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Expedition At A Glance

14 days, 13 nights

Difficulty Level: 4

Price (US$): From $3,150.00

Months Available: April through June and September through November

OVERVIEW


Through yak farms, ancient villages and high alpine meadows bursting with wildflowers, this journey will take you deep into the heart of Bhutan’s rich history and culture. Trek to Bhontela Pass at over 16,000 ft. and hang prayer flags at the summit with your Buddhist crew. Be prepared to be amazed while stepping back in time!

George Leigh Mallory, on the 1921 British Everest Expedition, described Chomolhari as “astounding and magnificent”. It is a sacred mountain revered by the Bhutanese. This trek will allow you to experience rural Bhutan. The thick forests, the remote villages, the high pastures and interaction with Bhutan’s villagers are aspects only trekkers are able to experience.

The trip begins in Paro. Get introduced to Bhutan with handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons in the National Museum near Paro. Hike to the legendary Taktshang Monastery, also called Tiger’s Nest, on a trail through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags.

Trek to Jangothang, the highest camp on this trek at 13,400 ft, for awe-inspiring views of Mt. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake. After your return to Paro, continue to Thimpu and Punakha. The tranquil kingdom of Bhutan is often called the “last Shangri-La.” Come see why Bhutan is one of the most intriguing and unique of the world’s destinations.

Highlights

  • Visit the cliff hanging Tiger’s Nest
  • Explore monasteries and palaces of Paro, Thimpu and Punakha
  • Trek to Jangothang for the best views of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake

DETAILED ITINERARY


Day 01 - Bangkok to Paro (7,475ft.) Depart early from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The flight leaves at 5:40 a.m. or 6:50 a.m. Bangkok time, depending on the day of departure. You will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel upon arrival in Bhutan, before 10 a.m. Rejuvenate with refreshments at the hotel. Drive to nearby Ta-Dzong, where you’ll be introduced to Bhutan with a visit to the National Museum which houses art, handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons displays. Stroll the streets of Paro in the evening. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals) Day 02 - Paro (Tiger's Nest hike) Begin the day with breakfast before a short drive to Taktshang Monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags. Hike at your own pace for about two to four hours. Built in 1600s, the monastery clings to the edge of a sheer-rock cliff that plunges 2,952 feet into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months. Packed lunch will be served. Drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, the fortress of the victorious Drukpas. From Drukgyel Dzong, the Tibet border is only a two-day hike away. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals) Day 03 - Drukgyal Dzong (8,400ft.) to Shana (9,350ft.) Drive to Drukgyal Dzong. Begin trek. Trek through first Chang Zampa and then Mitshi Zampa, both small villages. Climb gently through terraced fields before entering blue pine and fir forests. Be prepared for rock-hopping for the first two days of the trek to avoid the mud holes. Trek to Guntisawa where your permits will be checked before arriving at camp at Shana. Overnight Tents. (All meals) 10.5 miles, hiking time 4 to 6 hours approximately Day 04 - Shana to Thangthangka (11,900ft.) Today you enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. Trek through rhododendron and oak forests to a clearing with a stone hut. This is Shing Karap where lunch will be served. Today's trek involves numerous short ups and downs. Thangthangka, today's camp, is a meadow with great views of Chomolhari. Overnight Tents. (All meals) 13.6 miles, hiking time 7 to 8 hours approximately Day 05 - Thangthangka to Jangothang (13,400ft.) Today you will trek through meadows which serve as grazing grounds for yaks. These belong to the villagers from Soe who you may meet on the trail herding their yaks. Continue past the villages of Takethang and Dangochang to your camp at Jangothang. Overnight Tents. (All meals) 11.8 miles, hiking time 5 to 6 hours approximately Day 06 - Exploration day You have a few options for day hikes including a hike to the ridge at 15,600ft. for views of Jichu Drake and Chomolhari. Overnight Tents. (All meals) Day 07 - Jangothang to Chora (12,400ft.) Todays challenge is the steep climb to Bhonte La pass (16,000ft.) before you descend over scree and switch backs to Paro Chuu (river) to camp at Chora Overnight Tents. (All meals) 9.9 miles, hiking time 6 to 7 hours approximately Day 08 - Chora to Thombu Shong (13,700ft.) Today hike over Takhung La pass (14,900ft.) to Thombu Shong. Overnight Tents. (All meals) 6.8 miles, hiking time 4 to 5 hours approximately Day 09 - Thombu Shong to Shana (9,350ft.) Hike over Thombu La pass (14,400 ft.) and then descend gradually at first and then steeply to Guntisawa or Shana. Overnight Tents. (All meals) 8 miles, hiking time 4 to 5 hours approximately Day 10 - Shana to Drukgyal Dzong. Paro Shana is where you will have camped on Day 1 of this trek. Follow the trail in reverse to Drukgyal Dzong from where a vehicle will take you back to your hotel. Overnight Hotel. (All meals) 10.5 miles, hiking time 4 to 6 hours approximately Day 11 - Paro to Thimpu (7,700ft.) Depart Paro for Thimphu (two-hour drive) after breakfast. Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital (7,609 feet), is situated in a valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. The main street in Thimphu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops. Visit Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Drive to Drubthop Lhakhang, the nunnery temple. Learn more about the culture through visits to the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital and Traditional Painting School. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals) Day 12 - Thimpu to Punakha Drive to Punakha after breakfast at the hotel. The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochula pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, on the descent to the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet). Before proceeding further to the town of Punakha, hike about 30 minutes to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, as well as the “Divine madman.” He dramatized Buddhist teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold phallus symbols and paintings on the houses and temples are a result of his influence. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. After lunch, continue to Punakha Dzong (fortress) situated between the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mochu (male and female river). The fortress is now used as the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the spiritual head of Bhutan). The Dzong served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than 300 years. The intricate Buddhist paintings inside the monastery are spectacular. Overnight at hotel. (All meals) Day 13 - Punakha to Paro Enjoy a relaxing breakfast before making the return drive to the journey’s beginning in Paro (approximately five hours). Overnight at hotel. (All meals) Day 14 - Depart for home Transfer to airport for flight home. (Breakfast)

PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY


COST AND INCLUSIONS


Per person Price - valid till Dec 31, 2017 2 persons: $ 3,590 USD per person 3 or more persons: $ 3,150 USD per person Single Supplement: $ 650 USD Extra – airfare into Paro (subject to change): Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok airfare: $ 640 per person Bangkok – Paro – Kathmandu airfare: $560 per person Delhi – Paro – Delhi airfare: $660 per person Kathmandu – Paro – Delhi airfare: $640 per person Prices above are based on the best 3 star accommodations available. Upgrades to 4 or 5 star accommodations would be upwards of US$500  depending on hotels selected. Please contact us for details of options available. Price includes:
  • Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information
  • Meeting and assistance at airport and transfers to hotels
  • All in-country transportation
  • Meals as indicated on itinerary
  • Tours and excursions outlined on itinerary
  • Trekking with crew of English speaking guide, cook and pack animals
  • Bhutan Visa and Tourism Development Fee
Price does not include:
  • Your international airfare
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (Required)
  • Other expenses of a personal nature (soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, laundry, phone calls, internet, battery charging, comfort food etc.)

DATES AND AVAILABILITY


Contact us for private departures (two or more participants) for a date of your choosing.

BOOK THIS TRIP


Step 1: Contact Us We like to talk to our customers! Call us at 1-888-586-7750 for a free phone consultation and receive $25 off the cost of your journey when you book. Or if you prefer, send us an email to confirm availability for your preferred travel dates, and get started planning your dream trip today!

Step 2: Send Deposit and Registration Information Make a copy of the photo page of your passport. If your trip involves a trek in Nepal, email or send us a passport-sized color photo. Mail a check for $500 per person for Nepal Treks or $1,000 for other journeys (non-refundable deposit), passport copy, photo and completed reservation form.

Our mailing address is: Grand Asian Journeys PO Box 608 Indianola, WA 98342 USA

Once we receive your payment and documents we will send you additional details of your trip including travel details, VISA information, packing list, specific trip information and insurance options.

If you are traveling to Bhutan, we are required to purchase your airfare. When you are booking your trip with us we will let you know the current cost of the Druk Air flights into Bhutan from your chosen port. We will need to collect payment for those flights in addition to the trip deposit at the time of booking.

Cancelation Policy

If you cancel:
  • More than 60 days prior to departure; deposit is forfeited, the remainder is refunded
  • 60 to 30 days prior to departure, 50% of tour cost subject to refund
  • No refunds will be provided for any unused services or cancellations made within 30 days prior to departure
"I've just returned from the best vacation I've ever had! I booked my trip to Bhutan through Grand Asian Journeys. I'm an experienced traveler and prefer to travel in a small group. Many travel agencies advertise, "small group travel” but 16 people is not a small group in my mind. The daily itinerary planned by Pam was individually designed to meet my wishes and desires. It was perfect! Each day had something special to see or experience. The sweetness of a festival, the fortress built in the 14th century, the history of Buddhism, stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains, and so much more. My favorite memory was taking a hot stone bath in a tiny village on my 66th birthday. It was unbelievable! I will definitely travel with Grand Asian Journeys again and highly recommend them to others."

- Jo Benwell., Healdsburg, CA – Gangtey Crane Festival – 2013

 

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