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We have shown the itinerary on the basis of a complete holiday purely for illustrative purposes. Naturally as tailor-made Bhutan holiday specialists we would be happy to discuss additional options, whether it be other activities, more/less sightseeing, alternative/upgraded accommodation etc dependent upon your interests, preferences and time available. We even tailor-make a suggested 'what to pack' list for you based upon your ultimately chosen Bhutan tailor-made holiday too.
Arrive at Paro Airport. You’ll be met upon arrival and transferred by private vehicle to the capital, Thimpu. Journey time is approx. 1.5hrs-2hrs. Dependent upon your arrival time, you may be able to enjoy a short sightseeing tour of Thimpu.
After a short drive by private vehicle to the village of Begana, it’s now time for a bit of a leg stretcher, particularly as you’ve now run out of road! Crossing a footbridge a steep ascent up a hill of around 45mins-1hr brings you to the 17th Century Cheri Gompa. You can have plenty of time here to explore and maybe even encounter the rather tame deer that live in the nearby forest. Heading back down hill, there are options to make a detour and walk by a couple of villages set amongst a rural, farmed landscape before returning to Thimpu by private vehicle. There should still be time to enjoy some sightseeing in Thimpu. A visit to the Govt Handicrafts Centre is highly recommended if you’re in the mood for souvenir shopping.
Time to leave Thimpu and by private vehicle you’ll now travel to Punakha via the Dochu La (3,050m) from where there are spectacular Himalayan views. Reaching the verdant Punakha Valley your walk today begins a little further up the valley, where you first cross the Mo Chu River by way of a suspension bridge and then climb steeply uphill to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten. It should only take you 45mins-1hr to reach here. Taking a different path after an initial steep descent the trail contours the hillside leading you down to Yabesa. It’s then a much more gentle affair as you stroll along a path alongside the Mo Chu River as you head down to the truly impressive Punakha Dzong. Regrettably visitors are usually not allowed inside, but it can still be appreciated externally and is a fine example of the skills of Bhutanese craft and painting. A furher hour of walking down valley leads you to Khuruthang and then to your hotel in the Punakha Valley. Total walking time approx. 3-4hrs
Leaving Punkaha you travel by private vehicle over the Pele La (3300m) and drop down by road to Longtey. Heading out on foot from here you quickly descend to a trail that leads through meadows that is also used as a winter grazing area for Yaks during winter, before a short ascent up towards Kipche. The trail continues to climb ever higher through rhododendron forest to eventually emerge at the Giche La (3560m). Effort is usually rewarded with fine views of the Phobijka & Gangtey Valleys down below. Initially steep you now walk down hill from the pass to Kumbu, but the gradient eases and eventually reach the road not too far from Gangtey Gompa. Now in the bucolic bliss of the Gangtey Valley if you’re walking here between late October and early Spring you may just see some of the revered Black Necked Cranes that migrate here from Siberia. It may be possible to visit the nearby Black Necked Crane Visitor Centre. Walking time approx. 4-6hrs
Here in the unspoilt Gangtey Valley there are several day walk possibilities for you to enjoy. Your guide will help you choose one to soak up the wonderful scenic landscapes that best suit your wishes today. After your chosen walk you’ll travel by private vehicle via the Pele La to Trongsa. Here you won’t be able to miss the Trongsa Dzong. It’s one of the most important and impressive of all the Dzongs in Bhutan. If you’re up for it there’s a watch tower above the Dzong from where there are really dramatic views from the roof top.
Before todays walking it’s firstly a private vehicle drive of around 3hrs towards Bumthang via the Yotong La and to Chumey. Here you can meet the musical monks of the Nyimalung Monastery. A very short drive brings you to Zugney, where you can stop to see the local people engaged in weaving before driving up to Tharpaling. This serenic location of tiny monasteries dotted around the hill sides is not surprisingly a scared place for meditation. A nice place for a picninc lunch after which you begin todays 2-3hr walk by heading up a steady gradient path to the Shutre Sae La (3700m). On clear days the views from here are nothing short of breathtaking in all directions. Even Gangkar Puensum is visible on good days. It’s then downhill through forest on a trail that is steep at times to reach Lamey Gompa, from where you’ll transfer quickly to the small town of Jakhar.
Todays walking is somewhat easier and a fair bit of it is fairly level ground too. Exploring on foot you’ll walk to Jambay Lakhang and follow a track that brings you to the three large temples of Kurjey Lakhang. From here you descend to the river and cross via a suspension bridge and continue to walk gently down stream to the most important Nyingma Gompa in Bhutan, the 16th Century Tamshing Lakhang. After exploring here your private vehicle will return you to Jakhar. Walking time approx. 3-4hrs.
Whilst it is just a short flight to Paro from Jakhar and subject to being able to secure tickets for the flight (a challenge at times in itself) the flight itself is highly weather dependent. Thus it may be necessary to drive back to Paro. Subject to the flight arrival/drive time it may be possible to enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing in Paro. Highlights include the National Museum and the amazing Paro Dzong.
It’s around a 3-4hr drive to the Haa Valley by private vehicle, stopping along the way for a short walk of around 35 mins and to enjoy the Kila Gompa nunnery. Crossing the Cheli La (3995m), this literal high point of your entire Bhutan adventure affords views of the Himalayan peaks towards Tibet. The road then winds its way down to the Haa Valley by a series of seemingly never ending switchbacks. Hopefully arriving early afternoon your guide should be able to take for a short walk to explore the old town of Haa.
There are numerous local walks available that will enable you to enjoy the beauty of the Haa Valley, ranging from short to 3-4hrs. Your guide will help you choose the one that you would like to do. After your walk you’ll return to Paro by private vehicle.
Before heading for the Machhu Picchu of Bhutan-Taktsang Monastery, you’ll visit the medieval temple of Kyichu Lakhang in the Paro Valley. Yes, now it’s time to see the Tigers Lair. It’s actually a stiff 2hr walk up through woodland and a rather steep climb of around 350m ascent it is too. Thankfully there’s a teahouse at one of the classic Taktsang Monastery view points where you can rest and refresh before a further 30 minutes of climbing brings you to Takstang (3110m) itself. On the final climb you pass what is probably the most famous view point that looks directly across to the monastery. It’s usually possible to enter the monastery, but if there’s something going on at the monastery (religious/VIP visit) then it may not be possible. Heading steeply down a descent of around 100m leads into a gorge before climbing back up to the main monastery gate, from which it’s down to the valley floor and your ride “home”. Walking time is around 4-5hrs with around 750m of ascent and descent. It’s actually quite a challenging walk to get your iconic photo’s of what is probably Bhutan’s most famous site.
Detailed Example Itinerary