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Land of Happiness Travel - Bhutan Travel & Tour Agency | Tour Packages | Find Bhutan

Destination : Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Phobjikha (5/5) | 5 Reviews
  • museum
  • temple
  • guide
  • vehicle
  • hotel
  • driver
  • walking
  • hikes


Travel to Bhutan and live the Gross National Happiness. Behold the natural beauties of the valleys of Thimphu, Paro and Punakha/Wangdue, Gangtey/Phobjikha, Trongsa and Bumthang.

Happiness Travel is a 13 nights Bhutan Travel itinerary/ Bhutan tour package designed to enable travelers to understand “Gross National Happiness” and Why is Bhutan a “Land of Happiness”. This Bhutan Tour shall enable travelers to experience Bhutan to the best possible. Other than the normal visit to Museums and monuments, this itinerary also includes visits to schools to understand how Gross National Happiness is inculcated in education, talk about Gross National Happiness with a Bhutanese Host, visits to villages and interaction with people to understand why is Bhutan a Land of happiness, an archery or Khuru (traditional dart) match with the locals and many more.

The itinerary is named Happiness Travel because this itinerary is about Traveling to Bhutan and experiencing and understanding Bhutan, the Land of Happiness.

Outline Itinerary

DAY 1 – Arrive Paro/ Drive to Thimphu
DAY 2 – Thimphu
DAY 3 – Thimphu
DAY 4 – Thimphu – Gangtey/Phobjikha
DAY 5 – Gangtey/Phobjikha
DAY 6 – Gangtey/Phobjikha – Trongsa
DAY 7 – Trongsa – Bumthang
DAY 8 – Bumthang
DAY 9 – Bumthang – Punakha/Wangdue
DAY 10 – Punakha/Wangdue
DAY 11 – Punakha/Wangdue – Paro
DAY 12 – Paro
DAY 13 – Paro
DAY 14 – Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Driving Distance – 65 Km. | Driving time – 1.5 to 2 Hr. | Altitude of Paro – 2280 m. | Altitude of Thimphu – 2350 m.

On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan.

On arrival, you will be received with a warm welcome by your Bhutan travel guide from Find Bhutan with “Tashi khadar”, then drive to Thimphu.

Driving through the well maintained road between Paro to Thimphu shall be a great experience. The barren mountains, the Paro River (Pa Chhu) joining the Thimphu River (Wangchhu) at Chuzomsaa and the three stupas, and the Tamchhog Lhakhang are some of the interesting sights as you travel from Paro to Thimphu.

Lunch at Thimphu. After Lunch, you may relax or go around the Thimphu town and valley – A time for yourself. If you are interested in cycling, you may choose to do so, we shall arrange it for you at an extra cost. If you have enough time, you can also choose to sightseeing.

In the evening, visit the Tashichhodzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion). The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present. A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Tashichhodzong.

A private traditional cultural show before dinner. 

Overnight in Hotel.

Altitude of Thimphu – 2230 m.

After a leisure breakfast, visit the Takin Preserve Centre. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region. Then visit the Changangkha Monastery built on a hill overlooking the Thimphu valley. It was built in 15th Century by Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo. Many parents of Thimphu take their new born babies to this monastery to be blessed by a high lama. Drive down towards Kawazangsa to visit Simply Bhutan. Simply Bhutan is a living museum and a photo studio aimed at preservation and promotion of culture which is one of the four pillars of Gross National Happiness. It involves Bhutanese youth as the core group thereby generating employment opportunities to young job seekers and opportunities to learn skills through trainings and workshops. It also has an objective to raise funds to support YDF in conducting the many youth related programs, now and in future.

Then drive to Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant for a typical Bhutanese lunch. Tasting the local “Arra” (Bhutanese Local alcohol) is a great experience.

After lunch visit the the Institute for Zorig Chusum. Zorig Chusum means the thirteen traditional arts and crafts. Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute. Then drive towards Kuenselphodrang. A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha Drodenma. The area gives a very good view of the Thimphu Valley. The place also has biking trail and a picnic spot. Afterwards the National Memorial Chhorten. This Chhorten was built in the honor of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chhorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style and is a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu. Lighting Butter lamps and circumambulating the chhorten can be a great experience and a good way to earn merits as per Buddhist beliefs.

Then explore the Thimphu town and valley for a while.

In the evening, a private interaction session in regards to Gross National with a Bhutanese Host. Dinner with your Bhutanese Host as you converse in regards to this new place and its cultures. 

Overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Thimphu – 2230 m.

After a leisure breakfast, drive to upper Thimphu and take a hike to visit the Cheri Monastery. The monastery was actually named Chagri Dorjeden Monastery. This monastery was established in 1620, by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the unified Bhutan. After driving for about 20 minutes we have to hike a steep hill about approx. 1 – 1.5 hrs. to reach the monastery. The monastery is now a major teaching and retreat center of the Drukpa Kagyu order. You shall also see Mountain Gorals during the hike.

Drive back to Thimphu and relax for some time.

Afternoon, Visit the Government Post office and make personalized stamps. Post a card to your home town. This could be a good memory of Bhutan.

Then, visit a school to understand the education system in Bhutan and to learn how Gross National Happiness in inculcated in the education. Also interact with the school children and teachers.

In the evening visit a local resident’s house for a relaxing and communicative evening. You could also learn to prepare a Bhutanese dish here. Enjoy wine and feel like a local. Enjoy the dinner in the home with the family. 

Overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance – 140 km approx. | Driving time – 5 to 6 Hr. | Altitude of Gangtey/Phobjikha – 2900 m

Road conditions may not be as expected as road widening work is going on.

After breakfast, drive to Gangtey/Phobjikha. As you travel you shall first see the view of Simtokha Dzong and then the winding roads leads you through blue pine forests and the villages of Hongtsho (2890m) and Yusipang. The local villages sell apples, walnuts, dried cheese in this area. 

The road climbs through the forest till you reach the Dochula Pass. Stop at Dochula Pass to view higher Himalayas and the visit the Druk Wangyal Chhortens. You can hang your own prayer flags here.

Dochula pass is the most known pass in Bhutan located about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang/Punakha. It is at around 3150 m height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed to bring multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.

After a good time in Dochula Pass, follow the road downhill, the vegetation now changes from oak, maple and blue pine to a forest of Hemlock, fir, Rhododendron, alder cypress, etc. You shall come across a chhorten which was built because of frequent accidents in the area. The road leads you to the Royal Botanical Park and then slowly descends towards Thinleygang. The wind gets warmer here and you shall experience that the vegetation is mostly of cactus, oranges, bamboo, pine and paddy fields. You shall also start to see the views of the Wangdue and Punakha Valley after some time.

Drive further to Gangtey Valley. On the way you shall come across villages, monuments and beautiful landscapes. Stop at places for sightseeing and photography. When in Gangtey visit the Gangtey Goemba overlooking the large green expanse of the Phobjikha Valley. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Gangtey/Phobjikha: 2900 m

You could opt to take a private walk in the morning before breakfast. It could be beautiful to see the mists hanging low and the waking up of the valley. (Subject to weather conditions)

After breakfast, the whole day is kept for you to explore the Phobjikha and Gangtey Valley. Phobjikha Valley is of immense beauty. It is one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the Himalayas and the winter roosting place of the endangered black necked crane.

You may choose to do any of the following for the day:

  1. Visiting villages and interacting with People, learning the way of life here.
  2. Visiting the school, interacting with students and teachers.
  3. Hikes in the valley.
  4. Photography, etc.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance – 70 km approx.| Driving time – 3 to 4 hr. approx. |Altitude of Trongsa – 2300 m.

Road conditions may not be as expected as road widening work is going on.

After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. The road leads you through the side of bare hills following the river (Drang Chhu) until you reach Chuzomsa, the confluence of the Dang Chhu and the Pe Chhu. After crossing the bridge the road goes uphill through pine forests often encountering small villages, where women spinning yarns on their porches, older men idling their time and children frolicking around could be the most common sights. Finally you reach the Pelela Pass at 3420 meters with the customary Chorten (Stupa) and long colorful flags covering the hilltops. You shall also find stalls selling local handicraft items.

The road then goes downhill giving you beautiful views of admirable landscape and villages until you reach the Chendebji Chhorten. It was constructed by Tshering Wangchuk son of Yon-Say and the Mahasiddha Zhidag in accordance with the prophecy of the Second Gangteng Tulku Tenzin Legpai Dhundrup. It was built to subdue evil spirits and it is built in the style of the great Boudnath Chhorten of Nepal.

Lunch on the way.

On the way you shall come across beautiful Landscapes, Yaks (Subject to season), villages and monuments. Stop at places for sightseeing and photography.

After driving for approximately 1 – 2 hours you shall see the view of the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Drive further to Trongsa and visit the Trongsa Dzong and the Ta Dzong.

Trongsa Dzong; The most impressive Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Zhabdrung to unify Eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family. The first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong.

Ta Dzong; An ancient watch tower. The chapel inside is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal.

In the evening, walk around the small Trongsa town or simply enjoy the views from you hotel.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance – 68 km approx.| Driving time – 3 to 4 hr. approx. |Altitude of Bumthang – 2600 m.

Road conditions may not be as expected as road widening work is going on.

After breakfast, drive to Bumthang via Yotong La Pass at 3425 m, marked by a Chhorten and prayer flags. Drive down the Pass through Rhodendrons and different types of pine forest until you reach the plains of Chhumey Valley. While in Chummey valley stop to visit the Yathra Weaving FactoryInteract with the weavers and you may opt to buy the most famous textile of Bumthang and also try the loom on your hands.

Yathra is the most famous textile product of Bumthang. The Chhumey Valley is known for the beautiful Yathra woven by the locals. Yathra is a hand woven fabric made from the wool of sheep or Yak. The wool is first spun into threads and then dyed before they are woven into Yathra with beautiful flower patterns and colors. The Yathra cloth is made into scarves, jackets, table cloths, bags, etc. Most of the women in this valley, especially in Zungye village earn their lively hood by weaving Yathra which is supplied to various towns in Bhutan.

You could choose to walk through the villages in Chhumey Valley (if time permits). Otherwise it could be done while coming back.

Drive further towards Bumthang. Lunch at Bumthang. After lunch, drive through Bathpalathang and Tamshing Village to visit Tamshing Lhakhang, one of the oldest Monasteries in Bhutan. Tamshing literally means the Temple of the good message. It was established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan.

Then, take a short hike through villages crossing the Chamkhar Chhu (River) to visit the Kurjey and Jambay Lhakhang on the other side of the river.

Kurjey Lhakhang: This temple was named after body print of Guru Rimpoche and is one of the most oldest and important temples in Bhutan.

Jambay Lhakhang: This Lhakhang was built by King Srongsen Gompo of Tibet. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here.

In the evening, explore the Chamkhar Town. 

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Bumthang: 2600 m

After breakfast, visit the Jakar Dzong which literally meaning the Castle of White Bird. The current structure was built in 1667.

Then drive to Tang Valley. Picnic Lunch shall be served for today. While in Tang valley, visit villages and explore the valley. Also visit the following:

Membarstho: Literally meaning, “The burning Lake”.

Ugyenchholing Palace: The Palace is another attraction in the Tang Valley. The Palace now houses the family Museum and was restored in the 19th century. The Palace contains the historic items of Tshokey Dorji (the then Trongsa Penlop (Governor)) and his household.

Tang Rimochen Lhakhang: The Lhakhang is located in the Tang Valley in a sacred place of Guru Rinpoche. In front of the temple is a rock which bears the body print of the Guru Rinpoche and two Khandoms (female celestial being). This site got its name from the tiger stripe markings on the cliff. There are two large boulders nearby the temple, which is said to be male and female Jachungs (garudas). Below the temple are the foot prints of the Guru and his consorts Mandarava and Yeshe Chhogyal.

In the evening drive back to Bumthang.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance: 197 Km | Driving time; 7 – 8 Hr. | Altitude of Punakha/Wangdue: 1310 m

Road conditions may not be as expected as road widening work is going on.

After breakfast, drive to Punakha/Wangdue Valley. You may opt to visit the places you may have missed while going to Bumthang. In the evening free time to relax.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Punakha/Wangdue: 1310 m

After a leisure breakfast, excursion to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chhorten.  Take a short drive to the base and then walk through paddy fields before you climb a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. You shall be hiking for approximately 1 hr. to reach the temple. This Chhorten is built on a ridge above the Punakha valley. It took around nine years to build the Chhorten. It is said that the Bhutanese craftsmen consulted Holy Scriptures to construct this 4 storey temple. The temple was built by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.

You could choose to have a picnic Lunch or at the hotel.

After Lunch, explore the remote villages in upper Punakha. Visit villages and village Houses, interact with people and experience the village life in Bhutan. Walking through the paddy fields from a village to another and reliving with nature shall be another bigger experience.

If you are interested in rafting, you could choose to do the same in Punakha at an extra cost.

In the evening return to Hotel. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance – 135 Km. | Driving Time: 4 to 5 Hrs. | Altitude of Paro: 2280 m.

After breakfast, visit the impressive Punakha Dzong. This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu Rivers. The annual Punakha Tshechu (Festival) is held here. The monk body resides in this Dzong in winter.

Then, take a short and easy hike through paddy fields and villages to visit the Chhimi Lhakhang. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Divine Madman.

Lunch at Punakha.  After Lunch, drive to Paro. On the way stop the Tamchhog Lhakhang to experience the river, the iron chain bridge and to visit the temple.

In the evening, explore the Paro Town valley. 

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Paro – 2280 m.

After breakfast, hike to the abode of gods and monks, the Taktshang Monastery. It shall be taken care of that the time shall be yours for the hike, no hurries and no worries. Reaching the top shall be worth the climb; the touch of the Himalayan breeze, the views of the valley below and temple on the rocky cliff shall be fascinating and shall let you feel the real freedom of mind and happiness.

Taktshang Monastery: The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rinpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay.  This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer Rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress which gives its name “Taktshang” meaning Tiger’s nest. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.

While returning you may choose to volunteer to pick up the wastes with your guide (optional)

Picnic Lunch among the woods shall be another great experience.

After lunch, visit the Kyichu Lhakhang. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo miraculously built 108 temples to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya in the 7th century. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.

Then we have a special program for you to feel the pure Bhutanese hospitality.  Drive to a village house. You shall be served with the local Bhutanese alcohol (Arra) and shall have the opportunity to understand and experience the life in a village in Bhutan. Right from the daily household chores to other works in the field. Also relax in traditional hot stone bath.

Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

You may choose to have your dinner with the family. You can also have the option to spend overnight in the village house, however this will have to be confirmed during the confirmation of your tour to Bhutan.

Overnight in hotel/Village House.

Driving Distance: 65 Km (One way) | Driving time; 2 Hr. (One way)

After breakfast, drive to Chelela Pass. Stop at Chelela pass and enjoy the view of High Mountains and the prayer flags. You can hang your own prayer flags here.

Chelela Pass is the highest point between the Haa valley and Paro valley at an altitude of 3810 m. This place gives a very good view of the Himalayan Mountains, including the mountain Jumolhari. The place also gives good view down towards the Haa valley. A lots of prayer flags flutter in the place.

Drive back to Paro. Afternoon visit the Ta Dzong overlooking the Rinpung Dzong. It was built in 1951 as a watch tower. This Dzong is round, more like parts of a European castle. The Dzong was established as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967 and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangka, etc.

Then participate in an Archery or Khuru Match with the locals.

Farewell dinner with the Bhutanese hosts. 

Overnight in hotel.

After breakfast, a small Bhutanese ritual shall be held by a monk for a safe journey home wards. 

Drive to airport and bid farewell to Bhutan. Take back home the priceless memories, photographs and cherish the new found friends in Bhutan.


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