12 days Bumthang Cultural Trek

bumthang-cultural-trek

This is a fairly easy three-day trek which takes you through beautiful valleys and along clear, trout-filled rivers. Bumthang is often known as the ‘cultural heartland’ of Bhutan and there are plenty of ancient temples to visit during the hike.

In addition to the numerous lhakhangs there are also a number of small villages where you can stop and rest. The only segment of the trek that may prove challenging is a 500m ascent to Pephe La pass. The best time to embark on this trek is in spring or autumn.

Day 1: PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - PARO (L/D)

Upon arrival at Paro International airport, you will be met by your guide.

After lunch, we will visit Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress), 16 km away from Paro. Although it is now in ruins, this dzong has great historical importance for the people of Bhutan. It was a place where the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetan invasion. On a clear day one can view sacred Mt. Jomolhari (mountain of Goddess). We will also visit Ta Dzong (built in 1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Rinpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”), the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 2: TAKTSANG MONASTERY OR TIGER’S NEST (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we will drive you to the trail head to commence a climb through beautiful pine forest. We will stop for light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria before walking on to the famous, Taktsang monastery or Tiger’s Nest. The primary Lhakhang or main temple was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 m into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in the east.

In the afternoon, you will have an opportunity to explore the beautiful town of Paro.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 3: PARO – THIMPHU (B/L/D)

A drive along the winding road by the Paro Chu (Chu means water or river) downstream to the confluence with the Wang Chu, then turn upstream and travel along the Wang Chu to Thimphu, Bhutan’s scenically located capital city. Lunch will be at your hotel. In the afternoon, you will visit the Memorial Chorten, dedicated to the late Third King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

In the evening, visit the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body which includes the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (B/L/D)

Today, drive to Punakha via the Dochula Pass (3140m). On the way stop to see the spectacular array of chortens, to enjoy the superb view over the snow capped Himalayan mountains and also to the Gasa Dzong at a distance if the weather is clear.

Your journey then continues through varying scenes of greenery all the way to Punakha. Visit Punakha Dzong. The impressive Punakha Dzong lies between two great rivers. The names of the rivers are Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). This dzong serves as the winter residence for the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body and also the office of the district Administration.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

Day 5: PUNAKHA – TRONGSA (B/L/D)

After early breakfast, drive about 7km from Punakha town and after crossing the suspension bridge over the Mochu River, it takes approximately 30-45 minute to walk to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten (Stupa) which is perched on a strategic ridge overlooking the nearby villages under Kabisa geog. It was built under the sponsorship of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangden Wangchuck to remove evil forces and promote peace, stability and harmony throughout the world. As the first of its kind in the world to have been constructed, the details and the architectural designs were drawn from scriptures as visualized by Dudjom Lingpa.

Then drive to Trongsa via Wangduephodrang and later passing through Pelela pass at 3300m, the traditional boundary between east and west.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Trongsa.

Day 6: TRONGSA – BUMTHANG (B/L/D)

After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong, an ancestral residence of Bhutan’s royal family. Then visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower built to guard the Trongsa Dzong. After lunch, drive to Bumthang.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.

Day 7: TOKTU ZAMPA – NGANG LHAKHANG (Distance: 12km, 4-5hrs, 170m ascent, camp altitude 2800m) (B/L/D)

The route follows the Chamkhar Chhu, a river known for trout, and we 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) at the centre of which lies the Ngang Lhakhang (Swan Temple). The valley was once populated by swans and hence the name Ngang Yul.

Dinner and overnight camping at Ngang Lhakhang.

Day 8: NGANG LHAKHANG – TAHUNG (Distance: 16km, 6hrs, 750m ascent, 670m descent, camp altitude 2720m) (B/L/D)

You will begin the day by crossing verdant meadows with a beautiful view of the valley below. Then you climb gradually to Phephe La (3360m), 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 your surroundings. The path leads you downhill into a broad valley. Amongst several possible camping sites the most likely is uphill behind the village of Tahung.

Dinner and overnight camping at Tahung.

Day 9: TAHUNG – MESITHANG (Distance: 16km, 4-5hrs, 230m descent) (B/L/D)

The trail follows the Tang Chhu, another trout-filled river. On the banks of the river is the Tang Rinpoche’s Lhakhang. The trek will pass the Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) and lead you to Tang Ogyenchholing. Ogyechholing Palace houses the only privately owned museum in Bhutan and it has all manner of traditional artifacts on display. From here you will soon reach the road head.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.

Day 10: BUMTHANG – THIMPHU (B/L/D)

After early breakfast, drive to Thimphu.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 11: THIMPHU – SIGHTSEEING – PARO (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we will drive to Dodeyna to climb through a beautiful forest track to the Tango Monastery which overlooks a forested valley and other Buddhist retreats high in the mountains. Then we will visit the mini zoo at Motithang to see the Takin, Bhutan’s national animal. If you wish we can then visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs and other items in the shops of Thimphu. In the evening, we will drive through to Paro.

Farewell dinner with traditional dance and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 12: PARO – PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (B)

In the morning drive to Paro International Airport where your guide will accompany you to bid you farewell.

Cost Information

Peak-Season (Mar, Apr May, Sep, Oct and Nov)
Number of days: 12 days (3 days trekking & 9 days cultural sightseeing)
Price:
US$ 4,065 single per person
US$ 3,600 twin/double per person
US$ 3,250 triple per person

Trekking Dates

Any date on a private basis