Bhutan 18-26 October 2023

Bhutan 18-26 October 2023

Journey to the last Shangri La

18-26 October 2023
9 days
Bhutan 18-26 October 2023
Price from €4160


Bhutan is a fascinating and unique country that offers a travel experience unlike any other. Here, you won't find the usual cigarette market, as it is illegal, and chilli is not just a condiment, but a key ingredient in many dishes. It's a deeply Buddhist region where men wear traditional shirts to work, and houses are adorned with large painted penises for protection.

But Bhutan is more than just a collection of quirky traditions. It's a country where Gross National Happiness is considered more important than Gross National Product. Tourism is controlled by the state, making it one of the world's most expensive destinations, and individual backpackers traveling alone are a rare sight.

Despite its ancient heritage, Bhutan is not stuck in the past. Here, you'll see monks using computers to translate ancient texts, while nobles talk on their mobile phones. It's a land of contrasts, where the ancient and modern coexist in harmony.

If you choose to visit Bhutan, you'll be one of the lucky few who get to experience the charm and magic of this enigmatic country - the 'last Shangri La'. You'll witness a medieval kingdom's attempt to integrate into the modern world, while still retaining its unique cultural identity.

But why should you spend so much money to visit Bhutan? Because it offers something priceless - the chance to see another way of life, a different vision of what is truly important. However, the clock is ticking. With increased development and tourism, will Bhutan be able to maintain its spiritual and natural charm? No one knows for sure. This is why you should visit now, before it's too late (Lonely Planet).

Bhutan is also a global advocate for happiness and sustainability. In 2011, 68 countries joined Bhutan in issuing a resolution entitled "Happiness: Towards a holistic approach to development". The resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly, and Bhutan has continued to promote the concept of a new economic model that integrates economic, social, and environmental goals.

In conclusion, Bhutan is not just an ordinary travel destination - it's a unique and special place that offers a glimpse into a different way of life. It's a country of surprises, contrasts, and charm. Don't miss the opportunity to visit this magical land before it changes forever.

Day 1
Flight Athens - Dhaka
Day 2
Flight entry to Bhutan - Thimphu
Day 3
Punakha Valley, Lungchutse Goemba Monastery
Day 4
Punakha Dzong Monastery, Phobjikha Valley
Day 5
Trongsa Dzong, Jakar
Day 6
Jakar Tsetchu Festival, Kurjey Lhakhang
Day 7
Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest), Return flight
Day 8
Lndmannalaugar - Thingvellir, Reykjavik
Day 9
Arrival in Athens

Activities / Schedule

Flight Athens - Dhaka

Fly with Qatar Airways via a connecting flight to Dhaka (Bangladesh). Departure time from Athens at 09:30 and arrival 02:05 after midnight.

Flight entry to Bhutan - Thimphu

Upon arrival at the airport in Bhutan, we will pick up our luggage and wait for the morning flight to Bhutan to begin check-in procedures. Our flight departs at 07:20, arriving in Paro at 08:30.

After meeting our driver at the airport, we will immediately depart for the capital city of Thimphu, which is 48 km away and takes about 1 hour. Once we arrive, we will transfer to our hotel and check-in. If our rooms are available, we can rest for a while before heading out for lunch.

After lunch, we will visit the Dodena valley and take a 45-minute walk through the beautiful forest path to the Chagri Dorjeden Buddhist monastery. This historic monastery was built in 1620 by Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan.

During our stay in Thimphu, we will be accommodated in a 3-star hotel with double rooms and private bathrooms, lunch and dinner.


We'll start exploring the city early in the morning. Our itinerary includes a visit to the School of Traditional Arts and a rice paper production craft, as well as strolling around the main square and shopping at the local market.

At noon, we'll head to Punakha valley, passing by the Dochula Pass, a historical site with 108 chortens, stupa monuments, and prayer flags that protect travellers. We'll then hike up to Lungchutse Goemba, a small monastery on a peak at 3569 meters, surrounded by beautiful conifer and rhododendron forests. The view of the Himalayas from the summit is breathtaking, and the hike will take around 2 hours to ascend and 1 hour to return. We'll then continue to the Phunakha valley where we'll spend the night in a 3-star hotel.

Our day route will cover 110 km and take around 4 hours.

Punakha Dzong - Phobjikha

We will explore the valley of Punakha, known for its mild climate, excellent rice and fruit production, and preservation of traditional occupations. The valley was the capital until 1955 and is dotted with picturesque villages that offer beautiful sights to visitors. We will visit the Punakha Dzong Monastery, a famous landmark in the valley, by crossing the ornate 17th-century wooden Cantilever Bridge.

As we continue east, we will stop to visit the unique village of Rinchengang, where the workers who built the Wangdu Phodrang Monastery, an impressive structure that looms overhead, once resided. Our next stop will be the Phobjikha Valley, a vast conserved wetland that serves as a winter nesting ground for rare birds, including the black-headed crane that migrates from Tibet. We will spend the night in a hotel with double rooms featuring attached bathrooms. Meals provided include breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The day trip covers a distance of 82 km and takes around 3 ½ hours.

Trongsa Dzong - Jakar

We will now head east towards the Trongsa Dzong, a well-known monastery in Bhutan. As we make our way, the road will gradually descend into a steep ravine until we reach a viewpoint. From here, we can see the village and the impressive monastery on the other side. For those who are interested, we will take a beautiful hike down to the bottom of the gorge, cross the rushing Mangde River over a traditional wooden bridge, and climb up to the village and monastery.

Our next stop is the Trongsa Dzong Monastery, which is situated on a steep peak with the gorge below. This fortress is the largest in Bhutan and was built in 1647 at the crossroads of ancient communication routes. The name "Trongsa Dzong" means "fortress on the edge of the cliff." Later on, we will continue our journey to the Bumthang valley. We will spend the night in a hotel with double rooms and bathrooms (P, M, B).

Our day trip will cover a distance of 150 km and take approximately 5 hours.

Jakar Tsetchu

Jakar, located at an altitude of 2,580 meters, is considered the cultural capital of Bhutan and is renowned for its monasteries and holy places, where several religious festivals (tshechu) are held. It was in Jakar that Buddhism was first introduced in Bhutan by Padmasambhava in 746 AD.

Our itinerary is designed for the dates of the famous Jakar Tsechu festival, a three-day religious celebration featuring spectacular dances with traditional masks and costumes. Early in the morning, we will depart for the Jakar Dzong monastery where the festival takes place and stay there long enough to witness several of its events. In the afternoon, we will visit the Kurjey Lhakhang Buddhist monastery and the local market where we can find woolen knitwear, wood carvings, and other handicrafts. We will spend the night at the same hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner). 

Flight to Paro

Today, those who wish can visit the monastery and the festival again in the morning until the time of the flight back to Paro. The flight is scheduled to depart at 11:10 AM and arrive in Paro at 11:45 AM.

After settling into our hotel in Paro, the group will go on an introduction to the valley and its attractions. Paro is a beautiful valley with fruit orchards, rice fields, farmhouses, terraces, and temples, situated at an altitude of 2,280 meters. In the afternoon, the group will visit the valley's sights such as Drukgyel Dzong and/or Ripung Dzong, among others, and spend some time strolling around its market.

The overnight stay will be in a 3-star hotel in double rooms with a private bathroom, and meals will be provided (breakfast, lunch, dinner).

Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest), flight back

Early in the morning, we will embark on our final adventure, and perhaps the most awe-inspiring one! We will follow a stunning uphill trail to visit Paro Taktsang (also known as Tiger's Nest Temple) perched on a granite cliff at an altitude of 3,140 meters. The trail winds its way through a forest of blue pines and rhododendrons, offering spectacular views of the valley with an elevation gain of 900 meters. The ascent can take up to 3 hours depending on your physical condition, but for those who prefer, horses are available to make the journey more comfortable. The return journey takes about 2 hours. This trail attracts hundreds of visitors every day, as it is the monastery that every Bhutanese person wishes to visit at least once in their lifetime, and certainly every visitor to the country.

After descending from the temple, we will proceed directly to the airport for our outbound flight from Bhutan. Our flight departs at 16:20 for Dhaka, where we arrive at 17:30. Later in the evening, we will continue our journey with a Qatar Airways flight back to Greece, departing at 20:15 and arriving in Doha at 22:55.

Arrival in Athens

Flight back to Greece with departure time 01:50 after midnight and arrival in Athens early in the morning at 06:40.

Important Info

In a glance

Ngultrum Bhutan Btn (exchange rate 1€ = ~ 88 Btn)
GMT + 6 same all year round (from Greece +4 hours in winter, +3 hours in summer)


  • Comprehensive introduction to Bhutan and its major attractions
  • Visits to the country's most famous monasteries
  • Hiking on spectacular trails
  • Participation in the events of the famous Jakar Tsetchu festival
  • Exploration of traditional markets with local products
  • Contact with the unique nature and biodiversity of the greater Himalayan region, including rhododendrons, blue pines, wetlands with rare species, ravines, rivers, and more.

Fixed Departures

  • 18-26 October 2023


  • 4.160 € / person (for 15+ persons)

  • 4.400 € / person (for 10-14 persons)

  • 4.580 €/person (for 8-9 persons)

Note 1: Travel prices in Bhutan are determined by the tourism policy implemented by the local government, having established a fairly high sustainable development fee, which is non-negotiable.

Note 2: Prices are calculated at an exchange rate of €1 = $1.09. Changing this ratio may affect the sale price

Note 3: The trip can also be organized as a semi-guide on any other date you wish and with any level of service you wish so that the sales price can be adjusted accordingly. Ask us for information.

Difficulty Level

  • 2/5

Book your seat

To reserve a place on the tour, it is necessary to carefully review the terms of participation outlined in the Participation Form. If you accept these terms, you can proceed to fill out the form, which can be accessed at

Once you have completed the form, a deposit of 500 € must be sent within 10 days. An additional payment of 1.000 € must be made 2 months before the scheduled departure date, and the remaining balance must be paid in stages up to one month prior to departure. If our office is responsible for issuing air tickets, they must be prepaid. It's important to note that the cancellation of air tickets is subject to the terms and restrictions of each individual airline, and these policies are separate from the cancellation terms of the rest of the tour package.

The advance payment and payment should be sent to the account of ALPHA BANK with IBAN number: GR1001407960796002002013550, in the name of OUTDOORS TRAINING IKE.

During the transfer or deposit process, please note in the REASON field your name and the title of the trip.

General Information

Moving around:

  • Local transportation is by Toyota minibus with A/C, suitable for the group's size.
  • Entry flights into Bhutan, both international and domestic, can be significantly affected by weather conditions, as the country is entirely covered by mountains. The cost of the Athens-Dhaka airfare, which is not included in the trip price, was approximately €850 at the time of planning. To secure a similar purchase price, registrations should be made immediately before the ticket prices rise. For more details, please contact us.

Change of program:

  • Our office or local guide may need to modify the program due to weather or other local conditions such as strikes or political unrest, prioritizing the smooth progress of the program and the safety of the participants. Any costs incurred due to such changes will be borne by the participants.


  • The best time to travel to Bhutan is during Spring and Autumn, while winter travel has some limitations due to altitude and proximity to the Himalayas. Summer months are monsoon season, with high likelihood of rainfall that may force schedule changes.


  • Tipping is optional, but it can be a meaningful way to reward exceptional service. It can also help the attendant to enjoy their work and maintain their enthusiasm. Local guides and bus drivers rely on tips, so they are mandatory.


  • Basic travel insurance is included in the cost of the trip, covering various contingencies such as health emergencies (e.g. injury at altitudes of up to 3,000 m, requiring transportation and hospitalization), flight cancellations, and other cases, including total cancellation of the trip for up to €5,000, including cancellation due to covid-19. Cover included is for ages up to 70 years, while for ages 70 to 80 years an additional amount is required, please ask us for information. Please refer to the link below to see the benefits of the plan and contact our insurance advisor for any questions regarding the Travel Insurance coverage from Trekking Hellas.


  • Waterproof hiking shoes
  • Sports shoes
  • Isothermal T-shirts (thin, medium)
  • Soft shell jackets
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers with side zips
  • Daypack 20-30 lb. that can be used as a carry-on bag on flights

Bhutan 18-26 October 2023

Journey to the last Shangri La

Price from €4160


You may also be interested

Be the first to know about Trekking Hellas updates! Sign up for our newsletter.

By registering I automatically agree to the Terms of Use.