Destination: Bhutan – Thimphu, etc…
Activities: Sightseeing & Hiking
Start/End: Paro/ Paro
Trip Duration: 12 Days
Accommodation: standard hotel will be
provided as per program.
Max. Altitude: 2350 Meters
Group Size: Min. 02 / Max.15
Trip grade: Moderate holidays
Cost: Please contact us
Day 1: Arrive at Paro.
Flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in all the Himalayas. One can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu as well as other peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drakey and Tsrim Gang. The first gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. You will be received by our representative and escorted to the hotel. Visit to Bhutan’s National Museum, the Paro Dzong, and Drukgyel Dzong. Walking – easy to moderate, 1-3 hours.
Day 2: Taktsang (Tigers Nest) Monastery
Hiking – moderate, 3-4 hours on hiking trails; approximate elevation gain of 1,650 feet.
This morning we enjoy a hike to the famous cliff-hermitage called Taktsang, the Tigers Nest. This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro Valley. Legend has it that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. Entry into the monastery is now permitted, and we may be allowed to visit this sacred site. We enjoy lunch and the views of the valley below at the Taktsang teahouse before descending to the valley floor. Overnight hotel.
Day 3: Transfer to Punakha (approximately 5 hrs.); Temple of the Divine Madman
Hiking – easy, 1-2 hours on local paths. This morning, after an early breakfast, we say goodbye to Paro and transfer to Punakha, our home for the next two nights. The road to Punakha crosses the Dochula Pass (10,230 ft), offering a great view of the eastern Himalayan mountains. From the pass our road descends through magnificent pine and rhododendron forests and wanders through some of the most picturesque countryside in Bhutan.
On our road to Punakha we stop in a small village where a short walk brings us to Chime Lhakang, a temple dedicated to the Lama Drukpa Kunley. Drukpa Kunley is one of Bhutan’s favorite saints, and is more commonly known as the Divine Madman. He traveled throughout Bhutan and Tibet using songs, humor and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings, believing that the stiffness of the clergy and social conventions were keeping people from learning the true Buddhist teachings. This site is still believed to hold fertility powers for women wanting to conceive.
Day 4: Khamsung Yuely Namgyel temple to Punakha Dzong
Hiking – easy to moderate, 3-4 hours on dirt roads and trails.
Following breakfast and a drive through the Punakha Valley, we begin our walk by first ascending a series of switchbacks to the Namgyel Khamsum Yuely Temple. From the viewpoint at this modern temple we are afforded grand views of the Mo Chu River Valley below. We descend from the temple and follow a well-worn path down the valley through rice fields and small villages. Along the way we are rewarded with stunning views, the terraced rice paddies providing an exotic backdrop to the river below. After enjoying a picnic lunch alongside the river, we continue our walk to the Punakha Dzong. Constructed in 1637, the Punakha Dzong was the second of Bhutan’s dzongs and for many years it served as the seat of the government. Today it is the home to Bhutan’s spiritual leader, the chief abbot Je Khempo, who resides here with 1,000 monks during the winter months due to Punakha’s relatively low altitude by Himalayan standards (4,000 feet). From this spectacular dzong we can look back to see the Namgyel Khamsum Yuely Temple perched on the hillside far in the distance. A short walk from the dzong takes us to our vans, waiting to shuttle us back to our hotel for the Overnight.
Day 5: Transfer to Jakar (approximately 6 hrs.).
Visit to the Trongsa Dzong and Yathra weaving studios.
Our road to the east, and the district of Bumthang, is an incredible feat of engineering which follows Himalayan ridges and valleys towards the cultural heartland of Bhutan. A winding and twisting route via the Pele La brings us to Trongsa, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s current royal dynasty, the Wangchuks. We visit the sprawling Trongsa Dzong, perhaps the most impressive Dzong in the kingdom. It is one of the most aesthetic and magnificent works of traditional Bhutanese architecture. Given its strategic location high above the Mande Chhu, it is often described as being perched so high on a mountain that clouds float below it.
Lunch and our visit to the dzong, we continue along the road to the Bumthang Dzongkag (district) and the town of Jakar, our base for the coming days. Along the way we visit yathra weaving studios where hand-spun, hand-woven wool strips with patterns specific to the Bumthang region are created. These strips were once used as shawls and raincoats to protect against the winter cold of Bumthang, but today they are more often fashioned into short jackets that women wear. The Bumthang region encompasses four major valleys: Choskhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume. The dzongs and the most important temples are in the large Choskhor valley, commonly referred to as the Bumthang Valley. Different from most other valleys in Bhutan, Bumthang is spacious and open and ideal for walkers and hikers. There are numerous Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites to explore, making it the cultural and historic center of Bhutan. It would be difficult to find as many important temples and monasteries in such a small area anywhere else in Bhutan, and almost every little valley or hill has a background of interesting myths and legends about kings, Buddhist masters, and serpents.
Day 6 & 7: Bumthang Valley sightseeing - Easy Hiking.
While in Bumthang we visit many of the valley’s significant sites. We visit Jampa Lhakhang, where according to legend it was one of 108 temples built in a day by Tibetan King Songsten Gampo to pin down an evil ogress (Jampa holds down the left knee.) In keeping with Bhutan’s significant historical figures, we also visit the Kurjey Lakhang where Guru Rimpoche came in the 8th century to settle issues with feuding local rulers. With a flash of his magic, the guru resolved the conflict and converted everyone to Buddhism, leaving his body imprint on a rock for which Kurjey Lhakhang is named. The Kurjey Lhakhang temple complex is made up of three buildings and the body imprint of the guru can be seen in the first and oldest of the temple which was built in 1652.
Evening, we sample local specialties such as buckwheat noodles and pancakes, local Swiss cheese, fresh apple juice, and a delicious local wheat beer; and take part in local song and dance.
Day 8: Transfer to Thimphu (approximately 8 hours)
Today we retrace our route to the capital city of Thimpu and home to Bhutan’s royal family, the Wangchuks. Before becoming Bhutan’s official national capitol in 1961, Thimphu was simply a rural farming valley. Small and secluded, Thimphu is unlike any other world capital. Dinner this evening will be Asian-Bhutanese cuisine at one of the finer restaurants in Thimphu.|
Day 9: Thimphu sightseeing
Walking – easy, 2-4 hours, Thimphu is a city ideally explored on foot, and our walk today takes us between its many interesting sights. Before the day is through, we may visit the newly built textile museum, the Thimphu Dzong (seat of the government and main monk body), the School of Traditional Arts and Crafts, the Heritage Museum, and the Handicrafts Emporium, displaying the rich traditional crafts of the kingdom. Along the way we stop at a local restaurant for lunch before continuing our walk through the city.
Day 10: Cheri Goemba and the Choki School of Arts
Hiking – easy to moderate, 2-4 hours on dirt roads and trails.
This morning a short drive through the countryside surrounding Thimphu brings us to the Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest protected area in the country. The park is home to several endangered species including the takin, snow leopard, blue sheep, tiger, red panda, and the Himalayan black bear. More than 300 species of birds have been cataloged within the park.
Our hike commence from the small village of Dodena. Our trail starts by crossing a covered bridge over the Wang Chhu and we climb steadily to Cheri Goemba, a small monastery perched on the hill with a view over the Thimphu Valley. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built this monastery in 1620, and this is where the first community of monks in Bhutan was established. The monastery is considered very sacred as it contains the ashes of Tempi Nima, the father of the first Shabdrung of Bhutan, and beautiful frescoes of Buddhist saints.
After our visit to the monastery, we descend back the way we came, keeping our eyes open for the goral (wild goat) that are often spotted on the cliffs nearby. Back at the village of Dodena we follow a riverside trail via Begana to Cabesa, home to the Choki School of Arts. The Choki School is private and provides free skills-related education in the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan to Bhutanese children who are unable to attend or complete their formal education. After visiting the school we continue along the riverside trail and pass through small rural villages before returning to Thimphu.
Day 11: Free Morning in Thimphu; Transfer to Paro
This morning is free to spend as you like before our afternoon return to Paro. There is time for walking, relaxing, or searching for the perfect traditional weaving in a Thimphu handicraft shop. Beautiful weaves in wool, silk and cotton, basketwork, silver jewelry, thangkas and other traditional crafts of the Kingdom are available in various shops.
Tonight we share one last dinner together as we celebrate our journey through this magical kingdom and the kind welcome that we have received from the generous people of Bhutan.
Day 12: Departure from Paro
Morning transfers to airport for flight back to home via Kathmandu or Bangkok.
Note: If above itinerary couldn't meet your needs, we can design a tailor-made program to suit your equipments. It is also possible to combine with some other activities such as trekking in Nepal and cultural tour in Nepal, overland tour in Tibet, etc...
Mission Eco Trek aware that there are many companies seeking your business as you plan your adventure holidays in the Nepal Himalayas. We believe we offer the very best value for money and take your safety, comfort and ultimate holiday experience very seriously.
The trip cost will vary depending on the number of person in your group, trip duration and standard of services required. Please contact us or send us a quick inquiry with your details to obtain a quote.
During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings. Sleeping bags for trip also highly recommended. Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided by Mission Eco Trek once you book your trip.
Throughout your time in Bhutan you will be accompanied by an experienced English speaking Bhutanese guide who will not only act as an interpreter but will also provide valuable insights into the Bhutanese way of life. All our Bhutan trekking trips are run in cooperation with our Bhutanese counterpart, so you can be assured that authentic local touch.
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we hope will not happen; you shall be transferred to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses and emergency repatriation.
Our homepage contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you have any questions regarding trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can send us an email or contact us directly by phone: 0977 98510 23742 (Jitendra), 0977 98510 23758 (Thakur).
Two weeks holiday in Nepal with Mission Eco-Trek
My wife and I took a 2 week tour in Nepal with Mission Eco-Trek in Feb 2011 and had a fantastic time. Mission Eco-Trek provided the very highest caliber guides and Ram Kumar (the proprietor) personally made sure that everything went smoothly. When storms caused our original flights to be cancelled and then cancelled for a second time, he graciously accommodated our changes at no extra cost. The cost was reasonable and the services provided were exceptional -even beyond what we had expected from the contract....
Kevin & Jacque
New York, USA