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How much time should I spend in Bhutan?

An aerial view of Thimphu
Thimphu, being the capital of the country, is the most modernized city in Bhutan
Sunrise at Chele la pass, Bhutan
You might also want to drive through the Chele La Pass, the country’s highest motorable road, and go deeper into Bhutan’s beautiful countryside

How many days to spend in Bhutan? This is a common query among first-time travelers heading for this enigmatic country. If you are planning a Bhutan itinerary, we suggest spending a minimum of five to seven days to visit the major monasteries, dzongs, and temples as well as to explore Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro.

If you have anywhere between ten to 14 days to spare, you can add remote and spectacular valleys such as Phobjikha to your Bhutan itinerary. With enough time at your disposal, you might also want to drive through the Chele La Pass, the country’s highest motorable road, and go deeper into Bhutan’s beautiful countryside.

Bhutan in 5 days or less

Punakha Dzong is the administrative center of the Punakha district.
Punakha Dzong oldest Dzong and one of the most beautiful shrines in Bhutan
Bhutan is one of the most exotic places to visit in Asia.
Enjoy a visit to the Tiger's Nest monastery in Bhutan

It is surprising how much of this beautiful country can be covered in five days or less if you choose the right Bhutan itinerary. For short trips, focus on the main sights. A Bhutan itinerary will probably be incomplete without Tiger’s Nest monastery. Constructed in 1692, this sacred Buddhist site in Paro consists of four temples, residential quarters for monks, and a functioning monastery. You can combine a day trip here with visits to other historic sites in Paro and even get a brief overview of Thimphu in around four to five days.

Alternatively, devote more time to Thimphu and its surrounding areas during your five-day stay in the country. See the resplendent thousand-armed Avalokitesvara in the 12th century Changangkha Monastery before heading for Punakha Dzong. Discover one of Bhutan’s most idyllic fortifications located at the confluence of two rivers. To get there, you will have to cross the 3,116-meter Dochu La Pass.

For more ideas and tour options, check out our 5-day itineraries in Bhutan.

Bhutan in 7 days

Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan.
Punakha Suspension Bridge in Bhutan is known as one of the oldest bridges in the world
Monastary in Bhutan
Monasteries in Bhutan offer a peaceful time away from the hustle and bustle of cities

 A one-week Bhutan itinerary gives you interesting options to push the envelope and discover some hidden gems of this amazing land. Explore every nook and cranny of Thimphu. Visit the National Memorial Chorten, which was built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and browse through the collection of the capital city’s folk heritage and textile museums as you immerse yourself in Bhutanese culture and tradition.

Up next on your itinerary should be Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. From there you can drive to the country’s central valleys. A stunning, seven-hour trip on road is all that it takes to reach Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutanese Buddhism.

You can also include the beautiful valley of Phobjikha as well as a quick tour of Paro in a seven-day itinerary. Else, skip Punakha and spend two days trekking to the medieval dzongs in and around Paro.

Check out our 7-day Bhutan itineraries for more tour options that are booking-ready.

Bhutan in 10 days

Dochula pass chortens Bhutan
Dochula pass boasts a stunning 360-degree view of the Himalayan mountain range
Rinpung Dzong Fortress Monastery school for monks, Bhutan
Bhutan is home to numerous monasteries that offer a peaceful experience to visitors

 Add spectacular driving trips, breathtaking Himalayan landscapes, and a wee bit of trekking to your ten-day Bhutan itinerary. The Druk Path trek, considered by many to be the epitome of trekking in this country, connects Paro and Thimphu. It takes you through dense rhododendron and pine forests, past ruined fortresses, serene lakes, and idyllic yak pastures. An unforgettable experience for many, this trek is a great option for those planning to spend ten days in Bhutan.

Alternatively, you can also spend your time soaking up all the superb sights of Thimphu, Paro, and Punakha without feeling rushed during a ten-day stay in the country. You also have the option to combine the best of both worlds if you want to. Spend a couple of days trekking through Bhutan’s mountainous terrain and tiny villages. Done with your hike, you can then spend the remainder of your time exploring Paro and Thimphu.

Check out these 10-day Bhutan itineraries for more tour options that are booking-ready.

Bhutan in 14 days

Phobjikha Valley in Bhutan
Phobjikha Valley is a dream come true for history enthusiasts and budding ornithologists alike
Kyichu Lhakhang is a Buddhist temple in Paro district of Bhutan.
One of the oldest temples, Kyichu Lhakhang is located in the Paro district of Bhutan

Two weeks in Bhutan is a sufficient duration to experience the length and breadth of this magical country and tick off most of its cultural and religious sites. Build on top of the ten-day options above as you delve into the country’s extraordinary spiritual heritage.

Located to the east of Thimphu, the Phobjikha Valley is a dream come true for history enthusiasts and budding ornithologists alike. This place holds a lot of significance among the adherents of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism as it is home to Gangteng Monastery, while its marshlands provide refuge to more than a dozen endangered avian species, including the graceful black-necked cranes that fly down from the Tibetan Plateau during winter.

If you still find yourself with some time to spare, head out to see Bhutan’s oldest nunnery, Kila Gompa, and learn more about the country’s traditional arts and crafts at the National Institute for Zorig Chusum. Other destinations worth your attention are Royal Botanical Park in Lampelri—on the outskirts of Thimphu—and Ogyencholing Museum.

Planning a trip to Bhutan?

Customize a trip to Bhutan with our local travel experts. If you would like to book a package trip or join a group, check out our tours in Bhutan.

Published by Lucas Toft, updated on November 9, 2021

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