Gangkar Puensum Trek (Bumthang)

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GANGKAR PUENSUM TREK (BUMTHANG)19DAYS/18NIGHTS

TB 20150505 Laya Lingshi

This trip takes you from west to the central part of Bhutan, combined with the Gangkar Puensum Trek (one of the less frequented treks in the country).  Gangkar Puensum (the highest unclimbed mountain in the world) and the surrounding valleys are rarely visited by trekkers, and by Himalayan standards a visit to the area is a wild experience. This trek leads to Gangkar Puensum’s southeast face and back either via the same route or by traversing Thole La. Duration: 19Days/18Nights. Total trek distance: 152kms. Maximum Altitude: 4,732m. Grade: Demanding/Strenuous.

Trekking Habits

On a typical trek day, we will be woken at 6:00 am, by member of a camp crew binging bed tea 9in your tent), followed shortly by a bowl of hot washing water. By 7:00 am, when breakfast is ready, we will have packed ready for the day’s activity (day pack, and the main luggage). We leave with our guide just before the camp crew at 8:00 am and spent the rest of the day at an unhurried but steady pace. We stop for about an hour for lunch, which will be carried by a camp crew and continue for our next campsite. The crew will break down the tents, load the horses, overtake us and have the new camp ready for our arrival. A hot drink will be ready when we arrive, followed by wash water and our evening meal. After dinner, we discuss for the following day with our guide before retiring to bed. This will sound familiar to anyone who has trekked in Nepal, the main difference being that camp crew is much smaller in Bhutan and there are no tea houses along the way.

*Note: Use designated campsites only approved by the Tourism council of Bhutan. No campfires and cooking fires at the campsites. Usage of LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is mandatory for cooking. Pack out solid waste (pack it in and pack it out), should not bring out flora and fauna produce, respect the nature and culture of the area. Most trekking routes are in the National Parks and Reserves.

 Fitness

 It is essential that participants undertake regular walking and hiking in the months leading up to the start of the Tour so that you can enjoy to the full what this trip offers. The itinerary gives an indication of distances and elevations involved. Previous experience of multi-day trekking as well as extended periods of camping of over 3,000m is preferable.

Acclimatization

Every effort has been made to allow gradual acclimatization to the altitude, but this is a factor which is unpredictable for anyone. Many folks have their own ideas about how to combat the effects of altitude and we always carry Diamox (Acetazolamide) with us and use it if we feel the need. If you plan to use such a drug for the first time, visit your doctor well in advance of the trip and ensure that you have a trail at home so that you understand what the effects is on you before administering it at height. If anyone were to suffer bad reaction to altitude and need to lose height the trek route allows us to do so at certain points of the trek. 

Weather

At valley floor conditions are likely to be humid, becoming so as we rise towards the tree line. We all appreciate that mountain weather is unpredictable, and difficult to forecast in areas we visit rarely but our experiences us that one should expect rain at some point on most days, that snow may fall on high passes but not lie long, on sunny, clear periods, usually from dawn into the mornings, when encountered, afford stunning views, memories and pictures.

Day1: Arrive in Paro, Bhutan

The flight into Bhutan takes you over the Himalayas, offering glimpses of the highest glacial peaks. On arrival at the airport, after immigration and custom formalities, your local guide-for the whole trip, will receive and transfer you to the hotel.

After check-in and refreshments, visit the National Museum housed in a 17th century watch tower which will serve as a great introduction to Bhutan before you delve deeper into the country.

Then visit the Rinpung Dzong, the medieval provincial capital fortress the watch tower protected for three hundred years of civil strife. Then take a short walk down to the cantilever bridge connecting the dzong to the Paro town.

O/N at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day2: Paro Halt

After breakfast, before the sun gets too hot, hike to Taktsang (literally translated as Tiger’s Nest). Built in 1600’s, this incredible monastery/temple clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900mts into the valley below. The history states that Guru Rinpoche, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress. Looking at the monastery/temple flying tigress does not seem so impossible after all.

The trail to the monastery/temple climbs through pine and rhododendron forest, lichens overhanging from the trees above notifies that you are walking amidst pristine forest surrounded with clean, fresh air without any pollution. It takes 5 hours in total to hike and visit the shrines inside.

Visit the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, in the northern corner of the valley dominating the Drukgyal village. On a clear day, you can view the Jumolhari mountain (7,315m).

On the way back, visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, founded by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to overcome a giant ogress who was lying over the Himalayas preventing the spread of Buddhism. Songtsen Gampo is said to have built 108 of these temples.

O/N at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day3: Paro-Thimphu 58kms, 1.5 hours drive

Proceed to Thimphu, the capital city. With a population of 100,000, it is like no other capital city-the valley is unique, displaying harmony of tradition and modernity. There are no traffic lights and policemen direct traffic at intersections. Yet it is the biggest city in the country and seat of the government as well as the main hub of commerce in the country.

Others sites along the route include 15th century Tamchog Lhakhang, three types of Buddhist Stupas and Semtokha Dzong, a 17th century fortress.

In thimphu, visit the National Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in memory of the third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, lovingly known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. It is a rare stupa that has an inner sanctum of temples. A very popular religious monument in the city, there are always throngs of devotees circumambulating or turning the giant prayer wheels.

Next visit the Institute of Traditional Medicine, where the ancient art of Bhutanese healing system called Sowa Rigpa is still practiced. The institute has an exhibition room that imparts excellent look into the tradition.

Then visit the School of Arts and Crafts, which offers 4-8 years of rigorous course in the techniques of traditional art in religious and secular paintings, woodcarvings, clay sculptures, weaving and embroidery. In the evening, visit the Tashichoedzong, the summer seat of the Je Khenpo-the Abbot, and the central monastic body, it houses the Golden Throne of the King and His Majesty’s office.

O/n at Hotel in Thimphu. Elevation: 2,320m.

Day4: Thimphu-Punakha

In the morning, drive to Kuenselphodrang to see the giant Buddha (169ft/51m), the site offers spectacular views of the Thimphu city. Next visit the Takin Preserve, which showcases the National Animals, the Takin, along with few species of Deer and some mountain goats.

Then proceed to Punakha valley, over the spectacular Dochula Pass (3,150m), beautifully decorated with the Druk Wangyal Chortens (108 stupas), and the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang located on a hillock above.  On a clear day the pass heralds the most enchanting view of Bhutan’s Himalayan peaks including the highest unclimbed mountain in the world, Gangkar Puensum (24,835ft/7,560m).

An hour and half from here brings you to Lobesa, where we stop for a short hike to Chimmi Lhakhang, a popular destination for fertility including foreigners.

In the afternoon, visit the massive Punakha Dzong, built in the 17th century, right at the confluence of the two rivers the Pho Chhu (male) and the Mo Chhu (female).

O/N at Hotel in Punakha. Elevation: 1,280m.

Day5: Punakha-Bumthang

Today, we are driving further east into Trongsa and then into Bumthang, the road passes by the old town of Wangdiphodrang and then follows the Dang Chhu uphill passing fields of rice plantations and farmhouses clinging from hillsides. Suddenly, the road disappears into the cool broadleaf forest rising to our next pass Pele La Pass (3,300m), after the pass the road drops down into Longtey and Longmey villages before reaching the Chendebji Chorten, built in Nepalese style with eyes painted on the four cardinal directions. It is another good hour and half to Trongsa.

Visit the Heritage Museum, housed in the 300 year old watch tower, which displays the Crown of the first king, Ugyen Wangchuck, and many other artifacts.

After lunch, continue your journey over the Yotong La Pass (3,400m) before descending to Chumey, the first of the four valleys of Bumthang.

O/N at Hotel in Bumthang. Elevation: 2,665m.

Day6: Bumthang Halt

Todat, we spend the day visiting the highlights of the Choekor valley. We start with the visit to the Jamba Lhakhang, a 7th century temple, built along with the Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. Next visit the Kurjey Lhakhang, where in the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche meditated and left his body imprint on the rock, whereby subduing Shelging Karpo, the local deity and restoring Sindhu Raja’s vital forces.

Then take a short walk over the Chamkhar Chhu on a suspension bridge to Tamshing, a 15th century temple, where Pema Lingpa’s traditions are still practiced.

Drive to Mebar Tsho (Flaming Lake), one of the sacred pilgrimage sites, where the great treasure discoverer Pema Lingpa extracted the hidden treasures.

In the evening pack up for the trek that starts tomorrow.

O/n at Hotel in Bumthang. Elevation: 2,665m.

 

 Day7. Dhur to Gorsum 18kms, 6-7 hours, 380m ascent.

The trek starts today we drive for 12kms on a farm road from our hotel to the trek start point, where we meet the crew and the horsemen. After handing over our luggage to the crew, we start our trek on a gradual uphill following the valley of the Yoleng Chhu, which is famous for its trout. The trail goes through pine forest and then bamboo shrub as you near the campsite at Gorsum.

O/N at Camp/Tent. Camp Elevation: 3,120m.

Day8. Gorsum to Lungsum. 12kms, 5 hours, 40m ascent.

The route travels through a forest of cypress, juniper, spruce, hemlock and maple. The trail is quite muddy and climbs gradually to the camp at Lungsum.

O/N at Camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 3,160m.

Da10. Lungsum to Tashisa. 14kms, 5-6 hours, 900m ascent.

The trail climbs gradually to Kurpang 3530m (an optional campsite), and climbs up till the junction of the Dhur Tshachhu trail then making a left turn ascending to the campsite of Tashisa 4060m, with some yak herders hut on the other side of the river.

O/N at Camp/Tent. Cam elevation: 4,060m.

Day11. Tashisa to Solang Chhu. 14kms, 6-7 hours, 660m ascent, 310m descent.

The trail gradually ascends from the camp and after an hour the ascend of the day starts which is steep making switchbacks to the left side of the river to the pass Thole La 4732m. There are views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks from the pass. The trail drops gradually from here just below the Solong Chhu (Thole Tsho) 4,420m, the campsite is just below the lake.

O/N at Camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 4,380m.

Day12. Solang Chhu to Tsawaa. 16kms, 5-6 hours, 640m descent.

The trail descents slowly down the valleys crossing many small ridges, passing some yak herders camp and then finally descending to the Chamkhar Chhu. Across the Chamkhar Chhu is the Tsampa camp with an army outpost. Another 2kms beyond is the small settlement of Tsawwa 3780m.

O/n at camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 3,780m.

Day13. Tsawaa to Bamurpo. 20kms, 7 hours, 650m ascent.

Half an hour from the camp, the trail ascends steeply for about 60-70m bringing you to a mani wall, here the forest thins out at 3900m. Another 30m beyond is a sulphur-based water source, where the trail changes into gravels and rocks making it tiring for walking. The trail passes some settlement’s, which are located on the either sides of the Chamkar Chhu, crossing a small log bridge you enter the settlement of Bamaurpo 4,430m.

O/N at Camp/tent. Camp elevation: 4,430m.   

Day14. Bamurpo Halt.

Sunrise is late around 8am but there are many hiking opportunities from Bamurpo. Explore the ridges around the Gangkar Puensum 7546m, the highest peak of Bhutan, and the highest unclimbed massif in the world. Gangkar Puensum is the source of three major rivers: the Kuri Chhu, Chamkar Chhu and Mangde Chhu.

O/N at Camp/tent. Camp elevation: 4,060m.

Day15. Bamurpo to Tsampa. 22.5kms, 8 hours, 755m descent.

This is the same as day 06, but in reverse, and a little longer to reach the camp at Tsampa 3675m. There is an army out-post at Tsampa where you can collect information about snow conditions, you will also need to register your permit with the army.

O/n at Camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 3,675m.

Day16. Tsampa to Gophu/Petsho. 15kms, 5-6 hours, 406m descent.

It’s a full day of descending to the camp but very gradually crossing side streams and log bridges will bring you to Gophu 3269m, another three hours downstream is the optional camp at Petsho 3030m.

O/N at camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 3,030m.

Day17. Gomphu/Petsho to  Khakthang. 19kms, 130m descent.

Two hours downhill is the Sadukum (2955m) bridge built in a Bhutanese style, do not cross it, the trail on the other side leads to a diversion to Tsampa uphill. Another 30mins, downhill takes you to Khakthang army camp and further down to Zhabjethang, where the transport will pick you up and drive to the hotel.  

O/N at Hotel in Bhumthang.  Elevation: 2,665m.

Day18: Bumthang-Thimphu 268kms, 10 hours drive

Today we have a long day of driving to Thimphu over three major passes, Yotongla pass (3,400m), Pelela Passs (3,300m0, and the Dochula Pass (3,150m). Since we are back tracking the road to Thimphu we won’t be visiting any places rather than driving.

O/N at Hotel in Thimphu. Elevation: 2,320m.

Day19. Thimphu-Paro-Departure

After an early breakfast transfer to Paro International Airport for departure.

TASHI DELEK!

 

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Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

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DAGALA THOUSAND LAKES TREK (10DAYS/9NIGHTS)

TB 20150120 Mountain Biking

This trip is combined with the Dagala thousand Lakes Trek and visit to some of the sacred temples and massive fortresses (dzongs) of the country. A short trek near Thimphu, to a large number of lovely, high- altitude lakes (far fewer than the name suggests).

Total distance: 37kms. Grade: Medium. Altitude gain: 2,381m. Altitude loss: 2,381m. Best Season: April, September-October.

Trekking Habits

On a typical trek day, we will be woken at 6:00 am, by a member of the camp crew bringing bed tea (into your tent), followed shortly by a bowl of hot washing water. By 7:00 am, when breakfast is ready, we will have packed ready for the day’s activity (day pack and main luggage). We leave with our guide just before the camp crew at 8:00 am, and spent the rest of the day at an unhurried but steady pace. We stop for about an hour for lunch, which will be carried by camp crew and continue for the next campsite. The crew will break down the tents, load the horses, overtake us and have the camp ready for our arrival. A hot drink will be ready when we arrive, followed by wash water and our evening meal. After dinner, we will discuss for the following day with our guide before retiring to bed. This will sound familiar to anyone who has trekked in Nepal, the main difference being that camp crew is smaller in Bhutan and there are no tea houses along the way.

*Note: Use designated campsites only approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. No campfires and cooking fires at the campsites. Usage of LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is mandatory for cooking. Pack out solid waste (pack it in and pack it out), should not bring out flora and fauna produce, respect the nature and the culture of the area. Most trekking routes are in the National Parks and Reserves.

Fitness

It is essential that participants undertake regular walking and hiking in the months leading up to the start of the Tour so that you can enjoy to the full what the trip offers. The itinerary gives an indication of distances and elevations involved. Previous experiences of multi-day trekking as well as extended periods of camping over 3,000m is preferable.

Acclimatization

Every effort has been made to allow gradual acclimatization to altitude, but this is a factor which is unpredictable for anyone. Many folks have their own ideas of how to combat the effects of altitude and we always carry Diamox (Acetazolamide) with us and use it if we feel the need. If you plan to use such a drug for the first time, visit your doctor well in advance of the trip and ensure that you have a trail at home so that you understand the effects on you before administering at height. If anyone were to suffer bad reaction to altitude, and need to lose height the route of the trek allows us to do so at certain points of the trek.

Weather

At valley floor conditions are likely to be humid, even hot on sunny day, becoming less as we rise towards the tree line. We all appreciate that mountain weather is unpredictable, and difficult in areas we visit only rarely but our experience is that we should expect some rain at some point on most days, that snow may fall on high passes but not lie long, and that sunny, clear periods, usually from dawn into the mornings, when encountered, afford stunning views, memories and pictures.

Day1: Arrive in Paro, Bhutan

The flight to Bhutan takes you over the Himalayas, offering glimpse of the highest glacial peaks. On arrival at the airport, after immigration and custom formalities, your local guide-for the whole trip, will receive and transfer you to your hotel.

After check-in and refreshments/lunch, start exploring the Paro district. Visit the National Museum housed in a 17th century watch tower which will serve as a great introduction to Bhutan before you delve deeper into the country.

Then visit the Rinpung Dzong, the medieval provincial capital fortress the watch tower protected for three hundred years of civil strife. Then take a short walk down to the Cantilever bridge over Nyemi zampa, which connects the dzong to the valley.

O/N at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day2: Paro Halt

After breakfast, before the sun gets too hot, hike up to Taktsang (literally translated as tiger’s Nest), it is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in the world. Guru Rinpoche arrived to Taktsang riding on the back of a tigress, flying from Khenpajong in eastern Bhutan. It takes about two hours to climb up on a steep footpath through beautiful pine forest festooned with lichens (old man’s beard), and an hour to visit the shrines inside and another hour and half to descend down back to the car park.

After the hike, visit the ruins of Drukgyal dzong, at the northern corner of the valley, on a clear day Mt. Jumolhari (7,315m) is visible in the far north. On the way back, visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, a 7th century temple founded by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. Legend has it that he built 108 of these temples throughout the Himalayas to overcome a giant ogress who was trying to stop the spread of Buddhism n the Himalayan region.

O/N at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day3. Paro-Geynikha to Geynizampa. 3kms, 1-1.5 hours, 150m ascend, 150m descent.

Drive from Paro to the Geynikha primary school, where the horses and the crew meet you. And start the trek in the afternoon, start along the road for few meters, then leave the road and follow the trail that leads straight and level for half a kilometer to a chorten and through the Geynikha village. Descend down to Chokosen Chhu, and follow it down to a chorten with an excellent campsite in a forest of blue pines alongside the Geynitsang Chhu.

 O/N in Camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 2,800m.

Day4. Genizampa to Gur. 5kms, 4 hours, 550m ascent, 60m descent.

After crossing the suspension bridge, the trail turns south along the east side of the Geynitsang Chhu (river left) to a side stream, the Dolungu Chhu.  Cross the stream on a log bridge and start uphill on an eroded trail through an oak forest. The trail is used only by the yak herders, wood cutters and a handful of trekkers, but it was once a major trading route between Thimphu and Dagana. One can still see the walls, well crafted stone staircases and other developments along the route. A long climb leads to an outstanding lookout point at 3,220m. Another gentle climb brings you to the top of a ridge 3.550m, from here the trail slowly descends to the campsite at Gur 3,290m.

 O/N in Camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 3,290m.

Day5. Gur to Labatama. 12kms, 5 hours, 1140m ascent, 110m descent.

After climbing back from the camp to the main trail the route continues gently up the ridge on a wide track.  The trail crosses a stream at 3,870m and begins a long gentle climb through scattered birches and rhododendrons towards the pass, weaving in and out of side valleys and crossing several tiny streams.  At Pangalabtsa, a small pass marked by cairns at 4,250m, there is spectacular view of the whole Dagala Range. Descend from the pass to the first yak herders camp at 4,170m down into the main valley floor, climb beside a stream to Labatama camp at 4,300m near Utsho Tsho Lake, known for its golden trout’s.

O/N at Camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 4,300m.

Day6. Labatama to Kiwi Tsowa . 11kms, 6 hours, 260m ascent, 520m descent.

There are two possible routes and the pack animals take the lower one. The trekking route is not well marked and is more of a cross country traverse.  The trail climbs along the western side of the Dajatsho Lake to a saddle at 4,520m, where there are great views of Jumolhari and Kanchenjunga. If you opt for a better view, climb up to the peak 4,720m to the east. From the pass the trail descends past several yak herder’s camp to the Dochha Chhu, rejoining the trail at about 4,200m. Follow the trail as it climbs over three ridges and descends to Pankha. Several short climbs follow in and out of minor valleys to Kiwi Tsowa.

O/N in Camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 4,030m.

Day7. Pankha to Talakha. 8kms, 6 hours, 180m ascent, 1100m descent.

The route leads north to a crest at 4,100m where several trails lead off in different directions. The trail to Talakha climbs steeply up a slate slope to the ruins of a house. It’s then a long traverse to Tale La at 4,180m. From here, there is a view of the Dagala range and of Thimphu, far to the north. It is then a long descent through bamboo forest to the Goemba at Talakha 3,800m.

O/N in Camp/Tent. Camp elevation: 3,800m.

Day8. Talakha to Chamgang. 6kms, 3 hours, 440m descent.

There is a steep eroded trail that leads to Simtokha, but there are numerous fences surrounding apple orchards along the way and there is no longer a direct route. It’s best to walk three hours down the road, with few short cuts to avoid switchbacks, to Chamgang at 2,600m to meet your vehicle and drive to the hotel.

O/N at Hotel in Thimphu. Elevation: 2,320m.

Day9: Thimphu Halt

Today we spend the day visiting the highlights of Thimphu, the sites include:

. The National Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in memory of the third King, His Late Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

. The giant Buddha at Kuenselphodrang (169ft/51m).

. Takin Preserve, which showcases the National Animal along with few species of deer and some mountain goats.

. Institute of traditional Medicine, where the ancient art of Bhutanese healing system called sowa rigpa is still practiced. The institute has an exhibition room that imparts excellent look into the tradition.

. School of Arts and Crafts, the school provides 3-8 years of training in the techniques of traditional art in religious and secular paintings, woodcarvings, clay sculptures, weaving and embroidery.

. Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, to see the traditional way of making papers from bark of Daphne plants. Bhutan in ancient days was the biggest supplier of paper in the Himalayan region for printing religious scriptures and prayers.

. Textile Museum established in 2000, this is one theme museums in the city. It is dedicated to the rich skill of Bhutanese weaver, primarily women. The museum has good collection of samples including rare pieces and antiques, some belonging to the royal family.

Later in the evening, visit the Tashichoedzong, the summer residence of the je khenpo-the Head Abbot, and the central monastic body, it houses some ministries, the Golden Throne and the office of His Majesty the King.

O/N at Hotel in Thimphu. Elevation: 2,320m.

Day10: Thimphu-Paro Departure

Your trip to the mystical country ends today, after an early breakfast transfer to the airport for your onward destination.

TASHI DELEK!

 

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Bhutan “Shangri La” Multisport Tour

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Bhutan “Shangri La” Multisport Tour

Hike, bike, raft and experience the culture of this mystical Buddhist Kingdom.

Bhutan, nestled in the heart of the great Himalaya, has for centuries remained aloof from the rest of the world. Since its doors were opened in 1974 visitors have been mesmerized: the environment is pristine, the scenery and architecture awesome and the people hospitable and charming-the real life  “Shangri La”. 

Duration: 12 Days, 11 Nights.

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Day 1. Arrive in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Welcome to Bhutan, the ancient Buddhist Kingdom where the country’s success is measured by the attainment of Gross National Happiness! It is a land of unearthly beauty and ancient tradition where art and spirituality permeate everyday life. 

You are met on arrival at the Paro airport by our representative and your guide, who will take you  to the town for lunch and later drive to Thimphu (7,600ft), the capital of Bhutan.

With a population of 100,000, Thimphu is the largest city in Bhutan and a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity.  There are no traffic lights and police still direct traffic with elaborate hand gestures, yet it is the seat of the government and the country’s main commercial centre. At dinner your guide will brief you on your upcoming adventure.

  • Airport to Paro town-15 minutes.

Paro to thimphu-1.5 hours

Day 2. Thimphu Sightseeing.

  • We spend this morning visiting Thimphu’s highlights including the Institute of  Traditional Medicine, where the ancient art of Bhutanese healing system called sowa Rigpa is till practiced.
  • The School of Traditional Arts and Crafts, which offers courses in the techniques of tradirional art in religious and secular paintings, wood carving, clay sculpture and embroidery.
  • Textile Museum, estd. In 2000, it is dedicated to the rich skill of Bhutanese weaver, primarily women. The museum has a good collection of samples including rare pieces and antiques, some belonging to the royal family.

Jungshi Handmade Paper factory, to see the traditional way of making papers from the bark of Daphne plants. Bhutan in ancient days was the biggest supplier of paper in the Himalayan region for printing religious scriptures and prayers. 

All of which gives an introduction to the development of Bhutanese art and its relation to daily life.

In the afternoon, we hop on our bikes and ride to Dodena (the base ofTango/ Cheri Goemba) 16 kms from the town centre, our bike ride ends back at the town square.

  • All bike rides on the tour are van supported, if you get tired you can ride in the van.
  • Thimphu tour
  • Bike to Dodena (the base of Tango/Cheri Goemba)-16 kms, mixed roads.

Day 3. Thimphu to Punakha Valley (Camping).

  • This morning we drive to the beautiful Punakha valley (4,124ft) over the spectacular Dochula Pass (10,300 ft) where on a clear day we can see the entire range of the inner Himalayas including the highest unclimbed mountain in the world, 24,835 ft Gangkar Puensum.
  • Visit the magnificent Punakha dzong with its lovely temples and excellent examples of Bhutanese art,
  • Hike north along the river past rice fields and farm houses to the village of Samdingkha where we camp for the night. All camping gears are provided including tents, sleeping bags and pads.
  • Thimphu to Punakha-2.5hours.
  • Hike to Samdingkha-2.5 hours.

Day 4. Rafting the Pho Chhu River.

In the morning we explore Samdingkha village and then its time to hit to hit the river! We ride the Lower Pho Chhu (Male river) with plenty of Class 3 white water.

From our start at Samdingkha the river meanders through a wide valley for 2.5 miles until the white water fun begins at “Strainers Paradise”, a classic boulder choke. From here there are nice wave trains until the finale at “Wrathful Buddha”, just below the longest foot bridge in Bhutan.

  • After rafting, we check-in at our local hotel and then we’re off on a short hike past farms and paddy fields to Chimed Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to the divine Madman and a popular destination for fertility blessings including foreigners.
  • Raft Pho Chhu River-Class 3, 2 hours. Children under 12 not permitted.
  • Hike to Chimed Lhakhang-an hour for visiting and back.

Day 5. Punakha Valley to Bumthang.

This morning we’re on the road to Bumthang (8,600 ft), the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. The road takes you through the cool broadleaf forest , climbing to Pelela Pass ((11,154 ft), covered in rhododendrons and magnolia’s which will be in bloom if you are visiting in the spring. After the pass, the road descends through the Longtey and Longmey villages, passing by the Chendebji village with its stupa adorned with giant Buddha eyes. The forest on the other side of the river is the Black Mountains, part of the jigme Singye National Park, home to the endangered golden langur. Another hour of drive will bring you to Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan.

  • Visit the Trongsa Dzong, the seat of power of the Wangchuck dynasty that has ruled Bhutan since 1907, built on a mountain spur high above the gorge of the Mangde Chhu, it controlled east-west trade for centuries.
  • After lunch proceed to Bumthang over the Yotongla Pass through some of Bhutan’s most beautiful landscapes.
  • Punakha to Bumthang=7 hours.

Day 6. Bumthang Sightseeing.

We tour the valley on our bikes and visit the Jampa Lhakhang, the palace where the first Tantric Buddhist sermon was preached in Bhutan by Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche, in the 8th century A.D.

  • Then bike to kurje Lhakhang, the temple that houses the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche along with stunning frescoes and statues. 
  •  Continue on your bike to visit the Tamshing Lhakhang on the other side of the river.
  • In the afternoon bike to Mebar Tsho (the Flaming Lake), one of Bhutan’s most important pilgrimage sites.

Bike tour up to 17 miles; mixed roads-paved 14 miles, dirt 3 miles, Van supported.

Day 7. Bumthang to Phobjikha.

Today we drive over the Pelela Pass (11,154 ft) to the hidden gem of the Phobjikha valley (9,000 ft), a nirvana of small temples and idyllic villages set in thickets of dwarf bamboo. In winter is home to the rare Black Necked Cranes (Grus Nigri Collis) which migrates here from Tibet and China.

In Trongsa, visit the Heritage Museum, housed in the ancient Watch Tower of the Trongsa Dzong.

  • Bumthang to Phobjikha-5.5 hours.

Day 8. Explore Phobjikha valley on foot and bike.

In the morning, look around for the black necked cranes, hike up to the Gangtey monastery using the Nature Trail (4.1 kms) which will take hour an half, then visit the Gangtey  Sangnacholing Monastery, founded in the 17th century, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.

  • Then explore the valley on your bikes, approximately 12 miles of dirt road ( bike rides supported by van).

Day 9. Phobjikha to Thimphu.

After breakfast, we are back on the road to Dochula Pass where we stop for lunch before starting our hike to the Hongtsho village and Lhakhang.

After the hike, jump on your bikes and ride down to the Thimphu city.

  • This evening we enjoy a private performance by a local dance troupe performing a mix of tribal and traditional folk dances.
  • Hike to Hongtsho village-5 miles,

Hongtsho to Thimphu biking-45 minutes.

Day 10. Bike to Paro.

This morning we are back on our bikes for the pretty ride to Paro, the same route we drove on Day 1. It’s a leisurely descent on a paved road following the Wang Chhu downstream to its confluence with the Pa Chhu where the road gradually ascends again before leveling off into Paro town.

Sights along the way include the 15th century Tamchog Lhakhang.

  • Later in the afternoon visit the Rinpong dzong.
  • Bike Thimphu to Paro 40 miles, paved road, 3 hours, elevation gain 200 ft,/loss 320 ft.

Day 11. Hike to Taktsang and Paro Tour.

In the morning, hike to Taktsang (literally translated as Tiger’s Nest), it takes 5 hours for going up, visiting the temple and coming down.

On the way back, visit the Drukgyal Dzong, which is in ruins, then visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, a 7th century Buddhist temple built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.

  • This evening we have our farewell dinner at the Yuelling Restaurant, one of the best in Paro.
  • Hike to Taktsang 5 hours.
  • Paro Tour.

Day 12. End of Adventure

  • Your adventure into the mystical Kingdom of Bhutan ends today with transfers to Paro airport.
  • Transfer to airport-15 minutes.

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Tashi Delek!       

  

Snowman Trek

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Snowman Trek 30Days/29Nights

TB 20150505 Snowman Trek

Snowman Trek 30Days/29Nights

Trek info: Duration: 25 Days 24 Nights. Grade: Strenuous. Maximum Elevation: 5320m.                                                 

Known to be the “World’s Toughest Trek”.  The combination of distance, altitude, remoteness and weather makes this a tough journey. Fewer than half the people who attempt this trek actually finish it, either because of problems with altitude or heavy snowfall on the high passes. This trek goes through some of the remote villages of Laya and Lunana, providing great views of the snow-capped mountains. Trekkers have the opportunity to spot the Takins, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Black Bear, Marmots and many yaks and yak herders. This trip is one of the longest combined with the “World’s toughest Trek”, lasting 30Days/29Nights.

Trekking habits

On a typical trek day, we will be woken up at 6:00 am, by a member of the camp crew bringing a bed tea (in your tent), followed shortly by a bowl of hot washing water. By 7:00 am, when breakfast is ready, we will have packed ready for the day’s activity (day pack and main luggage). We leave with our guide just before the camp crew at 8:00 am and spent the rest of the day at an unhurried but steady pace. We stop for about an hour for lunch, which will be carried by a camp crew and continue to our next campsite. The crew will break down the tents, load the horses, overtake us and have the new camp ready for our arrival. A hot drink will be ready when we arrive, followed by wash water and our evening meal. After dinner, we discuss for the following day with our guide before retiring to our bed. This will sound familiar to anyone who has trekked in Nepal, the main difference being that camp crew is much smaller and there are no tea houses along the way.

*Note: Use designated campsite only approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. No campfires and cooking fires at the campsites. Usage of LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is mandatory for cooking. Pack out solid waste (pack it in and pack it out), should not bring out flora and fauna products, respect the nature and culture of the area. Most trekking routes are in the National Parks and Reserves.    

Fitness

 It is essential that participants undertake regular walking and hiking in the months leading up to start of the Tour so that you can enjoy up to the full what the trek offers. The itinerary gives an indication of distances and elevations involved. Previous experience of multi-day trekking as well as extended periods of camping in mountains over 3,000mts is preferable.

Acclimatization

Every effort has been made to allow gradual acclimatization to altitude, but this is a factor unpredictable for anyone, even those who have performed well on past trips. On this trip we camp over 4,700m and sometimes at 5,000m so this must be borne in mind. Many folk have their own ideas how to combat the effects of altitude and we always carry Diamox (Acetazolamide) with us and use it if we feel the need.

 If you plan to use such a drug for the first time, visit your doctor well in advance of the trip and ensure that you have a trail at home so that you understand what the effects is on you before administering at height. If anyone where to suffer a bad reaction to altitude and need to lose height the route of the trek allows us to do so at certain points of the trek.

Weather

 At valley floor conditions are likely to be humid, even hot on sunny days, becoming less so as we rise towards the tree line. We all appreciate that mountain weather is unpredictable, and difficult to forecast in areas we visit only rarely but our experience is that one should experience rain at some point on most days, that snow may fall on high passes but not lie long, and that sunny, clear periods, usually from dawn into the mornings, when encountered, afford stunning views, memories and pictures.

Day1: Arrive in Bhutan

The flight into Bhutan takes you over the Himalayas, offering glimpse of the highest glacial peaks. On arrival at the airport, after immigration and custom formalities, your local guide-for the whole trip, will receive and transfer you to the hotel. After check-in and refreshment/lunch, start exploring Paro, the sites include: The National Museum, housed in a 17th century watch tower which will serve as a great introduction before you delve deeper into the country. Then visit the Rinpung Dzong the medieval provincial capital fortress the watch tower protected for three hundred years of civil strife. Later take a short walk down to Nyemi Zampa (Cantilever bridge) that connects the valley to the dzong.

O/N at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day2: Paro Halt

After breakfast before the sun is to strong, hike to taktsang (literally translated as Tiger’s Nest). Built in 1600’s, this incredible monastery/temple clings to a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900mts into the valley below. The history states that Guru Rinpoche, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress. Looking at the monastery/temple flying tigress doesn’t seem so impossible after all. The trail to the monastery/temple climbs through rhododendron and pine forest, lichens overhanging from the trees above notifies that you are walking amidst pristine forest, surrounded with clean, fresh air without any pollution. It takes 5 hours in total to hike and visit the shrines inside.

Visit the ruins of Drukgyal dzong, in the northern corner of the valley overlooking the village of Drukgyal, founded by Zhabdrung in the 17th century, which was lost to a fire in 1965.

On the way back visit the kyichu Lhakhang, founded by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo to overcome a giant ogress whowais lying over the Himalayas trying to stop the spread of Buddhism. Legends has it that the King  built 108 of these temples throughout the Himalayas.

O/n at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day3: Drukgyal to Shana. 15kms, 5-6 hours, 360m ascent, 80m descent.

Drive to Drukgyal, the starting point of the trek. Visit the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, built as a monument of victory over the Tibetians invaders in the 17th century. From here you can see the crown of Jumolhari 7314m, the base of which we will be making camp in few days. The trail follows Paro river gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields. You will pass many traditional farmhouses along the way. The campsite is in a meadow past an army outpost. Camp altitude 2800m. Overnight in Camp/Tent.

Day4: Shana to Thangthangkha. 22kms,7-8 hours, 770m ascent, 10m descent.

Continue uphill following the river and through the valley, which narrows and closes in after some distance. The trail then winds up and down along the drainage. Most of the trail actually is uphill after the initial climb. The campsite is located in a meadow with stone shelter. Camp altitude 3400m. Overnight in Camp/Tent.

Day5: Thangthangkha to Jangothang. 19kms, 5-6 hours, 480m ascent.

Gradual climb as the vegetation turns rapidly alpine, past an army outpost until the landscape opens up into wide valley. The view around is surrounded by high ridges and the snow-capped mountains all the way to Jangothang. You will also come across yaks and yak herders camps. Camp altitude 4040m. Overnight in Camp/Tent.

Day6: Jangothang Halt (Basecamp).

Rest or explore the valley. There are many options for exploring including climbing the ridge behind the camp for better view of Jumolhari and Jichu Drakey or walk to the glacial basin of Jumolhari or to the glacial lakes of Tshophu.   A stop here does good for acclimatization since the route here on goes higher.

Day7: Jangothang to Lingshi. 18kms, 6-7 hours, 840m ascent, 870m descent.

After about 15 minutes from the camp the trail climbs rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascend to the Nyelila pass 4870m. You might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains. From the pass you will have spectacular views of Mt. Jumolhari, Jitchu Drakey and Tsherim Gang, all of them rising above 7000m. On the way down to the camp you will pass by some of the yak herders tent, made from yak wool where the herders take shelter while on the move to various pastures for their yaks. Before you drop down to the campsite, Lingshi Dzong comes into view overlooking the village and the route to Laya. Camp at Chazithang (4,010m). Overnight at Camp/Tent.

Day8: Lingshi to Chebisa. 10kms, 4-5 hours, 280m ascent, 410m descent.

It is the shortest walking day, and you can really take it easy. Shortly after starting you will come to a chorten below the Lingshi Dzong. Here, you have a choice of staying on the main trail or taking a diversion up to the Lingshi Dzong (4220m), which sits right atop a ridge. After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. In Goyul, the stone houses are clustered together to a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where village houses are normally scattered.The campsite of Chebisa has a beautiful waterfall behind the village. Camp altitude 3880m. Overnight at Camp/Tent.

Day9: Chebisa to Shakeypasa to Shomuthang. 17kms, 6-7 hours, 890m ascent, 540m descent.

The trail climbs up to the Gobu La pass, another chance to see herds of blue sheep. After the pass you descend to the valley into Shakeypasa 3980m, where a helipad had been established. Climb from here till you reach the campsite of Shomuthang above a stream, which is a tributary of the Mo Chhu. Camp altitude 4220m. Overnight at Camp/Tent.

Day10: Shomuthang to Robluthang. 18kms, 6-7 hours, 700m ascent, 760m descent.

It is a two hour climb to the Jhari la pass 4750m, from here you catch the first sight of Shinche la, the pass you will cross tomorrow. Gangchenta, The Great Tiger Mountain 6840m, can be seen to the north. Tsherim Gang and the peak of Jumolhari can also be seen on a clear day. From here the trail drops down to Tshari Jathang, herds of Takins, Bhutan’s National Animal, migrate to this valley in summer and remain here for about four months. Climb up a little to get to the campsite of Robluthang 4160m. Camp altitude: 4,160m. Overnight at Camp/Tent.

Day11: Robluthang to Limithang. 19kms, 6-7 hours, 850m ascent, 870m descent.

Climb gradually up to the Shinche la pass 5200m, the highest pass on the trek. After the pass, descend down to a little stone house where a few Laya women dressed in typical costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their heads live. On the other side you will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. Below the moraine, cross the Kango Chu and soon reach the Limithang campsite. The peak of Gangchenta towers over the campsite. Camp altitude 4140m. Overnight at Camp/Tent.

Day12: Limithang to Laya. 10kms, 4-5 hours, 60m ascent, 340m descent.

The trail goes downhill along a narrow winding river valley. After sometime, the trail passes through deep forest and finally enters the west side of the Laya village. In the centre of the village is a school and a basic health unit with telephone connections. The campsite is below the school. Camp altitude 3840m. Overnight at camp/tent.

Day13: Laya Halt.

This day is to explore and learn about the tribal community of the remote Himalayan region of Laya (very unique to the country and the world). Visit the community school, hike to the village of Lungu if you still have enough energy after ten days of rigorous trek.

Day14: Laya to Rodophu. 19kms, 6-7 hours, 1030m ascent, 70m descent.

After the village the trail drops to the river and follows the river left till the army out-post. Then the trail leads gradually downhill to Lunana trail junction, taking left the trail leads to a ridge with good views of the rivers below, Mo Chhu and the Rhodo Chhu. The forest on this side has been burnt down, the trail continues to climb gradually up the Rhodo Chhu valley through rhododendron shrubs above the tree line. At the top of the large rock slide there is a view of the broad glacier valley and a massive glacier on Tsenda Gang 7100m, towering overhead. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day15: Rhodophu to Narethang. 17kms, 6-7 hours, 720m ascent.

The path crosses the wooden bridge and follows the river upstream through rhododendron shrubs for 20 minutes before turning right up the hill to Tshomo La 4900m, providing views towards the Tibetian border and Jumolhari. From here the trail becomes more gradual but still ascending to the camp to Narethang 4900m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day16: Narethang to Tarina. 18kms, 5-6 hours, 270m ascent, 1200m descent.

From the camp the trail ascends for an hour up to Gangla Karchung la 51200m, Mountain views are great from here, Kangbum 6526m, Tsenda Gang 7300m, Teri Gang 7300m, and Jejkangphu 7100m can be seen. The Path descends along a large moraine to the edge of a near-vertical wall, views from the ledge are breathtaking- among the best along the entire trek. The trail drops steeply from here to the Tarina Valley, which provides lots of campsites just by the river. Camp altitude 3,938m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day 17: Tarina to Woche. 17kms, 6-7 hours, 275m ascent, 330m descent.

The trail leads through conifer forest down the Tang Chhu on the river left, passing some impressive waterfalls cascading down both sides of the valley. The trail climbs gently out of the valley past several landslides and eventually climbs steeply to the northeast into the high side valley of Woche. Woche is a small settlement of 5 houses at 3940m and is the first village in the Lunana region. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day18: Woche to Lhedi. 17kms, 6-7 hours, 980m ascent, 950m descent.

The path to Lhedi begins below the camp and climbs the Woche valley, crossing a stream and climbing over a moraine before descending to a wooden bridge across the Woche Chhu. It then climbs to the Keche La 4650m. From the pass there are excellent views of the surrounding mountains, including Jejekangphu Gang’s triple peak. Descend down to Thega village 4050m, and then the trail gradually follows the Pho Chhu bank up to Lhedi 3700m. There  is a school and a BHU, camp just beyond the school. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day19: Lhedi to Thanza. 17kms, 6-7 hours, 400m ascent. 

The trail follows the north bank of the Pho Chhu past several small farms into Chozo village 4090m, There is a small dzong in the village, and to the right is a ridge which offers good views of the Table Mountain. The trail to Thanza continues along the left bank of the Pho Chhu through a flooded area full of sand, which will take another two hours to the camp. Camp altitude 4100m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day20: Thanza Halt.

 This day is taken as a rest day for the trekkers and arranging the pack animals for the next day, here the pack animals of Laya leave us and go back so we switch pack animals with the Lunaps, the people of Lunana.

Day21: Thanza to Danji. 8kms, 3-4 hours, 80m ascent.

The route climbs from Toench to a large boulder on the hill south of the village, from here there are excellent views of the villages below and the surrounding mountains. The path then turns east up a side valley another few hours you are at Danji camp 4180m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day22: Danji to Tshochena. 12 kms, 5-6 hours, 490m ascent, 240m descent.

There is a trail junction just after the camp, the trail up the valley leads to the Gangkar Puensum base camp and to Bumthang. The path to the right crosses a creek and leads up a rocky side valley. It is a long climb to the Jaze la pass 5150m, which offers spectacular views of mountains in all directions. The path then descends down to Tshochena passing small lakes to the camp at 4900m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day23: Tshochena to Jichu Dramo. 14kms, 4-5 hours, 230m ascent, 140m descent.

The trail follows the shore of the blue-green lake before climbing to a ridge at 5100m, from the ridge there is a 360-degree panorama view of the snowy peaks, the microwave tower and the road at Dochula are just visible in the distance. The path makes several ups and downs over small rounded hills before coming to the Loju La pass 5140m. There are many trails at the pass the correct path leads you across a small saddle at 5100m into a wide glacier valley. Then the trail gradually descends to the camp at Jichu Dramo 5050m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day24: Jichu Dramo to Chukarpo. 18kms, 5-6 hours, 320m ascent, 730m descent.

After leaving camp the trail climbs through a moraine to Rinchen Zoe La 5320m, which divides the Pho Chhu and the Mangde Chhu drainages. The Rinchen Zoe peak towers above the pass 5650m and the major Himalayas stretch along the northern horizon. From the pass the trail descends to Metachuta and further down to Chukarpo 4600m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day25: Chukarpo to Thampe Tsho. 18kms, 400m ascent, 640m descent.

The trail continues to descend along the right bank of the river until it reaches Gala Pang Chhu 4010m. From here the trail begins to climb through junipers and silver firs towards Thampe Tsho passing 4300m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day26: Thampe Tsho to Maurothang. 14kms, 5 hours, 280m ascent, 1020m descent.

The trail climbs steeply to Thampe La at 4600m. The path descends to Omtey Tsho, sacred lake where Pema Lingpa found a number of treasures, then drops down 100m to the lower Omtey Tsho lake. Then it’s a steep descend to the bottom of a ridge and levels with the river running by, cross a wooden bridge and follow the river downstream on the right bank to the Maurothang camp 3610m. Overnight in camp/tent.

Day27: Maurothang to Sephu. 18kms, 5-6 hours, 990m descent.

The trail stays to the right bank of the river for a while before crossing to the east bank into a mixed deciduous and bamboo forests. Eventually it emerges into a large grassy area, overlooking the Sephu village and the road, another hour along the feeder road you should meet your transport, where the Snowman Trek ends.   

Then drive to Trongsa for the night stay, where hot shower and a comfortable bed will be waiting for you, a well deserved rest after the tough trek.

Day28: Trongsa-Punakha, 124kms, 5 hours drive.

After breakfast drive over the Pele La Pass (3,300m) and down into Punakha through Wangdiphodrang, Punakha 1,280m above sea level was the former capital until 1955. It is one of the most fertile valleys in the country, farmers grow two rice crops in a year along with seasonal fruits and vegetables.

We stop at Lobesa for a short hike to Chimmi Lhakhang, a popular destination for fertility blessings including foreigners.

Later visit the Punakha Dzong, built right at the confluence of the Mo Chhu (female) and the Pho Chhu (male) rivers. It is the winter seat of the Je Khenpo- the Head Abbot, and the central monastic body.

O/n at Hotel in Punakha. Elevation: 1,280m.

Day29: Punakha-Thimphu, 76kms, 2.5 hours of driving

Today we drive over the Dochula Pass (3,150m) to Thimphu, the capital city. With a population of 100,000, it is like no other capital city-the valley is unique, displaying harmony of tradition and modernity. There are no traffic lights and policemen direct traffic at intersections. Yet it is the biggest city in the country and the seat of the government as well as the main hub of commerce in the country.

En route to Thimphu we stop at the Dochula pass for pictures, as the pass heralds the most enchanting view of Bhutan’s Himalaya peaks including the highest unclimbed mountain in the world Gangkar Puensum (24,835ft/7,560m). 

In Thimphu we visit the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, here you can see the traditional way of making paper with barks of Daphne plants. Bhutan in the ancient days was the biggest supplier of paper in the Himalayan region for printing religious scriptures and prayers.

National Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in memory of the third King, His Late Majesty, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, lovingly known as the “Father of Modern Bhutan”.

Drive up to Kuenselphodrang to see the giant Buddha (169ft/51m).

The takin Preserve which showcases the National Animal along with few species of deer and mountain goats.

Visit the Drubthop Nunnery, where you can see the female Buddhist practitioners engaged in their daily rituals. Later visit the Tashichoedzong, the summer seat of the Je Khenpo-the Head Abbot, and the central monastic body, it also houses some ministries, the Golden Throne and the office of the King.

O/n at hotel in Thimphu. Elevation: 2,320m.

Day30: Departue

After an early breakfast, transfer to Paro airport for your onward destination.

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13Days/12 Nights Cultural Tour with Mountain Biking

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This Tour is a combination of Culture and Mountain Biking, specially designed for the one’s seeking adventures. The tour will take you over the mountain passes deep into the Central Part of the country, visiting Religious Buddhist sites, engaging in local activities, biking the rough terrain of Bhutan.

TB 20150120 Mountain Biking

Day01. Arrive in Paro and transfer to Thimphu (58kms, 2hrs drive).

After immigration and custom formalities, our representative and your guide for the entire trip will receive you and escort you to a restaurant for refreshment. Then  drive to Thimphu(Capital of Bhutan).

  • En route visit the Tamchogang Lhakhang (15th century temple), with a Iron-Chain Suspension Bridge, one of the Traditional Bridges in Bhutan.
  • Next stop at the Chuzom, the confluence of the Wang Chhu and the Pa Chhu, to take a look at Three Styles of Stupas, The Tibetan, The Nepalese and the Bhutanese styles.

Then continue the drive to the Thimphu city, the biggest city in the country with a population of 100,000.

  • Time permitting visit the Semtokha Dzong, 17th century fortress turned into a Monastic School.

O/N at Hotel.

Day02. Thimphu Sightseeing.

  • Visit the National Memorial Chorten, (stupa, built in memory of the Third king).
  • Kuenselphodrang, for the giant Buddha Dordenma Statue, (169ft,51m).
  • Changangkha Lhakhang, one of the oldest temple in the Thimphu Valley.
  • Takin Preserve, which showcases the National Animal, the Takin along with few species of Deer and  Mountain goats.
  • After lunch, get on our bikes and ride to Dodena (Base of Cheri Goemba) 16kms. If you have the stamina and time permitting hike to Cheri Goemba. And bike back to the city. This biking will help you as a training session for the rest of your biking tours.

O/N at Hotel.

Day03. Thimphu-Punakha (79kms, 3hrs driving time).

Today we drive to Dochula pass (3,150m), weather permitting, there are great views of the Himalayas, including the Highest Unclimbed Peak, Gangkar Puensum (7,560m).Visit the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, which has some of the most intricate and finest wood and stone works in the country. After pictures, we ride our bikes down the other side of the pass into the Punakha district to Lobesa where we stop for lunch.

  • After lunch, a short hike to Chimed Lhakhang, a popular destination for fertility for locals and tourist alike.
  • Ride to the Hotel, which is another 10kms approximately. Relax for the evening.

O/N at Hotel.

Day04. Punakha  Sightseeing.

  • Early breakfast, hike to Khamsum Yuelly Namgyal Chorten.
  • Drive back to Punakha and visit the magnificent Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong.
  • After lunch, get on your bikes and ride the Talo road to the monastery and back to hotel or take the feeder/farmroad to samdingkha and back.

O/N at Hotel.

Day05. Punakha-Phobjikha(127kms, 3-4hrs).

In the morning drive to Phobjikha,

  • Visit the Gangtey Sangnacholing Monastery, the only Nyingmapa monastery to the western part of the country.
  • Either hike the Nature Trail (4.1kms, 1hr), or bike your way down to Phobjikha valley and continue to the furthest village and to the Hotel.

O/N at Hotel.

Day06. Phobjikha-Bumthang(130kms,4 hrs drive).

Drive to Pelela Pass (3,300m), after the pass the road goes downhill to Chendebji and into Trongsa, so you can get on your bike and ride till Trongsa.

  • After lunch, visit the Trongsa Museum/ the Dzong. And continue your drive to Bumthang over the Yotongla Pass3,400m).
  • Stop at the Weaving place at Chumey, this area is well known for its Yathra products, textiles woven out of sheep and yak wool.

O/N at Hotel.

Day07. Bumthang Sightseeing.

  • Visit the Jampa Lhakhang, 7th century temple, founded by the Great Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.
  • Kurje Lhakhang, sacred temple where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in a Rock Cave in the 8th century and freed King Sindhu Raja from the grip of Shelging Karpo, the local deity.
  • Hike to the Tamshing Lhakhang, which is on the other side of the river.
  • In the afternoon, drive to the Farmhouse  and practice Archery, the national sport of Bhutan and engage in preparing for the Hot Stone Bath.

O/N at Hotel.

Day08. Bumthang-Tang (50kms, 2hrs drive).

  • Visit the Museum at Ugyencholing.
  • After lunch bike to Mebar Tsho, the Burning/Flaming Lake, where Terton Pema Lingpa, the great treasure revealer, discovered the religious treasures. Bike back to the Hotel.

O/N at Hotel.

Day09. Bumthang-Trongsa (68kms, 2hrs drive).

Bike to Trongsa after visiting the Wangdicholing Palace in Bumthang, stop at Chumey Nature Resort for lunch, then continue on your bike to Trongsa.

O/N at Hotel.

Day10. Trongsa-Thimphu (200kms, 8hrs drive).

Today we will be back tracking to Thimphu, it’s a driving day than a tour.

Day11. Thimphu-Paro(58kms, 2hrs drive).

  • After breakfast, bike to Paro and check into the Hotel, after refreshing visit the National Museum.
  • Visit the dzong, which houses the Administrative Centre and the Monastic Community of Paro province.

O/N at Hotel.

Day12. Paro sightseeing.

  • Hike to Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang), this hike takes 4-5hrs both ways and visiting the temple.
  • After the hike, visit the ruins of Drugyal Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest Buddhist temple in the country.
  • In the evening, stroll around the town on your own or look for Souvenirs.
  • Cultural Program by a local band.

Day13. Fly out for your next destination.

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