10-Nights Bhutan Trek & Cultural Discovery
OFFER ID 1376581
Bhutan Trek & Cultural Discovery The enchanting Kingdom of Bhutan is an earthly nirvana filled with natural beauty and Buddhist tradition. This MT Sobek-exclusive itinerary highlights the best of Bhutan through three days of ridgeline trekking and camping, with the remaining time allocated for easier touring and scenic day hikes. Visit Bhutan's most famous monasteries, learn about Bhutanese folk art, discover the Paro Valley, explore the remote and magical Haa Valley, and lose yourself amid some of the world's most exciting peaks. This epic trek and cultural journey will stay with you for a lifetime!
Explore the gems of Bhutan on this exclusive adventure designed for the short-on-time traveler
Immerse yourself in Bhutan's rich Buddhist traditions, visiting the famous Taktsang and Lhakhang Karpo monasteries
Discover the less visited Haa Valley while trekking and camping amidst great Himalayan views
Day 1 Arrive in Bangkok Welcome to Bangkok! Transfer to the hotel via a free 24-hour shuttle bus. Note that most airlines arrive late at night into Bangkok, and your flight from Bangkok to Paro departs very early the next morning. Accommodation: Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel
Day 2 Enter the Kingdom of Bhutan 4-hour flight transfer & 45-minute private van transfer Board an early-morning flight to Paro, Bhutan. Vie for a seat on the left side of the plane: Weather permitting, you'll have spectacular views of the eastern Himalaya, including Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga — five of the highest peaks in the world! — and peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsering Kang. After clearing customs, drive into Paro for lunch, then on to Thimphu (7,725'), the capital of Bhutan, set in the Wang Chu Valley. The remainder of the day is free to rest and relax. Accommodation: Druk Hotel (L, D)
Day 3 Hike to Cheri Monastery 2-hour private van transfer 3-4 hours/4 miles hiking After breakfast, drive to Thimphu and then to our trailhead where we set out on our hike: a steep, hour-long climb to Cheri Goemba, constructed in the 17th century. The monastery houses the relic stupas (ashes of the father of Shabdrung, the founder of Bhutan) and is also considered one of the earliest monasteries of Bhutan. We have lunch, then drive back to Thimphu and up to Wangdi Tse for a peaceful one hour loop hike where we can enjoy wonderful views of Thimphu, but see few others on the trail. Return to Thimphu for dinner and overnight. Accommodation: Druk Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 4 Explore Thimphu & Paro 45-minute private van transfer Begin the day at the School of Arts and Crafts (or "painting school"), where Bhutanese children follow a six-year program in traditional arts, such as drawing, painting, woodcarving, and sculpture. Also visit the Textile Museum, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, and Folk Heritage Museum. In the afternoon, drive back to Paro and visit the National Museum, housed in an old watchtower above the Paro Dzong. The museum's collections include spectacular thangkas (religious scroll paintings), bronze statues, and Bhutan's beautiful stamps. Time permitting, also visit the Paro Dzong itself, built in 1644. Accommodation: The Zhiwa Ling (B, L, D)
Day 5 Hike to Taktsang Monastery 5 hours/2.6 miles hiking with 1,707’ elevation gain/loss Today it's a steep hike to a traditional teahouse for a great view of Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 2,700 feet above the Paro Valley floor. Taktsang, meaning "tiger's nest," is Bhutan's most spiritual place and a major pilgrimage spot. Partly destroyed by fire in 1998, Taktsang has been completely rebuilt. After a tea break, you can sit outside and admire the monastery and its beautiful surroundings or, if you feel energetic, continue another hour to a closer viewpoint. Enjoy free afternoon time to explore Paro on your own. Accommodation: The Zhiwa Ling (B, L, D)
Day 6 Go Deep in the Unspoiled Haa Valley 3-hour private van transfer Take a morning drive to the wooded Haa Valley, lying along the western border of Bhutan. Haa was closed to visitors until 2001, so to behold it is still a rare gift. Tonight's lodge is in a beautiful setting at the edge of a blue pine forest overlooking Haa La, and you may even be able to visit a local family today. Enjoy an afternoon visit to Lhakhang Karpo (Temple of the White Dove), a famous monastery believed to have been built in the 8th century by a Tibetan king. Accommodation: Lechuna Heritage Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 7 Trek to Camp Below Saga La 4.5–5 hours/4–5 miles hiking with 1,500’ elevation gain Lace up your boots! Begin your trek on a gradual uphill through a blue pine forest and farmland. The terrain steepens as you climb, and you'll walk along streams past rhododendron, juniper, spruce, and birch trees. Lunch in a grassy meadow at about 11,200 feet, then continue to camp at 11,800 feet, about 45 minutes below Saga La (pass). Weather permitting, take an afternoon hike up to Saga La for views of sacred Chomolhari (24,035'), several other peaks, and panoramic views of the Haa Valley. Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp—Haa Valley (B, L, D)
Day 8 Over Saga La to Ningula 7–8 hours/7–8 miles hiking with 1,500’ elevation gain In the morning, hike up to Saga La (again) and follow the ridge up and down to 13,200 feet, from where you may be able to catch a glimpse of Taktsang Monastery. Continue steeply up through dwarf rhododendron to 13,700 feet and down through narrow grazing paths. Camp is set up for you at Ningula, in a rhododendron forest from where you have a beautiful view of the peaks of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake (21,857'). Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp—Haa Valley (B, L, D)
Day 9 Surround Yourself with Himalayan Peaks 1-hour private van transfer 7–8 hours/7 miles hiking with 1,200’ elevation gain This morning climb steeply back up to the ridge and cross Kale La (12,900'), with views of Paro and the Haa Valley. Weather permitting, you'll also have a terrific view of the Paro Dzong and surrounding peaks including Kanchenjunga (28,208'), the third-highest peak in the world! Ascend up to Kung Karpo (13,500') for more stellar views, then descend and traverse toward Chele La (13,080'). All day, enjoy clear views of the mountains, and the Paro and Haa Valleys (again, weather permitting). Once at Chele La, meet your bus and drive to Paro where you'll be treated to a festive farewell dinner. Accommodation: The Zhiwa Ling (B, L, D)
Day 10 Return to Bangkok 4-hour flight transfer Bid a fond farewell to the "happiest country in the world" as you take an early morning transfer to the Paro airport for departure to Bangkok. Upon arrival, take the shuttle to the hotel. The remainder of the day is free to shop, sightsee, and enjoy lunch and dinner on your own. Accommodation: Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel (B)
Day 11 Depart from Bangkok Take the hotel shuttle to the international terminal and depart on your homeward-bound flight. Accommodation: Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel (B)
Bangkok is chief port capital of Thailand and one of the most important cities in Southeast Asia. It is the epitome of the country's kaleidoscopic blend of old and new. It is an expression of Thai respect for tradition coupled with their vibrant involvement with modern progress. Rama I built the walled Grand Palace, which contains Temple of the Emerald Buddha. During the 19th century, Bangkok was known as the Venice of the East because of its many canals, which served as streets and commercial thoroughfares. Houses perched along the banks of the remaining canals are still common sight. Some of Bangkok’s most distinctive features are the approximately 400 Buddhist temples, known as wats. Bangkok is Thailand's economic center. Other sights to see include Temples, monuments, museums, Vimarnmekh Mansion, and Jim Thompson’s House.
Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city, is located in the west of the country and testifies to the nation's struggle to modernize while maintaining its venerated traditions. New buildings are still based on traditional designs, with elaborately painted, trefoil-shaped windows and wooden frames built without nails. Regulations restrict new buildings to fewer than six stories, and there are no traffic lights in town; still, satellite dishes are everywhere, and internet cafes are easily found.
The scenic, terraced town of Paro sits in the shadow of 24,000-ft/7,320-m Mount Chomolhari (divine mountain). Paro has Bhutan's only airport, so most travelers arrive there. Though it's really only a large village, three nights are recommended to get used to the altitude, as well as to see the many sights related to Paro's days as capital of the western region.
Among those sights are the 350-year-old Ta Dzong (now the National Museum), the Rinchen Pung or Paro Dzong (sacred scrolls, icons, and the like), where scenes from Bertolucci's Little Buddha were shot, the restored seventh-century Kyichu Lhakhang (holy temple) and the Dungtse Lhakhang (temple). Also worth seeing is the Drugyel Dzong, named after a famous victory of the Bhutanese over Tibetan invaders (about 9 mi/14 km northwest of town).
If you're in Paro on a Sunday morning, be sure to visit the colorful market, where grains, chilies, oranges, bananas and a host of other items are sold. The Paro Tsechu festival is held late March-April.
On a full-day trip, it's possible to visit the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest), built on a rock ledge overlooking a sheer 2,600 ft/800 m drop to the Paro Valley. It is accessible only on foot or by pony as far as the viewpoint. According to legend, the monastery was founded by Guru Rimpoche, who landed there on the back of a flying tiger.
Locals described the discovery of the Haa Valley as mystical because many farmers were drawn to the unexplained sounds coming from sacred temples. However, since 7th century AD, Bhutanese monks have been revering their deities in these sacred temples located at the foothill of the 3 brotherly mountains. Foreign tourists were welcomed for the first time in 2002. Today, Haa Valley environmentally protects the Torsa Strict Nature Reserve of Bhutan and continues to practice its shamanistic traditions and folk culture.
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* This departure has been designated a guaranteed departure by the operator, meaning that the minimum number of guests has been met, although still subject to weather and other conditions.
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Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability and change without notice. Prices reflect land only accommodations, airfare is additional. Blackout dates/seasonal supplements may apply. Accommodations, inclusions and itinerary subject to change depending upon specific departure date. Please inquire for more information at the time of booking. Prices subject to availability and change without notice. Some restrictions may apply.
All fares are quoted in US Dollars.
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