Uncover the Magic of Bhutan: A 7-Day Itinerary

Nestled in the eastern Himalayas between India and China lies Bhutan – the mysterious dragon kingdom.

Known as the last Shangri-La, Bhutan has majestic mountains, ancient monasteries, rich culture, and warm welcoming people.

If you’re planning a trip to this magical kingdom, this 7-day Bhutan itinerary covers all the must-see highlights for first-time visitors.

Get ready to uncover the magic of Bhutan!

Day 1: Arrive in Paro and Explore the Paro Valley

Fly into Paro International Airport, Bhutan’s sole international airport. Gaze out the window at Mount Jhomolhari – the sacred mountain that guards over the Paro Valley. Clear customs and check into your hotel in Paro town.

Spend the afternoon adapting to the altitude and exploring Paro. Stroll through quaint alleys lined with traditional Bhutanese architecture.

Visit the Paro Weekend Market and try some tasty ema datshi (Bhutan’s signature chili and cheese dish).

As the sun begins to set, make your way to the iconic Paro Rinpung Dzong. This fortress-monastery overlooks the valley is postcard-perfect with glowing golden light during magic hour.

Day 2: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery

After breakfast, head out to tackle the Tiger’s Nest hike – the most famous hike in Bhutan! Follow cliffside trails winding uphill through pine forests to reach the Taktsang Palphug Monastery, an epic Buddhist temple seemingly defying gravity as it clings to a sheer rock face 900m above the valley.

Marvel at the breathtaking views across the Paro Valley and relish your accomplishment upon reaching Tiger’s Nest.

Tour the temples and soak up the mystical atmosphere. You can even stop for a traditional Bhutanese meal cooked by monks at the Taktsang Cafeteria halfway up the trail.

Later, visit Kyichu Lhakhang – a serene 7th century temple thought to pre-date the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Compare this temple’s simple spiritual design to the more elaborate and colorful Tiger’s Nest.

Day 3: Drive from Paro to Punakha

Continue exploring Bhutan’s western valleys with a scenic drive from Paro to Punakha – the old capital. Pass terraced rice paddies, swift rivers, and remote mountain villages along the route.

Stop at Dochula Pass memorial stupa, with sweeping views of the eastern Himalayan range on clear days! Take a pleasant hike among the 108 stupas, decorated with colorful Bhutanese flags and murals.

In Punakha, tour the regal Punakha Dzong – “Palace of Great Happiness”. This 17th century fortress-monastery now houses one of Bhutan’s administrative centers.

Cross the longest suspension footbridge over the Po Chhu river. Keep an eye out below for Punakha’s famous jacaranda trees in full blossom!

Day 4: Rafting & Hiking in Punakha

Go whitewater rafting on the Mo Chhu river, plunging through fun grade 2-3 rapids! Bond with your raft-mates and guide while surrounded by verdant forested hillsides.

After lunch, take a short hike to Khamsum Yuley Namgyal Chorten in Punakha. This dazzling temple is situated on a scenic hilltop, shaped like the swirling dragon cymbal.

Relax here enjoying panoramic views over the Mo Chhu valley.

Day 5: Travel from Punakha to Phobjikha Valley

Today’s a longer driving day, passing Wangdue town on the way to Phobjikha Valley – but there’s plenty more stunning scenery of rural Bhutan to gaze at out the car window.

In the afternoon, stretch your legs on nature hikes through Phobjikha Valley – a wildlife sanctuary for rare black-necked cranes that migrate from Tibet each winter to roost. Listen for the cranes’ honking calls.

Visit information centers to learn about conservation efforts supporting these endangered birds.

Spend a quiet evening stargazing in Phobjikha’s pristine night skies or enjoying a hot stone bath at your guesthouse.

Day 6: Gangtey Monastery & drive to Paro

Begin your day with sunrise views over the Phobjikha Valley wetlands. Visit 17th century Gangtey Goemba (monastery) – the largest and most significant in the region with an adjoining Buddhist college.

Join monks chanting morning prayers inside Gangtey’s temple overlooking the valley.

Stop at Gogona village to sample some of Bhutan’s famous matsutake mushrooms. Then embark on the long drive back to Paro, again taking in beautiful mountain scenery along the way.

Day 7:Depart Bhutan from Paro

Souvenir shop in Paro town or at the airport before your flight home. Bottle up memories of Bhutan’s magical monasteries, welcoming people, spicy cuisine, and dazzling Himalayan scenery.

Let the spirit of the peaceful dragon kingdom remain in your heart!

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Manvendra Singh
Manvendra Singh

Hi, I am Manvendra Singh, a passionate travel vlogger with a vision to enrich the travel experience for adventurers around the globe.

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