Bumthang Cultural Trek

Trip Facts

Trip Grade: Moderate

Trip Activities: Sightseeing and religious tour

Trip days: 16 days

Time to visit: September – November and March - May


Bumthang Cultural Trek – A great combination of culture and trekking tour in heart of Bhutan Kingdom
A picturesque Bumthang valley is the religious soul of the Kingdom and holds of some of its legendary Buddhist temple and monasteries. This three days trek takes you to several remote villages and countryside around Bumthang to explore the culture and people’s way of living with rustic flair.
Bumthang cultural trek is a fairly easy trek that goes through stunning valleys, trout filled rivers, idyllic villages, lush forest and ancient but ornate monasteries. Trekkers will visit plenty of ancient temples and the interesting part is; each temple is connected to the myths and legends.
Apart from numerous temples and lhakhangs, there are magnificent viewpoints: displaying stunning panorama of High Himalayas and numbers of villages where you can interact with locals. It provides close glimpse to rural Bhutan, its intact culture and High Mountain at a same time. This stunning trek also helps you learn how spirituality and religious practices influences the daily life of people.
Though the trek is fairly easy, a 500m ascent to Pephe La Pass might be challenging for unseasoned trekkers. But the raw beauty of surrounding landscapes keep you pushing up.
The self-isolation policy of this Himalayan Kingdom also known as “The Last Shangri La”, has largely contributed to preserve its ancient Buddhist culture and pristine nature. The kingdom is considered as the one of last remaining pristine nation in the world. A cultural trek in Bhutan is the best way to explore its hidden treasure of ancient culture, religion, architecture and way of life that have followed from centuries and still the part today’s life.
Spring and autumn are considered as the best time of the year for Bumthang cultural hiking trip. These seasons are known for best weather and excellent views. In spring, the whole trekking trail is embellished with variety of wild flowers including rhododendron, making your trip magnificently beautiful. Most of Bhutan’s festival are also celebrated in the month of spring and autumn.


Day01: Arrival at Paro International Airport and transfer to the hotel

Upon your arrival at Paro International Airport, the representative from Dream Bhutan will receive you outside the airport terminal hall and escort you to the hotel at Paro. The air-trip to Paro offers magnificent views of Indian, Nepalese and Bhutanese Himalayan peaks.

After hotel check-in and short refreshment, you will meet your trek leader who will brief you about the next day’s trip.

Day02: Paro Sightseeing

Today, you will visit a watchtower which was built in 17th century by Rinpung Dzong to defend against Tibetan invader. It was inaugurated as National Museum in 1968. It has fascinating collection of art, relics, religious Thangkha Paintings and exquisite postage stamps.

Next you will walk down a hillside trail to visit Ringpung Dzong which has long and interesting to stories to tell. It was built by the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan – Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. The Dzong is the center administration of Paro district. You will walk through traditional bridge festooned with prayer flag called Nemi Zam which offers great view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it.

Day03: A day hike to Paro Taktsang Monastery

After breakfast, you will drive to the hiking point of the Tiger’s Nest Monastery and hike up to the monastery which roughly takes 1.5 hours. The monastery serves superb view of Paro valley and surrounding landscapes. It is perched majestically at 900m on sheer rock face from the valley floor.

The monastery was first constructed in 1692. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava meditated here for three months in 8th century. It is also believed that Guru Rinpoche flew to this from Kenpajong on the back of Tigress to fight against the Demon which was harming the Kingdom. Subsequently, the place came to be known as the “Tiger’s Nest”. Guru Padmasambhava is believed as the portrayer of Buddhism in Bhutan.

After visiting monastery, you will hike downhill to the road with a lunch at viewpoint Cafeteria. Then you drive to Thimpu which takes about 1 – 1.5 hours.

Overnight at hotel in Thimpu

Day04: Thimpu Sightseeing

After breakfast, we proceed to visit a Centenary Farmer’s Market (open from Thursday – Sunday). Here you will see extensive range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts put on stall for sale. A visit to the market offers great opportunities as well as the chance to mingle with local people.

Next we go to National Textile Museum which houses numerous art, artifacts, textile and Thankas. Here you will see people weaving with intricate designs.
You will also visit the Museum which portrays visitors with fascinating insight into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life.

After lunch, we make about 30 minute drive to the base of Tango Monastery and hike up to the Monastery. We walk through the forested route of rhododendron which are in state bloom in spring. Tango Monastery is the major hub for higher studies for monks. The monastery commands superb view of surrounding landscapes. After exploration, we hike down to the road and take a drive back to Thimpu.

Day05: Thimpu – Punakha (72km, 3 hour drive)

After breakfast, we will drive to Punakha via Dochula Pass. The pass serves the magnificent view of some of the highest peaks in Bhutan (subject to clear weather). Then we drive downhill via rhododendron forest to reach Punakha valley. After lunch, we will proceed to visit Punakha Dzong which was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Nagwang Namgyal and is located between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). The Dzong offers fascinating architecture and master piece wood work of local craftsmen.

Day 06: Punakha – Bumthang (210km – 8 hours drive)

After breakfast, we will drive to Trongsa which takes about 5 – 6 hours. we stop for a while at Wangdi town to capture its cultural and natural wonders. Further we will drive across Pele La Pass (3,300m), the traditional boundary between east and west. We stop for lunch at Chendebji located nearby the gigantic Nepalese style stupa and continue our journey for 3 hours to reach Bumthang.

Overnight stay at hotel in Bumthang.

Day07: Bumthang Sightseeing

After breakfast, you will visit Jakar Dzong which means “The castle of White Bird”. The current Dzong was established in 1667 and is the largest Dzong in entire kingdom. Then proceed to visit Lamey Goemba which is large palace and monastery built in 18th century by Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi. Further visit Jambay Lhakang which was said to be built by Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. The temple was re-visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was reconstructed by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. The popular festival – Jambay Lhakhang Drup is celebrated in October here.

You then move to visit Kurjey Lhakhang that have the body print of Guru Rimpoche; built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Also visit Tamshing Lhahang that temple of good message built by Pema Lingpa in 1501. It is the most significant Nyingmapa temple in the country.

Day08: Bumthang

Enjoy the “Festival Ura”

Day09: Bumthang

Enjoy the “Festival Ura” and start Bumthang Cultural Trek

Day10: Jakar – Nagang Lhakhang

Today we walk along the Chamkhar Chu River and pass many villages and temples on the way. The trek is easy, scenic and informative. You will arrive the camp site of Nagnag Lhakhang located at an altitude of 2,900m. Walking time needs around 6 hours.

Day11: Ngang Lhakang – Ugyenchholing

The trail climbs down gradually towards Phephe La Pass and negotiate the thick forest of Juniper. As you approach the Pass at 3,340, you will be rewarded with great views of Himalayan peaks. Next descend down via lush forest to the campsite at Ugyenchholing village. Camp by the side of the river at an elevation of 2,850m. Walking time needs around 7 – 8 hours.

Day12: Ugencholing – Jakar

After breakfast, climb to Uguenchholing Dzong and explore the surrounding village. Then drive along the bank of Tang Chu River to Jakar. On the way, you can stop for a while to explore the Membertsho Lake where Terton Pemlingpa, the reincarnation of Guru Padmasambaca was supposed to have been discovered in 12th century. This lake is highly sacred and receive flocks of pilgrim during auspicious days to offer butter lamps. Overnight at hotel in Jakar.

Day13: Sightseeing of Ura valley

After breakfast, you will drive to Ura Valley with a packed lunch. After exploration, drive back to Bumthang. Overnight at hotel in Bumthang.

Day14: Bumthang – Phobjikha valley

After breakfast, we continue our drive to Phobjikha/Gangtey. Here you will visit Gangtey Gompa which was built in 1613. It was built by Gyaltse Peam Thinley and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation.
Explore the Phojikha Valley which is winter home to rare Black Necked Cranes. Overnight at hotel in Phobjikha valley.

Day15: Gangtey – Thimpu

After breakfast, drive back to Thimpu. After refreshment, explore Cheri Monastery and Mini Zoo. Overnight at hotel in Thimpu

Day16: Thimpu – Paro

Your exciting festival tour in Bhutan comes to an end today. The representative from Dream Bhutan will drive you back to the Paro International Airport on scheduled time for your final departure.


Cost Info

Cost Includes

  • Bhutan Government Royalty of USD 65 per person per night
  • FIT surcharges of USD 40 per person per night for double and USD 30 per person per night for Double
  • Twin sharing accommodation at star hotel
  • All the meal during trip
  • An English speaking experienced Bhutanese tour guide
  • All the ground transportation in cozy vehicle as per itinerary
  • All the governmental charges, local taxes and official charges
  • All the monumental and museum entrance fee
  • Mineral drinking water

Cost Excludes

  • Single room supplement (can cost USD 50 per room per night)
  • Visa fee – USD 40 per person (It must be paid in advance with tour cost)
  • International Airfares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Nature Expenses – International calls, laundry, drinks
  • Tips for guide and driver