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Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon

Group Tour

13 Days From £2,795


Squashed into a high pocket of land between Sikkim, Assam, Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast of India, Bhutan is an extraordinary country, home to a fascinating and unique culture, stupendous scenery and a truly charming people. This trip explores a land that has been cut off from the rest of the world - both through geographical positioning and its own political desires - so much so that in many places things have barely changed at all over the last 500 years.

On this trip ...
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At a glance


12 x Breakfasts
12 x Lunches
12 x Dinners


On this tour we will use minibuses or coaster buses, depending on the group size.


Maximum: 12


A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings


The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate


All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary


As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in hotels, local guesthouses and a homestay. With the latter, please note that you may have to share bathroom facilities. The accommodation in Bhutan is traditional in style and can be quite basic with limited hot water and heating. Some of the guesthouses provide their own wood burning stoves. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.


All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary


Moderate / High


LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE/HIGH: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-4hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-5 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 5-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon



On arrival at Paro airport (see GETTING THERE section below) we will be met and transferred to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital approximately one hour away. Although the Thimphu Valley has supported small settlements for many centuries and a dzong has existed there since 1216, the city didn't really develop until the King declared Thimphu the new capital in 1961. Thimphu has a youthful exuberance that constantly challenges the country’s conservatism and proud tradition. The ever-present juxtaposition of old and new is just one of its appealing qualities and today it is Bhutan’s most modern and developed city. On arrival in Thimphu, there will be some free time to settle in and relax after an introductory briefing.

Hotel Phuntsho Pelri or similar
Lunch, Dinner



We have a whole day to explore the capital and among the sites we will visit are the Cultural Heritage Museum, the Takin Park to see Bhutan’s national animal, and the Dechen Phodrung Monastery. The Post Office is an unusual and enjoyable visit too, as it displays and sells a wide range and style of philately. If time permits we will also visit the National Memorial Chorten dedicated to the third King, which is a pilgrimage site for the older generation of Bhutanese people. We may be able to witness an archery tournament down by river. Our final visit of the day will be the Trashi Chhoe Dzong, which is the spiritual and Governmental heart of the city.

Hotel Phuntsho Pelri or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



This morning we leave the capital city behind us and head over the Dochu La Pass, which stands at 3140m. If the weather is kind to us, we will be greeted with a panoramic view of the Himalayas with a hill of 108 chortens in front of us. Here we will also visit the newest temple built in Bhutan with wall paintings of monks using laptops, airplanes, mobile phones and satellite dishes. The winding road will continue through mountain forests taking us on to Gangtey in the Phobjika Valley, our destination for the next couple of nights.

Hotel Dewachen or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Today we will take a hike in the Phobjikha Valley starting near Gangtey Monastery. We will stroll gently uphill and visit the charming local villages of Gophu, Dogsena Pana and Jangchub Lhakhang, taking in some traditional old village life in a rural and agricultural part of the country, surrounded by beautiful landscapes. From here we will start to descend, completing the circuit towards the village of Khewa Lhakhang. During winter months we may have the opportunity to see black neck cranes in the valley.

Hotel Dewachen or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



We’ll drive to Bumthang today via Trongsa for lunch, and then visit the dzong. In the afternoon we’ll continue to Bumthang, stopping en route at the Chumey Yatha textile industry’s outlet before checking into our hotel.

Mountain Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



After breakfast we will have a short drive to Kharsumphe village before beginning our gradual ascent on foot to Tamshing Lakhang, with good views of Kurje Lhakhang on the other side of the Chamkhar River. Returning to our hotel via a suspension bridge across the river, we may also have time to wander along the main street in Jakar and have tea in one of the local cafes.

Mountain Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Today we have a full day’s hike between two of the famous valleys in Bumthang. We will follow a path that climbs up towards the Padselling Monastery, starting above the Swiss Guesthouse. The highest point at Padselling is 3200m and the hike uphill is rewarded with the beautiful view of Jakar Valley from the monastery. After a visit to the monastery and enjoying a cup of tea with the monks there, we hike towards the village of Kunzang Drak. We cross the Batela Pass at 3000m and then descend through the meadow into a beautiful pine forest. Continuing on to the Tang Valley, which reaches heights of 2760m, our homestay is situated here. There will be plenty of time to rejuvenate ourselves in a hot stone bath, followed by a glass of locally brewed ara.

Homestay with shared bathroom facilities
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



We have a good hike today, which is both challenging and rewarding, to the revered and sacred site of Thowadra Monastery. The name means ‘highest rock’ and stands at an altitude of 3400m. It was blessed by the presence of Guru Rinpoche who meditated here and left his footprints in the stone. The walk itself starts from the north end of the Tang Valley, at 2750m on a dirt road along the riverside until it crosses the river by a wooden bridge. The trail starts to climb up before a short descent and crossing another bridge. Upon reaching a chorten/ stupa, the trail again ascends through pine forest and past several monuments in the mountainside. For the last section the trail is very steep, but the monastery hangs above you on the cliff and motivates you to climb the last stone steps to the top. From here we will enjoy the fabulous view of the Tang Valley on the horizon and visit the mysterious and exceptionally holy temple, which is built directly into the cliff walls. We will then retrace our steps down to the first bridge, where our host will be waiting with a hot picnic and cup of chai before returning to the delights of our homestay.

Homestay with shared bathroom facilities
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



After breakfast we’ll drive to Punakha, the old capital city, passing through the Trongsa Valley. We will also make a quick stop at the Chendebji Chorten situated at a river confluence. Following this, we'll cross Pele La Pass at 3400m, before descending to the valley floor at 1200m and into Punakha.

Hotel Meriphunsum or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



This morning we take a beautiful walk up to the Khamsum Namgyal Chorten, a small temple built for the present king by his mother. Wandering back down through the villages and along the riverbank takes us through an idyllic rural setting. Later we’ll visit the dzong, former capital of Bhutan, spectacularly positioned at the confluence of two thundering rivers and noted for its huge prayer hall with three giant Buddhas and wonderful painted thangkas.

Hotel Meriphunsum or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: PUNAKHA - PARO (2500M)

DAY 11: PUNAKHA - PARO (2500M)

Today we will retrace our steps and head for Paro – the starting point of our journey in Bhutan. But first we will have an early morning visit to the famous Divine Madman’s Temple, Chime Lhakhang, in the beautifully tranquil Lobesa Valley. Arriving in Paro late afternoon, we can visit the Paro Dzong built in 1644 under the order of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Paro Dzong’s full name is Rinpung Dzong, which means ‘the fortress of the heap of jewels’. It is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture and contains fourteen shrines. To end the day there will be time to further explore Paro at leisure.

Hotel Olathang or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



This morning we will walk up to the Takstang Gompa, known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery and standing at 3010m, stopping en route at the viewpoint and teahouse to which we will return for lunch. This is without doubt the most spectacular monastery in Bhutan, built on a rock ledge a thousand metres above the valley floor. The first and main temple was built where Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tiger to meditate in this cave on a rocky ledge. The walk to the viewing point takes about 1.5 hrs with another 2.5 hrs to get to the monastery and back. In the afternoon there is an opportunity to visit our last Bhutanese temple, Kyichu Lhakhang, an auspicious 8th century temple built over the left foot of a mythical demoness who had been preventing the spread of Buddhism over Tibet and the whole of the Himalayas. This evening we will celebrate our achievements and enjoy our final group dinner of the tour.

Hotel Olathang or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



The tour ends this morning in Paro. Depending on your flight departure time, there may be an opportunity for some last-minute souvenir shopping and a wander before transferring to the airport.




Good quality service and overall comfort

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.


All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Tang Valley Homestay Visit

On this tour we will be given the opportunity to stay in the home of hospitable locals in the Tang Valley. This is a great way to meet and interact with the local people, understand their limited infrastructure, and be introduced to their culture and way of life. With the homestays we use the money goes straight into these remote communities, so benefiting the people directly.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. There are regular regional flights to/ from Paro (PBH) from several destinations including Delhi (DEL), Kolkata (CCU), Kathmandu (KTM) and Bangkok (BKK). For this trip, our suggested regional flights (subject to change) are shown below.

Should you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. Please note that all airport transfers in Bhutan can be provided on a complimentary basis. If you will be spending time in Paro ahead of the tour, we can arrange for you to be picked up from our pre-tour accommodation to meet the rest of the group at the airport. When making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.

Similarly, if you are transiting through any international airport directly on your way to Bhutan, please allow a minimum of 3 hours between flights for the transit and check-in process. You may also require a visa for the country in which you transit unless your chosen airlines have an official agreement that allows you to check your bags all the way through to/from Bhutan without you needing to leave the international transit area. There is more in the visa section below. Please contact us for advice if necessary.

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 257 London Heathrow (LHR) 18:45 Delhi Airport (DEL) 08:45
KB 201 Delhi Airport (DEL) 10:50 Paro Airport (PBH) 13:20
KB 210 Paro Airport (PBH) 07:20 Kolkata Airport (CCU) 08:10
EK 571 Kolkata Airport (CCU) 08:55 Dubai Airport (DXB) 12:50
EK 005 Dubai Airport (DXB) 16:05 London Heathrow (LHR) 20:00


Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour

Please note that if you stopover in India either pre or post tour, or both, then you will need to apply for an Indian visa in advance. Please ensure you obtain a double entry visa if necessary. Importantly, even if you are just transiting the airport to connect with your flights to/from Bhutan, then you may also require a visa for the country in which you transit unless your chosen airlines have an official agreement that allows you to check your bags all the way through to/from Bhutan without you needing to leave the international transit area. Please contact us for advice if necessary.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. 

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.


If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Kolkata (India)

If flying via Kolkata you may wish to spend a few days visiting India’s cultural heart and former capital. A visit to the Victoria Memorial, the Black Hole of Kolkata, the famous flower market and the intriguing Kali Temple are just a few sights to consider. Allow 1-2 days.

Taj Mahal extension (India)

If flying via Delhi and you haven’t seen the marble wonder of the world why not visit the Taj Mahal? Take an extra couple of days before or after the tour to visit this amazing site coupled with the deserted waterless city that is Fatehpur Sikri. Allow 2-3 days.

Kathmandu (Nepal)

If you have opted to fly via Kathmandu you may like to take a couple of days sightseeing in the Nepalese capital city, taking in Durbar Square and the holy site of Pashupatinath. You may also wish to go further afield and visit Chitwan National Park. Allow 2–5 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information


Bhutan has everything from tropical jungle with heat and humidity to high mountain passes where it regularly snows. We plan all of our trips when the weather is unlikely to be very severe, although a good set of waterproofs and a few warmer layers are always advisable. In spring and autumn we should have clear weather with great views of the Himalayas. On this departure it is likely to be pretty cold at night. 


It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.


Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour. There are some walks included in the itinerary which take you above 3000m so some clients may find these more challenging than usual due to the altitude and terrain. The walks are optional, but in order to get the most out of this trip we recommend that you should have a reasonable level of fitness to be able to participate in the walks.

Please note that there are a couple of long driving days on this tour, but there will be frequent stops, and the scenery and experience will more than make up for this.

Vegetarians can be catered for, but the selection and variety may be limited.


We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.


As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation, but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour except the two nights at the homestay in the Tang Valley, where single rooms cannot be guaranteed due to limited availability there.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/ twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.


Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information


All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.


A £500 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.


For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page


This tour will earn you 9496 Wild Miles


We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs


If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 


We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.



Wild Frontiers guide, Amada Drake, captures a Buddhist prayer and chanting session in Bumthang Bhutan. For more information about adventure holidays and travelling in Bhutan visit http://www.wildf…