1 612 869 8502 

Bhutan Cultural Walking Tour

Average rating Score

Terraced Field Bhutan
based on 2 review(s)

11 days 10 nights

Code BWT44

Category Bhutan Trekking

  • Group Size 2-10 persons
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Highest Altitude 3,900m/13,000ft at Chele La
  • Trip Starts From Paro
  • Trip Ends At Paro
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Paro Thimpu Phobjikha Punakha
Dates & Prices
Please, contact us for the price and the dates for this trip


Bhutan, set amidst the backdrop of the sacred mountains of the Himalayas, is the world’s last surviving the Buddhist Kingdom. Blissfully apart from the outside world, and notably untrammeled by travelers, Bhutan remains true to itself – its rivers and mountains pure and magical; its people gracious and welcoming; its culture rich and enlivening; and its spirituality prevalent and inspiring. You will savor this nature, culture, and adventure for a lifetime, uncovering paths known only to the locals; taking tea with monks at their monasteries; and venturing away from the cities to meadows filled with wildflowers, ancient hamlets, forests of blue pine, spruce and rhododendron, and terraced paddy fields and orchards. The Bhutanese people you meet along the way might invite you to stop at their farmhouses to say hello.

This journey is an active tour with day hikes to the ridge top monasteries, temples and villages and returning in the afternoon to the comfort of the hotels in the towns. All of the outings will be at your own pace, with many chances to meet the Bhutanese people and photograph or appreciate the stunning scenery along the way. No strenuous hiking or trekking on this trip!.

Trip Cost ( Sep, Oct & Nov, Mar, Apr & May).

US$ 2840 per person on double occupancy basis.

US$ 350 Private room supplement.

Trip Cost ( Jun, Jul & Aug, Dec, Jan & Feb).

US$ 2740 per person on double occupancy basis .

US$ 350 private room supplement.

Note: Price does not include the airfare. Private room supplement is mandatory if we can not match you with others. 

Trip Dates

  • 13 May 2019.
  • 10 Jun 2019.
  • 7 Oct, 2019~Trip times with Thimphu Tscheu.
  • 7 Nov, 2019~Trip times with Black Neck Crane Festival.
  • 6 Dec, 2019~Trip times with Druk Wangye in Dhochula
  • 1 Mar, 2020~Trip times with Punakha Tsechu
  • 28 Mar, 2020~Trip times with Talo Techu and Paro Tsechu
  • 15 Apr, 2020~Trip times with Rhododendron Festival, Lamperi Botanical Garden
  • 11 May 2020
  • 15 Jun 2020
  • 26 Sep, 2020~Trip times with Thimphu Tsechu festival
  • 25 Oct 2020
  • 7 Nov, 2020~Trip times with Black Necked Crane Festival
  • 5 Dec 2020

Note: Festival dates are subject to change.

Early bird discounts $150 on all 2020 trips, book by 30 Apr 2019.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Paro, Bhutan

Flights to Bhutan arrive from Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu, and few other regional cities. Check the Druk Air website for the details. After clearing immigration and customs formalities, meet your guide and driver at the arrival gate. 

Following introductions, proceed on a scenic one-hour drive to Thimphu. En route,  we will stop for a visit to the Tamchog Lakhang Temple which is a short walk across a traditional suspension bridge. This temple was built by the famous Tibetan iron-bridge builder Thangthong Gyalpo of the 13th century who was also a physician, teacher, and a saint! His descendants still own and maintain the temple.

Settled into your room and reenergized after lunch, proceed with your guide and driver for introductory sightseeing.

We begin from nearby Bhutan's Institute for Traditional Medicine Center that researches Bhutan's medicinal plants, produces traditional medicines and dispenses throughout the country, trains the doctors and provides medical services to the people.

Next stop will be at the National Institute Zorig Chusum-an academy that offers an extensive course on Bhutanese arts and crafts that include painting, wood carving, embroidery, and statue making. 

We continue to the National Textile Academy where Bhutanese women weave the traditional Bhutanese textiles. Bhutanese textiles represent a rich and complex repository of a unique art form. They are notable for their abundance of color, sophistication and variation of patterns, and the intricate dyeing and weaving techniques. The weavers, who are mostly women, are not only the creators of the arts also the innovators and masters of artistic skills developed and nurtured over centuries.

Finally, conclude the day at the Memorial Chorten of the 3rd King of Bhutan Jigme Dorje Wangchuk. It is an exemplary Buddhist architecture and artwork with its gorgeous paintings and intricate sculptures. Local devout Bhutanese flock the temples throughout the day to pay homage to their beloved king.

After dinner, if you are not tired, you can go for a night view of the majestic Trassichoe Dzong fortress. The view of the Dzong at night is gorgeous as it's lit up in liquid gold and ruby. 

Overnight: Khang Residency
Meals : Lunch, Dinner
Day 02~Hike Tango Goemba and Cheri Goemba

Followed by a hearty breakfast, we are off for a hike to Tango Goemba-for an opportunity to experience a monastic lifestyle away from the crowds of town: Tango Goemba monastery is Bhutan's highest learning center for Buddhist studies. All religious leaders of Bhutan – called Je Khenpo – complete a nine-year course here! If we are lucky, monks will be in recess, and we will have the opportunity to visit their dining hall and join them for tea. The total trip up and down should take about two hours. 

Back down, you have the option to attempt another hike to Cheri Goemba Monastery-the first Buddhist monastery of Bhutan. All the Je-Khenpo meditate in Cheri Gompa for an extended meditation for three years, three months and three days, right after graduating from Tango as a criterion to be chosen as the Je Khenpo. It's a pleasant and gentle rural walk in a valley through paddy fields, woodlands, and a Tibetan village.

You need to allow two hours for each hike. If you do not want to do two hikes back to back, your guide will take you to other non-hiking sightseeing.

Are you interested in Buddhist astrology? On our way back, we can stop at Pangri Zampa Temple-an astrology school for the state clergy. More than a hundred monks study astrology in this center, and they welcome the public for astrology consultation if anyone is interested. They request one-week advance notice. ( donation $ 40 approximately, quoted after booking) 

Late afternoon, visit the World’s Largest Buddha Image-BuddhaDordenma, situated atop a hill overlooking the Thimphu Valley. Buddha Dordenma is the latest addition to Thimphu's attractions. The image is 169 feet tall. The massive three-story base houses a large chapel, while the body itself enshrines 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha. The location also provides an excellent view of the valley.

Overnight: Khang Residency
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03~Hike Phajoding Goemba

Today is a moderately challenging day as we hike to the Phajoding Goemba. Situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft, nearly 3.300 ft above the average valley floor!. After a hearty breakfast, we leave with our guide and driver. We first stop at Motithang Takin Reserve to see the national animal of Bhutan-Takin. The takin also called cattle chamois, or gnu goat is a Caprinae found in the eastern Himalaya, mainly in Bhutan only.

The trail-head is shortly after the Takin Reserve. This 13th-century monastery was once the wealthiest and most celebrated monasteries of Bhutan. We hike on the rocky trail, narrow at some points and climb little more than 3 miles uphill to get to the monastery. The path goes through the blue pine and rhododendron forests. Along the way, you can see various a variety of other wildflowers and plants, and some are of medicinal values. The area is also famous for a particular mushroom type-the golden mushroom or the happiness mushroom locally known as Gaa Shamu

As you get closer to the temple, the treeline clears, and we can get the serene views over the valley and also Himalayan panorama on a clear weather day. Monks usually offer tea to visitors. The monastery has about 80 resident monks and runs a community project for the welfare of the monks. 

We will have our picnic lunch here, and we backtrack down or take a different path for the return trip. Return trip should take about two hours.

Overnight: Khang Residency
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~Travel to Phobjikha Valley

This morning we depart for a six-hour drive to Phobjikha. The Phobjikha Valley is an isolated glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountain Range that divides central and west part Bhutan. As we leave Thimphu behind, the road gradually climbs to a beautiful stop at the Dochula pass (9,872 feet, or 3,010 meters). This pass also includes a group of chortens (pagodas or stupas) and hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind. The dramatically descending road zigzags to the lowland of the Punakha and Wangdue valleys at around 4,600 feet or 1,400 meters.

We stop in Punakha for lunch, before hiking to the legendarily unusual Chimi Lhakhang Temple – the “temple of fertility,” which is mostly visited by childless women. The temple is associated with the Saint Drukpa Kuenley (1455-1529), also called “divine madman” noted for his unique teachings that used songs and sexual humor. There are very few monks at this temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some exquisite slate carvings.

We’ll finish the drive through dense oak and rhododendron forests before arriving in the Phobjika, perhaps visiting the prominent Gangtey Gompa, which is the only Nyingmapa Monastery in this region.

The Phobjika Valley is also known for its endangered Black-necked cranes, which circle the monastery as they migrate from the high Tibetan plateau during winter. An annual festival here in November welcomes them.

Overnight: Hotel Dewachen or Gakiling
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~Hike on the Gangtey Nature Trail

Phobjikha valley is an excellent place for day hiking. After a good breakfast, we leave our hotel with a picnic lunch.

Today, we first visit the prominent Gangtey Monastery Gompa of the early 17th Century. It is the only Nyingmapa monastery in the region. From here, we jump on the Gangtey Nature Trail for an easy hike through the pine forest and the valley. The hike ends over the meandering Chhu Nap (Black River) near Khewang village. Here we will be picked up by transport. Total walking should take two or three hours.

If you wish for a longer hike, here are some recommended hiking trails: Shasi La Nature Trail (3-4 hours, moderate), Longtey Hike (4 hours, moderate) and Gogona Hike (6-7 hours, strenuous). Discuss these options with your guide and choose the option that best interests you. 

Overnight: Hotel Dewachen or Gakiling
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~Travel to Punakha

After breakfast, we retrace our three-hour drive to Punakha, stopping in Wangdue Phodrang for a gentle, 25-minute hike to Rinchengang Village, known for its traditional two-story houses. The uniqueness of this village is that multiple family own and share a home, unlike in other communities.

Once in the hotel, and after lunch, we drive up to a nunnery perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangdue Phodgrang. This nunnery is called Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery, and it houses a 14-foot bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig Chagtong Chentong), Buddhas and Taras. The temple complex also houses a permanent center of higher learning and meditation for nuns. They also learn skills such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making, and thangka painting.

Now, we hike or drive up the Talo Village, with houses scattered along the hill slopes, known for their cleanliness. We also visit the Talo Sangnacholing temple, built on a plateau with majestic views of surrounding villages. The farm houses here maintain their terraced flower gardens of corn and sweet peas.

Next, we visit Dalayna- a Buddhist College, where monks are friendly and always eager to practice their English with visitors. We will share tea with the monks and learn about their monastic life.

Overnight: Drubchu Resort
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~Hike to the Giligang Temple

After a hearty breakfast, we leave our hotel with a packed lunch for a long day hike to Giligang Temple via the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Chorten. This hike is enjoyable but challenging. We start in the first hour through rice paddies and up the spiraling trail to Khamsum Yuelley Chorten. Our well-deserved rest will include this impressive structure and beautiful views of the valley below. We then climb slowly for two to three hours on the hillside up to Giligang, finding many inspiring views over the temples, rice paddies, hilltops, and green forests. This temple is a 300-year-old, privately owned monastery, taken care of by descendants of a family for generations. The caretaker family is friendly and welcoming and eager to show the temple. The location is also a perfect spot to enjoy our picnic lunch. Sometimes, the caretaker couple prepares milk-tea, called ngaja, and joins us for lunch – another excellent chance to meet the Bhutanese people.

From Giligang, the trail descends for an hour along the mountainside until we reach Changyul Bridge, just before Punakha Dzong. We cross the bridge and visit Punakha Dzong Fortress, at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu rivers. Many people believe that it is the most beautiful of the Dzongs in Bhutan. One can spend hours inside the Dzong just studying its murals. Punakha Dzong served as the former winter palace. 

Overnight: Drubchu Resort
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Travel back to Paro

(142 km/89 miles, 5 hrs.)

After breakfast, we retrace our drive across Dhochula Pass to Paro. Shortly before the pass, we can stop at Lamperi Botanical Garden that preserves the rich fauna including Rhododendron flowers (Highly recommended during Spring-March, April and May). We will have another photo opportunity in Dhochula pass where we will stop for lunch. 

Upon arrival in Paro, check into your accommodations and balance of the day is for rest.

Overnight: Khangkhu Resort or similar
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 09~Hike to Chelila pass and Kila Nunnery.

After a scenic drive of an hour or two from Paro, we’ll reach the beautiful Cheli La pass, at an altitude of approximately 13,000 feet. At the pass, you can enjoy the views of the Paro Valley on one side and the Haa Valley on the other. If the trails are free of snow, we can take a 90-minute hike up the mountain ridge to spectacular mountain views towards Jhomolhari. We ultimately backtrack to the pass and head further down to the Killa nunnery, a 9th-century compound that is perhaps the oldest in Bhutan. This nunnery is a residence to more than 70 nuns who study Buddhism and live in self-imposed isolation. Meet your driver at the car parking which is about 10 minutes downhill walking.

On our way back, we take a short detour of Dzondrakha Monastery that resembles the famous Taktsang Monastery a.k.a Tiger's Nest and so it's also called mini-Taktsang. From the parking, the monastery is about 10 minutes of leveled walking. This beautiful cliff-side retreat is one of the several related local sites where Guru Rinpoche suppressed demons to pave the path for Buddhism! The site also offers spectacular views over Paro valley. The road is not in great condition, but the trip is undoubtedly rewarding.

Overnight: Khangkhu Resort
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10~Hike the ultimate Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest)

We’ll have an early morning breakfast, and then transfer to the trail head for the legendary Takstang Monastery – the Tiger's Nest, Bhutan’s most famous pilgrimage. Perched dramatically on the edge of a 2,000-foot cliff above the valley, Tiger's Nest is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan and a forever-memorable destination for anyone who makes the trip. The round trip is about four hours. It is possible to ride a pony half way up, but not on the upper trail, or on the way down.

On the way back to Paro, we will detour to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, a 16th Century monastery built to mark the Bhutanese victory over Tibetan invaders, and also the ancient Kyichu Lakhang Temple – another of the 108 temples that King Songsten Gampo of Tibet built in a single night in 7th century!

Optional Hot Stone Bath: 
With advance notice, you can experience a traditional Hot Stone Bath in a farmhouse. Hot stone bathes are a Bhutanese traditional method of curing skin ailments, joint pains, hypertension, stomach disorders, arthritis, and many other ailments. Even if you don’t have any of these issues, it’s a wonderfully relaxing experience, especially after a laborious hike. It costs approximately $25 per person.

Overnight: Khangkhu Resort
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11~Depart Paro

After breakfast, our team will get you to the airport for your flight to your next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation on double occupancy basis.
  • All transfers and sightseeing by a private vehicle.
  • Ten breakfast, Ten lunches, and ten dinners.
  • English speaking local certified Tour Guide.
  • Sightseeing admission fees.
  • Bhutan visa fee.
  • Service of airfare reservation (We will quote you airfare separately once we book the ticket for you).

Trip does not include

  • Internal and international airfare. Return internal airfare (Bangkok-Paro-Bangkok) is estimated about $950.
  • Drinks, tipping, laundry and other personal expenses. 
  • Extra expenses or loss due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Travel Insurance.

Trip Difficulty Level, Road, and Transport

We designed this trip aiming for hiking enthusiasts who want to travel to the areas away from the motor vehicle tracks and explore the areas less traveled. While we use motor vehicles for city visits and transfers from one town to other, we generally plan to head off on foot for some of the most beautiful walking and hiking once we’ve arrived. All the walks and hikes can be done at our own pace, interacting with the locals, and capturing the beautiful scenery and unique Bhutanese architecture. Hikes can be two to four hours long, sometimes a bit longer, but no hiking or trekking experience is necessary to join us. Hiking trails are often the traditional path of Bhutanese locals and pilgrims; at times it can be steep.

We do not attain any significant altitude in this trip, so altitude related sickness is not a concern. Keep in mind that roads can be an adventure in themselves – they are not always paved; they are times steep, dusty and bumpy as they skirt steep hills; and they can at times be blocked temporarily due to erosion or landslide. We don’t drive far, but sometimes we drive slowly for four or five hours. Some days can be shorter.

Anyone in general good health can enjoy this trip, although we suggest some advance walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming ahead of the time to keep you fit.


For the most part, we will stay in moderate to best-available accommodations, which are usually small hotels with 10 to 20 rooms of varying designs, rarely with gift shops. Outside Thimphu and Paro, “best available" might be very basic, sometimes without hot water (or any water, for that matter). These adjustments are, we think, part of learning about a new country. During the festival period, high demand for accommodations sometimes means we have to use alternative hotels; your cooperation and understanding in this matter is very much appreciated.

Paro and Thimphu have a couple of international chain resorts with remarkably high prices. Our trips do not feature them, but we can book them for additional charges.


Bhutan trips feature three meals each day, mostly at our hotel, usually served in a buffet that includes rice, vegetables, and noodles. Our guide can arrange some dinners at local restaurants, but remember that traditional Bhutanese food always features chilies, and the most popular dish, ema datshi, is made with large, hot, green chilies in a cheese sauce.


Our guides are college-educated Bhutanese, proficient in English, and trained and licensed by local tourism authorities. Just as important, they are friendly and committed to delivering the best services.

International and internal airfares:

The tour starts and finishes in Paro, Bhutan. There are no direct flight connections from USA or Europe to Bhutan. You need to first fly to Bangkok or Delhi or  Kolkata or Kathmandu, spend a night there and next day fly you can fly to Bhutan as the flight is usually in the morning. Bangkok is the most popular gateway for travel to Bhutan as there are daily two flights from Bangkok and the US citizens and most European passport holders don't need a visa for Thailand.

From Kathmandu and Delhi also there are four or five flights a week depending on the season. You need to book your international airfare to Bangkok (or Delhi or Kathmandu) on your own and we will take care of the flight onwards. Please, do not buy your international airfare until Bhutan flight schedule is available. 

Passport and Visa

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the last day of your trip, and there must be two blank visa pages on your passport for the visa sticker, entry and exit seals. We will apply a Bhutan visa for you and will email you an electronic version about three weeks before your trip date. You will need to print it out and bring along. Your passport gets actual visa seal upon arrival at the Paro airport. If you are traveling via Indian cities, you need to obtain an Indian visa before you leave home. If you are flying via Kathmandu, Nepal, you can obtain Nepal visa upon arrival.

Note on Itinerary

Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed; it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Booking/Deposit and Payment Schedule

A deposit of US$ 300 is requested along with completed trip registration form to hold your place on the trip. We also need a color scan of the passport. You can charge the deposit on any major credit cards. When it's time to purchase the Bhutan flight tickets, we will request you the second payment for the flights. Final and balance payment is due 90 days prior departure.

Final payment by credit card also attracts an additional 3.5% fee. You will save this fee by paying personal check or cashier's check. We reserve the right to refuse some form of payment.

Cancellation and refund

We need to receive a notice of cancellation in written-by email or fax.  The cancellation fee structure is as below.

  • 90 days prior departure: US$ 150 (Administrative Fee).
  • 60-89 day's before departure: US$ 300 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Forty-five days to 59 days before departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Thirty days to 44 days before departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%.

Travel Protection Plan

While we leave no efforts to make your tour smooth and enjoyable, there may be unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather, flight cancellation, missed connection, or loss of baggage etc. which may cause interruption, delay or total disruption of your trip putting your hard earned travel investment in jeopardy. It’s also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation or medical transportation when you get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High’s Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses, and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.


  • Hotel Khang Residency, Thimphu

    Hotel Khang Residency, Thimphu
  • Drubchu Resort, Punakha

    Drubchu Resort Punakha
  • Khangkhu Resort, Paro

    Khangkhu Resort, Paro
  • Dewachen Hotel, Phobjikha

    Dewachen Hotel, Phobjikha

Add Ons

Traditional Hot stone Bath

US$ 30

hotstone bathOn your trip to Bhutan, you can experience a traditional hot stone bath in a farmhouse or at your hotel.

The hot stone bath is a traditional method to cure skin ailments, joint pain, arthritis, muscle ache etc. and provides relaxation to your body and mind after a busy day's activities. The tub is usually carved out of a tree trunk. 

They first heat the natural spring rocks to red hot and immerse in the tub. The water is usually fresh water from the spring. They continue adding stone until the water reaches to the right temperature. They also add some herbal leaves.

After the water reaches to right temperature, you enter the tub and relax for about an hour. Your host also will serve you homemade liquor.


Rafting in Mo Chu River Punakha

US$ 150

Mo Chu rives originates in the mountainous hills of Northern Bhutan and offers excellent rafting opportunity to the beginners and those who just want to experience white water adventures. No skills or previous experience is required.The trip can be done any time of the year.

rafting mo chu river

The put-in point is just below the suspension bridge at the trail head leading to the Khamsum Yuelley temple.There are 10 rapids of class 2 - 2+ in the stretch of 6 miles.As you raft down the river, you will experience the incredibly blue water, breath-taking alpine scenery, sighting world’s rarest birds and amazing rapids on the backdrop of striking 17th century Punakha Dzong (Fortress). The trip will be led by one or two experience rafting guides and also accompanied by a kayak. Total rafting duration: 30 minutes.

Rafting gears, including safety jacket and helmet are included.


Average Rating Score 5star based on 2 review(s)

  • "Our Guide Kharka was the best"

    A very careful and attentive guide. When I go back to Bhutan, I want him as my guide again. Also he was incredibly knowledgeable about the history, culture and religion-we noticed he took more time explaining the monasteries than other guides, much appreciative of that. Kharka had extensive of farming practices and was able to accommodate us in our interest-we got to meet with a government project manager, we got to see a new organic farm in which young folks worked, we met with a few Bhutanese entrepreneurs. Thank you to Far & High for making it so experiential.

  • "Can't imagine a better experience"

    Rinzy and Mr. Dorji are the best! I learned so much and had so much fun with them. It is very hard to leave- I have left a little of my heart in the valley of cranes.Thanks especially for getting to interact with the family at Aum KD farmhouse. Loved eating out at a typical Bhutanese cafe, too.Ugyen farmhouse in Paro was awesome-we got to cook in their kitchen. Can't imagine a better experience.

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