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Bumthang Cultural Tour - 11 Days

Bumthang Cultural Tour

Trip Facts:

Trip Name: Bumthang Cultural Tour
Trip Id: TIB1402
Trip Duration: 11 Days
Max. Altitude: 3,120m/10,240 ft (The Tiger Nest Monastery)
Best Season: March to May and September to November
Meal: Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Accommodation: Government approved 3 stars and Above
Transportation: Private car, van or bus (Depends on group size)
Trip Type: Private Tour

Trip Overview:

Bumthang cultural tour explores around Paro, Thimphu and Punakha plus visit to another fascinating destination, the scared valley of Bumthang. The scenic and picturesque drive proceeds to the region profuse in flora and fauna with several mountain passes and place of great historical importance – Bumthang. Bumthang is also known as the cultural heartland of Bhutan with four main valleys Ura, Chumey, Tang & Choekhor, and with some of the oldest monasteries and temples. The tour visits two remarkable valleys Ura and Tang. Besides Bumthang, there is enough time to explore other equally important cultural landmarks such as Punakha Dzong, Chimi Lhakhang, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, Jakar Dzong and many others in the cities of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. The hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ perched in a vertical cliff is another interesting feature of this tour. Bhutan Cultural Tour provides full insight of the cultural, religious and historical aspects of Bhutan and the journey is filled with scenic high mountain passes, deep forested valleys, interesting villages and small townships.

Trip Highlights:

  • Witness spectacular bird’s eye view of the Himalayas while flying in/out from Paro.
  • Explore the tiny town of Paro exploding with colors and tradition. 
  • Discover the tiny capital Thimphu. 
  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan.
  • Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan. 
  • Membar Tsho “The flaming lake” in Tang Valley 
  • Bumthang- the religious heartland home to oldest monasteries & temples 
  • Visit Kurje Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang & Tamshing Lhakhang in Bumthang 
  • Jakar Dzong – “the castle of the white bird” & Ura Lhakhang 

Outline Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival Paro (2250m) – Thimphu (2350m)
Day 02: Thimphu – Wangdue – Gangtey (2320m)
Day 03: Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang (2800m)
Day 04: In Bumthang- Sightseeing
Day 05: Bumthang – Tang valley (2800m) – Bumthang
Day 06: Bumthang – Ura (2850m) – Bumthang
Day 07: Bumthang – Gangtey (2320m)
Day 08: Gangtey – Punakha (1310m)
Day 09: Punakha – Paro (2250m)
Day 10: Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’? (3120m)
Day 11: Paro depart

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival Paro (2250m) – Thimphu (2350m)
Arrive Paro by the Bhutanese National Carrier flying over the world’s highest mountains and finally landing at the lush green Paro valley. A cool and clean fresh air greets the visitor as stepping down from the plane, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing customs and visa formalities, meet the representatives and the Bhutanese guide, and a short tour brief by the guide then transfer to Paro town for lunch. Then drive towards Thimphu (the capital of Bhutan) for about hour.

In Thimphu, visit Buddha point for a stunning view of Thimphu city and Takin Compound- on the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin. Then continue to Tashi Choe Dzong- the fortress of the glorious religion was initially constructed in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in the 1960s, Folk Heritage Museum – a 300 year old traditional house converted into a museum, Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar. Overnight at Hotel (Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 02: Thimphu – Wangdue – Gangtey (2320m)
After breakfast, drive towards Gangtey via Wangdue. The road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges in a clear day. After stopping for a tea, descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Wangdue. Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. Then a gradual climb goes into the valley of Gangtey (Phobjikha). There is an old monastery of Gangtey Gompa dating back to the 17th century. A few kilometers past the Gompa on the valley floor are the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. The gentle sloping hillsides of Phobjikha are described as “the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas”. Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 03: Gangtey – Trongsa – Bumthang (2800m)
Early start with drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive to Bumthang via Trongsa is about six hours crossing over Pelela Pass (3,300 m) and Yotongla Pass (3,400 m). The road climbs steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pelela Pass(3,300m) with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between west and east Bhutan. If the weather is clear, particularly the peak of Jhomulhari (7314 m) to the west can be spotted. En-route cross Chendebji Chorten built to suppress a demon. After lunch, go out to view the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In olden days the Dzong commanded the passage between east and West Bhutan. Finally drive towards Bumthang valley (described as “one of the most beautiful spot in the Himalayas” across the Yotongla Pass (3,400 m) Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 04: In Bumthang- Sightseeing
In the morning visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan’s “patron saint”, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro). After lunch, hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later, visit Jakar Dzong, “the castle of the white bird”, and then take a stroll through Bumthang’s market area before returning to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 05: Bumthang – Tang valley (2800m) – Bumthang
After breakfast, drive from Choekhor valley to Tang Valley (2hrs Approx.) En-route Tang valley a short walk to Membar Tsho “The flaming lake” can be taken where Terton Pema Lingpa discover a treasure. After the visit, continue the drive and arrive at Mesethang with a school and few shops. Short distance away from Mesethang is Tang Rimochen Lhakhang, located below an enormous rock, which is a scared place where Guru Rinpoche mediated. A rock in front of the Lhakhang has a body print of Guru and his two consorts. The name Tag Rimoche (an impression of tiger’s stripes) is derived from the tiger stripes that appear on a rock cliff behind the building. Afterwards, continue the drive to reach Kidzom village. From Kidzom, cross the bridge over Tang chuu river and climb up to the hill top Ugyen Choling manor. Ugyen choling palace was originally built by Deb Tsokye Dorji, a descendant of Dorji Lingpa in 16th century. The palace itself has been converted into a museum where they collected all the antique pieces of things posses by their great ancestors. In the museum are kept a lot of old things which provides a better understanding of life in Bhutan during olden days. Back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 06: Bumthang – Ura (2850m) – Bumthang
After breakfast, drive towards the Ura valley which is 42 kilometers from Bumthang. The road reaches the Ura Shelthangla from where a magnificent view of Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkhar Puensum (7,500 m) can be spotted. The road then descends into Ura valley by long loops across fields and pastures. Ura’s main occupation is raising sheeps, yaks and the introduction of potato farming has brought a certain degree of prosperity of people. In Ura, visit Ura Lhakhang and picnic lunch will be served at one of many inviting spots. Afternoon: drive back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 07: Bumthang – Gangtey (2320m)
After breakfast, re-trace the same route back towards Gangtey and the road journey today is bit longer with 8 hours of drive. Upon arrival at Gangtey, check-in hotel. Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 08: Gangtey – Punakha (1310m)
After early breakfast, drive towards Punakha for about 3 hours. En-route take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. And Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 09: Punakha – Paro (2250m)
After breakfast, trace the route back to Paro. In Paro, visit Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan; the Dzong continues its age-old function as the seat of the district administration, district court and the monastic body. The southern approach to the Dzong has a traditional roofed cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam. Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 10: 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. It’s about two hours hike up the cafeteria. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in 8th century. Then visit the Taktsang Monastery and hike back to the road point then drive to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. Afterwards, back to hotel. Overnight at Hotel (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)

Day 11: Paro depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains. (Breakfast only included)

Cost Details:

To obtain a special price for this trip, please kindly contact us using Request a free quote form below ↓

Includes the following service during Bhutan tour:

• Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
• 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
• Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
• Route Permit
• Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
• A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
• All land transportation by private vehicle
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• Sightseeing as per itinerary
• Monuments entrance fees where applicable
• Drinking water
• All internal taxes and charges
• A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

Excludes in the package cost:

• Airfare & Travel Insurance
• Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
• Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Note:

On the day of departure, the ‘local agents’ host obligation shall be limited to providing breakfast only and any extra requirements shall be payable on a usage basis.
Bumthang/Paro flights (with a day’s gap) are available.

Our entire Bhutan tours are private journeys and tailor made programs suited for any independent travelers according to their chosen traveling dates. Should you wish, the tour can be easily customized as per your interest and activities you wish to get involve in or spend more time in your places of interest. Contact us to customize this tour as per your requirements. This tour can be undertaken round the year.

Normally during the monsoon seasons (Jun, Jul & Aug), the road condition in between Thimphu to Bumthang will be muddy road and bumpy ride. Other than Land-cruisers it’s not an easy journey but still with cruisers will be a bumpy ride. Another option will be flying into Bumthang and drive back or vice-versa. But in other seasons, such is not the case.

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