12 days Bumthang Owl Trek

bumthang-owl-trek

This three day trek around Bumthang offers both fantastic views of an unspoiled natural environment endowed with a diverse array of flora and fauna as well as an opportunity to visit ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries.

The trail takes you through forests of blue pine, birch, maple, spruce, juniper and bamboo. It is a beautiful, rugged landscape draped in countless varieties of rhododendrons. As you walk along the tranquil ridges and mountains of Bumthang you will be treated to unparalleled views of Mt. Gangkar Puensum, the highest unclimbed peak in the world. There is an abundance of avian wildlife in this area and pheasants such as the beautiful Himalayan Tragopan are a common sight around April-May.

One of the best times to undertake this trek is in late spring, between April and early June when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. When trekking through this area in autumn there is a possibility of encountering Himalayan Black bears so caution should be exercised. If it is possible to schedule your trek during one of the local festivals you will be able to enjoy additional insights into the traditions and culture of this region.

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 minutes 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: MANGCHUNGANG – DHUR VILLAGE (B/L/D)

The trek starts from Manchugang and take you to Dhur village at 2900m. The inhabitants of the village are the nomadic Kheps and Brokpas. This village has two distinct dialects, the Bumthang Kha and the Brokke, a language spoken by the nomads. Near the river is a traditional water-driven flour mill which used to be a source of livelihood for the people of Dhur village. The trek resumes with an uphill climb through blue pine forests towards the camp site at Schonath (3450m) which is covered in hemlock and juniper trees. The otherwise silent nights are punctuated with the hooting of owls, hence the name ‘Owl Trek’

Dinner and overnight camping at Dhur Village.

Day 8: DHUR VILLAGE – DRANGELA PASS (B/L/D)

The second day of this trek is mainly through lush forests of hemlock, fir, spruce and many species of rhododendrons which are in full bloom during the months of April and May. The trail also takes you through the forests of bamboo which is the main undergrowth in this area. After a few hours of walking you will arrive at the Drangela pass (3600m). Climbing up the Kitiphu ridge brings you to the campsite for the night at an altitude of about 3870m. From this point you can have a fresh view of snow-capped mountains and valleys underneath. This is also when you can view Mt. Gangkar Puensum (7541m), the highest unclimbed peak in the world.

Dinner and overnight camping at Drangela pass.

Day 9: DRANGELA PASS – THARPALING MONASTERY (B/L/D)

On the third day of the trek you descend towards the monasteries of Zambhala, Choedak and Tharpaling. Choedak monastery has 100 Avaloketesvaras in the form of Chukchizhey (eleven heads) where you may pray for yourself and all living beings. Towards the afternoon the trek will take you along the Kikila ridge and then follow the traditional trek route between Trongsa and Bumthang (the Royal Heritage Trail) through scenic hills and forests. Finally you will have a great view of Jakar Dzong and come to the end of Trek at Bumthang.

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 before visiting 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). 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