Sun Temple, Bhutan

An Introduction to Bhutan



13 Days

Prices Start from

£7,895pp (ex. flights)

This 13-day classic journey is the perfect holiday for anybody visiting Bhutan for the first time, taking in the main sites of Western and Central Bhutan whilst staying in a mix of traditional Bhutanese guest houses. 

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Monk enjoying his colorful mask dance at yearly Paro Tsechu festival in Bhutan, Paro, Bhutan 1

Spring Festivals

Bhutan hosts the annual Punaka and Paro Festivals in March and April.

Prayer Beads, Bhutan 2

Monastic Life

Walk or drive to remote working monasteries to observe monastic life.

Buddhist Temple, Bumthang, Bhutan 3

Bumthang Valley

Visit Bumthang Valley, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan.

Monks, Bhutan 4

Private blessing

Experience early morning prayer ceremonies followed by a private blessing.

Why we like it

This holiday suits anybody interested in immersive cultural travel. For the first time visitor, it is the perfect blend of views, Bhutanese culture, and walks. Explore the capital of Bhutan before crossing spectacular passes into Central Bhutan with your own exclusive driver and guide. Driving plays a large element of getting around this country as road journeys are inevitable to get around.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Bhutan on your wishlist? Talk to our experts about tailoring this trip for you.

  • Day 1


  • Day 2

    Delhi - Paro - Thimphu

  • Day 3


  • Day 4

    Thimphu - Punakha

  • Day 5

    Punakha - Bumthang

  • Day 6-7


  • Day 8

    Bumthang - Gangtey

  • Day 9


  • Day 10

    Gangtey - Paro

  • Day 11


  • Day 12

    Paro - Delhi

  • Day 13


Day 1


Day 2

Delhi - Paro - Thimphu

Giant Buddha, Thimpu, Bhutan

Despite its relatively large size by Bhutanese standards, the city retains a friendly feel and relaxed small town vibe. Little shops and colourful marketplaces fill the city, squeezed between growing signs of modernity and constant reminders of Bhutan’s steadfastly traditional way of life.

Day 3


Day 4

Thimphu - Punakha

Punakha Dzong, Punakha, Bhutan

Bhutan hosts the annual Punaka and Paro Festivals in March and April.

Day 5

Punakha - Bumthang

Bumthang Dzong Monastery, Bhutan

Explore Bumthang’s green countryside, valleys, snowcapped hills, and fast-flowing streams.

Day 6-7


Overlooked by the impressive Gangtey Gompa, the area is renowned for its black-necked cranes.


Day 8

Bumthang - Gangtey

Day 9


Black-Necked Cranes, Gangtey, Bhutan

Overlooked by the impressive Gangtey Gompa, the area is renowned for its black-necked cranes.

Day 10

Gangtey - Paro

Day 11


2 Monks dancing for colorful mask dance at yearly Paro Tsechu festival in Bhutan

Bhutan hosts the annual Paro Festival in March and April.

Day 12

Paro - Delhi

Day 13


Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More Details

Prayer Flags, Bhutan

Dochu-La Pass

Drive up to the Dochu-La pass (3,088m/10,130ft) stopping here 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 their glory. On a clear day, the following peaks of Masagang, Tsendegang, Terigang and also Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m can be seen from this pass.

Haa Valley, Bhutan

Cycle Downhill

Another extraordinary experience to be included during your journey is to take to the saddle and bicycle. Break up long, winding journeys by car by cycling some of the downhills. This is not only exhilarating but gives you a closer connection to your environment and its people.

Taktshang Monastery, Paro, Bhutan
Paro, Bhutan

Tigers Nest Monastery

Visit the impressive Taktshang Monastery, meaning ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Arguably Bhutan’s most famous monastery, this sacred building was built over a cave used for meditation by Guru Rinpoche. Said to have arrived here by flying tiger, Guru Rinpoche is regarded as the ‘Second Buddha’ by Ningma Buddhists.

Sitting precariously on a cliff ledge, this holy place of pilgrimage takes around two hours to reach on foot. The steep path passes through the coniferous forest up to a viewpoint from where there are spectacular views of the monastery.
Those who are feeling energetic can continue to the Temple of Taktshang. The path is challenging, but the temple’s magnificent location makes it worth the effort.


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2 Monks dancing for colorful mask dance at yearly Paro Tsechu festival in Bhutan

Bhutan Festivals

Festivals or tshecu are an intrinsic part of Bhutanese life. They are colourful with masked dancers and bright costumes. Bhutan hosts the popular Punakha, Thimpu and Paro Festivals which attract thousands of people. There are also smaller festivals happening throughout the year which may feel more authentic, as they don’t attract such large numbers of tourists. Travel with Steppes and visit Khotakha Valley, known as “Beyul” -the hidden valley. With new lodges on the horizon to provide a comfortable stay, a visit to the Khotakha Festivals held in May, August and September will offer greater local interaction.

Gangtey Valley, Bhutan
Gangtey, Bhutan

The Black Cranes of Phojikha Valley

Overlooked by the impressive Gangtey Gompa, the area is renowned for its black-necked cranes. These rare birds escape the cold Tibetan winters by sheltering in this lush valley. Well worth a visit is the Crane Information Centre, where you can observe the cranes through binoculars and learn more about these endangered species. There is a one-day festival dedicated to the cranes on one auspicious day in November. The festival is celebrated in the courtyard of the Gangtey Goenpa.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Gangtey Lodge £££££

  • Bhutan

With its superb setting and sweeping views over the stunning Phobjikha Valley, this lodge offers an excellent base to explore this beautiful area. Drawing its inspiration from the traditional, rural Bhutanese architecture, the lodge was designed and decorated using interiors and furnishings to showcase the vibrant local culture. The focal point of the lodge is the informal lounge and dining space with comfortable sofas set around open fires, alongside floor-to-ceiling views of the lush valley below. The twelve beautifully appointed guest rooms also each have their own fireplace. Friendly, engaging staff ensure your stay is memorable.

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Como Uma Paro £££££

  • Bhutan
  • City

Uma Paro offers five-star comfort and a unique style in the wildly beautiful Himalayan country of Bhutan. Located on a hilltop, the hotel overlooks the town of Paro, one of the main cultural centres of Bhutan and the gateway to the country. Uma Paro is surrounded by pine forests offering stylish rooms featuring intricate Bhutanese detailing combined perfectly with a sharp, contemporary style. The excellent spa and heated indoor swimming pool offer a welcome rest after a busy day’s sightseeing.

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Six Senses Bhutan £££££

  • Bhutan
  • Wellness and Spa

Six Senses Bhutan are the finest collection of remote lodges in Asia and a welcome addition to the other luxury-level accommodation on offer. Designed to be experienced as a circuit, a stay at each lodge provides a seamless experience between the five lodges. Each lodge is different, yet all share the same farm-fresh dining and extensive spa facilities.

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Taj Tashi £££££

  • Bhutan
  • City

The Taj Tashi reflects Bhutan’s rich heritage and architecture with its interesting combination of traditional Bhutanese hand-painted design and modern design. The hotel enjoys majestic views of the mountains surrounding the Thimphu valley and has 66 rooms, together with a luxurious spa and indoor heated pool. Gourmet dining is offered at the hotel’s restaurant where you can indulge in both Continental and Asian specialities. There is also a contemporary bar and a Tea Lounge serving butter tea, a local favourite guaranteed to take the chill off in the colder months. There is a golf course a 5-minute walk away and a trip to the National Library and Textile Museum takes ten minutes by car.

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A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. This itinerary includes stays at boutique guest houses, however, uniquely styled five star comfortable hotels can be added to your holiday too. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From £7,895 Per person

When to travel

Bhutan in January

The coldest month in Bhutan, but it is very dry and crisp with clear skies. The south of the country, at lower elevations, is warmer.

Bhutan in February

Temperatures remain cold, but skies also remain clear with often spectacular views of the Himalayas.

Bhutan in March

Temperatures rise, as spring bursts into life. Hillsides are abundant with blooming wildflowers. It is still chilly at high altitudes, but the skies are clear. Overall, a fantastic time to visit.

Bhutan in April

An ideal time for trekking, as temperatures continue to rise. The chance of a shower increases too, but it is not monsoon season yet. Make sure to book accommodation in advance.

Bhutan in May

Temperatures, humidity, and rainfall all increase. Visitor numbers drop, however, and the rhododendrons are still beautiful.

Bhutan in June

The start of the monsoon season. Not a recommended time to visit, although views can be spectacular after the rains clear.

Bhutan in July

The monsoon is in full swing. Temperatures but also rainfall peak. Not a good time for trekking

Bhutan in August

Sightseeing is still possible but the monsoon season continues.

Bhutan in September

The rain starts to abate, and by the end of the month, most days are fine and dry. A changeable month, with warm temperatures to be enjoyed between the showers.

Bhutan in October

The perfect time for hiking, with stunning views and comfortable temperatures. The busiest month though, so we recommend booking accommodation well in advance.

Bhutan in November

Rainfall will occur as temperatures begin to drop and expect it to be chilly at higher elevations. A great time to see rare black-necked cranes.

Bhutan in December

The start of winter, and cold, crisp days. Visitor numbers drop, but there are still stunning views to be had for those willing to wrap up.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

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