Naturally Nature

Overview

A walk through the wilderness of the Bhutan’s pristine nature, endows you with a renewed feeling of an anticipated excitement that you have ever wished for. This itinerary is planned for those who are adventurous and loves trekking, without having to camp at various stops. The trail will lead you to experience the crispness of the air, have a view of some spectacular mountains, and learn about the flora. The interesting part of this walk/hike is to give a break for you after the hustle and bustle city life.

Pricing

Prices and Dates

  • There are not fixed departure dates, you may travel at any time.
  • For groups of 3 or more people:
    • Total: $2240US per person for January, February, June, July, August, or December.
    • Total: $3040US per person for March, April, May, September, October, or November.
    • If your travel crosses from the low season to the high season we charge each day according to the seasonal rate.
  • For single travelers there is an additional surcharge of $440US for the package.
  • For groups of 2, there is an additional surcharge of $330US per person.
  • If you would like a single room there is an additional charge of $30US per person per night.
  • For children (6-12) and students there is a 25% discount on the land cost.

What’s Included

  • Hotel: 11 nights in hotel (3 star quality)
  • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners (food only)
  • English speaking guide for the entire trip
  • Local transportation within Bhutan (car or bus depending on size of group)
  • Visa Fee
  • Entrance fees into Museums

What’s Not Included

  • International Flights to Bhutan
  • Tips for the guide
  • Drinks (except for water during the car trips and hikes)
  • Laundry
  • Any other personal type expenses

Details

(map of tour…click for larger version)

Day 1: Paro

Bhutan’s national carrier Druk Air flies some of the most spectacular flight paths in the world. One of which, the flight from Kathmandu to Paro gives you one of the most spectacular experiences one will ever encounter. One can easily get the view the Majestic Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga and the entire Himalayan range from the left side of the aircraft. Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, after completing immigration and custom formalities, you will be received by your tour guide, who will take you to your hotel. An evening strolls in the town. Overnight in hotel.

Day 2: Paro

Today we visit one the most amazing and sacred place Known as Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). It is one of the holiest pilgrim sites for the Mahayana Buddhist. Built on a steep cliff, it takes about 2-3 hours hike uphill. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here riding on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave and hence it was called as ‘Tiger Nest’. This site has been recognized as most sacred and visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. This monastery built in 1692 caught fire in 19th April 1998 that damaged the main structure of building and some religious contents. The monastery has been renovated and reinstated to its former glory. While on the return, we will follow a different path that takes us through the pristine thick forest of oaks and rhododendrons festooned with Spanish mosses. Overnight in hotel.

Day 3: Chele-la

Chele La (3750m), is the highest motor able pass in the country and hike up along the meadow to Kung Karpo La (4100m). (If weather permits), we will enjoy the breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains while walking above the tree line along the ridge that divides Paro and Ha valley. The short steep descent from the top will take us to the nunnery of Kila Gompa. The monastery is surrounded by a lush forest dominated by tall firs. Sparkling mountain streams wind down the slopes, which are covered with a variety of wildflowers and plants. The walk down from here to the road is lined with small white chortens and it will take us about an hour. Overnight in hotel.

Day 4: Paro – Thimphu.

The drive to Thimphu is very scenic as we follow the river valley to the capital city. One will witness the change in vegetation as Thimphu and Paro is a complete alpine zone. Check in Hotel. Visit Folk heritage museum to have a closer experience of Bhutanese way of living. Visit National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist Manuscripts, Art & Craft Institute where the art of paintings and sculpturing is well preserved. After lunch, drive up to Bhutan Telecom tower at Sangaygang to do a short hike to Wangditse Goemba, which was founded in the 18th century by the eighth desi (secular ruler). The hike will start from the BBS tower till Dechenphodrang, through the pine forest. On this trail you can also see and enjoy a beautiful Thimphu city view. The hike will take about 1hour 30minutes. From Dechenphodrang, you can either travel by vehicle or take a leisure walk back to Thimphu city. Evening explore Thimphu city. Overnight in hotel.

Day 5: Hike to Cheri monastery
Today, a short drive to the north of Thimphu city brings us to the Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest protected area in the country. The park is home to several endangered species including the Takin, snow leopard, blue sheep, tiger, red panda, and the Himalayan black bear. More than 300 species of birds have been catalogued within the park. The hike begins from the small village of Dodena, crossing a small bridge over the Thimphu River as we climb up to Cheri Monastery, a small monastery perched on the hill with a view over the Thimphu Valley. The monastery is considered very sacred as it contains the ashes of Tempi Nima, the father of the first Zhabdrung of Bhutan. Wild goats or goral are sometimes spotted grazing along the cliff. A picnic lunch will be served nearby the clean and unpolluted Thimphu River. Overnight in hotel.

Day 6: Thimphu – Punakha
Today, drive to Dochula Pass (3050m) which will take about one hour drive along the east-west highway to begin yet another hike. While at Dochula, one can witness hundreds of fluttering prayer flags surrounding 108 small Chortens (stupas). On a clear day one can enjoy the most spectacular and breathtaking views of the Bhutan’s Mountain ranges.  From here the hike will take you to the isolated temple called Lungchuzay with a gradual climb uphill for about two hours. It goes through the forest of rhododendrons, magnolias, birches, firs, hemlocks and bamboos, occasionally passing by meadows that are being used as the yak pastures. Overnight in hotel.

Day 7: Punakha    

After breakfast, visit Punakha Dzong (Dzong=Fortress), the former capital of Bhutan, now serving as the district administrative center and also the winter residence of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot, of the Monastic body. Punakha Dzong built was in 1637 and is beautifully located in between the two rivers. We take a short hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten in the northern part of the valley. The architecture and the art of this temple has been artistically designed which is supposed to be one of its kind in the world.  After lunch, we will take a drive for about an hour to Talo, the native home town of the queens for our short downhill hike following the beautiful track that links the village of Talo and Nobgang. Overnight in hotel.

Day 8: Punakha – Gangtey

Before driving to Gangtey, we will pay a visit to Chhimi Lhakhang, “the temple of fertility, dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kinley, one of the most popular Buddhist saints who lived in Bhutan in 1455-1570. This monastery is located on the hilltop. The hike will take you through village and the rice field about 30minutes from the main road. We also visit Wangdi Phodrang Dzong, which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. Wangdi district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and the slate work which is mined up the valley. We then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley. This valley is one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan, and is also one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys. It also houses the black necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gonpa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. Overnight in Guest house.

Day 9: Gantey – Hike over Kayche La

After breakfast, we drive till the Longtey Village after the Pele La along the east-west highway to start another hike of about 6 hours across Kayche La (3700m) and back to Gangtey. We climb up gradually through the thickets of dwarf bamboos, birch, rhododendron, hemlock and fir to Kayche La, marked with some prayer flags. The other side of the pass is mostly meadows, and it is downhill walk to Gangtey through the long and beautiful stretch of meadows and farms. This place holds a special interest as you can experience the Black Mountain Range and the Phobjika Valley which is famous for the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. Overnight in hotel.

Day 10: Gangtey/Thimphu

The last day of the hike will be used in walking along the path that is being used by the people of this valley to move down to their winter homes in the warmer region of Wangdi. We will begin our hike gradually up through the farms, the thicket of dwarf bamboos, and side meadows to Shasi La (3300m) which is marked by a Chorten (stupa). On the other of the pass, the path gets into thick forests of birch, rhododendron, hemlock, fir and then down into sub tropical deciduous forest of oaks and rhododendrons with lots of orchids. Overnight in hotel.

Day 11: Thimphu

Today, most of the free hours in the morning will be spent on doing some other activities, or be at leisure. After lunch, drive to Paro, visiting Simtokha Dzong on the way. This Dzong is one of the oldest Dzongs in Bhutan built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the year 1629. This fort now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies. Overnight in hotel

Day 12: Paro –Airport for departure

Early breakfast and drive to the airport for your departure.

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