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BUMTHANG CULTURAL TREK (13 days/12 nights)

BUMTHANG CULTURAL TREK

This is a combination of cultural and trekking tour that takes you through beautiful valleys and along clear, trout-filled rivers in Bumthang, the cultural heartland of Bhutan. During the trek you cross through a number of small villages and ancient temples offering a great opportunity to interact with the locals and get to see the rural lifestyle of Bhutan. Although the three-day trek is fairly easy, the only segment of the route that may prove to be challenging is 500m ascent to Pephe La pass.

Duration of Trek: 3 days

Grade of Trek: Ease

Best Seasons: March to May & September to November

Day 1: Arrive Paro

On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights. We will drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Thimphu and en route stop off at the 14th century Tachog Lhakhang on the base of a mountain across the Pa Chhu River on the Paro-Thimphu highway, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s great architect Drupthop Thangtong Gyalpo (builder of iron chain bridges). The evening is at leisure to relax – so why not stroll in the great atmospheric Thimphu town?

Day 2: Sightseeing in Thimphu

Today enjoy a full day guided tour of the best of Thimphu city, the capital of Bhutan at an altitude of 2,300m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, visit the 13th century Changgangkha Temple and the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households and the Painting School to discover a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Later, drive up to the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley, the Mini Zoo for Takin (national animal of Bhutan) and continue to the Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha

Today begin the day by travelling a distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey to Punakha via Dochu La Pass at 3,050m. En route visit the Chimmi Lhakhang, which is located near Lobesa on a round hillock. The temple is revered as a sanctum of fertility, built by Lama Drukpa Kinley (the Divine Madman), who was fond of women and adopted unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism. Legend has it that the couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting the temple – Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children. Punakha, at an altitude of 1,300m, was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. Visit the Punakha Dzong (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong) built in 1637, which is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) Rivers. Now the dzong serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the central monastic body. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 4: Punakha – Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang

After breakfast, take a 45-minute walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in this world, which lies 7-km up the Punakha valley. It is majestically located on a ridge with stunning views of the country side. There is no temple in Bhutan built as elaborately as this, which took 9 years to build it. A 30-minute drive from the Punakha Dzong takes us to the base of the hill and then cross a suspension bridge and walk through rice fields before climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. In the afternoon, drive a distance of 78-km for about 3 hours to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang. Phobjikha valley is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrates to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Along the highway to Gangtey, you’ll photo stops as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. Tonight you will stay in Gangtey.

Day 5: Gangtey – Bumthang

After breakfast, we travel a distance of 120-km for about 5 hours to Trongsa via Pele La Pass at an altitude of 3,300m. This pass is an important dividing range that separates the western from central and eastern Bhutan. En route stop off at Chendebji Chorten located below the road. Continue the journey for a further distance of 68-km for about 2 hours to Bumthang at an altitude of 2,600m, the most beautiful valley and cultural heartland of Bhutan. En route we stop for a quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Centre at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 6: Sightseeing in Bumthang

After breakfast, we set out for a full day sightseeing to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 which is the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. If time permits, visit the famous Swiss Cheese Factory and Diary Farm in Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 7: Toktu Zampa – Ngang Lhakhang (Trek Starts)

Today we begin the trek from the start point of the Chamkharchu (River) known for abundance of trouts. The distance is 20-km for about 5-6 hours journey. The altitude of Ngang Lhakhang is 9,500ft. Dinner and overnight Ngang village.

Day 8: Ngang Lhakhang –Tahung/Ugyencholing

We cover a distance of 23-km for about 7-8 hours journey. The altitude of Ugyenchholing is 9,300ft. The trek starts with a gradual climb to Phephela Pass at an altitude of 3,353m which is the highest point of the trek route. Overnight in camp.

Day 9 (18th May 2014, Sunday):Tahung/Ugyencholing – Mesithang (Trek Ends)

The final day trek distance is 16-km, 4-5 hours and 230m descent. The trail follows the Tangchu, another trout-filled river. On the bank of the river is the Tang Rimpoche’s Lhakhang. The trek will pass the Mebar Tsho (Flaming Lake) and lead you to Tang Ugyen Choling. Ugyen Choling Palace houses one of the most interesting museums of Bhutan. From here you will soon reach the road head at Panshing, and the group will be picked-up by car and driven to Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 10: Bumthang – Wangdue Phodrang via Trongsa

This morning we drive to Trongsa at an altitude of 2,200m, the ancestral home of the present Royal Family of Bhutan. Sightseeing today includes a visit to the magnificent Trongsa Dzong where the first two Kings ruled from this dzong and also visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower). Continue the journey for a distance of 129-km for about 4-5 hours travelling to Wangdue Phodrang at an altitude of 1,240m.The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy & explore the delightful surroundings of Wangdue Phodrang. Spend the night in Wangdue Phodrang.

Day 11: Wangdue Phodrang – Paro

Today is a long journey heading back to Paro. The journey passes through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. Enjoy some leisure time in Paro town in the evening, one of the beautiful valleys in Bhutan and home to the famous Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest), National Museum and Drukair (Royal Bhutan Airlines). Afterwards, there may also be time to visit Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan and continue to the Paro Dzong (also known as the Rinpung Dzong), built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Spend the night in Paro.

Day 12: Hike to Paro Taktshang

This morning you’ll take a hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. If time permits, visit the ruined Drugyal Dzong (fortress), built in 1647 to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders or Kichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan (7th century). Your last overnight in Paro.

Day 13: End of Tour

Your tour ends in Bhutan with a departure transfer to the Paro Airport for your onward journey. Your guide from Bhutan Green Travel will see you off. Goodbye and Good Luck!

Services Included

  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
  • Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
  • Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
  • All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
  • Comfortable transport within Bhutan
  • All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
  • Mineral water
  • Visa fees

Services Not Included

  • International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
  • Travel insurance
  • Discretionary gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
  • Single room supplement
  • Other personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls, etc.

Prices and Dates

ON REQUEST

Pricing Policy

Prices are quoted and payable only in (US$ dollars). All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. The guide prices may vary at any time subject to government actions, changes in exchange rates, increase in transportation costs or fuel prices before we have accepted your booking, however, we guarantee our prices who have already signed up for your tour.

Departure Dates

March, April, May, September, October and November

[It’s always advisable to contact us 4 or 5 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, plan your trekking tour during the best months indicated above]

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