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Tours in Bhutan

Bhutan Tour

About Bhutan

The Dragon Kingdom

Bhutan often revered as the “Land of Peaceful Dragon” is still regarded as one of the last ‘shangrilas’ in the Himalayan region because of its remoteness, its spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora and fauna and its unique ancient Buddhist monasteries. It is in the relatively unexplored pockets of Asia, which allows only limited number of discerning travellers to the country in order to protect its fragile environment and culture.

 Bhutan a purely Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom is unsurpassed in its scenic majesty and vibrant culture. The kingdom shares with Nepal the world’s greatest concentration of mountains and living heritage of Buddhism. The fifty minutes flight from Kathmandu to Paro can truly be described as a flight into fantasy. During the flight a first hand close up view of Mr. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and other famous peaks become reality. Biweekly flights between these two kingdoms have made easier travel to the long isolated Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan.


Drukpa Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism is the state religion but the Nyingma school is also well represented in the central and eastern districts.


The monsoons start in mid June and lasts until the end of September. The climate within the mountains varies greatly according to  precipitation and wind conditions. In the Duars plain upto 1500m, the climate is subtropical with high humidity and heavy rainfall. The climate of mid-mountain belt varies, such that low-lying parts of Punakha, Mongar, Tashigang and Lhuntse have cool winter and hot summers, whereas the higher valleys of Ha, Paro, Thimpu, Tongsa and Bumthang ranging from 2500-4500m endure a temperate climate with cold snowy winters and somewhat cooler summers.

Spring is rhododendron season in Bhutan. The mountain-sides all over the country are ablaze in shades of red and orange. Days are warm but nights are still cold. As the monsoon rises from the Bay of Bengal, spring turns to summer and three months of heavy monsoon rains. Arguably the loveliest time of the year in Bhutan, autumn brings clear skies and warm days.


In 1995, the per capita income was estimated at USD 500 with the annual growth at five percent. Although these figures places Bhutan among the least developed nations the country is unlike others within that category as no famine, little malnutrition, good housing, exists. Over ninety one percent of the population depend on agriculture and livestock rearing which together account for some fifty percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), despite the fact that only two percent of the land is arable.


The National currency is Ngultrum (Nu).

Tour & Sightseeing

Paro Valley

Generally visitors enter the Kingdom at Paro by the National Airline, Druk Air. This beautiful valley, if ever a place exists, here nature and man consulted to create their dearest image, it must be the valley of Paro. Mt. Chomolhari 7320m reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial waters plunge through deep gorges to form the Pa-Chu (Paro river). Paro is one the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the famous red rice from its terraces field home to some of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries.

Drugyal Dzong, which means victorious fortress was built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders, led by Mongolian warlord Gushri Khan in 1644. Strategically built over the only passage into Paro valley, the dzong helped to repel numerous invasions all thrugh the course of Bhutanese history. It so imoressed early visitors that in 1914 the dzong featured on th cover of the National Geographic magazine. The dzong was gutted by an accidental fire in 1951. The ruins,as it stands today still attract tourists.

Taktsang Monastery, literally means the Tiger’s den. This temple clings precariously to a granite cliff 800m above the Paro valley. Legend has it that the great Guru Padmasambhava flew to this spot back of a tigress and meditated in a cave during the 8th century. The temple was built around the cave and is a hallowed shrine for Bhutanese pilgrims. A terrible fire in April 1998 detroyed Taktsang’s medieval wall paintings and all inner temples. A new construction has already begun by the royal Government.

Ringpung Dzong meaning the fortress on a heap of Jewels was built during the time of Shabdrung in 1646. The approach to the dzong is through a traditional covered bridge. A walk to the dzong offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the dxong as well as life around it. The dzon now houses the Paro monastic school and the office of the civil administration. It is also the venue of the great Paro Tshechu (festival) held once a year in spring.

Ta Dzong, looking down upon the Rinpung dzong was built in 1651 as a watch tower. The Ta Dzong is round more like parts of an European castle. Since 1967 the dzong was reestablished as the national museum and holds a fascinating collections of arts, relics and religious thankha paintings.

Farm house, the beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of quaint farm houses. Bhutanese houses are very colourful and traditionally built without the use of a single nail. The house looks very big from outside but is quite simple inside. Its normally three storey. The ground floor is always used for cattle while the attic is used to store hay. The families live in the middle floor. The best room is always kept for the family chapel. A visit to a farm house is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.


The modern capital of Bhutan, lies at an elevation of 2300m in a valley traversed by the Wand chu (river). Tashichho dzong the main Secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty and a summer residence of the central monk body. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimpu is fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and the monk body, Thimpu maintains a strong national character is ints architectural style. It is also an ideal spot for day walks. Phajoding monastery is a four hours hike from the motithang area, Tango & Cheri monasteries are also another three to four hours hike from the capital or all the way to the top of telegraph hill where thousands of prayer flags obscure the view over Thimpu.

Memorial Chorten, this stupa was built in 1974 in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. The paintings and images inside the monument provide a rare sight into Buddhist philosophy.

Tashichho Dzong was initially built in the 17th century, was rebuilt in early 1960s by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Tashichho Dzong houses the main Secretariat building and the central monk body. It is open to visitors during Thimpu festival and when the monk body moves to their winter home in Punakha.

Changangkha temple, built in the 15th century by lama Phajo Drigom lies on a hill top commanding the Thimpu valley. The temple has very old scriptures and thankhas. The main deity of the temple is Avalokiteshvara, God of compassion.

Simtokha Dzong, the oldest dzong in the country stands on a lofty ridge at the end of valley. It was built 1627-1629 and now houses the school for Buddhist studies. All the Bhutanese language teachers pass out from this university.

Indigenous hospital: Since Bhutan has its own brand of Himalayan medicine the Government has given equal emphasis to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicine is prepared here. The old art healing like acupuncture is still practised.

National libray, the history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts whicha re preserved at the National library. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags.

Painting school, where young children learn the ancient art of paintings. One can actually see students at work. Education is free for the students since the Government wants to attact more students. These children after passing out they are distributed to different districts to apply the same art of traditional paintings in these areas which is one reason that the Bhutanese houses have almost the same type of colour and design.

Vegetable market: Every Saturday and Sunday most of the Thimpu’s population and many valley dwellers congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. This is the only time in th week when fresh vegetables are available and Saturday mornings are a hike of activity.


Punakha Dzong built between two rivers in the 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel served as capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is still the winter residence of the central monk body. In spite of four catastrophic fires and an earthquake that destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong houses sacred artifacts and embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Punakha’s climate and warmer temperatures make its valley one of the most fertile in Bhutan. Chime Lhakhang located on a hillock among the rice fields is picturesque and is a pilgrimage site for childless couples. The temple is associated with the famous saint Drukpa Kuenlay “The Divine Madman” who has built a chorten on the site during the 14th century.


To the south of Punakha lies Wangdiphodrang Dzong at an elevation os 1300m./ It is the last town on the highwat before entering central Bhutan. His Dzong built during the 17th century played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern Bhutanese districts. Further up is Gangtey Gomp, an old monastery dating from the 16th century. It is in fact he only monstery which follows the Pellign Nyingmapa sect of school. This valley of Phobjikha is also a home of the rare Black Necjed Crane, an enfangered species which migrate from the Tibetan plateau in winter. There are about 450-500 cranes residing in Bhutan out of which 250-300 live in this beautiful valley.


Trongsa at an altitude of 2200m forms the central hub of the national and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. The Royal family has strong links with Trongsa. Both His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuk and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuk ruled the country from this Dzong.

Trongsa Dzong, buil;t in 1648 is an impregnable foretress. The massive structure is built on many levels into the side of the hill that includes countless courtyards, passage ways and corrodors in addition to the twenty three temples inside the Dzong. Due to its highly strategic position as the only connecting route between east and west the Trongsa Penlop (Governor) was able to control the whole region effectively for centuries. Above the Dzong a Ta Dzong (watch tower) was built to watch out for invaders and travellers. Now it’s a temple dedicated to the great hero Ling Gesar.

Bumthang or Jakar

To the east of Trongsa lies the Bumthang valley at an altitude of 2600m, has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Here tales of Guru Padmasambhava and his reincarnation known as Tertons still linger in most nooks and corners. The town of Jakar is the largest between Thimpu in the west and Trashigang in the east. Jakar is famous for its honey production, cheese, apple juice and apricots. Visitors to Bumthang should plan to spend a few days taking advantage of the valley’s relatively gentle slopes to walk nearby medieval temples and glimpse Bhutan’s mostly rural population. It is also known for its woolen material (yathra) which can be seen hung outside of houses for sale. Further east there is the Ura valley with the village of Ura in its center. A small but old dzong and cobblestone paths give the village a edieval feel. Many ecursions cn be done at this valley like Tharpaling monastery, Kunzangdra, Tang Mebartso and many more.

Jambey Lhakhan, built in the 7th century by a Tibetan King Songsten Gempo believed to be the reincarnation of the Buddha of compassion. This temple is one of the 108 temples built by him to subdue a large demon which was stopping the spread of Buddhism.

Kurje Lhakhang, located of Jambey Lhakhang consists of three temples. The one of the right was built in 1652 on the rock face where Guru mediated in the 8th century. Second temple is built on the site of a cave where Guru Padmasambhava left his body imprint on the rock. The cave is not visible as it is concealed by a large statue of the Guru Rinpoche. The third temple was recently built by the present Royal Queen mother and these three temples are surrounded by 108 stupa wall symbolic of each joint of the Human body.

Tamshing Lhakhang, located opposite Khurje Lhakhang on the other side of the river was founded in the beginning of the 16th century by Terton Pema Lingpa, the reincarnation of Guru Padmasambhava. The monastery has very interesting religious painting like one thousand Buddhas and twenty one Taras (female form of Buddhisatawa). The temple was restored at the end of the 19th century.

Jakar Dzong, founded by the great grandfather of Shabdrung. The dzong was initially built as a monastery in 1549 but was upgraded after the Shabdrung had firmly established his power in 1646. The dzong is now used as the administration centre for Bumthang valley.

Mongar and Lhuentse

Arriving in Mongar is a great relief from the turns and heights of the journey over the pass. The town is small with a sprinkling of shops. Mongar Dzong is modern compared to others in the Kingdom. It was reconstructed by the order of the Thrid King. No drawings and nails have been used. A visit to the dzong gives visitors an impression of how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries. A hydroelectric project is underway and after completion it will have the capacity to output 60 megawattas of hydroelectricity which will change the indusrial emphasis of the eastern area.

Lhuentse is 77 kilometres from Mongar and is one of the most isolated districts in Bhutan. The landscape is spectacular with stark cliffs and gorges and dense coniferous forests. The region is notably famed for its weavers and special textiles and fabrics, generally considered to be the best in the country. The Kurtoe region of Lhuentse is also the ancestral home of the Royal dynasty.

Trashigang and Tashi Yangtse

Trashigang lies above the Gumri river and is the largest district in Bhutan. It is much busier than other Bhutanese towns due to its proximity to Samdrup Jongkar in the south has enabled it to grow as a centre of commerce. Trashigang is used as the market plae for the hill people from Merak and Sakteng who are known for their exceptional features and for their costume made fo Sheep skin and Yak wool. The hat that they wear is unusual but has a significance of its own. It is very different from customary Bhutanese clothing. The 17th century Dzong is built on top of a liff and serves as an administrative centre.

Tashi Yangtse, formerly a subdivision of Trashigang s one of the new districts. Yangtse Dzong is half an hour walk from the road. A town has developed around Chorten Kora, one of only two chortens built in a Nepalese style and a spot where Guru Padmasambhava is believed to have had a vision that a temple and a chorten would be built. The area is also known for its exceptional woodcraft. Another temple lies on the banks of the Gumri river known as the Gom Kora dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava where he supposed to have subdued a demon in form of a Garuda. A festival takes place every year at this temple.

Samdrup Jongkhar

The road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar was completed in the early 1960s. This town is small and bustling and acts as a commercial hub and entry and exit point in the south east.


Phuentsoling, a border town to the south bordering the Indian state of West Bengalis a hub of commercial activity. Jaigaon,  a small Indian town is located near Phuentsoling and you can make road connections from Jaigaon or Phuentsoling to the airport in Bagdora or the railway station in Siliguri, both in the state of West Bengal (169kms, a drive of about four to five hours) of India. There are also convenient connections to the Nepal border at Kakarvita or the hill India stations of Kalimpong, Gangtok and Darjeeling.

Things of Interest



Festivals (Tshechus) are held in Bhutan throughout the year at different locations. These festivals are celebrations of faith, legends, myths and history of Bhutan in ancient rituals of colourful dance and music. The most popular for tourists are those held in thimpu, Paro and Bumthang. They mark the busiest time of the year for tourism and reservation are difficult to come by. Festival time is one of the only periods during a year when tourists are permitted inside the courtyard of the dzongs. The dzongs come to life with colour, music and dancing as valley dwellers and townsfolk dres in their best clothes and join together to excorcise evil spirits and rejoice in a new harvest. Rare masked and sword dances and other rituals are performed in the dzongs’ courtyards and temples. Each dance has its own significance and can be performed by monks or lay men dressed in bright costumes. Certain festivals end with the unveiling and worship of huge religious appliqués or T hongresl. The momet of the unveiling is shrouded in secrecy and creates great excitement amongst all the participants.

Visa Formalities

Visa is required for traveling to Bhutan and it is processed and arranged by Tiger Mountain. No foreign mission grants Bhutan tourist visa.

All passport details (full name, nationality, date of birth, passport no., issued and expiry dates, address and profession) should be forwarded at least three weeks prior to the date of arrival and can be mailed or faxed. Actual visa is stamped on arrival in Bhutan while it is cleared in advance and a visa clearance number is issued.

For all travelers entering Bhutan by Druk Air, the Visa clearance number is forwarded to the concerned overseas Druk Air stations and without clearance number passengers are not allowed to board to the flight.

Visa clearance number is also required while issuing Druk Air tickets. For travelers entering into the country by surface through Phuntsholing (Border in South Bhutan) the visa clearance number is forwardede to Foreign Ministry’s office in Phuntsholing for reference.


Three copies of passport size photographs are required on arrival. Visa fee of USD 20 for 14days visa and USD 10 as Tourism development must be paid on arrival. Visa can be further extended with an additional fee of USD15