This thrilling 12-day Bhutan itinerary showcases some of the Himalayas’ most stunning landscapes, visiting tiny remote villages and passing through maize and rice fields. Enjoy the hospitality of the locals and be humbled by the vastness of this mountainous terrain. Accompanied by guides and horses, you’ll spend most nights camping, free to enjoy a close connection with nature.
Fly to Paro and drive 4.5 hours to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan, enjoying the views from Dochu La pass on the way. There are many historic sites to explore in Punakha, including the island fortress Punakha Dzong and the Chime Lhakhang, a uniquely-adorned 15th century temple said to bless visiting couples with fertility. Tonight, stay at the luxurious Amankora or Uma Punakha for a restful night's sleep.
Today you'll drive 6.5 hours to Bumthang, which is home to a high concentration of sacred sites. You'll visit the Yathra Center in Chume, the beautiful Kyichu Lhakhang Temple – the oldest monastery in Bhutan – and see the Swiss Farm, which makes its own cheese using Jersey cow milk and brews the national beer, Red Panda. In the evening, enjoy a comfortable night's sleep in the luxurious Amankora Bumthang, which boasts a view of Wangdicholing Palace.
You will start your trek from the Bhutanese town of Lhuntsi, and the monastery Lhuntsi Dzong at 5,600 feet elevation. The day’s nine-mile trek starts at a suspension bridge a few kilometers from the monastery, crossing the Kuri Chhu river and following it to the banks of the Khoma Chhu river and pilgrimage site of Singye Dzong. Along the way, you’ll trek through rice and maize fields and various tropical plants. Tonight, you’ll spend the night in Khoma at 5,000 feet, famed for its long tradition of weaving.
The 12-mile trek to Chengleng involves a steep climb as you pass through the village of Gyonpa Karpo, a small settlement with a Nyingma Buddhist monastery at 6,500 feet. Passing Gyonpa Karpo, the trail eases a little as you encounter oak forests, and wild orchids and mushrooms arriving in Chengleng at 6,000 feet to set up camp for the night.
Today you’ll make the 11-mile trek to the picturesque village of Minji. The trails winds through oak forest-covered gorges and around mountains on the way to a cluster of houses and rice paddies called Sham. In the afternoon you will arrive at Minji, where villages will be waiting with a warm welcome, and where you will set up camp for the night.
The hills and forests surrounding Minji are ripe for exploration and you have a day here to trek to a nearby temple or monastery or just relax in the village and observe rural life. The mountainous landscapes here are humbling in their size and scope, and the local Bhutanese are a deeply spiritual and gentle people, more than happy to share their way of life with visitors. Tonight, enjoy a traditional banquet with the locals and another night at your camp at Minji.
From Minji, you’ll head downhill to Wambur on a 12-mile trek of around 4 to 5 hours. An undulating trail will bring you to a few different villages, through rice paddies and forest to your destination in Wambur at 5,500 feet elevation. After a village and school tour, settle in for dinner and set up camp near the primary school.
Today, you’ll make the descent to Domkhar on a trail through sparse pine tree forests and lemongrass. Domkhar village is the location of a lively three-day festival established by a Nyingma scholar in the 16th century. It’s here where you’ll enjoy dinner and set up camp for the night.
On the final day of your trek through Bhutan, you’ll head to Lhuntsi on foot where the horses and guides will stop. From there, you’ll drive back to Mongar and stay at the Wangchuck Hotel. Enjoy the relaxed pace and beautiful mountain views of Mongar before continuing your onward journey.
The pretty mountain village of Trongsa is your next destination. Here, you'll see the famous fortress Trongsa Dzong, perched over the village on the mountainside. Next, you'll have the chance to learn about Bhutanese history at the Trongsa Museum of Monarchy, with more than 100 years of royal history on display. Tonight, check into the Yangkhil Resort, offering stunning views over the dzong.
Today you drive 6 hours to Thimphu. Visit the Royal Textile Academy detailing the traditional Bhutanese craft of weaving, then continue to the National Library, a major repository for Buddhist scripture holding many rare manuscripts. Tonight, check into the luxurious Amankora resort or the Taj Tashi - two of the best hotels in Thimphu.
Drive 1 hour to Paro and fly home.
Amankora Punakha is located just across a suspension bridge along the Mo Chu River, with suites built around a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse. A small property, there are only eight suites. The hotel is situated in an orange orchard, with views of Punakha Valley and Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful monasteries. The farmhouse has a dining room, courtyard and tea pavilion for dining and refreshments. The spa at Punakha has two treatment rooms, a steam room and a yoga and meditation area. There is fax and Internet access; however the connection is quite slow. There is no fitness center or pool, but hot stone baths are available. The hotel is approximately a four-hour drive from the airport in Paro.
An intimate luxury lodge situated in a lush valley, the COMO Uma Bhutan Punakha is nestled amongst rice fields and orchards, and overlooks a snake-like bend in the Mo Chu River. The lodge has a selection of villas suitable for a travel party of any size, as well as nine deluxe Valley View rooms with private terraces; all rooms boast comprehensive views of the surrounding landscape. The onsite restaurant, Bukhari, is named for a traditional Bhutanese fireplace, uses ingredients from local farms and can provide delicious meals for any palate. There is also a spa, the COMO Shambhala Retreat, with a range of holistic and Asian-inspired treatments, as well as hot tubs with a birds-eye view of the stunning scenery. COMO Uma Bhutan Punakha is part of the award winning property and luxury retail group COMO Group, with a sister property in Bhutan called COMO Uma Bhutan Paro.
Amankora Bumthang is a recently opened Amankora in Bhutan, with views of buckwheat, millet and potato fields, an apple orchard, and Wangdicholing Palace, the Kingdom’s oldest palace, which is now a monastery. There are 16 suites complete with a bukhari and views of the courtyard and palace. Amankora Bumthang has a spa with three treatment rooms and a steam room. There is no business center, but the Library has an Internet station and WiFi access. The resort is approximately nine hours from the airport in Paro.
Enjoy close commune with nature by setting up camp in the great outdoors as part of a Bhutanese Himalayan trek. Surrounded by forests, travelers fall asleep under the stars and wake up to glorious mountain views each morning – campsites really allow travelers to connect with their environment and enjoy the serenity of the Himalayas. Accompanied by guides and horses or yaks transporting camping equipment, you will stay at established campsites with all food and drinks provided, with meals prepared by an experienced chef. In some places around Bhutan, our recommended camps share sites with yak herders, giving travelers the chance to learn about this traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle first-hand. Camping in the oak forests, peaks and valleys of Bhutan also puts campers in close contact with a diverse array of wildlife, including the chital, deer, langur, and different species of Northeast Himalayan birdlife.
Amankora Thimpu is located on a hillside in a verdant pine forest far above Bhutan’s capital city. The hotel’s architecture is reminiscent of Bhutanese temples, or dzongs, and incorporates white-washed stone buildings around an enclosed courtyard. Sixteen suites are composed of living and sleeping areas, with views of the forest and nearby streams. The spacious terrazzo-tiled bathrooms have soaking tubs and twin vanities. Guests may dine either in an elegant dining room or on the adjacent terrace, both of which serve Bhutanese and international cuisine. Steam and sauna rooms are available, and massage and spa treatments are offered in private rooms nearby. Traditional hot stone baths can be scheduled. There is no fitness center. Fax and Internet are available. The resort is approximately 30 minutes from the airport in Paro.
Situated in the Thimphu Valley, this new property seamlessly blends Bhutan’s Dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 52 deluxe rooms, 5 luxury rooms, 3 deluxe suites, 2 duplex suites and 4 luxury suites all afford guests an authentic peek into the region’s art and color. All accommodations have wired and wireless Internet access. Food and beverage options include an all-day, international cuisine restaurant, Ara Bar, an authentic Bhutanese restaurant, and a tea lounge. The Taj Spa is equipped with single and double treatment suites and has a menu featuring Indian holistic and signature treatments, specially designed to maintain physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium. There is a fitness center and a heated indoor swimming pool. The property is a two-hour drive from the airport in Paro, which is the only airport in the country. It is a six-hour drive to Phuntsholing and a 3.5-hour drive to Punakha.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
Choose somewhere you’d like to visit, something you’re interested in, and when you’re planning to travel and we’ll suggest sample itineraries to inspire your bespoke journey.
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