Bhutan Path to Trashigang14 Days

From the busiest cities to the most secluded valleys—discover the best of Bhutan in a fortnight.

For those who prefer a bit of adventure, the Path to Trashigang offers one the starring role in one's own road movie or monomyth. The journey begins at Guwahati, India, where a westerly drive will take you through the east of Bhutan to uncover the least explored districts of Samdrup JongkharTrashigang and Mongar, where unique cultures tell stories of nomadic life and cross-border trade. The journey continues through the centre into Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan, and into the western valleys—Phobjikha, a curved glacial valley so vast and known for its scenic beauty and rich biodiversity; Punakha, one of Bhutan's warmest valleys; Haa, where the Sagala Hike is perfect for those who prefer to traverse untouched forests, open meadows and serene farmlands on foot; and finally Paro, where the magnificence of Taktsang Goemba (Tiger's Nest) and Kila Nunnery are found perched quite dramatically on cliffs. Apart from the sacred sites, you are most welcome to visit the villages and farmhouses to truly experience and connect with the Bhutanese way of life.

Length:
14 days
Destinations:
Trashigang, Mongar, Bumthang, Phobjikha, Punakha, Haa & Paro
Price:

from USD 4,800 / person

We will be visiting

  • Trashigang
  • Dramitse Lhakhang
  • Bumthang
  • Jakar Dzong
  • Kurjey Lhakhang
  • Farmhouse Visit
  • Farmhouse Lunch
  • Trongsa Dzong
  • Chendebji Chorten
  • Gangtey Goemba
  • Phobjikha (Gangtey)
  • Gangtey Nature Trail
  • Punakha Dzong
  • Punakha
  • Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery
  • Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
  • Paro
  • Dochula Pass
  • Kyichu Lhakhang
  • Taktsang Goemba (Tiger's Nest)
  • Chele La
  • Kila Nunnery

Itinerary / Total 14 Days

Day 1

Trashigang

Upon arrival in Guwahati, India, we will drive 3 hours to the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar, where we will have lunch.

After lunch, we will continue driving for 6-7 hours to Trashigang.

Dinner will be in your lodge.

Day 2

Trashigang - Gomphu Kora, Trashiyangtse Dzong, Chorten Kora, Trashigang Dzong

We will drive for 2 hours to Trashiyangtse. Along the way, we visit Gomphu Kora, a beautiful temple, which was a sacred meditation site of Guru Rinpoche. After driving through villages, we will arrive at Trashiyangtse Dzong, before visting the large Chorten Kora.

Lunch will be in a local restaurant.

After lunch, we drive back to Trashigang and visit Trashigang Dzong, located on a high promontory that overlooks the confluence of the Drangme Chhu and the Gamri Chhu. This 16th century dzong was built by Chogyal Minyur Tenpa, Bhutan's third Druk Desi. We then visit a large prayer wheel in town before returning to your lodge for dinner.

Day 3

Mongar - Dramitse Lhakhang, Mongar Town

With an early start, we drive for around 4 hours to Mongar. Along the way, we visit Dramitse Lhakhang, the biggest and most important sacred sites in eastern Bhutan. The temple is famous as the "Dramitse Ngacham" (or "Dance of the Drums of Dramitse") was created in here in the 16th century. Today, this popular dance is performed at most of the tsechus (festivals) and was proclaimed a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage by UNESCO in 2005.

We will then continue to Mongar for lunch. After lunch, we will explore the town before checking into your lodge.

Dinner will be in your lodge.

Day 4

Bumthang – Kuri Chhu, Namling, Sengor, Ura Shelthangla

After breakfast, we will drive through majestic mountains to central Bhutan and its main district, Bumthang. Descending down the road to Lingmithang, we will cross the Kuri Chhu (Kuri River) and see the largest hydropower plant in the east.

En route, we shall stop in Namling and Sengor Village where you can take in a breathtaking view of the landscapes and cascading waterfalls. We then get back in the car and climb to the highest point on Bhutan's lateral road, Thrumshing La (3,800m). On a clear day, from the lookout at Ura Shelthangla, you will enjoy a magnificent view of Bhutan's highest peak, Mt. Gangkar Puensum (7,570m).

We will then check into your hotel.

Dinner will be in your hotel.

Day 5

Bumthang – Jakar Dzong, Farmhouse lunch

Bumthang Valley has a number of important goembas, all closely located to each other. So it is a relatively easy walk between each of them. Your guide will be able to discuss with you how to schedule the day to your preference. Most notable is to commence with the Jakar Dzong with its commanding view of the valley.

Lunch is in a typical Bhutanese farmhouse, where the cook has prepared many meals for the Royal Family.

After lunch, you can choose one of the optional activities.

Dinner will be in your hotel.

Day 6

Phobjikha – Chendebji

With an early start, we head for Phobjikha Valley, a curved valley on the slopes of the Black Mountains. This area is also referred to as Gangtey, after the goemba here.

Our drive to Phobjikha will take 3-4 hours with a stop at Chendebji for lunch.

We spend the rest of the day at leisure before dinner in your hotel.

Day 7

Phobjikha – Gangtey Goemba, Nature Trail

Our day starts with a visit to Gangtey Goemba, much of the goemba was restored recently. We walk through the village next to the goemba into the valley passing farms and pine forest. We will hike the Nature Trail along the perimeter of this glacial valley. After our walk, our car will be waiting for us and we can return to the hotel for lunch.

In the afternoon, you can choose one of the optional activities.

Dinner will be in your hotel.

Day 8

Punakha – Kuruthang, Punakha Dzong

With an early start, we drive for 3 hours to the valley of Punakha.

Lunch is in the town of Kuruthang.

After lunch, we visit the 17th Century Punakha Dzong, where the king was married in October 2011. It lies at the confluence of two rivers and is the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan.

Dinner will be in your hotel.

 

Day 9

Punakha – Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery

Today, we climb up to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and take in a very beautiful view of the surrounding paddy fields, river and valley.

We then have a picnic lunch on a mountainside.

After lunch, we visit a nunnery, Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery, built by the Queen Mothers’ parents.

Dinner will be in your hotel.

Day 10

Haa

Today, we make our way to Haa Valley, which has many beautiful farmhouses. The road here gives us a beautiful view of the valley, as well as the road to India.

We then check into a local lodge—a lovely traditional farmhouse that has been refurbished with many modern amenities. Enjoy the mountain vistas around the farmhouse and take a walk around the village.

Dinner will be at the lodge.

Day 11

Paro – Sagala Hike, Paro Town

This morning, we set off on the Sagala Hike which takes us over a mountain pass at an elevation of more than 4,000m. From here, you will be able to see both Haa and Paro Valleys, as well as Mt. Jomolhari (7,315m), Jichu Draki Gang (6,181m), Tshering Gang (7,100m) and Draki Gang (6,040m). This climb will take us into Paro Valley where the car will be waiting.

Paro is the prettiest in our opinion, with its willow lined river and apple orchards. It also boasts the most charming town which is adjacent to the famous Paro Dzong (also known as Rinpung Dzong), where some scenes of the film, Little Buddha, were shot.

Before we check into your hotel, we have lunch at one of our favourite local restaurants in Paro Town—they serve the best momos (Himalayan dumplings)!

Dinner will be in your hotel.

 

Day 12

Paro – Taktsang Goemba (Tiger's Nest), Kyichu Lhakhang

With an early start, we climb to Bhutan's most famous monastery—Taktsang Goemba, also known as Tiger's Nest, where we visit a few of its many temples.

After your hike, we will have a picnic lunch by the river.

If time permits, we visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.

Dinner will be in your hotel.

Day 13

Paro – Chele La Pass, Kila Nunnery

We drive up to Chele La Pass, which has the highest motorised road in Bhutan. We hike down to Kila Nunnery, built on the side of a rock face, similar to Taktsang Goemba (Tiger's Nest). There is an option to cycle down from here into the valley, or return to the car and drive down.

Lunch will be in Paro Town, at one of our favourite local restaurants that serve the best momos (Himalayan dumplings).

Dinner will be in your hotel.

Day 14

Leaving Bhutan

After breakfast this morning, we depart for the airport for your return flight to Bangkok or Singapore.

Tashi Delek - May all good things happen to you!

Accommodation

Prefer to both relish your rugged side and spoil yourself? You can experience a mix of both worlds by beginning your journey at a local lodge and capping it off at one of the best hotels! Simply pick "Combo" in the itinerary planner and we will arrange the perfect combination for you to truly experience what Bhutan has to offer.

Learn more about Accommodation >

Private Journeys from

LOCAL LODGE EXPERIENCE USD 4,800 / person
SEMI-DELUXE EXPERIENCE USD 6,100 / person
SEMI-LUXURY EXPERIENCE USD 6,700 / person
Make an enquiry

What's included:

  • One-way air fare, Bangkok-Guwahati on Drukair in Economy Class
  • One-way air fare, Paro-Bangkok on Drukair / Bhutan Airlines in Economy Class
  • Return flights to Paro on Drukair / Bhutan Airlines in Economy Class
  • Accommodation (Twin Sharing, based on 4 people travelling together)
  • All meals
  • Mineral water provided throughout your journey
  • All tours with a licensed Bhutanese guide proficient in your preferred language
  • White water rafting adventure in Punakha in a private raft with a rafting guide
  • Private transport with driver
  • All airport transfers including pick up from Guwahati
  • Royalties and Bhutan Visa & Route Permit
  • Personalised itineraries
  • Wooden walking poles for hikes
  • Provision of additional amenities for stays in local lodges

Going to Bhutan

Licensed Operator

All trips to Bhutan, including applications for visas and route permits, have to be prearranged through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator registered with the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) or one of their international partners. Amala Destinations is licensed under and registered with the TCB as "Amala Travel in Bhutan".

Visa & Route Permit

All visitors to Bhutan, except those of Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian citizenship, are required a visa (with a processing fee of USD 40) before entry. With a scan of your passport, Amala Destinations will be delighted to process your application. Please note that a visa clearance letter has to be presented at the airport check-in counter before your flight to Bhutan and at the point of entry.

Minimum Daily Package

The Royal Government of Bhutan requires its visitors to spend a minimum of USD 200 per person per night throughout the low seasons and USD 250 per person per night during the high seasons. The respective amounts may include your expenses for accomodation, meals, transportation, guides, tours, etc. It also includes the Sustainable Tourism Royalty (USD 65 per person per night).

Free Independent Traveller (FIT) Surcharge

Groups of less than 3 adults will be required to pay an additional surcharge levied by the Bhutanese government. The Free Independent Traveller (FIT) surcharge is USD 30 per person per night for a pair of adults and USD 40 per night for single travellers.

Mahayana Buddhism

Vajrayana Buddhism, the kingdom's state religion, influences every aspect of Bhutanese life, its teachings form the very essence of a distinct identity that belongs to its population of 750,000, who incidentally are the surviving believers of this ancient school of Mahayana Buddhism. The heart of Mahayana is a deep compassion for all sentient beings; as a mark of respect, visitors are encouraged to practice the same mindfulness and resist every urge to swat flies or stamp on ants.

Bhutanese Cuisine

The Bhutanese love their food spicy. Chillies feature quite prominently in the local dishes and most diners are properly satisfied only if their meals pack a lot of heat. A typical meal features rice, vegetable dishes and chicken, beef or pork for protein. A favourite among the Bhutanese is Ema Datshi, a simple comforting dish involving a savoury mix of chilli and cheese.

Bhutanese Dress

The kingdom's traditional dress has evolved over thousands of years to establish itself as a distinguishing element of Bhutan's cultural heritage. The Gho, worn by men, is a knee-length robe similar to the Japanese kimono, and tied at the waist by traditional belt called a Kera. The women wear the Kira, an ankle-length skirt, and an inner layer called a Wonju, with a light outer jacket called a Tego.

Festivals

Tsechus, or festivals, feature masked dances and musical performances and offer the perfect oppurtunity to glimpse at and discover Bhutanese traditions. Tsechus are held all over the country but the more notable ones are the Paro and the Thimphu Tsechus. Flights and hotels get filled up very quickly during these occasions, we recommend making reservations 9 months ahead to witness these events.

Spring (March to May)

Spring is clearly the season for rebirth and reawakening as apple, pear, cherry and peach trees blossom from March to April while forests of rhododendrons flower right through to May. Only the lucky ones get to witness the jacarandas bloom at Punakha Dzong because they appear only for a month. It stays rather cold in March with temperatures ranging from 0-16°C and gets warmer in April and May with temperatures as low as 6°C and as high as 26°C.

Summer (June to August)

The summer months of Bhutan see more rain than usual, though it is a common misconception that summer in Bhutan is also its "monsoon season"—it only drizzles lightly with showers not lasting longer than an hour; the rain does get slightly heavier when autumn looms. While it is easier to access the sought-after sights and spots, the summer climate allows for seasonal produce like the rare Matsutake and Chanterelle mushrooms to flourish. With bushier trees and thicker grass lushly regrown over the hills and mountains of red clay soil, green is very much the colour of the season. Temperatures range from a low of 12°C to a high of 29°C.

Autumn (September to November)

With paddy fields all golden, autumn is the time to harvest. Markets are filled with the freshest produce and the festivals are a spectacle to behold even for the Bhutanese. Temperatures stay relatively warm till October, when it gets as cold as 6°C and as warm as 20°C.

Winter (December to February)

The eastern Himalayas become outstandingly visible during the winter months of clear blue skies. While the air is crisp, dry and cold, the winter conditions invite black-necked cranes to make their seasonal pilgrimage to Phobjikha Valley. Temperatures range from below freezing to 14°C.


All trips to Bhutan, visas and route permits have to be pre-arranged and booked through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator registered with the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) or one of their international partners. We are licensed and registered in Bhutan under "Amala Travel in Bhutan".

With most other agencies, that usually entails selecting an existing package that does not allow for much flexibility.

At Amala Destinations, we believe in creating your ideal trip with you. After speaking with one of our knowledgeable destination planners, we take your requirements into consideration before coming up with a specially designed itinerary and handling all the necessary travel logistics.

All you need to do is pack your bags and set off on your journey.

For travel during the high seasons from March to May and September to November, we advise that you approach us at least 6 - 9 months in advance.

  • Step 1 / Fill up online form

    Please fill up our online planner form and our destination planner will be in touch within 24 hours to plan your journey.

  • Step 2 / Planning your journey

    You may prefer to speak to one of our destination planners in person, please call us directly at our office number or via Skype.

  • Step 3 / Approve custom itinerary

    Once you have discussed with our destination planner your journey preferences, we will be able to get back to you within 3 working days or less with your journey options. After confirming your final itinerary, we will need another 2 - 3 working days to confirm all your flight bookings and hotel reservations. When all bookings are confirmed we will then require from you a 50% deposit payment, with the balance payment due 50 days prior to your departure date. For bookings made within 50 days, full payment is required.

  • Step 4 / Visa application and trip coordination

    As visa applications take approximately 4 weeks to process, we highly recommend all enquiries to be made at least 2 months in advance. We will then arrange a date for us to meet you in person to hand over all your travel documents once your visa is approved. During low season months, it may be possible to process your booking within 3 - 4 weeks.

  • Step 5 / Ready to go

    After receiving all your travel documents about 2 - 3 weeks before your departure date, you are now ready for your journey to Bhutan! Do remember to follow our recommended packing list for the different seasons in Bhutan.

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Your wish, your journey

Amala Destinations takes the chore of planning off the traveller. With bespoke and customisable packages, we endeavour to fulfil almost every desire.

Plan Your Journey