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The Owl Trek Bumthang Valley

Duration: 14 days Place: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang

With The Owl Trek in Bhumthang Valley, prepare yourself for the best experience of witnessing Bhutan’s breathaking natural beauty and rich history and culture. Our 13N/14D Owl Trek that begins in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, includes a holistic experience of witnessing the country’s tallest unclimbed peak, Gangkhar Puensem; some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries like Punakha Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang, and Jambay Lhakhang; and a riots of colours with rhododendron blooming. In this trekking tour in Bhutan, we will take you witness Bhutan’s national animal, Takin at Motithang Takin Reserve in Thimphu and to various museums to have an insight into country’s rich history of trade, textile, ancient art of weaving, paper making, handicraft, and postal system.

In this one of the best treks in Bumthang that originally begins from Jakar on Day 8, your experience will also include insight into the famed Black-necked Cranes of Bumthang Valley and interactions with the people of Khep and Brokpa tribes. You will be exploring the ancient monastery of Tharpling and shall also witness the ancient birch forest at Schonath. Your 13N/14D travel itinerary also includes Kurje Lhakhang where Guru Rinpoche’s body print can be seen. We seal this best trekking tour in Bhutan by taking you to witness the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro.

Day 1: Paro – Thimphu

Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, meet our representative and drive to Thimphu. En route, visit Tamchog Lhakhang, a temple devoted to 14th-century Tibetan saint and engineer Thangtong Gyalpo. Upon arrival at Thimphu, hotel check-in. Later visit Buddha Dordenma, a huge statue of Shakyamuni Buddha that is situated on a hilltop overlooking Thimphu Valley. Subsequently, Visit Memorial Chorten, a major milestone of the city. Built in the memory of the 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, this stupa is a significant site of worship for locals. One can also visit the weekend market in Thimphu. Finish your day schedule by visiting glorious Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the Bhutan Government and the monastic body.

Overnight stay in the hotel at Thimphu.

Day 2: Explore Thimphu Valley

In the morning after breakfast, we will set out for the hike to Tango Monastery and enjoy the stunning views from the trail. Visit Motithang Takin Preserve to see Takin (the best time to visit here early in the morning when they all gather near the fencing for being fed). Later visit all the main museums of Bhutan: National Institute of Zorig Chusum that offers training in 13 traditional crafts of Bhutan; National Textile Museum that imparts information on Thagzo (weaving); Postal Museum exhibits the development of Bhutanese postal system. Visit Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory and learn about the traditional Bhutanese craft of Dezo (paper -making). Visit Authentic Crafts Bazaar where a wide variety of traditional Bhutanese handicrafts are on exhibition. Stroll in the main market of the city and relax at Thimphu Clock Tower Square.

Overnight in Thimphu at the hotel.

Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdue

In the morning, after the breakfast at hotel, we will drive to Punakha. En route stop at Dochu La Pass which offers panoramic views of Bhutan Himalayas. The highlights of the area are 108 chortens that are built as a tribute to the martyred soldiers and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang. Upon arrival in Punakha, hotel check-in. Later, visit Chimi Lhakhang (The Temple of Fertility), the monastery honours an eccentric lama, Drukpa Kunley, who received the establishment’s wrath for his unconventional preaching methods. Afterwards visit glorious Punakha Dzong, an important historical site and the storehouse of the holiest religious treasures of Bhutan. Also, visit the longest suspension bridge of the country behind the fortress.

Back to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4: Exploration of Punakha/Wangdue

Have a breakfast at the hotel and later, hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The trail passes attractive paddy fields and offers breathtaking views of the valley. You get remarkable views of Punakha Valley and Mo Chhu river from the trail. Later drive to Talo Village and stroll amid Himalayan cedars. On your way back, visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery. It houses a prominent Nepali-style stupa and a stunning Lhakhang.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha/Wangdue.

Day 5: Punakha/Wangdue – Phobjikha/Gangtey

After the breakfast, set out for a drive to Gangtey Valley (Phobjikha). On the way, stop at various viewpoints to enjoy the spectacular panoramas of Bhutan. On arrival at Phobjikha Valley, hotel check-in, and later visit Black-necked Crane Information Centre in Phobjikha Valley and Gangtey Monastery, an important seat of Nyingma Buddhism in the country. The monastery occupies prime spot atop a hill and commands brilliant views of the valley.

Overnight in Phobjikha/Gangtey.

Day 6: Phobjikha/Gangtey – Trongsa

Today after the breakfast, we will hike Gangtey Valley Countryside Trail. It passes forests, terraced fields, villages and monasteries and offers the best views of Bhutan’s spectacular landscape. After exploring the area, drive towards Trongsa in Central Bhutan via beautiful Mangde Chhu Valley and Pele La Pass. On arrival at Trongsa, hotel check-in. Later visit glorious Trongsa Dzong, the largest fortress in Bhutan. The Dzong is built on a spur right above Mangde Chhu and offers breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding hills. We will also visit Trongsa Museum that houses valuable Buddhist and royal artefacts.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel in Trongsa.

Day 7: Trongsa – Jakar, Bumthang

Today after the breakfast, we will drive towards Bumthang Valley, the cultural and divine heartland of Bhutan. Drive past Chumey Valley and stop at Zungney Village and visit a workshop of Yathra weavers. Upon reaching Bumthang, visit Jakar Dzong (Yuelay Namgyal Dzong) that occupies a prime spot on a hilltop overlooking Chokhor valley. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 8: Jakar – Mechugang – Rabtense – Schonath

In the morning, after the breakfast, drive to Menchugang Village. Here meet the trekking crew and start trekking to reach the Chutigang Village. A further uphill walk takes you to Dhur Village where Khep and Brokpa people reside. The trail winds uphill through a forest of blue pine, birch and fir and reaches Rabtense. From here, it’s a 3-hour upwards trek to Schonath (3450m) through an ancient forest of birch.

Overnight at a camp in Schonath.

Day 9: Schonath – Drange La – Kithephu Ridge

After the breakfast at the camp, we will be going for a day hike to a gorgeous jungle of hemlock, fir and spruce. From Schonath, the trail climbs to Drange La (3600 m) and continues to Kithephu ridge (3876m). This section of the trek offers phenomenal views of Gangkhar Phuensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan. Climb another 200 m to the campsite on the ridge and enjoy the scenery for the rest of the afternoon.

Dinner and overnight stay in camp.

Day 10: Kithephu Ridge – Tharpaling Gompa – Choedrak Gompa – Jakar

Last day of our Bumthang Owl Trek, today we will trek towards Tharpaling Monastery and then drive to Jakar through Choedrak Gompa

The trail crosses numerous monasteries of the area. An hour-long hike takes you to ancient Tharpaling Gompa (3600m), an important religious centre of Chummey Valley. An hour-long 200-metres climb from Tharpaling takes you to Choedrak Gompa (3800m). The monastery inhabits a major spot on the edge and offers spectacular views of Chummey Valley. Trek back and descend through a beautiful forest to Jakar.

Dinner and overnight stay at hotel in Jakar.

Day 11: Bumthang

Today, we will explore the Bumthang Valley, start your sightseeing trip in Bumthang with a visit to Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest shrines in Bhutan. Visit Kurje Lhakhang where Guru Rinpoche’s body print can be seen. Visit Tamzhing Lhündrup Monastery, the most significant centre of Nyingma Buddhism in Bhutan. Later, visit Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), a holy site, where saint Pema Lingpa discovered resources hidden by Guru Rinpoche.

Overnight stay in hotel at Bumthang.

Day 12: Bumthang – Paro

After the breakfast, we will transfer to Bumthang airport and from here take a mountain flight to Paro. Upon arrival in Paro, transfer to hotel and later visit the National Museum that houses the premium collection of Bhutanese art, traditional artefacts and samples of flora and fauna. Drive to Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest and most sacred temples in Bhutan that houses a 7th-century idol of Jowo Jampa (Future Buddha). In the evening, visit Rinpung Dzong and enjoy the views of Paro Valley.

Dinner and overnight stay at hotel in Paro.

Day 13: Paro, Tiger’s Nest

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the trekking base for Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Our guide will take the ticket and start your trekking towards the well-known Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The trail breezes through a beautiful forest and culminates at a viewpoint. Conferring to the myth, Guru Rinpoche appeared here as a furious Dorje Drolo to tame a tigress demon. Once you reach at Tiger’s Nest, the guide will describe you more about the folklore of the place.

After exploring the area, trek back to roadhead and visit the farmhouse in the gorge to witness the day-to-day life in a rustic Bhutanese household. One can have a chance to dress up in Bhutanese outfit and pose for pictures. Return to the hotel by evening, one can have a massage or hot stone bath (prior booking required) at the hotel.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 14: Paro Departure

In the morning, after the breakfast, transfer to Paro airport to catch a flight.

Highlights of the trip

  • Sightseeing tour of some of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan like Punakha, Kyichu, and Jambay.
  • A visit to Kurje Lhakhang where Guru Rinpoche’s body print can be seen.
  • Witness Bhutan’s tallest unclimbed peak, Gangkhar Puensem.
  • Witness the national animal of Bhutan, Takin.
  • Learn about the famous Black-necked Cranes of Bumthang
  • Visits to important museums in Bhutan including the National Museum in Paro.
  • Meet and Interact with the people of Khep and Brokpa tribes.

Inclusion of the trip

  • Accommodation
  • Activities
  • Breakfast
  • Transport

Exclusion of the trip

  • Airfare / Railfare
  • Government GST of 5%
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Expenses of personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide Charges
  • Video and Camera permits
  • Any supplementary services
  • Porterage at hotels and airports, tips, insurance, laundry, liquors, wine
  • Any cost arising due to natural calamities like landslides, roadblocks
  • Early check in & late check out at the hotels
  • Any compulsory supplement during the stay
  • Any other services not specified above

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