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  • Trekking in Bhutan
  • Trekking adventures in Bhutan
  • Outdoor camping in Bhutan
  • Farmer Harvesting Turnip in Phobjikha Valley
  • Students in their uniform

Wonders of Bhutan Incl. 3-Day Gangtey Nature Trek

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12 Days 11 Nights
Availability : March - May, Sep - early Dec
Paro International Airport
Paro International Airport
Min Age : 15+
Tour Details

Minimum 2 person required to book this trip

Bhutan, a tiny Kingdom hidden by the staggering mountains of the Himalayas remained on self-imposed isolation until it opened door to the outside world in the 1960s. Bhutan still remains largely untouched by the worldly influence and holds strongly on to its age-old traditions.

On this 11 nights journey, you will delve into the magical Kingdom with a private expert guide and discover happiness amidst stunning landscapes dotted with impressive fortresses and ornate temples. Meet and mingle with local people who live a simple but content life. Get first-hand experience on what makes Bhutan a unique destination in the world.

This trip includes a 3-day enriching trek through several beautiful villages and monasteries, forests of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendrons and over small streams of cold, clear mountain water. offering beautiful views of the country with mostly gentle, forested slopes

Trip Highlights
  • Discover the wonders of Bhutan through the core of 4 western and 2 central districts of Bhutan with its ancient culture still intact.
  • A journey to the cultural heartland of Bhutan (Bumthang valley) to find inner peace among the ornately built temples and interact with monks and ramble through the rural villages less visited by tourists.
  • 3-Day trekking through less travelled villages, pristine forests and enjoy breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayan mountains.
  • One full day in the capital city Thimphu will imbibe in you how Bhutan is embracing modern development while still preserving its unique culture that has remained unchanged for centuries.
  • Hike to the 8th-century sacred site where Bhutan’s iconic landmark, 17th century Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest is hanging on an 800-meter rock cliff.
  • Visit ancient temples and magnificent Dzongs (fortresses) and marvel at the fine wall paintings, exquisite architecture and craftsmanship that still continue to influence the Bhutanese architecture today.
  • Spend a night at a family farmhouse and get insights into the life of Bhutanese farmers

Departure & Return Location

Paro International Airport, Bhutan

Season

This tour takes place during high season months as it requires very good weather conditions – March to May & September to early December.

Difficulty

Easy-Moderate

Trip Cost

High Season

This trip takes place only during high season months as it requires very good weather conditions: From March to May and September to early December.
US$3230 per person (Base Price)
3.5% discount – for a couple or group of 2 people
14% discount – for a group of 3-5 people
18% discount – for a group of 6-10 people
20% discount – for a group of 11 people & above

Price Includes

  • Visa Fee & Processing US$40 per person. You will receive e-visa within 3-4 business days.
  • US$65 Sustainable Development Fee/Royalty to the Royal Government of Bhutan
  • All meals - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • 9 Nights twin sharing accommodation at 3-star hotels certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan
  • 2 Nights outdoor camping in the pristine wilderness
  • Round trip airport transfers
  • Trekking equipment and haulage including an experienced cook
  • Sleeping bag liner (not sleeping bag)
  • Dedicated land transport with driver for the entire duration of your trip within Bhutan
  • English speaking Licensed Tour Guide. Guides speaking other languages can be arranged at additional fee.
  • All internal taxes

Price Excludes

  • Flight - If you would like us to arrange your flight to/from Bhutan, please do let us know in advance.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Emergency evacuation
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Laundry services, telephone call charges
  • Single supplemental of US$30 per night for a private single room.
  • Premium accommodation in a 4-Star hotel and above
  • Sleeping bag & pillow. Available for rent.
  • Cultural shows that require advance arrangement
  • Tips to Guides and Drivers
  • Any other personal expenses

Complementaries

  • Entrance Fees to parks, museums and other national monuments
  • Mineral water
  • Light snacks between meals
  • Tourist SIM card. You must let us know in advance. SIM cards in Bhutan works only on unlocked GSM phones.
  • Set of national costumes (Gho for men & Kira for women). The costumes must be returned to the guide at the end of the tour.
Itinerary - 12 Days 11 Nights
All tour services we provide are independent with flexible itineraries that can be customized to suit your interest and requirement.

Day 1Arrive Paro International Airport / Transfer to Punakha Valley (1200m)

Distance to Punakha 115km
Driving Time 3-3.5 Hours
Paro Altitude 2,195m/7,200ft
Punakha Altitude 1,200m/3,940ft

On your arrival at the only International Airport in Bhutan, your guide and driver will meet and greet you at the airport and then transfer to Punakha valley. (Driving time 3.5 hours)

Dochula Pass

En route stop briefly at Dochula – a sacred mountain pass at an elevation of 3150m and enjoy a grand view of some of the highest mountains of Bhutan on a clear day. From there continue driving towards Punakha and gradually descend to a warm low altitude valley within an hour. Continue to drive towards Punakha valley.

Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility)

Just about 11km before reaching Punakha town, visit the famous 15th century Chimi Lhakhang popularly known among tourists as “Temple of Fertility”. A gentle walk through the terraced rice fields and traditional farmhouses painted with phalluses will give you a unique experience. Explore the nearby village. If time permits, you will visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendup Nunnery located on a peaceful hilltop overlooking the lower Punakha valley.

Accommodation: Hotel Lobesa or Meri Puensum Resort.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2Sightseeing in Punakha / Transfer to Trongsa in central Bhutan (2200m)

Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten

After an early breakfast, drive to the nearest road-head and hike to Khamsum Yuellay Namgyel Chorten located on a serene hilltop overlooking the fertile Punakha valley. The hike takes you through the beautiful terraced rice fields and traditional houses. It takes about 2-2.5 hrs round trip. After the hike, retrace your footstep back to the road-head and drive to visit the most beautiful 17th century Punakha Dzong.

Punakha Dzong

The 17th century Punakha Dzong is considered as the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. This magnificent fortress displays fine Bhutanese arts and craftsmanship which continues to influence the Bhutanese architecture to this day. You will spend some time appreciating the intricate woodworks and sacred wall paintings.

Bhutan’ Longest Suspension Bridge

After visiting the Punakha Dzong, you will walk to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan and enjoy its beauty. After lunch, transfer to Trongsa in Central Bhutan.

Distance to Trongsa 145km
Driving Time 5.5 hours
Trongsa Altitude 2,200m/7,220ft
Transfer to Trongsa

After lunch, transfer to Trongsa in central Bhutan (driving time 4-hours). En route drive through the highest mountain pass between Punakha and Trongsa (Pelela 3,350m). You will have several opportunities for photography and views of valleys and mountains along the way.

Accommodation: Tashi Ninjay Guest House or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3Trongsa / Transfer to Bumthang valley in central Bhutan (2800m)

Trongsa Dzong & Royal Heritage Museum

After breakfast, visit the largest fortress in Bhutan, 17th-century Trongsa Dzong (Optional as it will be the same as any other fortresses) From there walk up to the promontory on which the Royal Heritage Museum housed in the 17th-century watchtower is located.

Distance to Bumthang 68km
Driving Time 3 hours
Trongsa Altitude 2,800m/9,185 ft

Transfer to Bumthang valley (driving time 3-hours). En route drive through the highest mountain pass between Trongsa and Bumthang (Yotongla 3,450m). Stop briefly at Chumey village to see Yathra Weaving Center and get insights into the traditional attires and weaving culture of the people of Bumthang valley.

Swiss Cheese & Wine Factor and Tamzhing Lhakhang

After lunch, visit the Swiss Cheese and Wine factory which was established by Mr. Fritz Maurer, a Swiss volunteer who came to Bhutan in the early 1960s and made Bumthang his home. After that visit the sacred Tamzhing temple built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa who is considered as the patron saint of Bhutan. Among the many treasures and religious artefacts handcrafted by the Pema Lingpa himself, there is an armory which stood the test of time for five centuries bearing no rust or any sign of deterioration. It is believed that you will be cleansed of all your past sins and defilement if you circumambulate the inner sanctum of the temple 3 rounds carrying that sacred armory. This is one activity enjoyed by all visitors with fun and a sense of veneration.

Leisure time around Chamkhar, the main town of Bumthang.

Accommodation: Kaila Guest House or Mountain Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4Full day exploring Bumthang valley

Tang Valley & Burning Lake (Mebar Tso)

After breakfast, drive for about 45min to the sacred lake called Mebartso from where a sacred statue and other religious treasures were discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa.

Distance to Tang Valley 30km
Driving Time 1 hour

You would see these sacred objects at Tamzhing temple on Day 3. Visit the nearby Tang village and ramble through the rural settlements to understand the daily lives of the farmers of Bumthang. Home-cooked local cuisine unique to Bumthang will be organized at one of the village farmhouses for lunch. After lunch, spend some time with the local family. Drive back to Bumthang.

Kurjey Lhakhang

Visit Kurjey Lhakhang which is built on the sacred site blessed by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. Guru Padmasambhava brought Buddhism to Bhutan and is revered as the second Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism. If you wish, visit one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the 7th century Jambay Lhakhang believed to have been built overnight by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.

Accommodation: Kaila Guest House or Mountain Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5Bumthang / Transfer to Phobjikha valley in Gangtey (3000m)

Transfer to Phobjikha valley
Distance to Phobjikha valley 150km
Driving Time 4.5 hours
Phobjikha Altitude 3,000m/9,840ft

After breakfast, transfer to Phobjikha valley in Gangtey. Phobjikha is a vast U-shaped glacial valley at an elevation of about 3,000m/9,840ft and it is a winter home for endangered Black Necked Crane from November to March and migrates back to Tibetan Plateau by the beginning of spring season. As part of the conservation effort, Phobjikha valley has been declared as a protected area.

Gangtey Nature Hike

After lunch in Phobjikha, venture out on an exhilarating nature hike through the pristine valley. The trail is about 5km and takes approx. 3 hours through the woods surrounded by splendid nature all around, wonderful meadows, beautiful traditional village houses, farmlands and crystalline streams. This short nature trail gives you a great feeling of the valley and understanding of the livelihood of the people living there. Lots of opportunities to take beautiful pictures! In the evening, take a traditional hot stone bath for $15 believed to have a therapeutic effect (optional).

Accommodation: Yueloki Guest House or a similar one
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6Gangtey Trek Starts Today: Phobjikha / Zasa (3130m)

After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, you will embark on an exciting 3-day trek. The Trek starts near the village of Tabiting.

Distance 15km
Time 6-7 hours
Ascent 610m
Descent 410m
Camp Altitude 3,310m/10,860ft

The trail winds through meadows and fields and the climb takes you through a mixed forest of juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron to Tsele La (3430m). From here you descend into the Juge Kangkha Chhu valley. Further on, the path leads to Gogona, well known for its “Gogona Cheese” production. The campsite is a bit further on besides a small stream in a yak pasture called Zasa.

Accommodation: Outdoor camping
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 72nd Day of Gangtey Trek: Zasa / Chorten Karpo (3330m)

Distance 16km
Time 6-7 hours
Ascent 450m
Descent 860m
Camp Altitude 3,330m/10,925ft

A gentle climb leads to Shobe La pass (3,480m). The descent from the pass leads to a wide valley, surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. Below the route, one can see Khothokha, a village with about 60 houses. You finally reach the campsite by climbing gently up till you see four chortens in a forest of blue pine.

Accommodation: Outdoor camping at Chorten Karpo (3330m)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8Final Day of Gangtey Trek: Chorten Karpo / Tikke Zampa / Transfer to Thimphu (2334m)

After breakfast at the camp, you climb till you reach a forest road. From here it’s an easy walk up to a little ridge at 2,800m. The walk down back into the valley leads you through Bhutan’s best bird-watching areas. The trek ends at Tikke Zampa where your driver will be waiting. Your trekking team will bid you farewell at this point.

Trekking Distance 12km
Time 4-5 hours
Ascent 120m
Descent 1340m
Thimphu Altitude 2,334m/7,655ft
Distance to Thimphu 77km
Driving time 2.5-hours

After the trek ends, you will be transferred to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. En route, stop briefly at Dochula Pass for a coffee break. On arrival in Thimphu, spend leisure time around the streets of Thimphu. Thimphu is home to around 115,000 residents and this bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country. Thimphu is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights.

Leisure time to explore Thimphu streets.

Accommodation: Kuenphen Rabten Resort or Hotel Amodhara
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9Full Day Exploring the Capital City Thimphu

Today, you will spend the day exploring Thimphu, the only capital city in the world without traffic lights. You will understand how Bhutan embraces modernization while still trying to preserve it age-old traditions.

Buddha Dordhenma Statue

After breakfast, visit the giant Buddha statue located on a hilltop overlooking the Thimphu valley. The magnificent 169 feet tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha is located on a hilltop, Kuensel Phodrang, overlooking the Thimphu valley.

Institute of Traditional Arts & Crafts

Visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum where the 13 traditional arts & crafts of Bhutan are taught. If the class is in session, you can hop in and observe while the students gets hands-on training. Opens during working weekdays & on Saturdays 10am-noon.

National Library & Archives or Bhutan

Visit National Library of Bhutan considered as a national treasure of Bhutan and fundamental source of Bhutanese history, religion, medicine, arts and culture. Opens during working weekdays & on Saturdays 10am-noon.

Centenary Farmers’ Market & Archery Range

If you wish, visit the Centenary Farmer’s Market where you will see farmers from across the country sell their products like vegetables, fruits and cereals. You will understand the food preference and culture in Bhutanese society. You may want to visit Bhutan Postal Museum if you are interested in Philatelic products and stamp collections. You can also have your own stamps printed with your photo. (Optional) Spend evening leisurely around Thimphu town.

Drive to nearby Changlimithang Archery Range to witness the game of archery if the match is in progress. You will see archers dancing and singing each time the target is hit from a distance of 145m. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan.

Leisure time around Thimphu town.

Accommodation: Kuenphen Rabten Resort or Hotel Amodhara
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10Thimphu / Transfer to Paro (2195m)

Distance to Bumthang 55km
Driving Time 1.5-hours
Paro Altitude 2,195m/7,200ft)

Today, you will be transferred back to Paro and visit some of the landmarks in the valley. Later after lunch, drive to the hilltop overlooking the Paro valley and interact with the monks at the peaceful and secluded monastery.

National Museum of Bhutan

The National Museum of Bhutan is located in Paro just above the Rinpung Dzong (administrative headquarter of Paro district) was established in 1968. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country.

7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang

Visit one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, a seventh-century Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means “temple”), which is located just a few minutes drive from the main town of Paro, is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is believed to have been built in 659 A.D. by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in a single day.

Drive to Sangchokhor Monastery

Later after lunch, drive to the Sangchen Chokhor Buddhist College located on a picturesque hilltop overlooking Paro Valley. You can meet and mingle with happy monks, meditate and offer prayers if you wish.

Leisure time in Paro town.

Accommodation: Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11Hike to the famous Paro Taktsang (3120m) & later visit farmhouse for a local cuisine

After early breakfast, drive to the base of Taksang, Ramthagk and hike to the famous Paro Taktsang built on the face of an 800-meter rocky cliff. The roundtrip hike takes around 4-5 hour. The history of Taktsang is associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava (known as Guru Rinpoche), the Indian saint who came to Bhutan and introduced Tantric Buddhism in the 8th century AD.

Taktsang Altitude 3120m/10,235ft
Roundtrip Hiking Time 4-5-hours

It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew into the cave from Kurtoe Khenpajong in eastern Bhutan, riding on a tigress. It is not only considered as one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Bhutan but also “a must-visit” place for tourists. After visiting Taktsang monastery and a sumptuous lunch at Taktsang cafeteria, retrace your footsteps back to the road-head where your driver will be waiting.

Towards the late afternoon, visit a beautiful farmhouse for home-cooked local cuisine. If interested, you can take a revitalizing hot stone bath for an additional fee of US$15 per person charged by the owner.

Accommodation: Khangkhu Resort or BhutanMandala Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12Drive to Paro for Departure

After breakfast, transfer to Paro International Airport for your onward journey. Your guide will assist you to complete all exit formalities before you check-in.

Meals: Breakfast

Add-on Options

All tour services we provide are independent with flexible itineraries which can be customized to suit your interest and requirement. You can form a group to get discounts. Apart from the predesigned packages which have proven successful, Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel can also arrange the following add-on activities to enrich your experiences in Bhutan. These activities can be fitted into any tour itineraries.

  • A short discourse on Gross National Happiness (GNH) by a renowned scholar
  • Astrology chart by qualified Buddhist Astrologer
  • Recitation of prayers by monks/nuns at a monastery/temple to remove obstacles and clear path (Barched Lamsel)
  • Wedding ceremony in traditional Bhutanese style
  • Dinner and cultural show (Folk dances and Sacred mask dances)
  • Archery – the national sports of Bhutan
  • Massage and Spa/Hot stone bath
  • Yoga & Meditation
  • Cooking lessons

Please note that some of the activities may involve extra fees.

Cancellaton & Refund Policy

All your deposits and any payment less administrative fees of US$100 per person will be refunded if you notify us at least 30 days prior to your arrival date. Refer the cancellation fee schedule below to determine the applicable charges:

DAYS TO ARRIVAL CANCELLATION CHARGES PER PERSON
30+ US$100 administrative fee per person
16-29 50% of the total cost
8-15 20% of the total cost
0-7 days No refund is available
Curtailment

In case the trip is cut short or duration lost due to unforeseen reasons after arrival in Bhutan, no refund is available as the payment would have been already made to hotels and other logistics.

Delayed arrival or departure

There shall be no charges for the number of days of delay either during arrivals or departures or both, due to weather conditions, communication problems, cancellation or delay in Bhutanese airline flights, sickness or any other legitimate reason as Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) may deem reasonable. However, the Tourist will be charged on the actual expenses on accommodation, food, transport and any other services provided.

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