Bhutan Winter Wonder Tour - 27DEC23 - 02JAN24, 7days/6nights
We love Bhutan in winter! There are less tourists and the day time temps are quite mild compared with the rest of the northern hemisphere. It is generally dry and therefore excellent for cultural touring and day time valley hiking.
This small group tour, catering for a maximum of 8 persons, features the best of western Bhutan’s sights & valleys.
Tour Itinerary Overview.
- 2 nights Thimphu with exploring, hiking and shopping options.
- 2 nights Punakha valley with monastery & Dzong visits.
- 2 nights Paro valley with Taktsang Monastery hike, shopping & exploring.
Please remember our small group cultural tours are guaranteed to depart even if only 2 persons book & travel.
PRICE: From US$2293.00 pp twin/dbl share
Why Book With Bhutan & Beyond?
- We only take a maximum of 8 persons on our tours.
- 19 years experience, service & knowledge.
- We tailor our tours for less driving and more sightseeing!
- Exceptionally well constructed & flexible itineraries.
- We provide a comprehensive Bhutan visitor guide.
- Experts at combining Bhutan with India & Nepal.
- ATAS Accredited via our parent company MTA Travel
- Access to our exclusive travel app COMPANION
- English speaking guide & driver with minibus or coach.
- All touring & transfers throughout your journey.
- Traditional 3 star hotel accom with private bathrooms.
- All meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) & two bottles of water daily.
- Monument & entrance fees, hiking and sightseeing.
- Bhutan visa fees & processing.
- Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) & local taxes.
- Bank transfer & communications fees.
- A comprehensive pre-departure planning guide.
- Professionally operated by Bhutan Tourism Corp.
- Flights to/from Paro are additional.
- Personal items: phone calls, laundry, drinks, snacks & designer coffee’s etc.
- Tipping – we will advise your tipping regime.
- Travel Insurance is mandatory to be granted a visa to enter Bhutan.
- Any COVID-19 PCR or RAT tests required.
- Deposit date until 45 days prior arrival in Bhutan – Land tour deposit is refundable, less B&B service fees.
- 45 days or less prior to arrival in Bhutan – No land tour refund permitted.
Please note: – These conditions cover land travel arrangements only, not airfares, which are subject to their own cancellation conditions.
Detailed Tour Itinerary - 27DEC23 - 02JAN24
Wednesday 27 December:
Paro Valley (alt 2250 m) to Thimphu Valley (1 hr 30 mins, alt 2350 m)
After clearing immigration and customs you will be greeted by your BTCL guide and driver. Transfer to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, travelling through the spectacular countryside, en-route make a stop at the Tachogang Lhakhang (iron bridge). All the houses and buildings in the Kingdom are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style. On arrival into Thimphu take lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon visit the celebrated Royal Textile Academy & visit the National Memorial Chorten and the Takin Preserve – home to Bhutan’s most unusual national mammal.
Overnight Thimphu – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.
Thursday 28 December:
This morning visit the awesome Buddha Dordenma statue located at Kuenselphodrang. The statue is made of bronze and gilded in gold. It is considered the largest Buddha Shakyamuni statue in the world. There is also an excellent 3 km hike option through Kuenselphodrang Nature Park which offers sensational valley views.
Continue on to view the majestic Trashichhoe Dzong and visit the beautiful Tara Lhaden Zhingkham lhakang (temple). Next visit the ‘Simply Bhutan’ traditional display village followed by a Bhutanese lunch. At ‘Simply Bhutan’ you can try ara tasting (local spirit); suja tasting (butter tea); try your hand at archery and much more.
This afternoon visit the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts or the Centenary market, or Kaja Throm market & don’t forget to check out Thimphu’s main street, Norzin Lam, featuring the Craft Bazaar.
Overnight Thimphu – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.
Friday 29 December:
Thimphu to Punakha Valley. (3+ hrs, alt 1310 m)
This morning you will be transferred by road eastwards to the Punakha Valley. En-route pass the Semtokha Dzong built in 1629 the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu valley, which today is a monastery. Continue ascending to Dochu La (pass) to view 108 Stupas, commissioned by a former Queen as a memorial to those who lost their lives during a low intensity conflict in late 2002 when Bhutan evicted Indian rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutan – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalaya.
On arrival into the Punakha valley stop and visit Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman or Mad Monk) who has a very colourful history, and which is an, easy 20 minute walk across paddy fields. It is believed that childless women who visit the temple will conceive after receiving a “wang” (blessing) from the resident monk.
After lunch enjoy an orientation tour of the valley including the nunnery and, time permitting, consider a visit to the small very traditional village of Talo where you can wander through the serene grounds of the monastery with its beautiful gardens.
Saturday 30 December:
Sightseeing & hiking in Punakha.
This morning enjoy a hike along the Punakha suspension bridge, Bhutan’s longest, before a visit to the dramatic Punakha Dzong, which formerly served as the seat of the government. It is still the winter residence of the Dratsheng (Central Monk Body). This Dzong is an excellent example of how a medieval fortress, and a centre of both monastic and administrative functions, has evolved for modern day use.
We also recommend a fascinating hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten through fields of vegetables, rice paddies and tiny hamlets. This Chorten holds very special significance. It was consecrated in 1999 and dedicated to the protection of the former Crown Prince – today’s current King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Overnight Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.
Sunday 31 December:
Punakha Valley to Paro Valley (4+ hrs, alt 2250 m)
Depart Punakha this morning for your transfer westwards to the Paro Valley. Once again traversing Dochu La and arriving in Paro town in time for a late lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon enjoy an orientation tour of the major features in Paro town. This includes Rinpung Dzong, with its cantilever bridge, and the National Museum. Here you will view the fine collection of ancient Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and other artefacts. Finally we recommend a wander along the main streets which offers good shopping for jewellery and handicrafts.
Overnight Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.
Monday 01 January:
Sightseeing & Hiking in the Paro Valley.
Happy New Year!
This morning take a pilgrimage hike to the very revered Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tigers Nest. All Bhutanese Buddhists strive to make this pilgrimage at least once in their lives. Each step they take on the trail awards merit for their future. Choose between a 1.5 hour round trip hike to the Monastery viewpoint or a longer 5 hour and more strenuous hike into the Monastery itself.
Tigers Nest clings impossibly to a cliff of rock at 800 m above the valley floor and where Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress to subdue the local demons. This was followed by 3 months meditation in a cave still visible in the monastery. In 1998 the monastery was seriously damaged by fire and has since been painstakingly reconstructed to its original condition and consecrated by the 4th King in 2005.
Take a Bhutanese vegetarian lunch at the Taktsang Viewpoint cafe before finishing your hike. Finally visit the nearby Kyichu Lhakhang – one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples boasting an orange tree that perpetually bears fruit.
Overnight Paro Valley – Bhutanese Style 3*Hotel.
Tuesday 02 January:
Day of departure
Morning departure from your hotel to Paro Airport for your onward flight.