October 6 – October 17, 2019
12 days in Bhutan
Trekking Grade: Intermediate
This Himalayan mountain kingdom lies on the borders of India and Tibet. Serving as a crossroads on the Silk Road trade route for centuries, Bhutan only recently opened its doors to westerners. Buddhism plays a major role in everyday here and has been a mainstay of the culture since the 7th century when Tibetan monks introduced the religion. The does not aspire to a high GDP, rather a higher “Gross National Happiness Index.” Progress here is defined by holistic sustainable development and the importance of non-economic growth.
Our Bhutan adventure begins in Paro and transfers to the historic city of Thimphu where we enjoy a traditional Bhutanese festival. The “Tshechu” are annual religious Buddhist festivals with unique music, dance and dress which offer an exciting and colorful display of traditional culture. We then visit the sacred cliffside temple known as Tigers Nest or “Paro Taktsang” with its wonderful scenic walk along trails passing through traditional villages and magnificent monasteries. We continue our journey to Shana were will spend six days and five nights trekking to Jomolhari Basecamp and return via the Bonte Pass which allows superb views of the Eastern Himalaya. Our trek is fully supported meaning we only carry light packs as porters or yaks carry all our overnight trekking gear. We conclude our adventure exploring the beautiful valley of Paro before heading home.
Day 1 • Arrive Paro, transfer to Thimphu
Day 2 • Thimphu Festival and Tour
Day 3 • Transfer to Paro
Day 4 • Tour Tigers Nest
Day 5 • Transfer and trek to Shana
Day 6 • Trek Paro River to Thangthangkha
Day 7 • Trek to Jomolhari Basecamp (Jangothang)
Day 8 • Trek to Bonte La • 4890 meters
Day 9 • Trek Takhung La to Thombu Shong
Day 10 • Trek to Gunitsawa and transfer to Paro
Day 11 • Paro Tour
Day 12 • Depart Paro
Trek begins and ends in Paro, Bhutan
Arrive at Paro International Airport, Bhutan (PBH). Mountain Gurus representatives will transfer you to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Check into the hotel. (D)
Our tour begins in the historic city of Thimphu with a traditional Bhutanese festival. Corresponding with the lunar Tibetan calendar this festival involves traditional dances based on the lives and works of prominent ninth century saints. This event also attracts many people from distant villages to socialize and sell their wares. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we explore the colorful streets and markets in Thimphu before returning to Paro in the early afternoon. The historic city of Paro is known for its historical buildings and sacred sites, including the Rinpung Dzong monastery. (B, L, D)
Perhaps the most iconic monastery in the Himalaya, we will visit Paro Taktsang (Tigers Nest). This monastery has been a center of Buddhist learning for over 300 years. Uniquely situated on the side of a mountain the area has been a renowned meditation site, made famous by Guru Padmasambhava. (B, L, D)
After a hearty breakfast we start our trek in Gunitsawa, a small village bordering Tibet. From here we ascend the gentle trail through forest and orchards to reach Shana / Thombu Thang. Here we will camp for the night. (B, L, D)
Walking along the Paro River we will follow a meandering trail, gaining 250m over the course of 6 hours to Thangthangkha. (B, L, D)
We will start the day early, as this will be the longest and most strenuous day of the trek. Our day will conclude at the base of Mount Jhomolhari also known as “the bride of Kangchenjunga,” which is an 8000m peak located on the border of India and Nepal. (B, L, D)
We will descend to Tshophu Lake, famous for its native ruddy shelducks. These ducks mate for life and have been a symbol for partnership in this region for centuries. After crossing over Bonte La Pass at 4890m we will arrive at our campsite for the evening. (B, L, D
Today is characterized by a short trek over Takhung La pass and descending the village of Thombu Shong where we will see seasonal Yak herders in the green fields. (B, L, D)
This is our last day in the mountain side of Bhutan. We will descend back to Gunitsawa and transfer to Paro. (B, L, D)
We will return to Paro to explore the city more, including a hike above town. This will also be a day to visit local markets and wander the old city. (B, L, D)
After a Bhutanese breakfast we will be transported to the airport for flights home. (B)
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
$1000.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 120 days prior to departure
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.
Begins and ends in Paro, Bhutan
Your passport must be valid for at least six months following the date of your arrival to Bhutan. You need a Bhutanese visa to enter and exit Bhutan. All visas are approved in the capital, Thimphu, and are only issued to tourists who have booked travel with a local licensed tour operator, either directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the local tour operator. All visitors must obtain visa clearance from Thimphu before travelling to Bhutan. Visa clearance takes at least 7 days to process and airplane tickets to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. At your point of entry into Bhutan, immigration authorities will stamp a visa into your passport upon payment of $40 USD. You will also need to provide two passport photos. Tourist visas are usually granted for the scheduled travel period.
Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Bhutan
Flight Travel Information:
Paro International Airport (PBH), Bhutan
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.
Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.
Trekking Grade: Intermediate
The trek requires 5-7 hours hiking per day carrying a 20 lbs. pack, utilizing porter and yak support for personal gear.
Prior to the expedition we recommend running, hiking local peaks, backpacking and trekking to gain strength and stamina for the climb.
Here’s a suggested progression of treks before attempting the Bhutan Explorer.
This trek requires 6-8 hours of hiking per day with a small day pack. Elevation gains of 2000-3000 feet per day. Strong hiking skills and excellent physical conditioning are required.
Our Bhutan treks are led by local guides with extensive experience leading our trekking teams. They will be accompanied by assistant local Bhutanese guides and porters.
The best time to trek is in the pre-monsoon Spring season, March-April-May and the post-monsoon Fall season, September-October-November. Bhutan experiences the monsoon (heavy rains and snow) from June to September. Winter is very cold in the high mountains (December-February).
During the trek you will only carry the gear you’ll use for each day. Porters will carry all your extra clothing items and overnight gear. At no point will you carry camping gear or equipment for overnight. Daypacks should not weigh more than 15-20 lbs. for your comfort.
The Royal Government of Bhutan sets minimum daily tariffs while travelling in Bhutan. All tourists (group or individual) must travel on a planned, prepaid, guided tour or custom designed travel itinerary. Foreigners cannot travel independently in the kingdom. The arrangements must be made through an officially approved tour operator, either directly or through an overseas agent.