Bumthang Festival and Cultural Trek
Bumthang is in the East of Bhutan, the country's cultiral heartland. This great trip combines a festival week in Bumthang with an easy three day trek and great sightseeing. This is a perfect first visit to Bhutan, or a return trip for visitors who saw only the West initially or who came on a cultural tour and want to try light trekking.
The opportunities to visit little villages, farms and local shrines are particularly good on this short trek.
Suggested arrival in Bangkok, free day in Bangkok, jetlag recovery
Fly Bangkok to Paro Bhutan. During the flight, you will see breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Jhomolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by our representative. Paro sightseeing: Visit the 7th century Kyichu Monastery and Paro national museum.
In the morning drive to Drugyal Dzong, a ruined fortress outisde of Paro. With clear skies, sacred Mount Jholmohari can be seen, with the other snow peaks of western Bhutan. Visit a typical farmhouse and take an hour's walk to stretch your legs.
Drive along the winding road alongside the Paro Chu (Chu means water or river) to the confluence with the Wang Chu, then follow the Wang Chu to Thimphu, the Capital. After lunch visit the Memorial Chorten (dedicated to the Late Third King of Bhutan), Takins mini zoo (Takin is a rare and unique species and its the national animal of Bhutan), National Library, Traditional Painting School, traditional indigenous hospital, hand-made paper factory and visit to a traditional handicraft gift shop.
The journey to central Bhutan begins today. The drive to Trongsa takes about 7-8 hours from Thimphu. Packed lunch stop at Chendebji Chorten.
Drive for 2 and half hours to Jakar. Bumthang (the "Plain of Ghosts") is a land of myth and mystery and tales of the great Guru Padmasambhava who performed formidable feats and miracles here. Bumthang sightseeing: view of Jakar Dzong ("Castle of the white Bird"), Jambay Lhakhang (the monastery was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo), and visit Mebar Tso(the 'burning lake' from which Pema Lingpa retrieved sacred religious relics).
A day of walking around the valley, in preparation for trek. Visit the cheese and apple juice factories, and the model dairy farm.
Trek to Nganglhakhang, ~20 Km, 5-6 hrs journey. Camp ~2,900 m. Follow the Chankharchu river, into the ancient region of swans. A very pleasant day on trek.
Trek to Ugyenchholing , ~23 Km, 7-8 hrs journey. Camp ~2,800 m. Climb gradually to Phepela Pass, the trek high point of 3,353 meters. Through the forests, you may catch of Ugyenchholing Palace.
Trek to Jakar, ~10 Km, 3 hrs journey. This is a lovely, easy walk-out, a trout-filled river, the Tang Chu. Then return to Bumthang for day one of the Festival.
Full day at the festival.
Full day at the festival
Drive back to Trongsa. Casual sightseeing in Trongsa town after arrival, time permitting.
Drive to Thiumphu, natural beauty and a picnic lunch en-route.
Drive to Paro in the morning, then fly Paro to Bangkok and on home.
LAND US$ 3250 per person, Single room supplement US$ 520
AIR Bangkok - Paro - Return US$ 980