Bhutan Encounters

Bhutan Encounters

Bhutan Encounters

Trip Details:

Operator:   Encounters Travel
Price From: 2,379 CAD
Ideal Age Range: 19 to 30, 31 to 50, Over 51
Fitness Needs: Light Impact
Program duration: 8 days

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About this program

Discover all of the jewels of Bhutan on this exciting 8-day tour. This is your opportunity to explore one of the world’s most remote countries, and one that is truly fascinating. 

Designed to provide you with a balance of history and culture, you’ll also embark on walks throughout the countryside, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the jaw-dropping landscapes. Learn about the rich Bhutanese culture, Buddhist life, and enjoy delicious Bhutanese cuisine. 

You’ll begin your trip in Paro, where you’ll be promptly picked up by an Encounters staff member. Then, visit the Paro Dzong, where you’ll learn about these beautiful buildlings and how they’ve functioned for both civic and monastic purposes. Later, cross the Dochu La Pass, and enjoy the incredible views of the Himalayan Mountains. After, you’ll explore the Punakha and Probjikha Valleys. 

During the weekend, you’ll have a wonderful opportunity to visit the weekend market in Thimphu. This enormous market is a wonderful display of produce and crafts from all over Bhutan. 

Throughout this incredible experience, you’ll visit some of Bhutan’s “tsechus”. These important religious festivals are filled with masked dances, processions and more!



DAY 1: Arrive in Paro

Paro airport provides a first taste of Bhutanese architecture and is surely one of the world's most beautiful.

In the afternoon you visit Ta Dzong, originally a Watch Tower and now the National Museum.

Then walk down to Paro Dzong and learn how these spectacular buildings have combined the monastic and civic administration of Bhutan for centuries.

OVERNIGHT: Paro hotel

MEALS: Dinner

EXTRAS: Single room supplement (BHSGBE), Druk Air flights from Kathmandu, Druk Air flights from Delhi, Druk Air flights from Bangkok, Druk Air flights from Singapore, Extra day in Paro - pre-tour

DAY 2: Paro to Punakha Valley

Cross the 3,050m Dochu La Pass 3,050m today on steep winding roads through beautiful dense forests.

In the Punakha Valley, a short walk visits the Chimi Lhakhang Temple, built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley or 'The Divine Madman' and renowned for blessing barren women with fertility.

Keen birdwatchers can drive to the Che Le La Pass at sunrise in search of Blood Grouse and the Himalayan Monal.

OVERNIGHT: Punakha hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3 Punakha Dzong drive to Gangtey

Start your day with a morning walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten takes in river banks, mixed forest and terraced fields of chillies and vegetables.

Next you'll visit the spectacular Punakha Dzong, which lies between two rivers known as Phochu and Mochu which symbolise masculine and feminine co-existence. After lunch, drive on to Gangtey.

OVERNIGHT: Gangtey hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: Phobjikha Valley walk, Gangtey

You'll enjoy a nature walk today in the beautiful Phobjikha Valley, famous for the rare black-necked cranes that make it home between October and March after an arduous migration over the Himalayan mountains from the Tibetan plateau (the annual Crane festival in November is well worth a visit). You'll also visit the Gangtey Monastery.

OVERNIGHT: Gangtey hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: Drive to Thimphu via Wangdue Phodrang

Re-cross the Dochu La Pass to the capital Thimphu. En-route visit the ancient Dzong at Wangdue Phodrang, which is relatively un-restored and gives a real feel for how these buildings have run life in Bhutan over the centuries.

OVERNIGHT: Thimphu hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: Thimphu tours

Today's sightseeing in Thimphu includes the Memorial Chorten, Folk Heritage Museum, School of Arts & Crafts and the Takin research centre.

All tours aim to fit in with the huge weekend food and crafts market, which is a great place to pick up a souvenir of your time in Bhutan. A stop at the national stadium to view an archery tournament is also well worthwhile.

OVERNIGHT: Thimphu hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) walk

Start early for a 2-3 hours steep uphill walk to the iconic Taktshang monastery, perched on a sheer 800m rock face. Taktshang is probably Bhutan's most famous site and attracts pilgrims from all over Bhutan.

In the afternoon, visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong and the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang temple. In the evening you could enjoy a relaxing traditional hot stone bath to ease any tired limbs.

OVERNIGHT: Paro hotel

MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8 Paro, departure airport transfer

Your time is free until a transfer to the airport for departure.

MEALS: Breakfast

EXTRAS: Extra day in Paro - post-tour

Country Fast Facts


Official Language(s)Dzongkha
Population742,737 (2012 estimate)
Climate(s)Cold Semi-arid, Continental (Temperate/Humid/Cool/Subarctic), Subtropical (Humid)
Major Airport(s):Paro International Airport (PBH)
Economic Driver(s):Agriculture, Energy, Tourism, Financial Sector

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