A Cultural Journey With Nature Trek in Central Bhutan+Mountain Flight

(2 customer reviews)
Tour is rated as #5 in destination Bhutan
Duration 📅

14 Days

Flights ✈️

International flights are NOT included

Airport Transfer 🧳

Drop-Off, Pickup

Accommodation 🛏️

3 Star Hotel, Camping

Tour Size 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏻

Small Group

Language 🌐

English

Visa 🛂

Visa is Included

Difficulty 🚥

Moderate

Transport 🚍

Airconditioned Vehicle, Domestic Flight

Inclusions

Bhutan Visa Fee is included. Visa will be arranged for you.
One-way domestic flight from Paro to Bumthang INCLUDED
Entrance fees to parks, museums, and other national monuments
Bottled mineral water in the car
Light snacks between meals wherever necessary
Tour Guide
13xBreakfast
13xLunch
13xDinner

From: $4,670.00

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💎 Why we love it ?

This two-week cultural journey through the six districts of Bhutan – Paro, Bumthang, Trongsa, Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha, and Thimphu offers a deep understanding of Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions that have remained untouched for centuries. The trip includes 5 days of easy and enjoyable trekking around scenic extreme remote villages in the central Bhutan district of Trongsa. Hikers on this trek will have plenty of opportunities to experience traditional rural life as they will spend nights in the villages of Nabji, Korphu, and Nyimshong. Nabji is an idyllic village surrounded by verdant paddy fields and the villagers of Korphu are famed for their hospitality. Visitors will often be greeted by a Chipdrel procession and Marching ceremony, practices typically reserved for royalty. Nyimshong is a good place to observe some of the local cultures as women often put together cultural shows full of singing and dancing for visitors.

🏁 Tour Itinerary: A Cultural Journey With Nature Trek in Central Bhutan+Mountain Flight

Day 1: Arrive at Paro International Airport & Sightseeing in Paro (2200m)

Our guide will receive you at Paro, the only International Airport in Bhutan. We will visit an auspicious 7th-century monastery Kyichu Lhakhang and the National Museum of Bhutan. Later you will explore the Paro town and witness an archery match if the game is in progress.

Note: The coverage of sightseeing on the first day depends on your flight arrival time.

Visit 7th-century Buddhist monastery – Kyichu Lhakhang

Paro Kyichu Lhakhang has located just a few minute’s drive from the main town of Paro and is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is believed to have been built in 659 A.D. by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in his effort to built 108 such temples across the Himalayan region to subdue the spirit of a demoness who was causing obstruction to the spread of Buddhism. Of the few such temples built in Bhutan, Kyichu and Jampa Lhakhang are the two prominent temples. Jampa Lhakhang is in Bumthang, central Bhutan which you will visit on Day 3.

Visit National Museum of Bhutan – Ta Dzong

The National Museum of Bhutan is located in Paro just above the Rinpung Dzong (administrative headquarter of the Paro district) was established in 1968. It is housed in an ancient watchtower called Paro Ta Dzong (Ta Dzong means “watchtower fortress”) built in 1649. It displays hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artifacts and artworks including traditional costumes, armor, weaponry, and handcrafted implements for daily life. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snapshot of the rich cultural traditions of the country.
Leisure time to explore Paro town. Paro Altitude 2,200m/7,220ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort.

 

Day 2: Paro / Transfer to Bumthang in Central Bhutan by Domestic Flight (2600m)

Today, you will take a mountain flight to Bumthang in central Bhutan. This domestic flight service has helped the visitors cut short traveling time from a 12-hour strenuous drive to just under 30 minutes and the flight presents stunning aerial views of the pristine valleys and mountainous topography of Bhutan.

Swiss Cheese & Wine Factor and Tamzhing Lhakhang

On arrival in Bumthang, check into the hotel and later visit the Swiss Cheese and Wine factory which was established by Mr. Fritz Maurer, a Swiss volunteer who came to Bhutan in the early 1960s and made Bumthang his home. After that visit the sacred Tamzhing temple built-in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa who is considered the patron saint of Bhutan. Among the many treasures and religious artifacts handcrafted by the Pema Lingpa himself, there is an armory that stood the test of time for five centuries bearing no rust or any sign of deterioration. It is believed that you will be cleansed of all your past sins and defilement if you circumambulate the inner sanctum of the temple 3 rounds carrying that sacred armory. This is one activity enjoyed by all visitors with fun and a sense of veneration.
Leisure time in Chamkhar, the main town of Bumthang district. Bumthang Altitude 2700m/8,530ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Kaila Guest House or Mountain Lodge.

✈️ One-way domestic flight from Paro to Bumthang is included.

 

Day 3: Drive to Tang Valley & Sightseeing in Bumthang (2600m)

Tang Valley & Burning Lake (Mebar Tso)

After breakfast, drive for about 45min to the sacred lake called Mebartso from where a sacred statue and other religious treasures were discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa. Visit the nearby Tang village and ramble through the rural settlements to understand the daily lives of the farmers of Bumthang. Home-cooked local cuisine unique to Bumthang will be organized at one of the village farmhouses for lunch. After lunch, spend some time with the local family.

If interested, visit Ogyen Choling Museum

Although Ogyen Choling was a palace owned by the ancestors of the Royal family of Bhutan, it was regarded as being a monastery or hermitage because of its past connections with great Buddhist masters like Longhcen Rabjam (1308-63) and Terton Dorji Lingpa (1346-1405). It was turned into a museum in 2001 to share its heritage and also to preserve and maintain its religious and cultural significance.
The curator, Kunzang Choden, is the owner of the museum and the direct descendant of the original family. If Kunzang Choden happens to be at home, she herself will guide you through the museum giving you profound insights not only about the lifestyles and living conditions of households of the religious and nobility during the 19th and 20th centuries but also on how Bhutan has changed over the years.
Drive back to Bumthang.

Visit 7th-century Jampa Lhakhang

One of the oldest Lhakhang in the Kingdom, Jampa Lhakhang was founded by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in the 7th century AD. The King was destined to build 108 Lhakhangs to subdue the spirit of the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. Jampa Lhakhang is one of the two which were built in Bhutan. The other one is Kichu Lhakhang in Paro, both believed to have been built on the same day.

Kurjey Lhakhang

Visit Kurjey Lhakhang which is built on the sacred site blessed by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. Guru Padmasambhava brought Buddhism to Bhutan and is revered as the second Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism. If you wish, visit one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the 7th century Jambay Lhakhang believed to have been built overnight by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.
Driving Time: 2-hours round trip
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Kaila Guest House or Mountain Lodge.

 

Day 4: Bumthang / Transfer to Trongsa in Central Bhutan (2200m)

Following hearty breakfast at the hotel, drive to the district of Tongsa. En route, stop briefly at Chumey village to see Yathra Weaving Center (Yathra is the colorful textiles hand-woven out of sheep and yak hair) and get insights into the traditional attires and the weaving culture of the people of Bumthang. From there continue to drive gaining altitude gradually and reach a serene mountain pass, Yotong La at 3,425m/11,235ft, and then descend down to Trongsa.

Trongsa Dzong & Royal Heritage Museum

After lunch in Trongsa, visit Trongsa holds a significant place in the history of Bhutan as it was from here that the ancestors of the Royal family of Bhutan emerged as the most powerful rulers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The first and second hereditary kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat of power. There is a tradition that the crown prince must be invested as Trongsa Penlop (Governor of Trongsa) here at Trongsa Dzong before he ascends the golden throne of the King.
From there walk up to the promontory on which the Royal Heritage Museum housed in the 17th-century watchtower is located. The Royal Heritage Museum provides an insight into the significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history and showcases the religious and artistic traditions of Bhutan.
Leisure time to explore Trongsa town.
Driving Time: 2 hours
Trongsa Altitude 2,000m/7,217ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight in Tashi Ninjay Guest House.

 

Day 5: Trek Begins: Tongtongphey / Jangbi Village (1500m)

After an early breakfast at the hotel, we drive for about 2.5 hours along the Trongsa-Zhemgang highway to the starting point of the trek, Tongtongphey. En route, stop briefly and visit Kuenga Rabten palace, an important heritage in Bhutanese history. It was built in 1929 as the winter palace of the second king. You will learn about the early days of Bhutan’s monarchy.
We then drive to the starting point of the trek and hike down to the Mangdi river where you cross a suspension bridge. On this stretch of the journey the otherwise rare Golden Langurs, an endangered species of primate are abundant and almost impossible to miss. You will come in contact with the Monpas who are believed to be the first inhabitants of Bhutan.
A glimpse into their lifestyle coupled with mythical legends about their origins further validates this claim. The campsite in Jangbi stands on the valley sill, which offers a resplendent view of the Mangdi valley.
Distance 7-10km
Hiking Time 3-4 hours
Campsite Altitude 1,350m/4,430ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight outdoor camping.

 

Day 6: Jangbi Village / Kudra Village (1500m)

The morning allows you to further interact with the Monpas. Before you proceed, you can also pay a visit to the orchid garden that houses around 75 different varieties of orchids. The trail to Kudra is especially interesting as it passes stone imprints of Guru Rinpoche’s footprints, dagger, and phallus. Lunch is served just before you arrive at Phrumzur, one of the Monpa villages. After a quick visit to the village Lhakhang in Phrumzur and you then proceed to the campsite in Kudra. En route, you’ll encounter another small Monpa village called Lekpogang, after which, the campsite in Kudra is just an hour’s walk. The campsite offers a bird’s-eye view of Nyimshong village and also of Zhemgang town.
Distance 13-14km
Hiking Time 6 hours
Campsite Altitude 1,500m/4,921ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight outdoor camping.

 

Day 7: Kudra Village / Nabji Village (1370m)

This part of the trek is a collage of streams, waterfalls, and thick forests that will give you an invigorating feeling of being out in the wild. Animals such as Himalayan Squirrels, Rhesus Macaques, and small snakes are often spotted along the trail. Himalayan black bears, Red pandas, tigers, and Clouded leopards are also present in this region. Upon arrival at the holy tree in Nabji, the villagers will give you a warm reception. Nabji is a beautiful village with paddy fields circling the clustered houses. You can also hike to the community school and interact with students.
Distance 11-14km
Hiking Time 5-6 hours
Campsite Altitude 1,370m/4,495ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight outdoor camping.

 

Day 8: Nabji Village / Korphu Village (1550m)

En route to Korphu, Nabji temple is located amidst verdant paddy fields. Inside, there is a stone pillar on which Guru Rinpoche imprinted the thumbs of two warring kings as a symbol of resolution after bringing about peace. Korphu is situated on a mountaintop at an altitude of 1,500m. The most striking thing about Korphu is that the people exemplify hospitality almost treating you like royalty.
You have the option of being welcomed with a traditional ‘Chipdrel’ procession and a ‘Marchang’ ceremony. These ceremonies are typically reserved for royalty but here the villagers will greet you by singing these traditional songs of praise and wellbeing. They also perform the traditional ‘Tashi Labey’ dance to bid you farewell. The villagers can explain and demonstrate and even allow you to participate in the quintessential Bhutanese games of ‘Khuru’, ‘Dego’, ‘Sok-sum’, and ‘Gee-dum’.
You can also visit the village temple that houses sacred relics of Pema Lingpa, the most famous Terton or ‘Treasure revealer’ in Bhutan. Lunch can be provided in the village campsite which also provides a spectacular bird’s-eye view of Nabji and other surrounding areas.
Distance 11-12km
Hiking Time 4-6 hours
Campsite Altitude 1,550m/5,085ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight outdoor camping.

 

Day 9: Korphu Village / Nimshing Village (1300m)

The hike from Korphu to Nyimshong is pleasant and arguably the best location for bird watching as it is home to over 395 avian species. The elusive Rufous Necked Hornbill has its nesting holes adjacent to the trail. The walk is interspaced with waterfalls and, streams, and cantilever bridges. The evening brings you to Nyimshong village. The campsite is equipped with an amphitheater. The women of Nyimshong have a penchant for singing and dancing and often put on cultural shows for visitors.
Distance 11-12km
Hiking Time 4-5 hours
Campsite Altitude 1,300m/4,265ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight outdoor camping.

 

Day 10: Trek Ends: Nimshong Village / Transfer to Phobjikha Valley (3000m)

You begin by descending towards the Mangdi River. You are likely to see Herons, River-lapwings, and even Golden Langurs in this region. A steep hour-long climb will bring you to the road from where your driver will be waiting. From there we drive to Phobjikha valley via Trongsa. Lunch will be served at Trongsa town.
Hiking Distance 5-6km
Hiking Time 4-5 hours
After lunch at Trongsa, drive to Phobjikha valley. Phobjikha is a vast U-shaped glacial valley at an elevation of about 3,000 meters and it is a winter home for endangered Black Necked Crane from November and migrates back to the Tibetan plateau by the beginning of March.
On arrival in Phobjikha, you will visit the famous landmark in this valley, Gangtey Monastery popularly knows as Gangtey Gonpa (gonpa literally means “high remote place” and is usually a place of religious significance) founded in 1613. The name Gangtey is derived from the fact that the Goenpa is built on a peak (Tey) of a hillock (Gang). The present abbot of this monastery is the ninth Gangtey Trulku His Holiness Kunzang Rigzin Pema Namgyal. The monastery also has a monastic college where hundreds of monks study Buddhist philosophy for 9 years.
In the evening before dinner, you might want to take a therapeutic and revitalizing hot stone bath for an additional fee of about $15 per person.
Driving Time 5 hours
Phobjikha Altitude 3,000m/9,842ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Yueloki Guest House or Dewachen Hotel & Spa.

 

Day 11: Phobjikha Valley / Transfer to Punakha Valley (1200m)

Today, you will do Gangtey Nature Hike and after lunch, transfer to Punakha valley for an overnight stay. After breakfast, begin Gangtey Nature Trail Hike. The trail is about 5km long and takes approximately 2.5 hours including ample time to take photographs and observe pristine natural surroundings. The nature trail begins from Gangtey Monastery and leads through wonderful meadows, forests, beautiful traditional village houses, farmlands, crystalline streams. This short nature trail gives you a great feeling of the valley and an understanding of the community living there.

Chimi Lhakhang

In Punakha, visit Chime Lhakhang Temple located about a 30-minute walk from the nearest road through the beautiful terraced rice fields and farmhouses. Chime Lhakhang was built in 1499 by Lama Ngawang Chogyal on a site blessed by his older brother, Lama Drukpa Kuenley who was known as ‘Divine Madman’ for his obscene behavior and unorthodox ways of propagating Buddhism. He would often express his desire for sex and use phallus as a medium to subdue malevolent spirits. Today, one of the relics of Chime Lhakhang is a phallus. The blessing of the phallus is considered sacred particularly to women who are unable to conceive a child as it brings fertility to women, giving them the ability to bear offspring. Because of this belief, people like to call Chimi Lhakhang as “Temple of Fertility”. Married couples who are unable to conceive a child often come to this temple seeking blessings from the Divine Madman. As much as it sounds ‘too good to be true, there are many stories of happy couples who are blessed with a child after visiting the temple.
Driving Time 2.5-hours
Punakha Altitude 1,200m/3,937ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Hotel Lobesa or Meri Puensum Resort.

 

Day 12: Punakha Valley / Transfer to Capital City Thimphu (2334m)

After breakfast, you will visit the historic Punakha Dzong and transfer to the capital city Thimphu.

Punakha Dzong

The historic Punakha Dzong is locally known as the “Palace of Great Bliss” was built in 1637 to guard the region against Tibetan forces. This beautiful and most impressive Dzong in Bhutan is a fine example of traditional Bhutanese architecture, painting, and craftsmanship. The Dzong served as the administrative center and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955. It now serves as the office of the District Administrator (Dzongdag) and the winter residence of the Chief Abbot of Bhutan, Je Khenpo.
Transfer to Thimphu via Dochula Pass.
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and is home to approximately 115,000 residents. This bustling little city is the main center of commerce, religion, and government in the country.

Dochula Pass

En route to Thimphu, stop at Dochula, a sacred mountain pass at an altitude of 3,150 meters above sea level from where you can see, on a clear day, some of the highest peaks of Bhutan. Before the construction of these beautiful 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens (stupas) in 2004, this mountain pass remained only as a sacred place blessed by a famous Buddhist saint, Lam Drukpa Kuenley in the late 15th century. Lunch will be served at Dochula Cafe.

Buddha Dordhenma Statue

On arrival in Thimphu, visit the magnificent 169 feet tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha located on a hilltop overlooking the Thimphu valley. It was built to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The giant Buddha statue houses more than 100,000 8-inch tall Buddha statues of the same type. The construction began in 2006 and was completed in 2015 after almost 10 years.
Leisure time in Thimphu town.
Driving Time 2.5-hours
Thimphu Altitude 2,334m/7,657ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Kuenphen Rabten Resort or Hotel Amodhara.

 

Day 13: Thimphu / Paro / Hike to The Famed Paro Taktsang Monastery (2195m)

Today after early breakfast, drive to Paro and hike to the famed Taktsang Monastery. In the evening visit a farmhouse for home-cooked local cuisine.

Hike to Taktsang Monastery

Taktsang monastery is located on the face of a sheer 800-meter rock cliff in Paro. It normally takes about 2 hours to reach the monastery from the road head. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Bhutan. Taktsang which literally translates to ‘Tiger’s Nest’, is regarded as one of the most important monasteries in Bhutan. Its history is associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava (known as Guru Rinpoche), the Indian saint who came to Bhutan and introduced Tantric Buddhism in the mid-eighth century AD. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew to Taktsang from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan, riding on a tigress. Taktsang Monastery was originally built in 1692 on the sacred cave where Guru Padmasambhava meditated.
The trail takes you through the ancient path shaded by pine trees. After an hour of steep uphill hiking, you will reach a nice cafeteria from where you can see a spectacular view of the Taktsang monastery perched on the face of a steep rock cliff. It takes a further 1 hour to reach the monastery.
After lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria, we retrace our steps back to the base where our driver will be waiting. From there we drive to Paro town and spend some leisure time.
Towards the late afternoon, visit one of the beautiful farmhouses and experience the traditional Bhutanese way of life. If you are interested, you can soak in a traditional hot stone bath for an additional fee of about US$15 per person. Specially selected stones believed to contain minerals are heated in a wood-fired fireplace and dropped into a chamber of wooden tub releasing minerals. If desired, you can lighten up with a warm cup of locally brewed liquor known as “Ara”. A delicious dinner of authentic home-cooked local cuisine will be served.
Driving Time 1.5-hours
Paro Altitude 2,195m/7,200ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort.

 

Day 14: Transfer to Paro International Airport for Departure

After breakfast, transfer to Paro International Airport for your onward journey. Your guide will assist you to complete all exit formalities before you check in.

2 reviews for A Cultural Journey With Nature Trek in Central Bhutan+Mountain Flight

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  1. Vicky

    I really enjoyed my time at Bhutan Jangsem Dema is awesome she really looked after me and I felt very welcoming and comfortable. Highly recommend this trip to everyone!

    Helpful(0) Unhelpful(0)You have already voted this
  2. Jien

    This was one of the best experiences of my life. Simply unforgettable. The guide and the driver were very friendly, logistics were seamless and corresponding with Mr. Phuntsho to organize was extremely prompt and organized. I really had a great time in Bhutan and would love to visit again. Thank you for making my vacation wonderful.

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    Cancellation Policy

    • Free cancellation for up to 30 days prior to departure date
    • 20% will be charged if cancelled 16-29 days prior to departure date
    • 30% will be charged if cancelled 08-15 days prior to departure date
    • 50% will be charged if cancelled 03-07 days prior to departure date
    • No refund will be available if No Show or cancelled 0-02 days prior to departure date

    Flights

    The flight tends to get fully booked months ahead especially during the peak season. We highly recommend you book flights a few months ahead of your departure date. We can help with the arrangement of flights to and from Bhutan. There are only two airlines operating in and out of Bhutan:

    • Drukair, the national flag carrier of Bhutan (www.drukair.com.bt) operates from and to these cities/International Airports: Bangkok, Bagdogra, Bodhgaya, Dhaka, Delhi, Guwahati, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Singapore.
    • Bhutan Airlines, a private airline introduced in 2011 (www.bhutanairlines.bt) operates from and to these cities/International Airport: Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu

    Other Important Information

    • Airport pick-up and drop-off time will be coordinated depending on your flight timings
    • For the purpose of processing a visa, you must send us a clear passport copy of all the participants after you book the tour. A whole biodata page including the machine-readable zone must be seen clearly. It can be either scanned or just a mobile photo shot as long as it is clear and legible. Passports should have a validity of at least SIX MONTHS from the day you depart from Bhutan.
    • You’ll receive a copy of your approved e-Visa Clearance letter in PDF format within 3-4 business days from the day the visa application is submitted. You MUST print a copy of this letter and present it at the check-in counter of the airline flying into Bhutan. Without the proof of an e-Visa Clearance letter, you may be denied boarding the flight to Bhutan. The actual visa will be stamped on your passport on arrival at the Paro International Airport.
    • Child(ren) below 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult
    • All participants between the age of 13 – 17 years old must send us a valid copy of the Student Photo ID Card/document after booking the tour. Discounts are already applied in the price. Those who do not have a valid student photo ID Card will have to pay the price difference.
    • All our tour guides speak very fluent English. Guides speaking other major languages (Chinese, Japanese, French & German) can be arranged at an additional fee of $120 per day.
    • You must let us know prior to your arrival if you have any dietary restrictions/preference.

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    A Cultural Journey With Nature Trek in Central Bhutan+Mountain Flight
    A Cultural Journey With Nature Trek in Central Bhutan+Mountain Flight

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