The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas and South Asia comprised of mountains and forests. The country is called by its people “Druk Yul”, meaning “The Land of The Thunder Dragon”. Trekking in Bhutan is dissimilar from other regions in Asia. You are trekking in a country steeped in Buddhist traditions, culture and mountains. Bhutan Himalaya is covered with a forest shrub and plenty of rain. There are a lot more flora and fauna than anywhere else in this region. There are fewer villages in the high mountains. Trekking there does not require any special technical skills.
You will have opportunity to challenge yourself, relax your mind, immerse yourself in nature and local culture, also have a good night ‘s sleep under the stars. This is a wonderful experience in your life in The Kingdom of Bhutan.
Tour duration – 10days/9nights.
Trek duration – 3days
Tour destination – Western Bhutan
Tour overview – This trek is a short and relatively easy trek, start from Gangtey at Phobjikha valley and through forests of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendrons and several beautiful villages. You will have opportunity to explore fascinating places of interest in the western of Bhutan and learn about culture, history and lifestyle of local people of Bhutan. Hike to Tiger’s nest, one of the most holy sites in Bhutan that every Bhutanese person is expected to complete the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. The best times to embark on this trek from March to May and September to November.
Day 01: Arrival in Paro and move to Thimphu
The flight to Bhutan provides the most spectacular view of The Himalayas. As the plane approaches Paro, you will see the beautiful snow peaks of Himalaya range. The first gift from Bhutan will be cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. Our representative will meet you and drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan at 2320m, also the only capital in the world that does not use traffic lights. You can stop on the way to take in the magnificent Tachogang Lhakhang, a temple of the hill of the excellent horse.
On arrival in Thimphu, check in the hotel. After a brief rest we will head to the National Memorial Chorten, which was the idea of Bhutan’s Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk who had wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his Majesty’s untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace. You will see a lot of Bhutanese people circumambulating, reading mantras in murmuring and spinning their prayer wheels the chorten throughout the day.
In the late afternoon we visit the Tashichho Dzong, fortress of The Glorious Religion. It has been the seat of the government since 1952, after the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorje Wangchuck made this dzong to be a symbol of the new capital of Bhutan. It houses secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing
In the morning we will hike to the Cheri Goemba. It was the first monastery of Bhutan established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the Bhutanese state. This place was first visited by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. In 13th century Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, the Tibetan Lama who first established the Drukpa Kagyu tradition in Bhutan visited here. After 40 minute drive from the town, the drive ends at a covered bridge that crosses the river, take a hike to Cheri, located on a hillside north of Thimphu valley. The hike is through the forest of blue pine and fir and rhododendron trees. On the way, sometimes you might spot goral (wild goat) jumping around the cliffs nearby.
On the way back the town, we will visit the Pangri Zampa Lhakhang, one of the oldest temple in Bhutan, was built in 16th century by Ngawang Choegy, the great- great –grandfather of the Zhabdrung. The temple appeared in Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal’s vision which directed him from Tibet to Bhutan and was the residence of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal when he arrived in Bhutan in 1616. Now is a monastic school where Buddhist students learn Lamaism and astrology based on Buddhist philosophy.
After lunch we will visit the Folk Heritage Museum, restored three-storey, rammed mud and timber house replicates a rural household and is furnished as it would have been in the mid-19th century to provide an interesting glimpse into rural Bhutanese life.
Next we visit the National Textile Museum, is the place to learn about Bhutan’s living national art of thagzo (weaving). Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan. It displays Royal ghos and Kiras and introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and type of textiles made by women and men.
Next we visit the Jungshi Handmade Paper factory, a small factory produces traditional Bhutanese paper from the bark of two tree species, the Daphne and Dhekap tree. You can observe the entire process of producing handmade paper. It is named Deh sho paper, was originally used by monasteries for woodblock and manuscript books and also for writing prayer books.
Then we head to the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, commonly known as the Arts And Crafts School or the Painting School, operates four to six- year courses on the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. You will be able to see students doing painting (thangkas- painted religious pictures, walls, and statues to the decorations on furniture and window-frames), embroidery (hangings, boots, clothes) or clay arts (religious statues, pottery), wood carving (masks, statues).
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu to Gangtey
- Altitude in Gangtey : 2900m
- Distance: 160km
- Estimated time: 6hrs
In the early morning we drive to Gangtey. On the way we will stop at Dochula pass for a hot drink and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges. Dochula pass is high on top of a mountain, overlooking the Himalayas with 108 chortens (stupas) known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, built in memory of Bhutanese sol-diers killed in the 2003 battle against Assamese insurgents from India. The Queen Mother, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, commissioned the monument after the Fourth King, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was victorious in the struggle to dislodge the rebels who were using Bhutan as a base to raid India. Continue on the highway follows the scenic Dang Chhu before climbing through forests of bamboo and oak.
After lunch, we will visit the Gangtey Goemba, the only Nyingmapa monastery in this region, sits at the head of Gangtey valley and take a walk to Phobjikha valley.
Overnight at the hotel in Gangtey.
Day 04: Phobjikha valley to Gogona
- Distance: 15km
- Estimated time: 6-7hrs
- Camp altitude: 3130m
The trek starts at Tabiting at 2,830m and climb next to a stream to Hele La Pass. From the pass descends gradually through mixed forest of juniper, bamboos, rhododendrons and Magnolias into the Kangkha Chhu valley to the Gogona village.
Day 05: Gogona – Khotokha
- Distance: 16km
- Estimated time: 5-7hrs
- Camp altitude: 3330m
We climb up to Shobju La pass 3410m. The descent from the pass leads to a wide valley, surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. Below the route one can see Khothokha village.
Day 06: Khotokha – Tikke Zampa/Punakha
- Distance: 12km
- Estimated time: 5hrs
From the camp you climb till you reach a forest. From here it’s an easy walk up to a little ridge at 2,800m. Your car awaits you at the trek endpoint to take you to the hotel in Punakha.
Day 07: Punakha to Paro
- Altitude in Punakha : 1300m
- Distance: 127km
- Estimated time: 4hrs
After breakfast, we visit the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang, a temple plus nunnery perched on a ridge overlooking the valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, comprises a double storied temple, a chorten resembling Nepal’s boudhanath stupa and a nunnery complex.
Afterwards we head to the Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. It is an imposing structure and was built in 1637 at the confluence of two rivers, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. It served as the capital and seat of government until the early 1950s. The dzong is still the winter residence of the monk body.
On the way drive back to Thimphu, we take a pleasant hike to across hillock fields to Chimi Lhakhang, the Temple of Fertility and built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley –“Divine Madman”.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro
Day 08: Paro sightseeing
In the morning you can start your culture tour of Paro valley by visiting the National Museum of Bhutan (Ta Dzong), originally built as watchtower around 1649. It is on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Paro Rinpung Dzong and Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell. This dzong was converted into the National museum of Bhutan in 1968. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Afterwards visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, meaning the fortress of The Heap of Jewels, is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. It was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal between 1642 and 1646. This dzong now houses monk body and administrative offices of Paro and is symbolic as the religious and secular center of all affairs of the valley. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Then we head to the Sangay Handmade Bowl and Cup Factory. You will see demonstration of traditional wood turning skills by local artisans who make traditional wooden bowls and cups. It calls Shagzo – the art of wood turning, one of thirteen traditional Bhutanese arts. You can try your hand as well if you wish.
After lunch we visit the Dungtse Lhakhang was built in 1421 by famous Tibetan lama, Thangtong Gyalpo (1385-1464). This temple is remarkable primarily because it is in the form of a Chorten, one of the very few which exist in Bhutan, is conceived as a mandala, with the different storeys (three floors) corresponding to the different levels of initiation, leading progressively upwards towards the heart of the mandala.
In the late afternoon we have an explorative walk around main streets and market at Paro town.
Day 09: Discover Paro
In the morning we take a hike to the Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest. It is one of the most holy sites in Bhutan, clings to a cliff more than 3000 metres above sea level and 900 metres above The Paro valley floor. The legend says that Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) arrived here on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Subsequently, he meditated here for three months. Every Bhutanese person is expected to complete the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. You will have lunch at Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery.
Next you will visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in The Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. This temples marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. In the 8th century the temple was visited by Guru Padmasambhava.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 10: Depart Paro
After early breakfast at the hotel, your guide will accompany you to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck) and hope to see you again.
- Single traveler: US$ 2,740 per person
- Group of 2 people: US$ 2,650 per person
- Group of 3 people: US$ 2,380 per person
- Single traveler: US$ 2,290 per person
- Group of 2 people: US$ 2,200 per person
- Group of 3 people: US$ 1,930 per person
- If you are planning to travel Bhutan with a group of 4 people and more, please feel free to contact us to get the cost for your group.
|The cost includes||The cost excludes|
|Bhutan visa fee.||Laundry/beverages/telephone calls and any personal expenses.|
|3 star categories hotel/resort twin sharing room||Travel insurance.|
|Accommodation in the best 3 star hotels/resorts in Bhutan.||Airfares.|
|All meals in day.||Airport taxes if any.|
|Bottled water on the trip.||Excess baggage charge.|
|Government Royalty.||Tips to guides and drivers.|
|Museum fees and other special entry fees.||Services not mentioned.|
|Internal transportation with experienced driver throughout the trip.|
|Experienced trekking guide and cook and support staff for trekking tours.|
|Essential equipment for trekking tours: tents, foam mattresses, eating utensils and kitchen equipment.|