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Bumthang Cultural Trek 10 days

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  • Jyatha, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal

Overview

On this tour, you will explore the beautiful mountain kingdom Bhutan that has remained unchanged over centuries. Bhutan once the forgotten land has recently been rediscovered. Central Bhutan tour offers numerous sacred sites, dzongs, temples, landmarks, monasteries, markets, farm houses, schools and museums etc.

Ta Dzong at Paro, had been used as a watch tower in 17th century. This has been changed into the National Museum since 1967 where there is a collection of relics and arts. Rinpung Dzong is known as ‘the heap of jewels’, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang. It has noteworthy architectural designs. Drukgyel Dzong was built in 1647 by the same first spiritual king Shabdrung to protect from the Tibetan invasion. The commanding view of Mt. Chomolhari can be seen from here. The 7th century built Kyichu Lhakhang by Srongtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King, is one of the oldest and holy shrine having 108 temples in the Himalayas. Takstang Lhakhang.900 m high above the Paro Valley is a highly esteemed monastery in Bhutan.

The way from Paro to Thimpu passes through a romantic villages, paddy fields and reaches to Simtokha.Simtokha is an incisive tantric teaching place. This is now for Dzongkha language study. Changangkha Lhakhang was built in 12th century and it is one of the celebrated places where parents come to get the auspicious names for their newborns and blessing for their young children from the Tamdrin deity. Memorial Chorten was built in the memory of third king of Bhutan. Tashichhodzong is a medieval fortress/ monastery where there are king’s throne and government offices. This is the Chief Abbot’s summer residence. The Handicraft Emporium has profuse of beautifully woven and crafted products. National Library has an illustrious collection of antique Buddhist manuscripts and texts. This is the place to excavate the historical knowledge of Bhutan. Traditional Medicine Institute prepares the herbal medicines and dispensed from here. It is not allowed to enter inside but one can view it from outside.

After crossing Dochula Pass, at an elevation of 3,050 m, one can be at Punakha. The pass is marked by a Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flags. It is the vantage point to view eastern Himalayas of Bhutan. Punakha Dzong has different identity; a fortress built where there is two rivers’ confluence. The first King of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuk was being crowned in 1907 here.

Phobjikha is a glacial valley, wide and flat land, situated in the boundary of the Black, National Park.The black necked cranes in Phobjikha valley is an extra-ordinary. Gangtey Monastery of Nyingmapa sect is an exquisite in Bhutan. Then Trngsa can be reached after crossing the Pelela Pass (3,300 m). We can see the Chendbji chorten nuilt in 18th century by a Lama named Shida in Nepalese architecture, eyes painted at four cardinal points. Yutong La Pass (3,400 m) is 29 km far from Trongsa.

Bumthang is the place where there are four valleys: Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura ranging from 2,600 m to 4,000 m from the sea level. The more significant places to visit in Bumthang are Kurje Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong and Membartsho. Kurje Lhakhang has three temples surrounded by 108 chortens. Jambey Lhakhang was built in 7th century by the Tibetan King Shrongtsen GAmpo. Jakar Dzong was built in 1549 but this has been the administrative center after Shabdrung took over it in 1646. Membartsho is regarded as the burning lake in the Tang valley, a greatest pilgrimage sites, decorated with prayer flags and small clay offerings called ‘Tse Tsa’ in rock niches.


Trip highlights

  • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush meadows and valleys to dense forests
  • Discover exciting festivals, spiritual monasteries in unexplored regions, regal palaces, and mountain panoramas
  • The stunning Bumthang valley offers interesting and diverse trekking terrain, fascinating culture, and scenic views
  • Picturesque Bumthang Valley with exciting trekking trail and trout-filled river
  • Hike Paro Taktsang and visit Punakha Dzong

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Kathmandu to Paro (2250 m.). Overnight at hotel

Fly from Kathmandu to Paro by Druk Air flight. Drive to Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. Here you can see finest example of Bhutanese architecture.

Drive to see the Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Visit the Drukgyal Dzong, built in 1647 by the Great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m).

Day 02: Hike to Taktsang Monastery (3180 m.). Overnight at hotel

The iconic Taktsang monastery or Tiger’s nest is a must place in Bhutan. There is a legend associated with this monastery. In the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava or the great spiritual master is said to be flown to this monastery on a back of a tigress from Tibet and meditated in a cave for 3 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days and 3 hours. This is the most important monastery in Bhutan also. The main temple complex was first built in 1692 AD. Standing on a vertical cliff one will be amazed to the architecture of this monastery. This hike takes around 2.5 hrs from the base. There is only a single trail that goes through forest up to this monastery & the ascent is gradient. This hike is very much enjoyable as the trail goes through lush green forest. At the beginning of this hike one can see this monastery from the base. As climbing up the view of Paro valley from the top looks superb. Once reach at the final view point the jaw-dropping view of this monastery will surely make speechless to anyone.

Day 03: Drive to Thimpu – approx. 2 hours

This will be a pleasant drive mainly due to the well maintained road throughout Bhutan. Upon arrival check into Hotel.

In the evening, Visit the Memorial chorten built in the memory of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, 15 century Changangkha monastery, Motithang mini zoo to see the rare "Takin" national animal of Bhutan and drive further down with good view of the Thimphu valley. Visit the new Drupthob nunnery temple and free time in the market.

Day 04: Drive to Wangduephodrang crossing Dochula pass (3100 m.) – approx. 3 hours

AM visit the Painting school, National library, Royal goldsmith workshop and Handicraft centers. PM drive 3 hours to Wangduephodrang crossing the Dochula pass 3100 meters. On fine weather you will see the eastern Himalayan ranges including the highest mountain in Bhutan Mt.Gangar Punsum 7520 meters. The drive from the pass is all the way downhill dropping to the lower and warmer valleys of lobesa. Visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong from outside and the market area.

Day 05: Drive to Trongsa and then to Bumthang – approx. 6 / 7 hours

Today the drive takes about 6 / 7 hours crossing 3 passes over 3000 meters. The route offers magnificent views of the Himalayas and beautiful landscape through scattered hamlets and forest of rhododendrons and pine. Picnic lunch will be served at the 18 century Chendebji chorten. After one and half hour arrive at a small town known as Trongsa meaning new village. The town mainly consists of fresh Tibetan refugees but the most impressive of all is the Trongsa Dzong. The whole of eastern Bhutan was controlled from this fortress during the mid 17th century. Visitors are not allowed inside the building. Proceed another 2 hours to Bumthang visiting the Chume weaving center.

Day 06: Trek from Bumthang to Ngang Lhakhang (2900 m.) – approx. 5/6 hours

Bumthang cultural trek to Ngang Lhakhang begins. Passing through the Chamkar Chu (River) upstream filled with rainbow trout’s, we walk through meadows, forests of blue pine and scrub bamboo. The walk is very pleasant passing by several villages and temples admiring the beautiful country side.

Bumthang cultural trek to Ngang Lhakhang begins. Passing through the Chamkar Chu (River) upstream filled with rainbow trout’s, we walk through meadows, forests of blue pine and scrub bamboo. The walk is very pleasant passing by several villages and temples admiring the beautiful country side.

After a few hours of walk, we take a break for lunch at Tangbi Lhakhang. After the lunch, we enter into the swan land of Ngang Yul with the visit to its center Swan temple Ngang Lhakhang. According to the legend, this part of valley was at first inhabited by the swans who gave their name Ngang. The lama Namkha Samdrup having dreamt a vision of how to build a Gompa shot an arrow and the spot where the arrow landed Ngang Lhakhang was erected.

Day 07: Trek from Ngang Lhakhang to Ogyen Choling (3100 m.) – approx. 7 / 8 hours

Second day of our trek begins with an appetizing breakfast. You will cross the highest point of this trek route on this day. The walk is moderate passing through one of the most beautiful frosted area of this region and ascending over the Phephe-la pass (3600 m) which is situated at an altitude of 11000 feet above sea level. One can enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings and Ogyen Choling Palace along the way. Further walking through the juniper forest, you will descend to Rang valley and finally arrive at Ogyen Choling village. Today’s trekking distance covers 23 kilometers and the camping altitude is 9300 feet above sea level.

Day 08: Trek to Mebartsho and arrive Bumthang

On the last day of our Bumthang Cultural trek, we will have our breakfast and proceed for sightseeing around the beautiful Ogyen Choling Palace which is a repository for artifacts of ancient nobility. This palace was built in 16 th  century and is a private mansion which also houses a small museum containing an excellent overview of traditional rural life in Bhutan. Further, visit the Dzong and surrounding village, then walk downhill to Kizam where your vehicle will be waiting for your pick up. Further drive to Jakar (Bumthang) following the Tang Chu River until arriving at main road. On the bank of the river is the Tang Rimpoche Lhakhang. Enroute visit the Membertsho Lake where Terton Pemalingpa, is supposed to have discovered religious treasures hidden by Guru Rimpoche in the 15 th  century. The drive is 25 kilometers from Kizam. He retrieved the treasure carrying a lamp which continued to burn even after being plunged into the freezing water. Legend says the key to Shangri la will be found here someday. This lake is very sacred, and on auspicious days many Bhutanese people go there to make butter lamp offering.

Upon arrival at Jakar, visit the impressive landmarks in Jakar. Jakar Dzong is the administrative center of the valley. Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating back to when Buddhism was first introduced here.  Kurjey Lhakhang is one of the most sacred monasteries in Bhutan. It is said that, Guru Rinpoche, a great 8th century spiritual master left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. We also visit Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings.

Day 09: Drive to Punakha and then to Paro. Overnight at hotel

AM drive 45 minutes to Punakha and visit the Punakha Dzong which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every year during the month of February a procession known as the Punakha Serda takes place to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. Proceed to Thimphu. PM drive back to Paro.

Day 10: Depart Paro

After leisurely breakfast transfer to the airport for flight to onward destination.

  • Trip facts

  • Trip duration : 10 days
  • Grade : Easy
  • Activity : Sightseeing Tour
  • Starts in : Paro
  • End in : Paro
  • Max Altitude : 3100 m
  • Location Covered: Paro, Thimpu, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa, Bumthang, Ngang Lhakhang, Ogyen Choling, Punakha
  • Best Season: Spring / Autumn

Extension Tours

Paragliding
Jungle Safari
Pokhara Tour
Rafting

Necessary Information

1. Visa to Bhutan

To travel to Bhutan, first of all, you have to obtain a passport with the valid for 6 months. Then, if you are not an Indian, Bangladesh, or Maldivian, you must have a visa and get permission via your travel agency to enter Bhutan. Also, you cannot purchase air tickets unless you can show your visa clearance.

2. Meals on Bhutan Trip

We offer 3 tasty meals while on our trips in Bhutan (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

3. Accommodation on Bhutan Trip

All the hotels we use are comfortable, clean and offer all the amenities required. We have carefully selected the best hotel in Paro, Tiumphu and major cities of Bhutan for you and your group. If you would like to select your hotel, please let us know and we'll book everything for you.

4. Transportation

We use comfortable and well-maintained 4WD Toyota land cruiser. We ensure before leaving on a trip that our vehicule are double-checked properly. Your security is our main concern and you can be sure to have a safe trip with us.

5. Climate

You can travel in Bhutan at any time of the year except during the winter which starts in December and ends in early March. During the summer, you should expect some light rainfall especially in the south of Bhutan. In the winter time, the temperature can drop down to -6 degrees Celsius while in the summer time the temperatures reach an overage of 25 degrees Celsius.

The best time to travel in Bhutan is during the Spring (March, April and May) as days are warm and clear.

6. Vaccinations

As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the commencement of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.

7. Insurance

Before joining the tour we recommend you take out travel insurance. This should include adequate cover for baggage, medical expenses, cancellation, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation. If you do not have travel insurance you must have a credit card with at least a US$5000 limit.

8. Personal Expenses

We don’t pay for your personal expenses and recommend you to bring extra money to cover meals not included in the tour, extra activities, souvenirs, tips etc. Bhutan currency: Ngultrum (Nu) There is no ATM machines in Bhutan and credit cards are usually not accepted.

9. Safety in Bhutan

It is no doubt to say that Bhutan is the safest country in the world as there is no terrorism, riots, and political turmoil. Due to the fact that most Bhutanese people are Buddhist; hence, they believe in karma and always try to do good things in life. For this reason, your Bhutan tour itineraries will be so much perfect without worrying about anything dangerous.

10. SIM card & Internet Service in Bhutan

To keep in touch with your beloved ones, or your local guide who comes along with you on your Bhutan tour itinerary, you have to own a Bhutanese SIM card. The Internet is limited in Bhutan as it just can be found in very few hotels in big towns like Thimphu and Paro; however, you still can use the internet via data servicing packages including 2G, 3G, or even 4G by the two network providers in Bhutan: Bmobile and TashiCell.

Additional Information

Travel With Rajbala

Since we began in the early 90s we have always strived to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible and to give back to the many villages we pass through on our trekking itineraries. Today we still embrace this responsible travel approach when devising and operating our small group travel holiday experiences in Nepal. We invite you to trek in Nepal with the Himalayan trekking specialists Raj Bala Treks and Expeditions.