- Hike to the famous Tiger's Nest Monastery
- Have fun white-water rafting on the Punakha River
- Try archery, the national sport of Bhutan
- Experience Bhutanese family life at a homestay in a farmhouse
|Day 1||Arrive in Paro & Drive to Thimphu||Thimphu|
|Day 2||Sightsee in Thimphu||Thimphu|
|Day 3||Explore the Phobjikha Valley||Phobjikha|
|Day 4||Visit the Temple of a "Divine Madman"||Punakha|
|Day 5||Hike & Raft in the Punakha Valley||Punakha|
|Day 6||Picnic in the Hills||Ha|
|Day 7||Go Hiking in the Ha Valley||Ha|
|Day 8||Discover the Paro Valley||Paro|
|Day 9||Trek to Tiger's Nest Monastery||Paro|
|Day 10||Depart Bhutan|
Day 1: Arrive in Paro & Drive to Thimphu
Welcome to Bhutan! Arrive in Paro. You'll be welcomed by your guide and transfer to the capital city of Thimphu. Depending on your time of arrival, there may be time to visit the great Buddhist monastery of Tashicho Dzong and the famous stupa known as Memorial Chorten. From the Giant Buddha, enjoy sweeping views over the valley below as the sun goes down.
Day 2: Sightsee in Thimphu
The capital has many attractions for visitors. During a guided tour today, you will visit several of Thimphu’s cultural sites, monuments, and temples. You'll also attend a crafts workshop and explore the Textiles Museum. Check out the archery ground at the National Stadium, and stop by the Takin Preserve to see the Bhutan takin, a quirky-looking animal that's related to the goat and the antelope. It's the national animal of Bhutan.
Day 3: Explore the Phobjikha Valley
Today you will drive to the Phobjikha Valley. As soon as you leave Thimphu, you'll be surrounded by forest. The road climbs gently to the Dochu La Pass at an altitude of 10,000 feet (3050 meters); from here, you can enjoy spectacular mountain views to the north. Continue driving to the subtropical valley of Punakha. Then it's another two hours to the glacial valley of Phobjikha, where you'll visit the centuries-old Gangtey Goenba monastery and the Black-Necked Crane Center to learn about the graceful birds that migrate to Bhutan every winter.
Day 4: Visit the Temple of a "Divine Madman"
Today, your driver will transport you to lower-altitude Punakha. You'll notice the temperature is warmer due to the lower altitude. In the valley, you will visit Chimi Lhakhang, the famous temple of the "divine madman" Drukpa Kinley. This famous fertility temple is visited by people from all over Bhutan (and the world) who seek blessings as they attempt to fulfill the wish of having children.
Day 5: Hike & Raft in the Punakha Valley
After breakfast, drive into the idyllic countryside north of Punakha. From a small suspension bridge, you will start a short, steep hike to Khamsum Yuelley Chorten, a relatively new stupa with wonderful views of the valley below. Then return to the bridge; from here, you'll embark on a white-water rafting trip. The Punakha Chu is a gentle river, so the adventure is well-suited to families. End the river trip at the impressive Punakha Dzong, an architectural masterpiece on the confluence of two rivers.
Day 6: Picnic in the Hills
Today, drive back over the Dochu La Pass and enjoy another opportunity to view Bhutan’s peaks in the north. These mountains form the natural boundary with the Tibetan Plateau. Even finer views will appear as you approach the hilltop Lungchutse Lhakhang. A two-hour hike through birch, hemlock, and rhododendron trees will bring you to the Lungchutse Temple. Enjoy a picnic lunch — the views are astonishing on a clear day! Then walk downhill to another retreat and monastery, Trashigang Goemba. Your car will pick you up here and drive you to the Ha Valley, where you will spend the night in an authentic Bhutanese farmhouse.
Day 7: Go Hiking in the Ha Valley
From your homestay, drive to the northern end of the Ha Valley, the most scenic part of the valley. Today's agenda features an easy hike through lovely villages, passing temples along the way. The hike takes around three to four hours to complete. In the afternoon, visit the impressive temple complex of Lhakhang Karpo.
Day 8: Discover the Paro Valley
After breakfast, drive to the Paro Valley via the Chele La Pass. At 12,500 feet (3800 meters), it's Bhutan's highest road that's navigable by cars. On the way to Paro, you will stop to visit the Dzongdrakha Cliff Temples. Then enjoy exploring the Paro Valley, one of the loveliest valleys in Bhutan. The roads are lined with willow trees, and you will see apple orchards, whitewashed farmhouses and temples, terraced fields, and forested hills in this wonderfully peaceful landscape. In the late afternoon, visit the National Museum and the Rinphung Dzong Fortress.
Day 9: Trek to Tiger's Nest Monastery
Enjoy a hike today to the legendary Taktsang Goenba (Tiger's Nest Monastery). A steep climb will bring you face-to-face with this spectacular monastery. You may also hike beyond Taktsang to more remote monasteries further uphill, such as Zangdopelri and Ugyen Tshemo, to get away from tourist crowds and enjoy fantastic views. Return to the Paro Valley, where you will stop to check out Bhutan’s oldest temple, Khyichu Lhakhang, dating back to the 7th century. Enjoy one last dinner before the trip comes to a close.
Day 10: Depart Bhutan
After breakfast, transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight. Safe travels!
More Bhutan Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Bhutan? Check out these other 10-day Bhutan itineraries, with trekking adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.
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