Bhutan Travel | Bhutan Individual Tour | Pyala Travel - Travel Program

Two week Private Bhutan Tour which can be completely customized upon your wishes at Pyala Travel.

Grand Bhutan Tour

private tour

Complete 14-day tour from the west to east of Bhutan

The most complete route through Bhutan runs from the west to the little-visited east. The journey starts in Paro, where you arrive by plane and have a spectacular view. You continue to Bumthang and all the way to the dzongs of Mongar and Trashigang.

from 2695,-
14 days

Grand Bhutan Tour
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Day 1 arrival Paro
Today you arrive in Paro via international flight, by flight from Delhi, Kolkata or Kathmandu, or overland from Phuentsholing on the border with the India. Bhutan has traditionally been a closed and isolated country. The mountains form a natural border with its neighbors, and the country had long been inaccessible to tourists. King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, Bhutan’s 4th king who ruled from 1972-2006, slowly opened the country to the outside world and allowed the first tourists to enter. He is best known for his remarkable philosophy on the development of the country which looks at Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product. In March 2008, he abdicated the throne to his eldest son Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, an event that coincided with the first democratic elections in the country. The king is still formally head of state but can now be removed by parliament. The young king, like his father, is very popular with the locals. His portrait hangs prominently in nearly all the houses and shops, and many Bhutanese proudly wear a button with his picture.
Day 2 Paro / visit Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Paro is a small provincial town, situated in the beautiful Paro Valley. Walking through the streets will immediately give you and impression of traditional Bhutan, like the distinctive construction of the houses, the traditional attire of the population (the gho for men and kira for women), and the many red peppers drying in bunches hanging from the window frames. The pepper is a common ingredient in the very spicy Bhutanese cuisine, like the national dish: chili pepper with cheese. On the outskirts of Paro is the imposing Paro Dzong, a square building that you enter via a drawbridge. It was the setting for the famous Bernardo Bertolucci film “Little Buddha.”You can see typical Bhutanese dzongs in many places throughout your trip. A dzong is a fortified settlement that houses both spiritual and worldly powers, a kind of abbey and local government combined. When entering the dzong, Bhutanese men have to wear traditional clothing and leather shoes, as well as a traditional scarf that displays their civil or official rank. Although nowadays tourists are able to enter most dzongs, there are always areas that are closed to the public. Fortunately, there is much you can admire from the courtyards. Tourists do not have to adhere to a dress code, but of course you should be dressed decently. Just above the dzong is the National Museum, housed in the old watchtower (ta dzong). It is an interesting museum that gives a nice overview of the history and daily life in Bhutan. Not far from Paro is Taktshang Goemba, or Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Due to its spectacular location perched on a steep rock face, this is by far the most famous monastery of Bhutan. It is a beautiful but strenuous hike to reach the monastery, as the trail is almost entirely uphill. After about an hour you reach the first lookout point at the teahouse. Here you can have a drink while enjoying the view of the convent across the street. There is also the option of going as far as the teahouse on horseback, but this needs to be discussed well in advance with your guide. From the teahouse you can continue the hike to visit the monastery itself. The path eventually leads to a set of stairs carved into the mountain surrounded by fluttering prayer flags. When entering the monastery, you must give up your purse and camera because photography is not allowed inside. You should also be respectfully dressed, which means no bare arms or legs, and preferably nothing tight-fitting. Make sure you keep some change ready, so you can make a small donation in the temples, just like the locals. You can visit various rooms in the monastery, including the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated for three months. During a fire in 1998 large parts of the monastery were destroyed, but the cave remained miraculously undamaged. The monastery has since been completely rebuilt.
Day 3 Paro - Thimpu via Haa valley
From Paro it takes a couple of hours to drive to Haa, a gorgeous valley on the border with Tibet. It is a beautiful drive via the highest pass in Bhutan, the Cheli La (3988 m), which is always dotted with prayer flags. From here you have a stunning view of the snow-capped mountains with the imposing peak of Jhomolhari (7314 m), the highest point of the range.This valley has only recently been opened to tourists and isn’t widely visited. In the valley you will visit the village and the local dzong. Your journey then continues on to the capital of Bhutan, Thimpu. Although Thimpu is now a real city-it is the only place in Bhutan with traffic-it still has the feel of a small village. During your stay in Thimpu, you will get a chance to attend an archery competition. Archery is the national sport in Bhutan and competitions are always well-attended. You can also visit one of the many monasteries or the National Peace Chorten (a Buddhist shrine). It's also nice to walk around the city and visit some of the many shops, or just sit on a bench in a square and watch the comings and goings of day-to-day life. Of course, you can also visit the impressive Dzong Thimpu where you will find the rooms of the king, whose palace is situated diagonally opposite the dzong. The security for visiting the Dzong Thimpu is therefore much stricter than elsewhere in the country.
Day 4 Thimpu / hike Tango and Cheri Monastery
Today you can take a walk to the monasteries of Cheri and Tango. You begin with a short car ride to where the road splits into two routes, one leading to each monastery. From this point you can continue on foot. Both monasteries are about an hours’ walk (two hours there and back). The Tango monastery was built by the 'Divine Madman' (see the description of Punakha), and the Cheri monastery is in a beautifully rustic area. At the end of the day you can visit the small zoo, located on the outskirts of the city. The zoo is dedicated to the national animal of Bhutan, the takin, which is a unique creature that is a deer-like variant of the wildebeest. If you are in Thimpu over the weekend, you can also visit the lively weekend market.
Day 5 Thimpu - Punakha via Wangdue
From the Thimpu Valley you begin the ascent to the Dochu La Pass (3140 m), which is not only dotted with stupas and prayer flags, but also has stunning views of the Himalayas. On the way to Punakha you will pass the Chimi Lhakhang Monastery built by the “Divine Madman,” a legendary figure from Bhutanese history. He was convinced that a life of debauchery and pleasure was the way to reach nirvana. All over the country you will see phallic symbols painted on the walls and doors of houses, a reminder of the wild love life of this popular saint of Bhutan. The walk to the monastery is about half an hour from the road. From here it is 4 hours to Punakha where the dzong is immediately visible. It is one of the most picturesque and important dzongs in the country, beautifully situated at the confluence of two rivers. Because Punakha is at a much lower elevation than Thimpu it is usually much warmer. For centuries it also served as a winter residence for the royal family, and the Punakha Dzong continues to be the where the religious center of Thimpu moves in the winter. With a little luck you can go inside to admire the prayer hall. Not all areas are always open to the public, but there is always plenty to see.
Day 6 Wangdue - Trongsa via Phobjika and Gangtey
It is about five hours’ drive from Punakha to Trongsa. You will cross the Pele La Pass (3420 m) which offers you a nice view of the Black Mountains and is usually dotted with yaks. From the Pele La Pass you have the option of taking a detour to the Phobjika Valley, a beautiful, large valley famous for the rare black-necked cranes that live there in winter (mid-October to April). You can visit the crane center and get a close-up view with their high-powered telescopes. Make sure to also stop in the village of Gangtey and see the small monastery there. The restoration of this monastery was largely funded by American Buddhists. After an hour you will drive by the chorten of Chendebji, a Nepalese Buddhist monument which is strongly reminiscent of the Swayambunath Stupa in Kathmandu. A little further along the road you will be able to see Trongsa, but it takes a while before you're actually there because the road winds along the treacherous mountainsides. The Trongsa Dzong is the largest in the country and is beautifully situated high up on the mountain. Everywhere you look from here you have a beautiful view. The dzong is an active administrative and religious center and is therefore not always open to the public, but it is impressive to see from the outside, and you are able to visit the watchtower beside the dzong.
Day 7 Trongsa – Bumthang
Immediately after Trongsa the ascent to the Yotong La Pass (3425 m) begins, which is an hour uphill. From there it's two hours’ drive to the Bumthang Valley where you will stay in the village of Ugencholing. Bumthang is a collective name for the four valleys in central Bhutan: Chökhor, Tang, Ura and Chumey. The main attractions are found in Chökhor, so often when people say Bumthang they are talking about Chökhor.
Day 8 Bumthang
Today you can go hiking through the valley and visit some monasteries. Of course, private transportation to the monasteries is also available for those who prefer not to walk. You will first visit the Kurjey Lhakhang, an impressive monastery consisting of three temples. In one of the temples is a sacred cave where the patron saint of Tibet, Guru Rinpoche, meditated after he defeated the demons and brought Tibetan Buddhism to Bhutan. A walk of about two hours takes you back to Jakar via several more monasteries, the Tamshing Goemba and Konchogsum Lhakhang. You can also walk around the town and visit the local dzong in Jakar where you have a beautiful view over the valley. You will spend the night in Jakar.
Day 9 Bumthang - Mongar via Ura
After staying in the Bumthang Valley it’s time for a long travel day of about 9 hours to the east of Bhutan. You depart for the town of Mongar, crossing over several small passes. Along the way, you can stretch your legs in Ura, one of the prettiest villages in Bhutan. The landscape gradually becomes greener and more tropical and the mountains increasingly striking. The road winds along steep cliffs, and occasionally you even drive straight through a waterfall flowing over the road. You come slowly into warmer lowlands where you shouldn’t be surprised to see monkeys scampering off into the bushes! Throughout the day it is nice to get out of the car and walk along paths where you will come upon families are working in the fields and children waving cheerfully and tirelessly to every passerby. The east of the country is less frequently visited by tourists and the facilities here are more basic. There are few choices of accommodation available and it is easier to stay in hotels.
Day 10 Mongar / daywalk
Mongar has a dzong which you can visit, as well as enough to keep you entertained for the day, but you can also choose to take a walk to other villages in the area. This way, you can get closer to the Bhutanese people and nature. Discuss the walks with the guide and see what is possible depending on the season, weather and your own physical condition. Possible hikes include: - Shami Gompa- Pongchula Circuit: First 15 minutes by car followed by a 3-5 hour walk where you can visit small temples along the way. You will be brought lunch. - Chali village (270 households): 30 minutes by bus or an hour and a half walking. If you walk you can visit Dechencholing Lhakhang built in the 14th century by Rangjung Dorje, the 3rd Karmapa Lama. It is half an hour to the palace and then another hour to Chali. - Wengkhar Lakhang: by car, 30 minutes’ drive from Mongar. - Korila Nature walk: 30 minutes by car to the starting point. The hike is about 6 km downhill. It takes 3 hours and then you will have time to enjoy the many birds, wild orchids and other beautiful flowers (depending on the season).
Day 11 Mongar - Trashigang
From Mongar you drive four hours to Trashigang, one of the nicest places in Bhutan. Like Mongar, Trashigang is built on a steep mountainside. The neighborhoods are connected to each other by means of narrow stairways. Trashigang also has a dzong, not nearly as large and imposing as you see in the west of Bhutan, but it is a pleasant town with many small shops and a few tea houses.
Day 12 Trashigang / optional visit Tashi Yangzi
Today you have several options. You could stay in Trashigang, or take a trip to Tashi Yangzi, a village about two hours away. The drive there is beautiful. In Tashi Yangzi you can walk a kora (clockwise) to the imposing Chorten Kora. There is also an art school that you can visit where students are happy to show their work. On the way back you will pass the nearly-deserted market town Duksum (we've been told that there was a flood and it has since become a near ghost town) on your way to Gom Kora. Gom Kora is a small monastery with a bright yellow roof that is perched on a cliff overlooking a river that thunders past far below. In this temple, you can see beautiful old frescoes and experience dynamic worship services. The central figure of this temple is Guru Rinpoche who meditated so long that he left an imprint on the immense boulder just behind the main temple. You can also try lifting the perfectly egg-shaped stone garuda. We did not succeed…will you? If you prefer a shorter drive you can also go to the village Rangjung. This is half an hours’ drive from Mongar. Rangjung is close to Phongmey, the starting place for the recently-opened Merak Sakten trail. On this hike you can look for the residential communities of the semi-nomadic Drokpa people. They live in the far east of Bhutan which is rarely visited by foreigners. The Drokpa have their own language and culture and wear traditional yak hair clothing and special felt caps. In summer, they come down to Mongar to trade. You have the opportunity to explore the Rangiung area by taking a walk to the village Tzangkhar, for example, or by visiting the Bhutanese Peldon family. The wife of this family is a well-known weaver. She weaves with rough silk which they spin themselves from silk cocoons and color with natural dyes. She has a number of weavers who live here with their entire family.
Day 13 Trashigang - Samdrup Jongkhar
Today is a long travel day, but it is another wonderful trip to the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar. The road winds for hours along hundred-meter-deep ravines which are sometimes completely obscured by the clouds. To the left and right you will see small villages in the mountains, often only accessible by foot. It is sometimes incomprehensible how the houses were ever built on these steep mountainsides! After the Yongphu La Pass (2200 m) you continue down to the village of Khaling, situated in a beautiful little valley. Usually you arrive in Khaling just before lunch and you can have picnic in a field with beautiful valley views. With enough time you can visit the school for the blind, the only one in the country, or take a look at the Khaling Textile Weaving Centre, where women from eastern Bhutan come to learn weaving. The last part of the road winds down farther, and on a clear day you can glimpse of the plains of Assam in India. Once out of the mountains and into the valley, you are on the border; the mountains are now behind you and the scenery is flat. Samdrup Jongkhar is a typical border town with all the usual hustle and bustle. You can imagine you are already in India; the streets are full of Indian traders and shops with typical Indian products.
Day 14 departure Samdrup Jongkhar
Today you cross the border into India and are brought to the Gauwahati Airport, about 4 hours away. From here you can continue to travel at your leisure; you can take a domestic flight back to Delhi or Kolkata and from there take an international (night) flight home, or you can travel to another place in India

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Hi, I am Tshering Yangchen, your local travel agent.
Discover bhutan with me!

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Hi, I am Tshering Yangchen, your local travel agent.
Discover bhutan with me!

find out more