Sunyata Travel



Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, and Paro

Highlights of Bhutan

The “Highlights of Bhutan” tour provides a captivating journey into the uniquely preserved culture and natural beauty of Bhutan or Druk Yul, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. The one-week program takes you on an in-depth exploration of key western districts or dzongkhags of Bhutan: Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, and Paro. You will visit monasteries and temples to learn unique insights into the ancient history of the country, enjoy a stroll through lush green landscapes dotted with traditional farm houses, taste fresh local cuisine, interact with friendly locals, and end the journey with a hike to the iconic Taktsang Monastery with breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and mountains. 

 Please note, the proposed itinerary can be customized with personal touches to cater to your specific needs and interests  

Detailed Itinerary

Flying into Bhutan is considered one of the most scenic flights offering magnificent views of the Himalayas and some of the world’s top ten highest peaks. Your flight culminates in an exciting descent past forested hills dotted with traditional farm houses and monasteries as you fly into the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

 After completing airport formalities, you will be welcomed by a Sunyata Travel representative and drive together by private vehicle to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The representative will assist you with all check-in procedures at your hotel, and provide insights into Bhutanese cultural norms and etiquette for visiting cultural and religious sites based on your itinerary. 

 You will spend the rest of the day exploring the main attractions in the capital city – taking in the unique mixture of modern development alongside ancient architecture and traditions.

Early morning drive to Buddha Dordenma, located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park overlooking the southern entrance to the Thimphu Valley. This massive statue of Shakyamuni is 51.5 m tall, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world.

Learn more about Bhutan’s traditional arts by visiting the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, which was established in 1971 to introduce, preserve, and pass cultural heritages on to the next generations. The school focuses on teaching the thirteen traditional arts and crafts and students are taught to specialize in each skill such as painting, sculpturing, wood carving, embroidery, weaving, and more. On this visit, you can see students learning the various skills taught at the school and you can interact and relate to them and their stories.

Visit the Folk Heritage Museum, which dedicates itself to connecting people with the rich Bhutanese folk heritage and rural history through exhibits, demonstrations, educational programs and documentation of Bhutanese rural life.

Enjoy a gentle one-hour hike through crimson rhododendron woodland to the Tango Monastery, initially built in the 13th century and later updated in the 17th century. Explore the monastery to learn more about the legend behind the sacred site dedicated to meditation and prayer. The monastery now serves as a Buddhist university with nearly 300 monk scholars in residence.

Early morning drive to Dochula Pass at 3100m, draped in colorful prayer flags and a picturesque cluster of 108 stupas spiraling to the top of the hill. A panoramic and stunning view of the snow-capped Himalayas will be visible on a clear day.

From Dochula pass, your drive starts descending down the mountains through high alpine forests to temperate and then tropical foliage as you enter Punakha Valley. 

Option to visit Lampari Botanical Park, where you can keep an eye out for some red pandas and different species of birds, and take some photos close to the natural lake. 

Enroute to your hotel, make a stop and visit Chhimi Lhakhang which lies on the periphery of the expansive valley of Lobesa. This monastery is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley, also known as the Divine Madman, and was built in 1499 by Ngawang Chogyal, the 14th Drukpa Hierarch. The existing footpath passes through beautiful terraces of paddy fields, and you will get to interact with the local people and visit some village houses to understand their lifestyle. 

Visit the majestic Punakha Dzong, a 17th century fortress built at the junction of two rivers, the Phochhu (male river) and the Mochhu (female river). The fortress has withstood several damages from natural calamities over the centuries and has been carefully restored to its past glory. It stands as a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture and holds notable images, murals, statues and thangkas that are displayed in the Dzong.

About just a half a mile from Punakha Dzong, you will walk across the Punakha Suspension bridge colorfully draped with Buddhist prayer-flags. At 160m long, this bridge over the Pho Chhu is one of Bhutan’s longest suspension bridges. 

Option for a 45-minute hike through rice fields and uphill to the temple of Khamsum Yuley Lhakhang. The temple sits majestically on the ridge above Punakha valley with an amazing view of the countryside, river, and the hills below. Built over eight and a half years, its details have been drawn from religious scripture. 

Suggested activity: River rafting along the Phochhu or Mochhu (additional cost of approx. $30 per person). A picnic lunch will be arranged near the river. 

Start the day with a leisurely breakfast and drive to Gangtey which takes 2 hours drive.

After lunch at hotel, venture on a walk on the Gangtey Nature Trail from the small hilltop overlooking Gangtey Goemba, you head downhill through flower meadows to Semchubara village and from here through beautiful forests and into the open valley. After passing a chorten and Khewa Lhakhang, the trail ends on the Tabeding football ground.

Visit the Royal Society for Protection of Nature, commonly referred to as RSPN or The Crane Centre. This is the centre for crane observation and conservation in Phobjikha valley. The black-necked cranes occupy a special place in Bhutan’s, and RSPN displays information on the cranes and the surrounding environment, in addition to conducting awareness campaigns which educates both locals and tourists about this endangered species. 

Visit Gangtey Goenpa, perched dramatically on a forested hill, overlooking the lush, green entirety of the beautiful Phobjikha Valley, sits the newly renovated Gangte Goemba temple complex (or Gangteng Monastery). Gangte Goemba is one of Bhutan’s oldest Nyingma monasteries (a school of Buddhism). Its cultural significance allowed recent architectural updates to be completed by some of Bhutan’s most talented woodcarvers, sculptors and painters, so the quality of workmanship on show is a photographer’s dream. You may even spot some of the 300 student monks at the nearby Kuenzang Chholing shedra (a Buddhist college) finishing class for the day. 

After breakfast, drive to Paro and first visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century. 

After lunch, visit The National Museum housed in the Ta Dzong. The ancient structure was originally built as a watchtower and has been renovated to serve as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967. The National Museum’s extensive collection includes antique thangka paintings and statues, textiles, weaponry, armor, ancient household items, and natural and historic artifacts that covers more than 1,500 years of Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage. 

After the museum tour, walk down a hillside trail to visit the massive 15th century Paro Dzong also known as “Rinpung Dzong”. As you walk along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard, you will find murals illustrating key Buddhist teachings and cosmology such as the Wheel of Life, Life of Milarepa, Four Friends, and many more. 

Evening stroll through quaint Paro town. 


Early morning hike (approx. 2 ½ hours) to Bhutan’s most famous and incredible sight, the Taktsang Goemba also known as the “Tiger’s Nest Monastery”. The iconic monastery is perched on the side of a cliff at 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche (“Precious Master” from Tibet) arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated in a cave for three months when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. This site has been recognized as a prominent and sacred Buddhist site – visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.

Suggested activity: Relax and enjoy a traditional hot stone bath after the day’s hike at the hotel or a farm house for a more authentic experience (additional cost may apply). 

Farewell dinner with your guide. 


After breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for departure flight. Our Sunyata representative will bid you farewell and safe journey.

Thank you for trusting us with your “kora” or journey to Bhutan.

Tashi Delek la!


Not Included

* Please note that we can assist in arranging inbound, outbound, and domestic air tickets and travel insurance.