Bumthang Cultural Trek

Bhutan-Festival

Trip Length: 14 days
Activity Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Bumthang is often known as the ‘cultural heartland’ of Bhutan with plenty of ancient temples. This trek is a wonderful combination of hiking and sight-seeing for a well-rounded experience in Bhutan.

Trip Highlights

• Bumthang Holy Valley
• Nganglhakhang
• Trongsa Dzong
• Thangbi Lhakhang
• Phephela Pass
• Paro Dzongs & Museum

Trip Details

Season

March – June & September – November

Weather

Temperatures will vary greatly based on our altitude and current weather. Ranges from high 70’s, low 30’s. Days are normally warm. Nights can at times be very cold and in winter temperatures can go below freezing point. There is monsoon showers in summer, (heaviest in July and August) and sometimes even in spring and autumn.

14-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrival by Drukair to Paro Airport
During the flight in to Paro Airport, enjoy the view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan Mountains including the sacred Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drakey. Upon arrival at Paro Airport, you will be greeted by a representative of Bhutan Himalayan Experience and transported to your comfortable hotel.

Day 2 – Sightseeing in Paro
Drive the winding road northwest up the Pa Chu to Drugyel Dzong, the ruined Fort (destroyed by fire in 1950.) which once defended this valley from the Tibetan invasion. From here one can have the view of sacred Mt. Chomolhari on clear days. On the way back make a visit to a typical Bhutanese farmhouse. After lunch drive to Ta Dzong former Watch Tower which now houses the National Museum and then walk down passing close by the Paro Dzong, crossing the typical Bhutanese wooden roofed bridge to Paro town. After a short stroll in town drive back to hotel for the night halt.

Day 3 – Paro to Thimphu
This morning follow the winding road beside the Paro Chu (Chu meaning river or water) down stream to its confluence with the Wang-chu then up the valley to Thimphu capital. After lunch, we’ll drive to Thimphu town and stroll around town. Overnight in hotel.

Day 4 – Sightseeing in Thimphu
Morning drive for the sightseeing of the Thimphu valley with the Nunnery, National Library, Painting School and Handicraft Emporium and then drive back for lunch. After lunch visit Memorial Chorten (Stupa) of His Late Majesty the 3rd King of Bhutan. Visit Simthokha Dzong, the first fort built by Shabdrung who unified the kingdom in the 17th century, now also houses the school for study of National Language – Dzongkha. Overnight in hotel.

Day 5 – Thimphu to Trongsa
The journey to central Bhutan begins today. The drive to Trongsa takes approximately 7 to 8 hours. Pack lunch will be provided at the hotel. Stop for lunch at Chendebjee Chorten. Overnight at lodge/camp in Trongsa.

Day 6 – Trongsa to Bumthang
After breakfast, sightseeing of the Trongsa Dzong from outside and also visits the Ta-Dzong and stroll in Trongsa town. After lunch drive to Jakar (Bumthang) which is about 3 hours drive from Trongsa. Tales of the great teacher Guru Padmasambhava dominates this holy valley. From the viewpoint you can see Jakar Dzong “Castle of the White bird”. Overnight in hotel/lodge.

Day 7 – Bumthang
Walk in the town and do shopping for those interested or drive round the valley. Make a visit to the dairy farm, Swiss cheese factory and apple juice factory. Overnight in hotel/lodge.

Day 8 – Bumthang to Nganglhakhang
The trek route takes you along the Chamkhar-chu, a river known for its richness in trout. Lunch stop at Thangbi Lhakhang – from where you enter the “Swan Land” (Ngang Yul) with the “Swam temple” (Nganglhakhang). This part of the valley was at first inhabited only by Swan who gave their name (Ngang) to this place. The Lama Namkha Samdrup having had a vision as to how to build a Gompa shot an arrow and at the spot where the arrow landed, the Ngang Lhakhang was built. Overnight in camp, alt. 9,500ft, distance 14 km, about 4 to 5 hours walk.

Day 9 – Nganglhakhang to SA-serbo
The day starts with a gradual climb to Phephela pass, alt. 3,625 m/11,965ft. The highest point on this trek route. Then you follow the trail through the pass, which takes you through one of the most beautiful forested areas of this region. Allowing for many stops to enjoy the natural beauty you reach the campsite which is on the pastureland. Alt. 2,965 m/9,790ft. Distance 19 km.

Day 10 – SA-serbo to Ugyencholing
After late breakfast start the trek through the mini bamboo pasture with the view of Ta-hung village and Ugyen-chholing Palace on the way, built by the great saint “Longchen Rabjampa” in the 14th century AD. And restored by Trongsa Penlop Tshokye Dorji in the 19th century, this place now shelters the descendants of the saint. Camp inDent, alt. 2,820 m/9,300ft, distance – 12 km and about 4 to 5 hours walk.

Day 11 – Ugyencholing to Jakar
The trail you follow takes you along the Tang-chu another river filled with trout. Along the banks of this river Tang Rimpochen Lhakhang whose first foundation is ascribed to Guru Rimpoche and its second foundation to the “treasure finder” Terton Pemalingpa. On the way to Jakar you visit Member Tsho “Burning Lake”. At Pangshing transport will be waiting for the onward journey to Jakar, Alt. 9,000ft. (Approx.) distance 10 km and 2 to 3 hours walk.

Day 12 – Jakar to Wangdi
Drive to Wangdi, on the way you may fish if you wish. Lunch at Trongsa Tourist Lodge. After lunch continue the journey to Wangdi. Overnight in Wangdi Guest House/camp.

Day 13 – Wangdi to Paro
Drive to Paro, approximately 5 to 6 hours with lunch stop in Thimphu. After lunch continue to Paro. Overnight in hotel.

Day 14 – Departure
Drive to Paro Airport for departure by Drukair.