This comprehensive, 14 day, escorted tour of this relatively isolated country will take you through the prime botanical and wildlife sites in Bhutan. Discover the natural richness of this eastern Himalayan region.
The Land of the Dragon, as Bhutan is known to its inhabitants, has always been the most fiercely independent Himalayan kingdom. It’s a hidden kingdom, where it seems time has stood still. Bhutan carefully refrains from allowing mass tourism, in order to preserve its unique environment and heritage.
Taxes and royalties to maintain the country’s infrastructure and sustain its progress constitutes a large portion of the cost of visiting Bhutan, making it one of the most expensive destinations in the region. We can assure you that the cost is well worth it! A country that few have visited, Bhutan is one of the last strongholds of Tibetan Buddhism, and its peaceful and fun-loving people are proud and elegant, with a timeless culture and dress.
Vast Dzongs (beautiful medieval buildings that incorporate a monastery, village and fort in one) dot the countryside, along with Chortens (shrines) and Ihakhans (temples). A highlight of the tour will be a visit to the magnificent Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) near Paro.
Bhutan has been rated as one of the top ten global hotspots of the world due to its pristine forests that provide habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna. It is estimated that over 600 bird species inhabit the unspoiled forests. The trees are clothed in beautiful epiphytic orchids, lichens, ferns and mosses. The forests also harbour some of the most exotic plant species of the eastern Himalayas, with over 50 species of Rhododendron, Magnolias and an amazing variety of medicinal plants.
Home to snow leopards, blue sheep, red pandas, Asian elephants and tigers, Bhutan’s environment is strictly protected. The result will provide you with a rare encounter with a lost kingdom, a unique land and its wonderful people.
It is a remarkable country that offers the opportunity to see not only the exquisite Himalayan scenery but also rich and ancient traditions in both remote villages and in the capital. Few people have been privileged enough to experience Bhutan, and in this age of superpowers, this small but fragile nation of traditional culture is a slice of the old world that may be denied to us in future.
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Extended Trip Details
Bangkok to Paro to Thimphu
|Fly from Bangkok to Paro (meet Tom Grove for group check-in at Bangkok airport). Upon arrival at Paro, you will be welcomed by our Bhutan representative (guide), who will assist you in boarding your transfer to Thimphu, Bhutan’s small capital “city”. We will be there by mid-afternoon, and can then visit the giant seated Buddha on the edge of the forest above the town. Later, discover the city’s various unique sights, including the magnificent dzong. Accommodation: Druk Noryang or similar LD
Thimphu - Wangdue Phrodrang - Chuzomza
|Today we will drive from Thimphu to Wangdue Phrodrang. We will stop at the Dochu La (3400m) to look at the 108 chortens. You can see the entire Bhutan Himalayan range from here on a fine day. Down the other side, we will spend some time in the Royal Botanical Gardens, which are a haven for bird and animal life and have a great display of native plants and trees. We will have lunch at the restaurant before descending to the Punakha Valley to visit the famous and magnificent Punakha Dzong. We will then drive a short way up the Dang Chhu Valley to our idyllic accommodation on the banks of the rushing river. This is an excellent area for birding and animal opportunities. Accommodation: Kichu Resort, Chuzomza BLD
|Using this lovely resort as a base, we will drive up the newly constructed (rough) road above the Mo Chhu River towards Tashigang, inside Jigme Dorji National Park. We will have plenty of time to wander along the road and river, looking at wildlife, trees and plants. This area is well known for its good birding. In the afternoon, we will return to the Kichu Resort. Accommodation: Kichu Resort, Chuzomza BLD
Chuzomza to Trongsa
|We will drive up towards the Pele La pass (3400m), looking for wildlife on the way, and then down to the small town of Trongsa, which has the most amazing dzong in Bhutan. There will be many opportunities to look at birds and plants on the way. If we have time, we will visit the dzong and museum (or we can do it on our return.) Accommodation: Yangkhill Resort, Trongsa BLD
Trongsa to Tingtibi
|We start our 5-day adventure off the beaten track by driving down a minor road above the left bank of the MangdeChhu River, which lies at the bottom of a deep gorge. We then drive into a sub-tropical region of the country in the Royal Manas National Park. This area is rich in birdlife and home to the endangered golden langur monkeys. Today will be about 5 hours driving in total. Accommodation: T.Wang Hotel, Tingtibi BLD
|Stay a second night in Tingtibi village. Walking, birding, and wildlife opportunities abound in this biodiversity hotspot at the crossroads of the Royal Manas, Black Mountain and Thrumshing La National Parks. Accommodation: T.Wang Hotel, Tingtibi BLD
Tingtibi to Panbang
|Today we travel through the Royal Manas National Park, frequently stopping to wander ahead of the bus to look at the birds and vegetation. Accommodation: Eco Lodge or hotel, Panbang. BLD
Panbang to Yonkola
|We carry on slowly eastwards until we reach the Mongar region, where we rejoin the only (and very quiet) road across the country, in the gorge of the mighty PuriChhu river. We turn north here towards the small hamlet of Yonkala, where there is a lovely campsite in the heart of the Thrumshing La National Park. Accommodation: Trogon Villa, Yonkola BLD
|We stay in the Yonkala region for the entire day, enjoying forest walks as we look for birds and flowers. Along with Tingtibi, the Yonkala Forest area is said to be the best birding region in Bhutan. Accommodation: Trogon Villa, Yonkola BLD
Yonkola to Dakar / Chumey
|Early departure today as we make our way northwards on what has been called the most scenic road in Bhutan (it’s also a hotspot for red pandas and spectacular birds such as the satyr tragopan and blood pheasant). We cross two more high Passes (La’s), including the Thrumshing La leading down to the Ura Valley. From here, we cross the Shertang La on a new road, where we can hopefully get a good view of Gangkar Puensum, the world’s highest unclimbed mountain (7546m). Back in the Bumthang region, we make our way to Jakar, the area's main town. Accommodation: Mountain lodge or Guest house in Chumey BLD
Dakar / Chumey to Chuzomsa
|We now begin our journey back towards the west side of Bhutan. On the way, we will stop at Chhumney, where there is an excellent textile factory that produces wonderful hand-woven material and souvenirs. We then climb up to the Yotang La, another pass with great views of the surrounding countryside. From here, we drop down to Trongsa (where we stayed 6 days ago) and then back over the Pele La to the lovely lodge by the river at Chuzomsa. Accommodation: Kichu Resort, Chuzomsa. BLD
Chuzomsa to Paro vai Thimphu
|In the morning, we drive back up and over the Dochu La and down to Thimpu for lunch and sightseeing, before we make the 90-minute drive back to our resort in Paro. This afternoon, options include visiting the reserve of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin, from where we can take a short walk through the forest above the town (optional). We could also visit the traditional paper-making factory, the school of traditional arts (great for paintings & traditional souvenirs) and many other options. You may also be interested in shopping (e.g. for bird and flower books). Accommodation: Kichu Resort, Paro BLD
|Today we visit the Tiger’s Nest. It’s only a short drive to the car park below the famous Taktshang monastery (Tiger’s Nest), after which we will walk up through the forest to the viewpoint below the monastery (up to 2 hours). Those feeling fit enough can carry on up to the monastery itself for a short visit. Lunch is at the viewpoint restaurant. We will descend (by bus) by mid-afternoon and then it’s back to the lovely Kichu resort for our special last night. Accommodation: Kichu Resort, Paro BLD
Paro to Bangkok
|Free time in Paro this morning until we are transferred to the airport for our flight home, which departs Paro at 3.40 pm and arrives in Bangkok at 9.05 pm. B
|NOTE: The itinerary above is a guide. Hopefully, we can keep to it. However, it is important to stress that although the Bhutanese are very well organised, we are travelling in a very little visited country, and things don't always go to plan. Travelling in Bhutan requires a certain amount of adaptability - but they are such friendly people it will always be fun. Our local guide is very adept at improvising if we strike bad roads or weather conditions.
Tour full - Please contact us
- All airport transfers and transportation
- 2 crew members – Coates Wildlife Tours escort and a local English speaking guide
- Return Bhutan Airlines flights from Bangkok to Paro
- Bhutan visa fees, taxes and permits
- Bhutan accommodation with all meals
- Sightseeing with entrance fees
- Tips and Gratuities for our Bus Driver and Local Bhutanese Guide
“There were many highlights, the Punakha and Trongsa Dzongs, the bus trips over the mountains, the Breathtaking scenery, Dochula Pass where we could view the Himalayan peaks, the trek up to Tiger’s Nest monastery, the visits to the Temples and so on.”