DISCOVER THE BHUTAN TREK - Alpinist Club - 2022

DISCOVER THE BHUTAN TREK

Group Size

5-15 person

meal

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

accomodation

hotel, lodge

arrival on

kathmandu, paro

departure from

paro, kathmandu

trip level

Easy

max. altitude

4,000m

Best season

Autumn, spring

trip highlights

  • A trekking at a moderate altitude, between 3,800 and 4,200 meters,
  • A very good cultural overview of Bhutan with views of the Chomolhari (7,326 m).
  • Paro, the site of Taktsang, the dzongs (fortified monasteries) of Timphu, Punakha and Phobjikha.
  • the possibility of attending major religious festivals in Bhutan.

Discover the Bhutan trek Fortresses and hilltop monasteries, isolated villages, religious traditions, and customs, enchanting valleys. Bhutan the jewel of the Himalayas, have preserved their cultural and natural setting. additionally, the trip offers a complete discovery of the kingdom and from Paro to the beautiful valleys of Bumthang and emblematic sites. After a warm-up at Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). we fly over the eastern Himalayan range to reach Jakar. In the heart of the  Bhumtang valley region.

Discover the Bhutan trek , We discover the heritage of Guru Padmasambhava and hike between culture, traditional villages, and pine forests. Then, we return to Trongsa and the mysterious valley of Phobjika. however, the winter residence of black-headed cranes from neighboring Tibet. Finally, Punakha and its majestic dzong floating at the confluence of two rivers. Reveals its majestic architecture and its impressive Lhakhang.

We end our immersion in Thimphu after crossing Dochu La pass. After that, we enjoying the panorama of the snow-capped peaks. This beautiful introduction to the small Himalayan kingdom. Thus, combines cultural discovery and religious festivities by associating each departure date with a Tsechu, festival of dances, and masked rituals. A confluence of two rivers reveals its majestic architecture and its impressive Lhakhang. We end our immersion in Thimphu after crossing Dochu La and enjoying the panorama of the snow-capped peaks. 

Itinerary

Arrival in Kathmandu. you are greeted at the airport by our team and then transferred to our hotel. Evening briefing from your guide.

approximately 15 hours of driving to the hotel
Final altitude: approximately 13,50 m
Meals:  dinner
Accommodation: night in the hotel

We reserve this day for sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley and to prepare for trekking. After having a warm breakfast, we will leave the hotel in a private vehicle with an experienced tour guide. We will visit several UNESCO listed world heritage sites in Kathmandu valley and the famous sacred Hindu temple, the Pashupatinath temple, Swayambhunath stupa, and Boudhanath stupa. These places are famous to have inherited ancient religious practices, architecture, and culture.

Tour: full-day tour
Final altitude: approximately 13,50 m
Meals: breakfast
Accommodation: night in the hotel

Depending on your flight schedule, fly to Paro in Bhutan. It is perhaps one of the most spectacular flights over the Himalayan range. On the left of the device, we enjoy the view of three of the highest peaks in the world: Everest (8848m), Makalu (8485m), and Kangchenjunga (8586m). After only 45 minutes of flight, we descend towards the enchanting valley of Paro and its alpine forests. Welcome by your guide and transfer to your hotel. The Paro Valley is one of the most beautiful in the country: wooded hills, clear rivers, terraced fields, all punctuated by a few flat-roofed farms and temples. End of the day free for the first immersion at your own pace in the “land of gross national happiness”. Depending on the time of arrival,

 

This morning we leave for the monastery of Taktsang, “the tiger’s nest” (or tiger den), a hermitage hanging on a cliff, one of the most revered places of pilgrimage in the Himalayan world and in particular of the Bhutanese who owe it to themselves to accomplish it at least once in their life. Accessible only on foot, this monastery is clinging to a cliff, 900m above the Paro valley. Its foundation dates back to the 8th century. Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava, in his wrathful form of Dorje Dolo, landed in this valley on the back of a pregnant tigress, and came to meditate for several months in a cave hanging on the mountain, today surrounded by the buildings and chapels of the monastery. . He then converts the valley to Buddhism.

To access it, the path crosses villages and pine forests. The original monastery was built in the 17th century. Destroyed by fire in 1999, it was rebuilt identically. After crossing a meadow, the trail progresses through a forest of oaks and rhododendrons. In places the trees are covered with Spanish mosses clinging to the branches in rags, giving a strange, somewhat “fantastic” atmosphere. We pass in front of many prayer flags, ubiquitous in Bhutan. As you climb, the view becomes extraordinary on the sanctuary and the effort of the climb is largely rewarded!

Return to Paro in the afternoon. Visit of the dzong, where we discover the impressive Rinpung Buddhist fortress, characteristic of Bhutan. We drive to Ta Dzong, the old watchtower that houses the Bhutanese National Museum. This museum offers an initiatory journey on the history, heritage and traditional culture of the land of the Dragon since the 7th century. The National Museum plays an essential role as a protector and promoter of Bhutanese cultural values. Preserving culture and its values ​​is one of the nine pillars of gross national happiness, the country’s philosophy.

Transfer to Paro airport to take a flight to Bumthang in the east of the kingdom. Just like the flight between Kathmandu and Paro, you literally fly over the eastern Himalayan range. From the airport we return to our hotel to drop off our belongings and enjoy a full day of discovery on foot of the Bumthang valley, one of the most beautiful and sacred in Bhutan. Guru Padmasambhava, having introduced Buddhism to the area, meditated in many caves in the valley and each now has a dedicated temple or shrine.

We begin our exploration with a visit to Jambey Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo, who promised the construction of 108 temples during his lifetime. This temple can only be visited with the special permission we get for our groups. We then visit the 17th century Kurje Lhakhang, as well as its magnificent new monastic annex built in a traditional style. From Kurje, we cross a bridge that spans the Chamkhar Chu river then rice fields to get to Tamshing. This temple complex was founded in 1501 by one of Bhutan’s most famous saints, Pema Lingpa. The monastery is home to many apprentice monks. We continue beyond Tamshing and return to Jakar.

After a local breakfast, we take the road (1h30) through pine forests and crops to the Tang Ugyencholing mansion which houses a museum of ancient traditional culture. From there we will head to the Convent of Pemachiling where we can witness an elaborate drumming ceremony hosted by the nuns. We have lunch at the monastery. We then go to Membar Tsho (flaming lake), where the famous Terton Pema Lingpa is said to have discovered a treasure at the end of the 15th century. Before returning to Jakar, we will also visit the Zangtopelri, the heavenly abode of Guru Rinpoche. Return to Jakar for the night.

From Jakar, we head west to reach Trongsa (2h30). The road winds between village, open valley and pine forest before the last switchbacks that lead us to Yotongla (3425m). We then descend by a winding road and distinguish, further down in the valley, the impressive Trongsa dzong, built on a rocky outcrop, overlooking the Mangde Chu valley. We stop here to visit this 17th century dzong, one of the most impressive in Bhutan. We continue our journey towards Pelé La (3390m), crossing the different levels of vegetation: cultivated valleys, forests of tall pines, alpine areas of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboos. The pass, marked by a huge chörten and many prayer flags offers us, in good weather, a superb view of the black mountains with the snow-capped Himalayas. From the pass, just a few kilometers separate us from the entrance to the enchanting Phobjikha Valley. Huge pine forests frame a wide open valley where the inhabitants of different small hamlets cultivate one of the best varieties of potatoes in the country. Gangtey Gompa, one of the oldest private monasteries in Bhutan and one of the few belonging to the Nyingmapa sect, rises in the center of the valley. The valley is famous for being home to the very rare black-headed crane in winter, experts estimate that there are less than 800 in the wild. They make an incredible journey every year from Tibet through the Himalayas to reach this small valley of Bhutan. Cranes usually start arriving from mid-October and stay until early April. End of the day free to stroll in this calm and peaceful valley to meet the Bhutanese.

 

This morning we have another opportunity to observe the black necked cranes. The Bhutanese government has recognized the importance of these birds and has made special arrangements to protect them in the Phobjikha Valley. This implies compensation for local populations who are forced to reduce their cultivated land during the winter period. Today, income from tourism compensates farmers who abandon their fields to birds. We then take the road towards Punakha. Along the way, visit the yellow-roofed temple of Chimi Lhakhang, erected in the 15th century by Drukpa Kuenley, the divine madman. The temple is a popular pilgrimage site for local women to receive fertility blessings and name their unborn child by choosing a bamboo tile. After the visit, we continue to the iconic Punakha Dzong, strategically located at the confluence of the Pho and Mo Chus rivers (father and mother rivers). Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung, the impressive fortress guards the southern entrance to the Punkaha valley. In the afternoon, we visit Punakha Dzong, which hosts more than 1000 monks in winter. It is one of the most impressive buildings in the country. It is here that the first king was crowned in 1907. The Hall of Columns is particularly incredible for the works of art depicting the most important scenes from the life of the Buddha and impressive giant gilded statues. After the visit, we return to our hotel near the dzong. Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung, the impressive fortress guards the southern entrance to the Punkaha valley. In the afternoon, we visit Punakha Dzong, which hosts more than 1000 monks in winter. It is one of the most impressive buildings in the country. It is here that the first king was crowned in 1907. The Hall of Columns is particularly incredible for the works of art depicting the most important scenes from the life of the Buddha and impressive giant golden statues. After the visit, we return to our hotel near the dzong. Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung, the impressive fortress guards the southern entrance to the Punkaha valley. In the afternoon, we visit Punakha Dzong, which hosts more than 1000 monks in winter. It is one of the most impressive buildings in the country. It is here that the first king was crowned in 1907. The Hall of Columns is particularly incredible for the works of art depicting the most important scenes from the life of the Buddha and impressive giant golden statues. After the visit, we return to our hotel near the dzong. It is here that the first king was crowned in 1907. The Hall of Columns is particularly incredible for the works of art depicting the most important scenes from the life of the Buddha and impressive giant gilded statues. After the visit, we return to our hotel near the dzong. It is here that the first king was crowned in 1907. The Hall of Columns is particularly incredible for the works of art depicting the most important scenes from the life of the Buddha and impressive giant gilded statues. After the visit, we return to our hotel near the dzong.

 

We leave the Punakha valley to join the main east-west road of Bhutan and go up to Dochu La (3150m). On a clear day, we can admire one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Eastern Himalayas, stretching from Lunana and the peaks of Masangang, Tsendagang, Terigang to Gangkar Puensum (7497m), the highest peak in the world not climbed. . The road winds through a magnificent temperate forest full of rhododendrons and magnolias. After 3 hours of driving, we arrive in Thimphu. In the afternoon, visit of the capital. We start with the Great Buddha Dordenma (the largest seated golden Buddha in the world), we continue to the Textile Museum where costumes woven from all parts of Bhutan are exhibited, and where we have the opportunity to observe some weavers at work. We can also go to the local market and buy some dried peppers or other specialties of the country. Next to the market is the archery field, with a little luck we can see a competition of this national sport. The rules for archery in Bhutan are different from those in other countries. Arrows must be shot from a distance of 140m to hit an extremely small target. Each miss is accompanied by a dance or teasing from the assembly. End of the day free to make the last purchases before our last evening. The rules for archery in Bhutan are different from those in other countries. Arrows must be shot at a distance of 140m to hit an extremely small target. Each miss is accompanied by a dance or teasing from the assembly. End of the day free to make the last purchases before our last evening. The rules for archery in Bhutan are different from those in other countries. Arrows must be shot from a distance of 140m to hit an extremely small target. Each miss is accompanied by a dance or teasing from the assembly. End of the day free to make the last purchases before our last evening.

Transfer to Paro airport (1h30) for the morning flight to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to the hotel and end of the day free. Optional visit to the main sites of the city in the company of a  cultural guide.

 

free time depending on the departure time of your flight and our representative will drop you at the airport, ending your journey in Nepal. We hope to be of service to you again. Thank you and safe travels.

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  • duration :

    12 days
  • difficulty level :

    Easy

price from

3500$per person

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