There's no place like Bhutan. Discover the kingdom's most spectacular landscapes and cultural sites on this two-week highlights tour that includes quiet forest hikes, visits to the country's oldest temples, an overnight stay in a traditional farmhouse, and unforgettable views of the Himalayas from high-altitude mountain passes. The grand finale of the trip is the classic hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery, built into the side of a cliff in the beautiful Paro Valley.


  • Visit Chimi Lhakhang, a famous fertility temple and pilgrimage site
  • Stay overnight in a Bhutanese farmhouse with a local family
  • Enjoy striking mountain scenery from high-altitude Chele La Pass
  • Hike to the incredible Taktsang Goenba (Tiger's Nest Monastery)

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paro & Drive to Thimphu Thimphu
Day 2 Sightsee in Thimphu Thimphu
Day 3 Cross the Dochu La Pass Punakha
Day 4 Explore the Punakha Valley Punakha
Day 5 Tour Gangtey Monastery Phobjikha
Day 6 Discover Trongsa's Tibetan Heritage Trongsa
Day 7 See One of Bhutan's Largest Fortresses Jakar
Day 8 Discover the Bhutanese Countryside Jakar
Day 9 Go on an Excursion to the Tang Valley Tang
Day 10 Fly to Paro & Drive to Ha Ha
Day 11 Explore the Ha Valley Ha
Day 12 Drive Back to Paro Paro
Day 13 Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery Paro
Day 14 Depart Paro  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paro & Drive to Thimphu

Morning traffic in Paro

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

Exploring 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, where you can try Bhutan's national sport for yourself, 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: Cross the Dochu La Pass

The view from Dochu La Pass

After lunch, start the three-hour drive to Punakha. As soon as you leave Thimphu, you will 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. 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. Continue driving to the subtropical valley of Punakha, where you'll spend the night.

Day 4: Explore the Punakha Valley

Flowering trees outside the Punakha Dzong

In the morning, drive to the northern end of the Punakha Valley and hike through scenic terraced rice fields beside the Punakha River. The hike will take around two to three hours. After reaching the road, cross a small suspension bridge and hike up to Khamsum Chorten, from where you will get even better valley views. Then continue down to the river and walk to the suspension bridge, where a car will be waiting to take you to the impressive Punakha Dzong. This architectural masterpiece is located at the confluence of two rivers.

Day 5: Tour Gangtey Monastery

Touring the Phobjikha Valley

In the early morning, you'll take a short and easy hike to Chimi Lhakhang. This famous fertility temple is is a pilgrimage spot for people from all over Bhutan who wish to have children. Then explore Phobjikha Valley, a glacial valley within Black Mountains National Park. It's a natural habitat for wildlife, including nesting black-necked cranes from Central Asia. Due to conservation measures, there is no electricity in the valley. Homes use solar-powered cells or generators, and rooms are heated with wood stoves. You'll tour Gangtey Monastery, on a hilltop overlooking the valley, and walk on the Gangtey Nature Trail, strolling downhill through flower meadows, passing through forests, and enjoying sweeping views of the valley.

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Day 6: Discover Trongsa's Tibetan Heritage

Practicing archery, Bhutan's national sport

After breakfast, you'll drive a few hours along twisting roads to Trongsa, located at the geographical center of Bhutan. Take some time to explore the town of Trongsa, with its unique Tibetan influence, then continue traveling until you reach the Trongsa Dzong, the largest and most impressively situated dzong in Bhutan, perched high on a cliff above a deep river gorge. A huge fortress filled with intricate wood carvings, a maze of courtyards, and covered passages that follow the contour of the ridge, it was built in 1648. Ta Dzong, the watchtower above the town, offers fabulous views over the surrounding area. 

Day 7: See One of Bhutan's Largest Fortresses

Sightseeing in Bumthang

Today, you'll continue to Bumthang and spend the afternoon sightseeing. Highlights include Jambay Lhakhang, a temple founded in the 7th century by a Tibetan king, and the Kurjey Lhakhang temple complex. There are three large temples within the complex and more than a hundred shrines. Kenchogsum Temple was beautifully restored in 1995 and looks new, but it actually dates back to the 7th century. Finish the sightseeing circuit at Jakar Dzong, literally meaning "castle of the white bird," set in a picturesque location overlooking the Chokhor Valley. It's one of the largest fortresses in Bhutan, with impressive stone walls and an elegant interior.

Day 8: Discover the Bhutanese Countryside

Bhutanese children in Jakar

This morning, head to Wangdichholing Palace. The palace, built in 1857, was the first in Bhutan that was not designed as a fortress. Several kings adopted Wangdicholing as their main summer residence. There are five large water-powered prayer wheels inside square stupas as you approach the gates of the palace. In the afternoon, you'll explore the Swiss farm area nearby. There is a small factory beside the river that produces Swiss cheese, honey, apple wine, and local beer. Taste some locally made treats before heading back to Bumthang.

Day 9: Go on an Excursion to the Tang Valley

The Tang Valley

Today you'll head to the Tang Valley and visit Mebartshso Burning Lake, one of the region's most sacred places. Then you'll hike to the cliff temple of Kuzungdrak Goenba. After lunch, continue to Ogyen Choling Palace, a former palace now turned into a museum. This evening, you will stay in a small and friendly guesthouse run by a local family. If you like, they will prepare a traditional hot stone bath for you.

Day 10: Fly to Paro & Drive to Ha

Looking out over the Ha Valley

Hop on a quick flight to Paro. From there, you will drive to the Ha Valley, crossing over the Chele La Pass. At 12,500 feet (3800 meters), it's Bhutan's highest road that's navigable by cars. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided walk to the famous Lhakhang Kharpo temple, set in the foothills of a trio of mountains. After visiting the temple, you'll return to Ha, where you'll stay overnight in a hotel.

Day 11: Explore the Ha Valley

Mountain views in the Ha Valley

This morning, you will drive to the northern end of the Ha Valley, the most scenic part of the region. You'll hike for three to four hours, winding your way through villages and passing temples along the way. You could also detour to the secluded hermitage site of Juneydra, adding another hour to the hike, if you're feeling energetic.

Day 12: Drive Back to Paro

A scene in the Paro Valley

After breakfast, drive to the Paro Valley via the Chele La Pass. On the way, 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.

Day 13: Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery

The 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 14: Depart from Paro 

Bhutanese children in traditional dress

The trip ends today. After breakfast, transfer to the airport in time for your flight. Safe travels!

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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Bhutan? Check out these other 14-day Bhutan itineraries, with trekking adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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