Exotic Bhutan Tours and Treks


(Visit the Black Neck Cranes)


ITINERARY Black Neck Crane

Day 1: Paro ~ Thimphu
Today you have arrived at beautiful Paro International Airport. During the flight one will experience breathtaking views of Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Jumolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. Received at airport by your tour representative and escorted to hotel for lunch and check-in. After lunch visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) once the watchtower for the Rinpung Dzong, it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing and abutted by two guardhouses, to the Dzong. Today the Dzong is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, features intricate and beautiful superb woodwork.
Evening: Drive to Thimphu (2-hour drive) Capital of Bhutan. Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Thimphu Touring
After breakfast we visit the Bank of Bhutan to exchange currency as well as stop at the post office. Here are elaborate and unique Bhutanese stamps; a must for stamp collector and beautiful in each and every Bhutanese design. Today we will also visit the Memorial Chorten; Bhutan's national animal, the Takin and enjoy local archers at play; Bhutan holds gold in the Olympic Games for Archery, an ancient art in Bhutan. After our lunch at the hotel we tour the exceptional Textile Museum, featuring masterpieces from the Royal Family of Bhutan and splendid fabric and exquisite Thangkas. We will visit The National Library which houses ancient and medieval document and script. A tour of the unique paper factory offers the finest handmade paper you will see anywhere. Tonight your host in Bhutan, Sonam welcomes you for a reception dinner.  Overnight: Hotel

Day 3: Thimphu ~ Punakha/Wangdue ~ Gangtey (Black Neck Crane Roost)
Enjoy breakfast and then we depart onwards to Punakha and Wangduephodrang across Dochula pass (10,500 ft). On a clear day you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayan mountain range. Lunch at Lobesa. After lunch visit the Punakha Dzong; former winter capital and present administrative seat of the district and also, the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female rivers. It was built in 1637 AD. After Punakha Dzong drive to Gangtey in the Phobjikha valley 60 Km/ 2 hours. This is a scenic drive through dense forests of oak trees and rhododendrons; Bhutan is the least deforested county in the world; 70 % of Bhutan is covered with virgin Blue Pine forest. Farmhouse in Ngalakhang

Phobjikha Valley is a glacial valley on the western slopes of Black Mountain national park. The valley is a designated conservation area and borders the Black Mountain National Park. Because of the large flock of black-necked cranes that winter here (from late October to late March), it is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country. Along the way, look for nocturnal red pandas that sleep in the trees during the day. At the valley’s center, rising dramatically from a small ridge, stands Gantey Gompa, one of the oldest Nyingma Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan. Gantey Tulku Rimpoche, the head lama of Gantey Gompa, is the ninth incarnation of Terton Pemalingpa, the famous 14th-century Treasure Revealer from Bumthang, one of Bhutan’s famous Buddhist saints and an ancestor of the ruling Wangchuck dynasty. Visit the Gangtey monastery overlooks the large green expanse of Phobjikha Valley. The extensive complex consists of the Gomba itself, the monks’ quarters, meditation centers, and schools. Overnight: Hotel in Phobjikha

Day 4: Gangtey ~Trongsa ~ Bumthang
Visit the Information Centre for the Black-Necked Cranes, maintained by the Royal Society for the Protection Nature. The Black Neck Crane roost in the swampy marshland can be viewed from the Observatory overlooking the fields. View these magnificent birds in their winter nesting home. These endangered birds fly south from Siberia each fall to winter in the marshlands of Phobjikha. The calls of the Black-Necked Crane locally known as Thrung Thrung Karm, have inspired folklore for generations. The Royal Society for the Protection of Nature and the Phobjikha Community are now working together to protect the habitat of endangered Black Necked Cranes. To injure one of these magnificent birds is to be imprisoned for life.

Depart towards Trongsa. The drive from Phobjikha to Trongsa takes about two and half hours. Our route crosses Pele La (11,155 feet), which is marked by a chorten and an array of prayer flags. If the weather is clear we should see Jhomolhari (23,684 feet) and other peaks from the pass, which marks the boundary between western and central Bhutan as well as the western border of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Beyond Pele La is Longte Valley where people raise sheep and yaks. We'll come to the village of Rukubji Valley, with its big school and Gompa. The houses here are clustered amid extensive fields of mustard, potatoes, barley, and wheat. As we drive down through rhododendrons and ferns, we’ll reach Chendebji village. This was a night halt for mule caravans traveling from Trongsa during the reign of the 2nd King of Bhutan. Just below Chendebji village is the Chendebji chorten, a large white structure beside a stream. This chorten is modeled after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu and was built in the 19th century.

The last village before we reach Trongsa is Tangsibji, which affords us a full view of Trongsa Dzong and its distinctive yellow roof. Built in 1648 AD it is presently the administrative seat of the district and the home of the monastic school. Built at split-levels on a narrow spur, the Dzong is an architectural wonder. The view from here extends for many miles and in the old days, it was a vigilance point for both the eastern and western routes; thus the strategic importance of this Dzong. Continue onwards to central Bhutan. Today is a long day of driving to reach our destination tonight in Jakar. We will take ample breaks and rest stops and tour medieval Dzong’s along our route.
Tonight we overnight at a local Lodge in Jakar valley in Bumthang; Bhutanese family hospitality at its finest!

Day 5: Jakar ~ Tang valley
Drive to the road head in Tang Valley (1 hour) and walk about 40 minutes to attend Chojam Rabney Festival; a unique local festival presided over by Chojam Lam, a Tibetan re-incarnate lama. Masked dancers whirl in medieval religious purification dance and evoke blessings on all who attend. You are transported and enchanted. You will be captivated by clapping cymbal, drum, horn and the unforgettable chanting of Buddhist monks who perform religious dance of purification. Array of colorful brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the "thunderbolt step". Overnight   stay in guest house at Ugyenchholing .
Day 6: Tang- Jakar
In the morning we visit the family Museum at Ugyenchholing Dzong, a very unique "Family Museum" not to be missed. Return to the festival. Besides the regular mask and folk dancers, the local people also do a special yak dance symbolizing the local deity. Meet Chojam Lam to discuss Buddhism.  We also will visit a local schoolhouse and delight in Bhutanese children at study. English is mandatory in all Bhutan’s school. Drive back to Bumthang village.
Overnight at Lodge.

Day 7: Bumthang Touring
Enjoy breakfast and get ready to explore Bumthang village. Meet with textile weavers at looms as they weave their Bhutanese fabric and textile on toe strap looms with hand spun and dyed threads. Here is the best place for purchase of textile. Tour historical Jakar Dzong, Palace of the White Bird, as well as Jambay and Kurjey Lhakhang. We enjoy a short walk to Flaming Lake to visit this religious and holy pilgrimage spot; photo stops along the way. Visit a Stone flour grist water mill and a beer and cheese factory. .Return to lodge for relaxation and dinner and overnight. Enjoy local homemade beverage; Arak!

Day 8: Bumthang ~ Wangdue
Depart Bumthang proceeding west towards Wandgue for our overnight at hotel. Camera stops along the way: look for yaks! Tonight we will visit the courtyard of the impressive Wangdue Dzong perched high on a hilltop overlooking the rivers and valley below.
Overnight Hotel.

 Day 9: Wangdue –Thimphu
Early morning drive to Thimphu. On our return we visit the Semtokha Dzong. We now check into our hotel for rest and a hearty Bhutanese lunch. This afternoon we drive to the path to embark on a vigorous hike up the mountain to Tango Gomba Monastery. Tango is one of Bhutanese' most important Buddhist colleges. Its name, meaning 'horse's head', is derived from the horse-head shaped rock at the top. It is a beautiful Dzong built in the 18h century by the 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye. Today Tango is home to the eight-year-old reincarnate Lama, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. Meet with senior monks for discussions.
Overnight Hotel in Thimphu

Day 10: Thimphu Leisure
This is your Leisure day for shopping and exploring Thimphu and its hidden wonders. Bookshops, handicraft boutiques, House of Incense, Mask and Thangka art Gallery are all most interesting and enjoyable to visit. Perhaps, you might desire a purchase of a Bhutanese traditional Goa or Kira; ask your guide to assist you in your explorations and enjoyment.  Overnight Hotel in Thimphu

Day 11: Thimphu Market- Tigers Nest Monastery
Leisure breakfast and we now attend the famous Thimphu weekend market, a must in Bhutan. The marketplace is alive with fresh and organic fruits, rice, chilies, wonderful textiles, handicrafts, art and jewelry and so much fun! One of my very favorites…Bring the camera, there are many Kodak moments here. Check out of hotel after lunch and we now begin to drive westward towards Paro and Bhutan’s most holy of all Monastery; Tigers Nest Monastery, "Taktsang Monastery"

The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800 meters. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava alighted here upon the back of a tigress. Enjoy lunch at the cafeteria at viewpoint. Returning to Paro you have the option to enjoy a Bhutanese hot stone bath and relax with your fellow travelers and friends. Farewell dinner in cozy Paro village; one more opportunity to explore shops and converse with Bhutanese locals. Overnight at Paro hotel.

Day 12: Transfer to Paro airport for departure.


Tashi Delek!