Classic Bhutan

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Best time to go: March to April, September to November

9 Nights | from £1,925pp

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Holiday type: Tailor-made

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit some of Bhutan’s finest dzongs, from regal Punakha to imposing Paro
  • Look out over the high Himalaya from the breathtaking Dochu La pass
  • Climb up to cliff-tumbling Tiger’s Nest monastery
  • Have a go at archery – Bhutan’s national sport
  • Delve into the remote Haa Valley, only recently opened to tourists

Day 1 Delhi / Paro / Thimpu
An early morning flight whisks you to the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Simply arriving is a thrill – the landing at Paro is a breathtaking squeeze between rippled peaks. In nearby capital Thimpu, you have the chance to stay at either the luxurious Taj Tashi or a local guesthouse.
Taj Tashi or local guesthouse | Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2 Thimphu
Teetering at an altitude of 2,350m, tiny Thimphu is couched in a steep-sided valley and hugged by mountains. This is the place to see real Bhutanese life: a slowly modernising city, still peopled by red-robed monks and dotted with Buddhist temples. Learn about the local culture at the Folk Heritage Museum, the Painting School and the lively weekend market.
Taj Tashi or guesthouse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Thimpu / Gangtey
It’s a dramatic drive east from Thimpu to Gangtey, along the river and into the mountains. En route lie Simtokha Dzong (one of Bhutan’s oldest dzongs), the ancient wall paintings of Hongtsho monastery and the jaw-dropping Dochu La pass, where 108 chortens stand before a 360-degree panorama of snowcapped mountains.
Gangtey Goenpa or local guesthouse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Gangtey

The Gangtey Valley is a revelation. Here the landscape spreads into a lush, open plain, tickled by rivers and loved by wildlife – every winter, rare black-necked cranes migrate here from Tibet. The area is perfect for nature walks and treks, or even mountain biking. A visit to the 16th-century monastery is highly recommended.
Gangtey Goenpa or local guesthouse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Gangtey / Punakha
Heading back west, delve into Punakha Valley, summer resi-dence of the Bhutanese Royal family. It’s easy to see why they chose it: this is an idyllic, temperate spot, where rice paddies and jacaranda trees flourish, and two mighty rivers converge.
Uma by COMO, Punakha or local guesthouse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Punakha
Dominating this scenic valley is Punakha Dzong, which looms over the confluence of the Mo Chu and Po Chu rivers. The seat of government until the 1950s, the whitewashed and ornately carved dzong is one of Bhutan’s finest. Pay a visit, before heading to Chimi Lakhang – a fertility temple daubed with the ‘flying phallus’ symbols of the Divine Madman (Bhutan’s most outrageous saint). Alternatively, explore Punakha in a more adventurous fashion: day-long treks, mountain biking and white-water rafting can be arranged.
Uma by COMO, Punakha or local guesthouse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Punakha / Paro

Next, head for pretty Paro, an enchanting riverside town and home to the National Museum, an imposing dzong and the intimate Uma Paro hotel. This is one of the country’s finest retreats, where every stylish villa sits in a glade of azaleas and camellias, with unbroken views of the forest and mountains. Settle in with a hot stone bath or perhaps try your hand at archery – Bhutan’s national sport.
Uma by COMO, Paro or local guesthouse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Paro
No trip to Bhutan is complete without making the hike up to Tiger’s Nest, the cliff-perched monastery that clings improbably to the sides of the Paro Valley. Climb up amid mossy forest and fluttering prayer flags to reach the sacred site.
Uma by COMO, Paro or local guesthouse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Paro
Despite being close to Paro, the pristine Haa Valley is one of the least-visited spots in the country, only recently opened to tourists. A day-trip here is special indeed: hike or bike amid its primeval forests and tiny temples for a taste of untouched Bhutan.
Uma by COMO, Paro or local guesthouse | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Paro / Delhi
Bid Bhutan farewell for your flight to Delhi.

Pricing
At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 10 day suggested holiday will cost from £1,925 per person, based on two sharing staying in guesthouses or from £5,139 staying in luxury hotels, excluding international flights.

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Meet the Orient & Indian Subcontinent Team

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Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Smith, Lynne and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget.

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Useful info

bhutan map

Best time to be there

Bhutan offers warm days and cool nights all year round. October and November are arguably the best months, when the monsoon has passed and the skies are clear for mountain photography. The spring months of March, April and May are best for the flora, but it can be stormy as the monsoon builds up for July-September.

Fly to

Paro - Flights available on Druk Air from Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Bangkok and Kathmandu

flying time

3 hours from Delhi

time difference

GMT +6 hours

Visas

Required for UK passport holders

Health Requirements

Yellow fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area

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