Imagine a country where a land’s worth is measured differently — think Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product. Now stop dreaming because you are in the unexplored mountain kingdom of Bhutan. Beauty and wisdom are revealed at each dzong, every gompa, and most incredibly, in the eyes of every smiling Buddhist monk you meet. On treks through remote trails and visits to Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha, nature lovers, photographers, and culture junkies will uncover a purity of culture, traditions, and kindness.
As today is the arrival day, you may arrive at any time and an arrival transfer is included. Travel time from Paro to Thimphu is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting, typically 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. After the meeting, you might take the opportunity to head out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to get to know your tour leader and traveling companions further. Please make every effort to arrive on time for this welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.
Start the day off with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten. The chorten is one of the most prominent religious structures in Thimphu, and for local Bhutanese it is a popular part of their daily prayers. Watch locals walk around the Chorten, spinning the prayer wheels and meditating in this lovely and peaceful spot.
Make your way to your next stop, known as the “Buddha Point.” The Buddha Dordenma is a massive Buddha statue in Thimphu made of bronze and gold. Take lots of pictures — it’s beautiful. Later, enjoy a visit to the Motithang Takin Preserve, which was once a mini zoo. The area was converted into a preserve for Bhutan’s national animal, the takin, which is a cross between a goat and an antelope.
In the evening, visit the Tashi Chhoedzong, known as the “Fortress of Glorious Religion”, initially built in 1702. Today, it houses the main secretariat building, the central monk body, and the office of the king.
Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle. The road climbs steeply through forests, with hanging lichen up near the Dochula Pass (3,050m/10,007 ft). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountains. Stop for tea and check out the view before continuing on to Gangtey Gompa.
Get a true taste of local life and stay overnight in a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse. Opt to wander around the small town to see young monks from the nearby school meandering in the street. Please note facilities at the farmhouse are basic, there will be no showers or running water for this night. Simple bedding is provided.
Approximate travel time: 6-7 hours by private vehicle
Enjoy a walk across Phobjikha Valley to the Gangtey Gonpa Monastery. Visit the monastery, built in the 16th century and renovated in 2008. Take in the architecture and be sure to check out the amazing relics inside – they are said to be the most sacred in all of Bhutan.
Travel by private vehicle to from Gangtey Gonpa to Punākha. Take a short hike to Chime Lhakhang, temple of the “Divine Madman.” Built in 1499, it is mainly visited today by women as it is known as the temple of fertility.
Approximate travel time: 3-4 hrs by private vehicle; 30 min to 1 hr on foot
Visit Punakha Dzong, the winter seat of the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (female) Chu and Pho (male) Chu. It is the second oldest and second largest dzong (fortress) in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures, housing many sacred relics. It is also the winter capital of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot).
Next, cross the suspension bridge and then hike to Khamsum Yueley Chorten. Enjoy hike through rice terraces, farms, and deep pine forest until we reach the stupa, which was consecrated in December 1999. Take a moment to breathe and admire the view; it’s superb.
Enjoy a hike and visit to the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery and Temple complex. Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking the 3 Valleys of Toebesa, Punakha and Wangdi Phodrang, the complex is a meditation and traditional arts training center for nuns. Enjoy the peace and quiet and learn about the nunnery which was established by the Royal Grandfather.
Enjoy some morning time in Punakha before driving to Haa Valley. Wind through deep gorges and blue pine forests before reaching the valley. Here we’ll visit the beautiful Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) near Haa town, only recently opened to tourists. It is believed that a black and a white pigeon were released to select where to build the temples in Haa valley. The white pigeon landed in the foothills of the mountain Chenrizi where the White Temple now stands.
In the evening you’ll be free to walk around Haa town.
Approximate travel time: 6-7 hrs by private vehicle
We start off the day with a hike through the deep forest of pine trees and rhododendrons to Kila Goempa nunnery (approx 2.5 hrs). It seems to cling to a rocky cliff and houses around 60-70 nuns. This is a moderate level hike through stunningly beautiful scenery.
After visiting the nunnery, follow the trail down through the forest to the road to meet the van. Drive back to Paro with time in the evening to wander the streets and pick up some souvenirs before enjoying a dinner with your group.
Approximate travel time: 2-3 hrs hiking, 2-3 hrs by private vehicle
Today we begin the Bumdrak trek. Start with a short drive to the start point of the trek at 2950m. Climb steadily upwards for 2.5hrs to your picturesque lunch spot with stunning views of the Paro valley. Take your time and appreciate your surroundings as you go. The 18 different types of rhododendrons and lush conifer forest will give you plenty to look at. After lunch, continue on a more gradual incline for 1.5hrs to reach your home for the evening, Bumdrak Camp at 3860m.
Approximate travel time: 4-5 hrs hiking
After breakfast, we start the descent. The majority of the trekking will be downhill on a steep incline, so walking poles are helpful. Trek through spruce, hemlock, cypress, and fir. A fairytale-like meadow ends the trek, complete with wild edible strawberries if the season is right.
Next, we hike up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest); containing 13 holy relics, it’s considered one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world. It is also where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Take in the stunning views en route and the incredible vista from this monastery, which clings to the rock towering 2,953m above the valley.
Then we visit one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples. Built in the 7th century, Kyichu Lhakhang Temple boasts stunning art work inside and throughout the courtyards.
Approximate travel time: 9-10 hrs hiking
Depart at any time. Your airport transfer is included. Your tour leader will help arrange your transfer to the airport and all exit formalities before your journey home.
Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.
Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).
If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator, we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!
Visit our recommended reading page to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans and Pinterest boards that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to email@example.com. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Trip includes some high-altitude hikes or more strenuous activities, but it is accessible to most healthy travellers.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy or, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Day 1 is an arrival day, and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Please note: Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., at which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
An arrival transfer is included on this trip when you arrive on Day 1, or when you arrive up to 3 days prior to the tour, provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through GEEO/G Adventures in our joining hotel.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Bhutan):
Ms Wangchuk Dem
Phone: +975 17 74 74 28
Mr Rajju Maskey
Phone: +977 9802014444
G Adventures Local Office (Delhi)
G Adventures South Asia Manager, Rishab (Delhi, India)
From outside of India: +91 99 7179 5447
From within Delhi: 99 7179 5447
From within India, but outside Delhi: 099 7179 5447
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +66-02-3815574
If you are unable for any reason to contact G Adventures’ local office, they have a toll-free line within North America which will connect you directly with their Toronto office: 1 888 800 4100. If outside North America, dial +1 416 260 0999.
Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
For Bhutan, GEEO/G Adventures will arrange the visa for you. The cost of the visa is included in the tour price. The Bhutanese visa is issued to your passport on arrival. No passport photos are currently required for this, but it’s always good to travel with a couple current photos.
In order to arrange the Bhutan visa, you must provide GEEO with the following:
– Scanned color passport copy
– Arrival and Departure flight details for Paro
These details need to be submitted to us 35-40 days before departure.
We will then arrange the Bhutanese visa for you. The visa letter will be forwarded to you 2-5 business days before departure. We cannot get the visa letter issued any sooner, as it is issued by the Bhutanese government. Please print out the visa letter, you will be required to show this before boarding your flight to Paro.
Important: If you are planning to extend your stay in Bhutan, pre- and post-tour accommodation MUST be booked through GEEO/G Adventures in order for us to issue a valid visa for the duration of your stay.
If arriving and departing Paro from India, please note that the Indian government has recently made some changes to visa regulation due to misuse of the Tourist visa. We encourage all passengers to contact the Indian consulate or embassy in their home country to get up to date information on entry requirements. This is especially important for those planning on entering India multiple times in a two month period.
Foreigners holding an Indian Tourist visa, who after initial entry into India plan to visit neighbouring Nepal, Bhutan or Sri Lanka and then re-enter into India within 2 months need to get special authorization.
There are ATMs in larger cities in Bhutan, and they will accept only Mastercard or Visa. As well, credit card can be used at larger hotels and shops but please note most places charge from 3-5% fees to use cards. The Ngultrum (local currency) is valueless outside of Bhutan so make sure that you change back all excess Bhutanese currency before you leave. It is possible to use Indian Rupees in Bhutan.
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from USD1-2 per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD 20-30 per person, per week can be used.
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. Please take this seriously! This trip takes place at high altitude, which is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your adventure, please consult your physician.
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights. Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here.
This program begins and ends in Paro. Please double check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Paro. You can arrive at anytime you choose, but try to make it in time for our 6:00 p.m. welcome meeting on Day 1. Your trip ends in Paro and you can fly home anytime you like on the final day.
Booking flights to Paro can be tricky. The easiest thing to do is book flights directly with one of these airlines.
Flights can be booked from: Bangkok, Kathmandu, Delhi or Kolkata (please check Visa requirements if flying via India).
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Bhutan uses three different plugs: Types G, C and D. Their voltage is 220-440 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
July is monsoon season, so expect a good deal of rain. The rains peak during July, making the roads sometimes messy, but the lush foliage and fresh mushrooms, mangoes and avocados go some way to compensate. Expect lows in the 50’s F and highs in the 70’s F.
Please keep in mind this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Breakfasts and a few dinners are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat out according to your own resources. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
See price at top right corner.
Roughly $1,200-$2,200 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
Please note: It is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
We recommend $30-40 USD for your tour leader, $16 for your driver, and another $20 for other tips.
$0 USD (All meals are included during the program)
Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
Variable. Please consult your doctor.
Variable. At your personal discretion.
$100 USD (Suggested donation). This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.