the pass commands a wonderful panorama of the Eastern Himalayas. From the pass, descend through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. Take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as "the Divine Madman". The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Enjoy some tea and snacks at the end of hike while overlooking the fields. Afterwards, visit Punakha Dzong. Located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 03: Punakha - Gangtey (2320m)
Drive to Wangduephodrang Dzong, which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view both up and down the valley. Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Enjoy 1½ hours Gangtey nature trail from the monastery through the jungle before emerging to the valley floor. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 04: Gangtey - Bumthang (2800m)
Today, we drive 5 hours to Bumthang valley. The road climbs rapidly through a series of hairpins out of Trongsa and there are great views back to the Dzong and out across the valley. After passing through cultivated fields for a while, the trail re-enters the forest and reach the Yotong La (3400m). Descending to a low point of 2650m at a village called Chumey; the scenery is once again totally different as the route enters the wide-open Bumthang valleys. It takes about an hour to get to the roadside at Chumey, the first of the four valleys in Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 05: In Bumthang - Sightseeing
In the morning visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan’s “patron saint”, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro). After lunch, hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later, visit Jakar Dzong, “the castle of the white bird”, and then take a stroll through Bumthang’s market area before returning to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 06: Bumthang - Day Excursion to Tang Valley (2800m)
After breakfast, drive from Choekhor valley to Tang Valley (2hrs Approx.) En-route Tang valley a short walk to Membar Tsho “The flaming lake” can be taken where Terton Pema Lingpa discover a treasure. After the visit, continue the drive and arrive at Mesethang with a school and few shops. Short distance away from Mesethang is Tang Rimochen Lhakhang, located below an enormous rock, which is a scared place where Guru Rinpoche mediated. A rock in front of the Lhakhang has a body print of Guru and his two consorts. The name Tag Rimoche (an impression of tiger’s stripes) is derived from the tiger stripes that appear on a rock cliff behind the building. Afterwards, continue the drive to reach Kidzom village. From Kidzom, cross the bridge over Tang chuu river and climb up to the hill top Ugyen Choling manor. Ugyen choling palace was originally built by Deb Tsokye Dorji, a descendant of Dorji Lingpa in 16th century. The palace itself has been converted into a museum where they collected all the antique pieces of things posses by their great ancestors. In the museum are kept a lot of old things which provides a better understanding of life in Bhutan during olden days. Back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 07: Bumthang - Day Excursion to Ura Valley (2850m)
After breakfast, drive towards the Ura valley which is 42 kilometers from Bumthang. The road reaches the Ura Shelthangla from where a magnificent view of Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkhar Puensum (7,500 m) can be spotted. The road then descends into Ura valley by long loops across fields and pastures. Ura’s main occupation is raising sheeps, yaks and the introduction of potato farming has brought a certain degree of prosperity of people. In Ura, visit Ura Lhakhang and picnic lunch will be served at one of many inviting spots. Afternoon: drive back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 08: Bumthang - Wangdue (1310m)
Begin the day with Bumthang market tour then drive to Wangdue which is about 6 hours drive. With its diverse climate and rich natural resources Wangdue is home to many rare and exotic animals like Red Panda, Tiger and Leopard. Villages in Wangdue are also known for their slate and stone. Overnight in Wangdue.

Day 09: Wangdue – Paro (2250m)
After breakfast, drive back to Paro which is about 4 hours drive. PM: Stroll around the streets of Paro. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10: Paro – Day excursion to Haa Valley (2740m) – Paro
 After breakfast, drive over the Chelela pass (3899 m). From the pass, good view of the Himalayan Ranges and the valley beyond can be spotted. Then continue the drive towards Haa. Haa is made up of five counties and was closed to outside world until 2002. There is a military camp by the Indian Army. In Haa valley, visit Wangchucklo Dzong dating back to 1915 and Lhakhang Nakpo (Black temple) is said to have been built by pigeon emanation of King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and Lhakhang Karpo (white temple). After the visit drive back to Paro. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 11: Paro - Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (3120m)
Early in the morning, drive towards the base camp of Taktsang for the hike up to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’. It’s about two hours hike up the cafeteria. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, hike back to the road point and drive towards Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort. This fort once defeated this valley from the Tibetan invasions during the 17th century. Also visit the local farm house at Drukgyal to witness daily life of the Bhutanese people. Later on, drive to Kyichu Lhakhang one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. PM: Stroll around the main shopping district in Paro. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 12: Paro depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains.

Cost Details:

The tour cost depends upon the category of hotels used and as per the group-size. Normally we use government approved 3 star and above hotels. Please contact us for the trip pricing. 

Our entire Bhutan tours are private journeys and tailor made programs suited for any independent travelers according to their chosen traveling dates. Should you wish, the tour can be easily customized as per your interest and activities you wish to get involve in or spend more time in your places of interest. Contact us to customize this tour as per your requirements. This tour can be undertaken round the year.

Normally during the monsoon seasons (Jun, Jul & Aug), the road condition in between Thimphu to Bumthang will be muddy road and bumpy ride. Other than Land-cruisers it’s not an easy journey but still with cruisers will be a bumpy ride. Another option will be flying into Bumthang and drive back or vice-versa. But in other seasons, such is not the case.

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  • Why Travel in Nepal

    Traveling into Bhutan tucked high up in the Himalayas is a rare experience. Bhutan is located in the Eastern Himalayas north of India and south of Tibet and is the world’s only the Buddhist Kingdom remaining unchanged for centuries. Travelers are allured to come to Bhutan to admire its natural beauty and snow-capped peaks, visit the remote monasteries and spiritual temples, trek the wondrous Himalayan routes. The bustling towns and busy markets are a treasure trove of seasonal fruits & vegetables, clothes & curios. No traffic jams or even traffic lights, surely Bhutan is the true Shangri-La. So, be among the privileged few to visit this Land of the Thunder Dragon.

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  • Client Reviews

    “A green, clean, small Happy country”

    Bhutan tour review Bhutan is a very beautiful country in the Himalayas and worth visiting with Family. People of Bhutan are very kind and happy people and tourist friendly nature.Climate is pleasant during April-May. Temples and monasteries are very beautiful and historical. Flora and fauna are great. Green and white (Snowclad) hills and clean rivers are really very attractive.  Only a co Read More

    Acharya Ramadas, From Pune, India