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The Land of the Thunder Dragon

Best time to travel
Oct – May
Ideal length
9 nights
Perfect for
Couples

At a glance

  • International return flights from Dublin to Paro.
  • All private transfers, internal flights and guiding requirements.
  • 9 nights’ handpicked accommodation in Paro, Zele Dzong, Tshaluna Village, Thimphu and Punakha.
  • Experiences include hiking between the valley's of Paro & Thimphu on the Tsaluna Trek and the famous Tiger's Nest Monastery, plus guided visits to the Winter residence of the monks, the Punakha Dzong.
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Introduction

The royal kingdom of Bhutan has a lot to offer. From elegant dzongs (fortresses), religious monasteries to thrills of adventure like white water rafting, long and short family trekkings, Bhutan is a country that should definitely be on your list. This suggested itinerary is ideal for a first-time visitor to Bhutan, experiencing all the must-see highlights of Bhutan with your own exclusive driver and guide. Through this nine night itinerary, we have included stops for you in Thimphu, trekking to Tshaluna Village, Punakha and Paro for a great first taste of this incredible country.

Trip Overview

Depart from Dublin to Paro.
On arrival in Bhutan, you will be met by your private guide and driver and set off on your adventure starting in Paro. You’ll spend two nights in a beautiful handpicked property. Paro contains a wealth of things to see and do, and of course the fabulous Tigers Nest Monastery which you can walk to the following day.
Enjoy a guided visit to the Tigers Nest Monastery.
It involves a steep 800-metre ascent, but there are numerous rest-stops on the way and your reward is amazing when you see the monastery at close range. Enjoy the wonderful scenery as you walk through pine forests that are colourfully decorated with moss and prayer flags.
Taktsang Monastery
With your guide, visit the main Dzong, the National Museum and the Drukgyel Dzong.
We can, of course, tailor your itinerary to include a little more walking or more of a focus on history and culture. All that remains of the Dzong now are tokens of a haunted house, still robust walls and charred remains of gigantic wooden posts and beams.
Paro River & Dzong View
Your guided trekking adventure begins!
You will be privately transferred to the trek starting point at Dopshare (2300m). The trek trail is a somewhat gradual climb until you reach the camp. If the weather is clear, the Paro valley can be seen with Mt. Jhomolhari at 7314m and the snowcapped mountains behind the valley. You’ll overnight in a deluxe camp.
Jomolhari Mountains
Next, it’s time to trek to Tshaluna Village.
After breakfast, descend through beautiful rhododendrons and conifers leading our way through the meadows and into Tshaluna village. With your guide, you’ll walk through the village and mingle with the local lifestyle of the villagers. You’ll overnight in a deluxe camp.
Village Festival Onlookers
To end your excursion, you’ll trek to Jemina.
After breakfast, descend through the beautiful meadows in the valley of Tshaluna until you reach Jemina. Then you will be privately transferred to Thimphu where you’ll spend two nights.
Monks in Thimphu, Bhutan
In Thimphu, visit Tashichho Dzong with your private guide.
This dzong is an impressive building also known as ‘the fortress of the Dharma Raja’. It has traditionally been the seat of the Druk Desi, the head of Bhutan’s civil government. The Thimphu festival occurs in September, and if you are here at the weekend, there is a fantastic market to visit.
Trashichho Dzong
With your guide, enjoy a visit to Thimphu Valley.
Visit the Motithang Mini Zoo where you can see the National animal, Takin, graze peacefully in a small protected park. Walk to the Zilukha Nunnery and then drive to the Tango Monastery for a picnic lunch. You’ll then hike to the monastery that takes about 45 minutes. It is a 13th-century structure and is home to about 150 monks studying Buddhist Philosophy and meditation.
Thimphu Dzong from distance
In the evening, visit the National Memorial Chorten.
All the buildings in Bhutan conform to national building principals and are beautifully carved and decorated. You’ll also drive to Buddha point to enjoy the incredible views of the Thimphu Valley.
Buddha Point
Next, head to Punakha, which is about a three-hour drive from Thimphu.
This drive takes you over the Dochu-la Pass from where you should see some dramatic views of the high snow-capped Himalayan peaks. You’ll spend the next two nights in a handpicked property.
Punakha, Bhutan
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided visit to Chimi Lhakhang.
Situated on a hill in the centre of the valley, this temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as ‘Divine Madman’. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility.
Chimi Lakhang, Punakha
You will also have the opportunity to visit Punakha Dzong.
Built in 1637, Punakha Dzong now serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the central monastic body.
Punakha Dzong cantilever bridge
It’s time to hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten.
This is an uphill walk through the rice fields. It stands majestically on a strategic ridge above the Punakha valley. Built over a period of 9 years, Bhutanese craftsmen including carpenters, painters, and sculptors consulted holy scriptures rather than engineering manuals, to construct this 4-storey temple. It is a splendid example of Bhutan’s fine architectural and artistic traditions. This hike takes around 1.5 hours.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
From Punakha, you will be transferred back to Paro.
With your guide along the way, you’ll visit the Memorial Chorten, a large Tibetan-style Buddhist Monastery, the National Library of Bhutan, The Folk Heritage Museum. You’ll spend your final night here before you fly home.
Paro, Bhutan
Enjoy a visit to the Simtokha Dzong.
According to a legend, Simtokha Dzong was constructed to subdue an evil spirit, that was harassing the people in the region, and to guard the place. Simtokha is believed to be the first dzong built in Bhutan and is the gateway to Thimphu Valley.
Simtokha Dzong, Thimphu
Try your hand at archery!
As it is the national sport of Bhutan, we couldn’t let you leave without enjoying an archery lesson at your hotel.
Archery
Depart from Para for your flight home.
Arrive in Dublin.

Tailoring your holiday

OROKO Itineraries are created with you in mind and no two are the same. These can be used to help plan your trip - or we can design a completely different itinerary to suit you.

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Accommodation

Where to rest your head

Looking for the best accommodation? We've got the contacts

Bhutan-Spirit-Sanctuary

Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary

Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary is an upscale mountainside retreat tucked into the hills of the Paro Valley. It offers luxury accommodation just outside of Paro and centres on an understanding of Buddhism, Bhutanese culture and well-being. A ‘well-being inclusive’ hotel, the property offers a number of programmes and experiences including yoga, meditation,  meetings with monks and local interactions as well as cookery class, hiking, archery and cultural visits. There is also a well equipped spa which offers the traditional therapies such as massages and is conceived of as a place to really come to understand one’s physical and spiritual ailments.

The-Postcard-Dewa

The Postcard Dewa

The Postcard Dewa is newly built, a 15-key hotel in Bhutan with hilltop views of Thimphu valley. It’s a 20-minute drive to the city and one of the world’s highest Buddha statues. The 13 rooms and two suites come with private sit-outs overlooking the forest. There’s fresh mountain trout and ema datshi on the menu. Soak up a traditional hot stone bath or swim in the temperature-controlled pool, hike up monasteries and take a picnic basket to Raidak River.

Dhensa-Boutique-Resort

Dhensa Boutique Resort

Located deep in the heart of the verdant Punakha Valley, Dhensa Boutique Resort offers a unique combination of contemporary design coupled with architecture the comes  straight from Bhutan’s ancient past. Interiors are spacious and designed to encapsulate the beauty of simplicity. Each of the 24 suites, set in six cottages, benefit from private balconies and bathrooms with tubs set against large French with stunning views.The spa is uniquely equipped with an outdoor wood-fired bath as well as a steam room and a sauna with a window overlooking the forestry. Treatments use hand-blended oils for the ultimate in revival.

What people are saying

“We have planned several family holidays with OROKO. They always provide us with several creative options and ideas. OROKO are always efficient, creative and offer excellent service. Things always change and they are helpful in all aspects to solve problems effectively and patiently.”

Liam & family – Mallorca, Aug 2018 | Switzerland, Aug 2019 | Maldives, Dec 2019

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