Ultimate Bhutan Travel Planner for 8 Days – Plan a Trip to The Land of Happiness
Before we start with the post on Bhutan Travel Planner, let’s read 5 facts about the Kingdom of Happiness – Bhutan which will make you wonder in awe about one of the Happiest Countries in the World!
Table of Contents
- 1 5 facts about Bhutan:
- 2 Ultimate Bhutan Travel Planner – Plan a Trip to The Kingdom of Happiness
- 3 Visa & Documents Requirements for Bhutan Travel
- 4 Permits for Bhutan Travel
- 5 Cost of Bhutan Travel
- 6 Airlines for Bhutan Travel
- 7 Best Time to visit Bhutan
- 8 Day Wise Itinerary for Bhutan Travel
5 facts about Bhutan:
- Seventy-two percent of land in Bhutan is covered by forest. And it’s going to stay that way. By constitutional law, at least 60 percent of the country should be covered by trees. This commitment to maintaining ample forested area has allowed rich biodiversity to flourish. Over 5,500 plant varieties (300 known to be medicinal) and 165 species of mammals (including the snow leopard and the red panda) can be found in the country.
- “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.” His Majesty Jingme Singye Wangchuck, former King of Bhutan, is the creator of Gross National Happiness. Rather than base the economic success of Bhutan on how much money the country earned, he believed it should be measured by factors that contribute to the quality of life for the Bhutanese people.
- Bhutan is home to the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. But don’t get too excited if you’re a climber. Gangkhar Puensum has an elevation of 24,836 feet and is off limits to mountaineering. In 1994, the Bhutanese government prohibited climbing mountains above 18,000 feet due to the belief that these areas are sacred.
- You can make your own stamps! Bhutan has some of the most intricately designed stamps in the world. In various colors and shapes (even 3D), new stamps are often released to celebrate festivals, anniversaries, even the royal family wedding. And you can join in on the cultural tradition by making your own stamp at the National Post Office in the country’s capital, Thimphu. It’s the icing on the cake for sending a postcard to friends and family.
- Bhutan is the only country in the world that doesn’t have a single traffic light in its capital city. Instead, policemen in Thimphu stand at major intersections and direct traffic. Supposedly a set was installed, and then quickly removed because the Bhutanese preferred the policemen.
Ultimate Bhutan Travel Planner – Plan a Trip to The Kingdom of Happiness
Want to travel to Bhutan? Look no further. Read our ultimate Bhutan Travel Planner and Detailed Day Wise Itinerary for an 8 days trip to the Land of Happiness!! (Lots of Insider Tips & Offbeat Places included)
Visa & Documents Requirements for Bhutan Travel
Indian nationals intending to visit Bhutan are required to carry any of the two valid ‘Travel Documents’ (a) Valid Indian Passport having a validity of minimum 6 months; and/or (b) Voter Identity Card, issued by the Election Commission of India. No Visa is required to visit Bhutan.
All foreigners (except for citizens of Bangladesh, India, and the Maldives) must obtain a visa before visiting Bhutan. The visa is then stamped into their passport. Foreign tourists must use a licensed Bhutanese tour operator or one of their international partners to pre-arrange their visa and book their holiday.
Permits for Bhutan Travel
Indians need a permit to visit Bhutan. The permits for Paro & Thimpu are available at the Immigration Office in Phuentsholing. The office stays closed on Weekends (Saturdays & Sundays) and Public Holidays. It is advisable to reach the office at 9 am to receive the permit within an hour.
For visiting Punakha, Haa Valley etc. you need to obtain the permits from the Department of Immigration at Thimpu.
Cost of Bhutan Travel
Tourists traveling in a group of 3 or more people must pay USD $200 per person per night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December, and USD $250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November. This covers accommodation, transport in Bhutan, a guide, food and entry fees.
Airlines for Bhutan Travel
The two national carriers of Bhutan are Drukair and Bhutan Airlines who fly regularly to Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport, from Bangkok, Dhaka, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Kathmandu, and Singapore.
Best Time to visit Bhutan
October to December is the ideal time to visit Bhutan as the air is clear and fresh with sunny skies. January and February are colder, but from then until April the climate remains dry and pleasant and in late spring the famous rhododendrons bloom spectacularly, flooding the valleys with color.
Day Wise Itinerary for Bhutan Travel
Day 1: Upon arrival at the Bagdogra airport, take a cab and drive to Phuentsholing – the Bhutan border town, 3.5 hours away from Bagdogra. The moment you step into Bhutan land, you will immediately see how different the two towns on either side of the border are. Visit the Archery Museum. For those who want to try Bhutan’s national sport, here is your chance to do it here. You get to wear the traditional Bhutanese dress and practice shooting arrows at a target. You can stay at Hotel Sinchula in Phuentsholing. Dinner & overnight stay at Phuentsholing.
Day 2: After breakfast at the hotel, get the permits and leave Phuentsholing by 10 am. The beautiful drive to Thimpu is about six hours long. You will pass through the pretty mountainside, streams, and waterfalls. You will also cross the wonderful mystic town Gedu, which is about 9,000 ft above the sea and Chhukha Dam. Visit Crocodile Park, Kharbondi Gumpha, Wankha waterfalls and halt at Chojum to take photographs of the confluence of two rivers of Bhutan; Thimphu Chhu, and Paro Chhu. Reach Thimpu in the evening and take rest. You can stay at Hotel Amodhara in Thimpu. Dinner & overnight stay at Thimpu.
Day 3: Spend the day walking around Thimpu. Visit the Golden Buddha Point/Shakyamuni Buddha. The 51.5 meter long bronze statue would surely attract you and the uninterrupted view of the valley will leave you spellbound. Don’t forget to visit the Junction Bookstore near it. Then, visit the pretty National Memorial Chorten (Buddhist Temple) and Terton Art Gallery founded by the Bhutanese actor Kelly Dorji which has a good collection of Bhutanese art. You will also get to see the strange animal Takin (National Animal of Bhutan) that looks like a cross between a goat and a bull, at Motithang Zoo. Around 4 pm, visit the beautiful Tashichho Dzong or the Fortress of the Glorious Region, overlooking the palace. Situated on the west bank of Wang Chhu river, Tashichho Dzong is the formal coronation site of the fifth King. The Dzong also hosts the annual Tsechu festival. And spend the later part of the evening in the bustling Thimpu market area. Please note that Tuesdays are dry days in Thimpu. You can visit Cafe Klein for dinner. Dinner & overnight stay at Thimpu.
Day 4: Leave for Punakha. Punakha is a small province, about 70 km from Thimphu and it takes about 2.5 hours by car. The first stop after leaving Thimphu on the journey is Dochula Pass around 3100 m high and way above the clouds. Only an hour’s drive from Thimphu, it offers visitors their first glimpse of the Eastern Himalayan range. Drive further down and visit the Royal Botanical Garden at Lamperi. On the way, visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kunley (Popularly known as “The Divine Madman”, in the year 1499. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunderbolt” and built the temple on top of a hillock. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. In Punakha, you should visit the beautiful Punakha Dzong (known as the “palace of great happiness”), located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (father) and Mo Chhu (mother) rivers in the Punakha–Wangdue Valley. Also visit the Suspension Bridge, the hidden treasure of Punakha Valley, the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. You simply need to be there to admire the beauty! After crossing the rivers, visit the newly developed small beautiful town, Bazo Town in Wangdue. You can stay at Hotel Pema Karpo in Punakha. Dinner & overnight stay at Punakha.
Day 5: Head for the pretty town of Paro. The route from Punakha to Paro is beautiful, and as soon as you reach this village town, it’s almost as if you have been transported back in time. Walk down the hilly slope, enjoy the serenity of nature and lose yourself in the beauty of Bhutan. Stop en route at Simtokha Dzong. This dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. Then head to Paro Dzong, a beautiful monastery (built in the 16th century), one of the oldest in Bhutan. The Dzong has a certain timelessness about it, and take your time wandering about this mystical, beautiful place, that sits on a pretty hillock and looks all over Paro town. Situated right above Rinpung Dzong in Paro, the National Museum of Bhutan is a house that showcases Bhutan’s culture. Kyichu Lhakhang is an important Himalayan Buddhist temple situated in Lamgong Gewog of Paro District in Bhutan. The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songsten Gampo. You can stay at Nivvana Resort in Paro, owned by Karma Wangmo. Dinner & overnight stay at Paro.
Day 6: It is the most exciting day of the trip, as you hike up to Tiger’s Nest Monastery/Taktsang Monastery. Most people take a taxi to the base of the mountain and then commence on the trek. On the edge of the cliff, it is a good 3 hours hike up from the base, and most of the time, you shall be walking through a forest. There is a breathtaking view from the top, and only once you reach the monastery, you get to know why Tiger’s Nest is Bhutan’s most loved monument. Comfort your eyes and soul with the stunning views of the scenic surroundings and the valley lying underneath. Dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava (widely regarded as the Second Buddha), it is a stunning monument, built on the very top and edge of a steep cliff, and is easily the highlight of the trip. You can have an Indian dinner at Phoenix Restaurant at Paro. Dinner & overnight stay at Paro.
Day 7: Visit Haa Valley via Chele La Pass which is a 2 hours drive from Paro and one of Bhutan’s highest passes at 3,880 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level. On the way, there are prayer flags dotted on top of the hills, and they are fluttering away madly in the wind. The alpine flowers, the lush greenery, the prayer flags, the views of the valley make the views breathtaking. Just below the pass, visit the secluded Kila Gompa Nunnery, a cluster of cliff-hanging homes for nuns where between 30 to 70 nuns live in self-imposed isolation. Haa Valley is a small town full of army training camps spread over three holy peaks. The story of the three mountains protecting the town is interesting. “Chundu” is the name of the local god in Haa Valley and the three peaks represent Wealth, Wisdom, and Longevity. There are two major temples located at the foot of these three peaks, called the “White Temple” and “Black Temple”. Their names have no religious significance; they’re just called that way because their outer walls are painted with the respective colors. You can stay at Ugyen Homestay in Haa Valley. Dinner & overnight stay at Haa Valley.
White Prayer Flags at Chele La Pass
Day 8: Drive to Paro. Reach around midday. Fly back home with loads of happy memories! If you want to skip Haa Valley, you can return to Paro the previous day and fly back home in the evening.
Few more extensive travel guides are as follows:
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