This will appeal if you looking to experience the unique culture of Bhutan as well as going on a short Himalayan trek. Bumdra Trek combines seeing the main cultural highlights of the Kingdom of Bhutan with scenic trekking. Bumdra trek connects the valleys of Paro and Thimpu following the old trading route between the main towns in Bhutan. You will follow a quiet forest trail and up to alpine yak pastures, once above the tree line you see the spectacular view of the Himalayas.
You have several days visiting Bhutan’s main cultural sites, before the trek you will explore Paro Valley with a walk to Taktsang or ’Tigers Nest’ monastery. After the trek we explore Thimphu and Punakha’s 17th century Dzong.
- Superb views of the snow capped mountains of the eastern Himalaya.
- There are several days before and after the trek to explore Paro and Thimpu.
- There will be a range of tasty meals for breakfast, lunch and supper.
- The path takes you through forests of rhododendron and oak.
- Day 1: Arrival Paro - Thimphu
- Day 2: Thimphu – Wangdue – Gangtey (Phobjikha)
- Day 3: Thimphu - Punakha
- Day 4: Punakha
- Day 5: Punakha - Thimphu - Paro
- Day 6: Paro - Bumdra Monastery
- Day 7: Bumdra - Paro (via Tiger nest Monastery)
- Day 8: Final Departure
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- All transfers including airport collections at Paro
- Twin share hotels while in Bhutan
- All meals included while in Bhutan
- Twin share tents while on trek
- All trekking arrangements including permits and fees, tents, Bhutanese guide, pack animals and cook
Arrival Paro International Airport
During the journey to Paro, one will experience breath-taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan.
On arrival at Paro Airport, you will be received by our representatives, we drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, set at 7,725 feet in the Wang Chu Valley. The remainder of the day is free to rest and relax. Hotel
In the morning, we will visit the Folk Heritage Museum, which is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibition of items and artifacts used in rural households. Visit to Textile Museum shall give us overview of the art of weaving. The place also has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in its colors and design.
After lunch, depart for Punakha, where 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. After stopping for a tea, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan. From here a gradual climb takes you into the valley of Gangtey (Phobjikha). The gentle sloping hillsides of Phobjikha are described as “the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas”. This is also a winter home of black necked cranes that migrates from the Tibetan plateau.
Depart for Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. The road takes you over Dochu-La pass (3,100m) where you will stop to walk around the 108 stupas and, if the weather is clear, enjoy an incredible view of Himalayan peaks. enroute we will stop on the pass for hoisting prayer flags.
Before reaching Punkha, visit Royal Botanical Garden in Lamperi. The park (47 square kilometers) serves as biological corridor connecting Jigme Dorji National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, and features a variety of forest types, spectacular scenery, natural rhododendron groves, endangered wildlife and a lake.
Continue your drive towards Punakha through beautiful countryside offering a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.
Check into your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang. Afterwards, visit Lhawang Tshering’s small incense making factory, the most successful and leading incense exporter in Bhutan. Incense, (poi) is one of the most essential elements in religious offerings. Its aroma, it is said, can help to soothe and calm a restless mind. After visiting the incense factory we will visit the small town of Wangduephodrang.
Morning visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness”. It was built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver.
After visiting the dzong we will walk about 10 minutes to see the swing bridge built over Pho Chu river
connecting people from Shengana village with Punakha Dzong. This is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan constructed around 2001.
After lunch, take a short walk across rice paddies takes us to Chimmi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as the Divine Madman. Then enjoy exploring a the villages in and around Lobesa valley where you will have the opportunity to
interact with local people and learn more about rural life style in Bhutan.
If you are interested we can arrange a home stay in one of the villages in Lobesa, with an opportunity to learn how to prepare some Bhutanese dishes and also try out local alcohol brewed from rice and wheat known as “ARA”. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.
Today you will retrace our steps over the Dochu La for a second view of the wonderful Himalayan range (clear weather permitting). In Thimphu, visit the National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Institute of Traditional Art & Crafts, and a small factory that produces handmade paper. This paper, made from the bark of the Daphne plant, has long been used for Buddhist manuscripts. Later in the afternoon, drive back to Paro visiting Semtokha Dzong (17 C), the oldest dzong enroute. Returning to the Chuzom (river conﬂuence) we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits near the checkpoint.
On arrival Enjoy a stroll through downtown Paro before checking into the hotel.
Hike from Sang Choekor Buddhist College (2,800m) to yak pastures below Bumdra Monastery (3,800m). The adventure begins with an early morning drive up to the Sang Choekor to meet our ponies and while they are being loaded we may pay our respects at the college. Above and ahead the Chhoe Tse Lhakhang (temple) nestles in the mountainside 1-2 hours walk away. Our home for the night is tucked in under Bumdra Monastery (cave of a thousand prayers) making the most of the awesome views of the Himalayan range. After lunch we can visit the monastery (if it is occupied) and also climb the peak to the north (about 4000m) for even better views, returning in time for a slap up dinner.
Duration: 4-5 hours to camp 2-3 hours return trek to peak (optional)
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard.
Overnight at Bumdra Wilderness Camp.
Hike from Yak pasture below Bumdra Monastery (3,800m) via Zangtopelri Monasteries to Taktsang Monastery (2,900m). After a hearty breakfast, we either head straight back into the valley or linger a while soaking up the view and perhaps hang some prayer flags of our own. Eventually we have to drop back into the ancient pine and rhododendron forest on the monks’ winding trail.
After a couple of hours of descent we begin to catch glimpses of the golden temples below. The path snakes across the mountainside between these monasteries before reaching the gardens of Zangtopelri (Heaven on Earth) from which you can peer over the edge and straight down onto the ornate rooftops of Taktsang Monastery, perched against the cliff-face far below. An hour later and we are at the gates of Taktsang looking across the gorge; a steep descent to a waterfall then up some steps and we pass into Tiger’s Nest itself. The Monastery is an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. The cave is said to be the origin of Buddhism in Bhutan.Retracing our steps we begin the final descent of about 45 minutes to reach our vehicle and drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1644 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to control northern route to Tibet (from here, it is only a two-day hike to the border with Tibet, China dominated by Mt Jhomalhari ).
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, we will be taken to the airport in Paro after breakfast.
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