Bhutan Guided Walking Holiday

The Punakha Dzong
Duration: 12 nights
Type: Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade: 2

Trek along rolling Himalayan pathways, visit the National Memorial Chorten and explore the legendary clifftop monastery of Taktsang. Explore Punakha, Paro and Thimpu – one of the world’s quietest capital cities – and discover the scenic and enchanting Haa Valley.

Holiday Highlights

  • Experience fascinating culture and history of Bhutan, closed off for centuries
  • Walk in marvellous Himalayan scenery, past historic forts (dzongs) and monasteries in dramatic locations
  • Walk up to the spectacular Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery, clinging to the cliff face
  • Explore the interesting towns of Punakha, Paro and Thimpu, one of the world’s quietest capitals

What’s included

  • 12 nights’ accommodation in en-suite rooms 
  • Full board from dinner on arrival to breakfast on day of departure
  • A full programme of guided walks led by local guides and an HF Holidays’ leader
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Travel by coach/minivan
  • Return flights between Kathmandu and Paro with Druk air
  • Tips

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Fly to Kathmandu via Delhi, and transfer to the hotel for 1 night. 

Hotel Malla, Kathmandu - Bhutan

In Kathmandu we stay at the Hotel Malla at the the beginning and end of the holiday. This 4-star hotel is centrally located in the Thamel area of the city.


Take a spectacular flight over the Himalayas to Paro: on a clear day, some of the highest Himalayan peaks can be seen. On arrival, drive to Bhutan’s laid back capital Thimpu for 2 nights. Depending on flight times, we may have time to explore Thimpu and visit the Takin Sanctuary. If this is not possible, we will try to fit this in tomorrow.


The following day enjoy a walk to the Tango Monastery, otherwise known as the 'Divine Madman' monastery. Visit the Folk Heritage Museum and the National Library of Bhutan, and enjoy an evening visit to Taschichho Dzong, Bhutan's most impressive building, and a short walk to the Big Buddha Statue, known locally as Kunsel Phodrang.

 


We drive to Punakha valley via the Dochula Pass (10499ft/3200m). Weather permitting, there are some great views of the Eastern Himalayan range from here. You'll pass 108 stupas donated by the Queen for the wellbeing of the country and visit a royal chapel, Druk Wangyel Ihakhang.
From the Pass, we'll hike to the Lungchusey gompa for 360 degree views of the surrounding mountain panoramas before returning to Dochula and continuing to Punakha, where we stay for 1 night.


We drive to the Phobjikha Valley and to Gangtey, where we'll stay for 2 nights. We visit the monastery, the largest Nyingma monastery in Bhutan and dating from 1613, and hike through this beautiful glacial valley; depending on the time of year, we may spot the venerated black cranes that make this valley their home.


The next day, we drive to the village of Longtey, near to the Pele La Pass; from here, we start our walk up and over Kayche La to Gangtey. A gradual climb passes through thickets of dwarf bamboo, birch, rhododendron, hemlock and fir to Kayche LA, which is marked with prayer flags. The other side of the pass is largely meadow, and this section of our walk is all downhill through the surrounding farmland. We'll also make time to visit the crane centre near to our hotel.


We return to Punakha. On arrival, we walk to the village of Chimi Lakhang and the Divine Madman Temple. We continue our journey by bus from Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang nunnery to Lapsakha village. We'll walk through the village, visiting farmhouses and watch the farmers go about their daily farming lives. Later this afternoon, we visit Punakha Dzong, Bhutan's former capital, and spend time exploring.


The next day, we drive to Kabisa; from here, we walk to Khamsung Yuelley Namgyal Stupa through rice fields and untouched landscapes. There is a spectacular view from this majestic temple over the Mochu river valley, which we'll take some time to enjoy before descending into the valley through rice fields to the small village of Soneagasa.


We drive to Paro, where we'll take a walk to Kyichyu Lhakhang. We'll also visit the National Museum and Paro Dzong and enjoy lunch in town. We'll enjoy another walk, following a route which winds through pine forests to the peace and tranquility of a monastery. We continue on to explore the Dzongdrakha, an unusual village built on a rock face, surrounded by amazing panoramic views of the valley below.

We spend the next day walking in the area around Paro. This is a gentle hike which takes us above Paro, giving spectacular views over the valley. You can visit Zuri Goenpa, a 17th century monastery.


We'll also take the hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, which clings to the cliffs high above the valley floor. The ascent has a number of places to stop and admire the views, and is taken steadily. The first buildings date from around 1680 and legend says that Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, arrived here on the back of a flying tigress.


We fly from Paro to Kathmandu; the time of the flight may change, but there should be free time for you to relax, explore at your own pace or join your guide for a short walk around Durbar Square (additional cost, payable locally). This evening we'll enjoy a farewell dinner.

On our final day, transfer to the airport for the return flight to the UK.


Hotel Malla, Kathmandu - Bhutan

In Kathmandu we stay at the Hotel Malla at the the beginning and end of the holiday. This 4-star hotel is centrally located in the Thamel area of the city.

Peaceful Resort, Thimpu - Bhutan

The Peaceful Resort offers a very comfortable place to relax, a little out of the centre, and with very friendly and efficient service.

Hotel Drubchhu, Punakha - Bhutan

In Punakha we'll stay at Hotel Drubchhu which is in a tranquil location with views over the surrounding paddy fields.

Hotel Dewachen, Gangtey - Bhutan

The Hotel Dewachen is encircled by pine forests in the hidden valley of Phobjikha.

Tenzinling Resort, Paro - Bhutan

In Paro, accommodation is at the Tenzinling Resort,  a family run resort, in an elevated position overlooking the Paro valley. 

What to Bring

Essential Equipment

As you’ll be carrying your own luggage at airports and between your transport and hotels we recommend you try to keep your luggage to a minimum. These items are a general suggestion of what to pack for an active outdoor and walking holiday; depending on your destination, you may need more of some things and less – or none! – of others. You’ll know best what you prefer to wear when out walking or while taking part in other outdoor activities.

  • Please ensure you have access to emergency funds should you need them; carrying a credit card is probably the most convenient method.
  • Passport (and copies); booking confirmation; insurance cover note; HF Holidays’ registration form.
  • Walking boots (worn in), with good ankle support and spare bootlaces
  • Walking socks
  • Walking sandals
  • Lightweight fleece, waterproof trousers and jacket
  • Shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts
  • Long trousers and long-sleeved lightcoloured shirts with collars to protect from the sun. Your clothing should ideally be pre-treated with insect repellent and in-built sun protection (available from specialist clothing stores such as Rohan, Cotswold Outdoor).
  • Warm fleece, scarf/buff hat and gloves
  • Torch
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes for evenings and sightseeing
  • Sun protection – sun hat, sunglasses, high factor sunscreen and lip protection
  • Water bottle – at least 2-litre capacity
  • Lightweight survival bag
  • Small/medium rucksack (30 litre) and a liner or cover to keep contents dry
  • Insect repellent
  • Universal travel plug
  • Personal first aid kit including: personal medication, tissues, plasters, blister kit, painkillers, antiseptic wipes, Imodium, rehydration sachets
  • Trekking poles (especially if you find these useful for descents); camera; umbrella; binoculars; high energy food bars. Please note that the HF Holidays’ leader reserves the right to refuse to take any guest on a walk should they consider that a lack of suitable clothing/footwear may affect safety

Guest Reviews

Duration:
12 nights
Type:
Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade:
2

12 nights from 0pp

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