Bhutan Cultural Tour - 6 Days

Overview

Bhutan Cultural Tour, which is in the Kingdom of Bhutan, also taken as the Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan, is a cultural tour package of seven days and eight nights, where you are taken on a guided tour of various cultural sites, while once there.

All these cultural tours in Bhutan, are done within the cities of Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and a number of smaller towns, cities and rural hamlets. Bhutan is a country known for various cultural aspects which have developed from its long association from Bhutan right from the past while it was forming itself into a country. It follows a particular form of Buddhism which is showcased in almost all it did in the past and still does. So much so, all of it is ingrained into its culture, tradition, religions, architecture, literature, crafts and walk of life presently. This Bhutanese Cultural Tour takes you into the very fabric of this. So much so, you an all new prospective of what culture means to people on the other side of the aisle.

Bhutan, in which this Bhutan Cultural Tour, of seven nights and eight days, take place, is a country to the east of Nepal that is divided by the state of Sikkim of Indian which surrounds it on three sides to the south and the autonomous region of Tibet to the north. It is a landlocked country, which has always been independent of the yolks of foreign rule. This is another reason that has allowed the system of the country to develop in its own unique style of life. One important part that makes the Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan what it is, is that it follows a different way to measure it growth, known as gross domestic happiness, rather than the way of gross, domestic production which the rest of the world follows. This means that it tries to grow the overall prosperity of all so that all prosper in a state of social well-being by doing what is not detrimental to the collective forces within the country. All of which it had and all of which it has is kept in a state of the pristine condition within the residual tentative of Buddhism. This is unique as this small country, by the negative forces of the outer world, is now looked upon as the only country in the world that has a negative carbon rating. This means it gives more to the ecosystem from its human activities, rather than destroying, nature. It has a natural forest covering of over sixty percent and the rest of which is cultivated, is done in a traditional manner, which is neither harmful to the environment, nor to humans. So naturally, such acts of human endearments makes a cultural tour of Bhutan Cultural Tour something to ask and do.

Naturally, such packages such as the Bhutan Cultural Tours of seven nights and eight days have something to offer, like the rest that there is in Bhutan Tours. All begins with you flying in and flying out when it all begins and ends, aboard the National Carrier from Nepal or less were over some of the most pristine scenes of the Himalayan regions of the snow-capped mountains and the lush verdure hills with villages atop them and fast flowing freshwater rivers cutting valleys and gorges in them. Landing at Paro, the only International Airport in the Dragon Kingdom, you are taken over by a competent guiding staff, who then takes you from event to event of place in the eight days. The cultural points of the tour then which you embark on take you to Buddha Point, where besides what it has to offer there, it gives you a broad spectrum of the Thimphu valley. Takin Compound, a place where a strange-looking animal, seems that it has been stung by bees, which is also the national animal of Bhutan. Then we go onto places with different cultural aspects such as Tashi Choe, Dzong, Folk Heritage Museum, Centenary Farmers Market, Dochu La Pass which gives wonderful views of the High Himalayan Mountains on a clear day, Chimmi Lhakhang – a temple of fertility dedicated to the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kuenley, Punakha Dzong at the junction of Pho-chu and Mo-chu Rivers, being the most impressive in the country, Phobjikha Valley which is the most impressive in the country. Finally, the Taktsang Monastery on the side of a cliff nearly 3000 meters high up and the Kyichu Temple, being the oldest in Bhutan. These are some of the cultural aspects of which you will encounter in the eight days, in which you will be here on the Bhutanese cultural tour.

Where do we stay while on the Cultural Tour?
While you are in Bhutan, throughout the tour, in all cities and towns, you will be lodged at three-star and above staying facilities like hotels and guest houses, with meals as per your choice of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, you will be transported in private vehicles from one destination to another and have a professional guide to show you around and explain things of cultural importance.

Outline Itinerary for Bhutan Cultural Tour
Day 01 : Arrival at Paro (2,250m) – Thimphu (2,350m)
Day 02 : Thimphu – Punakha (1,310m)
Day 03 : Punakha – Gangtey (2,320m)
Day 04 : Gangtey – Paro (2,250m)
Day 05 : Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3,120m)
Day 06 : Paro – Departure

Trip Highlights

  • Witness majestic Himalayan panorama while flying in/out from Paro.
  • Explore around Paro exploding with colors and tradition.
  • Visit the tiny capital Thimphu.
  • Hike to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan..
  • Tour around Bumthang- the religious heartland home to oldest monasteries & temples
  • Explore Phobijikha Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan
  • Experience Bhutanese age-old culture & traditions first-hand.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Paro (2250m) - Thimphu (2350m)

You arrive aboard the National Carrier after flying over some of the highest mountains to a warm welcome at the International Airport in Paro. After lunch in the city, you drive to Thimphu, the capital city of the country which take about an hour and a half. On the way, we halt and take a short hike to Tamchog Monastery. This monastery is privately owned by the ancetors of a famed Tibetan-bridge builder, Thangthong. After this hike we drive onto Thimphu. In Thimphu, you first go to Buddha Point, a large statue of Buddha sitting on a throne in meditation. From here you get a nice view of the city and then we head for Takin Compound which houses the national animal of Bhutan which is a strange animal seemingly as if stung by bees all over. Back down, we head for Tashi Vhoe Dzong that was constructed in 1641 initially and rebuilt in 1960s by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. From here it is onto a 300 year old house which now houses the Folk Heritage Museum and finally, it is the Centenary Farmer’s Market – a authentic craft bazaar. We stay the night at a Hotel in Thimphu.

Day 2
Thimphu - Punakha (1,310m) via Dochula La (3140m)

Completing breakfast, we drive to Punakha which should take three hours via the Dochu La Pass at 3140 metres, which if the weather happens to be clear we get astonishing views of the snow-capped peaks to the north. We then begin descending through forests and rice cultivated fields. On the way we stop to pay a visit to the Divine Madman’s Temple, Drukpa Kuenley known as Chhimi Lhakhang. Once we reach Punakha, we go to the most impressive Dzong in the valley at the confluence of Pho and Mo-chu rivers known as Punakha Dzong. We stay the night at a hotel in Punakha.

Day 3
Punakha - Gangtey (2,900m)

Today, we drive to Gangtey via Wangdue which takes us up a tortuous mountain road through a forest of Oak and Rhododendron and a high pass down into the valley of Phobjikha, a nice valley at a high altitude having some of the best birds species in Bhutan and it is also a glacial valley. We enjoy the way up to a Monastery down to the valley floor. We stay the night at a hotel in Gangtey.

Day 4
Gangtey - Paro (2,250m)

Drive back to Paro retracing the same route and crossing over Dochula pass. The drive today is a bit longer about 8 hours. Upon, arrival in Paro, check-in hotel. Overnight in Hotel in Paro.

Day 5
Paro - Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (3,120m)

Today, it is to Taktsang Monastery, which stand against a vetical cliff at a height of 2950 metres in a two hour hike. This Monastery besides the architectural wonders, is believed to have the Guru Rinpoche flown on the back of a tigress to meditate there for three months. Then just outside Paro, we pay a visit to Kyichu Lhakang, one of the oldest temples in the country and visit some farm houses while there. We stay the night in Paro at a hotel.

Day 6
Depart Bhutan

Finally after a wonderful cultural tour of Bhutan, you are taken to the airport and bid farewell by your guides of the tour. You board the National Carrier to fly onto your next destination.
At Breakfree Adventures, we only hope that you had a wonderful Bhutan Cultural Tour, where we take your security and comfort while on it into consideration and of utter importance.

Cost

What is Included

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation throughout your Bhutan stay (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing.
  • Route Permit.
  • Three meals per day - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner (only breakfast on last day)
  • A licensed English Speaking Bhutanese tour guide.
  • All land transportation by a private vehicle.
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Monuments entrance fees wherever applicable.
  • Bottled drinking water.
  • All internal taxes and charges.
  • A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

What is Not Included

  • Airfare & Travel Insurance.
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips & Gratuities.
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.
where is Bhutan located on the map?

Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas and a landlocked country. Bhutan is surrounded by three sides by India with The Tibetan autonomous region of China in the north. The three sides that connect Bhutan with India are Arunachal Pradesh in the east, Assam and West Bengal in the south and Sikkim in the West. Bhutan is ruled by a king and only one Buddhist nation in the world.

What is Bhutan Cultural Tour?

It’s the tour of visiting the cultural, historical and religious places in Bhutan like Paro Ringpung Dzong, Buddh’s point Thimphu, Kyichu Lhakhang, Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’.

When is the best time to visit Bhutan?

The best time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). It will be clear weather and great climate in spring with Varieties of flowers and plants in bloom. Autumn has mild weather with cold mornings and evenings. Summer (June-August) and winter (December to February) also draw tourists to Bhutan. Winter season (December to February) is less crowded and it may snow with temperature level going down below freezing point.

Is there visa requirements to enter Bhutan?

Visa to enter Bhutan is required for any international travelers. Visa needs to be applied through a licensed Bhutanese travel agent of one of it’s international partners. One can’t individually apply for Bhutan visa. But Indian nationals including Bangladesh, Maldives citizens won’t require a visa.

How much is Bhutan visa?

Bhutan visa fee is US$40 per person which must be paid including your entire tour cost before your Bhutan arrival. Afterward, a visa clearance letter is sent to you and the actual visa will be stamped on your passports only upon arrival in Bhutan.

How do I get to Bhutan?

You can either get to Bhutan by flight or overland. Only two airlines fly to Bhutan, Druk Air- the national flag carrier and Bhutan Airlines – private company. They also fly from only certain cities like Kathmandu, Delhi, Bangkok, Singapore, Dhaka. Via overland is from Indian border only – Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar.

Is travelling solo in Bhutan possible?

Travelling solo in Bhutan is possible but one must book/come through a tour operator that means you can’t individually travel or apply for visa like in other countries. You can either join a group or have your private tour.

What is Bhutan travel cost per day?

Bhutan travel cost per day is $200 per night (low season) and $250 per night (high season) per person. It includes 3 star accommodations, costs for food, an experienced guide and transportation (with driver). This cost also includes $65 per day royalty that goes towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation.

Is there a limit on the number of tourists entering Bhutan each year?

There is no limit on the number of tourists entering Bhutan each year. The Bhutanese government has adopted a strict policy of “High Value, Low Impact Tourism” to protect it’s culture, traditions and natural environment. This policy is aimed to attract discerning tourists who will respect Bhutan’s unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people.

What currency can be used in Bhutan?

Currency is used in Bhutan is called Ngultrum. Its value is tied up to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted as legal tender. Ngultrum is divided into 100 smaller units called Chetrum (Ch). The latest series of Ngultrum has the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are available in denominations of Ch1, Ch5, Ch10, Ch25, Ch50 and Nu1.

What is the food of Bhutan?

Bhutanese cuisine specialty is its spiciness. Nearly every dish has chilies and most Bhutanese won’t enjoy a meal without the spiciness. Rice is the main part of Bhutanese meal which is accompanied by one or two side dishes of meat or vegetables. Most often pork, beef or chicken is eaten. You can also find many restaurants with a great selection of western and Indian foods.

I am a vegetarian, is it okay?

No worries. Most of the hotels will serve good vegetarian dishes though there are very limited vegetables in operation.

Can I stay at the farmhouse or home-stay?

Yes, you can and farmhouse or home-stay is available and you need to inform your travel agent during booking your tour.

Can I have the game of archery?

Surely, you can which your friendly guides shall be happy to assist you with.

Is there good hotels in Bhutan?

There are many luxury hotels in Bhutan at places like Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang. They are world-class 5 star luxury hotels with state of the art facilities. Such hotels include Taj Tashi, Amen Kora, Uma Paro, Uma Punakha, Le-meridian etc. Plus there are also several 4 star hotels which are equally great.

How is road transportation in Bhutan?

Transportation in Bhutan is getting better with rapid growth in it’s infrastructures. Earlier it was difficult with no proper means of transportation and only mule/horse are available or traveling has to be on foot. But modern Bhutan is now connected with highways and Different luxurious cars, SUVs, buses and coaster buses are available for tourists.

How is shopping in Bhutan?

One can find many things for shopping in Bhutan which include handicrafts, fabrics, textiles etc. Major Bhutanese cities have many shopping stores. These goods are manufactured in Bhutan showcasing it’s unique culture and traditions. Items on sale will be handwoven fabrics, carved masks, woven baskets, wooden bowls, handmade paper, postage stamps, finely crafted metal objects, thangkha paintings, bamboo bowls, handmade papers, prayer beads, singing bowls incense, prayer flags, ornaments etc.

What are famous festivals of Bhutan?

Festivals in Bhutan are called ‘Tschechu’ which is attended by locals and tourists alike. Major festivals of Bhutan include Paro Tschechu, Thimphu Tschechu, Punakha Tschechu, Jambay Lhakhang Drup, Black-necked crane festival among many festivals celebrated round the year in Bhutan.

What are Places to Visit in Bhutan?

Most popular and visited Places to Visit in Bhutan are Paro – where Bhutan’s only international airport is, Thimphu – the tiny capital, Punakha – the old capital as well as Gangtey – where the beautiful Phobijikha Valley is located then further up to Bumthang. Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ located outskirts of Paro town is the major highlight of any Bhutan travel.

What’s the communication system in Bhutan?

Basic communication facilities are available in most of the major towns and cities. These includes telephone, faxes and internet services. Wi-fi and internet are available at most of the big hotels. Bhutanese sim card can also be bought. Bhutan postal service sends or receives any parcels from outside. DHL or FedEx is also there in the capital city.

What is the packing list for Bhutan trip?

Packing list for Bhutan trip depends upon your time of travel. In October, November, December, January and February very warm clothes are required. It’s warm during April, May, June, July, August and September so carrying light cloths is recommended. Rain gears are highly recommended during the rainy season (June-August). Since Bhutan is a religious country so shorts, skirts, tight clothing, sun caps need to be avoided at monasteries or temples. For any trekking programs, your tour operator shall provide the necessary trek equipment as per the trekking grade.

Trip Information

Bhutan Visa Information:
The citizen of Bangladesh, Maldives and India do not require VISA to enter Bhutan. People from other countries except from Bangladesh, Maldives and India need a VISA permit while traveling to Bhutan. The VISA processing for Bhutan requires a readable color copy of passport via email that has at least six month of validity from the date of exit from Bhutan. The file Scan Copy should be forwarded to via email in JPEG or PDF format. The passport number and picture of the applicant should be visible in the e-document.

The application should be processed at least 10 days prior to the date of entry to Bhutan. The tourism council of Bhutan then issues a VISA clearance letter and fax or email it to the local travel agent. Please note that the VISA service is not offered in Bhutan, travelers have to buy full service package from the local tour operator. Travelers traveling by air are required to produce a printed VISA clearance copy at the time of check-in for Druk Air flight. People traveling by land to enter Bhutan via Phuentshoking or Samdrup Jonkhar are required to produce a VISA clearance letter at the immigration center. The actual VISA is stamped in your passport on your arrival in Bhutan.

Flights to Bhutan:
There are several cities that have direct flights to Bhutan. There are two airlines Druk air and Bhutan airlines running the flights to Bhutan. Druk air is the national carrier of Bhutan. With its fleet of Airbuses A319-115 and ATR 42 the airlines fly from different Asian countries to the Paro international airport, Paro (PBH); which is only the international airport in Bhutan. There are daily direct flights from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to Paro International Airport.

The flights from Indian cities to Paro International Airport with the airport name and their codes are listed below:
Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra (IXB)
Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (DEL)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (CCU)
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM)

Likewise, there flights from other countries with the codes are as follows:
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand (BKK)
Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh (DAC)
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)

Note: The flight schedule and timings are subject to change. If you want to know more about the flight schedules and tour to Bhutan please feel free to contact us. We can also help to find you the cheapest fares available.

Best time to visit Bhutan:
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan lies in south Asia between China and India. Climate and weather vary according to the altitude, season and place of visit. Bhutan is open all year around for the visitors but it is better to make the travel arrangements as per your preference and nature of visit.

The ideal time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). These are considered to be the best time to visit Bhutan to get the maximum adventure and trouble free experience. Summer and winter also have their own specialties that could draw the attention of tourists during these seasons. During the spring the weather mostly remains clear and climate is fantastic. It is also the best time to visit for the nature lovers to experience the mystifying beauty of nature. Varieties of flowers and plants bloom in this season that makes your adventure an exotic one. The route opens for Jomolhari and Druk Path treks from mid-April to May.

Summer (June-August) in the other hand could get tricky at times due to the early arrival of monsoon. The month of June would be great for traveling if the monsoon is pushed further. Usually monsoon is in full swing by early July. Travelers who would strive to get some trekking experience on muddy trail while witnessing swollen rivers, green forests and flourishing paddy field could choose late summer to plan their adventure. The view of open clear blue sky after the rain is something that strikes you with its mystifying beauty.

Fall (September-November) is another favorable and crowded season after spring. The weather gets mild despite cold mornings and evenings. Tourists from all around the world thong to Bhutan during this season to witness Black-Necked-Crane festival. The month of October has its own significance and the valley turn into a shade of gold as the farmers prepare to harvest their rice crops during this month.

Winter season (December to February) is not that crowded with tourists in comparison to other seasons. Planning your adventure during the winter could be a better idea if you want to avoid the hustle-bustle of the peak season. During the winter Bhutan may see some snow fall. The temperature level goes down (even below freezing point) during some winter days.

VACCINATION FOR BHUTAN:
No vaccinations are presently required However, the following vaccinations are recommended:
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. The disease is distinctly unpleasant, with profound nausea, loss of appetite, and weakness.
Tetanus: Tetanus bacteria can infect small wounds and cause a fatal infection.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is caused by infection with Salmonella typhi bacteria, passed in human feces and acquired by eating contaminated food or water.

WEATHER IN BHUTAN:
Bhutan lies in South Asia between China and India in the Himalayas, weather in Bhutan depends upon the altitude. In the northern parts of the country where mountains rise up to 7,000m, weather conditions are similar to arctic. Southwards, closer to India, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool in winter. The monsoon rains are usually heavy. Winters can be a good time to visit the lower parts, but then the highest areas are freezing.

The best times to visit Bhutan are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September – November) when the weather is warm, dry and sunny but always throw in a couple of warm clothes into your travelling gear when you travel to Bhutan regardless of the season.

WHAT TO WEAR AND BRING:
Layering Clothing
Bring your clothes according to the season and region of your travel. Based on your activity and the weather, you can make quick adjustments, by putting on more clothing if it is cold or taking off layers as it warms up. In the summer time, days can be quite warm, especially in the lowlands of Punakha and Phuentsholing, light cotton clothing is recommended for day time. But in most of the tourist and trekking areas, light woolen clothes for evenings and heavy woollens / down jackets for winter are necessary. A waterproof windbreaker is important for trekking and outdoor activities.
Comfortable and Sturdy shoes.
You have a lot of opportunity to walk around in Bhutan, you will be glad you wore sturdy shoes that keep your feet comfortable. Good shoes will let you explore the rural and allow you to have a long day walk. Bring sandals or slip ons to take off easily when entering temples.
Long pants / skirts
Wear particularly conservative clothing in the towns, women should wear long pants or long skirts, men should wear long pants and shorts are not appropriate for anyone. In the dzongs and temples, the legs and arms must be covered, and even threequarter-length capri pants are not acceptable for women.
Rain gear
Be prepared for occasional shower. A folding umbrella is a good idea to bring with.
Hat, Sunglass, Sunscreen & lip protection.
The sun can be scorching in Bhutan. Be sure to apply sunscreen in the morning and throughout your day.

Other requirements:
A quality sleeping bag.
Waterproof gators.
A headlamp torch and a normal torch. (Including spare batteries.)
Binoculars and Camera.
Small day pack.
Water bottle
Towel
Small medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, diamox.(The guide carries a larger Medical kit but please bring own travel medications)
Antiseptic hand gel for disinfecting hands without water.
Mini-flashlight

DIFFERENT CURRENCY ACCEPTED BY BHUTAN BANK:
Credit cards are accepted only in major international hotels and high-end shops in Bhutan.

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Bhutan Cultural Tour

Trip Facts

  • Bhutan
  • 05 Nights/06 Days
  • All year round
  • Taktsang Monastery (3,120m)
  • Easy
  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Sightseeing/Hiking
  • Cultural & Nature Tour
  • Taktsang Monastery, Paro Ringpng Dzong, Buddha's Point-Thimphu, Dochula pass, Punaka Dzong, Phobijikha Valley-Gangtey
  • Government approved 3 stars and Above

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