Bumthang cultural trek is a fairly easy three-day trek that takes you through Choekhor and Tang valley, passing across remote villages, ancient temples and even Ugencholing manor. Bumthang valley is often known as the ‘cultural heartland’ of Bhutan and home to some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. It is perfect for the average trekker who wants to enjoy breathtaking mountainous views, visit remote sacred sites and meet with locals. It is especially recommended for lovers of nature. This trek also features a cultural tour through the beautiful western valleys of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. The best time to embark on this trek is in spring or autumn.
|Day||Day to Day trip Schedule|
|01||Arrive Paro – Thimphu||Hotel|
|02||Thimphu – Punakha||Hotel|
|03||Punakha – Trongsa||Hotel|
|04||Trongsa – Bumthang||Hotel|
|05||Toktu Zampa – Ngang Lhakhang||campsite|
|06||Ngang Lhakhang – Tahung||campsite|
|07||Tahung – Mesithang||Campsite|
|08||Mesithang – Punakha||Hotel|
|09||Punakha – Paro||Hotel|
On arrival at Paro airport our representative will pick you up and drive to Thimphu. The drive to Thimphu is only 55 km long and easily negotiated in 1.5 hours. Check in to your hotel. After lunch visit: simtokha Dzong, originally called Simmo Dokha (Demon on the Stone)till the Zhabdrung cleansed and purified it and build the dzong whose complete name is san ngay sabdon phodrang(The Palace of Profound Tantric Teaching).This was the first of the many dzongs constructed by Zhabdrung in 1631. National Memorial Chorten, it was built in 1974 in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk by his mother. CHANGANGKHA LHAKHANG, is one of the oldest temple in Thimphu, dating back to the fifteen century. It was built by a descendent of Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo. The main statue here is that of Avaloketeswara and opposite the entrance is a large painting of Tsangpa Gyaray Yeshay Dorji. TRASHICHHOE DZONG, “The Fortress of Auspicious Religion”, Your last stop for the day. The Dzong can be visited only after 5 pm on week days, when the government office closed-or then during the day on Saturday/Sunday. The Trashichhoe Dzong, in its present incarnation, was consecrated as late as 1969 and this building is a visual delight. With its superb sense of proportion and space, it carries an aura of regal dignity. Its history dated back to the 13th century. After becoming the property of Zhabdrung in 1641 he rebuilt the dzong.
After your breakfast check out from the hotel for your next destination, DRUK WANGYEL CHORTEN, “Chortens of the victory of the Druk Gyalpo” the top (dochula pass) is unlike that of any other pass you will encounter here or for that matter anywhere in the world! There are a 109 chortens in three tiers of 45,36 and 27 circumscribing a single large chorten. The building of this chortens was initiated by Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk when her husband, the fourth king, travelled to the South-East of the country in December 2003 leading his army against insurgents from India. Beside these magnificient chortens in an amazing setting you will be able to sport some of the great Himalayan peaks. CHIMI LHAKHANG, it is a pleasant 30-40 minute walk from the road head, through cultivated fields and up a gentle slop. This lhakhang dates back to 1499 and was built by Lama Drukpa Kinley, when he visited this valley. Lama Drukpa Kinley is believed to have subdued the demoness residing at Dochu La with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom’ and a wooden effigy of this is preserved within. PUNAKHA DZONG, the dzong straddles the confluence of two rivers and resembles a giant battleship. Its full name is ‘Pungthang Dechen Phodrang’ or ‘Palace of Great Happiness.’ This extremely impressive fortress was built as far back as 1937. It was the second of the mighty dzong built by Zhabdrung and was the seat of government till the end of the reign of the second king.
After your early breakfast drive to Trongsa, en route to Trongsa is the Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Katmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes painted on the four cardinal point. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Zhida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. Legends says that the evil spirit manifested as a gigantic snake. Reaching Trongsa visit TRONGSA DZONG, built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and the second Kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All 5 Kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop “governor” prior to ascending the throne. The dzong is the massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built. Because of the dzong’s highly strategic position, on the only connecting route between east and west, the Trongsa Penlop was able to control effectively the whole of the Eastern and Central regions of the country. TA DZONG, this watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands on a promontory above the town. It was built by Chhoje Minjur Tempa, the first governor of Trongsa in 1652. It has four observation pints resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon. Climb up the path to visit Ta Dzong which now houses a shrine dedicated to the epic hero, King Gesar of Ling. A visit to this former watchtower provides visitors with an insight into the significant of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. As of date the Ta Dzong of Trongsa is the most fascinating museum of the country.
Reaching Bumthang, check in to the hotel and after lunch visit JAKAR DZONG, the Jakar Dzong or “Castle of the White Bird” dominates the Chamkhar valley and overlooks the town. Constructed in 1549, by the Tibetan lama Nagi Wangchuk . The dzong plays an important role as the fortress of defense of the whole eastern districts. It also became the seat of the first King of Bhutan. A special feature of the dzong is the approximately fifty meter high Utse or Central Tower, which is distinct from all the dzongs in Bhutan. The other unique feature of the dzong is that of a sheltered passage, with two parallel walls, interconnected by fortified towers, which gave the population of the fortress access to water in the case of a siege. The protected water supply is still intact to this day. TAMSHING LAKHANG, located across the river from Kurje Lhakhang, this temple was founded in 1501, a Terton(treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa, who was the re-incarnation of Guru Rinpochhe There are very old religious painting around the inner wall, which was restored at the end of the 19th century. This temple can be approached from Kurji Lhakhang with a short walk crossing through the suspension bridge. THANGBI GOMPA, this temple can be approached with 30 minute walk from Kurje Lhakhang, situated in the middle of a wide fertile plateau overlooking the river. Founded in 1470, by Shamar Rinpochhe of the Karma Kagupa religious school. The building compresses two sanctuary and a temple of terrifying deity. The sanctuary on the ground floor contains the statue of the past , present , and the future Buddha and three clay statues probably dating to the end of the 15th century. On the upper floor, the vestibule contains two remarkable paintings of Guru Rinpochhe’s heaven and the Buddha Amitabha’s heaven.
The trek begins today. The route follows the Chamkhar Chu, a river known for trout and stops 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). The valley was once populated by swans, and hence the name Ngang Yul.
You’ll begin the day by crossing verdant meadows and with a beautiful view of the valley below. Then you climb gradually to Phephe La (3,360m), 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 one is uphill behind the village of Tahung.
The trail follows the Tang Chu, another trout-filled river. On the bank of the river is the Tang Rimpoche’s Lhakhang. The trek will pass the Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) and lead you to Tang Ogyencholing. Ogyencholing Palace houses the only privately owned museum in Bhutan and has all manner of traditional artifacts on display. From here you will soon reach the road head.
After breakfast, depart for Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival enjoy a stroll through the Punakha township. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.
After an early breakfast drive back to paro where you will have an opportunity to hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
The Trip Cost Includes
- Bhutan royalties
- Visa fees
- All transfers and sightseeing with entrance fees.
- Accommodation in best tourist category hotels as listed or similar during tours.
- All meals including evening tea
- English Speaking Trekking Guide with cook and assistants accompany the group.
- Bottled water in the vehicle and other Comp. services.
- Fully-serviced camping trek
- Provided during the trek: tents (sleeping, dining Kitchen and toilet tents), trekking mattresses, small air pillow, Hot-water bag, Pressured Altitude Bag for altitude emergencies, Pack animals to carry luggage and additional riding pony for emergency.
- Sleeping bag is available for nominal cleaning charges.
- Also available to borrow for free: Walking Sticks (trekking poles), Umbrella/Pancho, Water Bottle
The Trip Cost Excludes
- Air tickets cost any sector you choose
- Single room supplementary of USD 40 per night
- All personal expenses such as bars, beverages, laundry, telephone and tips.
- Guide and Driver Tipping's
- Pottery pony hire charge of USD 30 per head for visiting Tigers nest for those who cannot walk up to tigers nest
- Surcharge of USD 40 per person per nights and USD 30 and above 3 pax .no surcharge will be charged
- Medical / Travel Insurance.