Bhutan is known for the stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and commitment to preserving its traditional way of life. One way to experience Bhutan’s culture and connect with its people is through the homestay programs. Home stays allow the visitor to stay with Bhutanese family in their home and gain an authentic, first hand experience of the country’s culture and way of life. Guests can participate in daily household activities, and learn about Bhutanese costumes, beliefs and traditions.
Day 1: Thimphu
City Walking. Explore the capital city. Thimphu sprawls up the wooded western hillside of the Wang Chhu and is the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a bustling town where traditional ways mingle with modern introductions.
Day 2: Trongsa
An ancient land. Cresting Dochula pass (3050m) take in a panorama of snow capped Himalayan peaks. Moving easterly discover the quaint bazaar at Wangdue Phodrang before climbing to the Black Mountains to watch yaks grazing on endless pastures en-route to Trongsa rich in culture and especially famous for its role in Bhutan’s history.
Day 3: Bumthang
The spiritual heartland of Bhutan. Look into the Tronsa museum that focuses on the history of the Bhutanese monarchy that had its cradle in Trongsa. En-route to Bumthang stop by the many-levelled Trongsa Dzong which testifies Bhutan’s architectural heritage and political history.
Day 4: Chokor-Toe Home stay
Staying with a Bhutanese family is the easiest way of finding out about Bhutanese culture and way of life. Taste authentic Bhutanese home cooked food. You are also welcome to watch and participate in the cooking process. Enjoy a traditional hot stone bath around a campfire with locals singing and dancing simply enjoying the evening.
Day 5: Drapham Dzong
Bhutan’s first archaeological site. Amid battle cries and shrieks, crawled soldiers of both sides, bellowing in agony from the wounds they inflicted on one another. All the while the leader of the marauding Tibetan invader stood atop a raised ground. The invaders had taken over the Drapham fortress (dzong) in Chokoer-toe, Bumthang and its leader demanded hostages of the Bhutanese troops. The Bhutanese had to either give in or muster their courage for a last stand off. They decided to fight back and they did so valiantly. The explosions rocked the fort and parts of it collapsed, killing many invaders and sending the rest to run for their lives. Their invasion was a grave mistake. The person responsible for the destruction was also the man, who had built the Drapham dzong, lived in it and ruled the place. Chokor Deb, who had fled to Tibet, had instigated the entire invasion.
Day 6: Gangtey Valley
Winter home of the black necked cranes. Phobjikha valley (2890 m) is one of the few winter homes of the black-necked cranes, which migrate to Bhutan from the Tibetan Plateau. When they come in November it’s not unusual to see as many as 100 to 200 cranes in the valley at one time. This wide valley settlement in Wangdi district is sparsely populated with small villages and rustic accommodations, all of which offer unparalleled peace and tranquillity.
Day 7: Gangtey Valley Hike
Walking is surely the most pleasant way to explore this magical valley, full of peace and beauty. Three to four hours of walk in the valley will take us past numerous villages, farm houses, chortens, Mani walls and prayer flags, all bearing witness to the importance of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Day 8: Punakha-Bhutan’s 300 year old capital
Punakha has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture.
Day 9: Punakha Valley Hike
Exquisite riverside Punakha Dzong, Bhutan’s 300-year-old winter capital still exudes eminence. Hike to Khamsum Yuley Chorten accessible only on foot. There is no temple in Bhutan built elaborately as this. This fascinating temple was built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in this world. The best of the spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls. Linger long at this chorten, relaxing and simply appreciating the harmonious beauty of the location.
Day 10: Chorten Nebu Hike
Ascend herders’ trails to find valley views and colorful prayer flags. Hike to Chorten Nebu, a 14th-century temple accessible only by foot.
Day 11: Transfer To Paro
Time again to retrace our steps back over the Dochu La for a second chance of that wonderful view of the Himalayan range. Rest off the day relaxing around the property, enjoying the facilities or perhaps trying some other activity like the Bhutanese national sport of archery or maybe a therapy such as the traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath.
Day 12: Paro Valley Hike
Wind through pine forests high above Paro to the pretty grounds of the fortress-like monastery of Zurig Dzong. Traverse across to Ta Dzong, housing Bhutan’s National Museum with magnificent views over the Paro valley.
Day 13: Taksang Hike
Hike toward one of Bhutan’s most sacred places—the site of a Cliffside monastery and an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination. lunch today takes place at the Taksang View Point Cafeteria enjoying typical Bhutanese food while taking in phenomenal views of the monastery perched across the ravine.