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10 Days

Ancient Katso Route

Overview of the 10-Day Ancient Katso Route Tour in Bhutan

The Ancient Katso Route, a stunning yet lesser-known trekking path in Bhutan, offers an immersive experience into the country’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Opened to tourists in 2001, this route traverses the scenic Ha and Paro valleys, crossing the alpine Kalila Pass. It uniquely combines trekking adventures with cultural tours, including visits to medieval dzongs, temples, and monasteries in Paro, Thimphu, and Wangduephodrang.
Day 1: Arrival in Paro

  • Scenic Himalayan Flight: Enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake.
  • Cultural Visits: Explore the National Museum and the Paro Rinpung Dzong, offering insights into Bhutan’s history and architecture.
  • Evening Excursion: Stroll through Paro town and dine at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Journey to Thimphu

  • Thimphu Market: Visit the vibrant weekend market (if applicable).
  • Cultural Exploration: Check into a hotel and visit the Tango Monastery.

Day 3: Drive to Wangduephodrang via Dochula Pass

  • Mountain Views: Witness the Eastern Himalayan range on a clear day.
  • Historical Sites: Visit the Punakha Dzong and Wangduephodrang Dzong.

Day 4: Return to Thimphu

  • Cultural Activities: Tour the Textile Museum and enjoy leisure activities in Thimphu.

Day 5: From Thimphu to Haa Valley

  • Scenic Drive: Pass through Chuzom and enjoy a picnic lunch.
  • First Trek: Start the trek from Katso village.
  • Camping: Set up camp above Katso Village.

Day 6: Katso to Kalila Pass

  • Trekking Adventure: A 5-hour trek through forests to reach Kalila Pass.
  • Spectacular Views: Enjoy views of the valleys and mountain ranges.
  • Camp Overnight: At Kalila Pass.

Day 7: Kalila to Ngoba

  • Downhill Trek: A 5-hour walk with stunning views of Paro valley.
  • Cultural Insight: Visit a local stupa dedicated to Ngoba village’s deity.
  • Camping: Stay at a farmhouse in Ngoba village.

Day 8: Ngoba to Paro

  • Final Trek Segment: Trek down to Paro.

Day 9: Tiger’s Nest Temple Hike

  • Iconic Hike: Trek or ride to the Taktsang Temple, perched dramatically on a cliff.
  • Leisure Time: Explore Paro and enjoy a farewell dinner.

Day 10: Departure

  • Farewell Bhutan: Depart from Paro airport, escorted by your tour guide.

This 10-day tour along the Ancient Katso Route in Bhutan is a perfect blend of trekking through breathtaking landscapes and immersing in the rich cultural tapestry of Bhutan. From the serene heights of the Himalayas to the spiritual depth of its monasteries and dzongs, this journey promises a once-in-a-lifetime experience, filled with awe-inspiring views, cultural enrichment, and a deep connection with the natural and spiritual realms of this mystical kingdom.

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Detailed Program

 During the flight, one will experience breathtaking views of Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. Received at the airport by our representative and escorted to the hotel for lunch and check-in. After lunch visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) once the watchtower for the Rinpung Dzong, 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 and central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork. Evening visits Paro town and enjoys dinner at a cozy local restaurant.

Overnight Hotel in Paro

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Visit the famous Thimphu weekend market (if on a weekend). Stalls of fresh produce, jewelry, Bhutanese handicrafts, and enchanting local shoppers will entice your camera to snap away. Ask permission to photograph. Thank You. Check into Hotel and after lunch, we drive to Tango Monastery for a 2-hour uphill hike up to the mountaintop it sits on. Meet with senior monks for Discussion. Tango Monastery is one of the Bhutanese most important Buddhist colleges.

Overnight Druk Hotel.

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 On a clear day, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayan mountain range. Hotel check-in and lunch. Early afternoon visit the Punakha Dzong, the 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. We as well will visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong courtyard; a most impressive dzong which you can view from your room at the hotel overlooking the River.

Overnight at Punakha

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Early in the morning after breakfast Tour the Textile Museum in Thimphu and spend the afternoon at your leisure shopping for Bhutanese crafts, books, and collector stamps, or visit the National Library, archers match, or the paper and incense house of manufacturing. Our Host will assist you. As always-Bhutanese guides are extremely ready to please.

Overnight Thimphu

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Drive to Haa valley from Thimphu through the Confluence in Chuzom Picnic lunch en route. On arrival in the picturesque Ha Valley, stroll through the quaint town and begin the first part of the trek starting from Katso village (alt. 8840 ft.). This is a fairly easy trek of about one hour walk through Katso village and fields. Opposite Katso village, one can see the famous Katso Lhakhang (temple) of Guru Rimpoche built against the rocky ledge.

Camp above Katso Village in an open meadow through which runs a beautiful stream.

Camp altitude 9472 ft.

A 5-hour trail walk begins with a gradual climb crossing the stream through a blue pine forest. After crossing the same stream three times, the trail leads uphill through spruce and conifer forests until you reach Kalila Pass at alt. 12497 ft. En route, you will meet a few cow herders in summer and yak-herders in winter.

From the Kalila Pass, one can get a spectacular view of the Paro and Haa valleys as well as the western Himalayan mountain ranges on a clear day. Camp at the pass in the open meadow.

Kalila to Ngoba is another day of a 5-hour walk crossing the pass where the trail winds downhill over-looking Paro valley through thick spruce and fir forests – a great place for bird-watchers. After descending for about 3 hours you will find a stone piled stupa, which is dedicated to the deity of Ngoba village.

Camping in a farmhouse at Ngoba village.

After a leisure breakfast, we trek down from Ngoba toward Paro for about an hour to the main road head, where transportation will be waiting to receive you. Drive to the hotel for a nice hot bath and lunch. Spend this afternoon exploring Paro town with your guide.

Dinner at a cozy restaurant in Paro Village.

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Today we drive to “Tigers Nest Temple” where you may hike or ride a pony, to the famous Taktsang Monastery. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 4,000 feet. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, the saint who converted Bhutan to Buddhism, alighted here upon the back of a tigress. Here we enjoy snacks and tea at the cafeteria viewpoint.

Overnight in our hotel and enjoy farewell dinner with our Host.

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Depart to Paro airport for your Bhutan departure escorted by your tour guide and the team from Truly Bhutan.

Frequently Asked Question

Unlike in many other nations, the primary meal is chilly with cheese, which is of course spicy. No chilies, no dinner delight! Bhutanese people always include chilies in their dishes, and rice is their primary entrée. Pork, beef, and chicken are the most often consumed meats at home and in local restaurants. We hear that western, continental, and Indian cuisines would be available in the hotels.

Yes, it is. Bhutan’s tourist policy is once again “High Value, Low Impact.” Bhutan does not allow backpackers because it would jeopardize the country’s traditional heritage and natural environment. This is important to ensure that tourists have a safe, well-guided, and pleasant journey to Bhutan. Indian, Bangladeshi, and Maldivian nationalities are not required to do so, however, it is strongly advised.

The finest season is determined by one’s preferences. If you want to view flower blossoms all around the nation, select spring when there will also be festivals. The fall season is the greatest time to visit Bhutan because of the bright skies and the Himalayan range, as well as the festivities. Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas; hence, the weather cannot be predicted. Nonetheless, the weather would be clear enough to glimpse snow-capped peaks in the fall.

There are several airports from which to travel into Bhutan (Thailand – Bangkok; Nepal – Kathmandu; Singapore and India – Delhi, Kolkata, Bodh Gaya Dhaka, Guwahati). In addition, there are three land border crossings into the kingdom. Phuntsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar are the only crossings along the Indian border. All travel to Bhutan can be booked through us here.

The Bhutanese currency is called the Ngultrum. Its value is linked to the Indian Rupee, which is likewise legal money. However, Indian notes in denominations of 500 and 1000 are not accepted.

  • Inclusion
  • Exclusion
  • Insurance
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium update).
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
  • Route Permit
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All land transportation by private vehicle
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Monuments entrance fees where applicable
  • Drinking water
  • All internal taxes and charges
  • A sustainable development fee of $200. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
  • Airfare & Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Package does not include insurance of any kinds, and that you are required to obtain separate coverage from your home country before your trip begins.

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