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Bhutan - 6 Extraordinary Days in the Kingdom of Bhutan - is currently on backorder. You may still purchase now though and we'll ship as soon as more become available.
ITINERARY

Paro to Thimphu and Punakha and back to Paro: 6 days

Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom nestled in the Himalayas and an extraordinary place to visit. The Bhutanese are famous for their philosophy of Gross National Happiness (as opposed to Gross National Product), along with their conservation efforts and sustainable way of living. They have managed to modernise whilst retaining their traditions - monks checking their mobile phones after praying is not an uncommon sight.

Still relatively new to tourists, travel in Bhutan has certain restrictions - you must enter by the national airline and your travel must be arranged by a tour operator in advance - we can take care of that for you :)

Bhutan is a gem - discover this wonderful country along with the warmth and grace of the Bhutanese people. 

 

DISCOUNT OFFER

Book this Bhutan tour in combination with one of our India Tours and receive a $400 discount off the total price. 

    To book and take advantage of the discount, you can either call us on 1800 020 020 or email us on team@travelbay.com.

     

    * Price includes 5 nights' accommodation, all transportation throughout the tour, all entrance fees, guides, 14 meals and more. Price does not include international return flights to Bhutan.

    We would be happy to provide you with a quote for international flights. Flights from Australia to Bhutan are approximately $2,000 $2,200 per person return. The actual price varies depending on departure city, time of year and luck of the draw!  

    Download Itinerary 

    Day 1: Arrive in Bhutan and make your way to Thimphu

    Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and driven to Thimphu the capital town of Bhutan. Along the way stop at Chuzom where the Thimphu and Paro rivers join and see 3 styles of stupas: Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese which adorn this confluence. Shortly before reaching Chuzom you will see the Tachogang Lhakhang “the temple of the excellent horse” - a private temple built in the 15th century.

    On arrival in Thimphu, check-in to your hotel. The capital of Bhutan is a unique city with an unusual mix of modern development alongside ancient traditions. With a population of about 90,000 it is perhaps still the world’s only capital city without a traffic light and is described as the heart of Bhutan.

    Relax for the rest of the day or enjoy an exploratory walk around Thimphu’s main street and market area.

    Overnight in Thimphu: Phuntsho Pelri or similar (Standard); Hotel Osel, Namgay Heritage Hotel  or similar (Deluxe)

    Meals included: Dinner

    Day 2: Discover the sights of the Thimphu Valley

    After breakfast, discover the sights of the Thimphu Valley including the National Library – home to an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts and the Institute for Zorig Chusum (the Painting School) where students undergo a 6 year training course in Bhutan’s traditional arts and crafts.

    Visit the Textile Museum, which provides insight into one of the most distinct art forms of Bhutan and Simply Bhutan, a living museum and studio encapsulating the cultural heritage of the Bhutanese people.

    After lunch, stop at the King's Memorial Chorten - a stupa continuously circumambulated by people murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Built as a memorial to Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the father of modern Bhutan”), it was completed in 1974 after his death and serves as both a memorial to the late King and as a monument to peace.

    See Trashi Chhoe Dzong “fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the centre of government and religion, the site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot.

    Later, take a short drive from the city centre to Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang) and discover the largest statue in the country and enjoy a walk around the Point with wonderful views of the valley.

    In the evening you will have the option to stroll through the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts bazaar where you can browse the many beautiful examples of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewellery and much more.

    Overnight in Thimphu: Phuntsho Pelri or similar (Standard); Hotel Osel, Namgay Heritage Hotel or similar (Deluxe)

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 3: Travel to Punakha across the Dochula Pass

    After breakfast, you will be driven to Punakha across the Dochula pass. On a clear day the views across the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas are nothing short of spectacular.

    In the afternoon you will visit the beautiful Punakha Dzong or (Palace of Great Happiness) built at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers in 1637. In the past, this majestic dzong served as both the religious and the administrative centre of Bhutan. It measures some 180 by 70 metres and has a six-story, gold-domed tower. Inside explore the courtyards and religious statues.

    Later in the day visit Chimi Lhakhang - situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley and known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that if couples who do not have children and want one, pray at this temple, they will be blessed with a child. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. A walk through the village near the temple will give you a rare glimpse into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.

    In the evening explore newly developed Wangdue town and its local market.

    Overnight in Punakha: Damchen Resort or similar (Standard); Zhingkham Resort, Drubchhu Resort or similar (Deluxe)

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 4: Explore Paro and all its charms

    After breakfast you will be driven to the charming town of Paro descending back down the Dochula Pass. Follow the way back up the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys, before crossing through Paro Town towards the North end of the valley.

    On the way visit Simtokha Dzong, a place of profound tantric teachings and a school for the study of the Dzongkha language.

    Later, check-in to your hotel in Paro, and stop at Ta Dzong, originally built as a Watchtower, it now houses a National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

    Walk down the trail and discover the Rinpung Dzong meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”) which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard you will see fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life and scenes from the life of Milarepa.

    Overnight in Paro: Olathang or similar (Standard); Udumwara Resort or similar (Deluxe)

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 5: Visit the iconic Taktshang Monastery 

    After breakfast visit the iconic Taktshang Monastery, also known as "Tiger's Nest Monastery". It is approximately a 5 hour walk and is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries - you'll see why when you get there. Perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor, this site has been recognised as the most sacred place in Bhutan and is visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.

    On the way back to town stop at Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The spectacular snowy dome of Chomolhari can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the dzong.

    Along the way, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

    In the evening enjoy an exploratory walk around main street and market area.

    Overnight in Paro: Olathang or similar (Standard); Udumwara Resort or similar (Deluxe)

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 6: Time to go home or onto your next adventure

    After breakfast, you will be taken to the airport for your flight home or onto you next stop. Your guide will help you with the exit formalities and bid you farewell.

    Meals included: Breakfast

     

    * All accommodation and hotels are subject to change. If the stated hotel is not available a hotel of a similar standard and location will be booked.

    INCLUSIONS
    Inclusions:
    • 5 nights' accommodation in hotels as listed in the itinerary.
    • 14 meals included: Daily breakfast and dinner at respective hotels and daily lunch at local tourist class restaurants. 
    • Sightseeing entrance fees as per the itinerary. 
    • English speaking guide from arrival until departure.
    • Bhutan Visa Fee of US$ 40.
    • All airport transfers – a representative will be there to meet you on arrival and get you to the airport on time for your departure. 
    • All transportation throughout the tour in private vehicle (no Air Con – not needed in Bhutan).
    • All inland travel permits.
    • Royal Government of Bhutan royalties and taxes.
    • All hotel taxes and surcharges.
    Highlights:
    • Discover the sights and highlights of the Thimphu valley including the National Library, Institute for Zorig Chusum, The Textile Museum and Simply Bhutan. 
    • The scenery of Bhutan is spectacular - views of the Himalayas, lush forests, sparkling lakes.
    • Hike to the famous Taktshang Monastery, also known as Tiger's Nest Monastery. Hanging on the side of a cliff it is iconic, sacred and well worth the hike!
    • Visit the large Tibetan style King's Memorial Chorten which is both a memorial to the late King and a monument to peace.
    • Marvel at the large golden Buddha statue at Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang) and take in the view of Thimphu Valley.  
    • Travel across the mountain pass of Dochula to Punakha - considered one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. 
    • Visit the large and spectacular Punakha Dzong also known as the Palace of Great Happiness.  
    • See Chimi Lhakhang and find out why it is known as the temple of fertility.
    • Explore the charming town of Paro - known for its many sacred sites. 
    MORE INFO

    Travelbay Bhutan Map

    Travelbay Bhutan Map

    How to get there:

    This tour starts and ends in Paro. 

    Flights go either via Singapore, Bangkok and major cities in India.  

    If you are combining this tour with one of our India Tours, we can arrange the flights for you in conjunction with your Indian holiday. 

    Travelbay works together with an excellent corporate flight booking company and is happy to provide you with a quote and organise your flights. We charge a $50 booking fee for this service. Alternatively, if you would like to arrange flights yourself you can find more information and suggestions here.

    If you are wanting to know more about how far it is between destinations and how long your flight will take, you can visit www.travelmath.com and use their trip calculator.

      Timezones:
      To help you calculate the time difference we recommend World Time Buddy.

      Visa information: 
      A tourist visa is required for travel in Bhutan. This needs to be done via the tour operator - once you have booked your tour with us, we will take care of your visa for you in conjunction with our colleagues in Bhutan. 

      We will need a clear, readable colour copy of the photo page of your passport showing your passport number and photo. We will need this in JPEG or PDF format at least 30 days prior to your date of entry into Bhutan. Your passport needs to be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date you return home. 

      Please note: If you are travelling to Bhutan from India and plan to re-enter India again (for more than transit) you will need a multiple entry visa for India. Please also check if your India visa has "2 months entry restriction" - if this has been stamped in your passport then you will need to get it endorsed by the Indian embassy in Thimphu for a nominal charge. This will need to be done in Thimphu on working days during office hours. You will be asked to provide your travel documents and of course our tour guides in Bhutan will help if you do need to do this. 

      Currency information:
      The currency used in Bhutan is the Ngultrum but the Indian Rupee is also accepted all over Bhutan. However please note: INR (Indian Rupees) denominations of 500 and 1000 are not accepted in Bhutan.

      What currency to take is a personal choice. The US dollar is readily acceptable at major handicraft emporiums and some large hotels in Bhutan but the AUD is not widely accepted although you may be able to exchange AUD to Ngultrum in Bhutan. 

      We advise that you let your bank know that you will be travelling overseas to avoid them freezing any 'suspicious' activity. 

      Vaccination information:
      Travelbay recommends you check with your doctor as to any immunisations that you may require or that are recommended for your travels.  Alternatively, you can visit The Travel Doctor or Travelvax for more information. 

      Climate:
      You can visit Bhutan any time and it is a country of contrasts - from the tropical Southern border with India to the Northern snow-capped mountainous border with Tibet. Temperatures vary greatly between day and night and at different altitudes - we recommend taking clothing that is good for layering. 

      There are four distinct seasons - each one has its merits.

      • In the summer months (June - August) temperatures are in the high twenties - this also coincides with the monsoon season. In the central valleys the rains are not as heavy as the South.
      • In Autumn (September - November) the temperatures can reach the mid to high twenties and drop below 10°C.
      • In Winter (December - February) the highs range between 10°C and 15°C with temperatures dropping below 0°C in some places. 
      • In Spring (March - May) temperatures range from 15°C to 28°C and this is the dry season in Bhutan.

      Monsoon season: June to August. Light rain falls mainly in the evenings. 

      Dry season: March & April

      When to visit: 
      Trips to Bhutan can be planned throughout the year. Spring (March - May) and Autumn (September - November) are great times to visit Bhutan as the weather is ideal. It is also the most popular time and flights and accommodation can fill up quickly - we recommend booking well in advance. The Rhododendron blooms peak in March and April, making the views of the Himalayas incredible. 

      The shoulder season runs from December to February (the winter months). There are less tourists and the weather is still pleasant, although December and January can be cold, especially at night. 

      Vechilce description: 
      Depending on the size of your group, we will use the following vehicle:

      • 1 - 2 people: SUV Hyandai Tuscon / Santa Fe (non AC)
      • 3 - 6 people: Toyota Hiace (non AC)
      • 7 - 9 people: Toyota Coaster Bus (non AC)

      Tipping tips:

      Tipping is entirely at your discretion. 

      In response to some customers questions here are a few guidelines:

      It is usual to tip the waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Tips are not included in the bills for hotels, transport companies or any other suppliers. At hotels and restaurants, about 10% of the bill is usually acceptable. Tipping is not necessary for taxis or for cheaper restaurants. It is a good idea to check if service charges are included in your restaurant bill. If not, a tip of 10% of the total bill is normal. 

      Although we give below a few general guidelines, it is to be remembered that tipping is a sign of gratification for good service, and therefore please view the guidelines as the middle ground, which can be adjusted depending on the level of service you feel you have received. 

      Please note the below amounts are per person for individual travellers and are given in Australian Dollars.

      Guides, Escorts and Transport:

      • Guide (Full Day): AUD 8 - 16 per day 
      • Guide (Half Day): AUD 8 - 12 per day 
      • Tour Escort: AUD 10 - 29 per day 
      • Driver for the tour: AUD 6 - 10 per day 
      • Driver for local duties: AUD 10 per day 

      Hotels/ Restaurants:

      • Bell Boy: AUD1 per person 
      • Room Service & Restaurants About 10% of the bill total (Unless service charge is mentioned as included) 

      Population: 793,880 (estimated in 2017) 

      Language: Bhutanese speak a variety of languages with Dzongkha being the national language and one of the most widely spoken. English is also spoken by the majority of Bhutanese.

      Predominant religion: Buddhism 

      Some interesting facts:

      By law, 60% of the country must remain forested for all future generations (it's currently above 70%). 

      Thimpu is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights (if you find another - let us know!)

      Bhutan is the only nation in the world where the sale of tobacco is banned. 

      Travelbay Tip:

      Pair this tour up with one of our India tours:

      Travelbay  India - 7 Day Golden Triangle Tour Travelbay  India - 7 Day Irresistible Kerala Tour

      Travelbay India - 9 Day Golden Triangle plus Tigers of Ranthambhore Travelbay  India - Treasures & Tigers - 15 Day Private Tour 

      TERMS
      Terms & Conditions

      Booking Process:

      Upon purchase of your tour online you will immediately receive a receipt and order confirmation. Travelbay will contact the tour operator to confirm availability for all accommodation and transportation for your tour.

      As soon as we have confirmed the dates (usually within 24 hours sometimes a little longer at weekends) we will email you your booking confirmation.

      We will request further information from you to ensure that all your personal preferences are taken care of. This will include details such as your accommodation preferences, dietary requests, allergies, health issues, emergency contact and any special requirements. We will also request a copy of each traveller’s passport.

      Very Important:

      It is important to note your dates are only confirmed once we have been in touch with you to confirm availability. Therefore, please wait on purchasing your international flights until you have received a booking confirmation from us. In the unlikely event that there is no availability on your chosen date we will offer you alternate dates. If these do not suit we will fully refund your payment.  

      Booking Information:

      • Quoted prices are per person.
      • Booking valid for selected and booked travel dates.
      • Please book at least 45 days prior to your desired date of travel. 
      • Bookings are subject to availability.
      • Child prices: Children under 5 are free. Please contact us for prices of children 5 and over as it will vary depending on the age of the child and group size. 
        • There are various festivals in Bhutan and during festival times there may be a surcharge for accommodation - please check with us upon booking for any festival dates and applicable surcharges. 
        • Low season dates: January, February, June, July, August and December.
        • High season dates: March, April, May, September, October, November. 
        • Minimum group size is 2. 
        • Maximum group size is 10. Please contact us if your group is larger than 10 as we can arrange a suitable vehicle. 
        • If you are travelling in a group of 2 or more people and would like a room of your own, please contact us for the single room supplement prices. 
        • If you would like to arrive before the start of the tour or leave later and require extra nights’ accommodation, please contact us and we can arrange it for you at very reasonable rates.
        • If you have any other special requests including having a quote for a private tour please let us know as we can make arrangements.

          Inclusions:

          • 5 nights' twin share accommodation in hotels as listed in the itinerary.
          • Meals as specified in the itinerary. Daily breakfast and dinner at respective hotels and daily lunch at local tourist class restaurants.
          • Applicable hotel taxes & service charges calculated at 20%, subject to change.
          • All inland travel permits.
          • Royal Government of Bhutan royalties and taxes.
          • Inland transfers in private vehicle.
          • Local sightseeing with entrance fees wherever applicable.
          • Services of an English speaking local guide from arrival until departure.
          • Bhutan Visa Fee of US$ 40. 

            Exclusions:

            • International airfares to and from Australia.
            • Travel & Medical insurance coverage.
            • Drinks for all meals.
            • Tips and gratuities.
            • Personal expenses such as telephone, laundry etc.
            • Others not indicated in the inclusions.
            • Festival period surcharge if travel dates fall on the festival dates (+/-4 days).

              General Terms & Conditions:

              • Your contract with Travelbay commences upon us providing you with a booking confirmation (not upon payment).
              • By purchasing this tour you confirm that you have read, understood and agree to these terms and conditions.
              • All prices we list are in AUD unless otherwise stated and include GST where payable.
              • This package, including any unused portion, cannot be exchanged for other services or cash.
              • Some accommodation providers may require that you present a credit card or cash deposit upon check-in to cover any additional expenses that may be incurred during your stay, for example mini-bar. You are responsible for the payment of any such additional expenses.
              • Please check baggage allowance prior to travel. The allowance may vary according to the destination, airline, cruise or coach operator. You are responsible for any excess baggage fees.
              • Travelbay recommends travel insurance. We would be pleased to provide you with a quote and support you in your insurance needs. Please click here or contact us on 1800 020 020.
              • It is your responsibility to ensure you have a valid visa, if required. Please click here for more information on visa requirements.
              • Passport and visa regulations can change and it is your responsibility to ensure that you possess the relevant travel documents before you travel. Delays can be experienced in obtaining a passport or visa, so you are advised to apply in plenty of time. We accept no responsibility in any regard in relation to customers who are denied entry to a country because they do not possess the correct travel documents.
              • It is also your responsibility to ensure that you hold a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your date of return. If you hold multiple passports, you may be required to present your passport of residence on departing that country. If you hold a passport for a country to which you are travelling, you may be obliged to produce that passport on entering the country. Accordingly, you could be obliged to carry more than one passport when travelling overseas. You should make your own enquiries in relation to your specific circumstances and requirements.
              • It is your responsibility to ensure that all your details are recorded correctly. Any request for a name change after documents have been issued may incur amendment fees or result in the original booking being cancelled and in the case of airlines, the loss of a seat.
              • When purchasing flights, cruises and other carriage and travel services, the name on the passport must match the name on the ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid. If, after purchasing products or services but before traveling, any member of your party changes their name you must notify the relevant carrier, or us, immediately so that the necessary changes can be made to your documentation. You may incur a fee.
              • Travelbay recommends you check with your doctor as to any immunisations that you may require or that are recommended for your travels.  Alternatively, you can visit The Travel Doctor or Travelvax for more information. For those of you who have any medical conditions please also ensure you are fit to travel and have all the medication you need with you. Recommended inoculations for travel may change and you should consult your doctor for current recommendations before you depart. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all health entry requirements, obtain recommended inoculations, take all recommended medication, and follow all medical advice in relation to your trip.
              • Many but not all suppliers have facilities for people who require assistance. If you have any disabilities or require special assistance, please let us know at the time of booking so we can check if suitable services are available.
              • It is your responsibility to review travel prohibitions, warnings, announcements and advisories issued by the relevant government agencies prior to booking travel or departing to international destinations. For Australian travellers, information on conditions in various countries and the level of risk associated with travel to particular international destinations can be found on the Australian Government's travel advisory and consular assistance service website currently located at http://www.smarttraveller.gov.au. For travellers from other countries we recommend you check the travel recommendations of your country.
              • By offering reservations for travel-related products or services in relation to particular international destinations, Travelbay does not represent or warrant that travel to such points is advisable or without risk, and Travelbay is not liable for damages or losses that may result from travel to such destinations.
              • Travelbay sells tours on behalf of other Suppliers/Tour Operators. We rely on the relevant third party suppliers. Travelbay and the airlines, hotels and other Suppliers providing Services made available on or through this Website are independent parties and are not related parties. To the fullest extent permitted by law, Travelbay is not liable for the acts, errors, omissions, representations, warranties, breaches or negligence of any such Suppliers or for any personal injuries, death, property damage, or other damages or expenses resulting therefrom.
              • Whilst we take great care to provide clear and accurate information, there may be occasions where there are inaccuracies or errors. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Travelbay does not guarantee the accuracy of, and disclaims liability for, any errors or other inaccuracies relating to the information, descriptions and activities displayed on this website and in our promotional material.
              • All accommodation and hotels are subject to change. If the stated hotel is not available a hotel of a similar standard and location will be booked.
              • Hotel ratings displayed on this Website and in our promotional material are intended only as general guidelines, and Travelbay does not guarantee the accuracy of the ratings. Hotel room images are representative only and the actual room occupied may vary in inclusions and décor.
              • In some circumstances, some specific products or services as contained on this website and promotional material may not be available due to circumstance beyond our control. In that situation, we will do our best to provide replacement products and / or services of a comparable nature and quality. Travelbay and our respective Suppliers make no guarantees about the availability of specific products and services.
              • Subject to relevant laws, if Travelbay merges, sells or otherwise changes control of our business or this Website, we reserve the right, without giving notice or seeking consent, to transfer or assign your Personal Information, content and rights that we have collected from you and any agreements we have made with you.
              • Travelbay reserves all intellectual property rights, including but not limited to, copyright in material and/or services provided by us.

              If you have any questions please email us 24/7 or call us Monday to Friday on 1800 020 020 to speak with one of our friendly team.

              For more dates please contact us

              9 October 2018*

              16 October 2018*

              23 October 2018*

              30 October 2018*

              6 November 2018*

              13 November 2018*

              20 November 2018*

              27 November 2018*

              4 December 2018

              11 December 2018

              18 December 2018

              25 December 2018

              * High season

              Customer Reviews

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              C
              C.W.
              We had a fantastic time.

              We had a fantastic time. Chimi our guide in Bhutan was a wonderful lady. The Tiger Nest Monastery was the highlight for me. It was a 12km trek and took 5 hours. Chimi made it look easy as she sometimes does it 2-3 times a week. We ended up jumping on a couple of horses heading back down the mountainfor the last 10 minutes to the 1/2 way point, to rest the old legs for the second half. Bhutan is certainly a hidden gem. I have been spreading the news about Travelbay and hope more people will venture to Bhutan.
              Thank you Nikki, Nicola and Fiona for putting this trip of a lifetime together - its been on my list for some time now.