Bumthang Owl Trek (11 nights/12 days)
This trek gives you the opportunity to witness and experience rural Bhutanese lifestyle. You will trek through thick temperate forest of blue pine, hemlock, fir, spruce, juniper as well as species of bamboo, rhododendron, birch, maple, chestnut and many others. During spring, the rhododendron flowers are on full bloom.
Day 01: Arrive Paro (by Druk Air) – Thimphu
You will land at Paro, one of the most beautiful valleys of Bhutan. Our guide will receive you at the airport from where you will drive towards Thimphu, the capital city. The drive will take around one hour. Thimphu has a population of about 100,000. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. In the evening, we will visit the Handicrafts Emporium, where all types of Bhutanese handicrafts are made and sold, overnight at Hotel
Day 02: Thimphu – Wangdue – Gangtey
In the morning, we will visit the folk Heritage Museum, where the art of weaving is still kept alive and preserved though exhibition. Next we will visit the traditional paper factory. After lunch we are going to Punakha through the Dochula pass (3050m). This pass offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. After stopping for a tea we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan, where we make a short stop to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. From here a gradual climb takes you into the valley of Gangtey (Phobjikha). Gangtey lies towards the East of Punakha and Wangdue on the flanks of the Black Mountain. The gentle sloping hillsides of Phobjikha are described as “the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas”. It is the winter home of the endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains of Tibet to roost in the northern regions of Bhutan.
Day 03: Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang
Today we start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan through Bumthang and Trongsa which lasts about 6 hours. We will pass through the semi tropical vegetation and then cross the Pelela pass (3,300m). You will get to see Mount Jhomolhari (7,314m). En route, we will visit the century old Chendebji Chorten and the impressive Trongsa dzong, the largest dzong in Bhutan. We then drive on to Bumthang valley (described as “one of the most beautiful spot in the Himalayas” across the Yotongla Pass (3,400 m). Overnight at hotel.
Day 04: Bumthang
This is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. The Guru and his lineage of Tertoens (treasure finders), have led to the sprouting of many temples in the valley. In the morning we visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temple in Bhutan built in 7th century) and visit Kurjey Lhakhang (where the Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock). Hike to visit the Tamzhing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Tertoen Pema Lingpa). After lunch, hike to Thangbi valley across the suspensions bridge and visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century, on the way back visit Jakar Dzong, (seat of the district administration). Evening stroll in Chamkhar Town. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 05: Bumthang – Schonath (Start of Trek)
Trek day 01: We will start at Manchugang and visit Dhur, the biggest village in Bumthang, lying at an elevation of 2,900m. The village consists of about 75 households. The villagers rear cattle and speak a nomadic dialect. We will then climb down to the river where you get to see the tradition water driven flourmill. We will then continue to trek uphill through the blue pine forest and reach our campsite at Schonath (3,450 m). The night time is filled with the howling of owls.
Day 06: Schonath – Kitiphu
Trek day 02: Trekking through virgin forest of huge temperate trees like spruce, hemlock, fir, birch and many species of rhododendron, you will breathe the real wilderness of Bhutan. During the months of April and May, the rhododendrons are in full bloom. In about two hours, you will arrive at Drangela Pass (3,600m). We will ascend the Kikiphu ridge at an altitude of 3,870 m for the night camp. If weather favors, we can get a wonderful view of the valley and the snow clad Himalayan Mountains. The highest mountain of Bhutan Gangkar Puensum (7,541 m) stands right in front of you when you are on the peak of Kikiphu (4,000 m).
Day 07: Kikiphu – Jakar/Bumthang (End of Trek)
Trek day 03: After sunrise, we will climb down to visit the monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak, Tharpaling and Chuedak monastery which houses the rare 100 statues of Avoloketeshvara in the form of Chukchizhey (eleven heads), which is not seen anywhere else in the country. In the afternoon, we will walk along the ridge of Kikila andthen follow the ancient trade route between Trongsa and Bumthang.
You trek ends when you get a view of Jakar dzong. Your car will be waiting to drive you to your hotel in Bumthang. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 08: Bumthang – Wangdue – Punakha
On this day we will be on a seven-hour journey towards Punakha crossing the Pelela pass, the Yotongla pass and the Wangdue Phodrang district. Lunch will be served at Chendebji Chorten. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 09: Punakha – Thimphu – Paro
After having our breakfast, we will visit the Punakha dzong, the most beautiful fortress in the country, built in the image of the heavenly palace of Guru Padmasambhava. It is the winter seat of the central monastic body, which is headed by the chief abbot, the Je Khenpo. The dzong lies between the male (Pho chhu) and the female (Mo chhu) river. We will then drive towards the capital Thimphu through the Dochula pass. On reaching Thimphu we will visit the National Memorial Chorten, the Zilukha nunnery, national library stocked with ancient manuscripts and then climb up to visit the Takin preserve and the BBS tower to get a panoramic view of the Thimphu city. In the evening we will drive to your hotel in Paro. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Paro valley sightseeing
We will drive to Drugyel dzong, which lies 16 kilometers from Paro town. After being destroyed by fire in 1951, the fortress remained in ruins and today it is undergoing reconstruction. The fortress holds great historical significance, as it was from here that Bhutan was able to repel a number of Tibetan invasions. On our way back, we will visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse to give you the feel and experience of being inside a Bhutanese home. Just across, we will pay a visit to Kyichu lhakhang, one of the oldest temples built in the 7th century. We will then visit the Paro Rinpung dzong built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The famous Paro Tshechu, which draws thousands of tourists every year, is held in the dzongs courtyard. Later we will visit the National Museum housed inside a 17th century watchtower above the Rinpung dzong. In the evening, we will stroll around Paro town. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Paro, hike to Taktshang
In the morning we will drive up to the base of Taktshang monastery, Bhutan’s most iconic symbol. After hiking up to the monastery for about an hour and a half, you will reach a cafeteria, which offers a good resting place and the view of the monastery. This is the site where the Indian tantric master Guru Padmasambhava flew on a flying tigress in the wrathful manifestation of Dorji Drolo. We will have our lunch on our way back at the cafeteria and your car will be waiting to take you to your hotel.
Day 10: Paro – Departure (by Druk Air)
We will escort you to the airport for your journey home.
This is a short, four day trek which leads from Thimphu to Paro or vice versa, crossing a chain of mountains that separates the two valleys. Although there is little settlement on this route, there are wonderful lakes teeming with fish and the area is famous for its spectacular rhododendron forests, which bloom in May.