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Bhutan Adventure
 

Bhutan Adventure: The Trans Bhutan Trail

13 days |  15 days with Delhi extension
13 days |  15 days with Delhi extension
Group size1221 travelers
Reviews

5 out of 5 stars

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Physical activity
Buddha statue at the Dzong Monastery in Bhutan
Monks walking in monastery in Paro Bhutan
Woman weaving in Bhutan
Tigers Nest in Paro Bhutan
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsTraveler photosHotels, flights & FAQ
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Hike the Trans Bhutan Trail into the heart of this tiny Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas.

An unforgettable adventure awaits thanks to the 2022 re-opening of the historic Trans Bhutan Trail after a 60-year hiatus. When you journey to this small, Himalayan nation, you can explore its ancient fortresses, dramatic mountain landscapes, and charming local villages on a series of breathtakingly beautiful hikes. Plus, when you chat with local monks, students, and villagers, you’ll learn firsthand why Bhutan, birthplace of the innovative Gross National Happiness concept, is consistently ranked one of the happiest places on earth.

Your tour package includes

  • 10 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 8 lunches
  • 9 dinners with beer or wine
  • 1 beer & cheese tasting
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Included highlights

  • Trans Bhutan Trail hikes
  • Gross National Happiness chat
  • Dochula Pass
  • Gangtey Nature Trail
  • Brewery & cheese factory visit
Read more
Start planning today

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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Delhi, India, today.

Delhi1 night
Day 2: Arrival in Delhi

Welcome to India! Get settled into your hotel this evening.

Thimphu2 nights
Day 3: Flight to Paro, transfer to Thimphu & Gross National Happiness chat
Included meals: Breakfast, Welcome dinner

This morning, fly to Paro, Bhutan. Then, transfer to Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu.

This afternoon, learn about the country’s Gross National Happiness Index from a local expert.

  • Learn how the fourth King of Bhutan declared that one’s well-being requires equal importance of non-economic aspects
  • Hear about the nine domains that the index is broken into, such as psychological well-being, cultural diversity, and community vitality

Later, get to know your fellow group members at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Thimphu Valley & cultural dinner
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Set out for a day in the scenic Thimphu Valley and get a closer look at Bhutan’s cultural traditions.

  • Pay a visit to the Pangri Zampa Monastery, the oldest in the country
  • Sit down with a monk astrologer for a reading to learn the meaning of your name and birth year in Bhutanese tradition
  • Stop to see the massive, 125-foot-high Buddha Dordenma statue that sits atop a gilded meditation hall

Sit down for an included lunch before continuing your journey through the Thimphu Valley.

  • Enter the Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre to see the weavers craft traditional cloth and learn about royal ceremonial textiles
  • Meet local women at the Changjiji READ Center to hear about the international non-profit organization’s programs and how the women use its library
  • Explore VAST Gallery, a contemporary art gallery founded by artists to help educate Bhutanese youth

Tonight, sit down for an included dinner and meet with Thimphu locals to learn about their culture and way of life.

Gangtey1 night
Day 5: Gangtey via Dochula Pass & Nature Trail Hike
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Travel through the snow-covered Himalayas to the glacial valley of Gangtey, making several stops along the way.

  • Climb to 10,200 feet to the Dochula Pass, where you can join locals in paying your respects to the gods by hanging a colorful prayer flag
  • Step inside Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, a temple built in honor of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck
  • Visit the Druk Wangyal Chortens, a collection of 108 Chortens, or Lamaist shrines, commissioned by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji
  • Enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant
  • Set off on your first hike along the Gangtey Nature Trail hike, regarded as Bhutan’s most beautiful nature trail
  • Descend through the Phobjikha Valley and wander through pine forests, bamboo groves,  small villages and along the edge of the Black Nested Crane’s winter roosting area
  • End with a visit to the 16th century Gangtey Goempa Monastery, which is the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition

Enjoy an included dinner in Gangtey this evening.

Hiking notes: Gangtey Nature Trail – 2.5 miles / 1.5 hours. Easy hike downhill along a dirt trail.

Bumthang Region2 nights
Day 6: Bumthang Region via Trans Bhutan Trail, brewery & cheese factory
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Beer tasting, Tasting, Dinner

Transfer to Yotongla through the Black Mountain Range by bus then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afterward, set off for your first hike along the Trans Bhutan Trail.

  • Hike down to the meadow and through the open forest until you come to the Geytsa River
  • Continue your hike with a peaceful walk along the river to town

After an included lunch, transfer to Chamkar in the Bumthang region, and marvel at some of the area’s hand-crafted works.

  • Admire the famous Yatra weaving techniques and patterns in the Chumey Valley
  • Visit Bumthang Brewery for a guided tour of its beer- and cheese-making facilities
  • Learn about the brewery’s Swiss origins and how it introduced European farming and production techniques to the area
  • Enjoy a tasting of the brewery’s flagship Red Panda beer
  • Head to the nearby cheese factory and sample some of their Swiss cheeses

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Hiking notes: Yotongla to Geytsa – 5.8 miles / 3.5 hours. Moderate hike downhill along a dirt trail.

Day 7: Three Temples walk, farmhouse lunch & Mebar Tsho walk
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy a day taking in the Bumthang region’s scenery during both a walk and a hike.

  • Take off from the Jambay Lhakhang temple and make your way into the valley and through farmlands
  • View the Kurjey Lhakhang, which is a large and active complex made up of three temples, and is one of Bhutan’s most sacred sites
  • Cross a suspension bridge and wander through small villages and farmlands to reach Tamshing Lhakhang Monastery

Afterward, visit a traditional farmhouse and enjoy local Bumthap cuisine and other Bhutanese dishes during an included lunch. Then, transfer to Tang Babzur and set off on this afternoon’s hike.

  • Begin at the Pema Choling Nunnery and learn how the institute was created to increase opportunities for Bhutanese girls and women
  • Continue south on the Trans Bhutan Trail, to the sacred Mebar Tsho
  • Learn why this body of water is nicknamed the Burning Lake

Enjoy an included dinner this evening.

Hiking notes: Three Temples – 1.5 miles / 2 hours. Mebar Tsho – .62 miles / 1 hours. An easy, mostly flat walk through the valley.

Punakha2 nights
Day 8: Transfer to Punakha & Trans Bhutan Trail hike
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Make your way to Punakha, stopping along the way for an included lunch. Afterwards, set off for an optional afternoon hike along the Trans Bhutan Trail.

  • Start in Sew Drangsa, the historic site where monks stop for lunch, and make your way toward Punakha Dzong fortress
  • Take in spectacular views of the valley from the fortress
  • Enjoy an included lunch back in Punakha followed by a free afternoon to explore the area at your leisure

After freshening up, sit down for an included dinner at a local restaurant.

Hiking notes: Sew Drangsa to Punakha – 4.5 miles / 2.5 hours. A moderate hike along a dirt trail that is mostly downhill with some uneven terrain.

Day 9: Nalanda Monastery & sightseeing tour of Punakha Town
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Begin the morning with a visit to the Nalanda Monastery to meet and chat. Here you’ll help the monastery’s residents practice their English skills as they study the language.

This afternoon, set out on a guided walk of Punakha town.

  • Cross the Punakha Bazam, a wooden cantilever bridge used for processions and coronation celebrations
  • Enter the Punakha Dzong for a guided tour of the fortress, which houses sacred relics and is part of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Enjoy an included picnic lunch at the Dzong
  • Visit Chimi Lhakhang, the Temple of the Divine Madman

Please note: Punakha Dzong’s dress code strictly prohibits shorts and sleeveless shirts.

Gather together for an included dinner this evening.

Paro2 nights
Day 10: Transfer to Paro, cooking class & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Make your way to Paro today, known for its sacred sites and beautiful scenery.

  • Enjoy a Bhutanese cooking demonstration, followed by a delicious farmhouse lunch
  • Try your hand at khuru, a traditional dart-throwing game—and competitive sport—in Bhutan

Join a local guide and get to know the Paro region on a guided sightseeing tour.

  • Visit the Ta Dzong watchtower
  • Explore the stunning Paro Rinpung Dzong fortress

Tonight, sit down with your group for an included dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 11: Tiger’s Nest, hot stone bath & cultural show
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Farewell dinner

Head out to Bhutan’s most famous landmark, Taktshang Goemba, more commonly known as Tiger’s Nest.

  • Hike along the ancient pilgrimage trail through a dense, pine forest
  • Catch your first glimpse of the awe-inspiring Tiger’s Nest, a cliffside, golden-roofed monastery that’s accessible only by foot or horseback
  • Enjoy an included lunch at Tiger’s Nest and take in stunning views of the ravine nearly 3,000 feet below
  • Make your way to a farmhouse for a relaxing, rustic hot stone bath

Tonight, celebrate your trip and experience a vibrant performance of Bhutanese dances followed by a delicious farewell dinner.

Hiking notes: Tiger’s Nest – 4 miles / 5 hours. A long and difficult uphill climb.

Overnight Flight1 night
Day 12: Flight to Delhi & departure
Included meal: Breakfast

Today, fly back to Delhi, India, and relax in a dayroom before boarding your overnight or early morning flight home. Or, extend your stay to explore Delhi.

Arrive Home
Day 13: Arrival at home

Arrive home today.

Extension to Delhi
Extend your adventure with a visit to India’s densely packed capital region. Have a camera handy as your Tour Director shows you around Delhi’s bustling bazaars, opulent temples, elegant mosques, and modern landmarks.
Delhi2 nights
Day 12: Flight to Delhi
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free morning in Paro. Later, fly back to Delhi, India, and get settled in to your hotel.

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Old Delhi
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, join your Tour Director and enjoy a guided tour of bustling Old Delhi. Built by order of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 1600s, this historic, walled neighborhood is laced with narrow lanes, and is chock-full of restaurants, retail shops, and plenty of rickshaws.

  • See Raj Ghat, Delhi’s tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, and visit the Gandhi museum
  • View the black-and-white onion dome and minarets of Jama Masjid, one of the most elegant mosques in India
  • Take a rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi

Sit down for an included dinner at a local restaurant this evening.

Overnight Flight1 night
Day 14: Sightseeing tour of New Delhi & departure
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, your Tour Director introduces you to New Delhi.

  • Visit the India Gate, the most famous war memorial in India
  • See Qutub Minar, an early Islamic tower and UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Explore the grand boulevards, government buildings, and city parks
  • Sit down for an included lunch
  • Visit Humayun’s Tomb and learn about the UNESCO-recognized complex
  • Enter Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the city’s most important places of worship for Sikhs
  • Learn about the history and traditions of Sikhism, the fifth-largest and youngest organized religion in the world
  • See the langar, or community kitchen, where free meals are served 24 hours a day

Please note: Due to conditions within Delhi, the schedule of your sightseeing tour may vary based on your departure date. Additionally, all travelers will be given a head covering they’re required to wear in the Sikh temple.

Relax in a dayroom before traveling to the airport for your overnight flight home.

Arrive Home
Day 15: Arrival at home

Arrive home today.

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Reviews

5 out of 5 stars

Overall rating 5 out of 5

Based on 6 authentic traveler reviews
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    5 out of 5 stars

    Fantastic
    10/7/23 by 1st-time traveler Kathleen

    Every day of the tour was excellent. Our guide Sonam and our driver Jigme made the entire tour an awesome experience. Bhutan is just endless beauty!!!

    5 out of 5 stars

    Incredible Bhutan
    10/7/23 by 6th-time traveler Julie

    Tour was wonderful! Seeing Bhutan was an experience I will never forget. The landscape, temples and warmth of the people we encountered was wonderful. Highlight of the trip was hiking to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. It was a challenging hike but worth every step when you see the incredible beauty of ...

    Read more +
    EF Go Ahead Tours replied on 11/14/23

    It's fantastic to hear that you had a wonderful ex...

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    5 out of 5 stars

    6/10/23 by 5th-time traveler Charles

    This is an amazing adventure into a wonderful country and culture. Our guides were the best I’ve had with Go Ahead and this was a challenging itinerary. They shared their country and culture, but also their family life. They each felt like longtime friends when we left. My only complaint is the trip...

    Read more +
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    Traveler photos

    Hotels, flights & FAQ

    Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.

    Hotels

    We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
    Hyatt Regency Delhi
    Hyatt Regency Delhi

    This upscale hotel is located in Cama Place, New Delhi. Guests enjoy a fitness center, restaurants, and yoga classes. Nearby, you'll find Sarojini Nag...

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    Druk Hotel
    Druk Hotel

    This centrally located hotel is in the capital city of Thimphu. Guests enjoy complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast, fitness center, and an archery s...

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    Dewachen Hotel & Spa
    Dewachen Hotel & Spa

    This relaxing hotel is located in Gangtey's Phobjikha Valley. Guests enjoy the on-site restaurants, in-house laundry serves, and magnificent views of ...

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    RKPO Green Resort
    RKPO Green Resort

    This rejuvenating inn is located in the heart of the Punakha Valley. Guests enjoy the rooftop sun terrace, spa, and bicycle rentals. Nearby you'll fin...

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    Yangkhil Resort
    Yangkhil Resort

    This mix of modern and traditional hotel is located just outside of Trongsa. Guests enjoy an on-site convenience store, beautiful gardens, and stunnin...

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    Yugharling Resort
    Yugharling Resort

    This traditionally styled hotel is located just outside of Jakar in the Bumthang region. Guests enjoy the spa, on-site restaurant, and amazing views o...

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    Naksel Boutique Resort
    Naksel Boutique Resort

    This retreat-like hotel is located 30 minutes from the Paro Airport. Guests enjoy views of Mount Jumolhari and the surrounding area, spa, and hot tub....

    Read more +

    Flights

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    • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
    • Find out more about flights

    FAQ

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