US Nov 2018Bhutan Tour with short Trek for Eric and Sarah TID: 9127 ( Bhutan Tour with short Trek for Eric and Sarah TID: 9127)1 " " On our 9-day tour in November my husband and I had an amazing time! We were particularly blown away by the temples, unspoiled landscapes, and the kindness of the local people of Bhutan! The accommodations were very comfortable - we especially loved our hotel up in the hillside in Punakha!
Bhutan Tour with short Trek for Eric and Sarah TID: 9127 On our 9-day tour in November my husband and I had an amazing time! We were particularly blown away by×
SarahOn our 9-day tour in November my husband and I had an amazing time! We were particularly blown away by the temples, unspoiled landscapes, and the kindness of the local people of Bhutan! The accommodations were very comfortable - we especially loved our hotel up in the hillside in Punakha! We also loved touring all of the temples and dzongs, and really appreciated the patience and wisdom of our guide Pema, who was also very willing to go on all of the hikes that my husband insisted on! Another highlight was visiting the Artist College in Thimphu - as a graphic designer I really enjoyed seeing the process and the students at work! We also brought home a few beautiful student paintings that we framed and gave as gifts to family! and of course the Tiger's Nest Monastery was a must-visit that speaks for itself. A big thank you to Pema also, for helping us to purchase the gho and kira (and also to help us put them on correctly!) We were very happy to wear our traditional clothing at the Tiger's Nest! (see attached photo!) Our overnight trek was a definite highlight as well, and the camping was quite comfortable and luxurious! We would definitely recommend for people to bring ear plugs with them to help drown out the noise of the barking dogs at night! Also, I would encourage visitors to Bhutan to try the local cuisine! We really enjoyed trying ema datse, kewa datse, and shamu datse! Also highly recommend the hot stone baths - we wished that we had one back home in the US!Very much hoping to come back again some time soon to explore more of the natural landscape and hiking trails!Thanks again for a memorable experience - it was truly a once in a lifetime trip! Sarah and Eric Hedstrand [gallery order="DESC" ids="15620"]
- Katie Ann
Nov 2018Bhutan Tour & short Trek ( Bhutan Tour & short Trek)5 " " I traveled with 3 other adult family members to Bhutan in November 2016. We did a mix of cultural tourism and trekking in Thimpu, Paro, and Punakha over 7 days. We are so glad we found Windhorse Tours in the Lonely Planet guide. We can't recommend our guide, Yen Den and
Bhutan Tour & short Trek I traveled with 3 other adult family members to Bhutan in November 2016. We did a mix of cultural tourism×
I traveled with 3 other adult family members to Bhutan in November 2016. We did a mix of cultural tourism and trekking in Thimpu, Paro, and Punakha over 7 days.
We are so glad we found Windhorse Tours in the Lonely Planet guide. We can't recommend our guide, Yen Den and driver Mr. Jimmy enough. They were both incredibly kind, generous, and hospitable. Yen Den's English was excellent, and we had great and inspiring conversations about life in Bhutan. The man is a walking encyclopedia of information. He can tell you anything about anything in Bhutan. We were in awe of how much he knew, which only enriched our trip and gave us deeper perspective on everything we were experiencing. Without that perspective, I think the trip would have been much duller. Everything he taught us about Bhutan only made us fall in love with the country more. We were also impressed by Mr. Jimmy's driving skills. His navigation, especially of the sometimes hair-raising underdeveloped roads, was expert. We also have to sing the praises of our trekking staff. We chose a very cold time of year to camp, but our staff was nothing short of gracious, always in good spirits, and making sure we had hot tea, food, and warm water bottles for our sleeping bags.
Windhorse built a wonderful itinerary for us based on our interests. Some days we needed a little more flexibility, making minor alterations to our schedule, which Yen Den and Mr. Jimmy were more than willing to accommodate.
There was so much more to see in Bhutan. You could really spend weeks there. If we're ever able to make it back, perhaps to check out a local festival, we will most definitely be using Windhorse. We know that they will 100% take care of us. In the meantime, we will be recommending them to all of our friends and family!
This tours integrate cultural highlights of verdant valleys of Thimphu, Punakha & Paro with trekking in western Bhutan. The trek is reverse and concise version of popular Druk Path trek. Arguably, the best platform to see Bhutan in its valley (culture) and vegetation( Trek)
Bhutan Tour & Short trek as it says is a 9-days trip that takes you on the odyssey of western Bhutan, expressing itself through its cultural delights with its sights and attractions in historical valleys of Thimphu, Punakha & Paro and also blending with its hiking and trekking grandeur. The trekking portion marks coverage of pristine vegetation on foot through beautiful yet weather beaten trails, cow herder camps, some villages and Himalayan vista.
As for the cultural aspects, Thimphu, Punakha and Paro valleys harbour some of the contemporary and conventional attractions and sights. Civilization had flourished in these valleys for centuries. Some of the monuments inspire awe not merely for its aesthetic beauty but also for for the state of pristineness and spirit of natural form. The trek portion is on ancient trail between Thimphu and Paro, passing through Tsaluna and Jay Dekha villages, crossing the Jele Dzong (ancient fort/tower), that kept vigil far for any invaders coming from afar.
Summing up, this trip speaks volume of the blend of both world – cultural highlights & trekking grandeur. As its cultural highlights are as soulful as its prisitine vegetation that flourishes untamely on trek. In a sense it portray a complete frameworks where the complete ethos of Bhutan is captured vividly on its canvass.
This trip examines the best of both worlds – cultural delights and trekking grandeur within the best possible time.
Day 1 : Arrival in Paro Upon arrival meet Wind Horse Guide and transfer to the hotel. This afternoon, as per available time, visit National Museum and Rinphung Dzong. In the evening, wander in the small, but charming Paro town. Overnight in hotel
Day 2: Paro – Punakha After breakfast drive for about 4-5hrs to Punakha/Wangdue valley. The first 1hr drive follows the Pachu river downstream and then north following the bends of Thimphu river towards Thimphu. Next, the road climbs up for about 45 minutes to Dochu-la pass (3100m). The pass provides spectacular mountain vista on a clear day and even on a misty day it is quite beautiful with 108 chortens, a beautiful temple and prayer flags fluttering across the pass. Short distance below the pass is Lamperi Natural Park. Descend downhill through ever changing vegetation for 2hrs or so to arrive in sub-tropical Punakha-Wangdue valley. Visit Chimi Lhakhang temple dedicated to 15 century saint Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as ‘the divine madman, a folk hero and a cultural icon around whom countless yarns of facts and fiction, stories and legends have been spun. Wander in the small township Punakha, located at Khuruthang. Overnight in hotel.
Day 3: In Punakha & Wangdue Compared to Thimphu and Paro or valleys of central Bhutan, Punakha-Wangdue is at much lower elevation of about 1250m. Therefore it enjoys subtropical climate with warm summers and pleasant winters.
Drive north through the idyllic countryside and hike uphill for about 40 minutes through rice terraces and forests to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The temple is spectacularly situated temple, and we get a sweeping views of the valley below. Visit Punakha Dzong, an elaborate fortress/monastery straddling at the confluence of the Pho (male) and Mo (female) Riverthe architectural wonders of the 17th century Punakha Dzong, straddling at the confluence of Pho and Mo rivers (male & female). Its proper name is Punthang Dechenphodrang meaning ‘Palace of Great Happiness’. This Dzong was once Bhutan’s winter capital, the tradition that is still followed by the head monk and the monks of central monastic body.
Towards afternoon, drive up the hill to Nobgang and Talo villages. Depending on the time of the year and your interest, we can spend time visiting the villages and temple or take a nice 3-hr walk from Nobgang village towards Punakha. The walk goes gently downhill, through the fields, forests, along the ridge, passing small villages and finishes up near Punakha Dzong. Overnights hotel in Punakha.
Day 4: Punakha -Thimphu (Hike along the way) Drive from the sub-tropical Punakha valley to 10,500ft at Dochula pass in about 2.5hrs. After enjoying the spectacular panoramic views of Bhutan’s snow capped peaks along the Tibet border over cuppa and snacks at Dochula, begin 2hr ridge top walk to Lungchuzekha temple/ retreat center. The trail is through rich vegetation of moss laden birch, hemlock and rhododendrons trees, with excellent views of peaks and the valleys. This trail is adopted by Wind Horse since 2009. Our guides clean and maintain this trail. Picnic at the monastery. Instead of returning to Dochula, walk 1hr downhill to another retreat and monastic center of Trashigang located on a hilltop, from where we meet our vehicle and drive short distance to Thimphu. Towards evening, visit the great Tashicho Dzong, and the giant Buddha statue as the sunsets in the valley. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 5: In Capital Thimphu We have a full day to tour and visit the capital of Bhutan as per interests. You can visit Memorial Chorten, Takin Preserve, Zilukha nunnery, Traditional Art School, Hospital for traditional medicine, National Library, Textile Academy and Museum, Changlimithang ground where you may see Archery, Centennial farmers’ market, which is more vibrant over the weekend (Fri-Sun) or you can spend half day hiking to Cheri or Tango Monastery north of Thimphu. You can decide these activities with you guide when you are here. Overnight hotel in Thimphu
Day 6: Trek to Phajoding and cross Pumola into Tsaluna (Approx. 15km/6-7 hrs ). Start your trek above Takin Preserve (2700m) near Motithang. The trail climbs up steeply for about 6km to Phajoding group of monasteries (3640m). Phajoding is associated with 13th Century Lama, Phajo Drugom Zhigpo who spread the Drukpa Kagyu teachings of Buddhism in Bhutan. Although most of the buildings were built later in 18th century, these group of temples, monastery and meditation houses hold some of the important Buddhist relics, such as the statues and paintings. The view from Phajoding is amazing as you look down into Thimphu valley, surrounded by mountains. The trails cuts across with short ascends and descends for about 2.5km (40min) to Pumo-la pass (3750m). After crossing Pumola, it is a long descend through Pine and Rhododendron forests into Tsaluna village (6km/2hrs). Your campsite is short distance above the village in a quiet meadows at 2900m. Overnight in Lungta Comfort Camp (with Safari style tents and beds). Options available to upgrade to Lungta Deluxe.
Day 7 : Trek Jay-dikha -Jele Dzong-Paro After about an hour gradual climb you will arrive at a small village of Jaydelkha. Continuing the gradual climb uphill for about 2.5hrs through spruce, hemlock, fir and giant rhododendron forests, arrive at Jili Dzong, atop a promontory at 3570m, that gives sweeping views of both Paro valley and Tsaluna valley. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Chomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake and other snow-capped peaks in the distance. Jele Dzong is a small monastery with impressive tall Buddha statue. It was a small fortress built strategically on a ridge early in the 16th century to cater for the travellers who journey between Paro & Thimphu, actively used before the road was built in 1960s. Descend downhill for about 2hrs (4kms) through the cedar forests and through pine trees to arrive in apple orchards and farmland near Damchoe Gongma (2900m), where the vehicle meets you and drive downhill for another half hours to arrive in Paro. (Total Approx. 11Km/6hrs). In the evening, visit beautiful 7th century Kichu lhakhang temple complex.
Day 8: Taktsang Hike Finally your journey culminate into a hike to iconic Taktsang (tiger’s nest) monastery located some 600m above the valley. It is one of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, along with being one of the most sacred. The hike to the first view point or cafeteria (at 2940m) takes between 1-2hrs (about 300m ascent). From here it is another half hour or so to higher spectacular lookout point after ascending another 250m that puts you eyeball to eyeball with the monastery. From this vantage point, Takstang seems close enough to touch but in fact it on other side of deep chasm, which takes another 40 minutes or so to the monastery. As you have trekked, you should be able to make it easily and have more time to visit some of temples higher up atop promontory, which provides spectacular view. Return to Paro, where you can have for Overnight.tel.
Day 9: Departure If you flight departs late, we will cover any remaining sights in Paro. Transfer to the airport, in time for departure flight out of Paro.
Customise this trip with your preferred date and duration. Based on travel dates and duration, the itinerary can be worked in varied ways, incorporating your interests. For instance we can shorten by skipping Punakha, trek in reverse direction, or fit in traditional Druk Path Trek if you wish for longer trek.
Group SizeAny group Size
MealsFull board - For cultural tour as well as camp meals in Trek.
Trip AccommodationTourist Standard 2* to 3* hotel.
As for trek, state of art trekking tent along with other equipments.
RouteParo - Punakha
Punakha - Thimphu.
Trek to Phojoding - Pumola pass - Tsaluna
Trek to Jay Dikha - Jele Dzong -Paro
Trip TypeCultural & Trekking
Trip SeasonsEspecially for trek portion, December & January are not recommended as particularily enroute Jillila pass (3550 m) remain close with snow and it is very cold during these period.And also sometime it can get wet due to monsoon specifically in July and August.And as for the cultural tour it is good throughout the year.
Best MonthsMarch, April, October, November
Good MonthsFebruary, May, September
Lean MonthsJanuary, June, July, August, December
Prices & Dates
Cost is based on number of participants and travel dates.
Contact us for details.
- Bhutan Royalties, tourists fees, Visa fees and taxes.
- Accommodations in listed or similar hotels (pleasant hotels 3-4 star type)
- All meals,including evening tea/coffee etc through-out the tour in Bhutan.
- All land transfers, sightseeing with entrance fees.
- Experienced English Speaking Bhutanese Tour Guide.
- Bottled water in the vehicle and other comp. services.
- Flights into and out of Bhutan
- Optional Travel/Medical Insurance
- Personal expenses such as bars, beverages in the hotel, telephone, laundry, trips, and others.
In camp for Trekking, we have revamped our trekking equipments, its state of art
Hotels in Thimphu
Hotels in Paro
Hotels in Trek
Hotels in Lobesa
Hotels in Punakha
For Dechen Duba, nothing is much more fulfilling than being in tour with guests. He comes a long way from quaint village of Mongar to the capital city of Thimphu. It wasn’t a easy journey, nothing was served on a platter. He earned every bit of rave review from guests through his hard work and dedication. His favourite line “Hard works beats talent”.
To be part of tourism fraternity was what he desired most, he made a splash headlong after class 12 by enrolling for Tourism and management course. After its completion, he joined Wind Horse in 2013 and has been leading groups umpteen times.
You may find him in basketball court playing hard, when he is not leading the group.
For some being a guide is a means to make a living, and for those, where passions are involved, they take it to different levels, sometime to the extent of artistic realms. Karma Lethro is first among equals in finding art in the way he conducts, interpreting conventional religious arts that adorns many monasteries and majestic Dzong, the harbinger of conforming religious arts, with artistic perspectives. Leading a tour is where he is at ease hence at home, he says.
He completed his class 12 from higher secondary school in Thimphu in 2005. Subsequently, joined guiding course and finished in 2006. He started as free lance guide and operated for 2 years. Finally joined Wind Horse in 2008.
He likes to read, trek and very fonds of birds. When not working, he goes for birding in his village in Trongsa, birding paradise.
Pema Dhendup is the one among the few young guns at Wind Horse Tour, Bhutan. He possess an infectious smile and exuberance that rub off to child and old alike. Unwarily, he has a mature head on his young shoulder and it is most conspicuous when he is among guests, untying knots of religion and its intricate iconography with ease and dexterity.
It took him to many different regions in the country to finish his school as his father’s job demanded. This helped to pick up different local dialects of the region. Currently, this stand in good stead for him. In 2011, he completed his Degree in Arts with history as major from Darjeeling, a hill station in India. He knew what he wanted and it was such a easy choice to opt for guide training. He led his first group 2013 at Wind Horse Tours and the rest the guests’ feedbacks and testimonial itself speak volumes.
He harbours a new found passion for birds, which was ignited when he was doing a tour with bird enthusiast.
For over a decade, Penjor Lhendup has been guiding. He is senior guide at Wind Horse Tour. He chose to work as free lancer, for he has to divide his time to pursue his passion as a guide in the process also make a living and to devote time to look after his old parent and his farm land in eastern Bhutan- Mongar.
He comes from modest background and clearly reflected in his grace, perception and countenance.But the way he conducts while on tours speaks volume for his experience and his forte as a linguistic, for he can easily speak most of the local dialect that prevail in different districts and this stand in good stead when visiting remote villages and farm houses in different region with the guests.
Reviews / Testimonials
US Nov 2018
Bhutan Tour with short Trek for Eric and Sarah TID: 9127 On our 9-day tour in November my husband and I had an amazing time! We were particularly blown away by
- Katie Ann
Bhutan Tour & short Trek I traveled with 3 other adult family members to Bhutan in November 2016. We did a mix of cultural tourism