Treasures of the Dragon Kingdom

Treasures of the Dragon Kingdom is a hike-based cultural tour tailored for guests (family/group) who like to enjoy easy to moderate hikes on nature-trails, explore places, experience authentic local hospitality and learn about the rich cultural heritages of Bhutan.

This heritage tour presents three iconic cultural and spiritual destinations in western Bhutan. You will enjoy a refreshing forest hike to the 13th century Tango Monastery, a living repository of Bhutan’s spiritual heritage in the serene mountains of capital Thimphu. The apex institution is where chief abbots of Bhutan receive monastic education and serve before their official appointments.

Walk the ancient nature trail from Talo Temple to Nobgang village in tropical Punakha (Nobgang literally means ‘a hill of jewels’) and spend overnight at this registered national cultural site showcasing well-preserved cultural, spiritual and architectural heritages.

The hike to the Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang offers a rare opportunity to discover this landmark and treasure trove visited and blessed by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century, a tantric saint revered as the second Buddha in the Himalayan Buddhist world.

This well-rounded tour with therapeutic hikes, cultural explorations, healthy culinary offerings and rejuvenating wellness activities is a perfect getaway for family, group and study tour through all seasons.

Holidays Bhutan’s cultural tours are flexible and open to customize and cater to your traveling needs and expectations.

We look forward to hosting your holidays in Bhutan.

Tashi Delek! Thank you!


Guests will enjoy the aerial view of the Himalayas during the fight. Holidays Bhutan tour guide will greet and receive you at the Paro international Airport. The Airport is 2,200 masl and located in western Bhutan.
Join a reception tea/coffee (this tea reception is for guests who arrive early morning). There will be a formal welcome reception at the hotel.
Drive to Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan (2,330 masl).
Travel info: 50 km / 1hr. 30 minutes
Check into the hotel and join a formal welcome tea/coffee/beverage/snacks and formal introduction. Check into the room.
Attend the tour orientation led by your cultural tour guide/ tour leader in the hotel lobby.
Pick up some local words and phrases from your tour guide (greetings, asking polite questions and answers, numbers etc.).

After lunch, take a refreshing nature walk from Sangaygang viewpoint to Wangduetse temple. Visit the monastery and enjoy the sweeping view of Thimphu valley.
This short hike will familiarize you with the terrain and climate of the hikes in the following days.
Visit Tashi Chodzong (built in 1644) and marvel the architectural grandeur of the heritage fortress.
Attend the Welcome Dinner with the Travel Host
Enjoy a cultural program while relishing your first taste of authentic Bhutanese beverages and cuisines. Try the national dress of Bhutan (gho for men/ kira for women). Please feel free to share your dietary restrictions with us to adjust the cuisine recipes to suit your palate.
Meals: Lunch / Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Thimphu, Capital of Bhutan

Enjoy a complimentary guided yoga to start the day. Get dressed for the first hike. After breakfast at the hotel, drive along Wangchu River to Tango, north of Thimphu city. Travel info: 14km / 35 min approximate Easy morning pilgrimage hike through verdant and peaceful forest to Tango Dzong, Bhutan’s apex Buddhist University.

Hike information:
  • Altitude of Tango: 3000 masl Distance covered (round trip): 2.5 kms Elevation gain: 400 meters Hiking time: 2hrs / depending on the pace, fitness and endurance level. Difficulty level: easy to moderate (the trail is fairly steep climbing through cool lush canopy of oak and fir).
The forest trail is a birder’s hotspot with common sightings of Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Nut Cracker, Brown Dipper, Spotted Laughing Thrush, Fire capped Tit and White-collared Blackbird. Tango: The Abode of Horse-headed Deity Hayagreva (Ta: horse, Go: head)
Tango Monastery was founded by Yogi-Saint Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 13th century. The temple site was named after Phajo heard a horse neighing and had auspicious vision of his tutelary deity Hayagriva. The natural rock formation of the deity is enshrined in the temple complex. Desi Tenzin Rabgye, the 4th Temporal Ruler of Bhutan, built the monastery in 1688. The magnificent shrines house some of the rare murals by native artist Lharip Jangchub Sempa and statues of Buddha Dipankara, Maitreya and Amitayus (Bodhisattva of long life) handcrafted by the finest Newari artists of its date. Offer butter-lamps and prayers for world peace and well being of all sentient beings. Hike down and drive to the picnic spot in the pristine Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park. Enjoy the Picnic Lunch of traditional delicacies. Drive back and go for a walking tour of the city:
  • National Institute of 13 arts and crafts
  • Memorial Stupa, City Landmark
  • Cottage and Small Industry Market, Bhutan’s flagship store exhibiting over 1500 products made by more than 500 local entrepreneurs.
Enjoy a cocktail evening at a local bar. Drive back to hotel and get a foot massage. Dinner at the hotel.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Thimphu, Capital of Bhutan

Start the day with a guided yoga (complimentary from Holidays Bhutan).
After breakfast, dress up warm for a leisure mountain drive and stopover at Dochula Pass (3100 masl).

Travel info: Thimphu to Dochula: 22 km / 40 min
Thimphu to Punakha: Distance 73 km / travel time: 2hr 30 min

Enjoy a tea/coffee break and the spectacular view of the Himalayas.
Join the locals and walk around the 108 stupas (walking meditation). Go for a photo session.

Enjoy the leisure drive meandering through the nature reserve and biological corridor to Punakha valley (1300 masl). Visit the famed temple of fertility on a hillock.
After lunch, Drive to Talo Village (2,800 masl / 35 min) and visit the heritage Talo monastery built by Chotrul Jigme Singye in 1767. The monastery hosts a 3-day communal festival in spring. The village is famed for popular folksongs called Zhungdra (village elders will perform at the cultural night in Nobgang village).
Guest Info: Check out the festival dates. Plan your trip to catch the Popular Talo spring festival.
Hike to Nobgang Village at 2,800 masl: The easy to moderate hike takes 45 mins to 1 hour depending on your walking pace, fitness and endurance level.
Take a walking tour of the village sprawling around the heritage Temple Pelri Dorji Dhen Nyipa, revered by the locals as the second Bodh Gaya.

Village information:
Nobgang (literally ‘the hill of jewel’) is a village nestled in the rolling hills of upper Punakha in western Bhutan. The village was founded in 1756 and named by the 9th Chief Abbot of Bhutan, Gyelwa Shacha Rinchen, an eminent scholar and saint.

Nobgang is the birthplace of the Queen Mothers of Bhutan. The village preserved its unique residences designed in the form of letter ‘L’, which is locally called Kabu Darcham. A sanctuary for hermits and spiritual practitioners, the residences served spatial purpose and protection from harsh winter weather.
The community runs the restaurant and lodges in the larger interest of preserving their heritage and promoting local sustainable tourism.
Dinner / Cultural night
Enjoy the cultural program and local delicacies presented by home cooks and village residents.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Accommodation: Village Heritage Lodge at Nobgang, Punakha

After breakfast, continue on the nature-trail hike to the historic Punakha Dzong (castle fortress) with a stop for tea/coffee break at Dumra Resort. Hike down and visit the fortress. Offer butter-lamps for your safe travels and world peace.
Guest Info: Please check our festival dates to catch the unique and historic Punakha Spring Festival performed inside the fortress (usually observed in February or March on Bhutanese festival calendar).
After lunch, drive to the temperate Phobjikha Valley, the wintering home of the black-necked cranes. Dress up warm especially if your trip falls in winter months (November through March).
Travel info: Punakha (1300 masl) to Phobjikha (2900 masl)
Distance: 78 km/ travel time: 2hr 50min approximate

Travel info: Punakha (1300 masl) to Phobjikha (2900 masl)
Distance: 78 km/ travel time: 2hr 50min approximate

Valley information:
The hidden valley was blessed by a line of 9 successive Gangtey Trulkus, who descended from the legendary treasure revealer Terton Pema Lingpa in Bumthang (1450-1520).
Also known as Lhabja, this bird of heaven inspired the native saint, artist and treasure revealer Tenzin Lakpi Dhendrup to compose soulful tribute song ‘Thrung Thrung Kam’.
The bird is revered as a symbol of long life and harmony in the Bhutanese performing
and visual arts. Listen to the 300-year-old song and dance during your vacation in the valley.

Phobjikha valley is the largest alpine wetland in Bhutan and the roosting ground of the Black-necked cranes alongside 150 bird species, 50 species of trees and many mammal species.
The Royal Society for Protection of Nature initiated an integrated development program to support local economy and crane habitat conservation.
Dine like a local
Try the local butter-tea/ fiery rice spirit, buckwheat pancake/ noodles, sweet turnip stew, Kewa Datsi (gravy stew of local potatoes and farm cheese) and yak meat. The valley is famed for its staple delicious potatoes.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Phobjikha

Visit the landmark Gangtey Temple and offer prayers and butter-lamps.
Save the date: Check out our festival dates. Plan your trip to catch the valley’s annual Black-necked Crane festival on November 11 in the courtyard of Gangtey Temple. The festival highlight is the crane dance performed by school children to welcome the cranes back to their wintering home from October to March. The majestic bird was the last discovered of the 15 species of cranes in the world.
Guest Information: Please check the festival dates to plan your trip and catch the festival in the courtyard of the historic fortress.
Crane’s physical description:
Average body weight: 5.3 kgs / Standing height: 140 cms / Wingspan: 2 meters
Local name: Thrung Thrung Kam
Scientific name: Grus nigricollis
Maximum flight speed: 90km per hour
Flight altitude: 20,000 feet
Habitat altitude in Bhutan (central and eastern regions): 1770 – 3015 masl
Hike the nature-trail from Gangtey temple courtyard to Kumbu Village and follow the circuit trail overlooking the roosting ground of the cranes.
Visitor info: Stop at the valley’s crane center and listen to the moving story of the Juvenile Crane Karma, who was physically injured and rescued by the locals and veterinarians. Karma is in good physical conditions in an enclosure facility but cannot take flight due to multiple bone fractures and callus formation in its wing.
After lunch, drive back to Paro.
Travel info: Phobjikha to Paro: 172 kms / 5hr approximate
Dinner at the hotel.
Get rest for the final hike next day.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Paro

Warm-up and gear-up for the last hike to Taktsang popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest.
Hike Information
Taktsang altitude: 3,100 masl Hiking time – The round hike takes from 2-4 hr for local hikers; our guests may take longer time depending on their fitness level and weather conditions. Guests have options between foot-hike and pony ride up to the second turning point to the Tiger’s Nest.
Distance covered: 6.4 km (4 miles) round trip
Altitude – 3000 masl
Elevation gain – 520 m (1,700 ft)
Difficulty level – moderate
The first temple complex was built in 1692. Legend has it that the temple site was named Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest after Bhutan’s Patron-saint Padmasambhava visited the site surfing on a tigress and blessed it as a power-place and treasure trove in the 8th century. The magical site has attracted some of the legendary Buddhist saints and treasure discoverers who attained spiritual realizations and revealed treasure teachings.
Hike down and drive back to Paro town. Go on a guided tour inside the historic 5-storied Ta Dzong (watch tower established in 1968) and Rinpung Dzong (built in 1645), the fortress on a heap of jewels, which is the powerhouse of western Bhutan.
Drive back to hotel for a rejuvenating herbal body massage and relaxing traditional soaking bath.
Later in the evening, attend cultural show and farewell dinner. Formal closing session by the travel host of Holidays Bhutan.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Paro

This morning/afternoon we see you off at the airport to catch your flight to Bangkok or other gateway cities to connect with your international flight to next destination.

Please Note: The sightseeing and timing mentioned in the itinerary is subject to local weather conditions and individual fitness level.