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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

The magical kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayas is nestled between two spiritual hubs, Tibet and India, and is one of Asia's best-kept secrets. On this active adventure, you'll discover there is no better way to explore it than on foot as you hike through a country with so much protected forest, it absorbs more carbon than it uses. Feel closer to enlightenment as you hike along the newly restored Trans Bhutan Trail which will immerse you in the past, present and future of this mystical destination. Uncover Bhutan's rich cultural heritage on a journey that explores its forested valleys, fortified monasteries and sacred mountains on two feet and discover the beauty of its people, landscape and culture with a local leader who will help you unlock its secrets.

Countries Visited

Bhutan

Cities Visited

Bumthang , Paro , Punakha , Thimphu

  1. Day 1
    Paro - Thimphu
    Welcome to Paro International Airport! You will be greeted by your guide at the arrival gate and transferred by private vehicle to Thimphu, Bhutan’s Capital city. Along the way, stop at the Tachogang Lhakhang temple which was founded by Thankthong Gyelpo, a man who is revered in Tibetan and Bhutanese culture, and see some of his belongings inside this sacred place. After visiting the temple, continue to Thimphu and check into your hotel where you’ll have time to freshen up before joining your leader for an orientation walk to get acquainted with Thimphu’s highlights. Tonight, head off with your leader and group for an included welcome dinner at a local restaurant and learn about the rich history of Bhutanese cuisine as you tuck into a traditional feast, including seasonal vegetables and the country’s signature dish – red rice with a tasty chili cheese. Today’s driving time is approximately 1.5 hours.
    Meals:   Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Thimphu
    After breakfast, join your leader for a walk around town and explore Thimphu’s attractions. Visit the Institute for Zorig Chusum, more commonly known as the Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, where you can watch students learning traditional artistic skills. At the National Library, you’ll see printing blocks for prayer flags and many beautiful archaic texts. Admire the artistic treasures and impressive murals at the Zangthopelri Lhakhang temple.Embark on the Buddha Point Park Hike which will start from Debsi towards Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang) home to the country’s largest Buddha statue. The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. Hikers can enjoy the panoramic view of the Thimphu Valley and enjoy the hike amidst fluttering colorful prayer flags and the beautiful sky while heading up the hill.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  3. Day 3
    Lobesa
    After breakfast, travel along the Dochula Pass which sits more than 3000 metres above sea level and is marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and fluttering prayer flags. If the weather is clear, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayas as you hike along this scenic trail. This afternoon, you’ll visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang a temple that was built in honour of the fourth King Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuk and celebrates the 100th anniversary of the monarchy in Bhutan. After visiting the temple, you’ll travel down to the valley and hike a section of the trail known as the Divine Madman Trail. It is believed that Drukpa Kuenley, who is also known as the Divine Madman, came here from Tibet to overpower evil spirits. After a stop for lunch in the beautiful village of Thinleygang, you’ll visit the Thinleygang Lhakhang temple before driving to your hotel in Lobesa.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Trongsa
    After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll drive to Pelela Pass and re-join the Trans Bhutan Trail at the boundary between western and central Bhutan and begin your hike. Along the way, visit the Rukubji Lhakhang temple and rest a while with your group as you share a delicious hot lunch prepared by the locals. Afterwards, transfer by vehicle to the beautiful village of Chendebji which is home to the Chendebji Chorten. If you’ve been to Kathmandu in Nepal, this large white structure might look familiar as it was built to resemble the famous Bouddhanath Stupa of Kathmandu. From Chendebji, you’ll continue to Trongsa and visit the Trongsa Dzong which is the largest and most impressive Dzong in Bhutan. Located on a cliff overlooking the Mangde Chu river gorge, this Dzong is a magnificent sight. After you’ve enjoyed the view, check into your hotel where you may like to enjoy a relaxing evening after a full day of exploring.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  5. Day 5
    Bumthang
    If your group didn’t have time to visit Trongsa Dzong yesterday, there’s time for a visit this morning before the drive to Yotongla Pass where you’ll re-join the Trans Bhutan Trail and immerse yourself in the peaceful beauty of Bhutan. After hiking over the pass, you’ll descend through green meadows and open forest until you reach the serene Gyaltsa River. After you’ve had a rest, follow this pristine river until you reach Gyaltsa Village where your private transfer to Bumthang will be waiting. You won’t go hungry on this full day of walking as the group will stop to enjoy a delicious picnic lunch along the trail. On arrival in Bumthang, check into your hotel for the next three nights.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Bumthang
    After breakfast, transfer to the village of Babzur, where you will rejoin the Trail, The Trail will first take you past the Pema Choling Nunnery. Women and girls who enroll here follow a nine-year course in the Nyingma Peling Buddhist tradition and are known for a particular drum ceremony known as “chod”.After a visit to the nunnery, head south along the Trans Bhutan Trail towards the sacred Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where, in the 15th century, the great treasure hunter Pema Lingpa is said to have discovered several of Guru Rinpoche’s hidden treasures. Enjoy a typical Bhutanese lunch at a local farmhouse in the nearby village of Phomdrong. After lunch, return to Bumthang, where you will visit the Bumthang Brewery, producers of Bhutan’s celebrated Red Panda Beer. Nearby is Bhutan’s only commercial cheese factory. Both the brewery and the cheese factory are legacies of a Swiss-run development project called Swiss Farm, which introduced distinctive European farming and production techniques into the Bumthang area. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Punakha
    Today you will head back to Punakha via Trongsa to walk along one of the most iconic sections of the Trans Bhutan Trail and recreate what it was like for those arriving in the city of Trongsa on foot many years ago. After crossing the old cantilever bridge over the Mangde River, you’ll descend into a steep valley and take in the sweeping views of the Dzong before bracing your legs for the steep but rewarding walk to the fortress. After you enjoy had time to see the fortress and enjoy the view, sit back and relax on the drive to Punakha where you will check into your hotel.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Paro
    After breakfast, drive to Dochulla Pass from where we will start our hike to Simtokha Dzong (2300-2400 m).Throughout the hike, we are treated to a scenic path that runs alongside charming villages and meandering streams, granting us unique glimpses into Bhutanese life and culture.Visit Simtokha Dzong which houses a school for the study of the Dzongkha language. After reaching Paro, you’ll visit Ta Dzong which was originally built as a watchtower but now houses a National Museum. Join your leader for a tour of the extensive collection of antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons, armour, household objects and historic artifacts. After you have visited the museum, stretch your legs with a walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’, which has wooden galleries filled with delicate wall paintings illustrating traditional Buddhist lore.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  9. Day 9
    Paro
    After breakfast, you’ll re-join the Trans Bhutan Trail and head east up a steady incline then pass through the rice paddies of the Paro Valley before reaching the traditional village of Dop-Shari. Enjoy a delicious hot lunch in the village where you might have the opportunity to try Ema Datshi, a traditional Bhutanese dish made with chili peppers, onions and yak cheese. You’ll also have the opportunity to wear Bhutan’s traditional dress for a souvenir photo or perhaps try the national sport of archery. After spending time in the village, you’ll hike to the upper reaches of Dop-Shari and enjoy spectacular views over the Paro Valley. Take time to enjoy the scenery before the transfer back to your hotel in Paro.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  10. Day 10
    Paro
    After breakfast, lace up your hiking boots and set off on a 5 hour hike to the Taktshang Monastery, one of Bhutan’s most famous monasteries. Perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor, it’s also known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site is considered to be a deeply sacred place and is visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of the building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour. Along the way, you’ll also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. This is one of the country’s most famous temples as it marks the introduction of Buddhism to Bhutan. After you’ve returned to your hotel and had time to freshen up, join your leader for a stroll around the streets and market area of Paro.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  11. Day 11
    Paro
    After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, your adventure will come to an end and your driver will transfer you to Paro International Airport for your flight out of Bhutan.
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Tachogang Lhakhang temple visit
  • Thimphu exploratory evening walk
  • Thimphu - Choki Traditional Art School
  • Thimphu - National Library
  • Thimphu - National Memorial Chorten
  • Zangthopelri Lhakhang temple visit
  • Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang) walk
  • Dochula Pass hike
  • Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple visit
  • Divine Madman Trail hike
  • Trans Bhutan trail hike - Pelela pass/Chendebji
  • Chendebji Chorten monument visit
  • Trongsa Dzong (Buddhist school) visit
  • Trans Bhutan Trail hike - Yotongla Pass/Gyaltsa village
  • Gyaltsa River picnic lunch
  • Tang Valley walk
  • Ugyencholing Heritage Museum visit
  • Tang Valley - Farmhouse lunch
  • Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) hike
  • Trans Bhutan Trail hike - Mangde River/Trongsa
  • Paro - Tadzong Museum
  • Trans Bhutan Trail hike - Paro Valley/Dop-Shari
  • Ema Datshi - traditional Bhutanese lunch
  • Paro - Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery hike

Meals
10 Breakfast(s) Included
10 Lunch(es) Included
10 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Hotel (10 nights)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 206 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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