Himalayan Mountains & Monastery Tour
Experience the last Shangri La through this journey into one of the last remaining great Himalayan kingdoms. Experience the magnificent mountain scenery, incredible architecture and colourful culture.
What To Expect
7 days / 6 nights
One of the last unspoilt destinations in the world, with only 50 000 visitors annually, the Kingdom of Bhutan has a very rich culture and tradition, which its citizens are very proud of and treasure. With 90% of the country under forest cover, Bhutan also boasts amazing natural scenery and spectacular Himalayan views.
Day 1: Himalaya
Today you will board an early morning flight frpm New Delhi Airport to Paro in Bhutan. The flight takes you close to the great Himalaya Mountains, offering dazzling views of some of world’s highest glacial peaks. As you descend into the Paro valley you will pass forested hills, with the slivery Pa Chu (Paro River) meandering through the valley below and the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower) situated on a hill above the town.
As you exit the Paro Airport terminal you will be met by your guide and chauffeured to your hotel in Thimphu (1-hour drive). En route, stop to visit the Tamchogg Lakhang temple, crossing the river on an ancient iron bridge that was reconstructed from original chain links used by the famous Tibetan bridge builder Thangtong Gyelpo.
On arrival in Thimphu you will be driven directly to Zorig Chusum, the institute for the thirteen arts and crafts of Bhutan. Here you will be introduced to the uniqueness of Bhutanese traditional paintings, including their formation, scaling (measurements) and the material used.
Afterwards, you will be driven to your hotel for check-in, lunch and the opportunity for a short rest. Later in the afternoon, you will meet your guide at the hotel’s lobby for your next adventure! You will be taken to visit Trashicchoe Dzong, Bhutan's administrative and religious centre. It houses the throne room of the King of Bhutan, the government ministries, the nation’s largest monastery and headquarters of His Holiness, the Je Khenpo (the chief abbot) and the central monk body.
You will also have the opportunity to visit the weekly market, where vendors from throughout the region arrive with their produce. Superb local produce arrives from surrounding orchards as well as from the southern region, where most of the country’s vegetables are grown. The market is a wonderfully vibrant and colourful destination to visit.
Spend two nights at the lovely Amankora Thimphu. Your accommodation will be in a suite with charming ensuite facilities. Your stay is on a full board basis.
Day 2: Thimphu
Begin the day’s adventures on a sightseeing excursion to Buddha Dordenma, a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue set on a mountaintop on the outskirts of Thimphu. The statue is filled with over 100 000 smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself, is made of bronze and gilded in gold. At a height of 51.5 meters, the Buddha Dordenma is one of the tallest Buddha statues on the world.
Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to visit a privately run weaving centre in the heart of Thimphu. The centre produces intricately hand-woven textiles on site and has a selection of beautiful cloth and ready-made garments for sale. This is one of the few places where you can watch weavers at work. Textile manufacture in Bhutan is more of an artform than an industry. Fabric and weaving are inseparable from Bhutan's rich cultural design. The colours, textures and weaves have evolved over many centuries. Weavers are mostly found in the far eastern part of the country. Traditional techniques are followed in the processes of both weaving and dying.
As you head back to your hotel you will also have the opportunity to visit the National Memorial Chorten. This landmark of Thimphu was built in 1974 in memory of Bhutan's third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. The memorial contains statues and iconography of deities, including complex tantric teachings, and serves as an important place of worship for Thimphu residents. This is a beautiful photographic landmark, so be sure to keep your camera ready.
Other places of interest that are worth visiting include:
• The Jungshi paper factory, where handcrafted paper is manufactured from the bark of daphne trees
• The Takin Preserve is a sanctuary for the captive breeding of the takin, Bhutan’s national animal and an endangered species found at higher altitudes in the country
Day 3: Trashigang Goempa
After a wholesome breakfast, you will stop off at the private chapel of Zangtogpelri Lhakhang before leaving for Punakha, the old winter capital of Bhutan.
You will stop en route to visit Trashigang Goempa and take a one-hour hike to experience this exceptional temple.
After your sightseeing, continue your journey through the Dochula Pass. On a clear day the whole range of the eastern side of the Himalayas can be seen from here. Dochula is marked by a colourful array of prayer flags and the 108 chortens (stupas) called Druk Wangyal Chorten, which were built in honour of victory in the war fought in the southern region of Bhutan in 2003.
You will then descend into the Punakha Valley, where you will arrive for check-in at your hotel. Spend two nights at the lovely Amankora Punakha. Your stay is on full board basis.
Day 4: Punakha
Punakha is an absolutely incredible place, surrounded by valleys and terraced fields set into the slope of mountains on both sides, with a river flowing through the valley. Today you will have the opportunity to visit the glorious Punakha Dzong, also known as the Palace of Great Bliss.
After your excursion you can enjoy a scrumptious lunch before being driven to Khamsung Yuely Namgyel Temple. Be sure to have your sturdy hiking boots on, as it’s a 30-minute hike from the car park up to the Temple. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten stands out on a beautiful ridge above the Punakha valley. It took nine years to build and holy scriptures, rather than engineering manuals, were consulted to construct this four-storey temple. It is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture and artistic traditions.
Afterwards, hike back to your hotel, passing through charming villages along the way as you follow the Mo chu River(approximate 60-90 minute hike).
Day 5:Chimi Lakhang
After an early breakfast, you will be driven to Paro, stopping en route to visit the Chimi Lakhang temple, walking through green terraced fields and rice paddies filled withfarmers and livestock along the way. The temple was built in 1499 and is located on a hill set in the centre of a valley. It is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley, who lived in the late 15th century and used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatize his teachings, leading to his nickname of The Divine Madman.
Your onward journey will take you to the Haa valley via the Chelela Pass. This is the highest road pass in Bhutan and snakes through blue pine and rhododendron forests for 35 km (22 miles). On a very clear day the views of the world's second highest peak Mount Jhomolhari (7 314 metres or 24 000 feet) are spectacular. In the Haa Valley, you will be driven to the lovely village of Katsho. Here you will hike for an hour to the Juneydrak hermitage. Afterwards, enjoy a delicious picnic by the Haa River.
After lunch, you will have the opportunity to visit the area’s ancient temple, which is known as the White Temple and was built in the 7th century by Songsen Gempo. After your visit you will enjoy a short stop at the Wangchulo Dzong.
You will then be driven to Paro, where you will check into the Amankora Paro. Spend two nights in a suite on a full board basis.
- Enjoy a soothing hot stone bath, followed by dinner in a private farm house
- Experience an evening with a Rimpoche (Bhutanese monk) discussing philosophy of Buddhism
Day 6: Taktsang Monastery
After a wholesome breakfast, you will embark on an unforgettable hike to the renowned Taktsang Monastery (the Tiger’s Nest). For people unaccustomed to the altitude it takes about three hours at an average walking speed. En route up the mountain you will have the opportunity to stop at a teahouse for refreshments whilst you enjoy the iconic view of the monastery. The path may appear somewhat hair-raising at times, but it is well groomed and worth the journey. One of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Monastery defies logic, gravity and reason. Taktsang Monastery is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world and it contains 13 holy places. Known as the Tiger’s Lair, Taktsang gets its name from the story of its birth. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche came to Taktsang in a miraculous manner, flying on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong in the region of Kurteop. According to Bhutanese legend, the tigress was a form taken by one of the Master’s consorts for the occasion.
After this unforgettable sightseeing adventure you will make your way down the mountain, which takes about an hour and a half. Enjoy a delicious lunch at your hotel and spend the rest of your day at your leisure.
Day 7: Departure
Today we wave a fond farewell as you are leave for Paro Airport, where you will board your flight back home.
- WildlifeThe national animal of Bhutan, the takin and Himalayan birdlife
- Travelling with ChildrenNot suitable for young children, as this an active holiday
- &Beyonds TreatNot applicable
- Don't Leave withoutGetting a private blessing from the monks at the Punakha Dzong or having your own personal postage stamp created with your image on it at the Thimphu Post Office.
Where to Stay
Learn more about the luxurious &Beyond properties available for your trip.
Nestled among glistening conifers, Amankora Paro contrasts rustic charm and contemporary design, featuring rammed-earth walls and wood panels
Set in a blue-pine forest close to the capital of Thimphu, Amankora Thimphu consists of tall, whitewashed stone buildings
Rates & Terms
- Accommodation on DOUBLE / TWIN OCCUPANCY in the hotels specified.
- All transport as mentioned in a private vehicle
- Sightseeing excursions will be provided as per the itinerary with an English-speaking Bhutanese guide and using a private vehicle
- All entrance and monument fees
- Visa fees for Bhutan only
- All current taxes, subject to change as per hotel / airline / government policy
- Airfares as mentioned in the quote above
- Full board in the Amankora hotels include all meals, soft beverages, house wines, tea / coffee, laundry only
- Hotel check-in is at 14h00 and check-out time is at noon
- Prices are subject to change without prior notice, as per changes in government / hotel / airline policy
- Rates include only those items specified in your itinerary.
- Please note that the hotels mentioned in the itinerary are only indicative and accommodation at these hotels is no guarenteeed until and we forward you confirmation. Iin the event of any of the abovementioned hotels not becoming available at the time of your reservation, we shall book alternative accommodation at a similar or next best available hotel and shall pass on the difference of rates (supplement / reduction as applicable) to you.
- In the case of any currency fluctuations or amendments in local government taxes or any fuel hikes, we reserve the right to adjust the tour price accordingly. The due increase or decrease will be communicated accordingly.
- We will need the passport copies or exact names of guests as they appear in their passports in order to issue air tickets on Druk Air flights in or out of Bhutan. If passport copies are provided too late, we will be unable to make reservations as expected.
We have many activities to keep you busy during your stay. See our destination pages for more information.
Enhance Your Experience With
A visit to:
- Drukyel Dzong
- Kyichu Lhakhang
- National Museum of Bhutan
- Rinpung Dzong
Ready to start planning your adventure?
Contrast the hustle and bustle of India's capital, Delhi, with the tranquil mountain setting and breathtaking natural vistas of neighbouring Bhutan.