Bhutan Short Holidays

Attractions and sightseeing covered will be in and around the four popular western cities of Bhutan.

Back in time with festival - 8 Days 7 Nights

Attractions and sightseeing covered will be in and around the four popular western cities of Bhutan: Paro, which is the only international airport; Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan; Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and still the winter residence/capital of the monastic body of Bhutan; and Wangduephodrang where a Dzong (fortress) that was built to prevent incursions from the south was burnt down in 2012. The sequence of visits will be Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Paro.

Day 1: Paro to Thimphu

Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan is located at an altitude of 2,300 meters. and in its on way distinguishes itself by being the most unusual capital city in the world, by keeping a strong national character in its architecture. Thimphu is a bustling town and home of the Kingdom’s royal family, monk body, civil servants and expatriates.

Tashichhodzong: Means “fortress of glorious religion”. The Dzong was initially erected in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and later the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk rebuilt its present form in 1965. It was built in traditional fashion, without using nails and architectural plans. It is also the home of the throne room of His Majesty the king of Bhutan, the summer residence of central monastic body and ministries and various government organizations.

Memorial Chorten: Built in 1974 in memory of the Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is popularly considered as the Father of Modern Bhutan. The religious paintings and complex tantric statues inside the monument reflect both peaceful and wrathful aspects of Buddhist deities. It is one of the most visible religious stupas in Thimphu and for many Thimphu residents it is the place where they come to circumambulate the stupa andpay their daily worship.

Overnight: Thimphu

Day 2: Sightseeing In Thimphu

Heritage Museum: Living farmhouse of the 19th century depicting the harmonious living style of the Bhutanese family with the domestic animals in the premises.

National Library: Houses a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts and texts including the imprinted and archaic text of Bhutanese history. The library also has research documents and printing blocks for prayer flags.

Traditional Painting School: Centre where children learn traditional drawing and painting, wood carving, sculpture and other forms of traditional arts. On a visit, one can view the students at work.

Traditional Medicine Institute: The rich herbal medicine found abundant in Bhutan are prepared and dispensed from here. The institute also researches the use of medicinal herbs and plants and operates a trial experiment on the premises.

Textile Museum: This museum has a wide collection of colorful and intricately hand woven ancient and new textiles, depicting the unique and traditional art of Bhutan.

Weekend Market: Worth visiting the weekend market in Thimphu held on Friday afternoon and remains until Sunday evening. The weekend market certainly offers the best opportunity to see agriculture and dairy products and handicrafts, and to mix around with the local people.

Some Excursions and Hikes possible around Thimphu (time permitting):

Tango Temple (Monastery): Initially built by Gyalwa Lhanampa in 12th century and later built into its present form by “Divine Madman” Lama Drukpa Kuenley in 15th century. In the 18th century, the eighth Desi Tenzin Rabgye built a three storey tower and several other surrounding buildings.  Presently, it serves as a monastic school for Buddhist studies. It is about 12 km drive from Thimphu and takes about an hour’s hike to reach the temple from the road end.

Cheri Temple (Monastery): This temple lies next to Tango Temple. Once dropped off, the trail starts by crossing the traidtional wooden bridge. It will take about an hour or so of steep climb. Cheri Temple was founded by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1620. The ashes of Zhabdrung’s father are preserved in a silver stupa inside the temple.

Phajoding Temple (Monastery): Located at 3,700 meters, the temple provides commanding height overlooking Thimphu valley. It has several little retreat houses and temples spread around the temple. From Thimphu city, it is about three and half hours of steep climb through mixed conefer forest. Return takes about two hours.

Overnight: Thimphu

Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha

Located at around 2 hours drive from Thimphu and at an altitude of 1,350 meters, Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. It is still the winter residence of Jekhenpo (Chief Abbot) and the monks of Thimphu.  The low altitude and temperate climate makes the valley one of the most fertile in Bhutan and allows two rice crops a year. On a clear day, there are splendid views of the distant Himalayas at Dochula Pass ( 3100m) on the way to Punakha from Thimphu.

Attractions and Interest:

Punakha Dzong (the Fortress):  Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region. It is located strategically between the confluence of Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). The Dzong was damaged by an earthquake, fire and flood a number of times and destroyed many historic documents. However, the Dzong has been fully restored to its original splendor by the present king.

Chimi Lhakhang: A revered temple popularly recognized as a pilgrimage site for childless couples to receive blessings. Situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, it is about 20 minute’s pleasant walk across the rice fields from the road to the temple. The temple was built in the 15th century by Ngawang Chogyel after the “Divine Madman” Lam Drukpa Kuenley built a small stupa on the site.


Located close to and at the same altitude as Punakha, it is the last western town before entering the central part of Bhutan. The district is known for fine bamboo work and its slate stone carvings.

Wangdue Dzong: Perched on the spur at the confluence of two rivers, the Dzong was built in 1638 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is the administrative seat of Wangdue district and also the venue of the Wangdue festival held in autumn.

Some Excursion and Hike possible around Punakha (time permitting):

Hiking to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten built by the third Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck in dedication to 5th King of Bhutan. It will take one-hour walk crosses over a suspended footbridge over Mo-Chhu (Female River). 

Overnight: Punakha/WangdiPhrodrang

Day 4: Punakha to Phobjikha Valley

Phobjikha Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. The pristine green valley is the winter residence of rare and endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from Tibet to Bhutan in late autumn in a group of 200 to 300. There is also Gangtey Geonpa (Temple) built on the ridge overlooking the beautiful wide valley of Phobjikha. Explore the beautiful valley and then will be followed by short hiking towards evening through the alpine of Gantey Valley.

Overnight: Phobjikha Valley

Day 5: : Phobjikha to Paro

Paro valley is one of the most fascinating valleys in Bhutan. As you disembark at Bhutan’s International Airport at Paro, you will be enthralled by the pleasant atmosphere, the absence of noise and scenic beauty of the valley. A unique tourist destination of its own, Paro valley is home to many venerated monasteries, oldest temples, National Museum and Bhutan’s most impressive and well known Dzongs in the country. Paro is also known for producing the bulk of our famous red rice from its fertile terraced fields.

Overnight: Paro

Day 6: Attractions and Sightseeing in Paro

Attractions and Sightseeing in Paro:

Ta Dzong: On top of the hill above the Rinpung Dzong is the Ta Dzong, originally built as a watch tower of Paro Dzong in1951. Unlike the rectangular shape of the Dzongs, Ta Dzong is round and is said to be in the shape of a conch shell or more like the parts of a European castle. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968. It has a unique and varied collection of ancient paintings, textiles, weapons and armour, bronze statues, old household objects, exquisite postage stamps, jewellery and many other decorative arts.

Paro Dzong: Also known as Rinpung Dzong, which means ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’. It was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and is one of Bhutan’s most impressive Dzongs in the country which depicts the finest examples of Bhutanese unusual architecture. It serves as the administrative centre of the Paro district and also houses the state monastic community. The courtyard of the Dzong serves as a venue of Paro Tshechu (festival), held annually in spring.

Kyichu Lhakhang: It is one of the two oldest monasteries built in the seventh century by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in Bhutan. The other one is Jambay Lhakanhg in Bumthang. It is believed that a giant demoness lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples in one day which would be placed all over her bodies to pin the ogress to the earth forever and at the same time, to convert Tibetan people to Buddhism. Kyichu Lhakhangs holds the left foot and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang pins the left knee.

Overnight: Paro

Day 7: Day excursion to Taksang Monastery (Tiger nest) at Paro

Taktsang Monastery: Literally meaning ‘Tiger’s Nest’ because Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress and then meditated in a cave for three months in the eighth century.  It is precariously perched on the right side of a cliff, at 2950 metres above sea level and is considered one of the holiest places of pilgrimage for the Buddhist world today. In April, 1998, a fire destroyed the main structure of the monastery. The present king commanded the government that Taktsang be constructed to its original structure and architectural splendor.  Accordingly the reconstruction was commenced in March, 2000 and finally completed and restored to its original splendor in early 2005. A visit to this monastery is challenging and amply rewarding. It is about 5 hours round trip including a lunch stop at the view point where there is a cafeteria.

Overnight: Paro

Day 8: Depart Paro

Morning transfer to the airport for flight to onward destination

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