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Central Bhutan Tour 13Days

  • Bhutan Architecture
  • 13-day Bhutan Tour Map
  • Bhutan Tshechu Festivel
  • Paro Dzong
  • Buddha Dordenma
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  • Visit both the natural and cultural highlights of Paro in 3 days
  • Float small butter lamps to makes wishes with local people beside the Mebartsho
  • Enjoy a full Day Hike from Tharpeling Monastery to Lamei Goempa
  • Relax yourself via a traditional hot stone bath
  • Drink traditional red rice beer with unique local taste
  • Dress in traditional National Attire to take a photo
  • Get 1 Bhutan sim card of 5GB internet access 
  • Culture dance show with dinner
  • Try local archery, which is not only Bhutan's national sports, but also art
12 Nights 13 Days
Tour Code:BTP009
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Day1  Arrive in Paro, Bhutan (airport pick-up & hotel check-in, National Museum, Paro Dzong)

Welcome to the Thunder Dragon. Your tour guide will meet you in the airport of Paro. After checking in your hotel, you will visit the National Museum, where houses lots of exquisite local artworks and Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong), where offers you beautiful river view.

National Museum of Bhutan (Ta Dzong) is famed as Bhutan's tallest building (a cylindrical structure), which is 22 meters (72 feet) high and has 6 floors. It was completed in 1649 as a watchtower on the hill above the Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong). It was converted into the National Museum of Bhutan in 1968 with a rich collection of ancient artifacts like pottery, armor, thangkas, masks, stamps, photos, statues, costumes, relics, stone axes, and religious paintings...

Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzon), the "fortress of the heap of jewels", is built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is located near the crystalline Paro Chu (Paro River). Through a traditional wooden cantilever bridge, we can reach it to get panoramic views of the Paro Valley. As the office of the district administration and monastic body of Bhutan, the annual religious festival Paro Tsechu also takes place in its courtyard.

Meals:    Dinner


  • Paro Dzong
    Paro Dzong
  • National Museum
    National Museum
Day2  Paro (Tiger's Nest Monastery, Farmhouses)

Around 2.5 hours’ hiking are needed to reach Taktsang Monastery, the most famous religious relic in Bhutan. It is possible to take a rest at the view terrace, which is located on the half point of the hiking route.

Pay a visit to a local people’s farmhouse to continue your tour. It is incredible that there is not a single nail used to build a farmhouse, which offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.

Tiger's Nest Monastery (Taktsang Goemba, Takhtsang Lakhang, Paro Taktshang), first built in 1692, is the iconic landmark of Bhutan. As a world cultural heritage, it is sited on the side of a cliff at a height of 900m above the Paro valley. It is said that Guru Rinpoche (a Buddhist saint) rode a tigress to the current site of the monastery and meditated in a cave for 3 years 3 months and 3 days. Now it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bhutan and a sacred religious site for Bhutanese to pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery
    Hike to Taktsang Monastery
  • Tiger's Nest Monastery
    Tiger's Nest Monastery
Day3  Paro (Chele La Pass, Kila Gompa)

Drive to the 3800-meter-high Chele La pass where you will have a splendid view of the Himalaya range. You can hike to a viewpoint with an altitude of 4500 meters for an even better view of Mount Jomolhari. At last, hike through rhododendron and hemlock forest towards Kila Gompa to catch your car back to Paro.

Chele La Pass (3988m) is the highest motorable road pass in Bhutan and can be reached by a two hours drive from Paro. As the spot with incredible views of the high Himalayan Mountains, you may get the chance to see Mount Jomolhari(6706m), the most sacred peak of Bhutan, Jichu Drake, as well as the majestic sights of the Tsherimgang Mountains. Also, Chele La Pass is the best site to discover the rare White Poppy native to this region.

Kila Gompa (Kila Nunnery, Kila Goempa nunnery, Chele la Gompa) is located below Chele La at about 3,500m, on the road to Haa (27km from Paro). Established as a meditation site in the 9th century by Drupthob Chhoeje Norbu, Kila Gompa is reputed to be the oldest nunnery in Bhutan. It is also fondly referred to as the ‘second Tiger’s Nest.’ The nunnery has around seven small temples and several retreat huts built into a dizzying sheer cliffside, with 30 to 70 nuns living in self-imposed isolation. You will be surprised to see that their life is so simple and live in serenity and harmony with Mother Nature. It has great views of Paro valley and Jele Dzong.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Chele La pass
    Chele La pass
  • Chele La pass
    Chele La pass
Day4  Paro-Bumthang (airport see-off & pick-up, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurje Lhakhang)

You will catch your flight to Bumthang from Paro today. After arrival in Bumthang, you will visit three historical monasteries, Jambay, Kurje and Konchogsum Lhakhangs. They were all built around 1200 years ago. Your insightful tour guide will tell you the anecdotes of the three monasteries.

Jambay Lhakhang is one of the 108 monasteries built on a single day by Tibetan King Songtsen Goenpo in 659 AD to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region while spreading Buddhism over the Himalayas. It was believed that Jambay Lhakhang was built to pin down the left knee of the ogress. There is an annual festival called Jambay Lhakhang Drup held here to honor Guru Rinpoche who consecrated the Jambay Lhakhang. Visitors can enjoy watching the mask dance of Bhutan. It is worth seeing the beautiful statues, fascinating relics, and preserved murals in this Lhakhang.

Kurjey Lhakhang consists of three buildings facing south namely: Guru Lhakhang (built-in 1652), Sampa Lhundrup Lhakhang (built-in 1900), and Ka Gon Phor Sum Lhakhang (built-in 1900). It is said that, in the 8th century, the Saint Guru Padmasambhava(Rinpoche) meditated here for three months. The upper floor of the Kurjey Lhakhang houses 1000 small statues of Guru Rinpoche. There is also a huge cypress tree near the entrance of the temple which is believed to have sprouted from Guru Rinpoche's walking stick. It is a must-visit Lhakhang in Bumthang.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Jambay Lhakhang
    Jambay Lhakhang
  • Kurje Lhakhang
    Kurje Lhakhang
Day5  Bumthang (Mebartsho, Jakar Dzong)

Continue your Bumthang tour to Mebartsho today, where local people float small butter lamps to makes wishes. Today’s last destination is the Jakar Dzong, a monastery with a history of 450 years.

Jakar Dzong (Jakar Yugyal Dzong), literally meaning "Castle of the White Bird", was initially built as a monastery in 1549 by Lam Ngagi Wangchuck (1517-1554), a Tibetan who came to Bhutan to spread the Drukpa Kagyupa Buddhist order. It was also the seat of the first King of Bhutan. As the dzong or fortress of the Bumthang district, it is located on a ridge above Jakar town that can give a spectacular view of the Chamkhar (Chokhor) Valley. Jakar Dzong is now the administrative center for Bumthang valley and houses the regional monk body.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Jakar Dzong
    Jakar Dzong
  • Jakar Dzong
    Jakar Dzong
Day6  Bumthang-Trongsa (Tharpeling Monastery to Lamei Goempa Hike)

You will drive to Tharpeling Monastery for sightseeing first. And then hike from the monastery, through rhododendron, dwarf bamboo and mixed conifer forests and finally reach the Lamei Goempa, where you will meet your driver and take a car ride the Trongsa to stay overnight.

Tharpaling Monastery (Tharpaling Goemba) is situated at around 3600m overlooking the picturesque Chumey valley in Bumthang. Tharpaling means liberation and known as "The Land of Liberation". In the 14th century, Buddhist saint Gyalwa Longchen Rabjampa is said to have visited the place to preach dharma following which many devotees were liberated during his time of self-imposed exile from Tibet for Ten years. Thus the name of the place came to be known as Tharpaling. In the 15th century, Terton Pema Lingpa discovered treasures from the place including a Guru Statue. The First King of Bhutan renovated the place into a retreat center and spent time meditating in the place during his reign.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Farmhouse in Bumthang
    Farmhouse in Bumthang
  • Yathra weaving in Bumthang
    Yathra weaving in Bumthang
Day7  Trongsa-Gangtey (Phobjika Valley, Black Necked Crane Information Center)

Take a car ride to the U-shaped glacial valley of Phobjika, the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trails in Bhutan. Have lunch after around 2 hours’ hike. Restart the tour in the Black Necked Crane Information Center, where you can observe the cranes with high-power telescope and spotting scopes.

In Black Necked Crane Information Centre , you can enter the observation room and use the telescope and spotting scopes to watch the Black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis). Every year (Oct. to Feb.), over 300 cranes migrate from Tibet to Bhutan for their winter months in Phobjikha Valley. As an indigenous Himalayan species, the black-necked cranes are the holy bird in the eyes of local people as it is a symbol of longevity. It was helpful for the center to protect and conserve the Black-necked crane and its species since 2003. It is a nice place to know more about the cranes and study their behavior.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Valley of Phobjika
    Valley of Phobjika
  • Picnic lunch in Valley of Phobjika
    Picnic lunch in Valley of Phobjika
Day8  Gangtey-Punakha (Punakha Dzong, Chimi Lhakhang)

Today, you need to spend 2.5 hours for a car ride to Punakha from Gangtey. After arrival in Punakha, you will admire the fertility shrine in Chimi Lhakhang and the highest-standard woodworks in the Punakha Dzong.

Punakha Dzong stands at the junction of two great rivers called the Pho Chu river (father river) and Mo Chu river (mother river). As the palace of great happiness or bliss, it is also known as the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. It was first built in 1637 by the founder of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, and was played as the administrative center and the seat of the Bhutanese official till the capital city was moved from Punakha to Thimphu in 1955. Now, this Dzong is served as the winter residence for Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body. In 2011, the Dzong witnessed the royal wedding ceremony of the 5th Bhutan's King, His Majesty Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck to Queen Jetsun Pema. If you visit Bhutan in May, you will be amazed by the breathtaking purple-blue jacaranda blooms outside the fortress.

Chimi Lhakhang (Fertility Temple, Chime Lhakhang) is located on a hillock among the rice field and is a pilgrimage for a childless couple to seek blessings. The monk there blesses the couple with a wooden phallus that is believed to have the power to help the childless couple conceive a child. This temple is associated with the famous Drukpa Kunley (1455-1529, Divine Madman, Tibetan saint), who is famed for using his phallus to guide people to enlightenment and subdue demons. That is why you can see the symbol of phalluses scattered everywhere. You can buy handicraft souvenirs here with the phallic symbol in various colors, shapes, and sizes.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Punakha Dzong
    Punakha Dzong
  • Monks in Punakha Dzong
    Monks in Punakha Dzong
Day9  Punakha (Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten Hike, Limbukha Village)

Your first activity today is hiking to Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built in a painting-like Punakha Valley. Local people believe the Chorten can remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world.

Drive to the Limbukha Village after the sightseeing in Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten to see the fields of red rice, which is of high medicinal values. You will feel the local people’s love towards peace and tranquility there.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is on the west bank of the Mo Chhu river. After across a suspension bridge, it is about 45mins' walk from the main road to the Chorten(stupa). The stupa was built in 1990 by Ashi Tsering Yangdon Wangchuck(the mother of the 5th King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck) to drive off evil forces and bring peace to Bhutan and the world. This Chorten was a typical combination of the art, architecture, and traditions of Bhutan. It took Bhutanese carpenters, painters, and sculptors 9 years to finish this Bhutan-style pagoda. Also, you will get an excellent view of the Punakha Valley and Punakha Dzong there.

Limbukha Village is known for its love of peace and tranquility. During the annual festival, the Limbuk men are found carrying peace flags instead of swords and fireworks. We can walk along its red rice fields and have an idea about Bhutan's famous red rice which is supposed to have medicinal value. Also, you may meet local farmers in their tradition Gho or Kira working in the field with a pure smile on their face.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten
    Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten
  • Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten
    Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten
Day10  Punakha-Thimphu (Dochula Pass, National Memorial Chorten, Buddha Point)

You will finally reach Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital after 10 days’ stay in the Himalaya Kingdom. Take a 2.5 hours’ drive to Thimphu through Dochula Pass, admiring the 108 chortens and Himalaya Mountain ranges on your way. Your first tourist destination in Thimphu is the National Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 in memory of Bhutan’s third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. And then see the largest statue of Buddha in Kuensel Phodrang before walking around in a local craft bazaar.

Dochula Pass (108 memorial chortens) is a place in honor of 108 Bhutanese Soldiers, there are 108 stupas called the "Druk Wangyal Chortens" representing each soldier's life that was lost in the war of December 2003. The pass is decorated with colorful prayer flags which are symbols of veneration and the best wishes for peace and prosperity for Bhutan. If the weather is good, the Dochula Pass will become the best platform to get breathtaking views of the snow-covered Himalayas.

National Memorial Chorten is the most visited landmark of Thimphu which was built in 1974 in memory of the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk(the Father of Modern Bhutan) by his mother. Due to the idea of Jigme Dorji, this stupa is dedicated to world peace and prosperity. It is a Tibetan-style chorten with amazing paintings and brilliant sculptures, you can see the classical stupa pattern like the pyramidal pillar crowned by a crescent moon and sun. It is also a good place to meet local Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day in a clockwise direction for praying.

Buddha Dordenma Statue (Kuensel Phodrang, Buddha Point) is a landmark of Thimphu city and you can have a great view of the Thimphu Valley there. With 51.5m in height, built of bronze and gilded in gold, the statue is famed as the largest sitting Shakyamuni statue in the world and there are 125,000 smaller Buddha statues placed within it. The statue was finished in 2015(built for 9years) to fulfill an ancient prophecy to emanate an aura of happiness and peace all over the world.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Buddha Dordenma Statue
    Buddha Dordenma Statue
  • Buddha Dordenma Statue
    Buddha Dordenma Statue
Day11  Thimphu (Institute for Zorig Chusum, Folk Heritage Museum, Changangkha Lhakhang, Tashichhoe Dzong)

After a delicious breakfast, you will learn about local people’s lifestyle in the Institute for Zorig Chusum, a school for local handiwork and painting skills. And then learn more about ancient Bhutanese people’ daily life in the Folk Heritage Museum.

Today’s other tourist attractions are: Changangkha Lhakhang – You can have a fascinating view of Thimphu Valley there. Tashichhoe Dzong - A fortress of the glorious religion. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.

Thimphu National Institute for Zorig Chusum (School of Arts and Crafts), established by the Government of Bhutan in 1971, is an institute that nurtures exemplary craftsmanship in Zorig Chusum (13 Arts and Crafts). In the Institute, thirteen skills are taught to students. These thirteen art forms are Traditional Painting (Lhazo), Sculpturing (Jinzo), Wood Carving (Shagzo), Calligraphy (Yigzo), Papermaking (Dezo), Bronze Casting (Lugzo), Embroidery (Tshemazo), Weaving (Thagzo), Carpentry (Parzo), Masonry (Dozo), Bamboo and cane weaving (Tshazo), Gold/Silver Smithy (Trozo), Black smithy (Garzo).

Folk Heritage Museum (Phelchey Toenkhyim) was established on July 28th, 2001 with the initiative of Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan). It is set inside a three-storied, 19th-century traditional house and provides visitors with a glimpse of the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle, artifacts from rural households, collection of typical household objects, tools, and equipment. The museum also organizes regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits, and customs as well as hosts educational programs for children.

Changangkha Lhakhang is an ancient fortress-like temple built in the 12th century which is visited by a large number of locals daily. It is strategically located on a ridge above the city of Thimphu, southeast of Motithang. Traditionally, Bhutan parents used to visit Changangkha Lhakhang to get auspicious names for their newborn babies or blessing for their young kids from the protector known as Deity Tamdrin. The parents usually bring incense, whiskey, biscuits, and sacks of snacks as an offering. You will be lucky to witness an excellent event if your visit coincides with a Buddhist ceremony. The temple also offers an amazing view of Thimphu from the courtyard.

Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong) is located on the right side of the Wangchu River in the northern part of Thimphu city. As the "Fortress of the glorious religion", it houses the throne room of His Majesty the King, government offices, and the central monk body. Thimphu Dzong was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. There are two main entrances in the Tashichho Dzong. One leads to the administrative section to the south and the other one (at the north) leads to the monastic quarter where festivals and dances are performed.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong)
    Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong)
  • Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong)
    Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong)
Day12  Thimphu (Tango Monastery Trekking)

Today you will take 30 minutes’ drive and 1 hour’s walk to the through shaded rhododendron forests to reach the Tango Monastery, which was built in the 12th century. A picturesque three-storey tower in the monastery tells you more about Bhutan’s history and Buddhism.

Tango Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located 14 kilometres to the north of the capital city of Thimphu in Bhutan. It was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 13th century and built in its present form by Tenzin Rabgye, the 4th Temporal Ruler in 1688. With its teaching and amazing hiking route, Tango Monastery has been a must visit place in Bhutan and a favored sightseeing place in Thimphu for both pilgrim and travelers.

Meals:Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner


  • Hike to Tango Monastery
    Hike to Tango Monastery
  • View Thimphu from a hill
    View Thimphu from a hill
Day13  Thimphu-Paro Departure (Depart Bhutan, airport see-off)

Time to say goodbye to Bhutan, the beautiful Himalayan country. Our local representative will meet you at your hotel and send you to the international airport. Happiness is a place, wish you get happiness and great memories from the Bhutantrip with us. We look forward to seeing you again, Tashi Delek!

Note: Please note that some of the sites in the itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the right to alter the itinerary. The changes in itinerary will mainly base on improving your tour experience in Bhutan.



  • Bhutan National Clothes
    Bhutan National Clothes
  • Thank you for choosing AOT
    Thank you for choosing AOT

Price Includes

    • 1.English-speaking local guide
    • 2.Meals listed in the itinerary [Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner]
    • 3.Accommodation in 3-star hotel under twin/dbl bed sharing basis
    • 4.All transportation within the country including airport transfers
    • 5.Entrance fees for Museums and Monuments
    • 6.Bhutan SDF fee
    • 7.Bhutan visa fee: USD 40 per person

Price Excludes

    • 1.Single room supplement charges
    • 2.Personal expense and Travel Insurance
    • 3.Cost for any services not mentioned in the "PRICE INCLUDES"

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