BUMTANG CULTURAL TREK
ITINERARY OVERVIEW

The Bumthang Cultural Trek explores the cultural highlights of the Bumthang valley, the religious heartland of Bhutan, and home to some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries.

This gentle three-day trek passes through several villages on its route through Bumthang’s countryside of meadows, blue pine forests and mountains of scrub bamboo.

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.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival at Paro

Arrival and check in at the hotel. Sight-seeing in the afternoon include the visit to the Taa Dzong in conjunction with the National Museum visit; the 17th C Paro Dzong; and the 7th C Kichu lhakhang, the oldest temple in Bhutan.

Overnight at Paro.

Day 2: Drive to Thimphu

A leisurely 1 and ½ hour drive to Thimphu, the Capital of Bhutan. Cultural sites of interest in Thimphu include the Memorial Stupa, a very popular circumambulation hub attributed to world peace and prosperity; the Buddha Dordenma statue, the largest statue of the 51.5 meters seated Buddha in the world; Changangkha Lhakhang, the 12th C seat of Drukpa Kagyu, the state official religion of Bhutan.

Additional sightseeing includes the visits to the School of 13 traditional Arts and Crafts, the Textile Museum, and an acclimatization hike to the 18th C Tango monastery, another important religious seat.

Overnight at Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu to Wangduephodrang across Dochula Pass (10,500ft).

Morning drive to soak in the spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayan Mountains up from the Dochula Pass at 3000m .Lunch stop at Lobesa before visiting the 15th C Chimme Lhakhang, a beautiful temple attributed to Drukpa Kuenley, a prominent yogi of the Crazy wisdom teachings.

Afternoon sightseeing to Punakha Dzong dating back to 1637 AD, and located strategically at the junction of the male and female rivers. Wrap up programme with a visit to Sangchen nunnery, a beautiful temple attributed to the Buddha of compassion.

Overnight at Punakha.

Day 4: Wangdue to Bumthang

A long early morning drive on a scenic and breathtaking highway with  breather stops at the Pelela Pass at 3300 m, designated by myriad of prayer flags; a quick detour to visit Chendebji chorten, an 18th C stupa built in Nepalese style, followed by a long rewarding stop for lunch at Trongsa.

After lunch, a visit to Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the royal family, an architectural wonder built by Chogyel Minjur Tempa, the Third temporal ruler, in 1648.  Continuation of a 2 and ½ hour drive to Bumthang, punctuated by a stop at the weaving village at Chumey.

Overnight at Bumthang.

START OF TREK

Day 5: Bumthang to Nga Lhakhang: After breakfast are the preparations to embark on the wonderful trek to Ngang Lhakhang. Today the hike is approximately five hours passing though villages, fields and forests and also crossing over suspension bridges.

Today the trail mostly follows the Chamkhar river, that has an abundance of rainbow trout. A bit of opportunity at cultural immersion with a visit to Thangbi Lhakhang enroute before entering the beautiful valley of " Ngang Yul”, called on account of the beautiful oriental swans inhabiting the lake here. We will be visiting the Nga Lhakhang, or the swan temple before walking to our camp. The Overnight camp altitude is 9,500 ft. (2,800M).

Day 6: Trek continues…..

Today a gradual climb to Phephela Pass brings  to the highest point of our trek at approximately 3000 m/ 12,000 ft. The trail to the pass leads through one of the most beautiful forested areas of this region, with mini bamboo pasture and forests of rhododendrons and mixed Conifer. Today’s seven-hour trek today will allow for many stops, to enjoy nature's rare beauty.

Day 7: Trek continues…

Today we pass Ugyenchholing in in the bucolic Tang Valley.  A visit to the Ugyenchholing Palace which now houses a family museum showcases exhibits recreated to capture the ambience of the lifestyle of the Trongsa Penlop and his household.

Continuing from Ugyenchholing, we reach the Rimochen Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Guru Rimpoche, the Patron Saint of Bhutan. This is the last point in the trek route from where there is a beautiful drive through Pangshing village to Jakar, Bumthang, with an optional stop to visit farmhouses on the way.

This is the end of the trek. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8 and 9: Sightseeing in Bumthang

Bumthang comprises of four of the most beautiful valleys anywhere, Ura, Tang, Choskhor and Chhume, varying in altitude and vegetation. Day hikes upon special request can be arranged.

Sight-seeing in Bhutan encompasses the visits to the Jakar Dzong, which stands out as perhaps the only dzong to be built prior to the 17th century; Jambay Khakhang, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the Himalayan region; and Kurjey Lhakhang, the 12th c temple that famously houses the body imprint of Guru Rimpoche, one of the Patron Saints of Bhutan.

Handicraft shopping is irresistible in Bumthang, which is famous for its textiles woven from yak hair and Merino sheep wool. A visit to the Swiss Farm, the beer brewery the cheese production unit can be very interesting.  Overnight at Bumthang.

Day 10: Departure from Bumthang to Trongsa

To cut short the same tedious long drive back, a highly recommended overnight stay will be made at Trongsa. Sightseeing in Trongsa includes a tour of the Medieval Watchtower, a once look-out point, which now houses a museum commemorating the Royal Dynasty of Bhutan.

After an optional lunch at the Museum cafeteria, the afternoon’s sightseeing revolves around walking around the Watch tower and down to the Trongsa Dzong, which is steeped in rich medieval history culminating in the famous account of the start of the present Wangchuck Dynasty.

Overnight at Trongsa

Day 11: Trongsa to Thimphu

It’s the same long return leg of the journey over the passes, the traditional farm houses, and agricultural land holdings. Lunch will be en-route after which the journey resumes till Thimphu, the administrative Capital.

After check in at the hotel in Thimphu, time permitting, there will be an opportunity to visit places  that might have been missed out before. An evening stroll in the streets of the Capital city can be interesting.

Overnight at Thimphu.

Day 12: Thimphu to Paro

After breakfast,  we depart for our hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery or theTiger's Nest monastery, which is precariously perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800 meters.Perhaps, the most visited site by both locals and tourists, legend recounts that,  in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, the saint who converted Bhutan to Buddhism, alighted here upon the back of a tigress and meditated here.

It is generally a good way to wrap up your Bhutan tour with a visit to Kichu Lhakhang, one of the  oldest temples in Bhutan.

Overnight at Paro.

Day 12: Departure for airport

Depending on your flight timing, our Tour Representative will escort you to the airport, facilitate your check-in and bid you von voyage!

PLEASE NOTE: This trek is recommended from April to July and from September to November. Please note that this trek is not recommended for December to March due to the cold weather.



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