Rural Bhutan Tour
Rural Bhutan Tour is the perfect plan to witness villages and explore remote places. This tour takes us to the countryside of Bhutan where people are into farming, livestock’s having been following this living over the centuries. Bhutanese farmers are mostly smallholder farmers practicing a mixed farming system involving cattle rearing and cultivation of crops. These farmers survive their daily meals completely on farming and livestock. During the tour, we will visit villages and farmland, meet with local people, taste local foods, stay at their house, and observe their daily lives. We will also hike along beautiful natural trails, visit botanical gardens and farmers’ markets, and visit inspirational Himalayan monasteries and temples and overlook green valleys from high mountain tops. Bhutan is still untouched, once can still explore the pristine valleys and still 60 percent of the population practice agriculture and livestock, you will experience what you have not experienced before.
Day 1: Arrive Paro – Haa
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. Today we will drive to Haa at 2670 meters – the drive is around 3 hours and crosses the Chele La pass at 3800m from where you will have a view of Mount Jumolhari to the north as well as down to the Haa valley. Haa has only recently opened to tourists and the town is still very small – as yet there are only one or two basic restaurants and local lodges so the area remains quite remote. A great opportunity to view this beautiful rural scene. From Haa, you can walk to Katso village and from there you can visit Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo. Check into the farmhouse. Hoentay is a traditional Buckwheat dumpling special to the valley of Haa. Today we will have dinner with homestay family members.
After breakfast, you will travel to Thimphu through the picturesque villages of Jabana, Susuna, and Dogakha, where you will pay a visit to the Dobji Dzong, In Thimphu, you will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built-in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Buddha Point the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong), and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan. Overnight Homestay/Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu-Sight Seeing
After breakfast, 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. In the evening you can explore Thimphu freely and visit some interesting handicraft shops. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 04: Thimphu -Punakha
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). On the way, you can stop at Dochula pass (3,000m) to witness the Himalayan peaks and circumambulate the chorten. A 40 minute downhill hike through rhododendron forests will give you a breath of fresh air which you miss in the hustle-bustle of city life. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung 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. Here, you’ll also be able to try your hand at the traditional Bhutanese game of archery. Check into the farmhouse and prepare dinner with the family members of the homestay/farm stay and enjoy dinner with the local family.
Day 05: In Punakha/Wangdue (1310m) – Talo & Nobgang village visits
Today visit the villages of Talo and Nobgang, the home of the queen mother of Bhutan. After breakfast, drive up the hilly road towards the villages and upon reaching exploring around with some of the home visits to observe their daily lives, have a chat and tea with them. Then return back to the valley and also visit Richengang village near Wangdue. Overnight at Homestay
Day 06: Punakha/Wangdue – Samtengang village visit
Drive towards the village of Samtengang closer to Wangdue. Life here is still the same for ages and witnessing the daily lives of the farmers living in rural Bhutan. People here are always happy to see and welcome visitors. Overnight at Homestay/Hotel
Day 07: Samtengang – Gangtey (2320m) – Gangtey Nature trail & Phobijikha Valley Hike
Drive to Gangtey and upon arrival in Gangtey, proceed with the Gangtey Nature trail exploring around the beautiful Phobijikha Valley. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and the chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Overnight in Homestay.
Day 08: Gangtey – Paro
Re-trace the same route from Gangtey crossing over again the Dochula pass and proceed towards the Paro. Later drive to ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, 18 km from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Also visit Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and the most sacred shrines of the Kingdom. Evening visit to a traditional farmhouse which offers the opportunity to mingle with local people and to get an idea of their lifestyle. Later visit few Handicraft Souvenir shops. Overnight at the Homestay/hotel in Paro.
Day 09: 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. Hot-stone Bath- Hot stone bath is very unique to Bhutan and offers great medicinal values. In most cases, the bathtub is made of wood placed on a ground level in quite hut for privacy. A couple can get into one bathtub to soak. Enjoy the great ancient techniques of curing body ache, joint pain, and harness much other value. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 10: Depart Paro
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for a flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek!