• Cultural Tour and Trek - Bhutan

Cultural Tour and Trek - Bhutan

 

Overview

Trip facts

Duration: 8 Days

Activities: Tour and Trek

Departure From: Bhutan

Highest Point: 3850

Activity Level:

Country: Bhutan

Region: Bhutan

Price: USD 2,560

Group size: Min 2-7 Max

Best Season: All year around

This combined package of cultural tour and trek includes a max 3 days of trekking to Chelela - carefully designed for those passionate travelers to explore beautiful pristine nature and discover plenty of cultures of Bhutan. This tour leads you perceptions into this secluded kingdom through some interesting places including Haa valley (one of the lovely valley - recently open for travelers), Chelela, and Thimphu - the largest and capital of Bhutan. We also lead to Paro valley - visiting Taksang monastery located in the upper valley of Paro at the high cliff. This trek is graded as easy and is even fit for novices, though have to be physically and mentally fit.

This itinerary starts in Paro with an excellent scenic flight rewarded by magnificent views of the Himalayan peaks of Bhutan like Mount Chomolhari and Jichu Drake. As we reach Paro, we first visit the Buddhist monastery and also a fortress Rinpung Dzong and head towards visiting Kichu lhangkhang. “lhangkhang” means temple and is the oldest of Bhutan. Then we head to Drugyaldzongas. From this point, we get some spectacular views of mountains.

Next day, we hike to Taktshang monastery which is also termed as Tiger Nest monastery. Legend says that the spiritual guru Rimpoche flew to this cave in the back of a tiger and meditated there and thus the monastery was built on the high cliff. Next day, we drive to Haa valley and pass the Chelela Pass, where on the trails - we also get to spot yak herders. We then head below to Sangla Pass (3151 m) where will be camping. The next day, we will be ascending for a while to reach Sangla Pass (3150 m) and ascending and descending further - crossing the rhododendron forest, we reach our camping site Ningula.

Next day, we head back to Chelela Pass and from there, we drive to Thimpu. The next day drive would be to Punakha where we will be visiting numerous lhangkhang and dzongs. Then we head back to Paro and explore Paro also by visiting several monasteries.

We Accent Himalaya can arrange this cultural tour with trekking every season as per the clients’ holiday schedule but we recommend this tour in the month of March-May and from September-November which is flawless to tour and trek around to explore and discover. For more information regarding this Cultural tour and trek to Bhutan, please feel free to contact or email us.

Our detailed itinerary for Cultural Tour and Trek of Bhutan is listed below:

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Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival and sightseeing in Paro (2,250m/7,382ft)

During your flight to Bhutan, you will be viewing startling view of the great Himalayas and the sacred peak Mt. Jichu Drake and Chomolhari. After you land at the airport, our team member of Accent Himalaya will be waiting for you. After greetings and a warm welcome, they will take you to the hotel. After having our lunch, we will start our tour by visiting Ringpung Dzong (means the fortress “heap of jewels”). Next, we will visit Kichu Lhangkhang temple and after that, we will explore the Drugyal Dzong (constructed in 1646 for a Bhutan victory). From the Dzong, one gets to observe the second highest mountain Chomolhari which is at 7314 meters. We will spend our night in Paro.

  Welcome Dinner

Day 02: Acclimatization hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery: 4-5 hours

Today after breakfast, we will be ready to hike well-known monastery known Taktsang monastery or simply as Tiger nest monastery which is located at 3180 meters. The legends say that in the cave Buddhism spiritual master (Guru Rimpoche) had flown on the back of the tiger back to meditate - which now stands as Taktsang monastery. On the midway up to the mountain, there are few café and restaurants and here we will be having our lunch there. After finishing exploring the monastery, we will hike down to the valley of Paro. We will spend our night in Paro.

  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 03: Drive from Paro to Haa, trek to Sagala (3150m/ 10,334ft), trek starts: 6 km, 3-4 hours

Today morning our driver will drive us to the Haa valley and then we will be crossing the Chele La pass (3810 m). Here we will be meeting our trek guide and then we begin our trekking for an hour and reach Yak herders camp. Then we will be trekking to the right side trail and then ascend to our campsite which is situated beneath Saga la pass (3150 m). We will spend our night at camp in Sagala pass. 

  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 04: Trek Sagala pass to Ningula (3,850m/ 12,631ft):9 km, 6 hours

Today we will be ascending for half an hour to Sagala pass (3550 m). We will get the splendid view of mount Jomolari and Jichu drake only if the weather is clear. We will continue our trek from the pass and hike through the right side of the path. Ascending and descending for awhile and after that, we will be hiking to thick rhododendron trees. After that, we will reach on top of the ridge which offers a breathtaking view of the Haa valley. After that, we will ascend and descend via juniper and hemlock forests and then finally reach our campsite. We will spend our night in camp at Ningula.

  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 05: Ningula to Chele La pass, drive to Thimphu (2,320m/7,610ft), and trek ends: 11 km, 6 hours

Today we will be descending for a while over the ridge via meadows which are also the spot of yak herders’ camp. We ascend to the high hill via verdant rhododendron trees and head towards Kung karpo pass. As you ascend further, you will get the astonishing view of Paro valley.  After hiking further, we will reach Kung karpo hiking uphill and downhill enjoy magnificent view of Haa and Paro valley and the Kila Gomba nunnery monastery. After that, we will be walking for awhile through rhododendron trees and sideways - you will be passing by Buddhists colorful prayer flags and then reach Chelela pass (3990 m). From the pass, we will drive to Thimpu. Later in evening, we can wander around the Thimpu streets. We will be spending our night in Thimpu.

  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 06: Thimphu to Punakha: (1,250m/4,100 ft.): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours

Today we take a drive to Punakha and on the way, we will be stopping at Dochu La Pass (3100 m). If the sky is clear, we will get the dazzling view of Himalayas. We will continue our drive from the pass where we will drive down passing through thick fir, hemlock and rhododendron forests. After that, we will be stopping at Lobesa and continue our hike via rice paddies fields towards Chimi Lhangkhang temple. We will spend our night in Punakha.

  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 07: Punakha to Paro: 124 Km, 4 hours

Today in the morning, we will visit the majestic Punakha Dzong which is situated amid the Pho - male and Mo - female river. After exploring the Dzong, we will drive towards Paro through Dochu La pass and on the way - we will visit the Druk Wangyal monastery. We will continue our drive and stop for a lunch in Thimpu and continuing driving to Paro. We will spend our night in Paro.

  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 08: Final departure

Today your Bhutan cultural tour with 3 days Chelela trek finally comes to an end and it is time to say goodbye to this tiny Himalayan kingdom and the cordial people. Druk Air departs in morning so; we will head to the airport after breakfast as our representative will be dropping you at the airport one hour earlier than your flight schedule.

  Breakfast

Includes and Excludes

 

What's Included

  • Bhutanese visa fee
  • All airport pickup and drop
  • All meals, tea, and snacks
  • Government approved A and B category hotels and standard lodge on twin-shared basis
  • Transportation in comfortable private vehicle(s)
  • English speaking, trained and experienced guide and local staff
  • All entrance and permit fees for visits to monuments and museums as per the itinerary
  • All required government taxes

Not Included in the Cost

  • All airfares
  • Personal items (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet, laundry, etc.)
  • Trip cancellation and medical/evacuation insurance
  • Tips for staff (guide and driver)
  • Travel insurance

Trip Note

 

Accommodation on Bhutan

Accent Himalaya manages its best to provide comfortable accommodation. Bhutanese hotels are approved and classified by the Government of Bhutan as grade A, B, and C which is equivalent to 3 or 4-star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time booking, Grade ‘A’ hotels will be provided in cities like Thimpu, Paro and so. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. A single supplement can be served on request with an additional charge.

Meals and Drinks on Bhutan

All the meals and breakfast required for you are included as in our package. A variety of meals are available in most hotels - the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common Continental food. Non-vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan such as pork, beef, chicken, and fish. Also, for the best is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend for seasonal and fresh food. Dinner and breakfast will be served in the same hotel where you spend overnight and the team leader or guide will find you a good place for lunch on the way to your destination. We recommend you to carry water purification pills along with you as normal water will be provided free of cost. But if you wish to drink bottled water, they are also available. However, bottled water and liquors are not included in the package.

Best Time to Travel

Best Seasons to visit Bhutan are in spring (March-May) and autumn (September-October). The months of April and May offer the natural grandeur of rhododendron blooms although Bhutan observes its biggest festivals during spring. Bhutan can also be visited during summer and winter if one wishes to avoid the crowd. However, summers are wet and winters are pretty cold which might not suit everyone.

Luggage or Backpack for tour

You will be carrying a small backpack with your water bottle, camera, tissue paper, towel, or other gears that you need to use frequently on the trip. The clothes and gears that you don’t need can be packed and left in the locker or safe deposit box in the hotel free of cost.

Druk Air has a 44 pound (20 kg) weight limit for checked luggage and another 11-pound weight limit for carry-on luggage on their flights. Your carry-on bags are restricted to one piece, and the size should not exceed 17" x 13" x 8". You have to remember following things before packing:

Official Papers

  • Passport with minimum validity of 6 months
  • Copy of the first page of your passport
  • Airline tickets
  • Visa approval for Bhutan (should be brought with you)

Packing List for Cultural or City Tours

  • 2 pairs of lightweight long pants
  • 2 pairs of dress pants/dresses for evening
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 4 short-sleeved shirts/blouses
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt for sun protection (also while visiting Dzongs, temples and monasteries).
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sleepers
  • Warm jackets (if the trip falls in Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan & Feb)
  • 1 sweater or lightweight jacket
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes

Personal toiletries

  • Insect repellent
  • Spare nylon duffel bag for purchase
  • Sunscreen rated 20 SPF or higher
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses, prescription glasses
  • 1 visor/sun hat
  • Daypack/Hip pack for day trips
  • Prescription medications
  • Essential drugs such as for diarrhea, headache pills, pills for cold and cough
  • Anti-bacterial wipes or lotion (for face and hands)

Packing List for Trek

Please be advised that there are no trekking stores in Bhutan. Therefore, sleeping bag and daypack items should be brought with you prior as these are two indispensable items for trekking. However, Accent Himalaya does provide trekking equipment such as tents, stoves, fuels, sleeping pads, cooking and eating utensils and first aid kit

Daypack

  • Duffel bag for storing gear(s) (if not weatherproof, bring plastic bags) 
  • Warm sleeping bag (- 8 to100 C) 
  • First aid kit (blister kit with specifically 2nd skin, aspirin, cough drops,)
  • Headlamp 
  • Camera and extra batteries 
  • 2-liter water bottles (if you bring a camelback, also  bring a Nalgene) 
  • Water purification tablets (iodine or chlorine to carry in daypack) 
  • Insulated drinking mug 
  • Lightweight toiletries (travel size shampoo, soap is best for trekking) 
  • Sunscreen and lip screen 
  • Small towel

Suggested clothing list

  • Down Parka 
  • Gore-Tex shell and pants 
  • Warm fleece jacket 
  • Comfy trekking boots (we prefer- lowa) 
  • Lightweight shoes 
  • 4 pairs of trekking socks 
  • 2 long sleeve Capilene shirts 
  • 2 Capilene bottoms (mid and heavyweight) 
  • 2 trekking shirts (non-cotton is best) 
  • Trekking pants (zip off shorts are better) 
  • 1 pair of shorts 
  • 1 bandana 
  • 1 pair of winter gloves (i.e.: ski) 
  • 1 pair of lightweight gloves (i.e.: fleece)
  • Flip flops
  • Warm hat
  • Sun hat
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses

Miscellaneous Items

  • Anti-bacterial wipes or lotion (for face and hands) 
  • 10 or more energy bars (we do provide 3 meals per day on the trek!) 
  • Prescription medications 
  • Over the counter drugs for diarrhea, headaches and cold

 

Personal Expenses on Trek

Your personal expense literally depends upon your personal habit; whether you are alcoholic or non-alcoholic, extravagant or thrifty and so on. Normally, the cost of the meal and accommodation during the trek are covered in our package and you will be liable to pay for table drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages), snacks while trekking, souvenirs, hot shower (available at some places) tips to the guide and porters. Tips to the guide and porter are your personal choice. However, we advise you to give tip and allocate 10-15 percent of your total tour cost if you are satisfied with their service.

Our Greetings at Airport

We advise you to flow the information of your international flight details after you confirm your Cultural Tour and Trek of Bhutan with Accent Himalaya for our meeting and greetings. Right after you cross the Customs and check out of the terminal building, you will find our representative holding a placard with your name or the name of the company (Accent Himalaya) and drop you to your hotel in a private car. In case you have booked the hotel by yourself, we suggest you inform us in advance the name of the hotel you are about to stay so that our representative can drop you to your hotel and would be easier to meet with the team leader or the guide.

Itinerary and Possible Changes on it

Our normal Itinerary includes 8 days for Cultural Tour and Trek of Bhutan which is the most usual and practical. In the package, the days of your arrival and departure and a day of city tour are also counted. In case you managed further schedule, you want to exclude those days for our service and just want us to help you with the trekking part, upon your request, we can rearrange and adjust the itinerary and let you know about the final cost for the trip.

Also, you can extend or shorten your trek if you feel it’s necessary with consulting our guide on the way to your destination. We recommend you to finish the trek within the last day mentioned in our package as many unforeseen circumstances may befall at any time.

Insurance/Rescue/Evacuation

Health, Safety, and Security of the clients are always our top most priority. So, In case of a serious sickness or any mishaps, while you are on Cultural Tour and Trek of Bhutan (which we believe will not happen), we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital to save your life and you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation/rescue. So, please make sure that these expenses are covered by your insurance policy before assigning for the trek or you have to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu. Please ensure that you’ve insured yourself before doing the trip and visit Travel insurance page for more info about it.

Booking and Payment

You are required to make 20% (non-refundable) payment in advance in order to confirm and book Cultural Tour and Trek of Bhutan along with a photocopy of your passport and flight details (arrival detail, flight name, number and time) and the remaining 80% balance is due when you arrive in Nepal. You have an option of paying the advance by bank transfer or credit card. So, do let us know which modes of payment are convenient for you, then we will forward the details of payment. We also accept transactions via Pay Pal.

Inquire about this trip

Before you book, you can customize this trip with the help of a trusted local specialist.

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