Eco Tours. (12 nights/13 days)

[spoiler title=’Day 1: Arrive Paro – Thimphu (Distance 1.5 hours, 2300m) ‘]

On arrival at Paro airport and after completion of airport formalities, guests will be received by the Joyful Bhutan Tours management. The drive takes a little more than an hour. The road runs down through the Paro valley, to Chuzom (Confluence) at the entrance to the valley, where the Paro and Thimphu rivers meet. One of the first visits will be the Iron-chain Bridge at Tachogang temple. This bridge has been rebuilt by collecting all the iron chains that were used in the 16th century. As you move further the three chortens (stupa) on the riverbank at this place, each in a different style, mark the confluence of the two rivers.

We will check into the hotel and take an afternoon outing starting with the Gongzo Chorten (Stupa). This monument is popularly known as the National Memorial chorten. This is perhaps one of the most prominent religious monuments in Thimphu.
Overnight stay in hotel Thimphu.


[spoiler title=’ Day 2: Thimphu –Cheri (Distance 45minutes, 2850m)’]

Start after breakfast from the hotel and drive towards Cheri monastery which is approx. 14 km outside of Thimphu. This trail starts by crossing a lovely bridge that spans the Thimphu River, and then climbs steeply to the monastery. The journey takes about an hour. Picnic lunch by the riverside for the day. Afternoon program includes visit to Weekend Market. Most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held down by the river. Vendors from throughout the region start arriving on Thursday and remain until Sunday. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Thursday till Sunday. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs. (Alternative visit to Bhutan Takin Reserve)

Overnight stay in hotel Thimphu.


[spoiler title=’Day 3: Thimphu – Phubjikha (Distance 5.5 hours, 2900m) ‘]

After breakfast, proceed to Phobjikha. Stopping briefly at Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft), which offers visitors their first glimpse of the eastern Himalayan ranges. We will stop for 30 minutes to view the northern mountain ranges of Bhutan.
Continue drive towards Wangdue and enroute visit to Chimilhakhang. Stop at Wangdue for a lunch.

Continue journey to one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan ‘Phobjikha’ (2900m) which is known for the winter habitat of Black-necked cranes and an important wetland area of international importance. Visit the striking Gangtey monastery, sitting at the head of the valley, and perhaps tranquil Gangtey village. Hiking through the village, stopping to meet a family at a local farmhouse along the way.


[spoiler title=’Day 4: Phubjikha – Ura (Distance 6-7 hours, 3100m) ‘]

Start early to reach Trongsa for lunch.
We turn eastward crossing the Pelela pass 3300 meters. This pass is believed to divide western Bhutan from east. The drive after Pelela pass is pleasant as the landscape is mostly pastoral. The road passes along the valley of Sephu and Rukubji. The villages of Sephu are great weavers of ‘Charu” a coarse fabric from wool. The villagers also make lots of utilities from bamboo. During winter these natives collect algae from the streams, which are considered as great winter delicacies by the Bhutanese. In about 2 hrs drive, we reach the view point of Trongsa.

The Dzong looks magnificent on the ridge.
The dzongs in Bhutan are all of castle nature and are built on strategic locations. Trongsa is important because of its place in the history of Bhutan. Now the crown prince should receive the title of Trongsa Penlop before ascending the throne. Trongsa dzong is perched on the side of a mountain and several stories high. Originally built in the 17th century, and repaired many times since, the dzong remains an architectural masterpiece. The interior is a maze of courtyards, passageways, and 23 temples. Once serving as the de facto capital of Bhutan, it is the traditional home of the Bhutanese ruling family. Today the dzong is the administrative seat of the Trongsa region. Another place to visit is the Tadzong or the watch tower where it houses the great museum. Lunch at Trongsa and after that drive through spectacular mountain scenery, crossing the Yotungla pass. Continue journey down the valley after Yutong La Pass (11,000 ft).Continue through farmlands toward Chumey Village, home to skilled weavers. The Chumey Valley is famous for the quality of its Yathras—patterned woollen cloths.

The road to Ura rises rapidly till the Shakshapong passes in a series of hairpin turns. Looking ahead across the valley of Ura, the view is incredible.

It is 40minutes drive from chumey till URA valley. It is the highest of Bumthang valleys and is believed by some to have been the home of the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan.
Overnight in Community Guest house.


[spoiler title=’ Day 5&6: Explore Ura Village. ‘]

In the spring, Ura has a popular festival called Yakchu and in the autumn festival of cattle’s known as Yaklha. Mushroom festival showcasing over 40 other mushroom species well as local organic and traditional food items like Puta, (noodle made from buckwheat flour) buckwheat cake, and local breweries viz., Ara and Singchang also falls in autumn. As per the season, following options are available for guests.
1.During mushroom season one can have mushroom hunting in the wild that can be half day program.

2.During spring, guest can visit village and farm fields and join locals in cropping.

3.During summer and autumn, guest can have an experience of harvest and other rural life activities including the visit to shed in the nearby forest areas. (Half day)

4.Village cultural tour (half day)

Later in the evening enjoy the hot stone bath. Locally known as Ura Grakchu, this particular hot stone bath is long been used by the local people to occasionally take a deep bath and comfort/relaxation therapy.

Evening program: Local cultural events will be organized with campfire.

Overnight in Community Guest house.


[spoiler title=’Day 7: Ura-Shingkhar (Distance 4-5 hours hike, 3147m) ‘]

Walk to Shingkhar (4-5 hrs). Shingkhar is known to be one of the most ideal old villages which are yet to be modernized. There are three old temples in Shingkhar. Two are near the village and other one is two hours walk uphill. Visitors can interact with the villagers during the afternoon and evening.
Optional: Energetic guests can hike to other monastery on the hill (Shamzur)

Overnight stay in Farm house.


[spoiler title=’ Day 8: Shingkhar – Jakar (Distance 2.5 hours drive, 2650m)’]

On the way to Jakar, the district headquarters of Bumthang district, we can visit Shingner village and have a stop at Mt. Gangkar puensum (7570m) view point. On the way, visit the mebar tsho, the popular burning Lake located along the way to the Tang village, approximately thirty minutes drive before reaching Jakar town.

Mebar Tsho is considered one of the most sacred sites in the region as it is related to the renowned religious treasure reveler (Terton) Pema Lingpa. Pema Lingpa is considered an incarnated disciple of Padmasambhava who discovered treasure within the lake in late 15th century.
Many visit the site to observe spectacular beauty of this important historical and religious site. Drive to Jakar for the halt.

Overnight stay in Farm house.


[spoiler title=’Day 9: Explore Jakar (2650m) ‘]

Bumtang Tour.
Bumthang is the general name given to a group of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000m (8,530-13,125ft). This valley is home to many ancient Buddhist temples and cultural sites.
In the morning visit Wangdichhoeling palace, home to the 2nd King. Heading up valley, visit Jambey Lhakhang believed to be erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. It is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro).

Later, visit to Kurje Lhakhang, the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan’s “patron saint”, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here.
After lunch, visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa followed by visit to Jakar Dzong, “the castle of the white bird”. End the day by walking in the Bumthang’s market area and villages before returning to the farmhouse.

Overnight stay in farm house.


[spoiler title=’Day 10: Jakar- Punakha (Distance 6-7 hours drive, 1350m) ‘]

Start early with picnic lunch so that we could explore the interesting villages of Chenbji & Rukubji. These two are the only villages where people work together on their huge common field. They grow mustard, radish, turnip, buckwheat and wheat. Lots of dried turnip leaves are sold by these villages. This is also one of the few communities in Bhutan who grow their own bamboos for miscellaneous use. This has brought less pressure on the encroachment on the forest which is highly priced for Bhutan’s economy.

Overnight in Punakha


[spoiler title=’Day 11: Punakha – Paro (Distance 3.5 hours drive, 2200m) ‘]

Half day visit to Punakha Dzong and riverside walk. Lunch at Lobesa and proceed to Paro. Enroute visit to Lamperi Botanical Park and nature walk in the park area (Light birding for interested ones).

Continue drive to Paro.
Relax at the hotel and get prepared for the next day hike to Tigers nest (a must visit)

Overnight in hotel Paro.


[spoiler title=’Day 12: Paro-Taktsang (Distance 3-4 hours hike, 3120m) ‘]

Walk to “Tiger’s Nest” monastery (Paro Taktshang) This trip is little challenging because of the elevation gain and the dramatic walks through the gorge. Start the day with a 30 minutes drive to the starting point of Taktsang hike. Start the uphill walk slowly so that you can get use to with the altitude, which is 600-700 meters above the valley floor. In an hour’s time we should get to the cafeteria, which is like 3 kms. Have refreshment here and enjoy a scenic hike for another 3 kms uphill till the temple. Walk uphill till for half the journey and then fairly easy till the last view point. From here we will walk down the gorge and up till the temple. Visit the temple and come back to the cafeteria for lunch.
If required, riding ponies will be arranged. We would have done an average of 12 kms for all the up and down walks.

Hot stone bath can be arranged to relax after a tiring day followed by the Farewell dinner.

Overnight in hotel Paro.


[spoiler title=’ Day 13: Departure.’]

Board to onward destinations.


Tashi Delek.