Programme



Unseen Bhutan

A wonderful, easy paced tour designed to get you under the surface of Bhutanese culture.  The first of its kind in Bhutan that incorporates all the key culture sights, including the iconic Taktsang Monastery called Tiger’s Nest. Staying at tradional houses restored to suit the needs of the travellers.We meet villagers in their own homes, and travel right into the smallest and western most district of Haa. Spend time in Haa, exploring the villages and monasteries with gentle walks. The tour is called “unseen” because other valleys like Paro are more popular, hence leading to the Haa Valley to be undiscovered. On this captivating tour, we show you a pristine valley that has retained it’s charm, it’s natural beauty, as well as the customs, of local men who still travel by horse over mountain passes to trade goods with China.
 
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION                                                              
Accommodation: Hotels and Lodges                                                   
Grade: Easy                                                                                         
Max  altitude: 3,700m (driving over the Chele la)                          
Duration: 06 Nights / 07 Days                                                              
Trek Leader: English Speaking Guide  
Group Size : 2 -8 person only     
                                        
HIGHLIGHTS
Walk to the iconic Tigers Nest Monastery
Explore the villages and monasteries of Haa Valley
Get a real sense of the Bhutanese lifestyle
Enjoy Bhutans countryside
Drive over Chele La Pass and Dochu La pass


Day 01: Fly to Paro (2280m)
On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including Everest and Kangchenjunga, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. Although you are at the mercy of the airline computer, if possible try to sit on the left hand side of the plane for the most spectacular views. In Paro you will be met by your Bhutanese guide and taken to your hotel. There is usually time to wander around Paro township and visit the Dzong and museum. Overnight: Nemjo Heritage Lodge.

Day 02: Sightseeing including Taktsang Monastery
This morning you’ll take the walk to Taksang Monastery – the Tiger’s Nest. The monastery is perched some 2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigeress to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It’s a steep uphill walk through woods, of about 1½-2hrs, to reach a tea house (an ascent of 340m/1,125ft.) Apart from offering welcome refreshment this tea house is one of the principle viewpoints of the monastery, and those that prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others have the option to continue on. If there is a particular religious gathering or VIP visit in progress, you will not be able to enter the monastery but a further half an hour’s ascent is well worth it, as it brings you to another viewpoint directly across from the monastery. If you are able to make a visit, the final section of the walk takes you from here steeply down 100m/330ft into the gorge that separates you from the monastery and then climbs back up again to reach the monastery gate. You descend back to the valley floor by your outward route and continue your sightseeing to the impressive ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and visit Kyichu Lhakhang – one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. If you prefer not to make the walk it is also usually possible to hire a pony to ride up as far as the tea house (please speak to your leader about this the day before.) Alternatively your driver will be able to take you instead further along the valley to visit Drukgyel Dzong. Nearby there is also an excellent viewpoint for the summit of Mount Chomolhari, which at 7,313m/23,997ft, is the second highest peak in Bhutan. Overnight: Hotel Nemjo Heritage Lodge.

Day 03: Drive to Haa (2hrs)
Today we drive to Haa valley (72 kms) via Chele La Pass, which offers magnificent views of the Himalayan Range. Overnight will be spent at the Heritage Lodge, at 2960m. The Lodge is located nearby a local temple, where you can relax and catch a glimpse of beautiful fields and the various typical farm houses. Overnight: Lechuna Heritage Lodge.

Day 04: Village Walk
After breakfast, between 830 am and 9 am, begin your day by walking through the lower village of Haatoe and continue on down to the Haa Chhu River before crossing a quaint wooden bridge. From here the walk to the Jamte Gompa is a gradual ascent of not more than 1.5 hours through pristine forest, which later opens up to the village. Visit the 300 year old plus monastery, which is presently undergoing renovation work due to earthquake damage. This is followed by a visit to a local farmers house for a cup of tea and 'zau'. The views of the southern Haa valley can be enjoyed best from here. After the tea break we will take a seldom-used animal track that connects onto to the main trail after about half an hour and continue on to the Chumpa Bridge to stop for a picnic lunch beside the river. After lunch we walk slowly through the beautiful Chuma village taking time to see the villagers at work and even have some interaction. Walking along the village path we continue on to our lodge in time for high tea. For those who are interested in looking around the Lechuna village our local guide can accompany them. The option of having a hot stone bath is open and can be arranged for before or after dinner. Overnight: Lechuna Heritage Lodge.

Day 05: Drive to Thimpu
After breakfast we shall take the lower road towards the capital at Thimphu, 115kms to the East a drive of about 3-4 hrs. Enroute we may stop at Dogar Dobji Dzong, a 16th century structure, built by the brother of the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kinley. Legend has it that the statue of the Guru Landrachen housed here, complained when the apostate Tibetan monarch Langdharma tried to smash it with a hammer. This dzong became Bhutan’s first jail in 1976 but has since returned to its monastic origins. Overnight: Hotel. 

Day 06: Thimphu Sightseeing
This morning you’ll make an hour drive to the Dochu La Pass, 3,140m/10,302ft. On a clear day panoramic views can be had of the eastern Himalaya, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 7,550m/24,770ft. On return visit the Takin Reserve, and the late king’s Memorial Chorten, the Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, the silversmiths’ workshops, or just the farmers market. Overnight: Hotel. 

Day 07: Transfer to airport for Departure
Your guide will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the airport for your homebound journey.




Walking the Vales of Bhutan

The one and only kind of trip in Bhutan for the intrepid traveller, walking from Lodge to Lodge through the valley of Haa and Paro.
The secluded Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, Buddhism permeates every aspect of daily life, hidden valleys shelter ancient fortress-monasteries, and the king decrees “Gross National Happiness” as the standard by which to measure the country’s wealth. On our journey through this magical Shangri La, you’ll hike to tiny villages and spectacular mountainside shrines, explore lively artisan markets, and meet red-robed monks in the chanting halls of majestic Dzongs.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION                                                         
Accommodation: Hotels and Lodges                                              
Grade: Moderate                                                                            
Max altitude: 3,700m (Hiking over the Sagala La Pass)              
Duration: 08 Nights / 09 Days                                                       
Trek Leader: English Speaking Guide
Group Size : 2 -8 person only   
                                       
HIGHLIGHTS
Panoramic views of the Himalayas you fly into Bhutan
Spend active days in the remote Haa valley  
Go hiking around the old capital of Punakha and Gangtey
Hike to Taksang Monastery – the Tiger’s Nest
Experience the highlight of Bhutan’s capital Thimphu


Day 01: Fly to Paro,  Drive to Haa. ( 72km) ( 3hrs)
On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest and Kangchenjunga, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. In Paro you will be met by your guide and start your trip to the valley of Haa, Depending on your flight timings, the option of hiking to Dzongdrakha Monastery  ( total 1 hrs)(The complex is constituted of four shrines, devoted to Drolma (Tara), Tsheringma (Goddess of Longevity), Guru Rinpoche and the Buddha of the Future, Maitreya. As per local verbal custom, when Guru Rinpoche first came to Bhutan, he came from Nepal, first landing at Drakarpo, and then Dzongdrakha before arriving at Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) beyond north up the valley. Continue to Haa. Overnight : Lechuna Heritage Lodge.

Day 02: Village Walk ( 4-5hrs)
This cultural landscape is exemplary of the traditionally distinct, rural Bhutan. Forest, fields and farm houses dominate the landscape. Your day begins by walking through the lower village of Haatoe and continue on down to the Haa Chhu (river) before crossing a quaint wooden bridge. From here the walk to the Jamte Gompa is a gradual ascent of not more than 1.5 hours through pristine forest which later opens up to the village. Visit the 300 year old plus monastery, which is presently undergoing renovation work due to earthquake damage. This is followed by a visit to a local farmers house for a cup of tea and 'zau'. The views of the southern Haa valley can be enjoyed best from here. After the tea break we will take a seldom-used animal track that connects onto to the main trail after about half an hour and continue on to the Chumpa Bridge to stop for a picnic lunch beside the river. After lunch we walk slowly through the beautiful Chuma village taking time to see the villagers at work and even have some interaction. Walking along the village path we continue on to our lodge in time for high tea. For those who are interested in looking around the Lechuna village our local guide can accompany them. The option of having a hot stone bath is open and can be arranged for before or after dinner. Overnight: Lechuna Heritage Lodge.

Day 03: Hike to Chodu, Drive to Paro ( 5-6hrs)
Drive to the start of the trek point.  From here we make our way through blue pine and fir trees, slowly climbing uphill for about 3 hrs, we reach the Sagala Pass(3700m), where we stop for our picnic lunch and enjoy the view of Mount Jumolhari and its surrounding peaks, along with Haa Valley and Paro valley. From here the trail is down hill until we reach the the road, where your vehicle will be waiting to drive you back to Paro. Overnight: Nemjo Heritage Lodge

Day 04:Drive to Thimpu (1.5hrs)
After breakfast an hourand a half drive to Thimpu. where we have a full day to experience the cultural highlights visiting prominent attractions. In the evening one can stroll through the town area. Overnight Hotel.

Day 05: Drive to Wangdi ( 3-4hrs)
 Leaving Thimpu, the road climbs via a series of zigzags over the Dochu La Pass, 3,140m/10,302ft. On a clear day panoramic views can be had of the eastern Himalaya, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Puensum, 7,550m/24,770ft. The road drops down through varied forest and to Wangdi Phodrang. Overnight Kichu Resort.

Day 06: Excursion to Gangtey Valley
We start early as the drive to Gangtey is about 2.5hrs,  Gangtey is home to the black neck crane,  a wide valley with nature walks. The Gangtey Monastery is also worth a visit, return back to Wangdi. Overnight: Kichu Resort.

Day 07: Drive to Paro (130km) ( 4 hrs)
Drive to Paro, Stopping by the impressive Punakha Dzong situated on the confluence of the Mo and Po Chuu rivers, you’ll visit Drukpa Kunley’s temple built in the centre of the Punakha Valley and called Chimi Lhakhang. It is just a short walk across the paddy field to reach this temple, built by the “Divine Madman” to celebrate his victory over the demoness of the Dochu La.  Overnigh Nemjo Heritage Lodge

Day 08: Taktsang Monastery
This morning you’ll take the walk to Taktsang Monastery – the Tiger’s Nest. The monastery is perched some 2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigeress to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It’s a steep uphill walk through woods, of about 1½-2hrs, to reach a tea house (an ascent of 340m/1,125ft.) Apart from offering welcome refreshment this teahouse is one of the principle viewpoints of the monastery, and those that prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others have the option to continue on.  In the afternoon, time for some more sightseeing, and later in the evening farewell dinner at Nemjo Heritage. Overnight Nemjo Heritage Lodge.

Day 09: Transfer to the airport