THE RURAL BHUTAN

HIGHLIGHTS

You will experience the Bhutan from the most urban cities to the most remote rural villages. This exclusive tour will take you through West Bhutan to East Bhutan en route to Central Bhutan where you can see thethree cultures & languages and different way of living. The real experience of local people is only by interacting with them personally where they use to live from many generations. Jangphu is one of those villages where you can really see a century old house and cultures. The most interesting thing is to witness the century old Buddhist ritual in the village which will be conduct by a main Lama in the village and other monks and semi-monks for the well being of all sentient beings. At the end of the ritual, they will burn the effigy of the evil one to symbolize to ward off the diseases and obstacle of the people in the village.
Let's explore Bhutan with White Umbrella!

TOUR ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival at Paro
Day 2: Hike to Taktsang monastery. 6 hours hiking
Day 3: Paro - Thimphu.65 km,an hour drive
Day 4: Thimphu. Hike to Chari Goemba.1 hr hike
Day 5: Thimphu - Punakha. 77 km/3 hours drive
Day 6: Nobding village & hike to Khumsum yalley Chorten
Day 7: Punakha - Gangtey. 78 km/3 hours drive
Day 8: Hiking in Phobjikha valley
Day 9: Gangtey - Trongsa. 120 km/4 hours drive
Day 10: Trongsa - Bumthang. 68 km/2 hours drive
Day 11: Bumthang
Day 12: Bumthang - Mongar. 198 km/8 hours drive
Day 13: Mongar - Trashigang. 96 km/3 hours drive
Day 14: Trashigang - Jangphu village. 4-5 hours hiking/59 km/1.5 hours drive
Day 15: Jangphu village
Day 16: Jangphu - Trashi Yangtse. Hike down 4-5 hours/59 km/2 hours drive
Day 17: Trashi Yangtse - Samdrup Jongkhar. 220 km/8-9 hours drive
Day 18: S/jongkhar - Guwahati (India). 190 km/3 hours drive
read more
close
Day 1: Paro
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. After visa formalities you will meet the guide of White Umbrella tours at Paro airport exit doors. Transfer to the hotel. Later, stroll the Paro town for leisure.

Altitude at Paro: 2300m

Day 2: Hike to Taktsang monastery
Morning hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you high above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The great Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a cafeteria where you can stop for lunch.

In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop.

On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa.

Day 3: Paro - Thimphu
Paro is a most picturesque valley, with quaint hamlets clustered amidst terraced paddy fields. The town still maintains tradition by way of its architecture and simple way of life and your sightseeing includes; visit to The National Museum, formerly a watchtower holds unique and varied collections, ranging from ancient armor to textiles, thangkha paintings, stamps, coins, and natural history. Visit the Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) built in 1646 during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It now houses Paro's monk body and the offices of the civil administration. Rinpung Dzong is the venue for the famous Paro Tsechu, held annually in the spring.

In the afternoon, take a drive to Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, passing through idyllic countryside, with villages and paddy fields on either side of the road. Thimphu has a special charm and it is fascinating to sit and watch a gathering of local people in the town square, wearing their traditional dress and going about their business in a typically unhurried Bhutanese way.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 4: Thimphu
Morning, drive to northern part of Thimphu city for half an hour to road point and from there, you have to hike to Chari Gompa founded in 17th century. It is popular for the Buddhist to do retreat in the Gompa, located on the hill surrounded by forest and in fact the first Monastic body was established in this monastery by founder of Bhutan. The main central figure is Buddha and kudung of Yap Tempa Nima (father of Zhabdrung). The trail was well established by pilgrims through the mix forest with hair pin trail. You are likely to encounter mountain goat roaming freely near the Monastery. The round trip could be 3 hours hike and the lunch will be arranged near the glacier river bank.

On the way back, visit Pangri-Zampa Monastery founded in 16th century by Tibetan Saint, currently the monastery is converted in Monastic School for Astrology and there are more than 100 monks study astrology. Beside the Monastery, there is huge cypress tree (National tree) claim to be oldest tree in Bhutan, we assume roughly more than 600-700 years old. Evening, witness Archery game (our National game).

Altitude at Thimphu: 2400 m.

Day 5: Thimphu - Punakha
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring color.

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, drive to Punakha Dzong, the ‘Palace of Great Happiness'. Built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan', Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). The Dzong has played a hallowed role in the history of Bhutan. It served as the seat of Shabdrung's government, several foreign delegations were received here in 18th and 19th century, the election and coronation of the first King was observed in 1907 and the Third King convened the first National Assembly in the Dzong. The central monastic body continues to reside here in winter. The embalmed bodies of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Terton Pema Lingpa are housed on the top floor of the main tower. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King from the latest fire in 1987.

Altitude at Punakha: 1300 m.
Overnight: Punakha.

Day 6: Nobding village & hike to Khumsum yalley Chorten
After breakfast, drive 30 minutes from the hotel to Nobding village, situated on the edge of ridge and it's home of our present queen mother. En route to Nobding village, visit Nunnery, currently there are 50 nuns studying and later proceed to village. The house were built in traditional design & color and have glimpse of village life. Later hike down to road point (near Punakha Dzong) through pine forest used in olden days by local people. Leisure walk, it's about less than two hours walk from the village.

Afternoon, drive another 30 minutes to the northern part of Punakha valley to the road point (river bank) and hike to Khumsum yalley Chorten climbs through the paddy field and the Temple is located in hillock. When you approach, the view from the Temple is panoramic! We guarantee that this hike will be one the highlight in your trip. One the way back, try to dip your feet in glacier river and see coldness for fun.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 7: Punakha - Gangtey
Drive to Wangduephodrang and visit the Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view both up and down the valley. Wangdue district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate which is mined up a valley a few kilometers from the town.

Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan's few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gopa (Monastery) , the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.

Altitude at Gangtey: 3000 m.
Overnight: Farm house.

Day 8: Phobjikha valley
Morning, explore the scenery of U shape Phobjikha valley and take a glimpse of local people's daily core. And perhaps you may see flock working on their fields.

Later afternoon, we suggest to do hike ‘Gangtey Nature Trail'. It's about less than 2 hours hiking through pine forest, crossing stream and open valley. You may encounter some pheasant on the way and quite close with nature. Evening, visit farm house and have a glimpse of their daily life. If you would like to taste local wine(Ara) brewed from Barley or buckwheat crops please ask your guide, he will provide it.

Overnight: Farm house.

Day 9: Gangtey - Trongsa
In the morning, drive to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300 m / 10,830 ft). This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and central Bhutan. Further down the road, stop to visit Chendebji Chorten erected in the 18th century by a Tibetan lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. It is built in the Nepalese style, with painted eyes at the four cardinal points.

The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and its impressive Dzong, stretched along a ridge above a ravine, first comes into view about an hour before the winding road suddenly leads you into the town. On arrival, visit and experience the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture at Trongsa Dzong. It was Shabdrung's great - grandfather who founded the first temple at Trongsa in 1543. In 1647 the Shabdrung had begun his great work of expansion and unification, realizing all the advantages that could be gained from Tongsa's position; he constructed the first Dzong at the place where his ancestors had erected the temple. The Dzong was called Choekor Rabtentse. In 1652, Minjur Tenpa, the Penlop of Tongsa, had the Dzong enlarged. The Dzong is built in such a way that in the old days, no matter what direction a traveler comes from, he was obliged to pass through the courtyard of the Dzong. This helped to make the Penlop of this Dzong as powerful as it had a complete control over the east - west traffic. The watch tower above the Dzong further strengthened its defense. The father of the first king known as the black regent and the first king served as the Governor of Trongsa before the emergence of the Bhutanese Monarchy, since then it has become a tradition for the young crown prince to serve as the Governor of this place before he is crowned.

Later visit Ta Dzong on the hillside above the town built as a watchtower to guard Trongsa but recently converted into museum in 2008.

Altitude at Trongsa: 2100 m.

Day 10: Trongsa - Bumthang
After breakfast, proceed to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the holy heartland of Buddhism. The road winds steeply up to Yutong La (3,400 m / 11,155 ft), and then run down through dense coniferous forest to enter a wide, open, cultivated valley, known as Chumey valley. From here it is about an hour to Bumthang, a most pleasant run in the soft, late afternoon light.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 11: Bumthang
Bumthang is the general name given to a group of four valleys - Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000m / 8,530 to 13,125ft. We will visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan's "patron saint", Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro).

After lunch, we will visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later on we will visit Jakar Dzong, "the castle of the white bird", and then take a stroll through Bumthang's market area before returning to the lodge.

Altitude at Bumthang: 2700 m.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 12: Bumthang - Mongar
The journey continues eastwards, winding through more rugged terrain. The drive to Mongar takes about 8 hours, with spectacular views en route. We will drive up into the hills above the valley and then past Ura village, before climbing sharply to the highest point on Bhutan's motor able road network, Thrumsing La (3760 m).

From here, the road gradually descends to the alpine valley of Sengor, with wonderful views of cascading waterfalls and the hills of eastern Bhutan along the way. Vegetation changes from alpine to subtropical with the loss of height, and bamboos and luxuriant ferns overhang the road as we drop down to the valley floor. The descent stops at 700 m / 2,300 ft, where we cross the Kuri Chu (river). We ascend again through pine forests, maize fields and eastern hamlets to reach Mongar town, high on a gentle slope above the valley. Picnic lunch at a scenic spot en route to Mongar.

We visit Mongar Dzong, built in the 1930s and one of Bhutan's newest dzongs, but constructed in the same way as all previous dzongs, without either plans or the use of nails.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 13: Mongar -Trashigang
This trip of about 96 km takes only 3 hours. The first part of journey is through leafy forest filled with ferns. After driving through the Kori-la pass (2,450 m / 8,040 ft), marked by a pretty Chorten and a Mani wall, we descend rapidly through corn fields and banana groves to reach the famous road zigzags just below Yadi, a fairly recent and now fast-growing settlement.

After zigzagging down the hillside, the road east runs along the Gamri River. A turnoff on the left leads up to Drametse. The temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village, was founded by Choeden Zangmo and is the most important monastery of eastern Bhutan. This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums.

About 30 km onwards lies Trashigang (1,100m/3,610ft), which clings to a steep hillside above the Gamri river. Trashigang is the principal township of the biggest and most populated district in the country.

After lunch, we will visit Trashigang Dzong, standing at the extreme end of a rocky outcrop far above the river gorge. It serves as the administrative seat for the district and part of the Dzong is occupied by the local monastic community.

Altitude at Trashigang: 1600 m.

Day 14: Trashigang - Jangphu village
We drive till Khe-ney village where the road ends. From here we do strenuous hike (4-5 hrs) to Jangphu Village. Lunch will be served on the way to village with Tashi's family. You can ride a horse if you are tired to hike. You will be received by his family with traditional reception with local dance. In the evening we will take a bath in wooden tub called "Menchu" where hot water in a tub is heated by hot special stone. Night stay in a typical eastern Bhutanese house.

Day 15: Jangphu village
Morning, we explore the village and its nature. All day Puja at village monastery of wellbeing for all of us with his uncle who is the main lama as well as astrologer, too. You can ask about your horoscope or any questions to him. This monastery was built in 17th century by one of great-great grandfather of Tashi. The monastery was belong to Tashi's family till middle of 20th century and later they offered to the village society. In the evening, the lamas will burn the effigy of the demon to symbolize to ward off the diseases and obstacle of the people in the village as well as for us.
Dinner party with the family and maybe somebody will sing a Bhutanese song and dances as usual for us while we are enjoying drinking Ara (local distilled wine).

Day 16: Jangphu - Trashi Yangtse
Morning we hike down from Jangphu Village to Khe-ney and drive to Trashiyangtse and visit Gomkora stupa. It is one of the famous places where Guru Rinpoche meditated in order to subdue a demon which dwelt in a huge black rock. We take an excursion around the small town.

Day 17: Trashi Yangtse - Samdrup Jongkhar
Driving to Samdrup Jongkhar. Evening excursion in town.
Overnight in hotel

*Alternative could be the domestic flight from Trashigang to Paro and next day from Paro to Delhi.

Day 18: Samdrup Jongkhar - Guwahati (India)
Driving to Guwahati, flight to Delhi. (or just flight from Paro to Delhi).
 

Tour date

only by request
(18 days / 17 nights)

Group size & price

from 3-12 pax:
4,290 USD per person

Price includes

  • 3* hotels double occupancy
  • Full board
  • private vehicle
  • all entrance fees
  • English speaking Bhutanese guide (other languages upon request)
  • Visa fee

Supplementary fee

  • Single individual
    80 USD per night
  • Group of 2 persons
    30 USD per person per night
  • single occupancy
    40 USD per night

* Any individual tours and services can be upgraded according to your time and interest on request.
to the topto the top