A Journey Across Bhutan

A Journey Across Bhutan [15 Days / 14 Nights]

This cultural-tour can be juxtaposed to Bhutan’s most challenging trekking route, the Snow Man Trek in the high Himalayas, as it traverses for 15 days from Western Bhutan to the East, offering you glimpses of the historical and cultural bastions of the Kingdom Providing a very comprehensive picture of the Kingdom, it will take you intro the different regions of Bhutan, diverse in ethnicity, way of life and dialects. Another catch of this trip is the immeasurable natural beauty and a plethora of flora and fauna along the way.

Day 1
Arrival and sightseeing
in Paro (2,250m/7,382ft)

As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Bhutan Festival who will take you to the hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. Overnight in Paro.

Day 2
Acclimatization hike to
Tiger’s Nest Monastery (3,180m/10,430 ft)

After breakfast, we hike for around 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor and drive back to Paro. Overnight in Paro.

Day 3
Trek starts: Paro to Shana
(2,870m/9,413ft): 17km, 5-6 hours

The trek starts from Drugyal Dzong at 2,580m with a downhill walk on a wide trail. The trail climbs gently through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. The route later enters an area of apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley widens and we reach the army post of Gunitsawa at 2,810m. This is the last stop before Tibet.  We will camp a little further from Shana Zampa, at the meadows surrounded by trees. Overnight camping.

Day 4
Shana to Sio Thangkha
(3,750m/12,300ft): 20km, 6-7 hours

The trail follows Pa Chhu (Paro River), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. Hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. After lunch, we will follow the river again and climb up through the rhododendron forests. We cross the bridge for the last time before reaching our campsite.  Overnight camping.

Day 5
Sio Thangkha to Jangothang
(4,040m/13,251ft): 19km, 5-6 hours

Our path ascends for a while until we reach an army camp. We will then follow the Paro River above the tree line enjoying stunning views of surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder’s camp. A short walk into the valley will take us to our camp at Jangothang. From here, the view of Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peak are superb.  Overnight camping.

Day 6
Jangothang: Rest Day

Today is a day set aside for acclimatization. Health experts recommend us to stay active and moving during the rest day too instead of being idle. We can choose from four day hikes: a 3-4 hours hike up to a ridge that gives a good view of Jichu Drake; a hike up to the end of the valley, toward Jumolhari; a trek up the main valley toward Jichu Drake’ or a hike to Tsophu, a pair of lakes with a good supply of brown trout. Overnight camping.

Day 7
Jangothang to Lingshi
(4,000m/13,120ft): 19 km, 6-7 hours

We follow a stream for a while before climbing a ridge. From the top of the ridge we get amazing views of Mt. Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshering Gang. The trail then moves towards a valley on an almost flat path until the climb to the Ngye La pass (4,700m). After crossing the pass, we gradually descend to Lingshi and take pleasure in the panoramic view of the peaks and Lingshi Dzong. Overnight in Lingshi.

Day 8
Lingshi to Shodu
(4,100m/13,450ft): 22km, 8-9 hours

The Laya Gasa route leaves the Jumolhari trek here. We climb up towards a small white Chhorten on a ridge then turn south to the deep Mo Chhu valley. Our trail is largely on a treeless valley, climbing steadily for a while. However, after crossing the Mo Chhu River our journey will be on a steep trail to Yeli La pass (4,820m). From the pass, we can enjoy amazing views of the mountains like Jumolhari, Gangchen Ta, Tshering Gang and Masang Gang. Then we descend to our camp at Shodu, a meadow with a beautiful Chhorten. Overnight in Shodu.

Day 9
Shodu to Barshong (3,600m/11,810ft): 16km, 6-7 hours

We follow the Thimpu River, descending through rhododendron, juniper and other alpine forests. On our journey we get to enjoy stunning views of high cliffs and waterfalls. Lunch will be served by the riverside. After lunch we gradually ascend to the ruins of Barshong Dzong. Overnight in Barshong.

Day 10
Barshong to Dolam Kencho
(3,600m/11,810ft): 15km, 5-6 hours

Our trail descends gently through dense rhododendron, birch and conifers forests until it meets Thimpu River at the bottom. We walk on the left side of the river, climbing over ridges and descending to side streams. Our trail then crosses steep cliff to Dolam Kencho, a pastureland where we spend the night.

Day 11
Dolam Kencho to Thimphu
(2,350m/7,710ft): 8km, 3 hours: Trek ends

We walk on a steep and winding trail in and out the Thimpu River towards the south until we reach Dodena. There, we will be picked up by Himalayan Glacier’s representative and driven to our hotel in Thimpu. In the evening, we may stroll in the streets of Thimpu and soak in the rich culture and lifestyle of the locals. Overnight in Thimpu.

Day 12
Sightseeing in Thimpu

In the morning, we visit nunnery temple, mini zoo to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan and the radio tower (for a great view of the Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong). After lunch, we visit other landmarks of Thimpu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong and the traditional paper factory. However, some of the landmarks are closed in the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, if we are in Thimpu during the weekends, we explore the Weekend Market instead. Overnight in Thimpu.

Day 13
Thimphu to Punakha
(1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 – 3 hours

After breakfast, we will visit King’s Memorial Chorten which was built in the memory of third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972. We then have lunch and continue our drive to Punakha via Dochu La Pass (3,100m). The road to Punakha descends from the pass through the magnificent pine and rhododendron forests and wanders through some of Bhutan’s most spectacular countryside laden with beautiful rice fields along the river banks. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 14
Punakha to Paro:
130 km, 4 hours

Today is the day we visit Punakha Dzong which symbolizes Bhutanese architecture where dzongs were built without iron nails. Built in between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. We then drive towards Paro via Dochula Pass. We will also visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley en route. After the tour of the temple, we continue our drive to Paro with a stop in Thimpu for lunch. Overnight in Paro.

Day 15
Final Departure

Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. After early breakfast, we leave for Paro airport. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after breakfast, we will be taken to the airport in the morning for final departure.

Details

 START Thimphu
FINISH Bumthang
DESTINATIONS Thimphu-Punakha-Phobkikha-Trongsa-Bumthang-Paro
DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Paro International Airport
DEPARTURE TIME Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.
WHAT’S INCLUDE
  • Private guided tour
  • Visas for Bhutan
  • Airport transfers
  • Daily 3 meals (B/L/D) at designated restaurants or hotels
  • Accommodation at 3 star hotel
  • A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide
  • An experienced driver
  • A tour vehicle
  • Entry fees & road permits
  • Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges
  • Mineral bottled water
  • Set of traditional costume (to be return at the end of your stay)
  • Full service & assistance before, during and after your Bhutan trip
WHAT’S EXCLUDED
  • Flight into Bhutan via Drukair (can be arranged with us)
  • Hotel stay outside of Bhutan
  • Travel Insurance (can be arranged with us)
  • Meals at 4-5 stars restaurants
  • Tips for the guide and driver
  • Alcoholic drink
  • Flight on other airline to catch Drukair Flight

Best Season

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September and October) are the best time for touring and trekking in Bhutan. The months of April and May offer the natural grandeur of rhododendron blooms whereas Bhutan observes its biggest festivals during spring.

Trip Start Dates

We will organize this trip on the dates requested by you. Please Contact Us  for your customized departure date.

Additional Information

Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us.

Note: This itinerary is a sample itinerary to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. We have designed this itinerary including the best cultural and natural aspects of this country. We can further customize the itinerary to suit your specific interest and needs. Please Talk to Us for more details. Itinerary is subject to flight and hotel availability. 

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