Hidden Treasures of Bhutan

  • Find yourself in the kingdom's old capital, the heart and soul of Bhutanese culture
  • A pleasing combination of casual hikes, lengthier treks, and touring by vehicle
  • Possibility to take in the vibrant Punakha festival and its spectacular masked dances
Trip Type: Scheduled Departure
Trip Length: 12 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour, Trekking
Trip Extensions: Angkor Extension
Laos Extension

The kingdom’s old capital of Punakha is the heart and soul of Bhutanese culture. It’s a marvelous area to explore during the winter months, due to its subtropical climate and low elevations (in the four- to five-thousand-foot range). Mountain views are generally crystal clear, and the landscape is bursting with color: bright yellow mustard alternates with winter wheat and rice on the steeply terraced fields, the ubiquitous red chilies (a staple of Bhutanese cuisine) dry on rooftops, and a glorious array of wildflowers carpets the forest-covered ridges.

We commence with a visit to Paro, then head east to Punakha for a beautiful three-day village-to-village trek. We’ll be hiking through country that, nearly 500 years ago, was the stomping ground of the famous “Divine Madman” Drukpa Kinley, a giant figure in Bhutanese folklore. We end with a visit to the remote alpine valley of Phobjikha for a glimpse of the rare black-necked cranes who swoop down from Tibet for the winter. One of our early spring departures will incorporate the madly colorful Punakha festival.


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Bhutan trek map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in Paro
  • Day 2: explore Paro
  • Day 3: drive to Punakha
  • Days 4–6: trekking
  • Day 7: drive to the Phobjikha Valley
  • Day 8: hiking in Phobjikha
  • Day 9: drive to Chuzomsa
  • Day 10: drive to Thimphu
  • Day 11: explore Thimphu, return to Paro
  • Day 12: depart Paro.