After breakfast at your hotel, head east out of Bumthang, climbing towards the Lhodrak Karchu Monastery and enjoying spectacular views over Chamkhar town and the Babzur Valley as you go. Pay a visit to the monastery, which is one of the most important in Bhutan. It is believed to have been founded in 1984 by Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche, a descendent of a Tibetan lama whose spiritual lineage can be traced back to one of the close disciples of the great Buddhist Guru Padmasambhava. Originally, the two-story monastery was large enough to accommodate 70 monks, but has since grown considerably and is now home to over 400. The building houses a huge assembly hall with imposing statues of Guru Rinpoche and a beautiful terrace with breathtaking views of the Chhokhor Valley and Jakar Dzong.
The Trail begins to descend as you reach the village of Babzur and continue towards the Pema Choling Nunnery. Women and girls who enrol here follow a nine-year course in the Nyingma Peling Buddhist tradition and are known for a particular drum ceremony known as “chod”.
After your visit to the nunnery, the Trail continues south towards the sacred Mebartsho (the Burning Lake), where, in the 15th century, the great treasure hunter Pema Lingpa is said to have discovered several of Guru Rinpoche’s hidden treasures. Lingpa had a dream in which he was summoned to this particular location on the Tang River and, when he arrived, he saw at the bottom of the river a temple with many doors, one of which was open. He then swam down into a large cave where he was handed a treasure chest by a one-eyed woman. He would later repeat the feat in the presence of the local people and whilst holding a lit butter lamp which did not go out underwater – and it is because of that that this pool was named “burning lake”.
Enjoy a typical Bhutanese lunch at a local farmhouse in the nearby village of Phomdrong. During your visit, your host will show you how to make Bumthap Putha, a special type of buckwheat noodle traditional to the Bumthang region.
This evening, join a local Bhutanese family for a homestay experience at a farmhouse at Phomdrong. Your hosts will prepare a traditional Bhutanese meal for you, which you will enjoy seated on the floor, as is customary in Bhutanese homes.
Trek Distance: 15.25 kilometres (9.48 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 840 metres (2,756 feet)
Starting Elevation: 2,574 metres (8,445 feet)
Ending Elevation: 2,713 metres (8,901 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,109 metres (10,201 feet)