Central Bhutan Hiking Tours
Bhutan being the most scenic place takes us through the country’s finest places crossing hills, meadows filled with wildflowers through the spectacular scenery. This hiking tour takes us around major western regions to explore natural and cultural highlights. This hiking tour gives an opportunity to connect with people and discover the rich and diverse heritage of Bhutan. We will explore villages, farms, monasteries, and ancients temples through our tour.
Day 1: 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 –Day hike To Cheri Monastery (2850m)
Today After early breakfast, drive up the valley towards north along Thim Chhu (river) for a short hike to Cheri Monastery. Cheri Monastery is a small monastery atop a hill with a view over the Thimphu Valley. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel built this monastery in 1620, and this is where the first community of monks in Bhutan was established. Our car will take us until Dodeda and from there will hike to Monastery. The hike will take about 1hr 20mins. Afterward, descend back retracing the same route keeping our eyes open for the goral (wild goat) often spotted on the cliffs nearby. Our car and driver will be waiting for you at the road end. After lunch we will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built-in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha 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:. Then stroll and explore around Thimphu town and do some shopping in Bhutan. overnight hotel 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 DRIVE TO PHOBJIKHA – VALLEY HIKING.
Drive along winding Himalayan mountain roads from Punakha via Wangdue to the high glacial valley of Phobjikha (3½ hrs, which is at an altitude of 2,800metres. Here you are likely to see grazing yaks. This valley has some idyllic-looking rural scenery and consists of a central marshland, winter home of the rare black-necked cranes, and farms where potatoes and other high-altitude crops are grown. Take an afternoon hike of 3 hours through the valley, alongside the pristine river, through forests and villages. Alternative option: cycle tour in the valley.
Day 05 PHOBJIKHA SIGHTSEEING- HIKE DRIVE TO TRONGSA
Visit Gangtey Monastery and the RSPN information center, to learn more about the black-necked crane.
Take a 3- 4 hour hike from Phobjikha towards the valley of Sephu and Rukubji. This is a fairly strenuous hike, which starts from above the Gangtey monastery and climbs for about 1½ – 2 hours to the Gyeche-La Pass, (3,580m), following the old routes before the road was built. From there you’ll head to Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300-meter-high Pele La, and at certain times of the year, it’s possible to see yaks. You can browse through the Trongsa shops and town in the afternoon. Overnight in Trongsa.
Day 6: Trongsa – Bumthang
In the morning you’ll visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, and you’ll also see Ta Dzong, the watchtower built to defend this dzong. After lunch, you’ll proceed to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, with lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way, you will stop at a yethra (textile weaving) factory, where the yethras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. The afternoon will be spent sightseeing in the area, including Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; the Udee woodcarving factory in Jakar; Jambey Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan; and Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, because Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. You can spend the evening strolling through Bumthang town. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 7: Bumthang-Day Excursion
Day excursion to Ura Valley. The road to Ura Valley is off the main road, and this enjoyable excursion will provide a nice view of the Jakar Dzong. You’ll make a stop in Ura village for lunch and will have a chance to visit the main temple and explore the village. Ura Village has a medieval look to it because of the cobblestone streets, and the typical clothing of the women includes a sheepskin shawl. On the way back to town, you will be taken to Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche’s treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discover Pema Lingpa. It’s a good place to meditate. You will also have a chance to tour Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings, and you will make a stop at the Swiss cheese factory. In the evening you can visit the local shops. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 8: Bumthang-Hike to Tharpaling Monastery
. Today you will hike to Tharpaling Monastery. You’ll begin the hike in the morning since this is a fairly lengthy hike–about three hours to the monastery. It’s a picturesque trail through the forest. The monastery itself is somewhat large, with several temples, and about 100 monks live in the nearby huts. From the monastery, you will have a beautiful view of Chumey Valley, and you can have a relaxing lunch while you take in the scenery. Bumthang consists of four valleys–Chumey, Choekhar, Tang, and Ura–with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000 meters. It is home to many prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries In the evening you can relax in the town. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 09:Bumthang-Paro by flight
This morning, we will transfer you to the airport to catch a 25-minute morning flight to Paro. When the flight lands, our local guide will pick you up at the arrival hall and then take you to the hotel for checking in. Then, we will continue visiting the round-shaped Ta Dzong, which once was a religious monastery but now serves as the National Museum. Next is the Paro Dzong, which stands on a steep cliff and is surrounded by the fascinating scenes of Paro Valley. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day 10: Paro – Day hike to Chelela Pass
Morning drives up to Chele La Pass through mixed forests offering panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayas. Enjoy a hike of approximately 3 hours up along the meadow to Kung Karpo La (4100m) enjoying breathtaking views on a clear day of the snowcapped mountains along the ridge that divides Paro and Haa valley. The short steep descent from the top will take us to the nunnery of Kila Gompa. Here the nuns, called anims, live a life of contemplation and seclusion, with daily prayer and spiritual practice. The temple itself is surrounded by numerous meditation huts, and many hidden caves lie inside the rocky cliffs. The gompa is surrounded by a lush forest dominated by tall firs. Sparkling mountain streams wind down the slopes, which are covered with a variety of wildflowers and plants. Kila Gompa is historically significant as a sacred meditation site. Many renowned Buddhist saints have come here to find peace and seclusion. The main temple houses ancient statues of Chenrezig (Avalokiteswara) and Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) among others. The walk down from here to the road is lined with small white chortens and it will take us about an hour. In Paro.
Day 11: Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3120m)
After breakfast drive towards the base camp of Taktsang for the hike up to the Taktsang Monastery-Tiger’s Nest. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 meters above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. The cave is said to be the origin of Buddhism in Bhutan. In the afternoon drive to the almost fully reconstructed Drukgyel Dzong. In fine weather, the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit other sights in Paro valley. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 12: Depart Paro
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for a flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek!