Duration: 18 Days, 17 Nights
Location: Samdrup Jongkhar, Trashignang, Merak, Sakteng, Trashi Yangtse, Mongar, Bumthang, Trongsa, Gangtey, Punakha, Thimphu, paro
This brand new itinerary is a combination of cultural and trek tours taking you into a newly opened tourists spot. Prior to that, only a handful of scientists and researchers have been permitted to access Merak and Sakteng at 3,000m (believed to be a Yeti-spotting region). The Brokpas (highlanders) of the Merak and Sakteng regions in eastern Bhutan are semi-nomadic yak herders, who speak a unique dialect and also wear unique clothing. The clean air and the beautiful mountains for you to experience during a six-days trek through one of the nine protected wildlife sanctuaries of Bhutan, providing home to endemic species like eastern blue pine, black-rumped magpie, snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, barking deer and Himalayan red fox including other species such as hoary-bellied Himalayan squirrel, Assamese macaque, blood pheasant, grey-backed shrike, grey-headed woodpecker, common hoopoe, rufus-vented tit and dark-breasted rosefinch.
Day 1: Guwahati – Samdrup Jongkhar
Fly from Delhi to Guwahati, the largest city of Assam in northeastern state of India. On arrival, you will be received by our and then drive to Samdrup Jongkhar for a distance of 110-km for about 3 hours journey. The rest of the day is free to explore this fantastic town and all of the fun attractions, sightseeing and shopping.Overnight in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 2: Samdrup Jongkhar – Trashigang
After breakfast, today you will travel a distance of 180-km for about 6 hours to Trashigang at an altitude of 1,150m. Admire the diverse flora and fauna and photo stops along the highway. Within 30-minutes uphill drive of 18-km will reach Deothang, which is the historical site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the Duar Wars. Afterwards you will encounter a stretch of road called Melong Bra, where the road is cut through sheer cliffs after Narphung. Lunch will be at Wamrong. After lunch, a 27-km drive will take you to Khaling via Kharung La Pass at 2,350m. Visit the Khaling Handloom supported by the NationalWomen’s Association of Bhutan, where you will witness the traditional style of weaving and past by the only National Institute for Visually Impaired, located below the road. En route you’ll see the Bhutan’s first and premier Sherubtse College in Kanglung, founded in 1978. Descending down the road will take you to Trashigang, the largest and most populated districted in Bhutan. Overnight in Trashigang.
Day 3: Chaling – Damnongchhu [Start of Trek]
Today the trek begins from Chaling at an altitude of 2,150m. Drive to Chaling from Rangjung through the feeder road of 15-km for about 1 hour journey. First night halt is at Damnongchhu River after crossing Mindru La at an altitude of 3,300 m.
Day 4: Damnongchu – Merak
Continue the trail from Damnongchhu River to Merak along the river bank for about 5 hours, which will gradually lead to Merak village at altitude of 3,500m. Your overnight is either at the campsite or guesthouse.
Day 5: Merak – Miksa Teng
Today’s trek is of medium difficulty for about 7.5 hours to Miksa Teng at altitude of 2,865m via the breathtaking Nagchung La Pass. The campsite in the Sakteng village is surrounded by rhododendron trees.
Day 6: Miksa Teng – Sakteng
Continue the trek to Sakteng at an altitude of 3,000 m climbing up and down the forests for about 3.5 half hours, where you might spot a red panda. Your overnight is either at the campsite or guesthouse.
Day 7: Sakteng – Jyonkhar Teng
Today’s trek is relatively easier than the previous day. The trail is mostly descend for about 6.5 hours. The campsite is located near a river.
Day 8: Jyonkhar Teng – Trashigang via Phongmey through Radhi [End of Trek]
Your trek ends here in Phongmey at an altitude of 1,980m. You’ll head to Trashigang for overnight.
Day 9: Trashigang – Trashiyangtse
In the morning, visit the Trashigang Dzong (fortress) and head to Trashiyangtse at altitude of 1,850m for a distance of 55-km for about 2 hours. En route visit the Gomkora Lhakhang and its surroundings, which is 23-km away from Trashigang. Later,visit the Trashiyangtse Dzong and the dazzling white stupa of Chorten Kora on the riverbank below the town. Overnight in Trashiyangtse.
Day 10: Trashiyangste – Mongar
This morning you will return fromTrashiyangse and head to Mongar for a distance of 146-km for about 5 hours journey. En route you will see the Drametse Monastery on top of a steep hill above the village, home to the origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums. Afterwards, road ascents and passes through the famous turn of Yadi and then take you to Kori La Pass at an altitude of 2,450m. Overnight in Mongar.
Day 11: Mongar – Bumthang
This morning takes you through a scenic journey for a distance of 198-km for about 7-8 hours journey to Bumthang at an altitude of 2,600m. Descending down the road will reach to Lingmithang at an altitude of 700 m and cross the Kurichu River, where the largest hydroelectric power in the eastern region is commissioned over the river. En route stop at Namling and Sengor village, where you can view the breathtaking landscapes of the cascading waterfalls, and admire the diverse flora and fauna in these places before climbing upthe highest point on Bhutan’s lateral road via Thrumsing La Pass at an altitude of 3,800m. From the viewpoint of Ura Shelthang La, you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Bhutan’s highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puensum at 7,500m. You will spend two nights in Bumthang.
Day 12: Sightseeing in Bumthang
After breakfast, we set out for a full day sightseeing to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 and the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. If time permits, visit the famous Swiss Cheese Factory and Diary Farm in Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 13: Bumthang – Gangtey
This morning we will travel a distance of 188-km for about 5-6 hours to Gangtey via Trongsa and Yotong La Pass at an altitude of 3,400m. En route we will stop for a quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Centre at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang. Visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) or the Trongsa Dzong, which is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Continue into Gangtey via Pele La Pass at an altitude of 3,300m. Overnight in Gangtey.
Day 14: Gangtey – Punakha via Wangdue Phodrang
After breakfast, our day starts exploring the Phobjikha valley at an altitude of 3,000m. Visit the picturesque Gangtey Gonpa, Enjoy the breathtaking glacial landscapes of the remote Phobjikha valley and the black mountain ranges. Phobjikha valley is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrates to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Later, we drive a distance of 65-km for about 3 hours to Wangdue Phodrang and then continue into Punakha for a distance of further 13-km journey at an altitude of 1,300m. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 15: Punakha – Thimphu
Punakha was the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. Today you will visit the Punakha Dzong (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong), which is strategically located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) Rivers. Now the dzong serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the central monastic body. Later, we drive a distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey to Thimphu at an altitude of 2,300m. En route visit the Chimmi Lhakhang, located near Lobesa on a round hillock. The temple is popularly known as the “fertility symbol,” built by Lama Drukpa Kinley (the Divine Madman). You will also stop at Dochu La Pass at an altitude of 3,050m, which is 16-km before reaching Thimphu. On a clear day, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow capped eastern Himalaya ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. The next 30-minutes drive will take you to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights stay.
Day 16: Sightseeing in Thimphu
Today we explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, visit the 13th century Changgangkha Temple and the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households. Later, drive up to the Sangaygang Hill (Radio Tower) or the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley and visit Mini Zoo for Takin, the national animal of. Continue to the Centenary Farmer’s Market on the banks of the Wangchhu River selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 17: Thimphu – Paro
Today morning we drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Paro at an altitude of 2,200m and take a short hike to the Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. Your last overnight in Paro.
Day 18: Depart Paro
Early morning transfer to Paro Airport. Our guide will accompany you to bid farewell for your onward flight. Goodbye and Good luck!