Bumdrak Trek –07 Days
This is the shortest available trek in Bhutan. This trek starts from Sanga Choekor Lhakhang which is a Buddhist college. After an hour or so hike from the college, Chhoe Tse Lhakhang is reached. Bumdra trek gives an opportunity to get blessed in two of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Bhutan; Bumdra monastery and the Tiger’s Nest giving out the lovely views of the Himalayan range. Lush greenery will always accompany you throughout your trek. However, camping near the Bumdra monastery in full comfort with amazing views of the hills, mountains, and forests is just breathtaking. The literal meaning of Bumdra is “Rock of One Hundred Thousand Footprints”. It has its name from the legend that says one hundred thousand dakinis (angels) descended here and left their footprints on a rock 800 years ago.
Day 01: Arrive Paro
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. If you arrive via Kathmandu, which offers the most breathtaking view of the range, it’s possible to see Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga as well.
Upon arrival in Paro, you will be greeted by our representative, in the afternoon you can visit the Paro Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the Dzongs (forts) currently.
You can then tour the National Museum, formerly the watchtower for the Dzong. It now houses a collection of fine arts, paintings, thangkas, statues, and antiques. Afterward, you will visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. Later in the evening, drive to Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimphu Sightseeing
After breakfast, you will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built-in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Buddha Point, Changangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong), and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan: From there you will visit the nunnery temple, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts), and the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school). After a relaxing lunch, you will visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a traditional paper factory, the majestic Tashichodzong. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha (1310m) – Chimi Lhakhang short hike
After breakfast, Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 2 hrs total driving time). Take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Then drive to Punakha. Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’
Day 04: Punakha – Khamsum Chorten hike – Paro (2250m)
After breakfast, hike up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyel Chorten erected by the Royal queen mother for the purpose of the present king in 2002. It offers a great view of the lower valley. Later drive to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built-in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 05: Paro-Bumdrak (Trek Starts)
After an early breakfast, we will drive to Paro, Sang Choekor, where our trekking crewmembers will be waiting for us. Our trek will start from here to Bumdra. Bumdra, which is blessed by 100,000 dakinies. Little above the place, we can also see a rock which is supposed to be Guru Rinpoche’s Hat, and underneath the Hat, there is the room where we can meditate and get the blessings from Guru Rinpoche. The First 3-4 hours are spent by a steep climb in the forest. Lunch will be served at the small temple of Chechemhen in 3640m with nice views of Paro valley. After a short final climb, the trail will get gentle, ascending slowly up. At Sang Chhoekhor, we can also visit Sang Chhoekhor Lhakhang, which is a Buddhist College. The trek to Bumdra for about the first 1-2hrs walk will be the ascent of a shady, forested ridge, brings us to a clearing with prayer flags and views down into both the Paro and Do Chhu Valleys. Above and ahead the Chhoe Tse Lhakhang (temple) nestles on the mountainside a further one to two hour’s walk away. The trail undulates before the last steep section up to the pretty temple, which offers commanding views south over Paro and northwards to the snowcapped Himalayas.
After a final 20-minute climb through ruins and fluttering prayer flags, we plunge back into an ancient forest, and, after traversing for about 40 minutes, we come out onto a high wide meadow dotted with sacred chortens and prayer flags. Our home for the night is tucked away just under Bumdra Monastery (Cave of a Hundred Thousand Prayers) and offers unimpeded views of the Himalayan range. After lunch, we can visit the monastery and meditate there for the whole afternoon. Dinner and overnight stay at Bumdra camp (3800m)
Day 06. Bumdrak – Taktshang – Paro (Trek Ends)
After our breakfast, we will start our trek to Paro via Taktshang Monastery. After one to two hours of descent, we catch glimpses of the golden roofs of temples below. The path snakes across the mountainside between these monasteries before reaching the gardens of Sangtopelri (Heaven on Earth) from which you can bravely peer the over edge and straight down onto the ornate rooftops of Taktsang Monastery perched against the cliff-face far below. An hour later and we are at the gates of Taktsang looking across the gorge; a steep descent to a waterfall then up some steps and we are passing into Tiger’s Nest itself.
Lunch will be served as a picnic hot lunch. Retracing our steps we begin the final descent of about 1hr to reach our vehicle and drive back to Paro. overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 07: Depart Paro
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for a flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek!