Let's be honest, if you want to see all of Bhutan, you'll need more than a week to take in all that zen-fullness! DAJ Expedition's 13-Day Culture and Nature Excursion Tour is ideal for those who want to meet locals and explore the outdoors.
Day 1: Arrival in Paro Intl Airport
Highlights: Arrive in Paro. Get picked up at airport by company representative. Explore the town in the evening. Spend night at hotel in Paro.
Day 2 : Explore Paro
Highlights: Visit Ta Dzong, a former watchtower that currently serves as the national museum, which houses ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts. Trek down and and visit Paro Rinpung Dzong, home to the district's monk body and civil administration offices, which also offers spectacular views of Paro valley. In the afternoon, visit the ruined fortress of Drukgyel Dzong, also known as the famous "Tiger's Nest." Then, stop by a traditional farm to gain insight and learn more about the lifestyle of locals. In the evening, visit one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom, Kyichu Lhakhang. Spend night at hotel in Paro.
Day 3: Paro to Thimphu
Highlights: Drive from Paro to Bhutan's capital city, Thimphu. Stop en route at Chuzom, and see firsthand where the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu rivers meet. Along the way to Thimphu, visit the first dzong built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Simtokha Dzong. In the afternoon, visit the National Memorial Chorten, dedicated to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the country's third king and considered the father of modern Bhutan. Later, visit the beautiful medieval fortress of Trashichhodzong, which houses the King's Throne Room, Central Monastic Body and Government Offices. Shop textiles goods at Handicrafts Emporium, and visit the Folk Heritage Museum, followed by a visit to a local market. Spend night at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 4: Thimphu - Punakha
Highlights: In the morning, visit the national library, painting school and traditional medicine institute. After lunch, drive to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. On the way, stop at Dochula pass (3,050 meters) for mesmerizing views of Bhutan. Check into hotel. In the evening, visit Punakha Dzong, a 17th century fortress, and later visit Khamsm Yulley Namgyal Chorten.
Day 5: Punakha - Wangduephodrang - Gangtey
Highlights: After breakfast, drive to Gangtey from Wangduephodrang. Visit the majestic Wangdue Dzong and a stop by an interesting local market afterwards. Take an evening stroll around Gangtey village and visit Gangtey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in this region. Spend night at camp/guest house.
Day 6: Gangtey - Trongsa
Highlights: In the morning, explore Phobjikha valley, famous for black-necked cranes. After lunch, drive through Pele la pass (3,300 meters) to Trongsa, followed by evening visit to a local market. Spend night at lodge in Trongsa.
Day 7: Trongsa - Bumthang
Highlights: In the morning, visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, and Ta Dzong, the historic watch tower built to defend the Dzong and surrounding region. After lunch, proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation. Eat dinner and spend night at lodge in Bumthang.
Day 8: Bumthang, a sacred destination
Highlights: Visit the Bumthang region, site of four distinct valleys & Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura & home to many prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries. Admire religious Buddhist paintings at Tamshing Lhakhang, followed by a visit to Jakar Dzong, administrative center of the valley. In the afternoon, visit the sacred site of Kurje Lhakhang. Afterwards, a stop by the ancient monastery of Jambay Lhakhang, constructed during the era when Buddhism was first introduced in the kingdom. In the evening, visit local shops. Spend night at lodge in Bumthang.
Day 9: Bumthang (Excursion to Ura valley)
Highlights: Drive across beautiful open expanses of countryside from Bumthang to Ura. Cross Ura la pass (3,600 meters) and catch magnificent views of Mount Gangkhar Puensum. Stop by a new temple dedicated to Guru Rinpoche, which houses many of his remarkable paintings. Spend night at lodge in Bumthang.
Day 10: Bumthang - Wangduephodrang
Highlights: In the morning, visit Bumthang market and drive back to Wangdue. Enjoy lunch at one of the most famous restaurants in Trongsa. Explore Wangdue in the evening, then visit shops, local markets and mingle with locals. Spend night at hotel in Wangduephodrang.
Day 11: Wangduephodrang - Paro
Highlights: Short morning excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, temple dedicated to 15th century Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Along the trail, pass rice fields and a tiny settlement called Pana, followed by a stop at Yoaka, before a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang. Afterwards, drive to Paro to spend the night.
Day 12: Paro (Excursion to Haa valley)
Highlights: Early morning drive to Haa along Chele-la pass (4,200 meters). Along the way, enjoy superb views of Mount Chomolhari and Mount Jichu Drakey, some the highest peaks in the country. Enjoy picnic lunch visit at the famous Monastery Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) followed by visit to Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). In the afternoon, drive back to Paro. Spend night at hotel in Paro.
Day 13: Departure from Paro
Highlights: Fly home.
The Tourism Council of Bhutan under Royal Government of Bhutan sets and mandates the daily tariff which every tour operator must follow. The fixed minimum tariff (price) for tourists visiting in a group of three or more people are as follows.
Peak season: (March, April, May Sept. Oct. and Nov) & USD$250 per person per night
Low season: (Jan, Feb, June, July, Aug. and Dec) - USD$200 per person per night
Surcharges: Individual tourist and groups less than three persons shall be subject to surcharges, in addition to the above-stated minimum daily tariff.
Single individual: USD$40 per night
Group of 2 persons: USD$30 per person per night
In addition to the above, travelers are also required to pay the following:
Bhutan Visa fee: USD$40 per person
This pricing is inclusive of following costs for a Standard Package:
- Standard hotel (2-3 star hotel) twin sharing accommodation, camping on treks
- Three meals a day at local restaurants, standard hotels and on treks
- All internal transportation & transfers, excluding domestic air travel
- Camping equipment, ponies & guides for treks (for hiking trips)
- A licensed English speaking guide
- Entrances fees to museums, monuments and cultural sites
- All internal taxes and charges (including the royalty fee)
However, the above doesn't apply for the Luxury Package which is based on 4 or 5 star hotel accommodation with extra services in addition to the Govt. fixed minimum tariff of USD$200 - USD$250 daily rate. We will be more than happy to provide you with details should you be interested in luxury packages. Also, travel insurance is NOT included with the tour package. If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance, please let us know. Otherwise you are expected to purchase from your home country.
As you can see, there are no other expenses to you once you pay the daily rate except your personal spendings such as shopping.
"We booked our Bhutan trip with DAJ Expeditions. They were very helpful from the beginning, and we had the feeling they really listened to us to and made good suggestions to the Itinerary. During the trip it did not feel like we were tourists that were being shown around, but like a vacation with friends. Very well organized. Great trip. Start to finish!"
- Felix Bonn, Germany
"DAJ Expeditions will be your best partner for your trip in Bhutan! The thing I really like with them is that what they does is not about "Tours" is about Journey...I used their services for my photography work. I was looking for a special place and a custom itinerary and where others failed they managed to do it. They perfectly understood my request by providing me good advice and by being flexible in any circumstances. Besides my work, I really enjoyed my time with Sonam, my guide and Younten, the true Himalayan driver. I really appreciated the availability of Namgyel and Sonam during all my stay. They are also really passionated about their country which is probably the key of their success."
Jerome Gence, CEO of A Loving Huge Family
"Visiting Bhutan was always a lifelong dream. However because I had to choose within the hundreds of the authorised travel agencies I did not know where to start. Contacting DAJ Expeditions was a blessing.
Namgyel and Sonam were not only very responsive, they carefully prepared an itinerary completely adapted to my wishes. Until the day before my departure they kept regularly updating me with important practical information.
Once in Bhutan I was extremely well taken care of. The hotels chosen by DAJ expeditions were sensational with spacious rooms and amazing views of the surrounding landscapes. Due to the spiritual nature of my trip, I was brought to many unspoilt sacred locations and had the rare chance to receive teachings about Buddhism at the Phajoding Monastery at 3,600m altitude and about the sacred mandala drawing at the retreat center of Venerable H.E. Gyeltshen Trulku Rinpoche.
During my entire trip I was impressed by Jamtsho's not only deep knowledge of the Bhutanese culture, history and spirituality but also his ability to convey any information in a pleasant and funny way. I was also constantly touched by Sonam's dedication, care, amazing sense of organisation and willingness to fulfill my every wish.
Because I was a solo female traveler and my family was worried and because I went to some places where there was no internet connection, DAJ Expeditions sent messages to my family with picture to reassure them.
This trip was definitely a life changing experience and I will be forever grateful to DAJ Expeditions for their professionalism, kindness and care. I have left Bhutan with unforgettable memories and great friends.
No need to say that if anyone would like to visit Bhutan, this should definitely be with DAJ Expeditions."
- Kana Enomoto, London