Truly Bhutan

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12 Days

Bumthang Owl Trek

The Bumthang Owl Trek offers an invigorating experience of the culture and environment of the country. It is a moderate 3-day hiking route that starts from Menchu Gang and ends in Jakar Dzong. The trail has an abundance of flora and fauna, and the panoramic views of the valleys beneath the hilltops and the Himalayas spread over a broad horizon would be an experience that one shall cherish for a lifetime.

Village life, in a very big village, like Dhur. The virgin temperate forest of blue pine, hemlock, fir, spruce, and juniper with undergrowth of bamboo spices, rhododendrons, birch, maple, chestnut, and many others. In spring the rhododendrons flowers are in bloom which beautifies the whole trek route. The valley views the Himalayan snow-capped mountains in the north.
Birds of different species, among them the big monal pheasants can be sighted around the second camp and Tharpaling area during mornings and evenings. The Monastery life in Tharpaling, Chorda, and Shambala is yet very interesting.

Embark on the Bumthang Owl Trek: A Unique Bhutanese Adventure

Discover the enchanting Bumthang Owl Trek in Bhutan, a serene journey through the heart of the Himalayas. Join our expert guides on this distinctive trek, available in March, April, May, September, October, and November, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and cultural richness of Bhutan.

Key Highlights of Your Trek:

  • Breathtaking Himalayan Views: Experience unparalleled vistas of the Himalayan ranges and the stunning Choekhor Valley.
  • Cultural Immersion: Traverse through traditional Bhutanese villages, uncovering the unique culture and heritage of Bhutan.
  • Nocturnal Owl Encounters: Listen to the mystical hoots of owls at night, a signature experience of this trek.
    The Bumthang Owl Trek, renowned for its ease and accessibility, offers a window into Bhutan’s diverse culture and rich biodiversity. The trail, nestled in the picturesque Choekhor Valley of Bhuthang district, is a haven for owl enthusiasts and nature lovers.
A Moonlit Journey with Owls:

In the Choekhor area, the night comes alive with the sounds of owls. On moonlit nights, spot these majestic birds perched on tree branches, their eyes glowing in the dark.

A 12-Day Itinerary Filled with Natural Wonders:

Your journey will take you through vibrant ecosystems, home to unique flora and fauna, including the impressive monal pheasants in the Tharpaling area. Starting from Menchu Gang, the trek meanders through Dhur village, introducing you to the nomadic lifestyles of the Borka and Khep communities.

A Trek Through Nature’s Palette:

Walk amidst forests of fir, juniper, rhododendrons, and maple, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of wildflowers. The trail culminates at the breathtaking Drangela Pass (3,600 m), offering awe-inspiring views of snow-clad peaks and blooming valleys.

A Spiritual Touch:

The trek is not just about nature; it’s a spiritual journey too. Visit the revered monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak, and Tharpaling, delving into the Buddhist way of life.

Join Us on This Unforgettable Bhutanese Trek:

Ready for an adventure in Bhutan? Contact us to join one of the most accessible treks in Bhutan and experience the magic of the Bumthang Owl Trek. For those seeking more adventure, ask about our 16-day Dur Hot Springs Trek in Bhutan.

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Detailed Program

The flight into Paro is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. First gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. After clearing customs and visa control you will be brief by our host and transferred to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.

The drive will take around 1 hour. Thimphu has a population of about 100,000. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. In the evening, we will visit the Handicrafts Emporium, where all types of Bhutanese handicrafts are made and sold,

overnight at Hotel.

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In the morning, we will visit the folk Heritage Museum, which is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past though exhibition of items and artifacts used in rural households, Textile Museum, where the art of traditional weaving is still kept alive and preserved though exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in it colors and designs. Also visit to Bhutanese Handmade Paper Factory. After lunch, depart for Punakha, where the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3050m).

This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for a tea and view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan where we make a short stop to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. From here a gradual climb takes you into the valley of Gangtey (Phobjikha). Gangtey lies towards the East of Punakha and Wangdue on the flanks of the Black Mountains.

These is and old monastery of Gangtey Gompa dating back to the 17th century. A few kilometers past the Gompa on the valley floor are the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. The gentle sloping hillsides of Phobjikha are described as “the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas”. This is the winter home of black-necked cranes that migrate from arid plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate.

Overnight at hotel.

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Today we start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive to Bumthang via Trongsa is about 6 hours crossing over Pele La Pass (3300m) and Youtongla Pass (3400m). The Central Road, across the Black Mountains, was completed 30 years ago, and it bought about great changes to the people in central Bhutan. We then climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pelela Pass (3300m) with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo.

This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between west and east Bhutan. If the weather is clear, the Himalayan range can be seen, particularly the peak of Jhomolhari (7314m) to the west. En route, we cross Chendbji Chorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon. After lunch, we go out to view the impressive Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In the olden days, the Dzong commanded the passage between East and West Bhutan. We then drive to Bumthang valley (described as “one of the most beautiful spots in the Himalayas” across the Youtongla Pass (3400m).

Overnight at hotel.

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This is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism. The Guru and his lineage of Terton (treasure finders) have led to the sprouting of many temples in the valley. In the morning we visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century) and visit Kurjey Lhakhang (where the Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock). ).

Hike to visit the Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Terton Pema Lingpa) After lunch hike to Tangbi valley across the suspension bridge and visit the Tangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century, on the way back visit Jakar Dzong, (seat of the district administration). Evening stroll in Chamkhar Town.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

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Trek day 01. Start at Menchugang and visit the biggest village in Bumthang, called Dhur at an elevation of 2900 meters above sea level. The village consists of about 75 households with a recorded population of around 800 people. The single village has three types of inhabitants the Kheps (taxpayers) having cattle and farmland; Brokpas (nomads) having Yaks and the third group having either.

This village has two different dialects, the usual Bumthang Kha and the Broke (nomadic dialects). A walk above the village to get the overall view of the village is interesting. Climb down to the river where the traditional water-driven flour mill can be visited.

This traditional water-driven flour mill used to be a source of livelihood for the people of Dhur village. It has been abandoned after the intake channel was washed away by a flash flood. The program has been rehabilitated as it symbolizes an authentic Bhutanese tradition. Continue the trek uphill through the blue pine forest and reach the camp at Schemata (3450m) in hemlock and juniper forest.

The hauling of owls through the night is quite common, hence the name the Owl Trek.

Trek day 02. Trekking through the virgin forest of huge temperate trees like spruce, hemlock, fir, birch and many species of rhododendron makes you breathe the real wilderness of Bhutan. Bamboos are the main undergrowth of this wild forest. During April and May, the rhododendrons are in full bloom. In about two hours, you will arrive at the Drangela Pass (3600m).

Ascending the Kitiphu ridge brings you to an altitude of 3870m for the night camp. If the weather favors you, have a wonderful view of the valley and the panoramic snow-capped Himalayan Mountains. The highest mountain of Bhutan Gangkar puensum (7541m) stands right in front of you when you are on the peak of Kitiphu (4000m).

Trek day 03. The magnificent sunrise in the morning is a new experience in Bhutan. Climb down to the monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak, and Tharpaling which brings you to the religious life of monkhood, the historical Buddhist learning center. Chuedak monastery has 100 Avalokiteshvara in the form of Chuchizhey (eleven heads) which you will see nowhere else in the country.

Afternoon, walk along the ridge of Kikila and finally follow the traditional trek route between Trongsa and Bumthang (the Royal Heritage Trail). The best view of Jakar Dzong will end your three-day trek with many interesting and unforgettable memories. In Jakar your car will be waiting to drive you to the hotel in Bumthang.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

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After breakfast, we drive to visit Punakha Dzong, the winter seat of the Je Khenpo and ancient capital of Bhutan, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. The Dzong is open to visitors only in summer when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body are in Thimphu. After visiting Punakha Dzong drive to Thimphu over the Dochula Pass.

Check-in at the hotel in Thimphu. After lunch visit National Memorial Chorten, built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk; visit the Zulikha Nunnery, visit the National Library stocked with ancient manuscripts and collection of books, and pay a visit to BBS tower to view Thimphu city and Takin Zoo (National Animal of Bhutan). Evening drive to Paro.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Drive to Drukgyel Dzong (a ruined fortress – 16 km away from Paro town). The Dzong, although in ruins, holds great historical significance. It was from this fortress that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan invasions. The name means the victorious Bhutanese. This spot offers a magnificent vista of Mount Chomolhari, “Mountain of Goddess” (7329 m).

Visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse on the way back. A short distance south of the road is Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in the 7th century. This temple is said to have been built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It holds down the left foot of an ogress whose body is so large that it covers Bhutan and most of eastern Tibet. Also visit Rinpung Dzong. Built-in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first temporal ruler of Bhutan, it now houses of the Paro monastic body and the office of the governor and Thrimpon (Judge) of the Paro district.

It is the venue of the Paro Tsehchu festival held once every year. Then visit Ta Dzong an ancient watchtower. This Dzong was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum boasts antique Thangkha, textiles, weapons and armor, household objects, and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Evening stroll through the main town of Paro.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

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Morning drive till Satsam Chorten to hike up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s nest). The hike up to the cafeteria will take around one and a half hours. At the viewpoint enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.

After lunch at the café walk back to the road point where your car will pick you up and then drive to your hotel. Evening, do some last-minute shopping.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

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In the morning our representatives from Truly Bhutan will escort you to Paro International Airport and bid goodbye and a pleasant flight back home.

  • 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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