Punakha Dzong and Mo Chhu river

Beautiful Bhutan

Book this package
14 days  •  from $6199 $5599
per person, double occupancy, including airfare*
based on Nov. 25, 2017 departure
$600 Early Bird Discount. Expires Aug. 31, 2017.*   All prices reflect savings.

Overview

Featuring Bangkok to the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan; Paro, the sleepy capital Thimpu, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang, Unique Festivals & Taktsang Monastery
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
18 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures Scheduled Dates; select from 10 open departures, September 2017 – November 2018
Price Includes
  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round-trip airfare from Los Angeles via scheduled China Airlines and Druk Air flights, including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
  • Flight from Bumthang to Paro
  • All transfers and intra-Bhutan ground transportation
  • Accommodations in Tourist and First Class hotels with private bath
  • 28 meals: Breakfast daily plus 9 lunches & 9 dinners
  • Comprehensive guided touring program including all entrance fees to places visited, as described in our itinerary
  • Special opportunity to attend a traditional Bhutanese spiritual festival
  • Professional, English-speaking tour director
  • Group visa fees
Optional
  • 2-night Bangkok post-tour optional extension
Highlights
  • Visit the King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk Memorial Chorten
  • Explore the Punakha Dzong fortress
  • Learn about Yathra weavings in the Tsungney village
  • Experience a traditional Bhutanese Festival
  • Discover the Taktsang Monastery
  • Travel on an Optional 2 night Bangkok extension!
Departs Los Angeles (LAX); other gateways on request (flight schedule)
Themes Active,  Festivals,  History & Culture
What to Expect This fast-paced, partially escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.
As Seen in
Chicago Tribune

Prepare for your trip Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.


Beautiful Bhutan itinerary

Come with us to experience a once-in-a-lifetime guided tour of Bhutan. This is one destination that even the most seasoned travelers consider a privilege to visit. Perched high atop the mighty Himalayan range, the Kingdom of Bhutan has defied globalization and remains a hidden paradise. Although it consistently ranks as one of the world's top destinations, its remote location and strong preservation efforts make it accessible to only a fortunate few. Our Beautiful Bhutan tour package makes it possible for you to not only visit this enchanting land, but also immerse yourself in its rich cultural traditions.

Experience the enchantment of Bhutan's ancient fortresses, monasteries, and temples, the richness of its artisan traditions, and the beauty of its pristine natural landscape as you traverse the country's mountainous terrain. This unique program also provides ample time to interact with the friendly people of Bhutan, including a very special opportunity to join hundreds of Bhutanese in their celebrations of the spiritual festivals. You're sure to leave with an enlightened understanding of the country's national philosophy of "Gross National Happiness." But, be sure to reserve your space quickly, as this once-in-a-lifetime trip is sure to sell out quickly!

Dates, Prices & Options

Departure Dates & Prices

Early Bird Discount: Save up to $600 per person if you book by Aug. 31, 2017!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
Depart Return Price Book by
Aug 31
Fri Sep 22 2017 Thu Oct 5 2017 $6299 $5699 Available
Fri Oct 13 2017 Thu Oct 26 2017 $6599 $5999 Available
Sat Nov 25 2017 Fri Dec 8 2017 $6199 $5599 Available
Sat Feb 24 2018 Fri Mar 9 2018 $6199 $5599 Available
Wed Mar 21 2018 Tue Apr 3 2018 $6199 $5599 Available
Wed Apr 18 2018 Tue May 1 2018 $6199 $5599 Available
Sat May 12 2018 Fri May 25 2018 $6299 $5699 Available
Wed Sep 12 2018 Tue Sep 25 2018 $6199 $5599 Available
Fri Sep 28 2018 Thu Oct 11 2018 $6299 $5699 Available
Fri Nov 16 2018 Thu Nov 29 2018 $6199 $5599 Available

Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates. Contact us about prices and availability.

Options & Fees

Beautiful Bhutan
Rooming selection
Double occupancy included
Single room supplement +$799
Bangkok Extension
Bangkok Extension
Oct 13 unavailable
All other departures +$299
Rooming selection
Double occupancy
Oct 13 unavailable
All other departures included
Single room supplement
Oct 13 unavailable
All other departures +$129

Flights & Departure Cities

Departure Airports
Los Angeles (LAX) included

This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.

Coming from somewhere else? Ask us about availability and prices for flights from other cities.

How to Make a Reservation

To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765. But first, check out our Before You Book section.

We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.

Deposit
Deposit $2000

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary

The itinerary below is a sample. Your actual itinerary may vary based on the specific Bhutanese festival or mock festival scheduled for your departure, listed below. For more information about a specific departure, please contact us.

  • Sep 22, 2017: Tamshing Festival (Sep 30, 2017) 
  • Oct 13, 2017: Mock Festival Celebration 
  • Nov 25, 2017: Choejam Festival (Dec 3, 2017)
  • Feb 24, 2018: Tangsibi Mani Festival (Mar 4, 2018)  
  • Mar 21, 2018: Talo Festival (Mar 27, 2018)  
  • Apr 18, 2018: Domkhar Festival (Apr 26, 2018) 
  • May 12, 2018: Mock Festival Celebration 
  • Sep 12, 2018: Tamshing Festival (Sep 20, 2018) 
  • Sep 28, 2018: Mock Festival Celebration 
  • Nov 16, 2018: Choejam Festival (Nov 24, 2018) 

Day 1: Depart USA

  • Your exotic journey to Bhutan begins this evening as you check in for your flight to Bangkok, via Taipei.

Day 2: En route

  • Cross the International Dateline and lose a day en route to Thailand. You will recover this day on the return portion of your trip

Day 3: Bangkok

Accommodations: 1 night Chatrium Riverside, BangkokIncluded meals: Dinner.

  • Late morning arrival in Bangkok, the bustling, captivating and fascinating capital of Thailand, situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River
  • Our representatives will meet you upon arrival, assist with passport and customs formalities, and transfer you to your hotel
  • Later, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant

Day 4: Bangkok, Paro & Thimphu

Accommodations: 2 nights Osel Hotel, Thimphu, Bhutan. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Transfer to the airport to continue your journey to Paro, Bhutan via Druk Air
  • After customs formalities, board your vehicle for the scenic drive to Thimphu

Paro Airport, BhutanFull Day Itinerary: Transfer to the airport to continue your journey to Paro, Bhutan via Druk Air. On a clear day, you may experience breathtaking aerial views of the Himalayas. A representative will greet you upon arrival at Paro International Airport.

After customs formalities, board your vehicle for the scenic drive to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city, passing through a bucolic landscape dotted with rice paddy fields, apple orchards, and quaint villages. Time permitting, enjoy a panoramic tour of Thimphu Valley upon arrival. Thimphu is situation at an elevation of 8,200 feet.

On your way to Thimphu, make a stop at the Tachogang Temple, built in the 15th century by Thangtong Gyalpo, builder of many iron bridges in Bhutan. After this visit, continue your drive to Thimphu.

Day 5: Thimphu

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Visit to the National Memorial Chorten and Dupthop Lhakhang Monastery
  • Learn about ancient Bhutanese healing practices at the traditional Medicine Institute
  • Observe the traditional royal silversmiths and papermakers at work with a visit Lungtenzampa

Local womanFull Day Itinerary: Your first full day in Bhutan begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, built in honor of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and the Dupthop Lhakhang Monastery. Continue to the National Library, a fascinating repository of numerous ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the city painting school where students are trained in the traditional art of painting Thangkhas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). Then, proceed to the traditional Medicine Institute to learn about ancient Bhutanese healing practices.

After lunch, visit Lungtenzampa, where you'll have the opportunity to observe the traditional royal silversmiths and papermakers at work. 

Return to town to visit the handicraft stores and stroll around the tiny capital city. Overnight at Hotel.

*Itinerary may differ depending on the day of the week. Kindly refer to your final documents for the confirmed itinerary.

Day 6: Thimphu & Punakha

Accommodations: 1 night Drubchhu Resort, Zhingkham Resort, or similar Punakha. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Scenic journey to the town on Punakha
  • Hike up a small hill to the Chimi Lhakhang
  • Visit to the Punakha Dzong fortress

Mountain view from PunakhaFull Day Itinerary: Today, drive to the town of Punakha, making scenic stops along the way. Take in sweeping, panoramic views of the snowcapped Himalayan mountain ranges at the Dochula Pass. Continue driving to Lobesa, where you'll hike up a small hill to the Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kunley, the great 14th century Yogi. Locals believe that this temple blesses women seeking fertility. Depending on time, lunch will be before or after the walk. Afterwards, proceed to the majestic Punakha Dzong. Situated between the Phochu and Mochu Rivers ("Male" and "Female" Rivers, respectively), this fortress is the most magnificent in all of Bhutan. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it served as the country's capital. Today, it houses the district administrative and judiciary offices as well as the winter home for Bhutan's spiritual leader, Je Khenpo, and the 600 monks of Thimphu and Punakha.

Day 7: Punakha & Trongsa

Accommodations: 1 night Yangkhil Resort, Trongsa. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Scenic drive to Trongsa
  • Climb through the semi-tropical vegetation to Pele Pass
  • View the Chendebji Chorten monument

Chendebji ChortenFull Day Itinerary: After a hearty breakfast early this morning, set out on the fabulous drive to Trongsa. Take in the breathtaking beauty and serenity of Bhutan's diverse, untouched flora and fauna along the way.
Thanks to its isolation, small population, mountainous terrain, and the national religion of Buddhism, which stresses the sanctity of all life, Bhutan has protected virtually all of its forests and wildlife. As a result, this tiny kingdom, in contrast to all of its neighbors, possesses the last truly intact, large-scale ecosystem in the Himalayas.

The Grey LangurClimb through the semi-tropical vegetation to Pele Pass (elevation of 10,989 feet), traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. From here, proceed through an alpine forest of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo to the Chendebji Chorten, a large 18th century Buddhist monument constructed by a Lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was believed to terrorize inhabitants of the valley. As you approach Trongsa, gaze in wonder at its huge fortress, or Dzong, that sits on a narrow promontory that juts out over the gorge of the Mangde River. The view from this Dzong extends for many miles, and in former times nothing could escape the vigilance of its watchmen. Check in at your resort hotel, offering superb views of the soaring mountains and majestic Dzong.

Day 8: Trongsa & Bumthang

Accommodations: 3 nights Yugharling Resort & Spa, Bumthang. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Visit the Trongsa Dzong
  • Drive to Taa Dzong 
  • Learn about Yathra weavings in the Tsungney village 

Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong, built in 1647 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. This Dzong was the source of many important historical events in making of Modern Bhutan. You will be dropped off at the junction in the road to the Bazaar and the Dzong, and walk from here to the Dzong. After the visit, drive to Taa Dzong, an ancient watchtower that is now a museum dedicated to the Kings of Bhutan. After lunch at the hotel, drive to Bumthang, crossing the Yotongla Pass into the first of four valleys of Bumthang known as Chumey. Stop at the Tsungney village to learn about Yathra weavings and continue to your hotel in the Chokhor Valley. Time permitting, stop at the Chamkhar Bazaar, from where you can walk back to the hotel after browsing the market.  

Day 9: Bumthang & Festival

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Bhutanese Festival
  • Visit the Kurjey Lhakhang
  • Cross the suspension bridge to Padmasambhava Lhakhang
  • Hike to Tamshing Lhakhang and to the Konchogsum Lhakhang

Festival dancerFull Day Itinerary: The festivities begin today as you attend the ongoing Bhutanese Festival. Celebrated annually, these ancient religious festivals serve as a spiritual revival and reminder of the connection between past, present, and future. Accompanied by blowing horns, booming drums, and clashing cymbals, monks and laypersons alike dress in brilliant costumes to perform spiritual dances and re-enact legendary events and moral vignettes in the courtyard of the Dzong. Crowds of people gather in their finest hand-woven dress, made of the brightly patterned cloth for which Bhutan is renowned, creating an intensely colorful and exciting atmosphere that has remained unchanged for centuries. Locals believe that dressing in their finest clothing is another form of offering to the deities that will bring them merit, luck and prosperity.

After lunch, your vehicle will drop you at the Kurjey Lhakhang. It is believed that in the eighth century Guru Padmasambhava had meditated here and subdued the local deity known as Shelging Karpo. Begin your hike from here crossing the suspension bridge and visit Padmasambhava Lhakhang. This is another Meditation site of Guru Padmasambhava. It was founded by Pema Lingpa in 15th century and was restored by the Grand Queen Mother of present King. Continue your hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in beginning of the 16th century by Saint Pema Lingpa. Next you will visit Konchogsum Lhakhang built in the 8th century. The Temple is famous for its bell, which bears an inscription from the eighth century. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10: Bumthang

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Scenic drive to Ura village
  • Visit the Ura Temple and then continue to the village of Ura
  • Lunch at the local village house with free time to explore

Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast set off on a scenic drive to Ura village, situated at 10,000 feet high above sea level. About 40-50 closely packed houses alongside cobblestone streets give the village a medieval atmosphere. En route, stop at Serthangla Pass for a view of the Ura Valley below. From here, hike downhill to visit the Ura Temple and then continue to the village of Ura making frequent stops to converse with the villagers and children. Enjoy lunch at a village house, then take time to explore the area. Afterwards, say goodbye to this beautiful village as you return to Bumthang.

Day 11: Bumthang & Paro

Accommodations: 2 nights Zhiwa Ling Hotel, Paro. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • This morning, transfer to the Bumthang airport for your short flight back to Paro
  • Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel, and if time permits, enjoy some afternoon sightseeing or shopping

Day 12: Paro

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Taktsang Monastery
  • Remainder of the day at leisure

Taktsang Monastery, BhutanFull Day Itinerary: After an early breakfast, depart for the spectacular Taktsang Monastery, a site believed to be the birthplace of Buddhism in Bhutan. The Monastery's moniker, which translates as "Tiger's Lair", refers to the tale of Guru Padmasambhava, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan and supposedly landed at this site on the back of a flying tiger. Completed in 1692, the monastery is perched on a cliff 2,300 feet above the Paro Valley. To view the monastery, you'll hike along a trail that climbs through a dense pine forest, where you'll see trees festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. After light refreshments at a rest stop along the way, continue hiking until you clearly see the remains of this magnificent 17th century monastery that sits high atop a sheer rock cliff. Descend the trail for lunch at the cafeteria. After lunch, continue your hike back to the Paro Valley to enjoy the balance of the day at leisure to explore the town.

Day 13: Paro & Bangkok

Accommodations: 1 night Chatrium Riverside, Bangkok. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • This morning your amazing Bhutanese journey comes to a close as you transfer to Paro International Airport for your flight to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Upon arrival, meet our representatives and transfer to your centrally located hotel for overnight

Day 14: Bangkok/USA

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Taipei, arriving later this evening
  • Or take advantage of your already included airfare and extend your stay in Bangkok

 

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • The high altitudes reached on this trip (Pele Pass reaches 10,989 feet above sea level) and the amount of walking involved, often on uneven terrain, require that you be in good physical condition to fully enjoy the trip. As there are several included hikes, we strongly suggest that you consult your physician if you have any concerns regarding your ability to handle these conditions.
  • We recommend to bring more than one pair of hiking boots/shoes and extra socks for your comfort during your trip.
  • During the festivals, it is customary for the Bhutanese people to wear their finest brightly colored clothing. We suggest to bring a colorful article of clothing to match the festival’s fervor. Itineraries will vary slightly depending on the festival.
  • Traveler’s will be staying in well rated and good quality 3, 4, and 5* hotels during their stay in Bhutan.

 

Bangkok Post-Tour Optional Extension

Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to extend your stay in Bangkok, Thailand's exotic bustling capital city. You'll return to the U.S. 2 days after the return dates shown above.

DAY 14: Bangkok

Accommodations: 2 nights Chatrium Riverside, Bangkok. Included Meals: Breakfast.

  • Day at leisure 

DAY 15: Bangkok

Included Meals: Breakfast.

  • Half day Bangkok sightseeing tour
  • Afternoon at leisure

Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, enjoy a half day of sightseeing the major landmarks of Bangkok. Begin the day with a visit to the Grand Palace, which for 150 years functioned as the home of the King and his court as well as the entire administrative seat of government. Within its grounds, you'll also visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) built to house a large Buddha image carved from a solid piece of green jadite (jasper). Continue to Wat Pho, Bangkok’s oldest temple, which is home to the magnificent reclining Buddha as well as the first school of traditional medicine and Thai massage, and is also regarded as Thailand’s first University. 

DAY 16: Bangkok/USA

Included Meals: Breakfast.

  • Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before transferring to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Taipei, arriving later this evening

Reviews

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I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for our wonderful trip to Thailand. We had a wonderful time. Everything about the trip exceeded our expectations, including our tour guide Audi. Without a doubt Audi was the most qualified and attentive tour guide we have ever had. He made what would have been a wonderful trip into a spectacular trip. We can't thank Friendly Planet and Audi enough for our trip of a lifetime.

Emily Brown, North Pembroke, MA

Before You Book

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