If you’re too familiar with arranged packages from A to Z, how about taking a jeep drive exploring the boundless beauty of Bhutan on your own? This kind of intriguing Bhutan tour is only for those who have a serious pursuit of wanderlust and desire a dream of encountering extraordinary travel experiences that not many others can get.
Challenging your driving skill behind steering wheel on diverse routes that you’ve never tried, marvelling at the pristine nature, and visiting the most iconic tourist sites in Bhutan’s sought-after destinations including Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang, Phobjikha and Paro Valley; your adventure is full of thrills, exhilaration, and unforgettable memories when you undertake almost the driving part during the tour dates by yourself. Even if you’re not ready for self-drive parts, our experienced local driver can help you handle this matter. Join this one-of-a-kind active tour in Bhutan with our team.
Day 1 – Arrival at Paro Valley and drive to Thimphu. Alt. 2334m.
Welcome to Paro Valley – one of the most spectacular in the world. It is mesmerizing and exhilarating. So do stay awake to experience the descent into Paro Valley.
After immigration formalities, our representative will be waiting for you at the exit to welcome you with our traditional scarfs and give you a Bhutanese welcome. We will then begin our drive to Thimphu which will be around 1 hour. It’s a wonderful drive from Paro to Thimphu.
Upon arrival in Thimphu you will check into your hotel and you can rest and relax until 1pm.
We will then plan lunch at the hotel after which you will continue with your sightseeing’s in Thimphu.
Our first visit today will be The Elegant Memorial Temple. This stupa was built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan’s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. One can take a walk and witness the locals in their daily customs and practices.
Then visit we have the Big Buddha Statue. Located at a short drive from Thimphu city centre, you can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang).
You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
In the late afternoon, visit Tashichhodzong Fortress or Dzong, also know as “fortress of the glorious religion”, it was initially built in 1641. We will visit this biggest this magnificent architecture in Thimphu in the evening. The Dzong houses, main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. Evening at your leisure where you can explore the main town area. Dinner will be planned at the local restaurant. Overnight in Thimphu.
Total self-drive time: About 1 hour 30 minutes.
Day 2 – Thimphu to Punakha Valley. Alt. 1242m.
Breakfast at your hotel. Today we drive to Punakha valley via Dochula Pass. There are splendid views of the distant snow capped Himalayas at Dochula pass (alt. 3,050m) on Thimphu to Punakha road.
One can enjoy the magnificent view of the mountains while sipping your tea or coffee here at the cafeteria where we will halt. You can explore the 108 temples built here and learn a bit of history of this site from your personal guide.
Lunch will be planned for you along the way at a nice local restaurant facing the villages and its paddy fields. After lunch we will visit the Punakha Dzong (The Palace of Great Happiness).
The most beautiful fortress in Bhutan. Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637. Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan’s history.
The high mountains and deep gorges of Bhutan lend themselves to suspension bridges. Punakha’s Suspension Bridge, which is always adorned with colorful prayer flags, is the perfect example of this. Linking Punakha Dzong to Shengana, Samdingkha, and Wangkha villages across the Tsang Chu River (aka Po Chu), this is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan.
Yet, for a roughly 520-foot-long suspension bridge, it’s surprisingly stable. The bridge offers a spectacular view of the river and valley, and the east bank is a good starting point for multi-day treks in the nearby mountains. You can then check into your hotel. Dinner at your hotel Overnight at Punakha Valley.
Total self-drive time: About 3 hours.
Day 3 – Punakha to Bumthang Valley. Alt. 2600m.
After breakfast, we will drive to Bumthang valley via Trongsa district and make halts at beautiful sites for photography. On the way we will come across a small town called Nobding – we can explore here for a bit if you’d like.
We continue our drive and reach Pelela Pass at 3423m.
We will make a stop here and enjoy the views.
Our next halt will at Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Zhida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. Legend says that the evil spirit manifested as a gigantic snake.
Upon arrival at Trongsa, we will break for lunch here at a local restaurant.
After lunch explore the little town and then continue our drive to Bumthang.
We then arrive at Yutongla Pass at 3325m. We can make a quick halt here for some pictures.
Then continue our drive to Bumthang across beautiful villages and settlements along the way.
Arrive Bumthang in the evening and check into your hotel. Evening at your leisure. Overnight at Bumthang Valley.
Total self-drive time: About 7 hours.
Day 4 – Bumthang Valley – Tang Valley.
Tang Valley is one of Bhutan’s best-kept secrets. Tang beckons with its pure highland splendor, despite being the least accessible of the Bumthang valleys. Explore windswept peaks covered with grazing sheep and wander down verdant slopes populated with yaks.
Tang is proud of its sacred shrines and spiritual heritage, which include the great saint Terton Pema Lingpa, who uncovered many riches as predicted by Guru Rimpoche.
Culture buffs will enjoy wandering around the Ogyen Chholing Museum, which was formerly the residence of the local rulers and is now home to priceless relics that depict the local way of life.
The museum, which is perched on a hill, offers amazing views of the surrounding mountainscapes. Lunch will be served here at Ogyen Chholing.
Late afternoon if time permits, we can visit the local brewery. The first and only microbrewery in Bumthang located above the scenic Bumthang valley. A microbrewery is a brewery that produces modest volumes of beer and is individually owned, as opposed to large-scale corporate brewers.
A Swiss gentleman named Fritz Maurer founded the charming Bumthang Brewery as well as the Swiss cheese shop. Maurer traveled to Bumthang with the Pro Bhutan Foundation in the 1960s to help boost the region’s agriculture. The famed “Red Panda Beer,” an unfiltered, preservative-free beverage, is produced here. Overnight at Bumthang valley. Total self-drive time: About 4 hours.
Day 5 – Bumthang – Phobjikha Valley. Alt. 3000m.
After a relaxing morning, we drive taking the route to Trongsa via Pelela pass. Lunch will be planned at Chazam along the way. We will arrive Phobjikha at around 3pm.
Phobjikha is one of the most beautiful and untouched wide valleys in Wangdiphodrang. It is a vast U-shaped glacial valley with a central stream meandering through the open grass land.
The valley is one of the most popular tourist destination in the Country and it has been declared a protected area which is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN).
Activities like the hike along the valley, visiting the Gangtey monastery, checking out the crane centre and exploring a typical Bhutanese home stays are some of the activities we can pursue at Phobjikha Valley. Overnight at Phobjikha. Total self-drive time: About 6 hours.
Day 6 – Phobjikha to Paro Valley.
In the morning visit the Gangtey Monastery one of Bhutan’s most prominent monasteries, perched on the mountaintop of Bhutan’s most gorgeous and picturesque valley.
We will drive to Paro Valley after this visit. Lunch will be planned along the way.
Upon arrival in Paro Valley, explore Paro town. Beautifully painted two storied traditional houses lined on either side along the 100-meter main street was the entirety of Paro town until the recent years. Since then the town has grown laterally with modern structures over the years but the oldest street with western inspired renovated storefronts preserving the traditional aspects of the architecture still remains the charm of Paro town. The street has series of handicraft shops and cafes serving decent coffee and international cuisine. A leisure walk along the main street of Paro town can be a unique experience. Without the busy schedule of the tour itinerary upon arrival, you can either choose to step inside a café and just gaze through the window to absorb the Bhutanese way of life while sipping a hot cup of coffee or they could explore the handicraft shops which have a collection of antiques and contemporary hand crafted products.
Check into your hotel. Dinner at your hotel. Overnight at Paro Valley.
Total self-drive time: About 5 hours.
Day 7 – Paro – Tigers Nest.
After breakfast at hotel, you will start your tour today to Paro Taktsang. Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest”.
This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site. There is a cafeteria/ viewpoint halfway to the Tigers Nest.
On the way up, you can halt for a coffee/tea break and on the way down have lunch at the same cafeteria. We will spend the most of the day hiking to the temple at your own pace while your trip leader entertains you about the history and legend of this place.
It a wonderful hike and you can take unique pictures of the Tigers Nest through your lens.
It will be one of your unforgettable experiences of a lifetime and a one to cherish. Back to your hotel to relax. Cultural show with farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Paro.
Day 8 – Farewell Bhutan.
Breakfast at the hotel and you can visit Paro town for your last minute souvenir shopping. Then transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
With the sincere thanks for your travel with us, hope that you have enjoyed your trip and look forward to see you again!
- Private guided tour
- Visas for Bhutan
- Airport transfers
- Daily 3 meals (B/L/D) at designated restaurants or hotels
- Accommodation at 3 star hotel
- A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide
- An experienced driver
- Toyota Prado SUV
- Entry fees & road permits
- Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges
- Mineral bottled water
- Set of traditional costume (to be return at the end of your stay)
- Full service & assistance before, during and after your Bhutan trip
- Flight into Bhutan via Drukair (can be arranged with us)
- Flight on other airline to catch Drukair Flight
- Meals at 5 stars restaurants
- Hotel stay outside of Bhutan
- Expenditure of personal nature Travel Insurance
- Tips for the guide and driver
- Alcoholic drink
- Whole year round
- High Season: March-May and September-November
- Low Season: December-February and June-August
- For Travel during the months of: Dec-Feb and Jun-Aug
- USD 3,850 or 1 person traveler
- USD 3,500 per person for 2 person travelers
- USD 3,150 per person for group with 3 or more
- For Travel during the months of: Mar-May and Sep-Nov
- USD 4,200 for 1 person traveler
- USD 3,850 per person for 2 person travelers
- USD 3,500 per person for group of 3 and above