We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

San Jose, California
Level Contributor
116 posts
8 reviews
Save Topic
Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

Two male travelers, who are fit and healthy, are coming from California to BKK to Bhutan for a 12 day vacation on Nov 2013. We would like to ask the experts about these two proposed itineraries from Raju of the Heavenly Bhutan. Which is a better plan between the two considering (1) the time for acclimatizing (preventing high altitude problem), and (2) the places covered and the time driving to see these attractions. I don’t do well in high altitude. Phobjika is not mentioned in Plan B. Is it do-able to do this in plan A? Should we have to go/stay in Wangdue? Can you also kindly suggest a hotel you would prefer in each overnight stay if you were us? Pls. suggest any changes you think may make our trip even better.

So far, Raju has been a valuable contributor in our planning. He is quick in responding to our emails/questions.

Thank you for your help.

TS

Plan A

Day 1: 15-Nov: Arrival in Paro to Punakha (5 hrs). Overnight in Punakha.

Day 2: 16-Nov: Punakha 1300 meters to Jakar (Bumthang 2600 meters) (7-8 hrs drive). Overnight in Jakar

Day3: 17-Nov: whole day enjoy the festival in Jakar. Overnight in Jakar.

Day 4: 18-Nov: Excursion to Uma valley. Overnight in Jakar.

Day5: 19-Nov: Jakar to Trongsa (3 hrs drive). Overnight in Trongsa.

Day6: 20-Nov: Trongsa to Wangdue (5-6 hrs drive), excursion to Phobjikha. Overnight in Wangdue.

Day7: 21-Nov: Wangdue to Thimphu (3 hrs drive). Overnight in Thimphu.

Day8: 22-Nov: Thimphu. Weekend market, etc. Overnight in Thimphu

Day9: 23-Nov: Thimphu to Paro (1.2 hrs drive). Archery etc. Overnight in Paro.

Day10: 24-Nov: Chelela & Haa excursion (long drive???) Overnight in Paro

Day11: 25-Nov: Paro, Tiger nest temple. Overnight in Paro

Day12: 26-Nov: Departure

Plan B

Day 1: 15-Nov: Paro to Thimphu (1.2 hrs drive). Overnight in Thimphu

Day 2: 16-Nov: Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu

Day3: 17-Nov: Thimphu to Trongsa, 7 hrs drive. Overnight in Trongsa

Day 4: 18-Nov: Trongsa to Jakar, 3 hrs drive. Enjoy the festival. Overnight in Jakar.

Day5: 19-Nov: Jakar, festivals and local sightseeing. Overnight in Jakar.

Day6: 20-Nov: Excursion to Uma valley. Overnight in Jakar.

Day7: 21-Nov: Jakar to Punakha, (7-8 hrs drive). Overnight at Punakha

Day8: 22-Nov: Punakha, Overnight in Punakha.

Day9: 23-Nov: Punakha to Paro (5 hrs hrs drive). Overnight in Paro.

Day10: 24-Nov: Paro. Chelela & Haa excursion, (6 hrs drive). Overnight in Paro

Day11: 25-Nov: Paro, Tiger nest temple. Overnight in Paro

Day12: 26-Nov: Departure

Mentioned in this post
Wangdue
Wangdue
Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan
Paro
Paro
Paro District, Bhutan
Punakha
Punakha
Punakha District, Bhutan
Bumthang
Bumthang
Bumthang District, Bhutan
Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha Valley
Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan
Thimphu
Thimphu
Thimphu District, Bhutan
Tiger's Nest Resort
Tiger's Nest Resort
189 Reviews
Paro, Bhutan
Amsterdam, Holland
Destination Expert
for Bhutan
Level Contributor
3,511 posts
145 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

As usual: it depends on your interests. It looks like you preferred Haa over Phobjikha, and you cannot go to both in this timeframe. I would not leave Punakha out, it has the most beautiful Dzong and in plan A you don't have any time to see it properly. And making an 'excursion' to Phobjikha after driving from Trongsa is not realistic. If you go out of the way you'd like to enjoy and 'gain' something from the effort.So I'd opt for itinary B, it looks more balanced driving and timingwise. And remember that you can walk on the road after Wangdi, to make a break in the long drives.

Enjoy the planning!

Edited: 11:59 am, August 16, 2013
Mentioned in this post
Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha Valley
Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan
Punakha
Punakha
Punakha District, Bhutan
Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong
1,103 Reviews
Punakha, Bhutan
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
1,133 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

I will also opt for itinerary B, as I don't like to travel such long hours during the first 2 days. It will make your body very tired and you might not be able to enjoy the tour during the first few days.

Like Bhutantraveller said, itinerary B is more balanced in term of sightseeing and travelling. You cannot cover all the different valleys in 12 days. You have to choose which is more important.

San Jose, California
Level Contributor
116 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

Thank you very much for both of your input. Plan B sounds like a better choice. Can we include Phobjikha village and get rid of Haa in plan B? If this seems too rush/hectic, how about if we add one more day to the trip?

Thnks.

TS

Mentioned in this post
Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha Valley
Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
1,133 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

If you can add one more day, it will be good. But you need to check with your agent if this is possible, due to connecting flights and other issues.

Personally, I think Phobjikha should be nicer than Haa as it is a glacial valley. In November, you can see the endangered blacked necked cranes that migrated from Tibet to Bhutan for winter.

Happy planning.

Edited: 10:37 am, August 17, 2013
Mentioned in this post
Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha Valley
Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan
Amsterdam, Holland
Destination Expert
for Bhutan
Level Contributor
3,511 posts
145 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

In Plan B you included Haa as an excursion from Paro. You can discuss with your agent if you can change the itinary to include Phobjikha, as the reservations for hotels have to changed. It is not a village, but a beautiful valley at the altitude of 3000 meters and relatively flat. And you have the possibility to see the endangered black-necked cranes. There is a nice centre with explanations and a view point in the valley next to the road.

So you can drive from Bumthang to Phobjikha, then on to Punakha, and skip one night in Paro.

Good luck.

Edited: 11:11 am, August 17, 2013
Mentioned in this post
Paro
Paro
Paro District, Bhutan
Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha Valley
Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan
Bumthang
Bumthang
Bumthang District, Bhutan
Punakha
Punakha
Punakha District, Bhutan
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
116 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

thank you again for your input. I have emailed Raju for this change.

TS

San Jose, California
Level Contributor
116 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

Time flies so fast when you are having a great time!! Yes, indeed!! We are now back to California from our 12-day trip in Bhutan. Thank you to Heavenly Bhutan Travel (HBT) for making this trip possible. Thank to Raju (owner), Tek (guide), and Rem (drive) for such a distinguished service beyond our expectations. Our itinerary was well thought and planned out. I think, 12 days gave us enough time to get immersed into the rich culture and history of Bhutan. The fond memories we brought home will always be cherished and treasured. The pictures we took will always remind us of the warm embrace we received while in Bhutan. Flying from BKK to Paro was one of the most exciting moments in this trip. The dense and fluffy cumulous clouds looked like cotton candies or soap suds. The aircraft felt like floating in the clouds. Oh, how much I wish I could play in the clouds!! Engaging with the local people in dialogues while learning their culture is a humbling and a feel-good experience, especially those pleasurable moments we had with the elderly devotees in Rukubjee village and the children in Ura village. The amazing rice paddies in Punakha, although they were not in their golden best and most vivid green, gave a spectacular performance in the given time of the year. Getting lost in the maze and stepping on the bull dung left us laughing all the times. We met different groups of family happily harvesting their fruits of labor. This communal activity is an evidence of Bhutan’s impressive, yet strong, traditional social structure in play. The iconic Phallus painting in the façade of most houses is a unique sight to behold for travelers like us. They certainly add curve to our lips. Hearing the monks chanting accompanied by the powerful beats of drums and trumpets in Tango Monastery and nunnery in Thimpu were spiritually uplifting and enriching. Those sacred moments were mentally and emotionally stimulating and inquiring. Briefly, we felt the urge and the challenge to understand the meaning of life according to the Great Buddha. Witnessing the Yogi in the Burning Lake singing the words of consecration was very touching. His presence in this enigmatic lake emanates a different beauty, mysticism, and awe. Trekking the Phobjika valley for a good 2-3 hours was enough for us to appreciate its scenic splendor and cultural uniqueness and also understand the urgency to protect this marshland for its faunal biodiversity, esp. the globally threatened Black-necked Cranes. Yes, we saw the cranes at a distance. Hanging on a cliff at about 10,000 feet, this stunning view of Tiger Nest is a wow moment indelibly imprinted in our mind and heart. Hiking up to this great architectural complex brought our experience much closer and more personal. The hike can be taxing but worth every effort. The dzong architecture is majestic and grand, esp the one in Thimpu. Within them lies a complex of temples, courtyards, administrative offices, and even monks' accommodations. It is sad to see the remains of Wangdue Phodrang Dzong which was burned down by a fire in the afternoon of 24th June 2012. We were told that a number of historic relics were destroyed. Reconstruction is now on its way. The beef Paa and the chicken curry washed down with Bhutan’s local wine, Ara, is something to die for. No offense meant but I would skip the national food Ema Datshi because it gave me heartburn. Although we did not understand the entire play, the Chhokhor Toe Ngalhakha festival in Bumthang was fun to watch. By just sitting and enjoying the moments with the local people was time well spent. Overall, this trip is one-of-a-kind travel experience rising above the rest of our trips.

Thank you again, HBT, for making this trip exceptional and compelling. Your commitment to client satisfaction is evident in this happy ending. Also thank you to Bhutantraveller Amsterdam, Holland and mlguitar Singapore, Singapore for your invaluable advice and expertise.

For those who are only interested, pls. write me if you have any questions. I’d try my best to answer them. Just in case you may want to contact Heavenly Bhutan Travel, their website is www.bhutanoutdooractivities.com

Edited: 11:05 pm, December 25, 2013
Mentioned in this post
Paro
Paro
Paro District, Bhutan
Punakha
Punakha
Punakha District, Bhutan
Burning Lake
Burning Lake
124 Reviews
Bumthang, Bhutan
Tiger's Nest Resort
Tiger's Nest Resort
189 Reviews
Paro, Bhutan
Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong
1,103 Reviews
Punakha, Bhutan
Bumthang
Bumthang
Bumthang District, Bhutan
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
1,133 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

Great to know that you have an enjoyable time in Bhutan!!! Just emerge yourself into the locals, culture and environment in order to truely enjoy the Bhutan trip.

Mentioned in this post
Amsterdam, Holland
Destination Expert
for Bhutan
Level Contributor
3,511 posts
145 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

Thank you so much for returning and put your experience and feelings in words. Your description brings me back again to Bhutan. It surely is a very special place on earth.

Mentioned in this post
San Francisco...
Level Contributor
93 posts
40 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Which itinerary is better? Pls advise.

Hi Sonofdragon,

We are considering doing Haa Valley (want to do Kila Nunnery and Chelela Pass) versus doing Phobjika Valley in October/November time frame. Which do you recommend? By the way, this would be for a 7day/6 night itinerary (possible 8 day/7 night).

Are the black necked cranes really worth the drive? i know they are endangered species, but I also realize we will waste a lot of time on the road which could be used for visiting other places.

Would love your feedback!!

Mentioned in this post
Haa Valley
Haa Valley
71 Reviews
Ha, Bhutan