bhutan chorten himalaya

Chorten , Bhutan

Prayer flags wave beside a chorten at Ugen Guru Monastery, near Paro. Our Bhutan Private Journey explores this mystical Buddhist kingdom and its deeply traditional culture on day hikes and village visits.

Photo by Thinley Namgyel

display information about this photo
Bhutan Private Journey route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $3395  
Length: 8 days
Arrive: Paro, Bhutan
Depart: Paro, Bhutan
Lodging: 7 nights in lodges
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Moderate to steep trails, 3 hours a day, altitudes averaging 7,000-10,000 feet
2p

Highlights

  • Experience a mystical Himalayan kingdom
  • Magical Taktsang, Bhutan’s legendary cliff-perched monastery
  • Meet Bhutanese villagers, explore colorful markets


One of the best trips we have done. It was such an amazing experience to see so few other tourists, particularly while we were in the Haa Valley.Wesley and Yvette P.—Carbondale, CO

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

In the serene, secluded Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, spirituality permeates every aspect of daily life, traditional festivals are living manifestations of a national faith, and the king decrees “Gross National Happiness” as the standard by which to measure the country’s wealth. On this lodge-based Private Journey with your own private guide, hike to tiny villages of whitewashed homes, through magical forests, and up to mountainside chortens (shrines) bedecked with colorful prayer flags. Along the way from Thimphu, the capital, to the beautiful Paro, Punakha, and Haa valleys, meet villagers, farmers, and red-robed monks, explore colorful markets, and marvel at the Shangri La setting of sublime fortress-monasteries reigning over wooded valleys. After your Bhutan journey, enjoy a four-day optional extension to visit Cambodia’s magnificent Angkor Wat, one of the archaeological wonders of the world.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Thimphu Valley

Bhutan possesses a vibrant traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture and a stunning Himalayan setting. Spirituality permeates every aspect of daily life, time-honored festivals are living manifestations of a national faith, and the king decrees “Gross National Happiness” as the standard by which to measure the country’s wealth. In this magical and mountainous land of demons and deities, explore the serene retreat of Tango Monastery, with views of the valley and a beautiful inner courtyard, and enjoy an afternoon hike through riverside villages of traditional architecture, with a picnic lunch. Overnights in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu (7,600’).

Days 3-5
Punakha Valley / Chimi Lhakhang / Paro

A spectacular road journey across the Dochu La Pass, with its summit shrines festooned with prayer flags, brings you to the subtropical Punakha Valley. Hike forested riverside trails to Lobsakha village and to the Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten, walk across rice fields to the fascinating Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Bhutan’s renegade saint, Lama Drupka Kinley, a nd explore the magnificent Punakha Dzong, 17th century seat of Bhutan’s kings, set at the confluence of two rushing rivers. Om Day 5, visit the Chimi Lhakhang temple then head to Paro.

Days 6-8
Paro and Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest

In Paro, explore the National Museum, whose collection includes ancient artifacts, weapons, and Bhutan’s beautiful stamps, and the 15th century Paro Dzong. For a grand finale, hike up through forests to the striking monastic retreat of Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Nest,” built in the 17th century into a sheer cliff face about 2,700 feet above the Paro Valley. Taktsang is the most famous temple in Bhutan, with one of the most spectacular settings in the world. Depart on Day 8.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 2+. Accommodations in Bhutan are somewhat rustic but very charming. As tourism is still relatively new to Bhutan, the dining is typically buffet-style at the lodges. The hikes are moderate and suitable for people in good shape who enjoy mountain hiking. The longest hike is about three hours. Although you carry only a daypack, there are some steep ascents and descents, and the hikes are at moderate altitude, which can make them feel strenuous. Although Bhutan is a Himalayan country, it is on the same latitude as Florida so it can get very hot in the sun. For your own enjoyment, we recommend that you make a special effort to be in good physical condition for the journey. Please note that travel times vary depending upon local conditions, and the itinerary may change while you are in Bhutan due to government regulations and local climate conditions.

Hotel Accommodations and Meals
Accommodations in Bhutan are somewhat rustic but very charming. For this journey, we’ve chosen some of the country’s most well situated lodges (more guesthouses than Western-style hotels). Most rooms are twin-bedded. Meals are included as noted in the detailed itinerary. Generally, you will eat breakfast on your own at the hotel or lodge before meeting your guide for the day's activities. Your guides may join you for some lunches and dinners, depending on the schedule and your preference. Please be aware that most guesthouses in Bhutan provide simple buffets at lunch and dinner. The cuisine in Bhutan is generally based on basic rice with stir-fry and stew options. If you have any dietary restrictions, be sure to advise us on your application form.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

When to go

Late September to mid-May

For our Private Journey trips, you choose your own group and your preferred dates—there are no set departure dates. Private Journeys are available to groups as few as two people or as large as you like. Contact us for availability, questions, or to book your adventure!

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015

8-day Itinerary

$3395 per person, double occupancy
Single supplement: $395
Internal airfare: $995 (subject to change)

10-day Itinerary

$3995 per person, double occupancy
Single supplement: $470
Internal airfare: $995 (subject to change)

Bhutan Visa Fee (WT acquires visa for you): $40
Uma Paro Resort Upgrade from: $595 per room, per night (double occupancy)
Uma Punakha Resort Upgrade from: $715 per room, per night (double occupancy)
Zhiwa-Ling Hotel Upgrade from: $400 per room, per night (double occupancy)
Taj Tashi Hotel Upgrade from: $580 per room, per night (double occupancy)
Hotel Druk Upgrade from: $215 per room, per night (double occupancy)


Prices are not guaranteed until services are confirmed.
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Temples of Angkor Extension
   from: $850
Bangkok Extension
   from: $645
Phuket Extension
   from: $795
Chiang Mai Extension
   from: $490
Burma Extension
   from: $2595
Laos: Luang Prabang Extension
   from: $860

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Accommodations
  • All meals included
  • Services of a local guide and driver
  • Hikes and excursions as noted in the Full Trip Brochure with English-speaking guide
  • Mineral water during all meals and also during transfers
  • Transport by private car or mini-bus
  • Entry fees for activities as described
  • Airport transfers as noted in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, lunches and dinner at upgraded hotels, alcoholic or soft drinks, any activities described as optional, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities for guide, driver, restaurant services, porterage and baggage handling, room service; optional sightseeing staff; additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

More than 90 days prior to departure: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Internal Airfare Payment, Change, and Cancellation Fee Schedule: Payment for Internal Air will be collected from each trip member approximately three to six months (or even more) prior to departure, depending on flight availability and seasonal ticketing deadlines. Once issued, internal air tickets are subject to a $100 per person fee for any changes or cancellation until 60 days prior to the trip. Within 60 days of the trip, all tickets are non-refundable. The name on your tickets must match your passport exactly, and any name changes are subject to these same fees. We therefore request that you send us a scanned copy of your passport photo page immediately upon reserving your trip. Internal Air payments and cancellation fees are in addition to Trip Cost payments and cancellation fees as noted above.

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Hotels in Thimphu

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Thimphu, Bhutan

In Thimphu we stay at one of the following properties based on availability and choice of accommodation:

Hotels in the Punakha Valley

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Punakha Valley, Bhutan

In Punakha we stay at one of the following properties based on availability and choice of accommodation:

Hotels in Paro

Days 5 to 7 (3 nights), Paro, Bhutan

In Paro we stay at one of the following properties based on availability and choice of accommodation:

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Burma

Burma Extension

Yangon and Bagan

Cultural Adventures
6 days  -  Level 2

Cambodia

angkor wat cambodia temples

Temples of Angkor Extension

Exploring the Glories of a Bygone Khmer Civilization

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 2

Laos

Laos: Luang Prabang Extension

Gilded Temples and Traditional Buddhist Culture of Laos

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 2

Myanmar

Burma Extension

Yangon and Bagan

Cultural Adventures
6 days  -  Level 2

Thailand

wat arun bangkok thailand

Bangkok Extension

Discover the Beautiful Cultural Monuments of Bangkok

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1

Chiang Mai Extension

Explore the Wonders of Northern Thailand

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Phuket Extension

Explore a Jewel Set in the Andaman Sea

Cultural Adventures, Sea Kayaking
4 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

One of the best trips we have done. It was such an amazing experience to see so few other tourists, particularly while we were in the Haa Valley. Wesley and Yvette P., Carbondale, CO Bhutan was a wonderful experience, and our guide was one of the best we’ve had. Robert V., Virginia Beach, VA It was the experience of a lifetime. David and Kersten S., Idaho Springs, CO
Trip of a lifetime! The leaders and camp staff were all excellent. The country, the people, the vibe and spirituality were like nothing I’ve ever experienced. All of my friends know this already and many want to go! Mikke P., Malibu, CA