Bumthang Cultural Trek

Tour Type: Private tour
Tour Duration: 11 Days and 10 Nights
Best Time: March to May and September to November
Brief Overview

Bumthang Cultural Trek: The lovely Bumthang valley is the religious heartland of the nation and home to some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. This three-day trek passes through several villages on its meandering route through Bumthang countryside and provides an exceptional opportunity for contact with Bhutanese rural life.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Paro

On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel on completion of arrival formalities. Overnight at the hotel in Paro. 

Day 02: Paro

Full day of sightseeing in Paro. In the morning, visit Ta Dzong, built in 1651 as a watchtower for Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) and in 1968 inaugurated as the National Museum. The museum collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons, coins, stamps and a small natural history collection. Also visit Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. It now houses the district administration offices and Paro’s monastic community.

After lunch, drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over Tibetan invaders. We may also have time to visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries of the kingdom.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 03: Paro-Thimphu

Drive to Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan. About 7 km. before Thimphu, pause briefly to admire Bhutan’s most ancient fortress Simtokha Dzong (built in 1627), rising up from a small hilltop on the right side of the road.

After lunch, visit as time permits: the National Memorial Chorten (built as a memorial to Bhutan’s third king and as a monument to world peace); the National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only) where herbal medicines are made up and dispensed and traditional medicine practitioners are trained; the Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan; the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature including many ancient Buddhist texts in block-printed format; Tashichhodzong, (the fortress of the glorious religion), which houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 04: Thimphu-Trongsa

Drive to Tongsa via Dochu-la pass (3,088m). On a clear day there is a superb view from here of Bhutanis highest peaks. On a clear day, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7 ,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.Continue on to Wangduephodrang town, which is also our lunch stop. Then proceed to Tongsa over Pele-la pass (3,300m), the traditional boundary between east and west. Overnight at the lodge in Tongsa.

Day 05: Trongsa-Bumthang

Morning visit to striking Tongsa Dzong, ancestral abode of Bhutan’s royal family. Then visit the Ta Dzong, built as a watchtower to guard Tongsa Dzong. Proceed to Bumthang and in the afternoon visit the 17th century Jakar Dzong and then Kurje monastery, built in the 17th century to mark the place where Guru Padma sambhava had meditated in the 8th century, leaving his body imprint on the rock. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang. 

Day 06: Bumthang-Ngang Lhakhang 14km, 6 hours

The trek begins today. The trek route follows the Chamkhar Chu (river), taking us through meadows, forests of blue pine and scrub bamboo. We will pass by many villages and temples, on this very relaxing and easy day. Camp overnight at village (2,900m).

Day 07: Ngang Lhakhang-Ugyenchholing

The trail ascends gradually through juniper forest towards Phephe-la pass (3,340m). From there, the path descends to Tang valley, finally arriving at Ugyenchholing village (2,850m). Camp overnight by the side of the river near the village.

Day 08: Ugyenchholing-Bumthang 11km, 4 hours

In the morning, walk up to Ugyenchholing Palace, a beautiful private mansion which also houses a small eco-museum, then drive to Jakar (Bumthang) following the Tang Chu until arriving at the main road. On the way visit the Mebar Tso Lake, where Terton Pema Lingpa is said to have discovered religious treasures in the 15th century. This lake is very sacred, and on auspicious days many Bhutanese people go there to offer butter lamps. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang

Day 09: Bumthang – Punakha

Morning visit to Jambey Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, who is believed to be the incarnation of Jambey (Avalokitesvara), the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Tamshing Lhakhang, across the river, is also an important place to visit, as it houses old and interesting religious paintings. Drive to Punakha with lunch en route. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.

Day 10: Punakha – Paro

Today we drive to Paro. It will be a relaxing day, as we reach Paro by lunch time. Free time for leisure or last minute shopping in the afternoon. Take a stroll around Paro market in the evening.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 11: Paro Depart

Early breakfast in the hotel and drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.

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Responsible Tourism

Tibet Universal Tours and Travel puts great importance on the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism practices. It incorporated into our day to day base tour service performances. So, we always strive to ensure that our tour service delivery will have a maximum quality. Furthermore, we also strive to the minimum level of negative social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts. Following outlined points are some of our representative measures undertaking in our routine job performances. In addition, these thoughts to be essential for a sustainable touristic development in Tibet. 

Social Responsibility:

Whenever and wherever possible, we extend charitable support to disadvantaged groups in remote Tibetan villages. For instance, utilizing the certain percentage of our annual company income we engage in social works. Therefore, we purchase and distribute warm winter clothes for children from rural Tibetan primary schools. As a result, they can keep them warm and happy during cold winter.

Moreover, we believe that every person deserves access to quality healthcare. So, we extend our help on medical expenses to those serious patients who are from remote and rural Tibetan villages. Because they cannot afford to pay their medical treatment when the treatment costs go beyond the local medical insurance coverage.

Economy Responsibility:

In support of contributing to the local economy and we give the local population a central role in the touristic economic development of their own territory.  Therefore, we always strive to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism should go for local communities. So, poverty alleviation by generating financial benefits for both local people and private industries. For instance, we always use locally owned ground transportation and accommodation (i.e. hotels, lodges, and guesthouses). Furthermore, we also recommend local eateries, restaurants, and stores to our guests.

In addition, we are an indigenous local Tibetan travel agency based in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. 100% of our travel company employees are staffed and escorted by professional local Tibetans including local tour guides and drivers.  So, this has created employment and job security opportunities for many educated and inspired Tibetans.

Environment Responsibility:

Tibetan Buddhist reality is profoundly ecological, and Buddhism itself is an ecological religion. It powerfully expresses human identification with nature. Buddhists believe that all things, including humans, exist by their interrelationship with all other parts of nature. Therefore, thinking of one's self as isolated from the rest of nature is being unrealistic.

Respect for life and the natural world

Giving the facts that Tibetans love and respect for life and the natural world. Therefore, to minimize the environmental impact created by tourists, we follow environment-friendly policies. So, we maintain the size of tour groups to have minimal impact on flora and fauna in an area. The necessary carbon emissions that we generate by our footprints of travel to the tour destinations cannot be overlooked. Therefore, we regularly actively participate in carbon reduction or offset activities such as tree planting. Our tour guides, drivers, and logistics staff are aware of waste management. Moreover, we advised them to dispose of all rubbish generated by themselves responsibly and recycle wherever feasible.

Other Safegurds for the Environment friendly tourism

Make the best use of the winter tourist low season, we deliver training workshops on environmental protection. Moreover, the training also includes the preservation and first aid training. So, we arrange it for all our company management staff, tour guides, and drivers in order to increase their knowledge. As a result, they can understand the importance of environmental protection and ecotourism.

Request to Visitors:
    • Be considerate of the communities and environment you visit.
    • Don’t litter, try to carry your own shopping bag to avoid plastic garbage problem. Many Tibetan local villages do not have environmentally sound garbage disposal systems. Therefore, pack garbage out to a larger town where there is a facility.
    • Try to avoid excessive use of plastic bottles. Travelers are requested to bring a reusable water bottle. In addition, we will arrange and supply your drinking water in a bigger container.
    • Reduce energy consumption. Unplug your mobile phone charger, turn off the lights
    More Requests
    • Conserve water. Take shorter showers.

    • Always ask before taking photographs. So, if someone says no, respect their wishes.
    • Educate yourself about the place you are visiting and the people.
    • Respect cultural differences. Moreover, learn from it! People in different places do things differently. So, don’t try to change them. And, enjoy them.
    • Support the local economy. Therefore, buy locally made souvenirs, eat at local restaurants. Furthermore, enjoy the local culture.
    • Support responsible tourism organizations. Because those travel operators who publicly are aiming to make tourism more responsible.

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