Exotic Bhutan Tours and Treks

Gangkhar Phuentsum Trek /
Tangbi-Mani Festival

Prepare yourself for the ultimate physical challenge and the humbling grace that embraces your inner most self as you bask in the glow of Gangkhar Phuentsum Mountain. Gangkhar Phuentsum, in Bhutanese language means "the three mountain siblings". In Bhutan these holy and sacred peaks are considered the origin of much of the country's rich history and culture. They are also the source of three major Bhutanese rivers, the Kuru Chu, Chamkhar Chu and the Mangde Chu.

Gangkhar Phuentsuum mountain


According to local folklore, when the three rivers made their very first run down from the glaciers of Gangkhar Phuentsum, they decided upon a race. The Chamkhar, however, declined saying he was in no hurry to get to the ocean but would rather take his time to enjoy the beautiful views inroute. This is said to be the reason why the Bumthang Valley has such a wide and calm expanse, while the Trongsa and Lhuntse valleys are steep and narrow.

Gangkhar Alpine lake


Our trek takes us through magnificent valleys while following the course of the thunderous fast flowing icy glacial rivers. Steep ascents and descents are many as we make our journey into remote landscapes and yak herds along our way. Reaching Tholeas La pass at 15,000 feet we are elated! Bhutan’s’ High Himalayan mountains surround us and we enjoy peaceful serenity in their presence.

Yak herder hut

Gangkhar Phuentsum Trek / Jambay - Paker Festivals

Day 1: Bangkok to Paro
Depart Bangkok airport to arrive at Paro International Airport. On arrival at Paro international airport, you will be received and escorted to your hotel by your tour representative. After an early 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.
Also 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, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the country. The Dzong was built in 1645 A.D. Evening: visit a farm house and experience Bhutanese hospitality. Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Paro to Thimphu
Depart Paro and drive to the trailhead to hike Taktsang monastery. The name Taktsang Means "tiger's nest'. The monastery is perched on a Rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 3,000 ft. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padmasambbava alighted here upon the back of a tigress.
Lunch at Taktsang cafeteria. En-route visits the Drugyel Dzong - ruined fortress. The Dzong, although in ruins, holds great historical significance. It was from this fortress that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan invasions. On a clear day this spot offers a magnificent vista of Mount Jumolhari "Mountain of Goddess" (24,039 ft). Continue onwards towards Thimphu, Capitol of Bhutan. Check into Hotel for dinner and overnight.

The glow of Gangkhar Phuentsum Mountain

Day 3: Thimphu
Enjoy a hearty breakfast and we then attend the famous weekend Thimphu marketplace. Here you will stroll and shop with local Bhutanese and be immersed into Bhutanese culture. This marketplace thrives with fresh and colorful produce and enchanting Bhutanese locals. Enjoy your shopping spree. After lunch we will visit and tour the following sites in Thimphu: the National Memorial Chorten which was built in 1974 in Memory of the third king; the Textile Museum, Folk Heritage museum, arts and crafts Zilukha nunnery and visit Bhutanese national animal at the Takin zoo; perhaps an archery match along the way - Bhutan Holds the gold! Enjoy an evening stroll in town and dinner with your Bhutanese host; Sonam. Overnight: Hotel

Day 4: Thimphu to Punakha
This morning before our departure from Thimphu, we exchange currency at the Bank of Bhutan and have an opportunity to purchase exquisite collector Bhutanese stamps. We then begin a 3 hours drive over the Dochula Pass alt. 11,400 ft; snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass deeper into the essence of Bhutan. Check into your hotel; enjoy glorious views of quaint Wangdue village and the impressive Wangdue Dzong strategically located. After lunch visit the Punakha Dzong, the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot). Punakha Dzong is said to be the most beautiful of Dzongs in Bhutan; it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork. Evening: hike to Chimi Lhakhang, the fertility temple of Saint Drukpa Kuenley known popularly as 'the divine madman'. Overnight: Resort

High pass in snow

Day 5: Punakha to Bumthang
Punakha to Jakar in Bumthang valley (7-8 hour drive). After breakfast we depart towards Bumthang passing over Pele la (11,000 ft) And Yotungla pass. Here we get our first glimpse of the Black mountains. High Himalayan Mountains such as Jumolhari are in view amidst hundreds of prayers flags; blessings abound. As we continue onwards on our high Himalayan highway, we begin to get our first glimpse of the incredible massive Dzong - Trongsa Dzong; an architectural wonder. On a hilltop overlooking the Trongsa Dzong is the medieval watchtower and below the great Mangde chu (river), enhancing the Trongsa Dzong exceptional beauty and grandeur. We now stop to visit Trongsa dzong; ancestral home of the royal family. 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 offers magical wonder. Continue onwards to Jakar. Overnight: River lodge

Day 6: Tangbi-Mani Festival Full Day
Today we drive and hike to attend a very unique village festival: Tangbi Mani Festival. Masks of glorious demonic demons and animals arouse your senses as you watch the purification take place. The intensity goes on. Your spirit will fly, your camera will snap away, and you will again be transported. We will join the local people for picnic lunch and games. Watch for the Atsara (clown) this dancer, unique in his own style, mimics dancers and entertains onlookers. Festival deities are invoked through benediction and luck is increased and misfortune gone. We our captivated by clapping cymbal, drum, horn and the unforgettable chanting of Buddhist monk are who perform religious dance of purification. Bhutanese locals join in for “Purification by Fire”; Tashi Delek! Overnight Lodge.

Day 7: Bumthang
Today we sightsee and tour in Bumthang. Visit Jakar Dzong, Jambay Khakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, and Flaming Lake, (Membar Tsho). Shopping is a delight in Bumthang. Textile weaving prevails in this area and we visit weaver’s utilizing the back and toe strap looms. Here you will find the best price for textile purchase. After lunch we will visit a Bhutanese schoolhouse and be entertained and delighted by wonderful Bhutanese children; this is a favorite experience for many guests in Bhutan. Tonight go over your trek itinerary with your guide and prepare for your Gangkhar Trek! Overnight at River Lodge

Tsing the Yak

Day 8: Bumthang to Chochokmey
Our morning begins with an hour drive to the trailhead At Menchugang; here we meet up with our horses, cooks and staff for our trek. Load up the pack horse and our excitement mounts! We cross several cable foot bridges over the Dhurr chu as we climb our way through a small village; continuing on through dwarf bamboo and fields of potatoes. After 3 hours of trek we enjoy lunch at Gorsum and are now approximately 2 hours from base camp at Chokchokmey (11,000 ft) in elevation. Here at camp we spend our first night surrounded by magnificent forest in a beautiful meadow with running brook. (6 hour trek)

Day 9: Chochokmey to Tashisa
Today we rise early for a long day of strenuous trekking; approximately (8 hours) ending up above the tree line; a very steep climb awaits and here you will begin to comprehend the beauty that awaits you. Picnic lunch at Kurbathang. Camp tonight at Tashisa (13,300 ft) Amongst yak herders stone huts (8-9 hour trek)

Day 10: Tashisa to Tsoshab
Today we trek through open meadows, cross streams on our way from Tashisa to Tsoshab. A steep climb brings us to Tholeas pass at (15,000 ft); here we may encounter snow as well as incredible views of Mt. Monla Karchung and other high Himalayan peaks. high alpine flowers including the blue poppy can be seen here; tonight we camp on the shores of lake Tsoshab – relax, arak anyone? (4-5 hour trek)

Day 11: Tsoshab to Jiuthang
Today we trek from Tsoshab to Jiuthang (13,000 ft). We will follow a mountain ridge for a few hours and then down a very steep mountain trail towards Tsampa; reaching a yak herder village surrounded by forest of fir, cedar and rhododendron we rest and camp by a stream. (5 hour trek)

Glacial Lake

Day 12: Jiuthang to Bamarpo
Today we reach the end of the tree line at Shing gu; tonight we camp at Bamarpo (14,700 ft) Gangkhar Phuentsum base camp. The trek today takes us through a beautiful long alpine valley; intensely beautiful. We continue northwest following the Chamkhar chu as the valley opens up before us and we see the icy walls of Gangkhar before us! We will halt here for 2 nights to explore this beautiful valley. (7-8 hour trek)

Day 13: Bamarpo
Rest and explore Mt. Gangkhar Phuentsum close up; the Caldera, the lake and glacier; your expert Bhutanese Guide will assist you. The hike to the mountain will bring you to altitude of 16,000 ft. Here you will experience that special insight known only by the few that experience such a wonder of spirit as a remote high Himalayan sacred mountain can give; humbled you are in presence. In spring time here the Chinese worm is being harvested by locals. Overnight base camp. Tibet is a 5 hour hike from here.

Day 14: Bamarpo To Tsampa
Today we begin our trek journey back towards Tsampa. We camp tonight at Tsampa Goma (7 hour trek)

Day 15: Tsampa To Peytso
Departing Tsampa onward to Peytso along the trail that follows the fast moving churning Chamkhar chu; Rapid after rapid (we choose not to white water raft!) Our path is stone and mud; glad we have gators! Camp tonight at Peytso (8 hours trek)

Day 16: Peytso to Bumthang
Today is our final day and a long day of trekking through forest and river trails. We will stop and visit with locals near the village of Damphey. Our day and trek ends at Tokto zam where our van will be awaiting our return. Return to Jakar and overnight at River Lodge and enjoy Bhutanese hospitality at its FINEST! (9 HOUR TREK)

Day 17: Rest in Bumthang
Today is a day for rest and relaxation; perhaps a Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath will help or ask your guide for a special interest you may have to further enjoy this beautiful area of Bhutan.

Day 18: Jakar to Wangdue
Depart Bumthang towards the west; 8 hour drive today to Wangdue; rest in your vehicle and photo stops and Lunch along the way. Today is a rest day in the van. Arrive Wangdue. Overnight Resort.

Day 19: Wangdue to Paro via Thimphu
Depart today to Thimphu for Bhutanese handicraft purchase and lunch. Continue onward to Paro for farewell dinner and overnight at Hotel

Day 20: Paro to Abroad
Depart Paro airport for your next destination.

Tashi Delek!