Trip Highlights: Trekking/cultural tours
Trip duration: 13 Days/12 Nights
On trek duration: 3 nights
Highest Camp: 2,800m
Standard: Easy to medium
Best Seasons: March to May & September to November
Start: ToktuZampa, Bumthang
Finish: Mesithang, Bumthang
Day 1 Arrival Paro
After you arrive at the Paro International airport, your local tour executive will welcome you and take you to your hotel. After refreshment, you will be taken for a tour to ParoRinpungDzong, DrukgyelDzong and KyichuLhakhang. The rest of the day will be spent touring Paro town until dinner.
Day 2 Tiger Nest Hike
You will be taken for a hike to ParoTaktshang or Tiger’s Nest to acclimatize you to the high mountain altitude. Taktshang, one of the most sacred sites of Bhutan, is perched at a precarious 1,000m cliff. The gentle hike of about three hours offers a panoramic view of the Paro Valley.
Day 3 Paro/Thimphu
The journey between Paro and Thimphu takes a little more than an hour. It is a smooth drive along the Parochhu and later the Thimphuchhu after crossing Chuzom. Along the road, you will be able to see village settlements, farmlands, temples and chortens. Just enjoy the ride.
Day 4 Thimphu sightseeing
In the capital, you will taken for a morning visit to the folk heritage museum, painting school, and national library at Kawajangsa at the outskirts of Thimphu and the memorial chhorten in the heart of the city. You will visit the historic Changangkha monastery, Takin zoo at Motithang, and Sangaygang view point after lunch. You will also be taken to Kuenselphodrang or more popularly known as Buddha point where one of the tallest statues of Lord Buddha is being constructed. Towards evening, you will visit the Tashichhodzong, the seat of the Monarchy and the central monastic body.
Day 5 Thimphu/ Bumthang
The journey to Bumthang, the cultural and historical heartland of Bhutan, is a mesmerizing one that takes you through a serpentine road, mixed forest, changing altitudes, diverse sights and sounds. You will come across traditional agrarian villages along the way. You will also cross three passes on the way –Dochula, Pelela and Yotongla.
Day 6 Bumthang sightseeing
Bumthang Valley offers endless opportunities to experience the cultural and religious diversity of Bhutan. In the morning, you will visit two of the most religious sites in the country,KujeLhakhang and JampaLhakhang. After lunch you will visit Jakardzong, overlooking the valley and later visit the town.
Day 7 Bumthang-Nganglhakhang
Time: four to five hours
Camp altitude: 2,800m
The trekking route goes along the ChamkharChhu. It offers a pleasant riverside experience to the trekkers. The river is known for trout. When you reach ThangbiLhakhang, lunch will be served. After this, the trek enters NgangYul or the Land of the Swans. You will see the NgangLhakhang or the Swan Temple. Legend has it that the valley was filled with swans. You will halt for the night in the land of the swans.
Day 8 Nganglhakhang/Ugyenchholing
Time: six hours
Camp altitude: 2,720m
You will resume the trek early in the morning. The trail goes through meadows from where you can view the valley below. Gradually, the climb gets steeper till you reach Phephe La. At 3,360m, this is the highest point on the route. After that, it is downhill walk. The trail runs through a beautiful forest, bringing you in close contact with nature. The campsite is near the Tahung village.
Day 9 Ugyenchholing/ Bumthang
Time: four to five hours
Descent: 230m descent
The trekking route follows the Tang Chu, also known for trouts. You will also see the Tang Rinpoche’s lhakang by the riverbank. You will come across the legendary MebarTsho, or the burning lake. The trail eventually leads to Tang UgyenCholing. Here you will have the opportunity to visit UgyenCholing Palace that now houses a museum. From there, the trail leads to the road point.
Day 10 Bumthang/Wangdue
After early breakfast, we hit the road to Wangduephodrang. After crossing Pelela, you will be taken to the beautiful valley of Phobjikha where lunch will be served. Here you will be taken for a tour of the Gangtey monastery. The picturesque landscape combined with rich alpine flora offers good photo opportunity. You will spend the night in Wangduephodrang.
Day 11 Wangdue/Thimphu
In the morning, you will visit the historical WangduephodrangDzong perched on a hill overlooking the majestic Punatshangchhuriver. After that, you will hike to Matalungchu Village, a traditional Bhutanese village. The trail goes through scenic terraced paddy fields and typical farm houses, offering an experience to understand the agrarian lifestyles of the Bhutanese farmers. After lunch, you will be driven to the capital for the night halt.
Day 12 ThimphuParo
You will spend the morning in the Thimphu shopping and visiting souvenir shops. When you are done, you will be taken to Paro.
Day 13 Exit:
The local tour executive will see you see off at the Paro airport.