Programme



VALES OF BHUTAN
A Journey through Valley's. Forest's. Traditions and Magical Landscape


ESSENTIAL INFORMATION
Accommodation: Heritage Lodges, Hotel and Deluxe Camps
Grade:  Moderate
Max trek altitude: 3,720m (Hike Over Saga La)
Duration: 08 Nights / 09 Days
Trek Leader: English Speaking Cultural Guide

The secluded Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan awaits intrepid travelers seeking a unique experience. Join us on a remarkable journey through the enchanting valleys of Haa,  Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, where ancient fortress-monasteries and the spirit of Buddhism permeate every aspect of daily life. Bhutan, known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon measures its wealth by Gross National Happiness.
 
 
Detailed Itinerary
Day 01: Fly to Paro (2200m), Drive to Haa (2960m). ( 75km) ( 3hrs)
Enjoy the sensational one hour of flight from Kathmandu to Paro that offers the best panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas, including Everest and Kanchenjunga.  Meet your guide in Paro and embark on a scenic drive to the picturesque valley of Haa. Depending on your flight timings, you may have the option to hike to Dzongdrakha Monastery, one of the many sacred places blessed by Guru Rinpoche and a wonderful introduction to architecture and symbology of Bhutanese Buddhism. Continue on to Haa valley over the Chele la pass (3998 mts) and settle in at the comfortable Lechuna Heritage Lodge for the night.


Day 01: Fly to Paro,  Drive to Haa. ( 75km) ( 3hrs)
On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest and Kangchenjunga, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. In Paro you will be met by your guide and start your trip to the valley of Haa, Depending on your flight timings, the option of hiking to Dzongdrakha Monastery  ( total 1 hrs)(The complex is constituted of four shrines, devoted to Drolma (Tara), Tsheringma (Goddess of Longevity), Guru Rinpoche and the Buddha of the Future, Maitreya. As per local verbal custom, when Guru Rinpoche first came to Bhutan, he came from Nepal, first landing at Drakarpo, and then Dzongdrakha before arriving at Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) beyond north up the valley. Visit the Lhakhang Karpo (11th century) on the way to Haatey Overnight : Lechuna Heritage Lodge.

Day 02: Panorama Walk (4-5hrs)
The walk is thoughtfully paced, making it suitable for participants of all fitness levels. This leisurely pace allows for a more profound connection with the rural surroundings, providing insights into the daily lives of the Bhutanese people. As you traverse the trail, take in the natural beauty, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and enjoy the tranquility that surrounds you. The journey not only offers a physical experience but also becomes a spiritual and cultural exploration. After completing the panorama walk, return to the lodge for a restful overnight stay. Reflect on the day's experiences and the unique insights gained into the traditional lifestyle of Bhutan.
 Overnight: Lechuna Heritage Lodge.

Day 03:  Trek to Choeduephu (2865) via Sagala Pass (3720m) (6hrs)
The trek today is popularly also known as the Planters Trail; in the old day’s farmers from Haa walked this same trail to Paro for rice plantation and in return they would be paid with rice in return for their labour, as rice was not possible to grow in the Haa valley. After an early breakfast, drive to the village of Thaklung to commence your trek. Cross yak grazing meadows and ascend gradually through pristine alpine forest trails that once connected the valleys of Haa and Paro.  Once at Sagala Pass savor the panoramic views including that of the Mt. Jhomolhari (7315 mts) and Jitchu Drake (6989 mts). Following a short lunch break, begin your descent of about 2 hours plus and arrive at our tented campsite in Choedue (2,865m). Overnight in comfortable deluxe tents with proper beds and attached toilets. Walking Time: 6hrs. Altitude gain: 740m Altitude loss: 855m Overnight: BOU deluxe Camp

Day 04:  Excursion to Yak Herders Camp (6hrs)
Embark on a full-day excursion to the Yak Herders camp (3,560m). Hike through forests of spruce, fir, hemlock, and rhododendron until you reach the Yak herder camp. Enjoy breathtaking mountain views and a picnic lunch amidst nature's beauty. Return via a different trail, offering glimpses of the iconic Tiger's Nest and the Paro valley. Pamper yourself with a traditional stone bath prepared with mineral-rich mountain water before dinner. Walking Time: 6hrs. Altitude gain: 695m Altitude loss: 695m Overnight: BOU deluxe Camp

Day 05: Walk to Road Ends (5km). Drive to Thimphu (2335m)(1.5hr)
After breakfast, we embark on a leisurely one and ahlf hour stroll through a serene pine forest, eventually reaching the road where your vehicle awaits. This morning walk not only offers a refreshing start to the day but also provides an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the natural beauty surrounding us.
Following our tranquil walk, we drive about an hour to the capital city, Thimphu, Visit the lively Farmer's Market, where vibrant colors and the bustle of daily life characterize the atmosphere. Here, we can engage with the local culture and witness the exchange of fresh produce and handmade goods. In the afternoon, we embark on a brief tour of the magnificent Tashichho Dzong. Similar to many dzongs in Bhutan, this fortress-like structure serves dual purposes, housing both administrative offices and the monastic community. Notably, the premises also include the office of the King of Bhutan, adding a touch of regal significance to our visit.Overnight: Hotel

Day 06: Drive to Punakha (1245m) (3-4hrs)
Begin the day by visiting the Buddha Point close to the city. The Dordenma Buddha Shakyamuni statue is a massive structure 54 mts in height and manifest’s Peace and Happiness for all sentient beings.  From here head towards the Dochu La Pass (3,140m/10,302ft), and over to Punakha valley. At the pass make a short coffee break and view the panoramic Himalayas with the impressive 108 Memorial Chortens in the backdrop. Descend through varied forests until you reach the warmer Punakha valley.  A short detour to visit the most impressive Wangduephodarng will be well worth the effort. The Wangduephodtang Dzong was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal around the same time as the Punakha Dzong in the 17th century. History has it that this Dzong was built to fulfill the prophecy of unifying the country. This Dzong is also proof of the resilience of the people since it was built rebuilt four times after the Dzong was destroyed due to natural calamities like, earthquake and fire. Drive 30 minutes or so to Punakha for overnight.: Hotel

 
Day 07: Drive to Paro (2220m)(130km) (4hrs)
Enjoy a scenic drive to Paro, stopping at the impressive and beautiful Punakha Dzong, situated at the confluence of the Mo and Po Chuu rivers. The Dzong itself is the second largest and also the second oldest in the country. Built by Shabdrung Ngwang Namgay in the 17th century and is all the more precious because it houses the relics of the Shabdrung himself and one of the foremost religious master Pema Lingpa. Punakha used to be the capital of the country until as early as 1954. On the return drive heading back to Paro visit the renowned Chimi Lhakhang, a temple built by the "Divine Madman”. Legend has it that barren couples are able to bear children after receiving blessings here. After 3 hours on the road with short breaks along the way arrive in Paro and overnight at Nemjo Heritage Lodge, a beautifully curated farm house with all the comforts of a hotel. Overnight: Nemjo Heritage Lodge

Day 08 Taktsang Monastery (3120m) (4-5hrs)
The best is kept for last !. The Taktsang Monastery, also famously known as the Tigers Nest was built in 1692 by the then ruler Gyalmo Tenzin Rabgye and is one of the 13 Tiger Nest caves in historical Tibet in which Guru Padmashambava practiced and preached Vajrayana Buddhism.  The monastery lies at an altitude 3120 meters and offer’s the best views of the Paro valley below. The hike excursion takes anywhere between 3 to 5 hours depending on the level of fitness.  On the return it is a must to visit the oldest, beautiful and quaint Kichu Lhakhang . The Lhakhang is one of the 108 temples that was built by the Tibetan King Songsten Gempo in the 7th century and houses one of the most magnificent Sakyamuni and Chenrigzi statues.
Round up the visit to the country with an evening of cultural program and farewell dinner Overnight: Nemjo Heritage Lodge

Day 09: Departure. Flights out of Bhutan are usually in early part of the day.

 

Fixed Departure Dates Spring 2024
 
  Fixed Departure Dates Autumn 2024
 
20.03.2024 to 28.03.2024   09.10.2024 to 17.10.2024
 
27.03.2024 to 04.04.2024
 
  6.10.2024 to 24.10.2024
03.04.2024 to 11.04.2024   23.10.2024 to 31.10.2024
10.04.2024 to 18.04.2024
 
  30.10.2024 to 07.11.2024
 
17.04.2024 to 25.04.2024
 
  06.11.2024 to 14.11.2024
 
24.04.2024 to 02.05.2024
 
  13.11.2024 to 21.11.2024
 
01.05.2024 to 09.05.2024
 
  20.11.2024 to 28.11.2024
 
08.05.2024 to 16.05.2024
 
  27.11.2024 to 05.12.2024
 
15.05.2024 to 23.05.2024
 
   
22.05.2024 to 30.05.2024    




Unseen Bhutan

A wonderful, easy paced tour designed to get you under the surface of Bhutanese culture.  The first of its kind in Bhutan that incorporates all the key culture sights, including the iconic Taktsang Monastery called Tiger’s Nest. Staying at tradional houses restored to suit the needs of the travellers.We meet villagers in their own homes, and travel right into the smallest and western most district of Haa. Spend time in Haa, exploring the villages and monasteries with gentle walks. The tour is called “unseen” because other valleys like Paro are more popular, hence leading to the Haa Valley to be undiscovered. On this captivating tour, we show you a pristine valley that has retained it’s charm, it’s natural beauty, as well as the customs, of local men who still travel by horse over mountain passes to trade goods with China.
 
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION                                                              
Accommodation: Hotels and Lodges                                                   
Grade: Easy                                                                                         
Max trek altitude: 3,700m (driving over the Chele la)                          
Duration: 06 Nights / 07 Days                                                              
Trek Leader: English Speaking Guide  
Group Size : 2 -4 person only     
                                        
HIGHLIGHTS
Walk to the iconic Tigers Nest Monastery
Explore the villages and monasteries of Haa Valley
Get a real sense of the Bhutanese lifestyle
Enjoy Bhutans countryside
Drive over Chele La Pass and Dochu La pass


Day 01: Fly to Paro (2280m)
On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest and Kangchenjunga, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. Although you are at the mercy of the airline computer, if possible try to sit on the left hand side of the plane for the most spectacular views. In Paro you will be met by your Bhutanese guide and taken to your hotel. There is usually time to wander around Paro township and visit the Dzong and museum. Overnight: Nemjo Heritage Lodge.

Day 02: Sightseeing including Taktsang Monastery
This morning you’ll take the walk to Taksang Monastery – the Tiger’s Nest. The monastery is perched some 2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigeress to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It’s a steep uphill walk through woods, of about 1½-2hrs, to reach a tea house (an ascent of 340m/1,125ft.) Apart from offering welcome refreshment this tea house is one of the principle viewpoints of the monastery, and those that prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others have the option to continue on. If there is a particular religious gathering or VIP visit in progress, you will not be able to enter the monastery but a further half an hour’s ascent is well worth it, as it brings you to another viewpoint directly across from the monastery. If you are able to make a visit, the final section of the walk takes you from here steeply down 100m/330ft into the gorge that separates you from the monastery and then climbs back up again to reach the monastery gate. You descend back to the valley floor by your outward route and continue your sightseeing to the impressive ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and visit Kyichu Lhakhang – one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. If you prefer not to make the walk it is also usually possible to hire a pony to ride up as far as the tea house (please speak to your leader about this the day before.) Alternatively your driver will be able to take you instead further along the valley to visit Drukgyel Dzong. Nearby there is also an excellent viewpoint for the summit of Mount Chomolhari, which at 7,313m/23,997ft, is the second highest peak in Bhutan. Overnight: Hotel Nemjo Heritage Lodge.

Day 03: Drive to Haa (2hrs)
Today we drive to Haa valley (75 kms) via Chele La Pass, which offers magnificent views of the Himalayan Range. Overnight will be spent at the Heritage Lodge, at 2960m. The Lodge is located nearby a local temple, where you can relax and catch a glimpse of beautiful fields and the various typical farm Houses. Overnight: Lechuna Heritage Lodge.

Day 04: Village Walk
After breakfast, between 830 am and 9 am, begin your day by walking through the lower village of Lechuna and continue on down to the Haa Chhu River before crossing a quaint wooden bridge. From here the walk to the Jamte Gompa is a gradual ascent of not more than 1.5 hours through pristine forest, which later opens up to the village. Visit the 300 year old plus monastery, which is presently undergoing renovation work due to earthquake damage. This is followed by a visit to a local farmers house for a cup of tea and 'zau'. The views of the southern Haa valley can be enjoyed best from here. After the tea break we will take a seldom-used animal track that connects onto to the main trail after about half an hour and continue on to the Chumpa Bridge to stop for a picnic lunch beside the river. After lunch we walk slowly through the beautiful Chuma village taking time to see the villagers at work and even have some interaction. Walking along the village path we continue on to our lodge in time for high tea. For those who are interested in looking around the Lechuna village our local guide can accompany them. The option of having a hot stone bath is open and can be arranged for before or after dinner. Overnight: Lechuna Heritage Lodge.

Day 05: Drive to Thimpu
After breakfast we shall take the lower road along first the Haa Chhu and after the confluence with the Wang Chhu, along the latter towards the capital at Thimphu, 115kms to the East a drive of about 3-4 hrs. Enroute we may stop at Dogar Dobji Dzong, a 16th century structure, built by the brother of the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kinley. Legend has it that the statue of the Guru Landrachen housed here, complained when the apostate Tibetan monarch Langdharma tried to smash it with a hammer. This dzong became Bhutan’s first jail in 1976 but has since returned to its monastic origins. Overnight: Hotel. 

Day 06: Thimphu Sightseeing
This morning you’ll make an hour drive to the Dochu La Pass, 3,140m/10,302ft. On a clear day panoramic views can be had of the eastern Himalaya, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 7,550m/24,770ft. On return visit the Takin Reserve, and the late king’s Memorial Chorten, the Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, the silversmiths’ workshops, or just the farmers market. Overnight: Hotel. 

Day 07: Transfer to airport for Departure
Your guide will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the airport for your homebound journey.