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Grand Walking Tour of Bhutan
This beautiful tour around Bhutan’s most scenic places takes us to the country’s finest locations with an unparalleled diversity. This is one of our signature trips that we started first in 1999. Along the way, we have made few necessary and recommended changes. This is the perfect trip to experience the delight of crossing high hills as well as the wide windswept meadows filled with wildflowers, across sleepy hamlets, through fragrance filled forests, rice fields and orchards. There is no real trekking that requires outdoor camping with exhaustive long day walks; but it has moderate hikes and excursions to villages from the comforts of your hotel. An active vacation without roughing it! The itinerary covers the regular tourists’ sites, as well as some off- the-beaten places. Walk out to visit villages, farms, and monasteries and ancient temples from the towns of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue phodrang and travel as far interior to Bumthang District. Between the drives, we shall make unplanned stops at local villages. All of our small group departures are scheduled to attend the local festivals and therefore some parts of the itinerary may be revised slightly to incorporate these colorful events.
We sincerely believe that walking is the best way to enjoy and experience Bhutan and this itinerary has been tried and tested over the years.
|Best Season||Mar-May, Sep-Nov|
|Price (per person)||$$3,625|
|Internal airfare (per person)||n/a|
Roundtrip airport transfers in Kathmandu & Pokhara by private vehicle
3 nights hotel accommodation in Kathmandu at Shangri La Hotel (room sharing basis)
Daily breakfast in Kathmandu Half-day guided sightseeing in Kathmandu, all monuments fee, driver’s allowances,
Transportation in Pokhara pre/post trek,
All meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner) during Tea-house/lodge trek,
English speaking guide, porter (their salary, allowance and insurance),
Sleeping bags with a liner, toilet paper,
Annapurna conservation fee, normal trekking permit fee.
Back up support in case of emergency.
International airfare (we will be pleased to book your international flights)
Optional Travel/Medical Insurance
Personal expenses such as bars, beverages in the hotel, telephone, laundry, trips, and others
Days 1 & 2: Arrive in Bhutan – Thimphu (L/D)
Arrive in Paro by flight. Upon arrival in Paro, you are met and transferred to Thimphu, the capital, where we spend 2 nights. During our stay here, sightseeing includes visiting Farmers’ Market, Tashicho Dzong, and traditional Art school among other sights. We also dedicate ¾ of the day for a rural walk up north of Thimphu to Cheri/Tango Monastery.
Overnight in Hotel Druk, Hotel Jumolhari,Khang Residency.
Day 3 & 4: Punakha & Wangdue Phodrang Valley (B/L/D)
Cover any unseen sights of Thimphu in the morning before driving east across Dochula to Punakha and Wangdue valley. In the evening take a short walk to visit Chimi Lhakhang Temple, dedicated to Saint Drukpa Kuenley, affectionately known as “Divine Madman,” for his unconventional ways of teaching using dirty jokes. Next day, walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten, north of Punakha valley with spectacular views of villages and terraced rice fields. Upon return, follow the ancient riverside trail to Punakha with Picnic along the way. Later visit great Punakha Dzong, located at the confluence of Pho & Mo chu rivers.
Overnight in Punatsangchu Cottages or best available.
Days 5: Punakha -Jakar (Bumthang) (B/L/D)
We have a long but beautiful drive to central Bhutan across two major mountain passes, several villages and towns including Trongsa en route. To ease this long drive, we will stop occasionally to take short walks and visit villages along the way. Our walk will be in one of the following places: Rukubji Village, Trongsa or in Chumey Valley depending on the seasons and your interests.
Overnight in Yugerling Hotel, Mountain Lodge or Wangdicholing Resort.
Days 6 & 7: Bumthang Valleys (B/L/D)
One day will be dedicated for sights in and around Jakar; we have a full day to explore this culturally rich valley by short walk between villages, temples, monasteries and Dzongs. We may also possibly be able to visit local school and families. Next day, head out to Tang Valley or towards Ura when the roads or other conditions for Tang do not favor. Upon arrival in Tang, take a short walk to visit Ugencholing Manor, visit Tang Rimochen temple, local village and others.
Return to Jakar for overnight.
Day 8: Trongsa (B/L/D)
Start early for short drive back to Trongsa. En-route, visit the weavers at Zugney, take a peek at Domkharcholing Palace in Chumey. Upon arrival in Trongsa, visit the imposing Trongsa Dzong. In the afternoon, drive short distance south to visit Kuenga Rabten Palace, walk in the local village nearby and if time permits, hike up to Bumzor nunnery. Stroll around Trongsa town in the evening.
Overnight in Yangkhil Resort or best available.
Day 9: Gangtey, Phobjikha (B/L/D)
Drive till Pele La Pass and take a side diversion road into the hidden and beautiful Phobjikha valley, a protected wildlife conservation area within Jigme Singye Mountains National Park. From October till March, this beautiful valley is also the roosting grounds for rare Black necked Cranes. Visit ancient Gangtey Gompa Monastery located atop the hill. During the season of Black-necked Cranes, walk for about 1-2 hours along the nature trail, a footpath encircling the winter roosting grounds of the crane. At other times, walk in the village and also visit the Nature Information Center. Conservation measures are taken also meant that there is no electricity in this valley. The Hotel generator is turned off after dinner and hot waters is provided in a bucket.
Overnight in pleasant Hotel Dewachen or best available.
Day 10: Gangtey – Thimphu (B/L/D)
Along the way back to Thimphu, stop in villages en-route. Upon arriving atop Dochula pass, view the peaks, enjoy lunch at the cafeteria and begin our 2-3 hour ridge top walk to Lungchuzekha Goenpa and quite possibly to Trashigang Monastery. The trail is through rich vegetation of moss laden birch, hemlock and rhododendrons trees. The monastery has been recently repaired and the views from here on a clear day are astounding; with almost all of Bhutan’s great peaks seen from here. Follow the trail down to the road head above Hongtsho and continue to Thimphu. Tonight (for our experience) we will spend one night a simple but pleasant home-stay Guest house or at Dochula hotel for views, depending on the trip.
Overnight Gaa-yul Home Stay or Dochula hotel
Day 11: Thimphu – Paro (National Museum & Dzongdrakha) (B/L/D)
Visit Simtokha Dzong in Thimphu and drive to Paro (1hr). Before arriving at Paro, stop above Bondey village and take a walk to visit Dzongdrakha temple and village, set high on the cliff. Later visit National Museum and stroll around Paro Township.
Overnight in Tenzinling Resort , Tashi Namgay Resort similar.
Day 12: In Paro (B/L/D)
Full day in this beautiful Paro valley for touring and easy walks. Visit the 7th century Kichu temple, followed by short drive to Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress which once guarded the valley against Tibetan invaders. Walk in the local village nearby. In the afternoon visit magnificent Rinphung Dzong. Late afternoon is free to pursue your own interests.
Overnight in Tenzinling Resort , Tashi Namgay hotel or Janka Resort.
Day 13: Paro (Excursion to Taktsang & Beyond) (B/L/D)
As you will have covered more grounds on foot and well acclimated by now, we hope to take you bit beyond what regular tourist generally cover; that is to hike to Takstang and also to visit some of the temples higher-up like Zangdopelri and Ugyen Tsemo. This special hike beyond Takstang provides a rare view and look at the Takstang monastery and also its surrounding temples, hermitage and sites.
Return to Paro for farewell dinner.
Overnight in Tenzinling Resort , Tashi Namgay or Janaka Resort.
Day 14: Departure
Transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight.