Bhutan Cultural Tour with Three days Bumthang Trek 12 Days

Trip Facts

  • Duration 12 Days
  • Difficulty Level Moderate
  • Destination Bhutan
  • Transportation Private Comfortable Transportation
  • Activity Cultural and Historical Tours, Trekking and Hiking,
  • Best Season Feb - May and Sept- Dec
  • Group Size Min 2, max 14 People
  • Trip Start/End Paro, Bhutan
  • Max Altitude 2,895m/9,498ft

Highlights

  • Exploring the colorful town of Paro.
  • Hiking up to Taktsang Monastery.
  • Visiting KichuLhakhang, the oldest temple in Bhutan.
  • Exploring the capital city of Thimphu.
  • Visit the PunakhaDzong, the oldest and second-largest Dzong in Bhutan 
  • Visiting TrongsaDzong is a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture.
  • Exploring the mystic Buddhist monastery called gang Lhakhang.
  • Delving deep into Bhutan’s culture and traditions.
  • Experience three days hiking in the beautiful Gangtey Valley.
  • Explore Bumthang- the religious heartland home to the oldest monasteries, and  temples.
  • Visit Kurje Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang & Tamshing Lhakhang in Bumthang.

Bhutan Tour with Three days  Bumthang Trek Overview

Bhutan Cultural Tour with Three days  Bumthang Trek combines sightseeing and trekking effortlessly in one package. Bhutan often called the Land of Happiness is a small landlocked country bordered by India and China. The unexploited ancient culture and traditions including the practice of strict Buddhism make this country so unique. The country's extreme measure to protect nature has resulted in making it one of the few countries in the world with the most protected areas in the world and the only carbon-negative nation in the world. This 12-day Bhutan trip starts at an altitude of 2,195m and reaches up to 3,360m.

The trip starts at Paro where we visit KichuLhakhang, Ta Dzong, and RinpungDzong. Also, we hike to one of the most famous landmarks in the country, Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). While in the capital Thimphu, we’ll visit Memorial Chorten, the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, and Tashichho Dzong where we will get to know more about Bhutanese history. Next, we drive to Punakha where Punakha Dzong sits in all its glory; it is the oldest and second-largest Dzong in Bhutan.

Our trek begins from Bimthang; we get familiar with the rural Bhutanese culture during the trek. Climbing high passes, passing through picturesque forested valleys, camping at beautiful places and many other wonders make this three-day-long trek a truly fascinating ride. Interested in visiting Bhutan but this 12-day-long itinerary is not for you? Well, Adventure Club Trek has shorter Bhutan travel packages like Short Bhutan Tour- 4 Days, and Journey to Druk Yul Tour- 5 Days.

Itinerary

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As our flight nears Bhutan we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Chomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. After lunch, we visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning ‘fortress of the heap of jewels. Next, visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. From here we will be taken to the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day, we can see Mount Chomolhari, Bhutan’s second-highest mountain, at 7,314meters. Overnight in Paro.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,250m/7,382ft

After breakfast, we hike for 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor. This afternoon, we will drive to Thimphu, and spend the night.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude3,180m/10,434ft

In the morning, we visit Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, and mini zoo to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Today, we also visit other landmarks of Thimphu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong, and the traditional paper factory. However, some of the landmarks are closed on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, if we are in Thimphu during the weekends, we explore the Weekend Market instead. Overnight in Thimphu.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,320m/7,612ft

After breakfast, we enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La pass (3,100 m), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir, and hemlock forests. We then pass through rice fields along river banks and reach Punakha. After lunch, we visit Punakha Dzong. Built between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude1,250m/4,101ft

After an early breakfast, we drive to Bumthang, the cultural heartland of Bhutan. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing the 3,300-meter-high Pele La pass. There is even a chance of spotting yaks on the trail at certain times of the year. We stop in Trongsa for lunch. After which we visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture. Then, we proceed to Bumthang through lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way, we stop at a yathra (textile weaving) factory, where the yantras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and we can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Overnight in Bumthang.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,850m/9,351ft

The trek starts from Thangbi Goemba, near the small village of Thangbi, and follows the Chamkhar Chu, a river known for trout fish.  After an hour, we will pass the Zangling Lhakhang on the hill to the right.  Stop for lunch at Thangbi Lhakhang.  From here the trail enters the Ngang Yul (Land of the Swan), at the center of which lies the Ngang Lhakhang (Swan Temple).  In bygone days, the valley was populated by swans, and hence the name Ngang Yul. We will camp tonight at an altitude of 2900m.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,895m/9,498ft

We will begin today’s trek with a gradual climb to Phephe La Pass at an altitude of 3360m, the highest point of the trek route.  The trail passes through beautiful forested areas where many stops can be made to enjoy the natural beauty of the place. We descend to Tang valley before arriving at Ugyen Choling Village. Our camp tonight is by the side of the river at an altitude of 2760m.

  • AccommodationTented Camp
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,895m/9,498ft

In the morning, walk up to the Ugyen Choling Palace, which is a repository for artifacts of ancient nobility. We will then take a short walk downhill to Kizam where our vehicle will be waiting to pick us up.  From here it is a 25km drive to the junction of the road near Mebartsho. We can visit the Mebertsho Lake (burning lake) where Terton Pemalingpa, is said to have discovered religious treasures in the 15th century.  This lake is very sacred and visited by many Bhutanese on auspicious days. Overnight in Bumthang.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,745m/9,006ft

Today we visit 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. Overnight in Bumthang.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,745m/9,006ft

We begin the day by touring the Bumthang market and then driving to Wangdue.  It is a typical Bhutanese town with its dramatic Dzong perched on a ridge at the bend of a river. Other villages nearby the Wangdue village are also known for their slate and stone carvings. Overnight in Wangdue.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude1,240m/4,068ft

This morning we return to Paro via Dochula Pass. On the way, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. We stop for lunch at Dochula pass. Here, we visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is one of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. We continue our drive to Paro. The evening will be free for us to explore the town. Overnight in Paro.

  • AccommodationHotel
  • MealsBreakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Max. Altitude2,250m/7,382ft

Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after having breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport depending on the flight schedule.

  • MealsBreakfast

Note:Your safety is of the utmost concern whilst you are traveling with Adventure Club Trek. We will make every effort possible to follow the original itinerary but we reserve the right to change that itinerary if a segment of it becomes a safety issue. Certain mountain regions are remote, natural disasters can happen, weather conditions can decline and there can be illnesses or an injury. To avoid dangerous situations we may occasionally have to make changes to the itinerary to ensure everyone’s safety. That having been said, Adventure Club Trek will strive to provide you with the best possible trekking experience and to keep your safety our number one priority. We thank you for your understanding.

Cost Details

Price Includes

  • All arrival and departure transfer in a private tourist vehicle.
  • Full board meals with tea/coffee and snacks - for the duration of your stay.
  • Bhutan visa fees and processing assistance.
  • Safe drinking water will be supplied during the tour
  • Government-approved A and B category hotels on a twin- shared basis.
  • Tented camp during trekking on a twin- shared basis.
  • Transportation in comfortable private vehicle(s).
  • Experienced English speaking guides and local staff.
  • Trekking equipment like sleeping bags, dining tents, kitchen tents, toilet tents, mattresses, etc.
  • Trekking cooks and trek assistant.
  • Porter services for trekking.
  • All city tour with permits, entrance fees for museums and monuments.
  • All applicable Bhutanese government taxes/royalties and Company services charge.

Price Excludes

  • Nepal Entry Visa fees - at present $30 for 15 days US$ 50 for 30 days.
  • Airfare for international flights to and from Bhutan
  • Items of a personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet, laundry)
  • Travel and Medical/Evacuation Insurance
  • Tips and gratitude provided to staff.
  • Any services in Kathmandu/Nepal (hotels, transport, etc)

     

Useful Info

Visa Information

Indian, Bangladeshis, and Maldivian nationals can obtain a visa at the port of entry by producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC). For other tourists, you will need to acquire visa clearance in advance. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed Bhutanese tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Tourists are also required to book their holiday through a Bhutanese tour operator or one of their international partners. The tour operator will take care of Visa arrangements for visitors.

You are required to send the photo page of your passport (passport scanned copy) to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours. At your point of entry, you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, and the visa will then be stamped into your passport.

Accommodation

Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grades A, B, and C. These government-approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of booking, we will be accommodated in A-grade hotels in Paro and Thimpu and B-grade hotels in Punakha, Wangdue, and Bumthang. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. A single supplement will be served on request 

Meals

All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are included during your stay in Bhutan. A variety of meals are available in most hotels the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common continental food. Non-vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan - pork, beef, chicken, and fish. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season.

Weather Information

There is no appropriate season which is to say that Bhutan’s warm and temperate climate, never-ending festivals, and rich and abundant heritage sites provide visitors with a wide array of experiences throughout the year across the country. Bhutan has all four seasons and the climate varies widely depending on the altitude.

Spring (March, April & May)

This time is considered the most beautiful time of the year, resplendent and ablaze with a spectacular array of bright colors. This is the time when the valleys are green with fresh vegetation and fruit trees are blossoming – the time when locals are naturally mirthful and cheery; when visitors are most welcome. Also, you can witness the famous Paro tsechu festival.

Autumn (September, October & November)

Autumn is lovely with clear and crisp blue skies, providing a grand view of some of the tallest unclimbed mountains in the world. It is the best time for trekking and traveling. The climate is cool and temperate and you can get lovely photography opportunities of willows shedding their golden brown leaves, the solitude of parks, and somber views of dzongs and monasteries.

Monsoon (June, July & August)

During these months, Bhutan receives more rainfall than any other region in the Himalayas. Glorious sapphire skies and warm weather is a pleasant times to spend visiting places of cultural and historical interest though this season is not the best time for trekking. Enjoy a cup of warm, aromatic tea while watching the rainfall from your hotel window. Or if you possess an adventurous spirit, grab an umbrella/raincoat while it is raining and take a day tour through the town.

Winter (December, January & February)

Winter in Bhutan is sunny, cool, and agreeable to say the least. Much of the east-west highway remains snowbound during winter. It is the best time to tour the western districts of Paro, Wangdue, Punakha, Thimphu, and Haa. One of the chief attractions in winter is the beautiful Gangtey (Phobjikha) valley where you can expect to see a wide expanse of rolling plain with bamboo shrubs.

Safety Guidelines

Credit cards are not a convenient source of payment in Bhutan as only a handful of hotels in a few places provide this facility. Also, only MasterCard and Visa. US dollars are the most convenient currency and are cashed by most banks.

You should avoid drinking tap water altogether, but it is okay to use it for brushing your teeth. Bottled water is widely available and is best for drinking. It is also wise to carry water purification tablets when trekking in remote locations of Bhutan.

The local currency is the Ngultrum, which is pegged to the Indian Rupee. Note: The Indian Rupee in denominations of 500 and 1000 is no longer accepted in Bhutan.

Bhutan is the only country in the world that has banned the consumption and sale of tobacco, resulting in smoking being largely disallowed in public places. Having said that, consumption is not completely prohibited in Bhutan so if you want to smoke, bring your own cigarettes and ask your guide where you can light up. (seal opened pack only)

Tuesdays are considered the national 'dry day,' with the sale of alcohol prohibited.

When taking photos/filming inside Dzongs, monasteries, temples, or any religious institutions, check with your guide whether it is permitted as some areas do not allow it

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