Bhutan Exclusive

7 days from $5195 *
  • Marvel at the spectacle of a traditional Bhutanese dance.
  • Embark on a journey through the forest to the Taktsang Monestery.
  • Delve into Bhutan’s intriguing past during visits to countless temples.
  • Private transfers throughout.
  • Featuring five-star hotels.
Request a Quote

Let the stresses of the modern world fall away as you meditate in centuries-old Cheri Monastery in Bhutan’s timeless Thimphu Valley.

It will take you an hour to hike to this secluded spiritual mecca, and the rewards are well worth the effort. Remote Bhutan has been preserved from western influence for centuries and experiencing its rich spiritual life, cultural traditions and pristine Himalayan environment is like stepping into a time machine to the old world. Thimphu is also home to the 12th-century Changangkha Lhakhang temple and the stunning Motithang Takin wildlife reserve, but the views of the Himalayan peaks from nearby Dochu-la pass steal the show. You’ll also hike through rice fields to explore the rural villages on the banks of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers; visit the 7th-century Kyichy Lhakhang in Paro which marks the introduction of Buddhism to Bhutan; and climb to the spectacular Takstang monastery perched on the edge of sheer cliff face.

Incredible luxury hotels characterize your Bhutan experience in this exclusive trip. Traditional architecture meets modern design and amenities in a collection of premium valley, river and mountain hotels. But you’ll also experience real Bhutanese life as your experienced local guides take you to meet local school children, a Bhutanese family in their traditional farmhouse, and a range of talented artisans. ... Show More »

Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance. « Show Less

Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Paro to Thimphu
    Paro to Thimphu
    • Visa Fee - Visa Fee Included
    • Supplement - Guide/Vehicle
    • Paro - Thimphu - Vehicle/Guide
    • Private - Explore Thimphu - Vehicle/Guide
    • Dinner at Taj Tashi - Dinner
    Breakfast
  • Day 2 Thimphu
    Thimphu
    • Private - Cheri Monastery & Thimphu Valley - Vehicle/Guide
    • Supplement - Guide/Vehicle
    • Private - Expert Lecture on Bhutanese Culture (1hr) - Lecture
    Breakfast
  • Day 3 Thimphu to Punakha
    Thimphu to Punakha
    • Thimphu - Punakha [via Dochula Pass] -
    • Supplement - Guide/Vehicle
    • Private - Explore Punakha - Vehicle/Guide
    • Dinner at Uma Hotel - Dinner
    Breakfast
  • Day 4 Punakha
    Punakha
    • Private - Punakha Valley
    • Supplement - Guide/Vehicle
    • Dinner at Uma Hotel - Dinner
    Breakfast
  • Day 5 Punakha to Paro
    Punakha to Paro
    • Punakha - Paro [via Semtokha Dzong] -
    • Supplement - Guide/Vehicle
    • Private - Explore Paro
    • Dinner at Uma Hotel - Dinner
    Breakfast
  • Day 6 Paro
    Paro
    • Private - Taktsang Monastery & Drukgyel Dzong
    • Supplement - Guide/Vehicle
    • Private - Bhutanese Cultural Show - Show
    Breakfast
  • Day 7 Paro
    Paro
    • Transfer - Private - Depart Airport - Vehicle/Guide
    • Supplement - Guide/Vehicle
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
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Day 1: Paro - Thimphu

Upon arrival in Paro, you will be required to present two passport photos to the immigration official for your Bhutan visa (included), which will be stamped into your passport. Once you pass through customs your guide and driver will be waiting for you.

You will be met on arrival at Paro airport by our local guide. Once you have completed all airport formalities, you will begin your drive toward Thimphu. This is a scenic journey and takes roughly 1.5 hours. On arrival in Bhutan's modern capital, you will check in at your hotel.

Visit the Changangkha Lhakhang, built in the 12th century, this is the oldest temple in Thimphu. It is hovering over a ridge above Thimphu, near Motithang. Lama Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo who hailed from Tibet chose this site to build this Lhakhang. The Lhakhang houses Chenrizig, an 11-headed, thousand-armed manifestation of Avolokitesawara. The prayer books in this Lhakhang are larger than the usual Buddhist texts. You can purchase some of the world’s most beautiful postage stamps, collector’s items and postcards at face value from the general post office, and you will also see the Bhutan National Bank. Next head to a local arts and crafts school, to visit with some local children, and then carry on to the Traditional Medicine Institute where ancient healing arts are still practiced. Finally, visit the Motithang Takin Preserve, which is a local wildlife reserve. Later, if time permits, take a stroll through the main streets to see the interesting Himalayan artifacts and textiles that make Bhutan famous.

Enjoy your Dinner at Taj Tashi Hotel

Accommodation: Taj Tashi (5*)

Set in the heart of the Thimphu Valley, the Taj Tashi is a gateway to a land steeped in mythology and magic. The mountain kingdom of Bhutan remains one of the old world’s last remaining strongholds, as yet unspoilt by civilization. In the charmed isolation of the Himalayan heights, Bhutan’s ancient and alluring ways of Mahayana Buddhism continue on richly intact to this day, and permeate every aspect of Bhutanese life and art. In keeping with the enchanting surrounds, the hotel is a blend of Bhutan’s Dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 66 elegant guestrooms afford guests striking highlights of the region’s art and colour, along with breathtaking views of the mountains that rise above the Thimphu valley.

Thimphu
Thimphu
Taj Tashi, Thimphu
Taj Tashi, Thimphu

Day 2: Thimphu

After breakfast begin your day of sightseeing with a visit to the weekend market to see local people selling and purchasing their staples. The market also has a few souvenir shops for visitors. Then embark on a drive 12 km north of Thimphu where you will participate in an hour long hike to Cheri Monastery. There will be enough time for individual contemplation, journaling, meditating, etc while visiting the monastery. Later, drive back to the hotel or to a local restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon observe traditional paper making from Daphnia and Edgeworthia shrub, and have a chance to purchase some beautiful writing sets from the factory. Next, visit the Handicraft Bazaar, a new project initiated by the Government that promotes locally produced handicrafts. Buy stunning kiras which can be used as bed covers or wall decoration, jewelry and much more.  Finally, visit Memorial Chorten built in 1974 to honor the memory of Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, popularly known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. A multi-storied Stupa will introduce you to the vitality of Tantric Buddhism. Finish up back at your hotel.

Sit in today on a lecture on Bhutanese Culture. Listen to an expert explain Bhutan's history, religion and politics. The guest speaker will elaborate on cultural questions and engage in discussions. Also hear from an expert on GNH (Gross National Happiness) which is the famous local development policy. This special session strives to give more insight and understanding of Bhutan.

Accommodation: Taj Tashi (5*)
Buddhist Wheel
Buddhist Wheel
Memorial Chorten
Memorial Chorten

Day 3: Thimphu - Punakha

After an early breakfast in Thimphu, you will drive up to Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft) stopping briefly to take in the view and admire the chortens, Mani walls, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the high Himalayan peaks towards the northeast will be revealed in all of their glory. On a clear day, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

On arrival in Punakha, check-in at your hotel. After lunch, hike up to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) which is on a small hilltop. It is a pleasant 30 minute hike through rice paddies and a small village. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi from the 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as the ‘Divine madman’ in the west. He preached in an unusual way for the time and dramatized the teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold Phallus symbols and paintings on the houses or temples are as a result of his influence. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. A popular pilgrimage spot for the Bhutanese, it is frequented by childless couples and parents who have difficulty raising children from all over the world.

Enjoy your Dinner at Uma Hotel

Accommodation: Uma (5*)

Uma By Como is situated on a bend in the Mo Chu river, shrouded in the alpine stillness of the Punakha Valley. Providing luxury accommodation in this less-visited area of Bhutan, a five-hour drive from Paro, Uma by COMO, Punakha offers guests exceptional access to some of Bhutan’s most celebrated landscapes and historic sites, including the famous Temple of the Divine Madman and the imposing Punakha Dzong. This spirit of adventure is the hallmark of all COMO’s Uma hotels.

Punakha
Punakha
Uma
Uma

Day 4: Punakha

Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still it is the winter the seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). Blessed with a temperate climate and fed by the Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) rivers, Punakha is the most fertile valley in the country. Today, you will begin with a hike up through the fields of rice along the banks of the Mo Chu to the upper end of the valley to see the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the Queens and consecrated in 1999. Following the hike you will drive towards Khuruthang, passing Punthsho Pelri Palace and several other winter homes of the royal family before reaching the impressive Punakha Dzong. The Dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch. It is open for visitors during the Punakha festival (early spring) and in the summer months, after the monks body has returned to Thimphu. The Dzong is placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. This ancient fortress is the winter residence of the monastic order’s head and still serves as the administrative headquarters for the Punakha region. A picnic lunch will be served on the banks of the Punak Chu. In the evening, take a relaxing stroll around town.

Enjoy your Dinner at Uma Hotel

Accommodation: Uma (5*)
Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong

Day 5: Punakha - Paro

This morning, set off for Paro after an early breakfast and en route visit Semtokha Dzong, “the place of profound tantric teaching”, which stands on a hill a few kilometers out of town. On arrival in Paro, check in at your hotel.

After lunch today, you will visit Ta Dzong, originally built as a watchtower, which now houses Bhutan’s National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armor, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore, such as the legend of the four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount Sumeru and other cosmic mandalas. Along the way you will also see the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. In the evening visit a traditional farmhouse for an opportunity to interact with a local family and gain insight into the local lifestyle and cultures.

Enjoy your Dinner at Uma Hotel

Accommodation: Uma Paro (5*)

Uma Paro offers exceptional style in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Reflecting an understated philosophy of quiet comfort in a unique, culture-rich location, this inland retreat is also dedicated to activity and adventure. The landscape is dramatic with pine-clad valleys and snow-tipped ranges. Bhutan is Buddhist, retaining respect for religious tradition. Access this world with the inland treks, comprehensive tours and excursions led by Uma guides.

Paro
Paro
Uma Paro
Uma Paro

Day 6: Paro

Today you will embark on an excursion to view the spectacular and famous Taktsang monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest with many trees festooned with Spanish moss and the occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. The hike will take you past a small cafeteria if a break is needed.  Built in 1600’s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months and this place is considered as a ‘Mecca’ for Buddhists. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria. After the hike, we will pay visit to the ancient ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. The Dzong was destroyed by fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. There were several unsuccessful attempts to invade Paro by the Tibetans from the north. The fortress was featured on the cover of the US National Geographic magazine in year 1914. The fortress served as an administrative center until year 1951 when a fire brought it down. From here, on a clear day, you can get a magnificent view of the Mount Jumolhari. Drive south to Satsham Chorten, built in memory of the late Dilgo Khentse Rimpoche, and continue on to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in seventh century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gonpo. This evening, once back to your hotel, you can take a leisurely guided walk of the town of Paro.

Enjoy a 45 minute cultural show performed by a private traditional dance troupe. The troupe portrays both modern and traditional forms of dance. During the performance, you can learn a few steps of traditional Bhutanese dancing, take photos with the performers, and learn about traditional musical instruments.

Accommodation: Uma Paro (5*)
Traditional Dance
Traditional Dance
Taktsang Monestery
Taktsang Monestery

Day 7: Paro

Your guide will escort you to the airport for departure from Paro.

Accommodation:
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

Trip Terms & Conditions

  • Your deposit is due immediately on booking (30% of program price, minimum $350). The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations of confirmed bookings 90 days or more prior to departure will receive full refund minus a $350 (per person) administrative fee and any non-refundable paid fees (e.g. non-refundable airfare, cruise or hotel deposits). 60-89 days will be subject to loss of 30% of program price. 30-59 days will be subject to loss of 50% of program price. 29 days or less will be subject to loss of 100% of program price.
  • Tour quotes do not include airfare to/from the trip start point unless noted on the itinerary
  • Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  • Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked. We will exercise best efforts to book hotels per the itinerary, however, in busy seasons and with client bookings made within 90 days of tour date we may be forced to offer substitutes.
  • Payment of the program price constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out at www.kensingtontours.com/terms-and-conditions
  • Living Standards and practices at destination may differ from those in North America with respect to provisions of utilities, services and accommodation.

Taj Tashi (5*): Thimphu

Set in the heart of the Thimphu Valley, the Taj Tashi is a gateway to a land steeped in mythology and magic. The mountain kingdom of Bhutan remains one of the old world’s last remaining strongholds, as yet unspoilt by civilization. In the charmed isolation of the Himalayan heights, Bhutan’s ancient and alluring ways of Mahayana Buddhism continue on richly intact to this day, and permeate every aspect of Bhutanese life and art. In keeping with the enchanting surrounds, the hotel is a blend of Bhutan’s Dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 66 elegant guestrooms afford guests striking highlights of the region’s art and colour, along with breathtaking views of the mountains that rise above the Thimphu valley.

Taj Tashi, Thimphu
Taj Tashi, Thimphu
Bedroom
Bedroom

Uma (5*): Punakha

Uma By Como is situated on a bend in the Mo Chu river, shrouded in the alpine stillness of the Punakha Valley. Providing luxury accommodation in this less-visited area of Bhutan, a five-hour drive from Paro, Uma by COMO, Punakha offers guests exceptional access to some of Bhutan’s most celebrated landscapes and historic sites, including the famous Temple of the Divine Madman and the imposing Punakha Dzong. This spirit of adventure is the hallmark of all COMO’s Uma hotels.

Uma
Uma

Uma Paro (5*) : Paro

Uma Paro offers exceptional style in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Reflecting an understated philosophy of quiet comfort in a unique, culture-rich location, this inland retreat is also dedicated to activity and adventure. The landscape is dramatic with pine-clad valleys and snow-tipped ranges. Bhutan is Buddhist, retaining respect for religious tradition. Access this world with the inland treks, comprehensive tours and excursions led by Uma guides.

Uma Paro
Uma Paro
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
  • Elizabeth W — June 24, 2015 — Asia

    Excellent trip. All of the guides were professional and top quality. We were able to see many sights due to their knowledge of the train system and they also taught us how to get around on our own. The guides also recommended places to see on our own time and all worth while. In addition they taught us local customs and foods that we needed to try in that region. Very helpful. Special day was with our guide on the Fish Market and sushi making tour, made sushi personally with her. She made it a very special day. Great tour for those who want guides but also some free time on our own. The guides were always on time, the transportation on time and everyone was so nice and helpful. We also appreciated not having to be in a large group of strangers and the one on one quality of the tour. Was not sure what to expect but the trip met all expectations and then some. Will use Kensington again and will refer friends.

  • Lynn m — June 18, 2015 — Asia

    We booked all accommodation ourselves so not rated on survey. Kensington did a perfect job for us customizing all our transportation needs at the airport, ferry, hotel or boat transfer. There was always someone waiting with a sing on the correct day, time and place. As well the guides we used were friendly, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and spoke English well. Our travel consultant Marc Sison was excellent always prompt returning my call or email as well as making fabulous suggestions like going to Oslob to snorkel with the Whale Sharks, an absolute highlight of our trip. Our trip to the Philippines was primarily to snorkel and we were not disappointed, the water was warm and clear with lots of fish, coral, sea snakes, sting rays and even a couple of black tipped reef sharks. Of course there were turtles but we have seem many in our past snorkeling. This has created another way of traveling. Thanks! All the categories on the survey I rate as 10.

  • Maynard Fossum — December 12, 2014 — Asia

    My trip to China proved to be an outstanding experience. Each location provided excellent learning and entertainment opportunities. The country was very impressive both in its deep history and in the huge modernization that has taken place in recent decades. The tour guides at each location were well informed and able to answer questions while also offering detailed information at all sites. It was a pleasure to be so well taken care of. The guides and drivers were always helpful. The meals on the tour were delicious and varied. I was pleased with the choice of restaurants. The hotels were comfortable and well located. I will recommend Kensington Tours.

  • FayeLaing — December 12, 2014 — Asia

    I was a bit nervous about visiting Myanmar. Thanks to the outstanding help and planning via Kensington Tours, everything went off without a hitch!! It was a fantastic experience, that I would recommend to anyone with a spirit of adventure.

  • Craig Gelman — December 12, 2014 — Asia

    Fabulous trip. Every aspect from the planning to execution was excellent.

  • Ruth Reinhard — December 12, 2014 — Asia

    The trip was fantastic!!!Each guide and driver gave us so much information and were so helpful. They made sure that they took good care of our well being and requests. My husband, who we all call "the reluctant traveler" said, halfway through the trip, where are we going next? He said if he can go with Kensington then he will go anyplace. Thanks for making our trip to China a memorable experience.

  • SixtoCastenada Jr. — December 12, 2014 — Asia

    100% satisfied! We had a wonderful trip. Our travel adviser, Tony Newman put together a tour that included everywhere we wanted to visit and within our very limited time frame. Conrad, who booked our transportation was very professional. The tour guides, hotel accommodations and transportation arrangements were all excellent. We will be using Kensington Tours again!

  • TerryCreighton — December 12, 2014 — Asia

    We were so impressed with all aspects of the trip that Kensington arranged for us - even at short notice. The itinerary was perfectly planned, full of extra activities like riding an elephant and a water buffalo cart ride. The guides were wonderful in all the places we went and the travel was easy between locations. Vietnam is a wonderful destination and Angkor Wat is amazing too. We loved the overnight on the boat in Halong Bay and the train ride to Sapa. The day we spent trekking between indigenous villages in the mountains of Sapa was one of the most interesting days of my life! We have travelled a lot and this was one of the best trips we have ever taken.

  • Olive Ramchand — June 03, 2014 — Asia

    I have to admit, this was the BEST vacation I ever had. The tour was nothing less than Fantastic! The hotels were great, the guides were great, the transportation was great, the places were great, the people were great, the food was great and last but not least China, itself was out of this world. I'm so glad I booked this tour and would recommend this to anyone. Thanks so much for all your help, your interest and your recommendations. Steve in China was so attentive, he called constantly to make sure everything was fine. We really had a fabulous time and even my jaded husband who normally only seems to care about where the nearest golf course is, was impressed and had a wonderful time.

    Thanks again, and unto the next vacation (although I don't know how we would top this one!!)

  • Jeanne Tarvin — April 21, 2014 — Asia

    The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

* USD per person, double occupancy. Custom designed personal tour. Prices subject to change.

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