Day 1: Guwahati – Samdrupjongkhar
Your Bhutanese representative from Raven Tours and Treks will greet you on arrival at the Guwahati Airport (India, which is 3 hours drive from Samdrupjongkhar - Broder town to India). Your transportation till Samdrupjongkhar will be by Indian Car. Drive to Samdrupjongkhar. The drive will take about 3hours.
Overnight in Samdrupjongkhar.
Day 2: Samdrupjongkhar – Trashigang. Altitude: 1,144m/3,775 ft above sea level.
This is the largest district in Bhutan and it lies in the Far East on the banks of the river Gamri Chu. It was once the center of a busy trade with Tibet. Today it is the junction of the east west highway with road connecting to Samdrupjongkhar and then to the Indian state of Assam. The nomadic people from Merak and Sakten who are remarkable for their exceptional features and costumes use this town as their market place mostly during winter. Morning drive to Trashigang(7 hours drive). On the way you will come across a small town known as Khaling whereby, you can visit the government run Textile Weaving Centre studying the entire process of spinning, dyeing and weaving. Later continue your drive to Trashigang. Overnight in Trashigang.
Day 3: Rangjung - Shetimi (Merak Sakten Trek Starts)
Start of Trek: Above Radhi (Trashigang)
End of Trek: Phongmey (Trashigang)
Duration of Trek: 6 Nights/7 Days.
Duration in Bhutan: 12 Nights /13 Days
Season: April, May, September and October
Our car will drop us till the road point at Chaling, where our horses and cooks will be waiting there for us. Today the trek is short. It will take about 4 hours to reach to our camp. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp. .
Day 4: Shetimi - Merak
After our breakfast, we will start our trek to Merak. Lunch we will take hot pack lunch. Continue our trek to Merak, were the houses are crowed up at a hillside at an altitude of 3,400m. In the late afternoon, after reaching the camp, we will explore the Merak village. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp. .
Day 5: Merak to Meserting
Today we have to cross the Nyakchungla, which is 4,300m. From the pass, we have to descend till we reach to our camp at Meserteng. The trek will take about 5/6 hours. Lunch will be hot pack lunch. Continue our journey to the camp. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp, Meserteng/Rinagpo.
Day 6: Meserteng – Sakteng
Today’s trek is very short and easy. The trek will take about 3/4 hours. Lunch we will reach at the camp, Sakteng. After lunch, we will explore the Manirong, Tengma and Pusa village. Evening, we will organize the dance program by the local people. There are chances that the local people may come to see us. This is called ‘Tshogchang’, where they will bring the local alcohol, ‘Ara” Dinner and overnight stay at Camp, sakteng.
Day 7: Sakteng Halt
Today we will explore the Sakteng village and Brongmang village. We will also visit Borangtse and Kushu Guru Lhakhang. Lunch will be served at the Camp or one of the farm houses in the Sakteng.
Day 8: Sakteng – Takthi
Today we will trek to Takthi. The trek will take about 5/6 hours. Lunch will be served as hot pack lunch. Continue our trek to the camp. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp, Takthi.
Day 9: Takthi – Joenkhar
Today’s trek will take about 5 hours. Lunch we will take hot pack lunch. Continue our trek till Joenkhar. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight stay at Camp, Joenkhar.
Day 10:Joenkhar - Phonmey - Rangjung (End of Trek)
Trek to Phongmey. The trek about 3/4 hours. Our trek will end at Phongmey. Our car and driver will be waiting here for us. We will be goodbye to our trekking staff, horse men and other members. Lunch-hot pack lunch at Phongmey. Drive to Rangjung or Trashigang. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 11: Rangjung to Mongar. Altitude 1,690m/5,575ft above sea level(5 hours drive)
The journey from Mongar to Bumthang is one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas crossing the 3,800m high Thrumsingla pass.
Overnight in Mongar
Day 12: Mongar to Bumthang. Altitude: 2,600m/8,580ft above sea level.(7 hours drive)
Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 13: In Bumthang
Morning visit, Jambay Lhakhang: It is one of the 108 monasteries built by King Songtsen Goenpo in the 8th century to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region.
Kurjey Lhakhang: Means body print. It dates back to 8th century when Guru Rimpoche first visited Bhutan. It is after his visit to the Monyul (country in the darkness); Buddhism was introduced in the country.
Then hike across to Tamzhing Lhakhang: “Temple of good message”. It was built by Terton Pema Lingpa (Treasure Discoverer) in 1501 AD. We can see the paintings done by him on the wall and an iron jacket which was also made by him.
Mebar Tsho(Lake of Burning Fire):This is a sacred lake for Bhutanese who believe that Pema Lingpa discovered religious treasures from this lake in the 12th century. Visit the Swiss farm and taste sweet cheese, apple brandy and locally brewed wine and beer.
Later visit Ogyen Choling Palace: It is a village in the Tang valley of Bumthang district. It is located on a commanding spur at an elevation of 3000m, on the east side of the Tang Chu. Visitors have to cross the Tangchu suspension bridge near Kizom and climb up to the village on foot. The trek takes about 45 minutes. Kizom is approximately 33 km from Jakar. The Ogyen Chholing Palace even has a private guest house for the paying guest and the palace has been converted in a museum these days. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 14: Bumthang to Gangtey. Altitude: 2,800m/ 9,240ft above sea level (5 hours drive)
Later drive to Gangtey. Overnight in Gangtey.
Day 15: Gangtey to Punakha. Altitude: 1,350m/4,455ft above sea level.(1 hour 30 minutes drive)
Morning visit the Phobjikha Visitor Centre: This is the crane information centre. Stopping here first also ensures that visitors become aware of the codes of conducts for the conservation area.
Later we will go for a Gangtey Nature Trail: (Duration: Half day: two hours at a quicker pace): This is one of the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trail. In this trail you have the opportunity to visit the magnificent Goemba (Monastery), it also leads to sloping area of green grass, flanked by pine trees on either side. You will even come across some villages, rivers, crane roosting ground. Later drive to Punakha valley Overnight in Punakha.
Day 16: Punakha to Thimphu.(3 hours drive)
Morning visit, Punakha Dzong (fortress): Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung which is remarkably located between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu (river) and Pho (Male) Chu. Until the time of second king it served as a seat of the king.
Chimi Lhakhang(Temple of fertility): This Temple was built by lam Drukpa Kuenley (The Divine Madman) in 1499. It is about thirty minutes hike across fields from the road Wooden phalluses are often found hanging in the four corners of the houses and also phalluses are painted on the walls of houses. It is the common belief that this helps in driving away evil spirits.
Later drive to Thimphu. Once we reach Dochula on the way to Thimphu, If interested we will take rest and sip a cup of in the cafeteria and then we will hike to the 18th century Lungchotse Lhakhang. For those who do not fancy walking for hours seeking solitude and peace of mind yet would like to have that, this is the place to go.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 17: Thimphu to Paro. Altitude: 2,280m/7,524ft above sea level(1 hour 30 minutes drive)
Morning visit, Zorig Chusum Institute: The 13 arts and Crafts institute. The two main objectives of the institute are (ato preserve and promote the traditional arts and crafts and b) to create job opportunities for the underprivileged group of the society.
Textile museum: It was established with the aim of preserving and promoting Bhutanese textile arts.
Paper factory: The handmade paper making in Bhutan stemmed from the age old tradition originated in 8th century of Bhutanese history. The handmade paper constitutes as valuable National heritage of Bhutanese cultural identity and is preserved through all the ages. The Traditional paper is recognized and held high esteem both in home and outside world.
Memorial Chorten: This particular chorten was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of the country, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan.
Mini zoo: Here you can see just one animal - Bhutan’s national animal the Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125 ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo.
Sangaygang View Point: The view point is also the perfect place to take in some truly breathtaking views of the entire city of Thimpu and also later visit Kuenselcholing hilltop where the largest Buddha in the world is being built.
Tashichho Dzong : The names means - Means Fortress of Glorious Religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
Later drive to Paro and then visit, Ta Dzong: This means - watch tower, which it served as during the 17th century to guard the region from the Tibetan invasion. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968.
Rimpung Dzong: Means fortress of the heap of jewels. It was built during the time of Zhabdrung (deeply revered to this day as dynamic political and spiritual leader) in 1644. It is also the venue for the Paro festival (Tsechu).
Kichu Lhakhang(Monastery): It is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. Overnight in Paro.
Day 18: In Paro
Hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest): This is Bhutan’s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800 m/2,640 ft up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimopche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands. Three hours hike (to and fro)
Visit Farmhouse: Eating, taking bath and staying for a night at a local farmhouse gives a different variation, and a chance to see the inside of such a home, rather than just the brightly decorated exteriors. Later stroll around the town and see how locals live. Overnight in Paro
Day 19: Depart from Paro.
Early breakfast at the hotel and then drive to the airport. Your escort will assist you with exit formalities and bid you farewell.