Sitting on the high mountains of the Himalaya, Bhutan has been in top ten of the global biodiversity hotspots.
The country strictly protects its nature with a forest cover of over 70%, it has become home to thousands of species, some of which are rare and endangered like tigers, Himalayan black bears, and snow leopards. Crossing forests and valleys, hiking along the foothills of the Himalayan peaks and sleeping in tents under the starry sky, you will wholeheartedly immerse in the pristine nature of Bhutan.
Trekking in Bhutan is a journey of culture as well. After reaching the striking dzongs and temples, you will have an insight into the Buddhism in Bhutan. The sight of people murmuring mantras and fingering praying beads is incredibly peaceful and intriguing. As some buildings perching as high ridges, they will allow visitors a remarkable view of the valley and the distant Himalayan mountains. In Bhutan, you will be welcome by the most warm-hearted people and may also join them for a traditional Bhutanese dinner.
Bhutan’s landscape is suitable for different levels of treks. The Druk Path Trek is a famous trail for beginners which takes short time to finish, while the Snowman Trek may take up to 30 days with many high passes. It is seen as one of the toughest treks in the world. The best seasons to trek in Bhutan is spring (March – May) and autumn (September – November), though winter is also a good time to travel.
Tour duration – 11 days/ 10 nights.
Trek duration – 3 days
Tour destination – Paro, Thimphu, Trongsa, Bumthang, and Punakha.
Tour overview – The Bumthang Culture Trek is a fairly easy three-day trek that takes you to explore place of interest and learn about culture, history and lifestyle of local people in the western and central of Bhutan. The highlight of this trek is three day trek passes through several villages, meadows, blue pine forests and mountains of scrub bamboo in Bumthang. It is perfect for the trekkers to enjoy the beautiful sceneries of Bhutan. The best times to embark on this trek from March to May and September to November.
Day 01: Arrival in Paro
- Altitude in Paro: 2280m
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 escort you to the hotel.
After lunch 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.
Then we 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.
Afterwards we visit the Sangay Handmade Bowl and Cup Factory, nearby Paro Rinpung Dzong. 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.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing
In the morning we will drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan at 2320m, also the only capital in the world that does not use traffic lights. We will begin our day‘s sightseeing of the following sites:
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.
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.
The Jungshi Handmade Paper factory, this 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.
If your trip happens to fall on a weekend, we will take a quick visit to the farmer’s market. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market, so we will see all kinds of vegetables, fruits dried stuff, cereal, rice, poultry, meat and even incense.
Then we will visit 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).
In the later 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 hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu to Trongsa
- Altitude in Trongsa: 2180m
- Distance: 199km
- Estimated time: 7hrs
In the early morning we drive to Trongsa. 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.
Then we continue to drive, on the way we will stop at certain places for tea/refreshments and drive slowly towards Trongsa.
Overnight at the hotel in Trongsa.
Day 04: Trongsa to Bumthang
- Altitude in Bumthang: 2800m
- Distance: 68km
- Estimated time: 3hrs
Before we drive to Bumthang, we will visit the Trongsa Dzong, the most spectacularly sited dzong in Bhutan, high above the roaring Mangde Chhu with a sheer drop to the south that often just disappears into cloud and mist. Then head to the Ta Dzong, which was once a watchtower which guarded the Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion. This magnificent watch tower sits on a spur overlooking the Trongsa Dzong and has now been converted into a state-of-the Art Museum (National Museum).
On arrival in Bumthang, we visit to the Jambay Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Goenpo in the 7 century throughout Tibet and the Himalayas overcome a giant demonen. Like Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro, the temple is one of the two of the 108 built in Bhutan. Legend says that Guru Rinpoche visited the site several times and deemed it exceptionally sacred. From here we take a walk to the Kurjey Lhakhang where Guru Rinpoche meditated here, subdued demonen and left his body imprint on a rock.
Overnight at the hotel in Bumthang.
Day 05: Bumthang to Ngang Lhakhang
- Distance: 20km
- Estimated time: 5-6hrs
- Camp altitude: 2800m
The trek begins today. The trek follows the Chamkhar Chhu and passing many villages and temples, meadows, forests of blue pine and shrubs bamboo. We will stop for lunch at Thangbi Lhakhang. From here the trek enters the Ngang Yul (Land of the Swan) at the centre of which lies the Ngang Lhakhang (Swan Temple). In by-gone days, the valley was populated by swans whence the name Ngang Yul.
Day 06: Ngang Lhakhang – Ugyenchholing
- Distance: 23km
- Estimated time: 7-8hrs
- Camp altitude: 2670m
The trek starts with a gradual climb to Phephe La Pass at an altitude of 3353 m, the highest point of the trek route. The trail passes through beautiful forested areas where many stops can be made to enjoy the natural beauty of the place. After the pass descend to Tang valley, finally arriving at Ugyenchholing village. Camp by the side of the river.
Day 07: Ugyenchholing – Bumthang
- Distance: 10km
- Estimated time: 2-3hrs
In the morning we walk up to the Ugyenchholing Dzong. Visit the beautiful private mansion and eco museum, the trail follows the Tang Chu, another trout-filled river. On the bank of the river is the Tang Rimpoche’s Lhakhang. The trek will pass the Mebar Tsho (The Flaming Lake) where Terton Pemalingpa, is said to have discovered religious treasures in the 15th century. This lake is very sacred and visited by many Bhutanese on auspicious days to offer butter lamps. Your car awaits you at the trek endpoint to take you to the hotel in Bumthang.
Day 08: Bumthang to Punakha
- Altitude in Punakha : 1300m
- Distance: 212km
- Estimated time: 8hrs
Today after breakfast we will drive to Punakha valley with sightseeing en-route. We will stop at certain places for tea/refreshments and drive slowly towards Punakha valley. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 09: Punakha to Paro
- Altitude in Trongsa : 2180m
- Distance: 199km
- Estimated time: 7hrs
After breakfast we head to 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 visit 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 returning to Paro, 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 10: Paro sightseeing
Today 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.
Then we head to 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.
In the evening we take an explorative stroll around main streets and market at Paro town.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 11: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$ 3,030 per person
- Group of 2 people: US$ 2,930 per person
- Group of 3 people: US$ 2,630 per person
OFF PEAK SEASON
- Single traveler: US$ 2,530 per person
- Group of 2 people: US$ 2,430 per person
- Group of 3 people: US$ 2,130 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.|
|A sustainable development fee.||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.|