Overview

Bhutan: Midhill Excursion – Part of the Trans Bhutan Trail

A centuries-old Buddhist kingdom high in the Himalayas, Bhutan has never been conquered, and it only recently opened itself to tourism. And while it is tucked among the world’s tallest mountains, you don’t have to go on a difficult trek to sample the wonders of “the Land of the Thunder Dragon.” A tour of Bhutan is a window into an ancient, and perhaps slowly vanishing, culture. The breathtaking scenery, the ancient lifestyle, and the wonderful people, this magical mountain kingdom offers a glimpse into a reality not often found in our fast-paced world. Festivals that inspire your spirit, a simple lifestyle that touches a calm place within, and mountains that challenge your body and thrill your soul, this idealic place will meet and exceed your expectations leaving you with a lifetime of memories.

Trip Highlights

  • The breathtaking scenery, the ancient lifestyle, and the wonderful people, this magical mountain kingdom offers a glimpse into a reality not often found in our fast-paced world.

Trip Summary

Days
11
Price
$5595
Activity Level
Moderate
Trip Type
Trek
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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Paro- Transfer to Thimphu

Wecome to Bhutan! Upon arrival in the airport, you will be met by our Bhutanese representatives, who will transport you to the capital city of Thimpu about 1.5 hours away. Overnight in hotel.

Day 2
Sightseeing Tour of Thimphu

Today we start the day by visiting the National Memorial Chorten (shrine), a monument dedicated to the 3rd King of Bhutan. We will also visit a school for Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts, making stops along the way at a workshop specializing in traditional handmade paper from Daphne plant; here you will get to know the living national art of weaving. Our afternoon includes a short drive to upper Thimphu valley to see the national animal, a Takin. This is a somewhat endangered animal resembling a yak, commonly seen in Nepal and other parts of the Himalaya. Finish the day on your own meandering the winding streets of Thimphu. Overnight in hotel.

Day 3
Thimphu to Punakha

Our day begins with a drive through a forest of pine and hemlock, festooned with hanging lichens. We cross a high pass at Dochu la at 10,142ft offering panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountain ranges, as we descend along a series of curved mountain roads to the fertile valley of Punakha at 4430ft. Before proceeding further to Punakha town, we will take a short 45 minute walk to Chimi Lhakhang a temple on a small hill top. This temple is dedicated to the great yogi in 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenly or popularly known as the “Divine Madman.” Overnight in hotel at Punakha

Day 4
Punakha to Lingmukha

No beating around the bush - we get right to it with a very invigorating first hike! Our trail this morning has us heading east to Lingmukha, winding through paddy fields followed by a steep ascent to reach a chorten, which marks our high pass of the day. After lunch we descend into the gorgeous Lingmukha valley with the last hour or so of today’s hike along a small local road. The valley is commonly referred to as Lingmup Sher Gi Zhom which translates into "The Golden Bowl" on account of the many rice paddies that which lie beneath mountain ridge. Here you will visit Lingmukh Lhakhang, built by the great discoverer of treasure: Dorjee Lingpa. Oral traditon has it that Dorjee Lingpa arrived in Lingmukha in the 14th Century and built Lingmukha Lhakhang and then settled there along with his disciples. Overnight in tents.

Day 5
Lingmukha to Samtengang

After breakfast we have the option to hike to nearby Tshangkha temple, which belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu school of Buddhism and contains many detailed paintings and statues. The present temple was reportedly dominated by evil spirits in earlier times, but it was blessed by a monk from Tibet and remains free of the spir- its. Afterwards we will head out on what is a historically very significant section of the trail, once used by the famous messenger Garp Lunghi Khorlo and the famous chemberlin Pemit Shewang Tashi. This isolated section passes through no human settlements, allowing you to be at one with nature for the duration of the day. As you head out of Samtendang, the first section of the trail is an ascent, eventually flattening out before dropping down towards Razawo. Visit the chorten thought to have been built in the time of Buddha Kashyapa and to be one of the oldest in Bhutan. Overnight in tents with hot showers and an organic dinner including locally sourced produce.

Day 6
Samtengang to Razawo

After breakfast at camp, you may wish to pay a brief visit to the nearby Lhakhang Thangkha Temple. This Tem- ple is thought to be one of the eight lings (meditation and teaching locations) of Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam. Today we rejoin the trail heading east. Historically, this section of the trail would often been used by locals of Lingmukha and the people of Phanyul in the adjacent valley. Although the two villages are separated by a steep ridge, they strongly believe themselves to be close blood relatives who share the same cultural roots. The trail rises from deep in the Lingmukha valley, climbing steeply through dense forest until it reaches a pass. From here we descend sharply, enjoying panoramic views of the Shar Valley. On the way we will visit the Chungse Azhe Gyalzom Lhakhang temple. Nearby is the small village of Razawo where we sleep for the night. At Razawo, visit the chorten (stupa), thought to have been built in the time of Buddha Kashyapa and to be one of the oldest in Bhutan. Head to your campsite after visiting the chorten, where you will be able to enjoy a tented hot shower.

Day 7
Razawo to Pela la and drive to Phobjikha

Our path this morning will initially follow a farm road before crossing over into open meadow and forest of oak and walnut. Time permitting, you will be able to visit Rida Goenpa temple. The temple is famous for housing the relic Sangay Tsepadme- the Buddha of Longevity cast in bronze and facing Pele la Pass. Legend says that this statue was built by a young monk, the son of a local infertile couple who were blessed with the child by a tespma (buddhist practioner in return for kindness). From the temple it is a short climb up to Pele la Pass, through a charming rhododendron forest at 11,165 feet. The Pele la Pass is one of Bhutan’s highest and is traditionally considered the boundary between west and central Bhutan. Local craft people often sell fine yak hair products at the roadside here. Overnight in hotel.

Day 8
Day Hike Out of Phobjikha

The picturesque and peaceful Phobjikha valley is a huge U-shaped glacial valley, which is located in the cen- tral kingdom. Besides being home to one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan - Gangteng Monastery. Phobjikha valley is part of an important nature and wildlife preserve for the conservation of the ecosystem. In the morning we will visit the Black Neck Crane Information Center, a part of the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN). From here we can spot the cranes flying through the valley before lunch then a small nature hike on the Gangtey Nature Trail- a famous for day hike in the area. A short trail takes us from an old stupa (Gangtey Goenpa) downhill through flower meadows to Semchubara village and from there through beauti- ful forests and into the open valley. The trail ends at the local community school after passing a chorten and Khewa Lhakhang. Overnight in hotel.

Day 9
Transfer Phobjikha to Paro

We will start early today as we have roughly 6 hours drive today with a lunch stop along the way. Overnight in hotel.

Day 10
Tiger's Nest Hike

We start the day with a short drive to Paro’s upper valley. On a clear day you’ll have an unforgettable view of the “Goddess” Mt.Chomolhari at 23,640 ft. Our hike to Taktsang Monastery will be our final push and involves lots of stone stairs. The most famous monastery in Bhutan, Taktsang means“Tiger Nest,” named because Guru Rinpoche reportedly flew to the site on the back of a flying tiger late in the 7th century. Between blue pines and a blue sky, the monastery perches miraculously on a cliff nearly 2,700 feet above Paro’s valley floor. Our descent brings us back to Paro in distilled afternoon light in time for a delicious final dinner to celebrate your final night in Bhutan. Overnight in hotel.

Day 11
Departure

Head back home!

Dates & Pricing

2023

Start
End
Double Occupancy
  • Oct 26
    Nov 5
    $5595 (4 more spaces) USD
  • Nov 5
    Nov 15
    $5595 USD

2024

Start
End
Double Occupancy
  • Apr 1
    Apr 11
    $5595 USD
  • Apr 13
    Apr 23
    $5595 USD
  • Oct 13
    Oct 23
    $5595 USD

Above Costs Include:

  • International flight from Bangkok to Bhutan
  • 5 nights hotels in the bigger cities with breakfast
  • Guided city tour of Thimphu and Punakha
  • 5 nights using tents in the midhills on twin sharing basis
  • 1 Guide, cook and camp crew- estimated 6 total support staff
  • 4WD to transport luggage
  • All permits

Cost Does Not Include:

  • Lunch & dinner in Paro prior and post-climb.
  • International airfare
  • Bottled drinks (mineral water, any cold drinks, and alcoholic drinks)
  • Travel insurance & overseas medical insurance coverage
  • Liability for expenses against sickness, flight cancellation, road blockage, accidents and other occurrence beyond our control
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