Experience Bhutan & Ara Culture 15 Days

Tour Highlights

Bhutan is no ordinary place. It is an amply modern country yet medieval with one foot still rooted in its past. Bhutan is aware of the downsides of rapid modernization and has decided to move cautiously without losing its soul. Sustainable socio-economic development, preservation and promotion of culture and tradition, and preservation and protection of the natural environment are at the forefront of government policy. Every decision is carefully weighed for the benefit of its people. The government’s ‘high value-low volume’ tourism policy is, therefore, a good example of its efforts to keep foreign influences at bay while nurturing Bhutanese values at home. This gives Bhutan a different look and feels altogether, a visual and spiritual feast for all visitors.


Detailed Itinerary

Day 01| Arrival-Thimphu
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some world's highest glacial peaks. As enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport, and after completion of arrival formalities, you will be transferred to Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, an exciting blend of tradition and modernity. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02| Thimphu-Phobjikha
After breakfast, travel to Phobjikha through Dochula Pass 3140 m). In the clear spring sky, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. Then pass by the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space and is an extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valleys are tightly enclosed. A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor, lays the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. Latter visit Gangtey Goempa Perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain’s Gangtey valley. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the Monastery. Pema Trinley, the grandson of Pema Lingpa, the famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan, founded Gangtey. In 1613, Pema Trinley establishes the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions of Pema Lingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin Legpa Dondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up good relations with Drukpa, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a Dzong. Black Necked Crane Information Centre Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane information Centre has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The center also offers display information that outlines the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people
Day 03| Phobjikha-Bumthang
After breakfast, travel to Bumthang through Trongsa. The drive will take you through dense forests of oak and blue pine trees and through the subtropical Vegetation. The journey will also take you through the village of Nobding and Pele la pass (3300m). Throughout your trip, you will come across the beautiful sceneries of rural Bhutan, with scattered settlements far from the road, which makes for good photographing. You will also pass through open meadows, and valley of yak herders and several other villages via Chendebji Chorten (Stupa). Lunch will be served en route. On arrival at Trongsa, you will stop for refreshment and also visit Trongsa Dzong, which is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Built-in 1644 by the Shabdrung, the dzong is an architectural masterpiece. Then continue your travel to Bumthang passing through Yotong La Pass (3400 m). Just before reaching Bumthang you will come across the “Yathra” Weaving Centre at Zugney Village where you will see local weavers weaving Yathra. Yathra is the name for the colorful, hand-woven woolen cloth (often with geometric designs) that is produced in this region and wool used for this type of textile is sheep wool as the sheep is reared in this Bumthang Valley. Yathra is made into jackets or bags, etc. Then you will be driven further to Bumthang Valley. On arrival at Bumthang, check into your hotel in Bumthang.
Day 04| Bumthang Vicinity Visits
Enjoy a day of sightseeing in Bumthang beginning with Jambey Lhakhang, one of 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songsten in the 7th Century. It was here that Guru Rimpoche conducted his first sermon on Tantric Buddhism for his host King Sendha, the local ruler, his family, and subjects. Continue on to Kurje Lhakhang, famous for a rock within one of the temples that features a body imprint of the great master Guru Rimpoche. The big cypress tree in the temple grounds is believed to be the walking stick of Guru Rimpoche. Afterward visit Tamshing Lhakhang, the seat of Bumthang’s famous son, saint Pema Lingpa. He built it himself in 1501. A skilled tantric master and artist, he sculpted the main statues and painted the frescoes, some of Bhutan’s oldest which can still be seen even today, mostly in their original state. There is also a chain mail made by Pema Lingpa that devotees carry and circumambulate the inner sanctum to cleanse sins. Overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.
Day 05| Bumthang-Minjey (7-8 hrs drive, 235km, Altitude 1,600m/5,200 ft.)
It's going to be a long day drive today and so you will need to get an early start. Along the way, enjoy the scenery, the beauty of snowcapped mountains, flowers, grazing yaks, and the dense forest. We will stop in Ura valley where we visit the village and its temple. Ura Village has a medieval look with compact houses lined up alongside the cobblestone streets and is known for the women's typical sheepskin shawls. As we leave the URA Village behind, the climbs to the Thrumshing La pass (3,750m/12,300 ft.) that officially divides central Bhutan with Eastern Bhutan. The road now gradually descends to Sengor and we will see some cascading waterfalls along the way. Once we cross the bridge over the Kurichu, You will set out on the mountainous road alongside cliffs, above the river valley to Lhuentse which is the original home of Bhutan’s royal family in the remote and ancient region of Kurtoe. You stop briefly to visit the Lhuentse Dzong, built in the 1600s and then continue further on to the Khurbazam Village from where it takes 10-15 mins to drive to Minjey Village. Almost all 30 houses in the village have blackstrap looms for “kishuthara” or brocaded dress. Four supplementary wefts interworked around the warp elements so that they appear to ride the surface of the cloth-like embroidery create motifs & Later in the evening you can spend your time culture exchange with locals were they will welcome you with Locally brewed alcohol called “Ara”. Overnight at Minjey village in Farm House
Day 06| Minjey –Lhuntse Vicinity Visits

Khoma Vicinity visits:

Kishuthara weaving: is the main source of income for the people in this place. Kishuthara is a fabric made by silk on silk weaving with an intricate hand laced patterns. It is a highly regarded and most expensive hand-woven Bhutanese textiles in Bhutan. Today is a special day for textile lovers because you see this famous textile in its originating place. You view the weaving technique as well as have the opportunity to interact with the different weavers in the village to better understand and study their weaving techniques, process, and tools. You can try weaving with the weavers. Later drive to Lhuentse, which is one of the most rural and isolated districts in Bhutan. The landscape is spectacular with stark cliffs and gorges, beautiful conifer and pine forests and remote villages with rice, millet, and cornfields. Kurtoe region of Lhuntse is the ancestral home of Bhutan's royal family & then drive to Menji village to see the distinct textile weaving and hike to the statue of Padmasambhava 148 feet 30-foot high lion throne and 17-foot high lotus seat in the form of Guru Nangsi Zilnoen is being built in Takela, Lhuntse to bring peace and harmony to the world as prophesied by Lord Buddha. This will be the world's largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava. Evening village visits. Overnight in Farmhouse
Day 07-09| Minjey- Archery program with Village people
Since time immemorial Bhutanese have been passionate about their national sport of Dha (archery). Nearly all villages in the kingdom boast an archery range and each dzong has a space set aside nearby for a BHA Cho (field of target). Competitions are a riot of colors and excitement, with two teams in traditional dress shooting at small wooden targets placed 140m apart (Olympic standard is 50m). The distance is so great that team members gather dangerously close to the target to yell back how good the archer’s aim was. This is often accompanied by howls, chanting, encouragement, and jokes. Members of the opposing team may shout back how terrible the archer’s aim is and make ribald remarks. When an arrow hits the target, teammates perform a celebratory slow-motion dance and sing the praises of the shooter, who tucks a colored scarf into his belt. For major tournaments, each team brings its own cheerleading section of girls decked out in their finest clothes. They perform dances in between play, and during the shooting, they do brief routines and shout lewd and disparaging comments about the opposing archer’s parentage or sexual prowess. Tradition has it that women are not allowed to touch an archer’s bow, and it is believed to decrease performance if an archer sleeps with a woman the night before a contest. The traditional Bhutanese archery equipment is a long bamboo bow. Most archers nowadays use a state of -the -art carbonate Hoyt brand bow with a complicated-looking pulley system that releases the arrows with tremendous speed. The use of imported equipment hasn’t diluted the rich traditions of the game, although Bhutanese archers are now encouraged to train for the Olympics. International coaches who have trained Bhutan’s Olympic archers have been impressed with the natural talent and think that, with expert coaching, Bhutan could possibly win an Olympic medal one day. Archery matches are among the most picturesque and colorful events you’ll find here and well worth a visit.
Day 10| Minjey- Tashiyangtse
After breakfast, we will drive to Tashiyangtse. The drive will take about 8hours.

Lunch picnic pack lunch

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel, Bumthang.

Day 11| Tashiyangtse Sightseeing & Mongar
After breakfast, Tashiyangtse vicinity visit & then drive back to Mongar, sightseeing and overnight.

Lunch picnic pack lunch

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel, BMongar.

Day 12| Mongar-Bumthang
After breakfast, we will drive to Bumthang. The drive will take about 8hours.

Lunch picnic pack lunch

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel, Bumthang.

Day 13| Bumthang- Capital Thimphu
After breakfast proceeds to Thimphu, stopping along the way at Trongsa or Chendebji Chorten for lunch, which will be served in a local restaurant famous for its cuisine. The day is going to be full of driving but make sure to stop for photography and shorts walks to keep your legs and arms active. Overnight hotel in Thimphu
Day 14| Thimphu- Tiger's Nest Temple Hike
Early breakfast and drive to paro On your last full day in Bhutan, strap on your hiking boots and spend the day winding your way up the trail to the legendary Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest). The steep one- to three-hour climb will bring you face-to-face with one of Bhutan's most iconic sites. If you're feeling adventurous and are longing for a more remote experience away from other tourists, several more monasteries - including Zangthopelri and Ugyen Tshemo - await further up the hill with fewer tourists and more views. When you're done soaking it all in, make your way back down to the Paro Valley for a stop at Bhutan's oldest temple: Kyichu Lhakhang. Then return to Paro for a farewell dinner with your guide. Traditional Bhutanese Dishes to try before you go include Ema Datshi (chili and cheese), Jasha Maroo or Maru (spicy chicken), and Phaksha Paa (pork with red chilies).
Day 15| Paro –Departure
Farewell, traveler! Pack your bags, enjoy a hearty breakfast, and then head to the airport to catch your flight!

Cost Inclusions & Exclusions

  • Sustainable Development Fees
  • Bhutan Visa fee
  • Accommodations in 3/4/5 star hotel/Resorts on Double Occupancy basics.
  • Lunch, Dinner, Evening Tea and Snacks(Dinner & Lunch will be served at Tourism board certified restaurent only)
  • All transfers and sightseeing with entrance fees to the sights visited.
  • Local English Speaking Tour Leader/Guide.
  • Full time luxury SUV or luxury Coaster Bus.
  • All necessary permits and their fees.
  • Plenty of drinking mineral water.
  • All necessary trekking arrangements (1 tent for 2 guest for trekkers).
  • Individual’s special gifts hamper.
  • Free Bhutan tourist maps and other information pamphlets.
  • Wearing of Bhutanese dress during your stay in Bhutan only if you are interested.
  • Visit traditional Bhutanese house and dinner with Bhutanese locals.
  • International & Domestic Airfare
  • Travel / Medical Insurance (recommended)
  • Personal expenses and any alcoholic, non-alcoholic beverages
  • Tips to guide, driver, trekking staff, hotel service, etc.
  • Single room supplement charge for two Pax and above
  • Specialized /language guides available on supplement cost
  • Travel / Medical Insurance

Book this Tour


One of the most unique features of our tours is that all the itineraries are fully customizable. At Pinda Bhutan Travels we don’t do standard tours, you have the power to customize your trips from A to Z, for example, accommodation, transportations, trip length, activities, places of interest, the pace of travel and more.

This Tour Is Eligible for 7 pax and above only.

Experience Bhutan & Ara Culture 15 Days

Highlights of The Tour

Experience Bhutan & Ara Culture, Bhutan is no ordinary place. Bhutan is aware of the downsides of rapid modernization and has decided to move cautiously without losing its soul. Sustainable socio-economic development, preservation and promotion of culture and tradition, and preservation and protection of the natural environment are at the forefront of government policy. The government’s ‘high value-low volume’ tourism policy is, therefore, a good example of its efforts to keep foreign influences at bay while nurturing Bhutanese values at home. This gives Bhutan a different look and feels altogether, a visual and spiritual feast for all visitors. Experience Bhutan & Ara Culture

Kishuthara weaving:

Kishuthara weaving is the main source of income for the people in this place. Kishuthara is a fabric made by silk on silk weaving with intricate hand laced patterns.

It is a highly regarded and most expensive hand-woven Bhutanese textiles in Bhutan. Today is a special day for textile lovers because you see this famous textile in its originating place. You view the weaving technique as well as have the opportunity to interact with the different weavers in the village to better understand and study their weaving techniques, process, and tools. You can try weaving with the weavers.

Kurtoe region of Lhuntse is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family

The Ara (Bhutanese wine) offering culture!

The Culture of offering “Ara” (local wine) to our guests as a gesture of welcoming tea in the rural Bhutanese society existed since the existence of Bhutanese civilization especially in the eastern parts of Bhutan. It was not that famous in the western parts of Bhutan but that Culture was infused into existence lately among the western Bhutanese society with the migration of Easterners to the west in the search of opportunities and prosperous way of life. The migratory nature of Bhutanese civilization has huge impacts on the cultural exchanges and diffusion between different societal norms like southerners, easterners, and westerners. Every aspect of different cultures is diffused with the marriage of different background couples and such mixed culture is inherited by their sons and daughters to be further passed down the line of history where the individual culture is lost during the transition period. The new settlers have to adjust to new cultural aspects of that society to fit in beautifully. If he/she fails to seamlessly sink in with different culture gets knocked out from that society with stigmatic blames and rejections as a “black sheep.”

Experience Bhutan & Ara Culture

Bhutanese Ara Offering

Bhutanese wine (Ara)

In Bhutanese culture, the raw wine is very much needed for the offering to our protecting deities as “Serkem” (wine Offering Ceremony) with a recitation of prayers by the monks in any activity that we carry on to be successful and fruitful. This Culture of wine offering was introduced by the second Buddha, Guru Rinpoche during the 8th Century in Tibet. Guru Rinpoche offered wine “Serkem” to all protecting and local deities to support and complete the construction works without any obstacles from the devils and demons. The evils spirits destroyed the Lhasa Samyay Monastery construction works during the night with its forces pooled from the universal devils. Therefore, Guru Rinpoche offered blessed wine to all protecting and local deities to ward-off those devils who destroy everything. The Tibetan King, Thrisong Duetshen’s dream of constructions were fulfilled finally with Guru Rinpoche’s support received from protecting deities’ blessings and empowerment.

Experience Bhutan & Ara Culture

Marchang Ceremony

Marching Ceremony

Based on Guru Rinpoche’s teaching on the offering of wine; Kuenkhen Pema Karpo, composed the prayer for wine offering which is widely used these days in Bhutan in any small activities like playing archery, promotion and big ceremonies like king’s coronation were kick-offs with wine offering ceremony by the realized monks. This is the real Cultural aspect of “wine offering” widely accepted and practiced in Bhutanese society and is living in our hearts and minds. It has already touched deep down the blood veins of Bhutanese people. Without which, we all feel something is missing from our agenda of the day and we always need the support of protecting deities to achieve our dreams in life in a much easier way like Tibetan King did. Experience Bhutan & Ara Culture

In the same way, Eastern Bhutan has a strong cultural bonding of offering locally brewed wine to their visiting guests as welcome note. Every guest will be ushered in with a cup of wine in the east whether you like it or not. This is another small aspect of wine offering a culture that came into existence in the easterner’s mindset. People value this culture as part of life and living mechanism. Every household will brew local wine using maize as raw materials with yeast applied for the fermentation process and people drink wine during any local festivals and celebrations.

Experience Bhutan & Ara Culture

Beers from Bhutan

Druk 11,000

These days, the beer brand has overtaken the local wine, in the villages with new shops selling beer and other alcoholic brands like Whiskey and Rum XXX, etc.  With much higher disposable income, rural people shifted to these new brands as options to drink and socialize themselves. Drinkers can get many friends with the same feathers of birds flocking together and non-drinkers are left alone in these modern days even in rural life settings.

Therefore, should Bhutanese people now change our mindset from accepting wine offering a perennial living culture? Or Should Bhutanese people come up with a much healthier and better culture instead of offering wine to please our guests but indirectly we are killing our guests finally as a chronic alcoholic person. This culture is also non-sustainable to our economic health and citizen’s well being in the long run. Religiously, this offering of wine is acceptable for our deities don’t get drunk and die as common citizens do. The good culture is now being transformed into a harmful culture by the end-users with the passage of time. However, it is left to the judgment of readers to give a second thought to our cultural drawbacks and hiccups to clear as a learned society of the twenty-first century.