8D 7N Discover Western Bhutan

  • Discover Western Bhutan

    Discover Western Bhutan
    Discover Western Bhutan

Bhutan Tour Itinerary

Hike from the western town of Haa to Paro, enjoying stunning views of the Haa and Paro Valleys as well as incredible vistas towards the Himalayan range from Kaleyla Pass at clearer times of the year. Also visit the highlights of Bhutan’s unique capital city, Thimphu, before trekking up the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery.


Day 1

Paro

Elevation      Weather in Paro

On arrival at Paro International Airport today, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

In the early evening, head out with your guide for a brief acclimatisation walk around Paro, before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant – your first chance to sample Bhutanese cuisine.

Accommodation: The Village Lodge or similar (3*)
Meals: D

Day 2

Paro – Haa

Elevation      Weather in Haa

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven by private vehicle to the town of Haa, with a brief stop en route to take in some breathtaking Himalayan vistas at Chelela which, at 3,810 metres (12,500 feet) above sea level is the highest paved road in Bhutan. As you arrive at Chelela, you may wish to join with your guide and driver in a hearty cry of ‘lha-geh lu!’ (‘May the Gods be victorious’).

You will be given time to settle into your hotel in Haa and to rest before joining your guide for an afternoon acclimatization walk around the town. Your orientation walk will include a visit to the Lhakhang Karpo or ‘White Chapel’ complex, just south of Haa’s Dzong (fortress). The Lhakhang has an atmospheric central chapel which houses statues of the Tse-la-nam Sum trinity. During your visit to the Lhakhang Karpo, you will have the option of a traditional pre-expedition blessing in preparation for your upcoming journey along the Trans Bhutan Trail.

Your guide will select a local restaurant in Haa for dinner this evening.

Accommodation: Soednam Zingkha Heritage Lodge or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D

Day 3

Haa – Paro

Elevation      Weather in Paro

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to Katsho, where you will begin your first day of trekking on the ancient Trans Bhutan Trail. For generations, the people of Haa followed the route you will walk today to trade with the Parops in the neighbouring valley. There, they would barter 20 drey (approximately 30 kilograms or 66 pounds) of Shakam (dried meat) for 20 drey of rice at Paro Tshongdu (market) because the harsher climatic conditions in Haa are unsuitable for rice cultivation.

The age-old trail follows the beautiful Haa river as it gently rises out of the Katsho Valley, passing through yak pastures before heading into forests of pine and rhododendron. As you traverse the Katsho Valley, look out for cliff-edge Bjungneydra Taktsang (monastery), also known as “The Mini Taktsang”, and the sky burial site of Kungkarpo. The trail continues to climb until it reaches the pass at Kaleyla, where it crosses the ridge trail between Chelela and Sagala. At Kaleyla, you will enjoy stunning views of the Himalayan range to the north, including on the clearest days vistas of Mount Jomolhari (7,314m/23,996ft), Mount Jichudrakegang (6,794m/22,290ft) and Mount Tsherimgang (6,789m/22,273ft). You will be provided with a picnic lunch during this stop.

From Kaleyla, the trail descends through rhododendron and bamboo forest into the Paro Valley. The last few kilometres to Paro will then be on tracks which meander through traditional Bhutanese farming villages.

On arrival in the Ngopa gewog of Paro you will have the chance to visit Kichu Lhakhang (temple). Said to date from the 7th century and built by Songtsen Gampo, it is one of Bhutan’s oldest religious sites. Kichu Lhakhang is home to an original statue of Jowo Jamba which is one of the most sacred sculptures in the region; and the two orange trees inside the monastery courtyard are said to bear fruit year round.

Your guide will arrange for dinner either at your hotel or in a local restaurant.

Accommodation: The Village Lodge or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D
Trek Distance: 17 kilometres (10.57 miles)

Day 4

Paro – Dop:shari

Elevation      Weather in Paro

After breakfast this morning, rejoin the Trans Bhutan Trail heading east. The Trail rises gently from Lamgong Village as it traverses the sprawling rice paddies of the Paro Valley, before carving around the northern ridge and descending into the traditional village of Dopshari.

At Dopshari, enjoy a cookery demonstration and a traditional Bhutanese lunch at a local farmhouse. After lunch, you will also have the opportunity to try your hand at Bhutan’s national sport, archery, and have a quick game of traditional ‘khuru’ (darts).

After lunch, head out onto the Trail for one last time for the climb up to Upper Dopshari, where you will enjoy stunning views out over the Paro Valley.

You will be collected from Upper Dopshari and transferred back towards Paro. En route, visit Ta Dzong or the ‘watchtower’, originally built in 1649 to protect Paro Dzong from the Tibetan military. In 1968, Ta Dzong became Bhutan’s National Museum, and is now home to a number of exhibitions including sculpture, painting and artifacts depicting Bhutan’s magical past. Afterwards, continue to the stunning Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress), meaning ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels”. The original construction of this dzong is believed to have been completed in 1458 and it was restored to its present glory by His Majesty the Third of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, to mark his royal wedding in 1951.

After your visits, head to your hotel, where we recommend you relax and unwind after your trek in a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath before enjoying dinner with your guide at a nearby restaurant.

Accommodation: Tushita Eco Lodge or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D
Trek Distance: 16 kilometres (9.94 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 943 metres (3,049 feet)
Starting Elevation: 2,380 metres (7,809 feet)
Ending Elevation: 2,826 meters (9,272 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 2,826 meters (9,272 feet)

Day 5

Dopshari – Thimphu

Elevation      Weather in Thimphu

After breakfast today, you will be transferred by private vehicle to the city of Thimphu. With elevations ranging between 2,248 metres (7,375 feet) and 2,648 metres (8,688 feet) above sea level, Thimphu is the fifth highest capital city in the world by altitude; and it is also the only capital city in the world without any traffic lights. The city offers a unique blend of the modern world alongside striking Bhutanese tradition.

After checking in at your hotel, head back out to visit the Thimphu Dzong (fortress). The Dzong was rebuilt by His Majesty the Third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, in 1962, when the capital of Bhutan was moved from Punakha to Thimphu. Since that time it has been the seat of the Government of Bhutan. Undoubtedly Thimphu’s most imposing building, you will have time to enjoy its quiet courtyards, the small Lhakhang Sarp chapel and the Dzong’s imposing utse (tower).

Afterwards, pass by the Memorial Chorten, a Tibetan-style stupa built in 1974 and one of Thimphu’s busiest religious sites.

Enjoy dinner this evening with your guide in one of the capital’s excellent restaurants.

Accommodation: Tara Phendheling Hotel or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D

Day 6

Thimphu – Paro

Elevation      Weather in Paro

Today will be spent taking in some more of Thimphu’s numerous attractions. First, head to the scenic Kabisa Valley, just north of Thimphu, to the Choki Traditional Art School. Choki is Bhutan’s only private institution providing free education to underprivileged youths who have a keen interest in learning the traditional arts and crafts. During your visit to the school you will see students engaged in a number of traditional art forms, including painting, carving, and tapestry.

Before heading back into Thimphu, drop in at the Pangri Zampa Monastery, where you will have the chance of a private reading with a monk astrologer. Astrology in Bhutan is an ancient and highly respected science and locals will often consult the stars before making major life decisions such as getting married, changing jobs, or buying a car.

After lunch, drop in at the Thimphu Craft Bazaar, a fine place to pick up souvenirs of your visit to Bhutan, before visiting the capital’s interesting Folk Heritage Museum. Housed in a 19th century traditional rammed mud and timber building, the exhibitions depict Bhutanese culture and way of life.

Before your transfer back to Paro, pass by Thimphu’s archery ground. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and your visit to the archery ground will allow you to marvel at both the skill of the archers and the important place that the sport occupies within Bhutan’s cultural heritage.

On arrival in Paro, enjoy dinner with your guide at a local restaurant before heading to your hotel for the evening.

Accommodation: Haven Lodge or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D

Day 7

Paro

Elevation      Weather in Paro

After breakfast this morning, head northwest out of Paro by private vehicle for a visit to the iconic Taktshang Goemba, more commonly known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery’. Precariously perched on a sheer cliff face 900 metres (2,950 feet) above the Paro Valley floor, the Tiger’s Nest is undoubtedly Bhutan’s most famous religious building. It is built on the site where Guru Rinpoche is said to have arrived on the back of a tigress when he came to subdue the local demon, Singye Samdrup. After subduing the demon, Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated in a cave here for three whole months.

The Monastery is only accessible by foot via a one and a half to two hour hike up the valley side. The trek offers spectacular views from the ridge and passes a small chorten, a basic monastery, and a waterfall on its way.

Once you have reached the Tiger’s Nest, you will have a chance to visit the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated, as well as the extensive network of Lhakhangs (temples) which house images, murals, chortens, and a holy spring. You may also wish to make a diversion to the attractive Machig-phu Lhakhang on the way back down to the access road.

After the visit, you will head back to your hotel in Paro, where you will be able to relax for the remainder of the day or do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs.

In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with your guide at a nearby restaurant.

Accommodation: Haven Lodge or similar (3*)
Meals: B,L,D

Day 8

Paro – Depart

Elevation      Weather in Paro

After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure flight.

Meals:B

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