Bumthang Cultural Trek (14 days)

Bumthang Cultural Trek (14 days)

This three-day trek is named thus because the opportunities to visit villages and temples are greater than on most other treks across Bhutan. Although short, this trek is strenuous because it involves a climb to Phephe La (3,360 m).

Facts about the trek:

Total duration: 13 nights/14 days

Trek duration: 3 days

Accommodation: Hotels, resorts, and tents

Activity type: Walking, trekking & tour

Difficulty level: Strenuous

Group size: Minimum 2 pax

Best months to do this trek: March-May, September-2nd week of December

Itinerary

  1. Arrive in Paro

Your Bhutanese escort from BCD-Bhutan will greet you on arrival and drive you to the hotel. If time permits, visit a farmhouse. Your host will serve you locally brewed ara (alcohol).

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Paro sightseeing

After breakfast, visit:

  • Ta Dzong (built in 1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan
  • Paro Rinpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley)
  • Archery match (archery is the national game of Bhutan)
  • Kyichu Lhakhang, built in 659 AD by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo

Dinner and overnight stay in hotel or homestay

  1. Paro – Excursion to Taktshang Monastery to Thimphu

After breakfast, hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)

After lunch, drive to Thimphu. On the way, stop a while to visit the privately-owned Tamchog Lhakhang.

Overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Thimphu sightseeing

After breakfast, visit:

  • Folk Heritage Museum, Painting School of 13 Arts and Crafts
  • Textile Museum
  • Postal Museum for personalized stamps
  • Bhutanese paper factory at work before lunch

After lunch, visit:

  • National Memorial Choeten built in 1974 in memory of late King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery.
  • The largest and the tallest statue of sitting Buddha in the world
  • Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the central government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan)

Overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Thimphu to Punakha

Drive to Punakha via Dochula Pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula Pass to view Himalayan ranges.

In Punakha, visit:

  • Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is located between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River)
  • Chime Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility)

Overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Punakha to Trongsa to Bumthang

After an early breakfast, drive to Bumthang.

After lunch, visit:

  • Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Mingyur Tenpa, the official who was sent by Zhabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan, and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay.
  • Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal.

Overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Bumthang sightseeing

After breakfast, visit:

  • Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”
  • Jampa Lhakhang which is said to have been built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659 AD.
  • Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after the body print of Guru Rinpoche, built in 1652 by Mingyur Tenpa.
  • Tamzhing Lhakhang established in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Jakar to Ngang Lhakhang (start of Bumthang Cultural Trek)

Altitude: of 2,900 m.

Walking time: around 6 hours

  1. Ngang Lhakhang to Ugyen Chholing

Camp by the riverside at an altitude of 2,850 m.

Walking time: 7-8 hours

  1. Ugyen Chholing to Jakar

Walk to Ugyen Chholing Dzong and the surrounding village, then drive to Jakar. On the way, visit Member Tsho where Terton Pema Lingpa, the reincarnation of Guru Padmasambhava is supposed to have discovered religious treasure in the 12th century. This lake is very sacred and is visited by many Bhutanese during auspicious days to offer butter lamps.

Overnight stay at a hotel

  1. Bumthang (excursion to Ura valley)

After breakfast, drive to Ura valley. Packed Lunch will be served. In the evening, drive back to Bumthang.

Overnight stay in a hotel in Bumthang

  1. Bumthang to Phobjikha valley (Gangtey)

After breakfast, drive to the beautiful valley of Phobjikha/Gangtey. Visit Gangtey Gonpa Monastery founded by Gyalse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa in 1613.

Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel

  1. Gangtey to Thimphu

After breakfast, explore Phobjikha valley famous for the black-necked cranes roosting there during winter months. Before driving to Thimphu, visit the Crane Information Centre.

Lunch on the way in Wangdi or in Dochula Cafeteria. If time permits, visit the tallest sitting statue of Buddha in the world in Thimphu.

Overnight stay in Thimphu

  1. Thimphu to Paro

Drive to the airport early in the morning and bid farewell.