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Hikers Paradise

9 Nights 10 Days

Hikers Paradise

$2500 per person
  • Bask in the warm hospitality and dazzling smiles of the Bhutanese people
  • Storybook farmhouses, heritage farm homes, rich Dzong architecture, & distant snow-capped peaks
  • Begin & end in historic Paro Valley, one of the country’s most idyllic settings

TRAVEL INSURANCE

We strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance against medical and personal accident risks (including repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue services), as well as cancellation insurance. Please ensure that your policy provides a sufficient level of protection and covers you for the activities involved in this package. You must carry proof of insurance (e.g. your insurance certificate) with you in Bhutan.

PLEASE NOTE

This itinerary is intended as a guide only. Routes and weather conditions may mean variations to the program which may affect the availability of activities, views and panoramas described. Please be aware that all times stated are approximate, and may vary with individual group fitness and interest levels. If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us in advance.

TRAVEL TO BHUTAN

Namgay Adventure Travels handles the whole booking process on your behalf, including flights via Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines. The price of flights will be included in the package. We also handle entry and route permit processing.

HIKE GRADE
MODERATE: Suitable for all physically fit people
MODERATELY HARD: Long length, substantial elevation gain, and/or difficult terrain. Suitable for experienced hikers only
HARD: Full day’s hike over a long and often difficult route.
DRESSING FOR YOUR DAY HIKES

The key to being comfortable on hikes is to adopt a system of several layers rather than one item of bulky clothing. Layering is best accomplished by using several lightweight layers of clothing. With layering, warm air is trapped between the garments, and any moisture (perspiration) that you create when hiking is allowed to wick away from your body keeping you drier. Sun hats are an essential item, with a wide brim and something to protect your neck. A good pair of worn in water proof hiking boot is important, please make sure that your boots provide sufficient ankle support…Don’t forget your rain Jacket.

WALKING

Hours of walking, which may vary from person to person, means hours of actual walking and does not include stops for lunch, Sightseeing and rests.

On certain days our walk takes us into more rugged terrain. Please make sure that your footwear provides sufficient ankle support. If it is not possible to do a walk due to bad weather, an alternative will be organized. Any such decision is at the discretion of the Tour Leader.

WALKING AIDS

Trekking poles: These are becoming almost a standard piece of equipment for hill walkers, and a valuable safety item. They make walking less tiring. By using a stick/pole (or even two) you increase the number of points of contact with the ground, aiding balance on rough ground. They are also useful when fording streams, or descending steeper slopes. They take a great deal of stress off the ankles, knees and lower back, making injuries less likely.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

Although we take care of all your main meals, you may prefer to carry some supplements to vary the diet. Some people like to carry freeze-dried meals and instant soups. You may also bring your own energizing drink, as well as high-energy muesli bars and chocolates etc.

Destinations

Paro, Thimphu, Phobjikha Valley and Punakha Valley

Duration

10 Days

Arival/Departure Location

Paro International Airport. Paro, Bhutan

Departure Time

Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.

Include

  • English speaking Bhutanese guide
  • All lodging in 3 stars traditional lodges
  • Airport transfers
  • Land transfers in a private vehicle
  • Processing and purchase of Bhutanese visitor pass.
  • Meals, tea, coffee, snacks and non alcoholic beverages
  • Bottle water on the private vehicle, and in the hotels.
  • All entrance fees for listed activities.
  • Visa and permit processing

Related Tours

  • Departure
    Paro Airport
  • Included
    Hikers Paradise
    Visa and permit processing
    Processing and purchase of Bhutanese visitor pass
    Land transfers in private vehicle
    Airport transfers
    Dedicated tour vehicle and driver
    3 Meals a Day (B/L/D)
    3 Star Accomodation (twin sharing)
    Government Royalty and Taxes
    Entry Fees for Parks and Monuments
    Dedicated English Speaking Guide
  • Not Included
    Domestic Flight
    Flights To and From Bhutan
    Tips for Guides and Drivers
    5 Star Accommodation
    Travel Insurance
1
Day 1: Paro the valley of un-surpassing beauty
  • Hike: Dzongdrakha Temple Complex
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Hike Elevation: 2250-2800-2250M
  • Time: 2.5 hrs
  • Lodging: Gangtey Palace Hotel (2250m)
  • Full Board Basis
  • Flight: Druk Air (Royal Bhutan Airlines) Bangkok – Paro

Transfer for the flight by Druk Air, Bhutan's national airline, to Paro, the country's only airstrip. Flying in on Druk Air, the National Airline of Bhutan, you have a spectacular raven’s-eye view of the great Himalayan peaks to catch your first glimpse of Bhutan. Descending into the beautiful Paro valley at 2250m, you will land in the beautifully crafted traditional airport. NAT staff will welcome you at the airport to transfer to Gangtey Palace, your hotel for the first night in Bhutan.

This afternoon provides an opportunity to acclimatize to the rarefied air at this 2250m altitude and to get to know your guide, who will offer sightseeing options for the rest of the day depending on your interest and energy levels. Gentle hiking activities for the rest of the day may include:

DZONGDRAKHA HIKE: Dzongdrakha is an unusual temple complex precariously built on a rock face stretching horizontally across huge rocks. The temples have a lot to see. Walk around in quiet contemplation. Enjoy the lovely valley view before descending 2 hrs across villages, apple orchards and paddy fields to the pickup in Bondey Village.

THE SMALL TOWNSHIP OF PARO: Paro's town isn't very large but it has a more traditional feel than Thimphu's city and is a fine introduction to some of Bhutan's unique local products.

2
Day 2: Punakha the ancient capital
  • Hike: Zuri Dzong
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Hike Elevation: 2250M-3100M-1300M
  • Time: 3-4hrs (depending on time spent at Museum and Dzong)
  • Lodging: RKPO Green Resort (1300m) Full board basis

Before transferring to Punakha, we’ll make the most of the morning hiking to Zuri Dzong. From the town we’ll walk up cobbled stone pathways across a traditional wooden bridge toward RINPUNG DZONG built in 1646 AD by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal mainly for defense purpose against frequent incursions. Historically, it was an important administrative centre and the seat of many feudal lords and penlops. Today it houses the administrative offices which include the legislative, executive, judicial and religious centrefor the people of Paro.

Then up a well used trail we’ll hike to TA DZONG NATIONAL MUSEUM BUILT in 1951 was once the watch tower for the defense of Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. It was re-established as the National Museum in 1967 and has been rated among the best natural history museums in Asia. It holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, handicrafts, masks, costumes, armor and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The museum’s circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors. The visit will provide an insight into the rich and unique cultural heritage and tradition of Bhutan.

After we’ve visited the national museum we will traverse across forested hills to the pretty grounds of the fortress-like monastery of ZURI DZONG and finally downhill to the road where we have our vehicle waiting to transfer to Punakha after lunch.

From Paro its 4 hours drive to Punakha via DOCHULA PASS (3050m) through magnificent forest of rhododendron and magnolia. From the pass, weather allowing, you have panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayan peaks, among them Mt. Masagang (7158m) and our highest peak, Mt. Gangkar Puensum. Passing the magnificent group of 109 Chortens (stupas) the DRUK WANGYEL (OR GREAT VICTORY) CHORTENS, the road curls its way down into the relative lowlands of the Punakha Valley.

3
Day 3: Punakha Valley Hike
  • Hike: Chorten Nebu Monastic School
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Hike Elevation: 1300-1800-1300M
  • Time: 3 hrs upto the school & 1.5 hrs down villages, orange orchards and paddy feilds to the road head
  • Lodging: RKPO Green Resort (1300m) Full board basis

PUNA DZONG: We have a morning exploration of the massive architectural structure of the 17th-century Punakha Dzong today. A visit to the Punakha Dzong also presents an opportunity to see or hear the resident monks during their daily prayers, see the impressive Punakha Dzong, home to the remains of Bhutan's first ruler, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, and the winter residence of the monastic order's leader and his entourage of monks.

CHORTEN NEBU: 40 minutes shuttle to Kabjisa trail head, and 3 hours hike uphill will reach you to Chorten Nebu on a hilltop in the Punakha Valley. It is a beautiful walk to a lovely village surrounded by orange groves to a temple, which dates back to the time of 'The Divine Madman' Drukpa Kunley.

The Monastery of Chorten Nebu, built in the eighteenth century is a little known treasure, with its magnificent statue of Maitreya (the future Buddha) and fine images of the great lamas of the Drukpa Lineage. According to legend, this magical spot was once a dense forest inhabited by evil spirits. One day, the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kunley arrived here when all the demons were gathered together in meeting. He hurled a blazing log into the gathering and all the evil spirits were scorched to death. The great oak tree outside the monastery is said to have grown out of the blazing log that the Divine Madman threw and interestingly, its bark is still dark, burnt down. People use the bark to bring them good-luck talisman.

In 2005 the Monastery started housing poor orphans from the nearby village and founded a small Buddhist educational institution for these little monks, a place where the children can study both traditional Buddhist scriptures and texts, and also learning Western subjects such as English, math and science in order to be equipped to survive in the modern world, whether as a monk or a lay person.

4
Day 4: Transfer to Phobjikha Valley
  • Hike: Gangtey Nature Trail
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Hike Elevation: 4454 – 9200FT
  • Time: 1-2 hrs
  • Lodging: Dewachen Hotel
  • Full Board Basis

CHHIMI LHAKHANG (DIVINE MAD MAN’S TEMPLE): En-route to Gangtey a half an hour walk across a local village and rice fields from the road head, the temple was built in  1499 and is located on a hillock in the centre of the valley. It is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings and hence is also known as the “Devine Mad Man.

GANGTEY NATURE TRAIL – EVENING WALK & THE BEAUTIFUL BLACK NECKED CRANES. This pleasurable walk will give you a nice feeling for Phobjikha valley. From the small hilltop overlooking Gangtey Goemba, you head downhill through flower meadows to Semchubara village and from here through beautiful forests and into the open valley. After passing a chorten and Khewa Lhakhang, the trail ends at the local community school.

5
Day 5: Phobjikha Valley Hike
  • Hiking: Longtey Hike
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Hike Elevation: 9200-11200FT
  • Time: 4-5 hours from Longtey village
  • Lodging: Dewachen Hotel
  • Full Board Basis
LONGTEY HIKE

This is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Gangtey Valley. Today we will shuttle for about 45 minutes from the lodge to the trail head in Longtey village on the East-West highway. We will then walk down through bush bamboo towards a small cluster of village houses and rhododendron forests. After about two to two and half hours of gradual to steep climb through old growth rhododendron forest, we reach Gyeche La Pass marked by a stone structure and multicolored prayer flags. The view from the pass of Phobjikha Valley and its monastery Gangtey Gompa is absolutely beautiful.

We then continue to descend quite steeply but with option of switch – backs trails. Walking sticks will be highly recommended on this trail. Once we happily completes our descent to the bottom after about three quarter of an hour, we make a stop at the Kumbu Monastery and other retreat and meditation centre at the back drop against the precarious cliffs but with absolute tranquil for those mediators mediating for at least 3 years with complete cut off from the rest of the world.

It is possible to get picked up from here, or you may continue down to the Monastery or all the way down to the lodge

6
Day 6: Transfer to Thimphu
  • Lodging: Hotel Druk (2350m)
  • Full Board Basis

Unwind from the long day on the road at Hotel Druk with a Bhutanese-style SPA treatment, any aches from the long day are quickly forgotten!

7
Day 7 & 8: Thimphu
  • Lodging: Druk Hotel (2350m)
  • Full Board Basis
BUDDHA DORDENMA

Let’s hike to the giant Buddha that towers above the Wang Chhu. At 169’ feet, it is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world and houses of an astonishing 100,000 smaller Buddhas inside. Buddha’s place is a major pilgrimage center and a focal point for Buddhists from all over the world to get together, practice and meditate.

The massive Buddha fulfills an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.

There are numerous long and short, easy & hard hiking trails around the Buddha through beautiful meadows, pine trees and rhododendron bushes with even more beautiful birds singing overhead. Join us here, in our efforts to offer our prayers for world peaceful and happiness before we head back to your hotel.

NATIONAL MEMORIAL CHORTEN

Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’. Treat yourself with fantastic depiction of Buddhist teachings in form of paintings and sculptures at this temple. As the name denotes this National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974 in memory of the Third King.

TEMPLE OF COMPASSION

We have time early evening today to explore the most respected and oldest Changangkha temple – THE TEMPLE OF COMPASSION. Visiting here this evening, gives us an opportunity for meaningful insight into local faith and belief as local devotees gather to make offerings, young couples visit with their newborn babies to name their child and receive blessings.

Bhutan’s capital Thimphu is bursting with energy. Walking in the chilly evening across Norzinh Lam you will came across several restaurants, cafes and handicraft stores. Explore Bhutanese culture; learn about social histories and the demands of day-to-day living in the only place in Bhutan that can be rated a "city" by western standards.

Evening Archery - It’s not just a sport but its celebration of the way of life and an expression of Bhutan’s rich culture and heritage, because when Bhutanese play archery it's not just archery - the players also have to participate in singing and dancing. Family members also join in, so it's a kind of a social event.

You also have to explore the busy city on foot. Interesting sightseeing and experiences may include:
  • Authentic Art & Craft in the local market
  • Homemade textiles
  • Local Craft Market
  • Live museums
  • Takins at the preserve
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Farmer’s Market
8
Day 9: Hike to Tigers Nest
  • Hike: Tigers Nest Monastery
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Hike Elevation: 2350-3800-2250M
  • Time: 3-4 hrs vertical climb to Tigers nest & a host of other ancient buddhist temples
  • Lodging: Nemjo Heritage Lodge (2250M)
  • Full Board Basis

We have a difficult trek today; nevertheless, it’s one of the most admired and satisfying hiking destinations in Bhutan.

We will trek to the iconic Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s nest) perched on the face of a sheer cliff at a height of 3120 meters in Paro. Legend says that Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Bhutan, had flown here on the back of the tigress centuries ago. The track is pretty steep gaining 1000m of altitude in 3 hours. From the tea house vintage point, see Tiger’s Nest clinging to the granite rock face above you. Once in Tiger’s nest, the cool interior smells of incense. Caves are filled with golden statues of Buddhist masters. The views from windows and balconies are epic.

At descent, we also have time to visit the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong that tells stories of invasions and how the small country defended itself from invaders in the seventeenth century. Weather permitting; we have a great view towards Mount Jumolhari from the approach to Drukgyel Dzong.

On the way back it’ll be nice to pay your respects at the Kyichu twin temples, the oldest and also one of the most revered and sacred worship place for Buddhist pilgrims.

9
Day 10: Departure

Alas, all good things must come to an end and our time in Bhutan is over.  After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our departure flight.  We hope you have enjoyed your visit, have found it rewarding, and leave with new found understanding.

Tashi Delek !