Bhutan tours
Across the Kingdom Private Journey

This private tour of the Kingdom of Bhutan is the ultimate immersion experience, traversing from Western Bhutan to the seldom visited far Eastern region of the country.

Bhutan Journey Overview

This journey is the ultimate immersion into the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, as we travel across the country ending our trip in India. We begin in Western Bhutan as we explore temples accessible only on foot, and hike to the famous Tiger's Nest Monastery. As legend has it, Guru Rinpoche meditated in the cave where the temple is now located after reaching it on the back of a flying tiger. We travel to the cultural heart of Bhutan and explore the fascinating culture and legends that pervade this beautiful valley. Continuing east, we explore areas of Bhutan that are seldom visited by western guests. This journey is truly a unique experience for those who are looking to take in all that is special about Bhutan.

Itinerary at a Glance

Bhutan tour map with Boundless JourneysDays 1-3: Our adventure begins after our dramatic flight into the Paro Valley. We explore this picturesque landscape and hike to the Tiger’s Nest monastery. Paro is also home to the national museum, the Paro Dzong, and many interesting shops where travelers can find local goods.

Days 4-5: A short drive brings us to the capital city of Thimphu. We explore its many interesting sites, and perhaps watch an archery tournament, enjoying Bhutan’s national sport. We hike to a remote hillside temple, and visit a craft school providing free skills-related education in the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan to local children.

Days 6-8: We make an early departure for our travel to Punakha, viewing 20,000-foot mountains along the way, and stopping for a hike to the temple of the Divine Madman. Our local guide spins tales of the unorthodox teachings of this legendary Buddhist master and poet. We also visit the Punakha Dzong, Bhutan’s most impressive fortress, and spend time hiking through remote villages while learning about the animistic traditions that villagers still practice.

Days 9-10: Exploration of the remote Phobjikha Valley and the small village of Gangtey. The spacious valley is excellent for hiking and full of opportunities to meet some of the locals.

Days 11-13: We travel a winding route to Trongsa where we visit the sprawling Trongsa Dzong. We then continue to the town of Jakar, our base for the coming days. Here we discover the heart of Bhutan and the sites of the Bumthang Valley as we hike through villages to hidden temples.  We also enjoy local culinary delicacies and take part in an evening of traditional song and dance.

Day 14: Today’s travels brings us to Mongar and through the Thrumshing-La pass at 12,870’, making this one of the most spectacular drives in the country.

Days 15-16: From Mongar we drive to Trashigang, the principal township of the largest and most populated district in the country. An excursion brings us to Trashiyangtse, once an important center because of its location on one of the ancient caravan routes. Trashiyangtse is now a rapidly growing town and the administrative center for this district.

Days 17-18: Our road from Trashigang brings us to many interesting sites, and ultimately descends to the plains passing through dense tropical forest full of teak, bamboo and ferns, before arriving in Samdrup Jongkhar. Located near the Indian border, we spend the night here before saying farewell to Bhutan and driving to Guwahati, the capital town of the northeastern Indian state of Assam, for your departure flight.

The Boundless Journeys Advantage

  • A passion for travel. Simply put, we love to travel, and that is woven into every one of our journeys.
  • Unique, award-winning itineraries. Our flexible, hand-crafted journeys have received accolades from the world's most revered travel publications.
  • Insider connections. There is simply no substitute for traveling with a knowledgeable insider.
  • Small groups. We tread softly, and our average group size is just 6-8 guests.
  • Flexibility to suit your travel style. We offer both small-group departures and Private Collection trips, so that you can choose which works best for you.
  • Customer service that goes the extra mile. There is no request that is too big – or too small – for our staff to handle.
  • Sustainability. We are committed to traveling responsibly – striving to preserve traditions and cultures around the world, and to protect fragile natural habitats.
Our tours often fill months in advance, and our maximum group size is smaller than most tour operators. It's very quick and easy to reserve a trip. Give us a call at 800-941-8010 or complete the online Reserve a Trip form. We will confirm your reservation with a $500 per person deposit, payable by check or credit card.
If you have any questions about the level of comfort, difficulty, or any activities included in this trip, please call Boundless Journeys at 800-941-8010, or Contact Us by e-mail. Our travel experts look forward to helping you choose the perfect adventure!

Group Size

1+ guests

Trip Rating

Description of Trip Ratings

Adventure travel may involve exotic destinations, varying levels of physical exertion, and activities that may be new to you. We want to make sure that you choose the adventure that's right for you from our many one-of-a-kind trips. Each trip is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest, and 5 being the most strenuous. A few of our trips have had a "+" added to the number, indicating something that falls in between. Our Trip Ratings may be found on the trip schedule and on our website. Our detailed itineraries provide additional information on what to expect on the trip you are considering (detailed itineraries are available by mail or e-mail; or you can find them on our website: We encourage you to call one of our travel experts with any questions or concerns that you may have. We are happy to assist you in selecting the most appropriate adventure for you.
Our easiest trips are generally hotel-based cultural and nature journeys that offer light activity. Walks and hikes (approximately 2 to 4 hours) are through gentle terrain with little elevation gain or loss. Altitude is not a factor on these tours. Other activities, such as snorkeling or sea kayaking, are optional. Examples: Galapagos Islands Cruise, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
Hotel nights and/or deluxe, safari-style camping. Walking, hiking (approximately 3 to 5 hours), kayaking, or other activities on most days. Trails and paths are through rolling countryside, with occasional steep trails with up to 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Many of our hotel-based walking trips are in this category. Examples: Tuscany & Umbria, Turkey, and Bhutan.
Hotel or inn-based hiking trips, that involve full day hikes (approximately 4 to 6 hours), mostly on unpaved trails and paths through hilly terrain with typical elevation gains and losses of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. There may be occasional steep sections of trail. Examples: Slovenia, Amalfi Coast, Spain.
Full day hikes (approximately 5 to 7 hours) through mountainous terrain with significant elevation gains and losses (2,000 to 3,000 feet). Terrain may be rugged with uneven footpaths. The average altitude is generally no more than 12,000 feet. Vehicle support is limited. These trips may involve some full-service camping or simple accommodations in remote locations. Examples: Tour du Mont Blanc, Peru Trek, Haute Route.
Full-day trekking (approximately 6 to 8 hours) through rugged mountainous terrain with steep climbs and descents and the following present: elevation gains and losses of as much as 4,000 feet, altitude that exceeds 12,000 feet, and rugged uneven footpaths with some exposure. These trips typically offer minimal to no vehicle support and include full-service camping in a remote setting.

Meeting Point

Paro, Bhutan

Departure Point

Guwahati, India

Traveling to and from

Most Convenient Airport for Arrival:
Indira Gandhi International Airport; New Delhi, India (airport code DEL).

Most Convenient Airport for Departure:
Guwahati International Airport; Guwahati, India (airport code GAU).

Meeting Place and Time:
Your Boundless Journeys guide will meet you at the Paro, Bhutan airport upon the arrival of your flight. Please be sure to be at the Druk Air (national airline of Bhutan) check-in counter two hours before your scheduled flight on Day 1 of our trip. The airline tickets from Delhi, India to Paro, Bhutan will be purchased in advance for you by Boundless Journeys. It may also be possible to fly into Bhutan from Bangkok, Thailand.

Departure Place and Time:
Guwahati, India; in time for the departure of your flight to Bangkok on Day 18 of your trip.

When to Reserve
It is important to reserve your trip early as the Bhutanese national airline has a strict ticketing policy and will only accept reservations with full payment for the ticket. Seats can only be confirmed upon receipt of your deposit, as well as the payment of $460 for these flights. Please contact our office with any questions regarding these important policies.

Development in Bhutan
Although visiting Bhutan in many ways is like stepping back in time and has been a longtime favorite of Boundless Journeys’ travelers for this reason, it is important to understand that this evolving society is also eager to keep pace in the modern world. While the government is approaching the development of their country with a sensitivity towards preserving the environment and culture, you can still expect to encounter some of the less positive signs of modernization. Some examples include: road construction projects that may hinder driving or cause noise and dust; litter in developed areas; and begging. We ask you to visit Bhutan with an open mind and leave any rigid expectations about the pristine nature of the country behind. It is important to embrace what you see and experience without judgment and recognize that Bhutan, just as any country, is struggling to be a part of this complex and rapidly changing world. We are confident that with this attitude, the Bhutan you experience will be a fascinating and memorable place.

Traveler’s Responsibility
Trip participants have certain responsibilities to both Boundless Journeys and your fellow travelers. This includes understanding the conditions described in the trip itinerary and making sure it is appropriate for your interests and abilities, based on a review of the trip ratings, consultation with Boundless Journeys’ staff, and perhaps your doctor. In addition, trip participants are responsible for preparing for a trip by undertaking the proper fitness training. At the guide’s discretion, a participant may be asked to leave the trip if the guide feels that the person’s further participation may be detrimental to the individual or to other trip participants. If you have any questions about the difficulty level of the trip you have chosen, please contact Boundless Journeys to speak with one of our Destination Managers.



Most hotels in Bhutan are of similar standards. Although the hotels cannot be compared to international standards, they are comfortable and offer all necessary facilities.

Nights 1, 2 & 3: Janka Resort
Paro, Bhutan

Nights 4 & 5: Hotel Druk
Thimphu, Bhutan

Nights 6, 7 & 8: Hotel Punatsangchu
, Bhutan

Nights 9 & 10: Hotel Dewachen
Gangtey, Bhutan

Nights 11, 12 & 13: Karma Tobden Mountain Lodge
, Bhutan

Night 14: Hotel Wangchuk
Mongar, Bhutan

Nights 15 & 16: Hotel Doejung
Trashigang, Bhutan

Night 17: Hotel TLT
Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan

Bhutan Detailed Itinerary

Arrival in Paro, Bhutan; explore Paro Valley sites

Walking – easy, 1-2 hours on local paths and dirt roads (please note that walking options may change depending on flight schedules).

Our flight into Bhutan provides spectacular views of the landscape as we approach the airport in the Paro Valley. The valley is a green bowl surrounded by jagged Himalayan mountains and forested hillsides, crossed by beautiful rivers, and dotted with medieval fortresses. The first thing that we notice as we disembark in Bhutan is the absence of noise and a feeling of peacefulness that is rare in most other Asian cities. The Paro Valley has kept its bucolic nature and is one of the most scenic valleys in Bhutan. The houses are considered to be among the most beautiful in the country, and Paro is believed to be one of the first valleys to have received the imprint of Buddhism in Bhutan. 
We are greeted with a warm Bhutanese reception over tea and then we set out on a walk that meanders through the countryside by farms and fields of rice, mustard, buckwheat, eggplant, and, of course, chilies (ubiqutious in Bhutan). Eventually our walk brings us to a road that leads to Kyichu Lhakhang. Kyichu Lhakhang, meaning “twin temples,” is believed to have been built in 659 AD by King Songtsen of Tibet, and reflects the introduction of Buddhism to Bhutan. The temple is one of 108 that were built throughout the Himalayas in one day in an effort to subdue a mighty ogress; it is still believed to hold her left foot in place.
We then make our way by vehicle to the National Museum (closed on weekends and holidays), housed in the round, multi-storied Ta Dzong, built in 1775. The Ta Dzong was once the watchtower for the massive Paro Dzong, built in the 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The museum’s collection includes ancient artifacts, weapons, a collection of antique thangkha (painted or embroidered religious pictures), textiles, and stamps.
We then head (either by foot or vehicle, depending on timing) to the valley’s magnificent Rinpung Dzong. If we are fortunate we may have the opportunity to explore within the dzong’s mighty walls. However, if the Administrative Body is in session, we must admire from the outside.
We return to our lodge and relax with an orientation meeting and welcome dinner of Bhutanese cuisine.
Janka Resort, Paro

*Please note museums are closed on weekends and holidays.

Cheli la pass to Kila Gompa

Hiking - moderate, 2-3 hours on hiking trails and dirt roads with 1,300’ elevation loss (highest elevation: 12,500’).

The day’s adventure starts early as we set out on a road that climbs almost 5,000’ above Paro’s valley floor to Cheli La (12,500’). Towards the end of our scenic hour and a half journey, we emerge from the blue pine and rhododendron forest into windswept highlands favored by yaks. Here, we’ll enjoy a view of Himalayan wild flowers, with fields of azaleas, edelweiss, and perhaps even the famous blue poppy at certain times of the year. If the weather is clear, we’ll enjoy tantalizing glimpses of some of Bhutan’s highest peaks. Upon reaching the pass, western Bhutan appears before us, with its unspoiled Haa valley, the mountains of Sikkim to the west, Mt. Chomolhari and Tibet to the north, and the patchwork fields of the Paro Valley to the east. 

Leaving the prayer-flag-swathed col and our vehicle behind, we strike off along the ridge, passing through meadows, before re-entering forests of larch, spruce, hemlock, fir and rhododendron. After a little under two hours, we see the Kila Gompa, seemingly suspended in rock crags. Home to approximately 30 nuns, this place has served as a retreat for meditation since the 9th century. Kila means “spiritual dagger,” and a visit to the temple is often thought to tame the negative emotions of anger, ignorance, and greed. 
Following our visit and picnic lunch, we head downhill on a dirt road that winds through conifers and rhododendrons, catching occasional glimpses back to Cheli La. After about 45 minutes, we arrive at our private vehicle to return to Paro. Along the way, if time allows, we’ll break our journey with a short walking detour to Dzongdrakha Gompa and its fine stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist monument). This rocky aerie is the site of the annual local Paro dromoche (masked dances), the precursor to the grander Paro Tsechu, or festival. Here, we may also have the opportunity to see some local residents: the Grey Langur monkey.
Returning some time in the mid to late afternoon, there will be the chance to relax or explore the Paro market before dinner. 
Janka Resort, Paro

Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery

Hiking – moderate, 4-5 hours (4.5 miles) on hiking trails with 1,650’ elevation gain (highest elevation: 10,171’).

This morning we enjoy a hike to the famous cliffside hermitage called Taktsang - “Tiger’s Nest” - a monastic retreat built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro Valley.  Our hike begins on the valley floor and is a steady uphill climb on a wide hiking trail that switchbacks through pine forests, with glimpses of Tiger’s Nest along the way. We pass water-powered prayer wheels and mani stones (sacred stone walls with Buddhist prayers etched into them), as well as a shrine where a high lama was supposedly born - all reminders that this is not just a hike, but a spiritual pilgrimage for many.

As we near the monastery, we stop by a small teahouse for snacks and tea and take in our first up-close view of Taktsang. From here our hiking trail levels out for a short while, before we begin climbing down steps and cross a bridge, eventually leading us to this most impressive sacred site.

Legend has it that the Tibetan Buddhist saint, Padmasambhava, flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. Entry into the monastery feels like stepping back in time and we have the chance to visit several shrines that comprise the temple complex. During our exploration, our guide brings Tiger’s Nest to life with the tales of Buddhism that make this one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in all of Bhutan.

After a trailside picnic lunch, we return to the valley floor, where our vehicle and driver meets us for our drive back to our hotel. If time allows, we will visit the Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. This dzong was built in 1649 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders, and sits at the point where the trail from Tibet enters the Paro valley. Bhutan’s dzongs are perhaps the most visibly striking aspect of the kingdom, and these huge citadels dominate the landscape of the major towns and act as the administrative headquarters for their respective regions. If we are lucky and the weather is clear, we may have the opportunity to view the sacred Mt. Chomolhari (23,977’), which lies along the border of Tibet and Bhutan.

We have some time this afternoon to unwind and relax after our hike. There will be the option to stroll the Paro market, or you can simply rest at the hotel before dinner.
Janka Resort, Paro


Transfer to Thimphu; Explore city sites

Walking - easy, 1-2 hours on city streets.

After a leisurely breakfast we say farewell to the Paro Valley and transfer to Thimphu. Our drive passes through idyllic countryside, with villages and fields on either side of the road. En route we visit the Semtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortresses in the country, which now houses the Institute for Language and Cultural Studies.

Before becoming Bhutan’s official national capital in 1961, Thimphu was simply a rural farming valley. Small and secluded, Thimphu is unlike any other capital in the world. The city is quiet and there are still only a few streets, no traffic lights, and none of the traffic problems that can be common to other Asian cities. 

Thimphu is a city ideally explored on foot, and our walk today takes us to many interesting sights. Before the day is through, we may visit the newly built National Textile Museum, the Thimphu Dzong (seat of the government and main monk body), the School of Traditional Arts and Crafts, the Heritage Museum, and the Handicrafts Emporium, displaying the rich traditional crafts of the kingdom. 
During the afternoon there is time for walking, relaxing, or searching for the perfect traditional weaving in a Thimphu handicraft shop. Beautiful weavings in wool, silk and cotton, basketwork, silver jewelry, thangkas, and other traditional crafts of the Kingdom are available in various shops. 

We conclude our day with a dinner at a favorite restaurant in Thimpu.
Hotel Druk, Thimphu

*Please note museums  and schools are closed on weekends and holidays.

Cheri Goemba and the Choki School of Arts

Hiking – easy to moderate, about 2 hours (3 miles) on local paths and hiking trails with 1,300’ elevation gain and 1,300’ elevation loss (highest elevation: 9,186’); additional optional hiking available.

This morning a short drive through the countryside surrounding Thimphu brings us to the boundary of Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest protected area in the country. The park is home to several endangered species, including: the takin, snow leopard, blue sheep, tiger, red panda, and the Himalayan black bear. More than 300 species of birds have been catalogued within the park.

Our walk begins from the small village of Dodena. The trail starts by crossing a covered bridge over the Wang Chu, and climbs steadily on switchback trails to Cheri Goemba, a small monastery perched on the hill with a view of the Thimphu Valley. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built this monastery in 1620, and this is where the first community of monks in Bhutan was established. The monastery is considered very sacred, as it contains the ashes of Tempi Nima, the father of the first Shabdrung of Bhutan, and beautiful frescoes of Buddhist saints. 

After our visit to the monastery, we descend on the same route, keeping our eyes open for the goral (wild goat) that are often spotted on the cliffs nearby. Back at the village of Dodena, we follow a riverside trail via Begana to Cabesa, home to the Choki School of Arts (closed on weekends and holidays). The Choki School is private and provides free, skills-related education in the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan to Bhutanese children who are unable to complete their formal education. After visiting the school, we continue along the riverside trail, passing through small rural villages before returning to Thimphu.
This evening before dinner, we will enjoy a Bhutanese cultural teaching delivered by an expert from Thimpu.
Hotel Druk, Thimphu

Transfer to Punakha; (approximately 3 hours*); Temple of the Divine Madman

Walking – easy, 1-2 hours on local paths with 131’ elevation gain (highest elevation: 4,921’).

This morning, after an early breakfast, we say goodbye to Thimpu and transfer to the Punakha Valley, our home for the next two nights. The road to Punakha crosses the Dochula Pass (10,230’), offering a great view of the eastern Himalayan mountains. From the pass, our road descends through magnificent pine and rhododendron forests, and wanders through some of Bhutan’s most picturesque countryside.

On the road to Punakha we stop in a small village where a short walk brings us to Chime Lhakang, a temple dedicated to the Lama Drukpa Kunley. Drukpa Kunley is one of Bhutan’s favorite saints, and is more commonly known as the “Divine Madman.” He traveled throughout Bhutan and Tibet using songs, humor, and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings, believing that the stiffness of the clergy and social conventions were keeping people from learning true Buddhism. This site is still believed to hold fertility powers for women wanting to conceive. 
Hotel Punatsangchu, Wangduephodrang

*Estimated based on actual driving times. The total transfer time may be longer when taking rest stops, road constuction or other unanticipated delays into account.

Khamsung Yuely Namgyel temple to Punakha Dzong

Hiking – easy to moderate, 3-4 hours on local paths with 656’ elevation gain (highest elevation: 4,921’).

Following breakfast and a drive through the Punakha Valley, we begin our walk by first ascending a series of switchbacks to the Khamsung Yuely Namgyel Temple. From this modern temple, we are afforded grand views of the Mo Chu River Valley below. We then descend from the temple and follow a well-worn path down the valley through rice fields and small villages. Along the way we are rewarded with stunning views – the terraced rice paddies providing an exotic backdrop to the river below.

After enjoying a picnic lunch alongside the river, we continue our walk to the Punakha Dzong. Constructed in 1637, the Punakha Dzong was the second of Bhutan’s dzongs and for many years it served as the seat of the government. Today it is the home to Bhutan’s spiritual leader, the Chief Abbot Je Khempo, who resides here with 1,000 monks during the winter months due to Punakha’s relatively low altitude by Himalayan standards (4,000’). From this spectacular dzong we can look back to see the Khamsung Yuely Namgyel Temple perched on the hillside far in the distance. 
A short walk from the dzong takes us to our waiting transportation to bring us back to our hotel for the evening.
Hotel Punatsangchu, Wangduephodrang

Limbukha Village Day Hike

Hike – easy to moderate, 3-4 hours on trails.

Today’s hike begins from the narrow suspension bridge at the Punakha Dzong and follows farmhouses, while gradually climbing towards the Dompala hills. We are afforded superb views of Punakha Dzong and surrounding villages as we climb through the pine forests, to Limbukha Village.

Limbukha farmers grow Bhutan’s famous red rice, which is well known for its health-giving properties. This particular rice requires mountain spring water to maintain its nutritional value and taste. Limbukha is also known for its peace and tranquility. According to a legend, during the medieval wars, the “Limpus” (people of Limbukha) always volunteered their services as negotiators for peace. Their traditional role is honored on the last day of Punakha’s annual religious festival, when Limbukha men take part in the procession out from the dzong, carrying flags of peace, rather than weapons of war.

Following our hike, we have the special opportunity to visit the Nalanda Buddhist Institute, just outside of Punakha. There we meet the resident monks and learn about their lives. There is the option to take an introductory mediation class for those who wish to do so (please note that this may also take place in the morning, depending on the monastery’s schedule for the day).
Hotel Punatsangchu, Wangduephodrang

Transfer to Gangtey (approximately 4 hours*); Gangtey Nature Trail 

Hiking – easy, around 1.5 hours on local paths and hiking trails with 656’ elevation gain (highest elevation: 9,843’).

After breakfast we depart Punakha, stopping at Wangduephodrang on our way to Gangtey. We visit the dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the dzong is remarkable as it completely commands an impressive view both up and down the valley. The Wangdue district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate which is mined up a valley a few miles from the town.
Our drive continues up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha Valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan (approximately 9840’). Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and is the chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. 
We stretch our legs on the Gangtey Nature Trail soon before arriving at our destination. This trail is considered one of the most beautiful nature trails in Bhutan. The hike starts from the mani stone wall to the north of the Gangtey Goemba and ends in Khewa Lhakhang. We meander through pine and bamboo forests, and gain excellent views of the remote Phobjkha valley, where we may catch a glimpse of Black Neck Cranes which have recently made their journey from Tibet.
Before arriving at our hotel for dinner, we also may visit the Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.
Hotel Dewachen, Gangtey

*Estimated based on actual driving times. The total transfer time may be longer when taking rest stops, road constuction or other unanticipated delays into account.

DAY 10
Longtey hike in Phobjikha Valley

Hiking– moderate, 3-4 hours on local paths and hiking trails with an 1,312’ elevation gain (highest elevation: 12,139’).
If you are looking for a picturesque hike through some of the most beautiful parts of Phobjikha, this is the one. The starting point is in Longtey village and the path begins on a downward slope, leading us through bush bamboo towards a small cluster of village houses. There are beautifully colored rhododendron forests on both sides of the valley, and in the winter months, yaks graze in the area.

We continue straight through the village, heading uphill until we reach the start of an old-growth rhododendron forest. For the next two hours or so, we are surrounded by these majestic trees.The last part through the forest is a slightly steeper uphill section until we reach the pass with impressive views of Gangtey Goemba and the rest of the valley. This is a nice place for lunch before continuing on the path as it slopes down the valley towards Kumbu village.

From here we return to Gangtey Gompa, where we are picked up by our vehicle and transferred by road to our hotel.
Hotel Dewachen, Gangtey

DAY 11
Transfer to Jakar via Trongsa (approximately 6 hours)*

Our road to the east, and the district of Bumthang, is an incredible feat of engineering following Himalayan ridges and valleys towards the cultural heartland of Bhutan. A winding and twisting route via the Pele La brings us to Trongsa, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s current royal dynasty, the Wangchuks. We pass the sprawling Trongsa Dzong, perhaps the most impressive dzong in the Kingdom, and one of the most magnificent works of traditional Bhutanese architecture. Given its strategic location high above the Mande Chhu, it is often described as being perched so high on a mountain that clouds float below it. After driving over Yotung La, we descend to the Bumthang Dzongkag (district) and the town of Jakar, our base for the coming days.

The Bumthang region encompasses four major valleys: Choskhor, Tang, Ura, and Chhume. The dzongs and the most important temples are in the large Choskhor Valley, commonly referred to as the Bumthang Valley. Different from most other valleys in Bhutan, Bumthang is broad and ideal for walkers and hikers. There are numerous Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites to explore, making it the cultural and historic center of the country. It would be difficult to find as many important temples and monasteries in such a small area anywhere else in Bhutan, and almost every little valley or hill has its own background of interesting myths and legends about kings, Buddhist masters, and serpents.

While in Bumthang, we visit many of the valley’s significant sites. Among them is Kurjey Lakhang, where Guru Rimpoche came in the 8th century to settle issues with feuding local rulers. With a flash of his magic, the guru resolved the conflict and converted everyone to Buddhism, leaving his body imprint on the rock for which Kurjey Lhakhang is named. The Kurjey Lhakhang temple complex is made up of three buildings, and the body imprint of the guru can be seen in the first and oldest of the temples, built in 1652.

In the evenings we sample local specialties such as buckwheat noodles and pancakes, locally produced Swiss-style cheese, fresh apple juice, and a delicious home-made wheat beer.
Bumthang Mountain Lodge, Jakar

*Estimated based on actual driving times. The total transfer time may be longer when taking rest stops, road constuction or other unanticipated delays into account.

DAY 12
Pasaling Gompa Hike and Kurje to Tamshing hike

Hiking –moderate, approximately 3-4 hours.
Today’s hike begins with a gradual climb through blue pine forest, where along the way, we visit a Pasaling Lhakhang (sacred temple) which overlooks the beautiful valley of Bumthang. Along the route, we are granted breathtaking views of the valley and large species of flora and fauna.

Following a picnic lunch, we embark on a hike from Kurje temple. The trail leads over a suspension bridge and towards Choekhortoe village and the Tamshing area, where we visit the Dorjibi weaving centre. We enjoy passing through the pastoral landscape consisting of farmer’s fields and farmhouses. We are greeted by the villagers working their daily routine in the fields.

Eventually, we reach Tamshing Lhakhang from where one can get a perfect view of Kurje lhakhang on the opposite hill where we began.
Bumthang Mountain Lodge, Jakar

DAY 13
Excursion to Tang Valley; Ugyen Choling Hike and Burning Lake

Hiking – easy to moderate, approximately 2-3 hours.
Today we explore further in Bumthang district with an excursion to the stunningly beautiful Tang Valley. This seldom visited valley offers a treat in revealing some off the beaten track monasteries and the amazing museum at Ugyen Chhoeling Palace. A fairly short hike takes us up to this well maintained Palace and its cultural treasures inside. Along the way we stop for a traditional picnic with breathtaking views of the pristine surroundings.

We then make a visit Tang Mebartsho (Burning lake), where a famous reincarnated lama, Terton Pema Lingpa, is supposed to have discovered a religious treasure in the 12th century. This lake is very sacred and is visited by many Bhutanese during auspicious days to offer butter lamps. The importance of the site is indicated by the extensive array of prayer flags and it is considered one of the most holy places for Buddhist pilgrimage in Bhutan.
Bumthang Mountain Lodge, Jakar

DAY 14
Bumthang to Mongar (approximately 6 hours*)

Your journey continues eastwards, winding through more rugged terrain. The drive to Mongar takes about six hours, with spectacular views en route. We drive up into the hills above the valley and then past Ura village, before climbing sharply to the highest point on Bhutan’s road network, Thrumsing-La pass (13,125’). From here, the road gradually descends to the alpine valley of Sengor, with wonderful views of cascading waterfalls and the hills of eastern Bhutan along the way. The vegetation changes from alpine to subtropical with the loss of height, and bamboo and luxuriant ferns overhang the road as we drop down to the valley floor. Our descent ends at 2,300’, where we cross the Kuri Chu (river). We ascend again through pine forests, maize fields, and eastern hamlets to reach Mongar town, high on a gentle slope above the valley. We visit the Mongar Dzong, built in the 1930’s and one of Bhutan’s newest dzongs. It was constructed in the traditional ways of previous dzongs, without plans or the use of nails.
Hotel Wangchuk, Mongar

*Estimated based on actual driving times. The total transfer time may be longer when taking rest stops, road constuction or other unanticipated delays into account.

DAY 15
Mongar to Trashigang (approximately 3 hours*)

The first part of our journey today is through leafy forest filled with ferns. After driving through the Kori-La pass (8,040’), marked by a pretty chorten and a Mani stone wall, we descend rapidly through corn fields and banana groves to reach the famous curves in the road just below Yadi, a recent and now fast-growing settlement. After zigzagging down the hillside, the road east runs along the Gamri River. A short while later a turnoff on the left leads up to the Drametse (meaning ‘the peak where there is no enemy’) temple. The temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village, was founded by Choeden Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. This is the place of origin for the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums. Another twenty miles along our road lies Trashigang (3,610’), which clings to a steep hillside above the Gamri river. Trashigang is the principal township of the biggest and most populated district in the country.
After lunch, we visit Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of a rocky outcrop far above the river gorge. It serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the dzong is occupied by the local monastic community.
Hotel Doejung, Trashigang

*Estimated based on actual driving times. The total transfer time may be longer when taking rest stops, road constuction or other unanticipated delays into account.

DAY 16
Trashigang; excursion to Trashiyangtse

After breakfast we visit the temple of Gom Kora, set on a small alluvial plateau, overlooking the river. Gom Kora is a famous place, as Guru Rinpoche is said to have subdued a demon here, trapping it in a rock. We continue down the road to Doksum village, where we see women busily weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric, and a chain-link swing bridge dating back to the 15th-century. The road turns into the hills here, running up the side of a winding river valley to Trashiyangtse. In former times, Trashiyangtse was an important center because it lies on one of the caravan routes leading from western and central Bhutan.

Trashiyangtse is now a rapidly growing town and the administrative center for this district. The area is famous for its wooden containers and bowls, which make memorable souvenirs of a visit to this remote region. We visit Trashiyangtse Dzong, which overlooks the town and was built in the late 1990’s when the new district was created. We will also visit the dazzling white stupa of Chorten Kora on the riverbank below the town, and the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. In the evening we return to Trashigang.
Hotel Doejung, Trashigang

DAY 17
Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar (approximately 6 hours*)

Our journey to the Indian border takes about six hours. Along the way, we pass by Sherubtse College in Kanglung, which was founded in 1978 and is a degree-granting institution affiliated with the University of Delhi. We also visit the nearby Zangtho Pelri temple representing Guru Rinpoche’s paradise, built in 1978 by the late Minister of Home Affairs. We then drive on to Khaling, home of the National Institute for the Disabled and the Weaving Center. Visits to these may be arranged by prior request only, before leaving Thimphu (please let your guide know while in Thimphu if you are interested). 
From here, it is a further 50 miles to Deothang, which is remembered in history as the site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the Duar Wars, in which the forces of Jigme Namgyal defeated the British. The road then descends fairly rapidly to the plains through dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo, and ferns.
Hotel TLT, Samdrup Jongkhar

*Estimated based on actual driving times. The total transfer time may be longer when taking rest stops, road constuction or other unanticipated delays into account.

DAY 18
Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati, India (approximately 3 hours*)

After breakfast we say farewell to Bhutan and drive to Guwahati, the capital town of the northeastern Indian state of Assam, for your departure flight.

*Estimated based on actual driving times. The total transfer time may be longer when taking rest stops and road constuction into account.

Trip Length

18 Days

Upcoming Trips:

On request from September-November and March-mid June

Prefer a group departure?
Africa | Asia | Europe | Latin America | South Pacific

2016 Private Collection Land Cost

From $6,595 per person

1-2 Guests: $6,995 per person
3+ Guests: $6,595 per person

Single Supplement


View Single Supplement Policy

Single Supplements:

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

*This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Please see these trip pages for more details.

Internal Airfare

$425 (Bangkok-Paro one-way; subject to change)

View Internal Airfare Description

New Delhi, India to Paro, Bhutan

What's Included

  • All meals included
  • Private guide throughout
  • All accommodations
  • All transportation during the tour
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary
  • Bhutanese visa fees and departure taxes

Please complete the following information to request a reservation. A trip deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your reservation (payable by check or major credit card). Once we receive your request we will contact you within one business day to confirm availability and answer any questions you may have.

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About our guides
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work – the mark of a truly great leader – our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own.

Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

Featured Guides

Dawa Tashi: Dawa has led a variety of Boundless Journeys tours, from treks in the mountains to festival celebrations in the valleys. His local knowledge and amicable personality make him a real treasure to have on the trail. Whether hiking at high altitude or exploring local towns in the lowlands, Dawa ensures that our guests come away with an outstanding experience, providing them with a  a deep appreciation of his country and culture.

Kinley Tshering: Kinley (or Kelly, as he is known among his Bhutanese coworkers) joined our local staff of guides after completing extensive training in 2006, and has led many tours for Boundless Journeys, becoming a favorite among our guests. Very friendly and down to earth, Kinley is extremely knowledgeable and always determined to make your trip special.


Bhutan Tour Guide - Leki Puntsok - Boundless JourneysLeki Phuntsho: Leki is a well-educated local guide who has lived his whole life in Bhutan and who currently resides just outside of Thimphu. He completed his extensive Guide Training from the Tourism Council of Bhutan in 2006, and enjoys trekking when not leading guests on cultural tours of his homeland. With his infectious love and passion for the country, Leki carries the adventurous spirit of a true Bhutanese guide. Very friendly and down to earth, Leki is always determined to make your trip special.

What other guests have said about our guides in Bhutan:

“It is truly impossible for me to express in words my gratitude and appreciation for the professionalism, dedication, and hard work of your team in Bhutan. Dawa was so accommodating and flexible throughout the entire tour. He certainly went out of his way to make sure the experience in Bhutan was both memorable and enjoyable for everyone in the group.” – S.G., East Rochester, NY

“Dawa was excellent, especially on the walks and hikes; very helpful. He was also extremely knowledgeable about Buddhism. We were very fortunate to have Dawa!” – S. M., Cambridge, MA

“Kinley Tshering was the most amazing guide. I have traveled to many places around the globe and been around a lot of guides. Kinley is truly outstanding. His patience, knowledge and good humor made every day special for us. He never tired to explain details to us or find a cup of tea. He is full of life and his love for his country showed greatly.” – G.M., Baltimore, MA

“Kinley was amazing in his knowledge and command of English in order to pass along information. If someone mentioned one thing or asked a question about something, he incorporated that into the next day’s activity or found it for us. For example, we had read about how incense is made and about momos in the DrukAir magazine on the flight over. We mentioned those things to Kinley and sure enough he found a small incense manufacturer for us to visit and made sure we had plenty of momos!” – G. M., Greenwich, CT

Ask a Question about our Private Collection Trips

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Picture Yourself Here:

Meeting warm and welcoming Bhutanese people and learning about a devout Buddhist culture

Exploring temples and monasteries that are accessible only on foot

Discovering an area of Bhutan that is seldom visited by western guests

Hiking through dramatic scenery with spectacular river valleys, snow-capped sacred mountains, terraced rice fields, and striking architecture

Upcoming Trips:

On request from September-November and March-mid June

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Prefer a group departure:

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spain walking tour"This trip was the perfect blend of fascinating history, stunning scenery, exhilarating hiking, contemporary Spanish and Basque culture, and delicious meals with excellent Rioja wines."
- Katharine Svenson, Spain: Vintage Rioja

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