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Colors of the Drukyul

8 days 7 nights

Code BCT41

Category Bhutan Classic Tours

  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Rating Popular
  • Highest Altitude 10,299 ft at Dhochu La
  • Trip Starts From Paro
  • Trip Ends At Paro
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Thimphu Phobjikha Punakha Paro
Dates & Prices


Visit Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang and the isolated Phobjikha Valley. This is a classic circuit with hiking opportunities on the pristine nature trails leading to the ridge top monasteries! The Bhutanese refer to themselves as the people of “Druk Yul,” or the Land of the Thunder Dragon, a reference to the country's commitment to Buddhism and colors indeed.

In this trip, you will visit the prominent fortresses, known as Dzongs, ridge top monasteries and nunneries, typical farm families, weaving centers, traditional arts and craft schools and the markets. Meet the friendliest monks, nuns and the locals; enjoy the pristine nature and peaceful environment.


Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Paro and Transfer to Thimphu

Flights to Paro arrive from Kathmandu, Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangkok, and offer spectacular views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, and other famous Himalayan peaks such as sacred Mount Chomolhari and Jichu Drake in Bhutan.

Upon arrival at the Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide and driver, and then you will be transferred to a restaurant for lunch. After lunch, we will visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong), located on the top of a hill above the Paro Dzong overlooking the Paro Valley and the river, and Paro Rinchen Pong Dzong, which is the administrative seat of the district of Paro.

Afternoon, transfer to Thimpu- the capital city of Bhutan which is about one hour long scenic drive (65 km/40 miles). Upon arrival, check in hotel and take rest for the day.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Lunch, Dinner
Day 02~Thimphu Sightseeing and optional hikes

After breakfast, with our guide and driver, the adventures begin as we get a feel for the city. On the weekend, it's worth visiting the weekend market. Archery is the Bhutanese the national sport, and we’ll hope for matches while we’re there. We’ll visit a small handmade paper factory across the river to see the traditional Bhutanese paper making method that uses “daphne” or mulberry plants.

We return to the town and visit the National Institute Zorig Chusum that offers a six years course on Bhutan's traditional arts and crafts that include painting, wood carving, embroidery, and statue making. Then we head to the Folk Heritage Museum, a three-story mud and timber building that replicates a century-old traditional farmhouse that gives us a glimpse of not only the lives of ancient Bhutanese people, but also many rural people even today.

Afternoon will bring us to a grand panoramic view of the valley, followed by a short 10-minute hike through the forest to visit the Takin Sanctuary. Takins – a kind of sheep by way of antelope, are the National animals of Bhutan and believed to exists only in Bhutan Himalaya. On the way back to our hotel, we’ll stop at the Zilukha Nunnery in Drubthob Goemba, home to 40-60 Buddhist nuns.

Next stop – the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, dispensary of traditional Bhutanese herbal and other medicines; then finally the Trasichoe Dzong that houses the Royal Throne, National Assembly, and the seat of Chief Abbot of the central monastic body.

An option: hiking enthusiasts keen to experience a monastic lifestyle away from the crowds of town can take a half-day hike to Tango Goemba monastery. You’ll miss some sights listed above; and if you are a part of group, the choice will be made by majority vote. Tango Goema Monastery is Bhutan's highest learning center for Buddhist studies. All Je Khenpo, the religious head of Bhutan, must complete a nine-year program here and a three-year, three-month, three-day in mediation at the nearby Cheri Goemba Monastery! With luck, the monks will be in recess, and we can join them for tea.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03~Drive from Thimphu to Phobjhika Valley

(85 miles, 6 hours).

After an early breakfast, we leave for Phobjhikha Valley.

As we leave Thimphu behind, the road gradually winds up through villages and pine forests to Dochula Pass (3100m/10168 ft.), marked by 108 Buddhist shrines, flickering with sacred prayers flags offered by the Buddhist devotees. We’ll hang our prayer flags. On a clear day, the pass offers superb panorama of the snow-capped mountains and the valleys.

From the pass, the road drops slowly through the changing vegetation to the sub-tropical lowlands of the Punakha and Wangdue Valleys. In about 2 and half hours, we will arrive in Wangdue Phodrang- a prominent fortress that can be seen from far away but the fortress is under restoration and so we won't stop here. 

We cross Lawala Pass and continue on the winding road down to the glacial valley of Phobjhika on the slopes of Black Mountains. Phobjhika is also referred to as Gangtey, after the Goemba here. If time allows, we will visit the monastery or we will return here the following day.

Overnight at lodge.


Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~Explore Phobjhika Valley

Phobjhika Valley is a glacial valley on the edge of Black Mountains National Park. The valley is wider and more open than many of the other valleys in Bhutan. During the winter, it is home to the endangered Black Necked Cranes, which migrate here to escape the extreme cold temperatures of Tibet, Mongolia and Siberia. We will explore the villages of the valley, visit the sacred Gangtey Monastery, and get the chance to see some of those cranes. Also visit the Sarus Crane Information Center.

Phobjhika Valley also offers a number of short and long hiking trails in the nature. At the end of the trail, meet your driver and transfer back to your lodge.

Overnight at lodge.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~Punakha

(47 miles, 3 hours).

After breakfast, we retrace our drive to Wangdue Phodrang and join the main East-West Highway. First check into your accommodation for wash up and change.

After lunch at our resort, we start with a pleasant hike to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten – that takes about 45-60 minutes up, but only 30 minutes down. The temple is situated atop a beautiful hillock overlooking the valley. Built by the Queen Mother, and is an example of Bhutan's finest traditional architecture.

Back down, we ride to the stunning Punakha Dzong, probably the most impressive of all the Dzong (fortress) architectures of Bhutan. It has served as the winter capital of Bhutan, and even today the chief abbot moves there from the capital.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~Retrace drive to Paro

(142km/89 miles, 5 hrs.)

After breakfast, we bid farewell to Punakha and retrace the drive across the Dhochula pass. We may stop in Lamperi Botanical Garden that preserves 46 species of rhododendron among other rare species of vegetation. We will have another photo stop opportunity at Dhochula pass.

Just before Thimphu, stop at Simtokha Dzong - the first Dzong architecture of Bhutan. The dzong preserves precious statues and paintings of various Buddhas, deities and religious figures including The Eight Manifestations of Guru Rimpoche, Jampelyang the Bodhisattava of Wisdom, Shakya Gyalpo the Buddha of Compassion and many more. They are all carved and painted in exquisite detail. 

A one hour scenic drive from here brings us to Paro. Check into your accommodation and take rest for the day.

Overnight at hotel.



Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~ Finally, hike the Taktsang Monastery, a.k.a. Tiger's Nest

This is an extraordinary and sometimes challenging day, and Far & High Travel highly recommends this hiking trip; only physical limitations should keep you away. The monastery is the famed "Tiger's Nest," perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer, 900-meter drop that overlooks the Paro Valley. Legend has it that in the 8th Century Guru Padma Sambhava, known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, alighted on the monastery’s very site from the back of a flying tigress, to meditate.

This glorious round trip hike takes about 4 or 5 hours, depending on your fitness level. Before returning to the hotel, we drive away from Paro to visit the ruins of Drugyal Dzong, which on clear days offers views of Mount Chomolhari; and visit a typical Bhutanese farm house and meet the people who live and work there.

Overnight at hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Depart Paro

Transfer to airport for your flight to your next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Cost Includes

  • Accommodation on twin sharing.
  • All transfers and sightseeing as on itinerary.
  • Three meals a day.
  • English speaking local tour guide.
  • Sightseeing admission fees.
  • Bhutan visa fee.

Cost Does Not Include

  • Internal and international airfare costs (airfare is separately quoted).
  • Expenses of personal nature such as drinks, tip, laundry, phone, etc.
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Travel Insurance.

Trip Difficulty Level, Road and Transport

This is a motor vehicle-based trip that is accessible to all travelers in general good health. The trip’s highest altitude is at Dhochu La Pass (10,000 feet, or 3,048 meters) where we stop briefly. Our overnight stays are all in far lower elevations that have not presented altitude issues. The trip requires some walking, and includes a few easy hikes, all of which are optional. Bhutan’s mountain roads – narrow, winding with switchbacks, and sometimes unpaved – can be a challenge. We use Japanese-made cars, micro buses, and minibuses, depending on group size. On additional payment, we can also provide SUVs.


Generally, unless we have chosen other alternatives, we will be staying in moderate to best-available accommodations, each with 10 to 20 rooms of varying designs, but probably no gift shop. Outside of Thimphu and Paro, “best available" might be very basic, sometimes without hot water (or any water, for that matter). We make up for the inconvenience with adventure. During festival period, demand of accommodations can be intense and we sometimes book alternative hotels; we appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

Major cities such as Paro and Thimphu have some high-priced international chain resorts; we do not feature them, but can book them at an additional charge.


Bhutan trip features three meals a day, most of which will be served at our hotel, usually in a buffet that includes rice, vegetables, and noodles. Our guides can arrange some dinners at local restaurants, but you should know that traditional Bhutanese food always features chilies, and the most popular dish, ema datshi, is made with large, green hot chilies in a cheese sauce.


Our guides are college educated locals, proficient in English, and trained and licensed by local tourism authorities. They are naturally friendly and committed to deliver the best services.

International and internal airfares

You will book your international airfare to the gateway city (such as Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata or Kathmandu) on your own and provide us your flight information and we will take care of the rest of the travel. The flight from to Bhutan from your choice of gateway city has to be locally booked. Please, plan to spend a night in the gateway city before and after the trip for a safe connection with your international flight. We are also able to book your international flight on your request.

Passport and Visa

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of travel and there should be enough blank pages for entry and exit seals. Bhutan visa is pre-processed by us and we will get approval letter for you before your flight into Bhutan. Your passport gets actual visa seal upon arrival at Paro airport. If your travel starts from India, you should obtain Indian visa beforehand as India does not grant visa on arrival.

Best time for this trip

This trip can be undertaken throughout the year but definitely October and November are the best months when temperatures are mild, skies are clear and we have clear visibility. The second best season is from March through early May.

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 and Payment Schedule

Tour Deposit: US$ 300 per person

If your trip involves internal air tickets, we may have to get the tickets issued within the deadline given by the airlines and we may request you the cost of the ticket along with the tour deposit. After we receive the tour deposit, we process the booking of internal air tickets and hotels, and will get back to you with the confirmation within a week. If some internal airfares require immediate purchase, we will ask you to wire the payment for the same. Some hotels and supplier may ask for a non-refundable deposit to guarantee the booking and we will request to include this in the second payment.

Balance payment

The balance and final payment is due 90 days prior departure. If your trip involves internal air or train tickets, we may also request the cost of the tickets with booking deposit to guarantee the lowest fare. Credit card payment attracts additional 3.5% fee. We accept the payment from traveler's account only. However, we reserve the right to refuse certain form of payment. Wire transfer fees are to be borne by the traveler.

Cancellation and refund

Notice of cancellation and refund request must be received in written form.

Cancellation charges

  • 180 days prior departure: No penalty unless stated as non-refundable.
  • 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 300 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%.

Cancellation and refund of air tickets cost will be as per rules and regulations of the concerned airlines plus a service charge of US$ 25 per segment will be levied. Cancellation terms and conditions of certain services may vary which will be informed per case to case basis.

No refund or adjustment to other services will be made for any unused land or air services for any reason whatsoever, once tour begins. We highly recommend that all travelers purchase trip cancellation insurance.


  • 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


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