Overview: The chance to explore Bhutan with a 6 day trek and also the chance to experience one of the famous Bhutanese festivals, and visit some of the classic cultural sites of Bhutan, including the Tiger’s Nest monastery.
Day 1 (Sept 23) Arrive Paro (Airport). Altitude: 2280m/ 7524ft above sea level The flight into Paro brings breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains. If the weather permits you will be able to see Mt Everest (8848m, 29,198ft) and other Himalayan mountains. The landing, flying through the Paro valley between the 4000 metre high mountains, starts your day in an unforgettable way! Your Bhutanese representative from Raven Tours and Treks will greet you on arrival and drive you through the beautiful valley of Paro to the hotel where you will be staying.
Afternoon visit –Ta Dzong: (Watch Tower). Perched in the hills above Paro,it is no surprise that this building served as a watch tower to guard the region from the threat of Tibetan invasion. Built in the 17th Century, it was converted to the National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of Bhutanese art, relics, and religious thankas; also paintings, stuffed Bhutanese animals, antique weapons and many examples of the country’s exquisite stamp collections.
Rimpung Dzong: Your first visit to a Bhutanese fortress, Rimpung Dzong means heap of jewels, an inelegant name perhaps – but an elegant building. It was built in 1644 by Zhabdrung (deeply revered even now as a dynamic political and spiritual leader). The building is still in daily use and houses both administrative and monastic bodies.
Day 2 (Sept 24) Sightseeing in Paro In the morning we visit Drugyel dzong: (ruined fortress): This dzong is of historical importance. It was this building that the Bhutanese repelled Tibetan invaders. It was built in 1649 also by Zhabdrung to commemorate the victory of the Drukpas over the Tibetan invasion in 1644. On a clear day (7326m/ 24176ft), you have a fascinating view of the white domed peak of sacred Jhomolhari (Mountain of Goddess)
Later we take a hike to the famous Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest): This is Bhutan’s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800m/2640ft up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimopche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew from Kurtoe (eastern Bhutan) on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands.
The hike takes between one to two hours there and slightly less on the way back. Most of the route is through wonderfully cool and sheltered oak forests. Although the paths are worn they are easily walked. There is a tea house half way for a break. After the tea house the path is slightly steeper and more open with one area of exposed steps. It is a route that anybody of reasonable fitness can make but those who suffer from vertigo might prefer to wait at the tea house.
Day 3 (Sept 25)Trek begins The maximum elevation is about 4900m and trek is medium hard. The pace is always comfortable, and average walking per day is around 18-20km over a 6-7 hour period.
Drive from Paro to Shana. Drive to the end of the motor road at Drukgyel Dzong to begin the trek. Today’s trail follows the river uphill through a narrow agricultural valley as far as the border army camp at about 2800 m. (17 kms). Total height gain around 800m.
Day 4. (Sept 26)Shana to Soi Thangthangkha.The path from Shana ascends through the river valley with pine and rhododendron forests. On the way, there is a fantastic view of Mount Jomolhari. We will camp in a meadow with a stone shelter at an altitude of about 3860 m. (19 km, 6 to 7 hours). Total gain for the day around 1100m.
Day 5. (Sept 27)Soi Thangthangkha to Jangothang.The trail continues to follow the river and passes a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Views of high ridges and snow-capped peaks can be seen on all sides. At this altitude (about 4040 m) it is possible to see yaks and yak herders. Camp is beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jomolhari. (19 kms, 6 hours), little height gained today – around 300m.
Day 6. (Sept 28)Halt at Jangothang. It’s possible to walk to Tsophu and fish or hike in various directions: towards Mount Jomolhari and its subsidiary to the west, Jichu Drake to the north and unclaimed summits and ridges to the east.
Day 7 (Sept 29)Jangothang to Lingshi. The trail climbs gradually to Nyili La Pass (4680 m). Broad yak pastures can be seen along the length of the route. If the weather is clear, there is an excellent view of Lingshi Dzong as we descend into the Lingshi basin. Tserim Kang and its descending glaciers can be seen at the north end of the valley. (6 to 7 hrs walk, distance 18km). We camp in a stone shelter at 3915 m.
Day 8. (Sept 30)Lingshi to Shodu. The trail ascends to the Yali La Pass (4820 m)from where Mount Jomolhari, Tserim Gang and Masa Gang can be seen on a clear day. We descend to our campsite which is situated at about 3815 m. (7 to 8 hours, distance 22km)
Day 9. (October 1)Shodu to Barshong. The path follows the Thimphu Chu(river) and through forests with rhododendrons and waterfalls, before climbing to the ruins of Barshong Dzong. The camp is a stone shelter just below the ruined fortress. (Altitude 3685 m, 13 km, 5 hours)
Day 10. (October 2)Barshong to Thimphu. This is the last day of the trek; we continue to follow the Thimphu Chu through dense rhododendron forest before emerging into pastureland. Wild animals may be seen along the way. A vehicle will be waiting to collect us at Dodena for the drive to Thimphu. Altitude: 2320m/ 7656ft above sea level. (19 kms, 8 hours walk)
Day 11 – (October 3) Thimphu The day begins early with a visit to the famousThimphu festival where you can watch the mask dances. As colorful as the dancers are, the locals try hard to compete and you will see people from all walks of life gathering to celebrate, dressed in their best clothes for the occasion. These festivals are a time of fun, and you can see people trying their luck in the local fair, and maybe take a chance yourself.
Afternoon visits: Mini zoo: Here we can see Bhutan’s national animal known as Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds. Memorial chorten(stupa): Built in 1974 in the memory of our third monarch, the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is regarded as the father of modern Bhutan.
Handicraft Emporium: The shop will provide you with different styles of Bhutanese textiles and arts and crafts, also a chance to buy souvenirs.
In the evening if you wish,we can make arrangements to take you to enjoy the recent trends of the younger Bhutanese, who spend their evenings in the discotheques, or in the entertaining hubs where there are live performances of Bhutanese songs and dances (traditional and modern) by the best Bhutanese bands. If you wish you can even test your singing talents in the bars that offer Karaoke.
Day 12 (October 4) Thimphu to Paro Morning visit Thimphu festival, free time for the rest of the day to explore Thimpu, relax and see how the locals live. Evening we leave for Paro
Day 13 (October 5) Depart from Paro Early breakfast at the hotel and then drive to the airport to board the flight. Your escort from Raven Tours and Treks will assist you with exit formalities and bid you farewell
All Tours are subject to an Acceptance Payment/Deposit of £200. Cost per person on twin share basis as per itinerary On application for the current Tour Cost Bhutan Standard Tour cost is US$ 240 per person per day – subject to confirmation at the time of booking. (This cost is specified by the Bhutanese Government.)
Payment. 1.On acceptance –£200 per person, Acceptance Payment/Deposit (non refundable) by cheque payable to “S W & M Miller”. Your Contract for all tour arrangements is directly with Raven tours & Travel, Bhutan to whom payment for the tour is made. 2. Eight weeks prior to arrival in Bhutan or on Acceptance – Full Payment in US $, by Credit Card or International Bank Transfer, direct to 3. On arrival in Bhutan – 50% payable, in US $, by Credit Card or Cash.
35 days prior to arrival a cancellation fee of US$200 per person will be applicable. 30 days notice of cancellation a fee of 25% of the total amount will be applicable. 25 days notice of cancellation a fee of 50% of the total amount will be applicable Less than 25 days notice incurs the full amount. Acceptance Payment non refundable
Included in the Cost
- Accommodation on a twin sharing, room and breakfast basis at the hotels specified,
- Full board at Wildlife Park if applicable.
- Any single room subject to supplement shown.
- All transfers, sightseeing and excursions by air-conditioned vehicle.
- Services of an English speaking local guide (or a naturalist in National Parks)
- Entrance fees at monuments and parks where applicable
- Train journeys where applicable
- Domestic Flight (economy), where applicable, are subject to change.
- Porterage at airports, rail stations and hotels (not tips).
- All currently applicable taxes.
- The UK pounds price shown is based on current exchange rates.
Excluded from the Cost
- Expenses of a personal nature such as table drinks, laundry, telephone calls, Internet charges, mineral water, tips, shopping etc.
- Any other meals or services not mentioned in the programme.
- Any international airfare or any airport taxes.
- Any Government or State taxes subsequently introduced.
- Travel Insurance