The itinerary may vary slightly depending on local festivals, water flow, and river access. We may substitute a different activity or adjust the schedule to provide you the best possible trip.

Quick Bhutanese translations: Chhu = river, La = pass, Dzong = monastery/fortress, Lhakhang = monastery and Stupa/Chorten = shrine

Days 1 & 2 - Fly to Bangkok

Depart the U.S., cross the International Date Line, and arrive in Bangkok, Thailand by the evening of Day 2. It is a good idea to arrive in Bangkok a couple of days early to explore the city and adjust to the time change. You are responsible for lodging and meals while in Bangkok.

Day 3 - Fly Bangkok to Paro, Visit the Rinpung Dzong

Fly into Paro and experience the majestic views of the eastern Himalayas as you descend into the narrow Paro Valley.

Arriving at the Paro Airport in Bhutan

Arriving at the Paro Airport in Bhutan

Meet your guides outside the airport, check-in to the hotel, and have lunch. That afternoon, visit local monasteries and the Rinpung Dzong.

Night at hotel (L,D)

Day 4 - Raft the Paro Chhu, Travel to Thimphu

After breakfast, raft a beautiful Himalayan stream, the Paro Chhu. Along the way, we'll stop at a famous iron bridge that was built by a Tibetan monk in the 14th century.

Rafting the Paro Chhu in Bhutan

Rafting the Paro Chhu in Bhutan

That afternoon we drive an hour east to Bhutan's capital city, Thimphu, located at 7,656 feet in the Wang Chhu valley. We'll check into our hotel and visit the largest sitting Buddha in the world.

The Buddha Dordenma Statue near Thimphu

The Buddha Dordenma Statue near Thimphu


If time permits, we will also visit the local textile museum, the National Library, or the National Memorial Chorten.

Night at hotel (B,L,D)

Day 5 - Drive over Dochu La, Temple of the Divine Madman

Spend the morning enjoying Thimphu, then travel by bus over Dochu La (10,300 feet) and into the Punakha Valley with a couple stops along the way.

Himalays, Chortens, and Prayer Flags at Dochu La

Himalays, Chortens, and Prayer Flags at Dochu La

Before checking into our hotel we'll hike through lush rice fields to the Temple of the Divine Madman. This monastery decorated with giant phalluses was built in 1499 to honor a local folk hero Drukpa Kunley. Here you can participate in a fertility ceremony, if you'd like.

Night at hotel (B,L,D)

Day 6 - Raft the Mo Chhu, Hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten

In the morning, hike past rice fields to a three storied monastery overlooking the Mo Chuu Valley. This monastery was built in 2004 by the Queen Mother to promote world peace, stability, and harmony.

Walking through rice fields in the Mo Chhu Valley

Walking through rice fields in the Mo Chhu Valley

That afternoon we raft the Mo Chhu down to the Punakha Dzong and reach the confluence with the Pho Chhu (Father River).

Night at hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7 - Raft the Pho Chhu, Visit Punakha Dzong

We hike up the the Pho Chhu Valley and then paddle it's class II/III emerald green water. We take-out at the confluence with the Mo Chhu, and enjoy lunch with stunning views before a tour of the Punakha Dzong.

Rafting along the famous Punakha Dzong

Rafting along the famous Punakha Dzong

The Punakha Dzong is a fortress that was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1637-38. The Je Khenpo (the religious head of Bhutan) spends his winters here. It is one of Bhutan's most attractive landmarks and has survived 6 fires, 2 glacial lake outbursts, and 1 massive earthquake. It was built at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Pho Chhu, which is considered an auspicious location. The Punakha Dzong was the site of the coronation of Sir Ugen Wangchuck as the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan in 1907. More recently, the coronation of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the 5th King of Bhutan, was held here on October 31, 2008.

Night at hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8 - Back to Thimphu

Travel by van back to Thimphu and arrive with plenty of time for shopping, sightseeing, and rest.

Exploring the streets of Thimphu

Exploring the streets of Thimphu

If time allows we'll organize a trip to the art school, Takin reserve, or the National Memorial Chorten.

Night at Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 9 - Raft the Thimphu Chhu, Travel back to Paro

Spend a leisurely morning in Thimphu followed by rafting Thimphu Chhu to its confluence with the Paro Chhu at Chuzzom. After we finish rafting we travel back to Paro.

Night at Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 10 - Hike to Taktsang (the Tiger's Nest)

Hike up to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest). It takes about 2 hours to reach the view point and another 20 minutes to the entrance of the monastery.

Taktsang (Tigers Nest) in Bhutan

Taktsang (Tigers Nest) in Bhutan

Taktsang is probably the most recognizable site in Bhutan. It is perched precariously on a cliff-face over 3,000 feet above the Paro valley. Mythology says that Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a flying tigress, which was actually one of his consorts in disguise, and landed here in the 8th century. The guru meditated in caves on the cliff and would eventually introduce Buddhism to Bhutan.

Head back to Paro and enjoy a farewell dinner on our last night in Bhutan.

Night at Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 11 - Fly from Paro to Bangkok

Fly from Paro to Bangkok. Spend a few days in Bangkok, or head directly home the following day. You are responsible for lodging and meals in Bangkok.

(B)

Day 12 - Back to U.S. or Continue Vacation

Wake up in Bangkok and the world is your oyster! If you fly to the U.S. on the morning of Day 12, you'll cross back over the International Date Line and arrive back in the U.S. on the same day.

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