This 14-day luxury itinerary showcases Bhutan's must-see sites, with time spent in the major cities of Paro and Thimphu, plus visits to remote mountain villages and farmhouses. There's plenty of history and culture in this tour – you'll see ancient fortresses, far-flung monasteries and countless chortens, fluttering prayer flags and ancient Buddhist sites. Each night you'll bed down in style, staying in a selection of Bhutan's most luxurious Himalayan resorts. This itinerary is similar to our Bhutan Luxury Road Trip itinerary, with the added luxury of a flight to Bumthang in lieu of an overland road trip.
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You start your Bhutan odyssey in Paro, where you'll visit the ancient fortresses the Rimpung Dzong and Drukgyel Dzong, the latter a UNESCO-protected location and perhaps the most important archeological site in the country. After that, visit the Kyichu Lhakhang – a centuries-old Buddhist temple – and in the evening check into a luxurious Paro hotel. We recommend Amankora or the Uma by Como.
Get an early start to see more of the picturesque Paro. First, see the Kila Nunnery located on a cliffside, then learn a bit about local history at the National Museum. In the afternoon, get some insight into local life with a home visit to a farmhouse before enjoying a relaxing night back at your hotel.
Today you'll fly to Bumthang, which is home to a high concentration of sacred sites. You'll visit the Yathra Center in Chume, the beautiful Kyichu Lhakhang temple – the oldest monastery in Bhutan – and see the Swiss Farm, which makes its own cheese using Jersey cow milk and brews the national beer, Red Panda. In the evening, enjoy a comfortable night's sleep in the luxurious Amankora or Yugharling Resort and Spa, both excellent properties with a fantastic array of amenities.
Rise early for a visit to Tang Valley, where farm houses and fields are dotted between heavily forested mountains. You'll see Mebartso, the "Burning Lake", a deep pool in the river gorge with religious significance. Today you'll also visit Pemacholing Nunnery, a monastic school with nuns from 12 to 70 years of age, situated at the start of the Tang Valley. Ura Village is also on the itinerary today, the highest village in Bumthang, with resident sheep and yak herders. Enjoy dinner back at your luxury resort in Bumthang – the Amankora and Yugharling Resort and Spa are recommended.
There’s a lot of ground to cover in Bumthang, and today you’ll see more of the region, starting with a trip to Ugyencholing. The 16th-century palace here has been converted into a museum where you can enjoy an al fresco lunch in the sunshine complete with valley views. Afterwards browse historic artifacts in the galleries and learn more of Bhutan’s monarchy. In the evening, you’ll return to the comfort of your resort in Bumthang.
The pretty mountain village of Trongsa, 2 hours' drive away, is your next destination. Here, you'll see the famous fortress Trongsa Dzong, perched over the village on the mountainside. Next, you'll have the chance to learn about Bhutanese history at the Trongsa Museum of Monarchy, with more than 100 years of royal history on display. Tonight, check into the luxurious Yangkhil Resort, offering stunning views over the dzong.
You'll head to Gangtey today, located around 5 hours away in the picturesque and treeless Phobjikha Valley. It's here in the wetlands that the black-necked cranes nest and you'll get to learn more about this intriguing species at the Crane Center. This is also the home of the beautiful old Gangtey Monastery, with its elaborate gate and breathtaking valley views. Tonight, check into the Amankora or Gangtey Goenpa Lodge – both luxurious properties that command unforgettable mountain vistas.
Gangtey in Phobjikha Valley offers plenty of opportunity to hike, with marshlands, lots of flat open terrain and, being away from the more heavily touristed areas, ultimate peace and serenity. After a day exploring the area at your leisure, you can check back into your hotel for a gourmet dinner.
Today, make your way for 3 hours to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan, enjoying the views from Dochu La Pass on the way. There are many historic sites to explore in Punakha, including the island fortress Punakha Dzong and the Chime Lhakhang, a uniquely adorned 15th century temple said to bless visiting couples with fertility. Tonight, stay at the luxurious Amankora or Uma Punakha for a restful night's sleep.
Get out into the fresh mountain air today with a hike to Khamsum Yuley Monastery and the elaborate temple chorten that took 10 years to complete. After that, enjoy rafting along the Mo Chu River. There is the option to visit a local farmhouse today before checking back into your hotel for the evening.
Today you begin your journey to Thimphu, starting with a flight to Paro, driving on 1 hour to Thimphu. Visit the Royal Textile Academy detailing the traditional Bhutanese craft of weaving, then continue to the National Library, a major repository for Buddhist scripture, holding many rare manuscripts. Tonight, check into the luxurious Amankora or the Taj Tashi - two of the best hotels in Thimphu.
As Bhutan’s cultural heart, Thimphu has much to offer travelers. Today you will visit the Folk Heritage Museum, where you have the chance to try a hearty Bhutanese lunch. Then it’s off to the paper mill where paper is recycled into things such as bags and lampshades. Before returning to your Thimphu resort for the night, you’ll visit Buddha Dordenma, where a 149-foot bronze statue of the Buddha presides over the capital.
You’ll return to Paro today and embark upon a hike to the Taktsang Palphug Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Taktsang Palphug is perched on a cliff overlooking Paro Valley and is one of Bhutan’s most iconic sites. The monastery is home to sacred paintings, a prayer wheel, several buddhas and many religious relics. After exploring the temples here, you will return to Paro for your final night of this tour. The Amankora and Uma Paro are both recommended resorts.
Today, enjoy your final day of our itinerary. You may stay to enjoy Bhutan or arrange for transport to the airport to continue on your travels.
Amankora Paro is located just outside of town and features sweeping views of the Paro valley and snow-capped mountains. The hotel, just 30 minutes from Paro airport, has 24 spacious suites designed to evoke a contemporary and minimalist vision of traditional Bhutanese style, incorporating local wood, stone and terrazzo tile. Each suite has a bukhari, or wood-burning stove, and a luxurious bathroom complete with soaking tub. Bhutanese cuisine and international fare are served in the hotel’s great room lounge, dining room, and terrace. The two-level spa contains private areas for massage and treatments, a glass-walled sauna, hot stone baths and a yoga room with a relaxation area. Fax services are available, as is Internet. There is no fitness center or pool, but the Amankora’s idyllic surroundings are perfect for hiking and mountain biking.
Uma by COMO, Paro is a 29-room hotel set in Paro Valley with breath-taking views of the Himalayas. The Bukhari restaurant, set amid pine trees, uses mostly organic food from the surrounding area for Bhutanese delicacies such as pakshee paa, a sliced pork dish with chilies and radishes; ema datsee, a chili and cheese dish, or hewa datsee, a combination of potatoes, cheese and chilies. Uma by COMO, Paro is home to the COMO Shambhala Retreat, a holistic health spa with an open-air yoga pavilion overlooking the Paro Valley. Additional facilities include a business center, fitness center and swimming pool. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the airport in Paro.
Amankora Bumthang is a recently opened Amankora in Bhutan, with views of buckwheat, millet and potato fields, an apple orchard, and Wangdicholing Palace, the Kingdom’s oldest palace, which is now a monastery. There are 16 suites complete with a bukhari and views of the courtyard and palace. Amankora Bumthang has a spa with three treatment rooms and a steam room. There is no business center, but the Library has an Internet station and WiFi access. The resort is approximately nine hours from the airport in Paro.
Amankora Gangtey is in the remote Phobjikha Valley, with awe-inspiring views of a gorge and the 16th century Gangtey Goemba monastery. Each of Amankora's eight suites is fitted with a bukhari, a wood-burning stove, and wood paneling. The dining room and living room are combined and have views of the Phobjikha Valley out of floor-to-ceiling windows. There is no Internet, business center, fitness center or pool at Amankora Gangtey, but hot stone baths and a spa with two treatment rooms are available. The resort is approximately a 4-hour drive from the airport in Paro.
Amankora Punakha is located just across a suspension bridge along the Mo Chu River, with suites built around a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse. A small property, there are only eight suites. The hotel is situated in an orange orchard, with views of Punakha Valley and Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful monasteries. The farmhouse has a dining room, courtyard and tea pavilion for dining and refreshments. The spa at Punakha has two treatment rooms, a steam room and a yoga and meditation area. There is fax and Internet access; however the connection is quite slow. There is no fitness center or pool, but hot stone baths are available. The hotel is approximately a four-hour drive from the airport in Paro.
An intimate luxury lodge situated in a lush valley, the Uma by COMO, Punakha is nestled amongst rice fields and orchards, and overlooks a snake-like bend in the Mo Chu River. The lodge has a selection of villas suitable for a travel party of any size, as well as nine deluxe Valley View rooms with private terraces; all rooms boast comprehensive views of the surrounding landscape. The onsite restaurant, Bukhari, is named for a traditional Bhutanese fireplace, uses ingredients from local farms and can provide delicious meals for any palate. There is also a spa, the COMO Shambhala Retreat, with a range of holistic and Asian-inspired treatments, as well as hot tubs with a birds-eye view of the stunning scenery. Uma by COMO, Punakha is part of the award winning property and luxury retail group COMO Group, with a sister property in Bhutan called Uma by COMO, Paro.
Amankora Thimpu is located on a hillside in a verdant pine forest far above Bhutan’s capital city. The hotel’s architecture is reminiscent of Bhutanese temples, or dzongs, and incorporates white-washed stone buildings around an enclosed courtyard. Sixteen suites are composed of living and sleeping areas, with views of the forest and nearby streams. The spacious terrazzo-tiled bathrooms have soaking tubs and twin vanities. Guests may dine either in an elegant dining room or on the adjacent terrace, both of which serve Bhutanese and international cuisine. Steam and sauna rooms are available, and massage and spa treatments are offered in private rooms nearby. Traditional hot stone baths can be scheduled. There is no fitness center. Fax and Internet are available. The resort is approximately 30 minutes from the airport in Paro.
Situated in the Thimphu Valley, this new property seamlessly blends Bhutan’s Dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 52 deluxe rooms, 5 luxury rooms, 3 deluxe suites, 2 duplex suites and 4 luxury suites all afford guests an authentic peek into the region’s art and color. All accommodations have wired and wireless Internet access. Food and beverage options include an all-day, international cuisine restaurant, Ara Bar, an authentic Bhutanese restaurant, and a tea lounge. The Taj Spa is equipped with single and double treatment suites and has a menu featuring Indian holistic and signature treatments, specially designed to maintain physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium. There is a fitness center and a heated indoor swimming pool. The property is a two-hour drive from the airport in Paro, which is the only airport in the country. It is a six-hour drive to Phuntsholing and a 3.5-hour drive to Punakha.