The Kingdom of Bhutan is one of the world’s little known treasures. Here in the “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” quality of life is measured in terms of Gross National Happiness, instead of material success – though Bhutanese live comfortable, serene lives. Until quite recently this tiny country remained in splendid isolation, dedicated to preserving its rich Buddhist traditions and pristine landscapes. Small number of guests each year, visit to discover Bhutan’s natural and cultural wonders.
On this Dragon festival trip, you will attend at least one or multiple colourful festivals, and get insight into Bhutanese culture and tradition, while visiting its unique fortresses, monasteries and ancient temples. On few occasions, your dinners will be hosted by local families. We’ll visit local farms, villages, schools and have an opportunity to meet and learn from locales.
First introduced in 2001, Dragon Festival Tour has be modified slightly each year, to keep up with changing conditions. As the Road Widening Project has somewhat slowed the driving, this year, we added one internal flight and one extra day to allow good pace of the tour, without feeling that too much time is spent on the road.
Join us on this definitive Cultural immersion Journey, among ancient monasteries and temples, Himalayan peaks and glacial rivers, rare flora and fauna and extraordinary people. We assure you that this will be one of your most memorable trip.
Day 1 & 2: Arrive and stay in Paro, Bhutan
.Day 3 & 4: Jakar (Bumthang)
Day 5: Chumey & Trongsa
Day 6 : Gangtey, Phobjikha Valley
Day 7 & 8: In Punakha & Wangdue
Day 9 & 10: Thimphu Valley
Day 11: Thimphu – Paro (Hike to Takstang)
Day 12: Departure
Please note that the schedules are revised for each trips to incorporate the festivals, events & domestic flight.
- Visit to one or more festivals.
- Colorful local markets .
- Dzongs (monastery/fort), temples
- Arts & Architecture
- Optional hike to Taktsang (tigers nest) Monastery and Chimi lhakhang.
- Opportunity to meet locals, visit local villages, homes. etc
- Escorted locally by expert and friendly Bhutanese Tour Leader.
Detailed ItineraryExpand All
Arrive and stay in Paro, Bhutan
Upon arrival by flight into Paro airport, meet/ greet and transfer to the hotel, where we spend two nights. Serene Paro at 7,500ft is one of Bhutan’s most fertile and most beautiful valley.
Usually, the flights from Bangkok or Delhi are scheduled for early morning arrival around 8 am. Which means practically whole first day. We will be able to cover all listed sights. In case, if it is afternoon , we will cover next day, if we had to miss due to time constrain.
A short, and scenic flight whisks into Bumthang, the spiritual and cultural heartland of the Kingdom.
It is laced with historical monasteries and other edifices. Enough to keep us engrossing engaged for 2 days.
Internal flight from Paro - Bumthang takes around 20 - 30 minutes.
Chumey & Trongsa
A short drive takes us over to Chumey valley. Continuing on across Youtongla pass, arrive at Trongsa, a small town, perched above a gorge, high above the Mangdechu river with a most spectacularly sited Dzong. Normally a 3hr journey, the current road condition is likely to take more, and hence it is also a necessary stop.
You will be crossing one Mounatain Pass - Youtongla Pass - 3425m
Gangtey, Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha or Gangtey is a wide glacial valley with a central stream meandering through the open grassland and thickets of dwarf bamboo. Farmlands occupy the peripheral slopes where potatoes and turnips are grown. The central area is a marsh land protected as habitat for wildlife. At 2900m, this is the highest night halt on your journey. The valley is a protected (Conservation) area and is both scenically and culturally worthwhile.
In Punakha & Wangdue
Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang two separate towns, but they are located nearby like twin towns. The valley is at a lower elevation of about 1250m above sea level and therefore it enjoys subtropical climate; with warm summers and pleasant winters. Cactuses, Mandarin, and Bananas, Guava, grow alongside rice crops, in terraced fields, gently slopping down the hillsides; one of the most delightful sight to see.
En-route, enjoy the panorama of snow capped peaks, including the highest mountain in Bhutan from Dochula pass, over a cuppa. Then spend the next two nights in a comfortable hotel, and visit Thimphu, which is still the most relaxed capital in the world, without any traffic lights ! In addition to its many attractions, you will have time for shopping, to go the post-office to send off Postcards, see an archery match and colorful farmer’s market
Thimphu - Paro (Hike to Takstang)
Our journey in Kingdom culminates into a hike to iconic Taktsang (tiger’s nest) monastery, the most famous site in Bhutan. Drive short distance to Paro and begin this famous hike, for which you can also hire a riding horses till the 1st viewpoint ( One way only).
If you wish, we can take you further up, following the old pilgrimage trail for 1 hour to visit Ugyen Tshemo, Zangdopelri, and retreat centre.
After breakfast transfer to Paro airport according to your flight times.
If your flight is in the afternoon, then we can make the morning hour useful by exploring more the Paro Valley.
It is tiered priced , based on number of participant.
1 Pax – USD$ 2800
2 Pax – USD$ 2250 Per Person
3 – 6 Pax – USD$ 1975 Per Person
7 – 10 Pax – USD$ 1810 Per Person
Single room Supplement – USD$ 330
SDF (Extra) – USD$ 1400
- All daily tourists fees
- Bhutan Visa fees.
- Travel permits
- Accommodations in listed or similar (3-4star hotels
- All meals and evening tea
- All transfers
- Sightseeing with entrance fees.
- Local English Speaking Tour leader/Guide.
- Bottled water and other complimentary services
- Flights into and out of Bhutan (listed separately).
- Travel & Medical Insurance ( Recommended).
- All optional expenses such gifts, tips (optional), laundry, bars and beverages and other personal expenses not listed in the included section.
I’m so glad that you were in Bhutan while we were there. Everyone was happy to meet you and have the opportunity to talk about Bhutan.
Your tour was terrific, you planned it perfectly. We know that problems might arise on any tour but we were lucky and everything went well. Even the weather cooperated. It was forecasted that we would have rain almost every day but it was hardly a problem at all.
Namgay mentioned that Wind Horse gets top reviews for the tours but rates low on the food. I think the quality of the food is very good but I think most tourists find the food too much of the same. Most meals were buffet, which is good because there is variety, but many times the dishes were very similar. I think the meals that I enjoyed the most were when the dishes were served to us, like at the National Museum. Another suggestion would be to go to a momo restaurant. As I mentioned, I don’t know anything about your restaurants so I can’t really make good and constructive suggestions.
The hotels were all very nice and comfortable. I especially liked Hotel Druk, for its location and the food. The barking dogs were not a problem, perhaps because our rooms were away from the front of the hotel. I also liked Hotel Gangtey Palace in Paro.
The festivals were the highlights for me. It rained much of the time at the Tamshing Festival but it was still enjoyable as we were able to get under cover. It was interesting that the the festival continued, rain or shine. Then onto the larger Gangtey Festival. I enjoyed seeing the monks practice in their robes then return the next day and see them in costume, to see the difference in the crowds, the numbers and people dressed in their best. The crowds were small enough so that it wasn’t overwhelming. The National Museum in Paro is one of my favorite museums ever. It’s small and simple but so well presented. I wish I could have taken pictures to show my friends. I loved walking through the rice fields, seeing the harvesting, up to the Khamsum Yulley Chorten, another beautiful temple. Punakha Dzong is so impressive. And lastly, Tiger’s Nest Monastery was amazing to see. Richard and I did not attempt to reach it…if only we were ten years younger, but we still enjoyed viewing it and taking pictures of us with it in the background.
Your country is beautiful and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to visit Bhutan.
Thank you and your staff for wonderful experiences.
Best to you,
Marlene R HOct 05 - 18,2019
I just returned from a 12 day trip to Bhutan organized by Wind Horse Tours. I cannot recommend them enough. The pre trip communication was excellent, and our guide Sonam and driver (also Sonam!) were fabulous. The roads are treacherous in many places and the driver’s skill gave me much needed confidence. Sonam the guide’s knowledge was extensive and he was a friendly outgoing person with a sense of humor. He went the extra mile when one of our party was sick, going to his room late in the evening to personally administer an herbal treatment, which our friend found very helpful. When he found out that I was into trees, he went out of his way to help me learn the different types of local trees, and took me on a nonscheduled stop to the post office to get a particular stamp with trees on it that I had been searching for.
The hotels were decent as was the food – we had been told to expect 3 star level hotels and food and that’s what we got. There are a lot of tour companies offering tours of Bhutan, but I don’t think you can go wrong with Wind Horse. Bob
Robert10 -21 Sept,2018
Dear Yonten, We’ve had the most memorable trip in Bhutan. Please send our thanks to the Windhorse team behind the scene who makes sure that our trip is safely arranged and well-organised. We are specially thankful to Kinley and Tshewang for a wonderful trip, they always went beyond our expectations to make sure that we enjoy the trip the most, from small little things like buying newspapers everyday for me, borrowing scarfs for all of us, driving with at most care, to trying to give us a taste of true Bhutanese cuisine. They are very professional at work and we found them great companions, true friends and we’ve learnt a lot from them. I would definitely recommend Windhorse team to any of my friend who is planning to go to Bhutan.
Thanks again for everything and we wish you a happy life.
Private Bhutan Trip March 28 to April 7,2015 with Kinley
Hoa, Kent & MikiMarch 28 to April 7,2015
TID 8538 Bhutan Dragon Festival (4 Oct – 15 Oct,2014)
Thanks for your email below. I do like to write a few words regarding this trip :
– overall, I find it good in terms of introducing the tourists to the Bhutanese culture.
– I guess due to the geographical locations of the different villages, we do have to spend quite a number of hours driving on the road.
– I was just s bit upset that there was a sudden change in one of hotels we we were going to stay (From this Meri resort to YT hotel), though I had to admit the hospitality of the hotel owner did make the whole 2-night stay worthwhile
– at the end, I do want to write a few compliments for Sonam, our guide. He had always been very considerate, supportive and caring. I wouldn’t have made it to the Tiger’s nest without his support along the hike. Really appreciated. He is really an asset to your company. You may regret it if you lose him to another agency.
Hope these comments help.
Ms Angelina C. M. LOct 4 - 15, 2014
TID 8538 Bhutan Dragon Festival (4 Oct – 15 Oct,2014)
Overall, the trip was quite nice. We didn’t like the change in accommodations for the first 2 nights. I suppose it was a little like a bed and breakfast, but it was a bit uncomfortable to have to share the apartment with somebody that we didn’t know. We did get the master bedroom, so that was at least better than it was for the single person, but still we had to be pretty much fully dressed to come out of our bedroom. We had a tub in the bathroom, but it was so dirty that we would have needed some heavy duty cleaners to even use it.
You were definitely right about restroom facilities and food quality on the trip. In the Mountain resort, the bathroom floor was wet all the time around the toilet and even sitting on the toilet, my ankles were getting sprayed constantly. The food was very repetitive at every meal.
On the bright side, everything we saw was wonderful. Sonam, our guide was fantastic. He was quite knowledgeable about the history and culture and very observant to help any of us who needed anything. I am diabetic and was having some really high blood sugars from the types of food that we had because it was so high in carbohydrates. When he saw, how I had started limiting my food, he asked me what would help and arranged to have hard boiled eggs at our meals to help me eat more protein. Others, also started to look forward to the eggs and enjoyed them. I, also, was breathing quite heavily at the altitude, when we went up hills. On the first day we went on a hike, he told me that he would suggest that I use the horse option at Tiger’s Nest. I told him that I had intended to but had read on the Internet that they weren’t always safe because the horses walked on the edge of the cliff and that one man had even fallen 40 feet. He told me that he would lead my horse so that I would be safe. He really went the extra mile to make sure that everyone who had any needs was taken care of.
The other young guide that was with us, Kenchup (not sure how to spell his name) was also very nice and tried to help anybody who needed anything. The driver’s were great. They were safe and personable. They would stop for any pictures that we wanted along the way.
I’m happy that we were able to visit a country than is so unique. The people of Bhutan were welcoming and friendly. We met some lovely Bhutanese.
Liked the Takin excursion, as well as other animal stops to take pics of monkeys and yak. Enjoyed the festivals, hikes, and temples. The giant Buddha is beautiful. Also, the markets were good.
Mrs Sandra BOct 4 - 15,2014
Dragon Festival Tour with Jakar:TID 641(Oct. 10-21,2013)
Dear WindHorse Tours,
We just finished our Dragon Festival Tour and we want to thank everyone at WindHorse.
We had a wonderful time. Bhutan is a very special country. We were impressed by how friendly everyone is and by how well Bhutan has preserved its natural environment. The temples and dzongs are beautiful and the Jakar festival was fun to witness. Tiger’s Nest monastery is an amazing sight. Everything on the tour was well-organized and ran smoothly. We were amazed at how much we were able to see.
We want to give special thanks to our tour guide, Yeshi Penjor and our driver, Norbu. They were both quite friendly and helpful. Yeshi was full of pride and useful information about his homeland. Norbu was very careful to keep us safe on the rough, narrow mountain roads. We feel lucky to be in their hands.
Frank and Sally Keen
Frank and Sally KeenOct. 10-21,2013
Dear Windhorse –
I traveled with you in Bhutan in Sept 2010 for the festival tour. I\’ve just recently returned to the US after months of travel and can’t speak enough about Windhorse or Bhutan. The trip was majestic and the introduction to the culture of Bhutan amazing. I am most grateful for your wonderful office staff who made all visa/prep arrangements and our guide “Jombe” and driver. Both were amazing staffers. I hold my trip to Bhutan close to my heart and look forward to a trip to the east once it opens up to more tourism. Most grateful in New York..
Helen C. (Dragon Festival Oct 2010)
Dragon Festival Tour (Oct 2008)
Thanks Ugen, We thoroughly enjoyed our trip. Everything went very smoothly. Sonam was a wonderful guide and LB was a great driver. The country was beautiful and the people were very friendly. We especially enjoyed interacting with the children – they were a delight. The weather was picture perfect. We were surprised at how warm it gets in the sun – we were not quite prepared for that. We loved staying at the Villa Italia. We were invited for tea by Patrizia and Ugyen and enjoyed that unexpected experience. With the exception of the one night, our other accommodations were acceptable. The van was quite comfortable for our long drives and it was nice to be able to spread out.
We would definitely recommend Wind Horse to others.
Loretta & Gary DayOct 16,2008
A belated thank you for all of your assistance in arranging my trip to Bhutan! The trip exceeded all of my best expectations! It was superb from beginning to end.
I had the pleasure of meeting Anand who spoke so highly of you!
Our guide, Ratna, was wonderful as well as the driver. Bill Williams was a delightful traveling companion and we all had a lot of fun!
Bhutan is an amazing country, with beautiful, loving people. I delighted in the serenity, beauty and color everywhere.
I truly hope to return one day soon. In gratitude, Nina W (Bhutan Mar, 2008)
There can not be enough said in regards to the professional commitment displayed by Ugyen and the staff selected during my tour of Bhutan. Ugyen provided exactly what he has posted on his website and more. Before selecting Windhorse, I had done about 4 years of research on the best way to get to Bhutan. I am not particuarly fond of group tours so it was important for me to travel with a small group. Since at the time I could not afford a private tour, I was all set to go with a company that charged twice as much with the minimum amount of guest three times that of Windhorse. I am thankful to have come across Windhorse and when I called the number listed on the website and actually spoke with Ugyen, I was beyond impressed. He treated me as if I was his first and only client (of course I know better). This is how he and his treated me during entire planning stages and actual tour. The staff at Windhorse are proud of their country and company, and it shows with their personal care for each clients needs.
I truly enjoyed my trip. I have been back to Bhutan since my first tour in Sep 2005. Thanks to Windhorse, Bhutan has my heart. I LOVE this magical place and will continue to visit there whenever possible. I will also continue to refer Windhorse to anyone that has an interest in visiting Bhutan. I will refer them not only because of the reasons mentioned above, but because I can not imagine touring this country with any other company. Unless, one is fortunate enough to gain a personal invitation, Windhorse is the ONLY way to see this little Kingdom….PERIOD!
Barbie HawkinsApril, 26, 2006
Except for the hotel in Thimphu, I was satisfied. Pelton, the guide, demonstrated excellent service, insight, and knowledge of tantric Buddhism, which I have a particular interest to investigate. I would travel again to Bhutan, provided the guide had the professionalism of Pelton. I am also interested in another trip, possibly to Tibet or Nepal. I would book with your tour group again.
James Douglas LeeSept,22, 2006
Bhutan Sept 30-Oct 9, 2006
The trip was wonderful! Sorry I hadn’t written sooner – I recently got back to the US and have been exhausted. Bhutan was such a amazing country – the scenery, culture, and nicest people! Sonam and Aitta really made the trip special. I had very little knowledge of buddism prior to the trip, but I learned so much – it’s incredible how the religion is so integral to the Bhutanese culture.
I’ve already recommended Wind Horse to my friends…..thanks again for making this a once in a lifetime experience!
Stuart FrammSeptember,30, 2006
Thanks for your follow-up call. I did, indeed, have a fabulous time in Bhutan. It’s a wonderful country and both Buddha and Gyem Dorji were warm and welcoming. They both provided valuable insight and information about Bhutan and its people and both went out of their way to ease my stay there.
I don’t know exactly when, but I hope to make it back there one day to do some trekking (even though Buddha practically had to push me uphill the whole way to Taktsang!).
Thank you again for all your pre-trip assistance. I felt very prepared, unlike other folks I met who were either over or under-dressed or who were taken aback by the sometimes rustic accommodations or roadways.
You probably already know that I met Lorraine (from Minnesota) during my travels, who only had good things to say about you and your family.
I prepared a travelogue upon my return from Bhutan and have shared it with many friends and colleagues. I think I’ve whetted many appetitites for travel there. I am attaching my travelogue for you to read. The facts and figures may not be 100% true (in fact, I know I’ve taken a few liberties), but I think it captures the joy and wonder that I encountered while in Bhutan.
Thanks for your concern. Luckily it wasn’t until the end of the trip (Sunday) that I was not doing well. Tshewang had never had taken a tourist to the hospital. Kunzang was a real pro and handled the hospital situation very well. He was familiar with the hospital situation since he had taken his mother to one. He was a great help.
The doctor said I had strained muscles in my side – combination of carrying my camcorder and camera on that side and climbing steps while carrying them. With the help of the medication the doctor prescribed and the cream my flying went well. I was told by my doctor the pain would go away in two weeks. By Tuesday of this week (November 16th) I was feeling fine (so much so that I was able to cleans my eaves).
I apologize for not remembering the name of the guide who had the two couples and two women, but he was very nice and was concerned about my medical situation. You have very helpful and quality guides at Windhorse.
I truly enjoyed Bhutan – what wonderful people and great scenery.
A happy tourist,
Travel to Bhutan was a dream I had waited to fulfill all my life. When I finally had the chance to go, I found that I had a very window of opportunity right at the height of the festival season. I never thought that any agent would be able to pull off the arrangements at the last minute but luckily, after being turned down by other agencies, I contacted Kinley at Wind Horse Tours, Treks & Expeditions. Due to his energetic efforts and much to my surprise, I was able to squeeze onto the last possible flight.
My time in Bhutan was made comfortable by the wonderful guide he arranged, an easy-going, affable gentleman who spoke fluent English. I had researched a lot of the attractions I wanted to see, so I came with a rather formidable list of requests and bombarded Kinley with dozens of questions. He was not only able to make sure that I had a chance to see all of them, but also made a number of suggestions for other points of interest that matched my goals. He and the guide were able to work out a schedule that was both full and stimulating but also flexible enough to accommodate some spontaneous changes.
I’ve always traveled without the use of a tour guide and I hadn’t wanted to rely on one for my visit to Bhutan. But the Wind Horse staff did such a fine job, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had half as much fun if I’d tried to do it myself. I enthusiastically recommend them for their sincerity and diligence for the sake of their clients.